TN50 #46, Stress, 15 November 2021

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #46.

I led a group of US Military Vets through a Fact-Finding Exercise on Stress last week and I thought it might make an interesting topic for the week.  The following is my summary of useful definitions and resources based on our discussion.

Bottom Line Up Front: If you are dealing with some Stress and/or Anxiety (and who isn’t?) The first four areas that I would ask you to look at and work on if you find your knowledge or performance lacking are: exercise (move), breathing, mindset (think) and sleep.

  1. Defining Stress

The first thing I realized when asked to lead this discussion was that I didn’t have an exact definition of Stress in my mind, when I asked the group, we all danced around the definitions for stress, anxiety and depression.

Here are some Merriam-Webster definitions, just incase you don’t have a clear definition of stress, anxiety and depression.

  1. Stress – a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
  2. Anxiety – fear or nervousness about what might happen
  3. Depression – a state of feeling sad

Based on these definitions our group spent the hour discussing stress and anxiety, not so much depression.

Exercise Gets Everywhere

 I asked the group to rate where they had dropped the ball in their current life circumstances between Eat – Sleep – Move.  As a group Move was the winner for what everyone needed to work on the most.  This is a great time to remind you all of this list from TN50#19 – Exercise Gets Everywhere.

A few places exercise gets to improve your physical health:

  1. Improves cardiovascular function
  2. Improves blood glucose levels
  3. Improves blood pressure
  4. Improves bone density
  5. Improves strength in muscles, ligaments and tendons
  6. Combats the effects of arthritis
  7. Reduces the risk of a bunch of cancers
  8. Helps maintain healthy body weight
  9. Improves sleep

A few places exercise gets to improve your mental health:

  1. Stimulates endorphins
  2. Reduces risk of dementia
  3. Improves brain function
  4. Improves productivity
  5. Improves creativity
  6. Improves motivation
  7. Improves sleep

A few places exercise gets to improve your emotional health:

  1. Reduces stress
  2. Reduces depression
  3. Reduces anxiety
  4. Improves self-esteem
  5. Improves mood
  6. Improves sleep

Here are a few additional resources that you can help you up your game on breathing, neutral mindset and sleep.  Get to work!

Have you ever studied breathing? I mean really learned about breathing?  Here is a little test:  do you know the following terms? Vertical Breathing, Belly Breathing, Box Breathing.  If you don’t know what these 3 terms are you have work to do.  My favorite 2 books on this that you can listen to on Audible are the following

The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown

Breath by James Nestor

How about approaching life with a Neutral Mindset?  Based on my very limited reading on the Stoics, they taught a philosophy based on working from a neutral mindset.  The quickest way for you to quickly understand what I mean when I say, “Neutral Mindset” is to click on this link, and read the article (of course).  Most likely, you have work to do!  The two most recent examples of this concept I am reading or have audibled are.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

It Takes What It Takes by Trevor Moawad

Last but not least, how is your Sleep?  I ask a lot of people this question and they say things like, “Good, yes, wow, man oh man, I do not let anything mess with my sleep!!!” BUT they have never actually researched all the things we now know about sleep hygiene, circadian rhythms or their SCN!  This makes me sad!  If it makes you sad too here are 2 great books you can check out on Audible.  Did I mention you have work to do?

The Circadian Code by Satchin Panda

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Are you getting a solid B on these 4 components of performance?  If yes, congrats, keep upping your game!  If no, congrats, you have a bunch of low hanging fruit to get working on.  Low hanging fruit = easy gains.

I would love it if you shared your thoughts on this entry and please share this with your tribe or anyone who might find this useful as we accelerate into the 2021 Holiday Season!

Have a good one, Alex

PS: Wandering what I did on Veteran’s Day on the 11th?  You can check out the recording of our LinkedIn Live Discussion on Why Companies Should Hire Senior NCOs here:

2022 Murph Count: 19