Let’s take a breather and talk sleep, stress management, and relationships tips.
Getting your diet and exercise routine dialed is certainly an essential entry point to leading a long, healthy, happy life. But it’s only a portion of the big picture. Sleep is arguably more important than any other lifestyle practice, because if its compromised than other bets are off. In hectic, high-tech modern life, our stress management skills are in higher demand than any other time in the history of humanity. Finally, relationships are what make the world go round, but we often neglect them in favor of tangible objectives like filling our plate with healthy food, filling our logbook with impressive workouts, and filling our bank account with money.
With sleep, the biggest objective is to minimize artificial light and digital stimulation after dark. This interferes with your circadian rhythm where you are programmed to slow down, wind down, release melatonin and get sleepy in the hours after dark. It’s also important to create a quiet, cool, clutter free, dark sleeping environment. With stress management, our main objective today is to manage our use of technology so it doesn’t overwhelm our lives. Give your off button a good workout every single day, your health depends on it. Suffering from FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out? Don’t worry, you’re not that important (unless you’re my sister delivering babies at night, then you can leave your phone on. Otherwise, power down!)
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Speaker: Brad Kearns
Brad Kearns:Welcome to the Get Over Yourself Podcast. This is Brad Kearns.
Welcome to part two breather show; Long Cuts to a Longer Life. We’re going to talk about sleep, stress management, relationships, little tidbits of wonderful topics that we cover in detail on other shows on the Get Over Yourself Podcast. Here we go.
If we’re talking about sleep and lifestyle today, one thing that’s become a huge concern of mine is taking control of this tech addiction. Oh my goodness. Doing my podcast on the Get Over Yourself Podcast with Elisha Goldstein, the mindfulness expert, and him explaining to me how when we do a conscious act over and over, like reaching for our phone to see if we have any text messages, what happens is it gets wired into habit, into unconscious habit. That’s when it becomes truly destructive and takes control over your life and harms your life rather than enhances your life. It increases stress. It ruins your brain function, it promotes ADHD.
So, first we got to talk about just taking control, man. Using the off button, using discipline, being proactive with your use of technology rather than reactive. I have some short breather shows – that’s the name of them on the Get Over Yourself Podcast, where I’m going to talk even further about tech addiction, taking control, some tips and tricks and techniques to do better with your technology use.
Especially my goal of not having the email inbox dominate my work day. I admit to this being a problem. I’m supposed to be focusing and producing original content, and I seem to be engaging with email on and off throughout the day. So, really want to work on that and pick some windows of time where I’m shutting the box down, the inbox down, disconnecting from the outside world for a bit, for a while. I think the world will be okay.
Anyway, then further into sleep, we have those big picture ideals, which number one is to align your sleep habits as close as possible to your circadian rhythm. We are genetically wired. We are optimized to function on light and dark cycles, corresponding with the rising and the setting of the sun. We have been this way for two and a half million years. All living things on earth have a circadian rhythm. And now, for the first time, since the invention of the light bulb; Thomas Edison, and then Steve Jobs and Netflix and all the wonderful people that brought us technology of modern life, we have the ability to override our circadian rhythm by introducing the often harmful element of artificial light and digital stimulation after dark.
So, our number one goal objective on the sleep issue is to minimize our exposure to artificial light and digital stimulation after dark. When it gets dark in your environment, whatever time of year it is, wherever you live, it is time to tone down. Tone down the lighting of your indoor scene, get a pair of UV protection, yellow or orange tinted lenses that you can see through plenty indoors at night. But these protect you from the harmful elements of the blue light exposure that come from indoor lighting and from indoor screens. It will protect you against the harmful effects of the blue light spectrum. It’s called blue light. It’s not colored blue to your eye, but it’s called the blue light spectrum, the part of the ultraviolet spectrum represented by harsh indoor lighting from a screen or from a light bulb. And when you expose yourself to this spectrum of light in the evening, it interferes with melatonin production. It keeps you up when you should be getting sleepy and transitioning into a good night’s sleep.
So, if you have dark, mellow evenings of minimal digital stimulation or perhaps quiet conversation, a stroll around the block with the dog wearing your yellow or orange lenses, reading, playing a game of chess, doing some foam rolling, getting your screen entertainment done earlier in the night rather than right before bed, at the very least, you will now set yourself up for a good functioning dim light melatonin onset circumstance. That’s when your blood stream gets flooded with the sleep hormone. Melatonin makes you feel sleepy, it makes you feel tired. You start yawning, you go take a nice cold plunge or cold shower and jump into bed and get a good night’s sleep. You have set yourself up for getting a good night’s sleep by minimizing that digital stimulation.
If instead, you are blasting your eyeballs with screen light to catch up on your emails from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, and then trying to go to sleep, you have filled your bloodstream with stress hormones rather than melatonin, and you’re going to have trouble getting to sleep and winding down. Of course, shift workers know this very well, where it’s just difficult to wind down if you’ve been exposed to artificial light for hours and hours, and then ask your body to go to sleep.
So, that’s the number one goal, is to make evenings dark and mellow. Your sleep environment is very important. So, you want a bedroom which is absolutely pitch dark. That is the recommendation from sleep experts. You want it to be cool in temperature. We sleep better when things are cool. So, making sure that your air conditioning, your heater is accordingly set, maybe sleeping with the windows open at the right times a year. Minimizing your covers rather than getting yourself warm in the clothing and covers because that might not be optimal for cycling through all the phases of sleep overnight. And of course, your environment has to be quiet and low stress.
So, if you have outside noises that you’re vulnerable to, get a sound machine, get an air purifier, anything that will make a nice noise canceling situation so that outside sounds aren’t disruptive. You know what I mean by that? So, if you had the fan running all night or I love to have my UV negative ion generating air filter running at kind of a high sound – you have to get used to it I guess. But when that sound’s running at a steady hum all night, you are not so sensitive to any outside sound that would be disruptive and sudden. So, it’s a noise cancelling device.
Also, getting good at napping. Because when we do fall short of optimal evening sleep, we are in a state of sleep deficit. This affects our cognitive function, decision making, emotional control, all that great stuff. Naps can do a wonderful job in a short time, helping to refresh the sodium potassium pumps in your brain neurons. So that you will experience an increase in cognitive function after even a brief nap. I have made myself become a professional napper through repeated exposure and practice.
I talk to so many people that say, “Oh, I can’t take a nap. I’m just not a napper. It doesn’t happen for me. I just lay there.” Guess what? You have to practice a little bit. I found a wonderful app that I’ve been using for years called “Rainmaker Pro” – anything like that that generates natural sounds. And so, when I push the button and turn on these raindrop sounds, there’s like 50 different choices; medium strength, hitting a window pane, heavy strength hitting the street (oh my gosh), rain forest, misty – you can choose whatever sound you want, and as soon as I turn on that raindrop sound, because I’ve done it hundreds of times, I’m teaching my body that it’s time to go for a nap.
Yes, if you can get a quiet, dark environment, that’s great. If it’s just your car in the parking lot, throw a blindfold on, do the best you can. Just about everyone has the opportunity to go find a suitable napping stop for 20 minutes in the afternoon.
Love the message from Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, leading media personality in the world. She’s so big on sleeping right now because of her transformation in life. She titled a book called “Thrive” and another one called “The Sleep Revolution”, where she’s putting sleep at the forefront of importance for being a productive peak performance happy person. And what she did when she was at Huffington Post, was that she purposely left the curtains open to her glass, walled office, put a “Do not disturb” sign on the door. And people could walk by and watch her or see her taking a nap, because she wanted to be accepted in the corporate culture and make a presentation of that nature to say, “Yes, I’m asleep, don’t bother me.” But guess what? You can do it yourself too.
So, try to find the opportunity to take naps, especially if you notice a decline in cognitive function during that natural low in your circadian rhythm in the afternoon. And oh my gosh, I am highly sensitive to this because I will notice times of day when I zone out, space out, whatever. I start clicking on YouTube videos or clicking on the next article below the article that I wanted to read, and then get back to my peak cognitive task. And when I notice myself slipping in my attention and my discipline slipping, I realize that it’s time for a nap because my cognitive function has declined. I’ve been going too long without a break and so forth.
So, getting that quiet, dark, evening experience, napping when you need to, alignment with your circadian rhythm. Let’s move on to relationships.
I mean, come on, this is what makes the world go round. What’s more important than our interactions with other human beings, family, friends, romantic partner, other loved ones, coworkers, people that we encounter in everyday life, trying to make the world a better place as the number one objective for all of us on the planet. And so, some quick tips – again, getting deep into this in our relationship shows on the Get Over Yourself channel.
How about be open, honest, authentic, and vulnerable in your communications. If you’re holding onto stuff, if you’re putting on an act or not revealing your true self, you are most assuredly compromising your health. There’s all kinds of scientific study to reference here. That emotional pain, emotional disturbances, holding onto things, bottling things up will indeed affect your physical health.
On my show, Get Over Yourself Podcast with Elle Russ, she described her battle with thyroid and her healing naturally. And she made the observation that anytime you feel choked up like you want to say something but you can’t, you’re refraining, you’re in a dysfunctional relationship where you can’t speak your mind, whatever it is – that is associated with thyroid trouble. And people who have dysfunctional thyroid, thyroid disease, often relate that yes, indeed, they do feel choked up, restrained from expressing themselves. And where does that choking up happen? Right there where the thyroid is located.
Okay, and you don’t believe in this woo-woo medicine stuff, you might want to open your mind a bit, because every single day, we have more and more scientific research and breaking news that’s bringing this mind, body connection closer together.
When I was an athlete, I was treated frequently by my good friend and amazing natural healer, Dr. Mike Greenberg, now based in Atlanta, Georgia. Go see him if you’re in the Atlanta area, he can change your life. And he did a technique called “neuro emotional anti-sabotage technique”. The thinking being that we have stored emotional memories that affect our current health and mindset today.
So, he would engage in muscle, nerve, and reflex testing and subconscious thoughts going into my ear while he’s testing the muscle firing in my shoulder against resistance, and identifying these stored emotional memories that were affecting my peak performance as an athlete. And sometime the connection was completely random or inexplicable to my conscious mind, but something was going on in my subconscious that was generating fears for me when I was on the swimming starting line.
He treated Olympic champions, Olympic gold medal world record holding athletes and discovered – they discovered together during treatment, that they had things like fear of success. Because a lot of times when you succeed, you don’t have that compelling goal anymore and you have a letdown. So, you have to work through your fear of success. You have to work through your fear of failure. You have to work through your dysfunctional childhood, so that it doesn’t affect you in everyday, every single life. And healers can help with that tremendously. So, be open and try something out. Read some books, listen to some more shows.
Now, when we say open, honest, authentic, vulnerable in communications, we also have to understand that there’s a balance here between unloading every single thought and emotion that comes into your mind or your heart, unloading that onto the planet. So, if you get cut off in traffic, you can either honk your horn and press and lay on it for 12 seconds straight, flip off everybody that gets in your way. Or you can try to regulate your emotions and therefore have a healthier, less stressful life and contribute that to others on the planet who get to be spared your wrath because you’re a loose cannon at all times.
Kris Gage writing on the medium.com, wonderful articles about relationships. She argues that emotional control and emotional self-stability are the number one relationship attributes and they are so important that you don’t even need to talk about anything unless you have emotional control and emotional self-stability.
Pursuant to that goal, how about Mia Moore’s insight to not sweat the small stuff? And her talking on our first show about how she made a conscious choice years ago, especially in relationships, not to sweat the small stuff, to let things go. Healthy, long term romantic relationships are known to focus on the positive and deemphasize the negative. That’s results from scientific study. So, not sweating the small stuff. Pretty simple, right?
Furthering that thought, you have to realize that you are the judge of what small stuff and what’s not. Of course, we can have deal breakers in relationships. So, it’s not small stuff if someone comes home in a substance influenced state and start smashing things, that’s not small stuff. We can’t let that go. We’re allowed to have deal breakers and limits. But generally speaking, we here, in comfortable modern life, we have enough food, we have clothing, we have shelter, we have our health. Whatever we have that we can be thankful for. Boy, that’s really something to emphasize, and it’s always possible to adopt a perspective of gratitude. Be thankful for what you have and where you are today rather than constantly stressing about what could be better, what’s not perfect.
So, speaking of partnerships, how about some tips for your comportment or your disposition in a partnership? Number one insight, John Gottman, you’re either a team or not a team in every interaction, in every situation. There is no black and white here. You’re either acting as a team or you’re acting as adversaries. So, be careful with your communication. Hone your emotional control and emotional self-stability and face life as a team.
Harville Hendrix – three rules for healthy winning relationships. A sense of safety; you can say what’s on your mind. You’re not going to get come back and bit in the ass by it later. A policy of zero negativity and a policy of dispensing constant affirmations, which helps contribute to that goal of safety.
Esther Perel says, “Treat your partner like a good client. Take nothing for granted.” We know how we suck up the good clients and realize that we could lose them at any time, so we treat them with great respect and priority. You can do the same thing with your long term partner, rather than taking things for granted. And listen to the relationship advice tidbits show on Get Over Yourself. Lots of good stuff. Man, the website itself is a great resource -bradkearns.com/getoveryourself. Yeah, lots of notes on all these shows as well as being able to listen to the shows.
So, finally, we go to stress management. And I’m remembering my conversation with Dave Rossi about fears and anxieties. Anytime you experience fear and anxiety, acknowledge, accept that you’re in this state and forgive yourself. Then, redirect your thoughts to your values and your vision. Sounds simple, but it’s so powerful. Are you worried about your kid getting accepted into whatever freaking college they applied to? Hey, redirect to your values and your vision as a parent. You do the best you can. You be happy. You learn and grow from life experience. You dispense that message to your kids. Whatever happens, it’s going to be okay. You’re going to work through it.
You’re worried about your business not making payroll this month? Again, redirect to your values and your vision. You work hard, you try to solve problems, you do the best you can. Maybe it sounds a little cheesy to be flippant about these major life worries and fears – but worries, fears and anxiety never accomplish anything. All they do is put you in an anxious state of mind where you’re more capable of making bad decisions.
So, that’s one element of stress management that I really love to think about a lot, because we all are presented with fears and anxieties every single day. You have the ability to redirect your thoughts to your values and Vision. Carrie Sisson, spiritual psychology world says, “Your thoughts are the source of all your pain.”
Next, tone down that tech obsession that I mentioned briefly at the outset, because it’s very stressful. Steve Blank, Stanford professor, former video game inventor and video game addict, said in his article on the Medium, “The devices started out as tools and ended up as drugs for most people. App manufacturers are incentivized to make us addicted.” I’ll contend that a ton of social media is actually a lot like OxyContin. And a study in the same Medium article referencing a study published in the Journal of PLOS One said, “Digital addictions can shrink the amount of white matter at certain brain sites creating changes similar to those seen in alcohol, caffeine and methamphetamine addictions.” So, that’s one of our ultimate stress management objectives.
Finally, how about engaging in self-care rituals every day? I noticed that Mia Moore is very diligent in keeping these regular standing appointments for nails, hair, massage. And for me, like keeping that many appointment I’d probably be too stressed driving around trying to remember. But you realize that when you’re going to an appointment, it’s a great form of self-care where you get to relax, leave your problems, concerns behind from whatever you were doing. Whether it was carting kids around or just a day in the workplace and go get your hair done.
I have my videos and frequent discussion about my morning routine, which starts with a flexibility, mobility, core, strengthening sequence. You can look on YouTube; Brad Kearns Morning Routine, and see what I do every single morning. I’ve made this a fixture in my life because I’m a guy who needs patterns and consistency. Otherwise, I’ll be too scattered. So, I do the morning flexibility, mobility drill every time without fail. And then I go jump into the cold plunge chest freezer. That’s also on YouTube. Search for it. It’s changed my life. It’s super awesome and it gives me a meditative experience and getting every single day started with a proactive ritual that takes discipline and focus and hopefully sets me up for a day of discipline and focus. It’s not magic, but I think it’s a big help. So, these self-care rituals, so important.
My show with Dave Kobrine on Get Over Yourself, talking about in detail, his super awesome, morning routine of movement and cold exposure and sauna exposure and physical exercise, every single day, just sets him up. He says he heads into the office feeling like a million bucks. My man, Robby Bobby Bennett, swimming in place for about 15 minutes with a tether in his pool year round. Even in the cold winter months, he’s in there in 50 degrees, something water and building up his tolerance for cold exposure and getting a nice workout. And getting some time in water, where his other senses, he doesn’t have to listen or talk or get into the hectic routine of daily life. He’s got that fixture in his day.
Same with my running buddies who are now, oh my gosh, guys were into this thing for about 40 years since we first started running in high school. Steve died, Steve Kobrine, still putting in the miles pretty much every single day. Finding the time to get out there. Whether it’s a short run – if Dr. Stevie has to go to urgent care all day or a long run on his weeks off where he’s going 10, 12, 14, 15 miles. Just enjoying the scenery. Not worrying about his time or his next upcoming race or his peak performance goals, but just making it a self-care ritual. That’s an important part of his life.
How about you? Do you have time for self-care or are you too busy with your high performing job of many weekly hours? I believe that anyone has time for some simple basic morning rituals, self-care of some kind or another that works for you. Figure it out and make a commitment to do it every single day. If you think you don’t have time, you can make time, because studies show we check our phone 150 times per day. We consume digital entertainment to the average number of several hours per day. I know with the Kaiser Family Foundation statistics that kids, youth consume digital entertainment for six point something hours every single day. They’re in front of a screen for six hours a day. Adults are probably right there. Maybe even beyond.
Oh, American Family Foundation research shows that the average American family has the television on for 40 hours a week. Ouch, man. That’s like a full time job to be watching TV every single week in the average American home. So, tell me you don’t have time for a 10-minute morning ritual or the like. Make some more hair appointments. Get your nails done. Make a standing appointment every three weeks. Book your massages, make a commitment, buy a package in advance, do something for yourself. These are long cuts to a longer life. Thank you for listening to the show.
Oh, by, I get to talk about my Almost Heaven sauna. This has been a life changing acquisition that gives me easy and constant access to one of the most health boosting therapeutic treatments imaginable. The sauna, yes, of course, it’s been a cultural tradition in Scandinavia and other cold weather countries for hundreds of years. Maybe it’s your favorite part of your health club visit or your ski trip vacation resort. But what about if you had a personal sauna in your own home, in your garage or your backyard?
Check out almostheaven.com. They make these super attractive barrel-shaped saunas made of thick, solid wood. None of this fake stuff. It’s super easy to assemble. They ship it in a kit to your door, you watch the video, you put it together, get an electrician to wire it, and you’re good to go. Turn the timer on and 30 minutes later, you are in the hot, hot, dry up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. And that is the magic zone to get the vaunted health benefits of sauna exposure.
You may have heard of these highly lauded heat shock proteins. They deliver profound benefits at the cellular level to boost immune function, cognitive function, cardiovascular function, improve muscular response to exercise and recovery from intense exercise, and of course longevity. Go to foundmyfitness.com, Rhonda Patrick, and download her report for the extreme scientific details of how beneficial sauna is.
I have this classic outdoor pinnacle model. It’s six foot by six foot, fits four adults sitting comfortably or two adults reclining and instantly going into napping mode. I know man, when you get in there, no matter what kind of day you had or what mood you’re in, you will instantly feel chill. And this is called a hormetic stressor. A positive natural stressor that creates an adaptive response. So, with regular sauna use, you become more resilient to all forms of stress that you experience in daily life.
Same with my cold plunge into the cold freezer. It delivers these similar health and hormonal benefits that will make it an absolutely essential part of a relaxing stress balanced day. Please, go check them out. It will change your life. And you can get these beautiful six by six or larger model or even smaller for a surprisingly affordable price due to the direct relationship. You order it on almostheaven.com, they ship it to your door. I can’t say enough about it. I’m so excited. This sounds like a commercial – okay, it is a commercial.
But let me tell you, beyond the health benefits, this is a social centerpiece. It’s a place to relax and chill and splash the water on the rocks and get a burst of steam. So, go pay a quick visit to almostheaven.com. Warning, you’re going to be tempted.