My Stress Isn’t Going Anywhere – How Do I Deal With It? [Podcast Episode #108]
You likely know that being fit and maintaining a healthy weight is about more than just diet and exercise. Stress plays a huge role.
Chronic stress wreaks havoc on your hormones, leaving you mentally and physically susceptible to many behaviours that lead to weight-gain: You overeat. You eat when you're not actually hungry. You eat to appease your cravings. You have little motivation for exercise. You don't sleep well. On and on...
But, even if you know this to be true, what can you do when your life is, well, stressful? How can you stop being stressed when when all of the stressors are seemingly out of your control?
Maybe you don't need to stop the stress at all?
Here's an alternative plan of action...
Make Your Body Work Podcast: Episode #108
Stress Isn't Going Anywhere - How Do I Deal With It? [Full Text]
Dave: Hey. Thanks so much for joining me in this episode of Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today we're talking about stress, specially we're talking about stress and how does it affect our health? How does is affect our weight? And then what are some strategies that we can use to deal with that stress because, like our question says, stress isn't going anywhere. And this question that I referenced, it's from Kristine.
Kristine wrote in and she said, "I've been on a weight loss journey for what seems like my entire life. Well, I'm not 100% where I'd like to be, I've mostly come to appreciate my health and my body. One thing I do worry about however is my stress. My life is busy. It's high stress and my mind is always going. I suspect I'm a candidate for adrenal fatigue and I wonder if this has contributed to my weight battles. How do you advise someone who's in my situation? The stress isn't going anywhere but I'd to deal with it, so that it's not affecting my weight or my health."
Kristine, thanks for writing in. I just want to applaud you and say, "You're wise." First of all to realize that your stress has a physiological impact on your body. You mentioned adrenal fatigue and that likely could be the case. Your stress does affect your body. It does affect your weight.
And then secondly, I want to applaud the fact that you realize that even though stress maybe isn't going anywhere and the idea of actually eliminating that stress, maybe that's a bit of a fairy tale or a bit of a dream, but that you can still, despite the stress being present, you can still learn different strategies to deal with it, so that the physical ramifications, for example weight or others, aren't as severe or aren't maybe what they are currently. You can change those symptoms of a stressful life. Thanks for a fantastic question.
If you can’t eliminate stress, you CAN learn to deal with it in a healthy way
Now, I've gone and I've found an amazing guest today. This is what she does is she's written a book and she coaches clients of hers how to develop what she calls an inner peace, an inner strength to deal with these stressful lives that we lead, the stressful situations we find ourselves in. I'm really excited to introduce to you Pamela Gold.
Meet Pamela Gold
Dave: Hey, Pam. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Pam: Thanks so much, Dave. I'm so happy to be here.
Dave: I was wondering if you could start off and talk a little bit about your background. I know, I was reading a little bit about you and your mission and you talk a lot about inner peace and inner strength. Can you kind of tell us, I guess first of all, why is that your focus? And how did you come to that place?
Pam: Sure. It's my focus because it's what I've experienced to be the biggest kind of game changer. I've been someone that's always been kind of a limitless achiever since I was young. I grew up on an apple farm in kind of rural upstate New York, but very academic and intellectual and went to Yale and was a microbiology and biochemistry major at Yale before I switched to poly sci. Then I ended up in business right out of school.
I was the point person on an IPO at the age of 24. Very kind of driven professionally and all of that. Then I became a mom and I got really into fitness and wellness because I of course wanted to be as healthy as possible. Then I found yoga.
Yoga kind of connected a lot of dots that had been with me throughout my life. That's when I really started to tap into this inner peace stuff, inner strength.
The power that that has given me in all areas of my life, it's hard really to find words. But that unlocked what I know to be my life's mission to share this wisdom and this skill, this practice because it really is so transformative in what we can achieve in all areas of our life, personally and professionally.
Dave: Can you, just out of interest's sake, you kind of caught my attention there when you talked about yoga being a big transformation step for you. Can you talk about your yoga experience? Because I've had quite a transformation in terms of physically what yoga's helped my body do, but have not explored at all spiritually or that side of it. What was it for you?
How Yoga Changed Pam's Life
Pam: Yeah. I started out purely on the physical as well. When I went to yoga school, it was because I wanted to compliment ... I was a personal trainer as well. I wanted to compliment that knowledge and understanding of the body and different poses and all of that.
But when I went to yoga school, they educated me about the eight branches of yoga that’s the Asanas, the physical practice is just one of those branches. And the others are really more of a system for living ,a system for connecting with our true nature and empowering ourselves with this clarity and this grace.
They started teaching us that I was like, "Whoa. I didn't even know that's what yoga was to be honest." Then I was like, "Wait a minute. This is what I've been really obsessed with my entire life is to be the best me I can be." It really peaked my interest.
I had tried meditation before going to yoga school and it was not my thing. I was like, "Ah. Some people like to swim, some people don't." I'm like, "Meditation is just not for me." But then they made us do little mini meditations and start to notice how we felt afterwards and that basically broke the seal.
I was like, "All right. There's something to this and I'm going to commit to a practice regularly for the next", I think I said at the time, "Three months" and that was, I think five years ago now, four years ago now. I meditate every day. What started as a physical practice for me, blossomed into this deeper, spiritual practice. That's how it happened.
Is Stress a "Badge of Honour" That You're Wearing Proudly?
Dave: Can you talk about your stress levels pre and post yoga then because we're going to get into Kristine's question here in a second, but she asking all about stress? Would you have characterized your life as being a stressful one previously?
Pam: That would be the understatement of the century. I was an over-achiever, so I constantly was putting more and more and more and more on my shoulders. I was not one to shy away from challenges. I was not one ... I was the kind of person that if someone said, "Hey, Pam. Can you do this? Is there any chance you could take project on or do you think you could handle this?"
I was like, "Yes!" Regardless of whether or not I actually could, right? I would ... it was great because I grew rapidly. And professionally, I was 24 and the point person in an IPO, I mean that's not typical. But yes, I really prided myself on my levels of stress because I thought that that was it meant that I was powerful and I was capable.
It was almost like a badge of honor at the time that like, "Oh, I'm so stressed" or "I'm so stressed right now. I got this going on. I got that going on." I'm like, "How many balls I'm juggling in the air". Everything is about to fall apart. To me, that kind of immature time in my life, that mentality, there was part of me that had drank the Kool-aid from our society. But that meant that I was up to good stuff, that I was going a lot.
I hadn't yet had the mindset shift of, "Oh, no, no. No, honey. This is not good. This is disfunction at its worst." Yeah, I was a very Type A, push, push, push kind of person. And physically too because my workouts were really hard. Everything I felt like if I was going to do something. Go big or go home. I wasn't going to just take on a little bit of stuff and not be stressed. That was not how I was.
Dave: I love ... there's many things that you have mentioned there that completely resonated with me. One of them was that being busy or being stressed is you used the word or the term badge of honor.
Dave: That's so true that if I'm a busy I'm therefore a valuable person.
Pam: Yeah. It stems from I hate to just say insecurity, but let's just say ignorance. Because it stems from this ignorance of what our real worth stems from. We feel like we're this narrative of, like you said, we're worthy, we're good enough if we're just going beyond whatever is humanly possible, right?
We're showing that we're showing up and putting so much effort into our life because we're doing it and we think that that means that we're good enough, that that is validating and it's so dysfunctional because it stems from ignorance and insecurity that we don't understand what really is valuable in life.
We don't really understand that we're intrinsically worthy and we don't understand that stress is toxic. Toxic. And we let the researchers there, we now know that stress is as toxic as smoking five cigarettes a day. But yet most people haven't really integrated that knowledge into their being, right?
Your level of stress is often seen as an indication of your capability, value, or importance. This is a lie.
Trying to Keep Up With the People Around You?
Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative). 100%. As you were speaking there, I was thinking I have a friend who I go running with on a weekly basis and she's exactly like you described the younger version of yourself being a very big business go-getter. And quite often when we run we'll talk about business.
I've noticed that when I go to meet her, when I'm running to her place to pick her up on the way, I think about what is it that I'm doing business wise that I can share? Almost in a competitive level because I know she's going to have something exciting going on.
I wonder if that's part of the problem that we all think other people are striving and achieving and if we don't do it as well, whether that brings up the stress level in our life or not, then we're not keeping up.
Pam: Yeah. Like I said, it's a combination of ignorance and insecurity because there's a core belief that we really believe that we have to be at that level or we're not good enough. That's a core belief, which is ignorant, right? Because that's not true. What's true is we have this intrinsic worth that really is about our character. And we know this if we think about it. What do we really value?
If we imagine we’re on our deathbed looking back on our life and say, "Okay. Have I lived what I consider to be a good life?" We're not going to be looking about the external validation. We're going to be looking at our relationships and how we showed up with love and kindness and bravery and being of service. We know that that's what really feels like a good life.
Value your character, your own skills, and your unique contribution to society. Busyness and stress have nothing to do with your value.
But our brain, if we get stuck in our brain and this narrative about what it means to be successful. And it really isn't true. I say a combination of insecurity and ignorance because it's both. There is some core beliefs that we, part of us believes this stuff that we need to have all this external success or we're not successful.
But our heart knows that's not what fulfillment is. Our heart knows that that's not ultimately going to be what makes us feel like we're fulfilled have a good life, right? If we really were shored up and this is the insecurity part, right? If we really were shored up about our sense of worth from the inside out, then we wouldn't believe that stuff in our mind.
Because our mind is still going to chime in. Our mind is still going to be comparing and looking around. But if we have that inner strength, then when our brain does that stuff, we're like, "Ah, shush. I'm awesome. I show up." Even, "I may have had a bad day, a bad week, a bad quarter, but I'm hustling and I know next quarter's going to be awesome."
Dave: Yeah. Oh, I love that. Wouldn't that be nice. I still just think if I was in a conversation with someone and they were telling me about all their achievements or all their exciting projects, I if I said something like that honestly meant it. "I'm just taking a bit of a slow quarter right now." And I'd start to wonder what would their response be or would that be a conversation killer?
Pam: Well, but you know what? You can be genuinely happy for the other virtuous things that everyone else is doing and use that as inspiration. But then keep your eyes on your own lane. You may be building something. Look at Lin-Manuel Miranda, when he was doing Hamilton, it took seven or eight years of from the outside looking in.
If people didn't know, they'd be like, "Dude, he hasn't done anything in like seven years." Because it'd been like seven years since Brooklyn Heights. It's seven years of from the outside in making it seem like, "Nah, he's not doing anything. Man, Brooklyn Heights was like, that was his pinnacle. There's nothing else coming." And then boom. Sometimes it can be a seven, eight year process of greatness, right?
The really good stuff takes time. Again, it's like that what narrative are we believing? Can we really be clear on what's true for us? And not get distracted looking around at what other people are doing. What's right for someone else isn't what's right for you. You know?
What’s right for someone else isn’t necessarily what’s right for you. Find your own path.
Why Things Changed When I Became a Mom
Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, so true. When you were telling your personal story there, you said something with an interesting tone. You were talking about all your achievements, business wise, education wise and then you said, "and then I became a mom." It was like this very to some change in your voice and I was wondering what did that do to your feeling of self-worth, your feelings of value, of goals and then your stress level as well? Did it change drastically?
Pam: Yeah. Becoming a mom ... kids don't come with training manuals, right? I was an over-achiever professional. I'd been married for a couple of years before we had kids, but, man, having a baby changed the dynamic of my marriage. I was not prepared for that at all.
Having a baby can be the most beautiful, amazing, magical thing and it's also the most stressful, terrifying thing because you have this little being that you love more than anything else, that you have this fear potentially around them being okay.
I generally am not a worrier, but my husband is. We had to navigate that dynamic. I wasn't skillful around that kind of navigating that inner-dynamic. That's what ultimately really made me dig deep to solve all of this inner stuff because it was my personal life that ended up really challenging my skills, my insights… because I had never learned really how to have really functional, deeply functional relationships.
I was a really good girlfriend, wife on the surface. But when things really got tough, it's like, "All right. How skillful are you really?" That's when I had to figure this stuff out. Ultimately, it was the personal, not the professional stuff that forced me to learn all the stuff that I now share.
Dave: So you mind going into a little bit more specific detail with that? I'm sorry this is going to be really personal but you talked about not being skilled in that situation.
Dave: And the pressure of being a mom and a wife.
Dave: Are there specific skills that you felt like you needed to develop?
Are You Responsible For Your Own Happiness?
Pam: Yeah, absolutely. Well, one: Communication skills. It's very different dynamic. I'd been so successful professionally, to be honest. I had such a positive experience professionally that my communication skills, they were good and I was more confident in a professional environment, right?
The more confident we are, the more we believe in ourselves, the more positively we can communicate and we don't get triggered as much, right? We can just stay on point and know that yes, we're listening. We're being a good listener and then we're integrating and collaborating, right?
On a personal level, I think we're much more likely to have blind spots, much more likely to have triggers, just from our own childhood, our own past relationships that then affect our communication. Because if we get triggered and we get to a place where we're maybe angry or we're feeling shame or guilt or fear, it's much harder to stay grounded and centered having faith in what you know to be true and then collaborate and have synergy.
What happened with my husband and I ... generally I try to ... he's not as open about some of this stuff as I am, but we did have a long period where there'd be conflict between us and we'd both go in our corners. We wouldn't come together, keeping this compassionate groundedness and collaborate on problem-solving. It led to resentment.
One little thing would then trigger us and we would argue. It got dysfunctional and it wasn't loving, it wasn't gentle, it wasn't all the things that I thought marriage was going to be. It took many, many year of saying, "Wait a minute. What's going on? Why are we treating each other this way? What do we need to get better at to be able to handle these conflicts, handle the fear, handle the trauma?" Because we both had tough childhoods.
No one gets through childhood unscathed. But both of us had divorced parents and things that didn't necessarily model the skills that you need to have functional relationships. And then figuring out how to crack the code on co-dependency that ultimately each of us is responsible for our own happiness and our own power and our own love.
Ultimately, you are responsible for your own happiness. What steps are you taking to be as happy as you'd like to be?
The relationship is a separate thing from that but most of us go into relationships when we're young and in our 20's and 30's. We think, on some level, that the other person is going to complete us or that the other person is going to always be respectful, always be compassionate, but they're a human being, so they're going to trigger us.
There's going to be times when they're imperfect. Are we able to handle those imperfections? That's when you figure out whether or not you're whole.
If you're whole, then it's not big deal to let the other person's imperfections just slide and you stay in a positive place. But if you're relying on the other person on some level to make you feel respected, make you feel good enough, make you feel worthy of love, you're going to have problems. That, to be honest, is what I had to face.
Dave: It's interesting. Again, you alluded to this idea, I can imagine this becoming quite a vicious circle because you're stressed, you're dealing with parenthood, you're dealing relationship with your husband, career, whatever else it is. That creates the stress, which puts a strain on your relationship and the strained relationship adds stress. Then it just becomes this ongoing thing.
Kristine, when she talks about ... she said something, she said, "My life is busy, high stress" and then she goes on to say, "That stress isn't going anywhere." To answer her question, we don't know all the details of her life, but I imagine-
Dave: She might feel like she's stuck in that circular pattern.
Dave: How do you break that?
Stress Is Not A Result of External Factors
Pam: All right. This is the magic thing here. This is the stuff, right? Here's the deal: What really is causing the stress is not whatever the external problems are, whatever the external situations are. Because life will never be easy and we don't want it to be. We want to have challenges because the challenges are what giving us the opportunity to continually level up and get stronger and really make life great.
Challenges give you the opportunity to better yourself every day. No challenges = no growth.
It's not the external circumstances and all of the stuff that we're juggling and getting thrown at us and all of that. What causes the stress is how our mind relates to it. It's mastery over our mind and our mindset that shifts it from being stress to being like, "All right. Game on. I got this."
All right. This one's tricky. This is literally ... stress is a word that I have stricken from vocabulary and I'm like, "Ooh, this is tricky." I have a little bit of a sly smile when I say it because if something is tricky, you can use your skills to handle it as gracefully and effectively as possible.
Stress is this negative concept around the external environment, around the external circumstances. For me, when I had that epiphany and then started practicing it because all of this stuff is practice, practice, practice. You literally have to rewire your brain because your brain isn't going to stop being like, "Oh, this is stressful."
So you have to override that and that's a lot of what I talk about in the book is how to practice this and how to start to shift this. But that epiphany of saying, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute." It's not the external reality that's the issue. The issue is how my mind is evaluating it and relating to it and then how my mind is evaluating and relating to my feelings.
Because the feeling themselves ... feeling scared, feeling angry, feeling shame or guilt or whatever feelings we have. The feelings themselves aren't the problem. We can love whatever the feeling it is, but it's the way that our mind relates to it that causes the problem and causes the dysfunction and starts to gunk up the flow of whatever it is that we're surfing.
Dave: Yeah. I think that's really wise. It's re-framing it so when we start to experience these feelings that we typically associate with stress in the negative to re-frame that as positive, as a challenge, as an opportunity, as a trick, as a problem to be solved.
Pam: Yeah. It's that positive mindset.
Dave: Would you be able to take us through an example. Again, I know we don't know ... Kristine, if you're listening, I know we don't know all the details of your life, but Pam, could you imagine an example that you'd typically hear from people that follow you or clients you work with?
Don’t Look Back, Keep Moving Forward
Pam: Yeah. Totally. I mean a lot of the clients that I work with are moms, like I am. And a lot of them work full-time, so they're juggling the family responsibilities and their life responsibilities.
It's very typical for someone to work a full day and have all kinds of work stresses and factors that are on their plate: important meetings, presentations, deadlines, to then correspond with let's say a presentations that the kid's school that you have, last minute, the school tells you you have to run and get to the kid's school and your kid's going to be heartbroken if you miss their presentation. So you have to navigate the sacrifices of sometimes having to either miss something of your kids' or miss something of work.
Face the reality that you might be dropping the ball at work, that your boss may need you to handle or a client may need you to handle. You have to navigate that stuff. This life balance thing, which isn't going to go away. There's going to be this constant choice that we have to make about where we need to be and when. There's real consequences to what we choose.
This kind of example is when you take some deep breaths and you get centered and be like, "Okay. I wonder what I need to do. I wonder..." We're looking for a deeper level of guidance because our minds sometimes get so gunked up with fears and "Well, I can't miss this. I can't miss that." Because there's consequences to both that ultimately, there's always a path that is made out of faith and love and light.
I know it sounds kind of rue to say, but there is a positive path, right? There's a path that we can make out of love and faith, instead of a choice that we make out of fear. We want to get in touch with what that feels like and choose that path that is out of love.
Then we can tell whoever we're sacrificing or facing the consequence on the ... whoever we're letting down holds space for the fact like, "Yeah, I know that this sucks, that I'm not going to be able to be there or that I have to give this to someone else" or whatever. "But in this moment, I have to be there."
Then you surrender the guilt and you surrender the negative emotions around it because at the end of the day, those negative feelings are going to keep coming. This is a reality. Life is about choices and there are sacrifices and consequences that involve pain when we make those choices.
You get to a deeper place of skillfulness around surfing the reality because there are negative consequences to things that we have to do sometimes and we have to do it. We have to face it and we'll feel when it's the right path for us.
Then you don't waste energy second guessing yourself. You don't waste energy worrying. You don't waste energy. You do the best that you can to handle the fallout and then you move forward. You keep moving forward. Don't look back. Keep moving forward.
Dave: Aw, that's so powerful. You mentioned you gave ... it's sort of like a dichotomy that you gave. There's two different situations or two different people who you're aiming to please. And you said, "Having a conversation with a person who you're going to let down." I'm just curious with your experience, when you do this properly, when you explain why you're making the choice that you're making-
Dave: What's your experience with the response of the person who you're "letting down"?
What Happens When You Let Someone Down?
Pam: Yeah. Well, you know what? The response of the person totally depends on their overall health and skillfulness with their own stuff, right? Because if someone isn't ... and you know this, right? If you're in a good mood, if you're in a high place, if you're in a healthy place, and someone tells you that they can't show up to something, if you're in a healthy kind of shored up place, you'll know that they're not happy about having to miss.
You know that they're a good friend or a good boss, whatever the situation is, right? You have that positive relationships, so you're going to be cool and gracious about it. But, suppose you've already had a nightmare of a day. You've been knocked down.
It's been like the eighth thing that went wrong, which is typically what happens to human beings, right? We get beat down and then we're at this weakened place where we're just not able to handle things with grace. This is the exact thing that my book is about, how do we stay up so we can handle whatever life throws at us with grace, right? But the reality is most humans, at some point or another, are going to be beat down.
Then when that exact same thing happens to them, me on the other side saying, "Hey, I'm so sorry, but I actually can't make it to this thing or be there for you or whatever", if they're already beat down, they may have a really unpleasant reaction.
Then I have to be shored up enough to handle that, to know that I did the right thing, even though this person is unhappy with me, even though I wasn't able to please them, which ultimately is not my job because ultimately, we're all responsible for making our own happiness and being ... you know what I'm saying, right?
Doing the right thing will not always please everyone. Be true to what you know is right.
At the end of the day, how someone responds to me ultimately, is a show of their health character and skillfulness. I have to just keep showing up and doing my best and surrender that ... I'm not going to be able to please everybody.
Ultimately, it's my character that I do show up and I do 150% and I do care and I am like pretty stinking skillful around juggling a lot of stuff. Then ultimately, some people are going to be my people and some people aren't. That's the surrender piece of the book. It's the fourth pillar.
Dave: Again, I agree with everything you said there. One thing that I learned in my own personal self-development is that people respond much better, in general, when we present the softer emotions behind our actions.
Pam: Oh, yeah.
The Value of Being Emotionally Vulnerable
Dave: I'm just picturing, again, the example that you laid down where you have to make a choice between these two situations with two people. I could imagine say, Pam, you were going to be the person who I was going to let down and I came to you and said, "Hey, sorry. Pam, I can't show up. I know I said I was going to be there, but I'm just too busy." That's not being-
Pam: That's not skillful.
Dave: No, it's not.
Pam: That's not skillful.
Dave: It's not skillful. It's not showing the softer-
Pam: Disrespectful. It's disrespectful too. It's disrespectful.
Dave: You know how we were talking ... at the start of the show we were talking about how busyness is this badge of honor?
Pam: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dave: Well, me presenting to you that I'm too busy could be received as Dave thinks that his business is more important than you, Pam, the person.
Pam: Right. Yeah.
Dave: Whereas, if I came to you and said, "Pam, I'm having a really tough time right now and I don't need to share my whole life story-"
Dave: "But I'm just having a tough time and I have to make some decisions right now and I need to make this decision for the health of my family or relationship or my physical health." And that softer approach, in my experience is so much better received.
Pam: Ah, yeah. Emotional vulnerability is powerful and obviously it takes a lot of strength, courage, authenticity to handle things that way. Most humans, again, this is skillfulness. This is a lot of what I talk about in the book because it's a skill that we can practice. Obviously you have to be brave to go there to do it. You have to be in touch with compassion to do it, right?
But like you said, it's powerful. I mean, this happens. There's actually two instances this exact same thing happened. I'm a part of a mastermind and people use it to vent. And two different people shared this exact scenario where they were canceled on. One woman said that it was because last minute they had a kid's thing.
It was a play for their kids that they didn't realize that they had to do and they literally gave the person zero notice that they were canceling and just sent an email and I guess a text. But then didn't follow up, didn't show the respect ... because look, things happen. I've been that mom. I'm like, "Oh, my god. There's a play. How did I not know?" That ... I'm human. It happens.
When that happens, I show the respect and the consideration of like, "Look, I am really upset about this. This is not at all at my level of standards." I really, like you said, show the emotional vulnerability that I'm not happy with myself that I'm letting this person down.
The other example that someone else used yesterday was that they said they didn't have time. That's very much like your example of "I'm too busy. I don't have time." That shows either a lack of awareness, a lack of skillfulness or a lack of respect. Any which one is not good, right?
Again, that, having the awareness, the skillfulness and the courage to, as you said, be emotionally vulnerable and authentic when you're dealing with another human being, showing them that respect because ultimately it's trust and respect and communication and consistency and positivity that are the foundation for our relationships with each other.
So by remembering that and practicing that, as you have these tough conversations, that's how you build that deep respect and deep trust, you know?
Dave: We've talked about re-framing stress and look at it as a positive challenge or an opportunity or a puzzle to figure out. And communication, we talked about and a lot of these approaches to manage stress itself, where does that lead? Because Kristine's question, she's specifically-
Dave: Talking about weight and saying, "I'm worried this stress. I'm worried about what it's doing to my health."
How Meditation Has Benefitted Pam’s Life
Dave: What's your experience been as you work these things? What's the reward?
Pam: Yeah. Well, she's absolutely right. We know that the stress goes through our adrenal glands and that affects our metabolism. When I started a meditation practice, that's when things really started to shed for me. The rewards came in the most unexpected varied ways.
Because yes, my stress level went down, my relationship with my husband got so much better, my relationship with my kids got so much better, my sleep got so much better, my food choices go so much better, right? We know that we tend to emotionally eat when we're trying to compensate, right?
For me, the rewards, which I thought were kind of related to being healthier generally, lowering my stress level. The empowerment that ripples out in all directions in my life was astounding. I never could have anticipated how transformative beginning a meditation practice was going to be.
Make Your Body Work Takeaway
Dave: Ah, that's wonderful. We're running out of time here, so I do need to wrap up and I like to close the show with what's called a Make Your Body Work Takeaway. I think I maybe know where you're going to go with this, but what would you suggest to someone like Kristine who's saying, "I've got to deal with my stress. How do I get started?" What's that first step?
Pam: I would say first step is to prioritize your relationship with yourself. That may be a surprise because we didn't really go there, but I think that-
Dave: That's not what I expected you to say.
Pam: I know, but you know what? Sometimes a surprise is good. But that shift, looking at it, relating to yourself, it's the inner work and that is mindfulness. That's the start of mindfulness. Meditation actually comes after that. Because if you're not even paying attention to how you're relating to yourself, how you're talking to yourself, how you're treating yourself and it's like that is the first step of being aware.
Self-awareness really is the first step to then saying, "Okay, wait. I am aware that I actually am quite dysfunctional at how I relate to myself." And then you have your why. You have your big why as to why you're going to start meditation and you're going to really do it. You have your why as to why you're prioritizing mindfulness and prioritizing all of the stress management. That's kind of the big why.
Self-awareness means you recognize your mistakes, learn from them, and avoid making the same ones in the future.
How to Become More Self-Aware
Dave: Is there a practical way for someone ... because this might be new news to someone. Is there a practical way that we can start to take note of how we're interacting with ourselves?
Pam: Yeah. Well, it's all hand in hand with mindfulness. Paying attention to your inner dialogue, that voice in your head that you may not notice because you may just feel like it's you and it's just that kind of autopilot, just you listen to it. You don't even realize that you're listening to it, but start to notice that, that it's kind of like you have a roommate in there that has a very loud voice. Start to notice how often it's dysfunctional.
Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, which is interesting because that sounds like an easy task, oh, understand or think about what I'm thinking about about myself. But it doesn't come naturally, I know I rarely-
Dave: stop and do that unless I'm making a point of doing it.
Pam: Yeah. That's why, sorry to just of get there on the last thought, but that's why it's a place to start, that self-awareness is the path. Then there's a million different ways to meditate. There's a million different meditation practices. There's a million different mindfulness practices. There's a million different ways to then find health. But the first step is to realize that, "Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. There's a whole", they call it a mu zen, it's like the monkey mind. Most of us think that that's us but it's not.
Dave: Pam, I know that we could have probably talked about this topic for quite some time. If there are listeners who feel like they have more questions or they would like some help-
Dave: Putting some of this into practice, where can they connect with you?
Pam: Sure. My website is goldevolution.com. There's a bunch of free things on there. The first chapter of my book is free. There's a morning meditation, a seven minute morning meditation that's based on the five pillars of the book that's free. Then there's also a breathing guide because paying attention to your breath is another really, really simple, great way to start a lot of this work.
What Are the 5 Pillars For Inner Strength?
Dave: And you mentioned your book or you referenced your book a couple times in this interview. Can you tell us about it?
Dave: What was the book called and for… What is it?
Pam: Sure It's called Find More Strength: Five Pillars to Unlock Unlimited Power and Happiness. It's basically based on five inner strength practices that are very simple, that I realized are the pillars for building inner strength, just like there's a big five when you go to the gym and you your lap pull downs and you do your chest presses, right? Your leg press. There's a big five for inner strength too and if you practice them all the time, when it's easy, then when life really throws at you, you'll have the strength to handle it with grace.
Dave: Ah, I love it. Thank you so much. Pam, thanks so much for being here and just sharing a little bit of your life story and most of all, practical tips. That's what we need, what are those first steps. Thank you so much.
Pam: Thanks, Dave. It really was my pleasure.
Dave: Thank again Pam for joining us today and like I said, just for sharing your life, sharing your work, sharing your realizations and sharing some specific strategies that we can all put into place to help us deal with that stress that isn't going away. It's not going to go away. Our lives aren't going to magically become less stressful but the way that we respond to it can drastically change, It can drastically improve our health.
Thanks to everyone who tuned in. Thanks for listening today. For those of you who listen to the show on a regular basis, I just appreciate you putting in the time. I know it's about 30, 45 minutes every week listening to an episode, but my challenge to you is, as opposed to just listening and sort of taking this in and thinking, "Oh, that was interesting" or "That's another piece of information that I understand" or "I can tell my friends something neat that I learned today."
Instead of passively listening, I ask that you become an active participant and that means putting this into action. Think again about what were the messages that Pam shared with us today? What's one thing that you can try and implement into your life this week? And see what happens.
Maybe that's the one thing that you needed. That's exactly where you were at. Then you know what? If it's not, then that's okay. Then I'm sure there will something else that will hit on that sweet spot for you. But what is one thing that you can try and put into action from our talk today?
If you have any questions for future episodes of the Make Your Body Work podcast, you can always write to me firstname.lastname@example.org I'd love to hear from you, even if it doesn't become an episode for the show, I'd love to respond and communicate via email and I can hopefully point you in the right direction and help you out.
Thanks again for tuning in today. Next week we're going to be back with another great question and another great guest, so I can't wait to see you here.