Feb. 14, 2023

How To Tame the Monster: Learn Science-Backed Strategies To Conquer Stress in Your Life

This week we're talking about that pesky stress that seems to find us no matter what we do. You've had those days where it feels like 18 different things are hitting you at once. But it's the little things that pile up and make you want to lose your...

This week we're talking about that pesky stress that seems to find us no matter what we do. You've had those days where it feels like 18 different things are hitting you at once. But it's the little things that pile up and make you want to lose your shit.
Like when you can't seem to open a mayonnaise jar and end up throwing it across the room because 43-year-old men should be able to open a fucking jar. We've all been there, am I right?
Zach has been under a lot of stress lately. But, he's been putting all the tips we talk about on the show into practice and has been able to keep his cool. When he feels like he's about to pop, he takes a break, lays down, and breathes. And let's be real, the last thing we need is for him to end up in jail for flipping the fuck out.

So, join us this week as we talk about our experiences with stress and share strategies for managing it in our everyday lives. Because ain't nobody got time to be in fight or flight all the damn time.

Key Takeaways:
  1. Let go of trying to control things that are beyond our control.
  2. Get to know yourself and have coping mechanisms in place such as breathing exercises, physical activities, and hobbies.
  3. Imagining yourself doing an activity can be just as effective as actually doing it.
  4. Having a supportive community to turn to can be incredibly helpful in managing stress and sharing thoughts and feelings.



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4 Things You Can Do Now To Manage Change And The Stress That Comes With It



Zach: [00:00:00] Fuck.

Jeremy: That good of a week already, huh?

Zach: Yes. Yes. It.

Jeremy: All right. Well, we're talking about [00:01:00] stress and all the stuff and crap that falls in our laps that we have to deal with all the time. You have been absolutely buried by it, and don't worry, it's not gonna just be a complete, you know, venting bitch session. We've got solutions, we've got things that we do and and tips to help you manage.

I want to hear what you're doing to manage your Zack, but first, what the hell, man? It's, it's been, it's been some, uh, some stressful times for you,

Zach: what do you mean? This is not just a bitch session.

Jeremy: Well, I did, I did hit record. We did the bitch session before. I've now hit record, so nobody wants to hear that part.

Zach: I'm out. I'm done. I can't do it again. No, it has been very interest. It's been an interesting

Jeremy: 43 years

Zach: I don't know, maybe three weeks. Um, we all have stress, right? We all have like, just living in today's day and age. They're stress

Jeremy: Mm-hmm.

Zach: every now and again, like you get that perfect.

Of like 18 different things all hitting at the same time. And any one [00:02:00] of those things like doesn't cause you to like lose your cool or get to the point where like you, you know you're gonna pop, right? But when they all hit at the same time and they build off of each other and you're literally like trying to, you know, take the, the top off of the mayonnaise jar and you can't open it and you're a 43 year old man, you should be able to open the mayonnaise jar and you almost throw it across the. right? We've all been there.

Jeremy: I was there. I was, I was there 25 minutes ago. I so just, uh, behind the curtain, right? We, I was gonna record this episode from another location plugged in a microphone that I haven't used in the longest time. Stupid thing wouldn't work. Okay. Whatever. It's a one-off. Come back home, plug all the stuff in.

I'm, everything's going fine, but I gotta get something outta the car. And I go over and like the passenger side door is locked, which is normally fine because we all have fobs now and you push a button to unlock it. But our, of course, our FOB doesn't work, so I've gotta walk around the car and it's the dumbest little thing [00:03:00] to complain about.

But I literally, 25 minutes ago, before we were talking, I was saying to. All of these little things that pile up are the shit that breaks me. It's not the big stuff. It's when these tiny little things just keep stacking on top of each other, where you're just like, good Lord, can I just get a break? And it's dumb because they're little things, but oh my God, they're painful when they pile up like that.

Zach: They are. And for me, I have had, let's see, it's been, work has been more stressful than normal. Like I have a stressful job for the most part. Well, I mean, actually, I can't say it's super stressful, but it's demanding. And the last few weeks have been a little bit more stressful than normal.

Jeremy: Mm-hmm.

Zach: Fair. I can, I can deal with that.

That's okay. I can deal with that. Um, we've got a bunch of personal things that are going on that I'm not really gonna talk about on the show, but those are stressful as well. Um, and just, you know, all the things have kind of hit, like, there's just been a, a multitude of, [00:04:00] you know, feelings that are like ups and downs and ups and downs for me.

And, and I've spent, you know, the last probably three weeks just being like in a, a. Either in fight or flight, like I run, wanna run away from whatever it is that's, that's, that's hitting me, or I gotta fight it. And man, uh, like I'm just, I'm, I have to tell you, like in this moment, I look back at myself 20 years ago, I would've flipped the fuck out 20 years ago in this exact same situation.

I'd probably be in jail for. Something just because I would not have managed it. Okay. I would not have done well.

Jeremy: Mm.

Zach: But over the years, I've just like all these little changes that we talk about, I've put them in place and I can recognize when I'm about to pop and I literally, I just, I just go lay down on my bed, close my eyes, middle of the day.

[00:05:00] Three, I don't take naps. I do not rest. I am go, go, go, go all the time. But in the last week I have gone, it's three o'clock in the afternoon.

Jeremy: 90

Zach: I need to, I need to decompress, and I just go lay down, close my eyes, and I just lay there and I breathe. I do my box breathing count sheet, like whatever, like just something that's a little bit meditative, lot of breathing and just relax and then I can get back into it.

And again, it's been so stressful that like it builds right back up like six hours later. and then I get really pissed off because I can't do a double under at the gym. Like this morning I was trying to do double unders where the rope passes under your feet twice and in one jump, and I haven't been able to do them for years.

And every time I do them, I'm always like, . All right. I will get them. I'll keep practicing. I'm gonna get it. I'm gonna do it. I'm, I'm gonna make it. And this morning I failed like four times. And when you fail on a double under, it [00:06:00] whips your arm and it really hurts. And then I threw the rope and was like, fuck this.

I'm never gonna be good at this. My life sucks.

Jeremy: Okay. So you just hit on something that I wanted to ask you about in that is, And I think people will relate to this, that I will never, I'll never get there. This is never gonna end. I'm gonna deal with this forever. Is that, is that where you're living right now? Is that I'm gonna live in this shit storm forever?

Zach: it when, when it hits, like when it's, when it's really big. But again, I have all of these things that I've built over the years and like I'm really proud of the fact that like I have those moments. And I say that in my head and then I immediately go, whoa, calm down there. Boy, you got this. Take your deep breaths.

You don't suck. You're having a bad moment. You're okay. Yes, your arm is almost bleeding because the rope hit it so hard. You're okay. Take your deep breaths. Um, but [00:07:00] yeah, man, like, like we all get there. We all get to that breaking point and there's just, . You know, having that interrupt in there to stop and really say, okay, I am stressed out.

I'm about to pop and taking care of yourself. Don't keep dealing with the situation, whatever it is, unless like you're driving and you have to, but like stop, literally stop whatever you're doing. Be like, okay, I need me time. I gotta take care of me

Jeremy: Mm-hmm.

Zach: cuz we don't have to react negatively to these.

Jeremy: It's interesting you say that. So I had a moment last weekend, and I have, I, I've been under similar stresses, lots of stuff going on in my life as well, but I'm not quite, I'm not in in the muck like you are right now. Um, but I, I had a moment, uh, where I realized how uncomfortable I am with, uh, with being by.

I had a situation where I was, I was away from the family. I was, uh, out of town and I had a thing to do for midday and I had a thing to do in the afternoon, but there was [00:08:00] like a two hour window and I was in like full panic mode of like, what am I gonna do for that two hours? Should I go there? Should I go there?

What, how about the options? There's so many things I could do. I don't wanna do any of them, but I feel like I have to do all of them. And I just was spinning out with like, oh my God, how do I maximize this time? How do I get the most. . And as it just kept building and building, I finally went, wait a minute, how about just go with me here?

What if we just go with it? What if we just show up and see what happens? Right. I was like, who knows? Maybe, maybe the thing you're doing in the morning, the people will wanna get lunch afterwards. Now you're free. You can go with them. You don't have to say no and go do the, just go with it. Just see what happens.

And, uh, it's exactly what happened. I by, by letting. . I ended up in a situation where I got to know somebody a little bit better, got to hang out with them for a couple hours, and it was really nice. And from that, there have been so many more moments just in the last week where I would find myself spinning out again about something and trying [00:09:00] to control it, trying to just whiten knuckle the wheel.

Just like I've gotta just control this thing and make this thing happen. And every time when I catch myself in that space and go, this is not yours to. This is, this is beyond your control. All you have to do is show up and whatever's supposed to happen is gonna happen.

Zach: You make it sound too

Jeremy: Oh my God, it's been so liberating.

Even honestly today when I woke up, I was like, oh crap. What me is Zach gonna talk about? I don't know. We don't have a topic planned. I don't know what to do. And I just started like dumping words on the paper and some of them were, it'll come to you just. . And ultimately I was like, and then I was like, that's it.

And then of course you were completely stressed out and I was like, oh, perfect. Zack's got something. This is great.

Zach: Yeah. No, you asked, you were like, what's our topic today? I was like, stress been suffering all week just so we could have

Jeremy: Just for, just for a topic. It's fantastic. I'm very happy with the way this is going.

Zach: I'm so happy. I'm so happy you let go and that [00:10:00] I've experienced all of this, just so that you could let go and let the universe answer your question, so You're welcome.

You're welcome.

Jeremy: All right, so step one, in this process, whatever stress you're managing, whatever's going on, whatever feels out of control that you're trying to control, step one is let go. Like so much of the stuff that we freak out, just lose our minds. Trying to control is way beyond our control.

Just let go, let go of the wheel. Open your hands, and it's amazing how Zach will show up and provide for you.

Zach: Let, let, let's put, let's put a couple stipulations on that please.

Jeremy: Uh, all right. What's, what's step two? Zack, provide step two for us.

Zach: Well, step two, you, you really need to know yourself and you need to have a couple of coping mechanisms. You need to have some things in place. Like for me, it is just stopping, laying down, doing box breathing. If you don't know what box breathing is, I'm gonna tell you right now it is [00:11:00] inhale to the count of four.

Your breath for four account of four, exhale for account of four, hold for account of four, and then do that over and over and over again. That stimulates your vagus nerve and it calms you down, reduces anxiety, and if you do that breath for five minutes, a, you're meditating. You're literally meditating. If you just think about your breath and do those, count that counting and it will calm you right down. You'll feel your muscles relax. For me, that works. right? For some other people. Go outside, go for a walk, get out your knitting, crochet, go get your coloring book. Get a drum kit. Beat the crap out of the drums, like find your thing that makes you calm down, that releases all of that tension and experiment with different things.

But that is step number two

Jeremy: I'm shocked. By the way. I'm shocked that you, you play the drums.

Zach: I do badly, but I play the.

Jeremy: That's incredible. I had this, [00:12:00] I learned new things about you every day. It's insane.

Zach: I don't have a drum kit, but, um, but I, I do play the drums in my head a lot.

Jeremy: beating yourself up, I don't think counts as, uh, beating the drums in your head.

Zach: No. So there have been a couple of of studies around, um, where they took two groups of people. And they taught one of them a, you know, a finger technique for the piano and had them practice every day for two weeks. And the other group, they taught them the finger technique, but they had them just imagine it in their head for two weeks.

And the people who imagined it in their head were just as good as the people who practice. For two weeks. When I listened to music, I listened to the drums and I see the drum kit and I see all like, so I literally like imagine playing the drums all.

Jeremy: Yeah, when I used to watch, uh, Michael Jordan play basketball, I would imagine I was as good as him, and then I would go on the court and boom, I was, it was amazing. The,

Zach: Right. One step trip, fall, face plant,

Jeremy: something like that.

Zach: But no, I, to this day, I can pick up a, I can pick up drumsticks [00:13:00] and just play like a pretty regular beat, but I can.

Jeremy: That's so cool. Uh, another thing that, that I would add to this list while we're at it, is, and, and I think, you know, you and I demonstrated it before we hit record, but it's, it's community like having people you can turn to. I, uh, recently have joined like this text, text thread with these, uh, couple of guys that I'm going through this, uh, wellness program with.

and just having a place where you're like, when, when it, when it's all too much, the thoughts are too dark, things are just overwhelming. Having a supportive place where you can put that and get it out of your head and share it with somebody and hear back from them, you know, kindness, compassion, support, it's incredibly powerful and, and I hope just as your friend, you know, you and I talked about some of the stuff going on prior to this.

and I know sometimes you just need a placed vent. You need that community. You need someone to just be an ear and hear about the struggle that you're going through. So that, and you know, and, and some of the things you were saying out loud, you were prefacing them with, I know this sounds crazy, or I know this sounds silly, or whatever.[00:14:00] 

And I think when you have to say it out loud, it helps you sort of compartmentalize it and go, okay, this is silly. Okay. This, I, I'm, I'm overreacting to this, I'm overthinking this. Whatever, having someone to turn to is so helpful when dealing with this kind of,

Zach: That, or it's not silly at all. It's not crazy and it's legit. And you are the one who, who feels stupid for over for reacting to that thing when in all reality, like it's something that. Would trigger anyone. So having that other person like validate, yeah, no, you should be, you should be reacting to that, but let's do our breathing.

And then the other thing of like, eh, really like that you let that upset you whiny person. Right? It, it, it is super helpful. Um, one of the other things that I do, um, and I had to do it this. when I got, I, again, like I just had like so much stress and like this rage in me, um, and something pissed me off and I [00:15:00] immediately turned to gratitude.

Right? your brain can't do both at the same time. So I forced myself to literally text somebody who like, I love this person. They are fantastic. They inspire me. And I just texted 'em. I was like, Hey, just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you and I think you're great. And I, I just have such gratitude that you're in my life.

And like, no ask here, no expectations. Just boom, here you go. And like that moment alone too was really helpful because it just shifted. A little bit, just like, so take those moments, find something to be grateful for. I mean, the fact that you woke up this morning is a good one. You can't be angry and grateful at the same time.

It's like literally impossible. You can go right back to being angry when you're done being grateful, but you get a little moment of reprieve in there.

Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I mean, I could go on and on about how much I love cold therapy as well. That's another huge, uh, stress relief source for me. But I think one that's maybe a little bit more attainable for everybody, and, and I think to some degree you're doing it is just [00:16:00] it's okay to just take a break.

I mean, it's, you know, you're using the box breathing, but I mean, just whatever it is for you. Like some days you gotta veg out and just play video games, and that's, that's fine. Like, right, you have to give yourself time to decompress. You've gotta, life is a series of expansion and contraction, and when it's in a contraction phase, like you just, you've gotta give yourself time.

You gotta just allow that part to happen so that you're rested and ready so that when the challenge comes back up, you're ready for it and can take it on head.

Zach: well said. Thanks for listening to me. Everyone. I feel better. I really.

Jeremy: I do hope that some of these strategies were either good reminders or new ideas or something for you, but I would also be interested in hearing what you do to manage your stress at home. So, uh, if you are so inclined, Jump into our Facebook group and, and leave us some comments on, on the ways that you manage your own stress.

And of course, while you're jumping around and, and surfing the internet, we hope you'll head over to our website, the fit mess.com. There you can sign up for our newsletter where I'll [00:17:00] explain, expand on these topics and share some more details on how to implement some of these strategies into your life.

And, uh, you can sign up for that at our website, the fit mess.com. That's where we'll be back next week with a brand new episode. Thanks for listen.

Zach: See everyone. I feel better.