Bro, You Better Breathe

or you’re gonna die – how the alpha deals with stress

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or you’re gonna die – how the alpha deals with stress

An incredibly-deep dive into understanding stress and overcoming the potential negative effects of stress.  We are living through times of immense difficulty.  Most of us were already stressed to the max before the coronavirus stopped so many of us in our tracks. Today we’re gonna take a look at stress and how we can better understand and cope with the hardships in our lives. There’s never gonna be a time in your life where you’re completely free of stressful situations or beyond pressures and difficulty. Life is nails and that’s not gonna change. What can change though is you. How you see, deal with, and feel stress. That’s what you have control over moment by moment. Alpha up and face your stress like an overcomer, like a survivor, like a man, like an alpha.

Questions answered in this episode:

  1. Where does stress live in you? In your head, in your shoulders? In your gut?
  2. What are some signs that stress is diminishing your quality of life?
  3. What controllable factors compound stress?
  4. The ultimate Alpha hacks to cope with stress.

Topics discussed:

  • The nature of and purpose of emotion
  • Bodily reactions to stress
  • Hormones and neurotransmitters
  • The body’s stress-response system
  • The connection between stress and fear
  • What makes your body’s stress response worse
  • Ways to conquer the battle with stress

Relevant Links:

Kelly McGonigal : How to Make Stress Your Friend
Alpha Quorum Website
TRIBE: Join the Private Facebook Group for Men
Follow Alpha Quorum on Instagram
Taco Moto
Brad Singletary’s Website
Follow Brad on Instagram
Follow Taco Mike on Instagram



Brad Singletary (00:00:03):
We’re living through times of immense difficulty. Most of us were already stressed to the max before the Corona virus stopped. So many of us in our tracks. Today we’re going to take a look at stress and how we can better understand and cope with the hardships in our lives. There’s never going to be a time in your life where you’re going to be completely free of stressful situations or beyond pressures and difficulty. Life is nails and that’s not going to change. What can change though is you how you see deal with and feel stress. That’s what you have control over moment by moment. Alpha up and face your stress like an overcomer, like a survivor, like a man, like an alpha. Welcome back to the alpha quorum show. Brad Singletary here with taco Mike. Appreciate you guys joining us here today. We’ve got something special planned for you. We’re going to be talking about stress and how the alpha manages the stress that’s happening right now as a time where there’s all kinds of craziness going on and if you weren’t already having a tough time, I can bet that that’s coming to you. Now we’re going to answer a few questions today. First of all, where does stress live in you? Is it in your head and your shoulders and your gut? What are some signs that stress is diminishing your quality of life? What controllable factors compound stress, what do we do that makes it worse? And then the ultimate alpha hacks that you can use to cope with stress. So I’m here with Mike. We want to get started with what is stress and where does it live? When I think about stress, I think about stress, you know, is, is it the thing that’s happening outside Mike? Is it the bills and the and the boss at work? Is that the stress or is the stress the thing that’s happening internally? What are your thoughts on on that?

Mike Spurgin (00:02:26):
Yeah. So you, I think you’re framing it like is stress the thing or is stress the reaction? Yes. Well the world is pressure, right? The pressure is out there. Yep. Something else happens internally. Yep. So you know, there’s air pressure pushing on you. It’s like it’s 14 pounds of air just all around us. It’s everything is pressure. Gravity is pressure. Everything is pushing down on you. And so there’s no such thing as no pressure, no stress. There is how you deal with it, how you internalize it and then how you process it. That’s what makes a man, a man. I’ve often said and believed that the single most defining element between someone who has happiness and success in life and somebody who doesn’t is how they handle pressure. Really. If you take a cross section of anybody, the people who have, who are rising up and are achieving and then staying ahead of an on top of their lives, there are people who have dialed into and figured out ways and have strategies to deal with stress and pressure.

Mike Spurgin (00:03:25):
Yeah. So there’s all this stuff happening outside of us. And then to me, the way I look at stress is that it’s an interpretation of a problematic situation. So for one person, I love the saying, you know what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. So it depends on how you look at it. We’re going to talk a lot about biology and physiology today, dr Spurgeon, here’s prepared with some really cool facts about that. But one of the things that I’m interested in is how, if you think about something that terrifies you, something that’s very stressful, you’ve got a bankruptcy pending, there’s, there’s people knocking on your door to collect bills or there’s a job situation where you fear that your, you know, your job’s in jeopardy, which so many are in that situation right now. The feelings that we have are similar.

Mike Spurgin (00:04:20):
Maybe the same process is maybe happening as to the first time you kissed your woman. You know, the first time you jumped. I’ve seen Mike do crazy things on his dirt bike. The first time that you jumped over something crazy. It might’ve been the same feeling. Somebody goes bungee jumping or you know, rides the scary roller coaster. Maybe the same thing is happening. So we’re going to dive in here with stress and I just wanted to start with Mike, your views on what is it, let’s really dive into what is this thing called stress. When we’re thinking about this and talking about doing this as a topic, it made me think about, so the, the concept of like, this is an emotional response. Like we feel stress, pressure and there’s this emotional process that happens and then stress is an emotion. It’s, it’s not a thing.

Mike Spurgin (00:05:11):
I can’t, I can’t hand you. Stress doesn’t exist outside of myself, right? It’s something that I process. And emotions. How does biological component to them, and it’s, it’s an adaptive survivable. It’s an adaptive skill that we learned to survive. And it’s a way, so it’s an emotion, but an emotion is just this inner feeling and processing through outward circumstances. And there’s all kinds of outward circumstances and there are things that I look at or that I experience and I can feel inwardly a reactionary response to that. And it might be any number of things. But for me, stress is about fear. It is a fear reaction. I’m afraid of the outcome or the end result of whatever is going to happen. And I, and stress is my inward it’s, it’s me emotionally in really going into a fetal position of fear and retracting away from and sort of pulling away from myself as a result of this news, this situation, this thing.

Speaker 5 (00:06:24):

Mike Spurgin (00:06:26):
So you’re saying that this is necessary, these things are necessary for like self preservation. We have to have these emotional

Speaker 5 (00:06:34):

Mike Spurgin (00:06:35):
In order to survive. Yeah, I, I think that, so like we have evolved as a species, as a creature to deal with our stimulus and we’ve now perfected many things. But we have we run the planet. And the reason we do it is because we’ve adapted. But there’s some things that were kind of maladapted and we haven’t as a, as a creature, we they’re, they’re not perfected or, or they’re broken inside of us. And one of the things that continues to like play Gus is fear. And I speak personally and then collectively too. And the, the reason that fear is this thing that continues to plague me is because I’m continually faced with my own insecurities and my own lack of understanding of how to deal with this next new situation because life has just continually bombarding me with the next new thing.

Mike Spurgin (00:07:44):
And sometimes I feel very inadequate and unprepared for that next new thing. And so this, this fear response, this stress response can be effective. Now some people have have really worked hard on themselves internally to use stress as say like a motivator. I know people you probably do too. I’m acquainted with people who when they feel stress and pressure, it gives them this huge burst of energy and this burst of creativity and they use that, they channel that then to perform at like a next level. They use it as a propellant, it’s gasoline in this engine and it shoots them forward. And you know, that can become maladaptive to cause. Some people then create drama in their life to go from shitstorm to shitstorm just feeding all that energy cause they’ve just become habituated to that as this maladaptive sequence of performance. Kind of addicted to the arousal of all that. Yeah. Do you know anybody like that? Probably. I’ve been that way at times before, you know? Yeah. I’ve seen people that do that all the time, like create messages that they ended, then I have to fix and they have to do it under pressure on our double time and they sort of like tweak off on that. I, I sometimes I think that the

Brad Singletary (00:08:56):
Chronic procrastinator, and I’ve been that person before too, but sometimes things like that, it’s actually there. It’s not just laziness necessarily. It’s I need to build this pressure in myself in order to perform. And so just cramming for the exam the night before or putting the thing in the, the last part of the deadline, you know, right before the deadline. Those, that kind of, that kind of pressure, that arousal and energy like you’re talking about. Yeah. I can see people continuing to produce those conditions so that they, they kind of, they get up for the game

Mike Spurgin (00:09:30):
That adrenaline rush kicks in and that’s a high and there’s a lot of people and I, you know, we both know these people that they, like you just said, they thrive on that high because there’s a risk and a danger. Like I could blow it, I could have this up. I happen to know a couple of guys who run at very high levels in lots of things and they liked dancing on the knife and they’ve, they’ve had catastrophic failures. Like, you know, they’ve made fortunes, they’ve lost fortunes, they’re like high stakes gamblers and it’s not so much about like, Oh man, I lost X today. You know, I’ve made a gamble on a stock or I, I made a decision, I pulled the trigger on something and it was a complete clack crash and burn. They don’t really care about the money or the value of whatever it was that went away. They got off on the fact that they like put more skin in the game than anyone else they knew would. And, and they got broke off, but they’re okay with that. I, you know, I, I see like that could maybe translate into athletics too where somebody like goes for the super long catch. You played football. Was there ever a moment where you or anyone you were with did something that was like physically pretty stupid and it could have gone either way, hero or zero and the same feeling?

Brad Singletary (00:10:49):
Yeah, I mean that’s kind of the idea of like the trick play. You know, we’re going to do this thing that if it, if we pull it off, it’s going to look like a miracle and like this finessed magic. And if we don’t, I mean, you know, if we don’t, we’d list look foolish and, and it’s just a big kind of let down. So maybe that’s the idea of the trick play. Let me, let me do some razzle dazzle here and

Mike Spurgin (00:11:11):
Huge risk, huge reward and huge adrenaline getting there like second years of up for that. Yeah. Yeah. So stress can be stuff that comes at us. We can create our own stress. Some people are just, you know, you had said lazy or stupid and some of us just are flat out. We’re just, we’re just, we live lives of chaos and disorder and then we create through our own, I guess, unwillingness to man up. We just create stress pressure on ourselves and some of us get addicted to that. You know, there’s a lot of attention. Someone who lives a life of chaos gets a lot of attention. People are constantly talking about them. People are constantly like swooping in and helping them out and you know, you got some reason

Brad Singletary (00:11:54):
To whine and complain about things and you’ve always got an audience to listen to you when you’ve got some drama going on. It’s not good attention, but it’s still attention. Yeah. So you say we create this for ourselves.

Mike Spurgin (00:12:06):
I know these people. You do too. Yeah. We got people listening right here who were kind of caught up into these things. It’s the opposite. So the opposite of that would be somebody who is living in this, like you would think that maybe somebody live in this very boring, flatline life. Like, Oh, that’s the ideal. Is it, do you think that maybe the ideal person is like this engineer who has completely structured his life in such a way that there’s like never anything to upset anything? Like his bills are paid automatically, his paycheck is deposited automatically. His alarm clock is always set. I remember once read somewhere where Steve jobs wore the same black shirt and black pants, so he never had to make a decision about like, what am I going to wear today? I wear a black turtle neck and some black jeans. You know what I mean? Is that the opposite of this?

Brad Singletary (00:12:51):
Yeah, maybe that sounds pretty boring though. You’re right.

Mike Spurgin (00:12:55):
I don’t know what the, I don’t know what the solution is or what the flip of this is, but if we’re talking about it in one extreme, is there the other extreme? Like is it healthy to be that person? I’m just floating that up. I don’t know. Well central,

Brad Singletary (00:13:10):
The theme of all that on either side of it may be control and whether or not, you know, maybe the more, maybe the more lacking of control, the more stress we feel that that re that the emotional resistance, you know, the pushing back emotionally that maybe has to do with control and feeling like we don’t have control. So the guy who is you know, everything is automated and the pool temperature is always the same and everything is regulated to some high degree. I don’t know. I don’t know if that, I don’t know if that produces more stress for him or relieves it. I’m not sure

Mike Spurgin (00:13:48):
That would that be fear? Is that a guy who then has maybe tried to design his life so there is no surprises and nothing is out of his control because of the fear of the lack of control. Like this person is so fear based, they’re not sure they would know how to handle something that wasn’t completely within their wheelhouse. And so they just, they just work hard, tirelessly to avoid anything that could like shock them or surprise them or come at them.

Brad Singletary (00:14:16):
Yeah. Any uncertainty just takes them off the they’re totally off track and they, and they lose their, lose their way. So they have to structure it so rigidly that yeah, maybe it is fear. I think you’re right. Fear keeps them from, they think they’re protecting themselves. But how much fear do you have to live in, to, to, to run around in control of everything. And man, it would be sad to see how that person does handle actual actual fear.

Mike Spurgin (00:14:46):
So a couple of things that, that I’ve kind of outlined here are just about emotions. The, the sort of the biological purpose of emotions. Emotions often are a motivator. They’re a motivator towards something or away from something. You know, one of the things I think is fascinating is the fact that emotions are a language and they’re inside of us. We have our verbalized language. Emotions developed probably possibly in the human species through CA is a communication vehicle before we could communicate. So before there was a verbal language process, we looked at each other and through our facial expressions, we conveyed information that you would then react to and you would feel that through an emotional response. So if I saw something that was dangerous to us, I couldn’t communicate that to you. So I would, I would present to you a face, a nonverbal, and you would react to that, that there was danger, a threat, and then you would feel your body, your physical logic, physiological response then would create an action energy in you to then react to that.

Mike Spurgin (00:15:56):
So if you saw me white and panicked in my face, then you would instantly drop to whatever posture, whatever position you needed to be to respond to that. If you saw me present, happy and calm, all of these different emotions were just transmitting information back and forth from one person to another. And so it was a language. And as the human species evolved, those became much more complicated. So initially there was maybe only a few, there was maybe fear, anger, contentment, happiness you know, there was just a handful of things. But then as the human species developed, we developed language, we got more complicated, so did our emotional responses and reactions to things. And so I just wrote down a couple of the things that tend to be maybe some of the key core emotions that, that, that humans have and are inside of us since.

Mike Spurgin (00:16:55):
So you know, to take these off, we’ve probably got happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, guilt, love and anger. To me as I thought about this, those really were the key big ones. And they’re all very, very self explanatory. Happiness, happiness, you know, is, is a reaction to happiness is a momentary, here’s the, here’s the thing too. There’s contentment and joy, which is probably sustained. But then happiness, happiness is like if I give you a hundred bucks, you’re going to be happy. You’re going to spend that hundred on some stupid and then you’re not going to be happy. Happy is this thing, it’s up. It’s down. Chasing happiness is kind of kind of a foolish thing. I might’ve used a better word in there, maybe joy or contentment. But I think happiness, I’m trying to convey just that general sense of like I feel calm, I feel at peace, everything’s okay, everything’s good.

Mike Spurgin (00:17:53):
Like this is a good moment and I’m in a good place. Sadness that seems pretty self explanatory. Fear, we’re going to probably spend a lot of time talking about that. Surprise. It was both good and bad cause you could have surprise in a bad way. You know, you open up an envelope and there’s terrible news or there’s the, the surprise of something new and novel and exciting. So surprise can go either way. Guilt, that was initiative one when I was thinking about guilt. You know, I come from a religious background and there’s the, the use of guilt is weaponized in families and institutions and religions. There is a use for guilt in the tribe. Guilt was used to manage the interactions and maybe to do things like curb cheating. And so I wouldn’t go into the food room and steal food cause I’d feel bad.

Mike Spurgin (00:18:42):
I’d feel, I’d feel guilty. And so it, it may have been a useful emotion for a tribe member to maybe not hoard maybe not hurt each other, maybe not harm each other. And so there was some altruistic motives behind that. And so guilt probably served a useful purpose in that tribal setting, maintaining trust in the group. You know, I will, I will you give me a Buffalo and I will give you some wheat and I trust we trust each other. And if I don’t do that, I feel guilty about that. I felt bad about that. Love, very self explanatory. Creating bonds between members of the tribe. And then anger. We did a show on anger. So those to me feel like the base key emotions that are probably the most motivating and the most at the surface. D do you think I missed any?

Brad Singletary (00:19:34):
No, I just wanted to circle back to what you were saying about the language development. And as you were talking, I’m thinking about my three year old while he just turned three. But he does that. He hasn’t, you know, he can say a few words and can kind of put a basic sentence together. But until just recently he was not able to communicate only but only with emotion with sounds and facial expressions. And so the first two and a half years of his life, that was the only way he could communicate. And it was just interesting you talking about before we developed language that that was, that was our first understanding of each other emotion. It’s fascinating stuff.

Mike Spurgin (00:20:11):
So once we sort of understand what emotions are, then then we can begin this conversation of like, okay, stress because stress is just an emotional reaction. It’s a feeling. It’s an inward response. And then just to kind of finish this out you know, I was thinking about how to emotion is this pendulum feeling and processing too much emotion that’s sort of maladaptive but then not feeling any emotion being, being shut down to emotion that is also destructive and maladaptive. And so an alpha, somebody who’s self-aware, tries to understand where the pendulum should swing and it can bounce and oscillate between these two, these two extremes. But within some

Brad Singletary (00:20:59):
Range, right? There’s some healthy range between too much and not enough. There’s a good healthy,

Mike Spurgin (00:21:04):
What do you think some of the dangers are of over-processing and under processing emotion? Well,

Brad Singletary (00:21:09):
I heard a friend of mine who’s a psychologist, so more training than I have, but she said emotions are irrational. And I had to think about that for a long time. But I loved it that when we’re, when we’re responding or behave, when our behavior is based on emotions, it’s irrational. Now that doesn’t necessarily means it’s, it’s stupid or dumb or maladaptive. It just means that’s not coming from the rational part of our brain. And so when someone is feeling too much or they’re just absorbed in emotion or consumed by emotion, there’s a good chance that they’re going to do some unfortunate things. I’ve been that guy before, you know, an angry outburst or a you know, so emotional or so under the burden of stress that I couldn’t perform the way I needed to do it in the given situation. But so that’s an example of too much, not enough, not enough emotion. Maybe that affects bonding. And things like relationships and the connection that we have to other people. So we don’t feel enough. That’s also damaging as well. I agree with you.

Mike Spurgin (00:22:13):
I know this guy, I was acquainted with a guy through 12 step journey and he had a string tell him he was emotionally anorexic. And so, you know, that that could be something that, that guys do, you know, with that shutdown is that it’s that John Wayne guys, that stoic guy, Stonewall guy, and he’s just shut down to nothing, makes him react either which way. Like he’s never happy. He’s never sad. He’s never up. He’s never down. He’s just kinda flatlined. And you know, that guy is no, he’s no better off than the person who’s rational flying off the handle. Like, don’t you think? Totally. But the guy, now here’s the, here’s something interesting is that guy, I think he’s the superior man. The guy who was like this flat line guy. I can see that guy being a little bit arrogant about it, a little conceited, a Valley, you know, thinking this is the higher way.

Brad Singletary (00:23:07):
Yeah. I, I, I, if I were to compare two people, you know, and one was just way overly emotional and one was not emotional enough. I would say the one who’s suffering the most is the one who’s disconnected from his emotion and isn’t allowing himself to feel that and does, doesn’t let himself go there. That’s a person who’s probably less happy than the one who’s a little bit volatile in what they feel. You know, maybe they’re a little more mercurial in their emotional expressions, but at least that means they can experience happiness and love and some of those range of those other things where the guy who shut down doesn’t feel the good.

Mike Spurgin (00:23:46):
So you have a couple in your office. One of them is the let’s, let’s reverse, cause I almost said one of them is the overly reactive emotional wife, which was kind of it that I’m thinking stereotypically. So that’s not good to me. So let’s flip that. You got the guy who’s off the handle emotionally reactive to everything. Let’s say he’s angry, right? Throwing pots and pans. He’s that guy. And then the wife who’s just like a brick wall, you’re more worried about her. Okay.

Brad Singletary (00:24:14):
Yes, I think, I think so. Yeah. I mean she’s, that means that she’s not going to have empathy. She’s not going to be able to connect with that. If you think about your early, we’re talking about kind of the survival quality of emotions and the X and that’s, you know, our most primal way of communication. There’s not going to be understanding and if we’re trying to survive together, again, not the same as we were in ages past, but we’re trying to survive together and I’m shut off to what you’re feeling and I don’t allow myself to feel it and we’re not, you know, swaying with the same vibration at all. That’s, yeah, that’s, I would say the bigger problem is not feeling

Mike Spurgin (00:24:56):
Interesting. I, that’s, that’s a good one. I’ve never, ever even considered that. You know, emotions are primal. These proceeded everything else that makes us human. So they proceeded language technology, our understanding of manipulating tools, the things that we often consider these are, these are the things that make us human and unique above animals. The thing that I think that is before all of those things is the ability to understand, process and then transmit between ourselves. Emotions before fire, there was emotion, right? I think so that’s my theory anyway. Disabuse me of it, put it in the comments, tell me I’m wrong. But I think that maybe you’re really onto something there and so to the guy and I think that, I think this is a masculine trait and we’re only speaking generally, our audience has guys, we have women out there. Thank you for, for tuning in. But I mean to the guy who feels, and I, I, I circled back to this and say it again cause I am acquainted with those guys who feel like they are the superior animal in the relationship. They look at their wife. Is this just like this Tasmanian devil? It’s just like zing, zing, you know, bouncing off the walls, everything. She’s like being attracted and dis attracted to everything. And it’s all just like, she’s just like shooting sparks chaos. The order. She’s the chaos. Yes. And he’s just spark.

Mike Spurgin (00:26:17):
Right. And he’s Spock and he thinks like this is like, I’m the better one in the relationship time, the living the higher life. Well, bullshit. You’re calling him out and you’re saying, no, you’re probably the worst one. Right. Okay. But that’s mind blowing to me. There’s guys who were probably pulling over the car and going home. They’re probably calling you right now.

Brad Singletary (00:26:45):
So Mike, how has our body wired to react to and deal with a stressor and outward trigger?

Mike Spurgin (00:26:51):
Yeah, that’s a good question. This is all pre-wired into us for survival. So as soon as this stressor and what would be an example, let’s come up with something. Oh,

Brad Singletary (00:27:04):
Something in the workplace, in the home. You’re a woman is coming at you. That becomes stressful. You know, there’s the dog got into the garbage. That’s a Stressless simple thing. There bills, you forgot about that. Now you’ve got late fees. Those are stressors. Car accident, you know, those are, those are some things.

Mike Spurgin (00:27:25):
Okay. Some good triggers. So any one of those things or all you have, how about what if you have the day where you have a cascade of every one of those things happen. And so immediately now you perceive all of those as threats and dangers and that kicks in the sympathetic nervous system. And so that’s the lizard brain. These are the, these are the actions and reactions that happen. Axiomatically without even having any forthright, they’re like blinking and breathing and digestion. They just happen without us. And so as soon as that happens so we’ve got let me scan here really quick. So when we’ve got this thing the amygdala, so they may, there’s like a processing part of the brain that’s sort of plugged into all of our receptors, all of our sensors, right? So we’re, we’re, we’re hearing things, we’re smelling, we’re looking, we’re feeling.

Mike Spurgin (00:28:20):
And so all of these inputs, these data inputs are, they’re flowing through the amygdala. And when the amygdala senses that there’s something that is that is a danger to us, this high level of stressor, then it fires off a signal to the hypothalamus, which sort of is acting like the central control room. I’d like to think of it as like a prison. This is where the, the head guards are sitting and they got all the buttons, they’re watching everything. So they got monitors and cameras and the radios and they’ve got guys in the lookout towers and they’re communicating back in. But these are the guys that have all the keys and all the buttons and the switches and the shotguns are in this room. This is the room, this is the brain of the prison, the control room. And as soon as like that, that emergency signal comes in, these guys start hitting the buttons, they’re pressing the lights.

Mike Spurgin (00:29:08):
And what happens then is the hypothalamus then is shooting out all of these hormonal triggers then too. So it fires off, all the switches go red, everything goes red and the adrenal glands start, start pumping out adrenaline. And that is the beginning of the fight or flight prepper. The body begins to prepare for fright or flight as soon as that happens. And so the adrenaline then does all the things that we feel when we’re like elevated. And so what it does is it signals the heart to beat faster. We need more blood flow so we’re going to need more energy. And the small airways of the lungs open up the brain increase key gets increased blood flow, the executive functioning parts of the brain, they shut down because it doesn’t want the brain needs to process as limited as it needs to go into like a narrow focus.

Mike Spurgin (00:30:05):
We shouldn’t be thinking about our 401k at that moment. Like, ah, all of the general thinking, the thinky thinks that we usually do like that stuff needs to shut down and the executive functioning like the prefrontal cortex that needs to go to sleep because the brain can’t be like pre, like rationalizing like, well, should I, you know, jump off this building or not. I dunno. I dunno if I’m going to hurt myself. No, you just need to go. You know what I mean? You’re going to fight the bear. You, you can’t be processing through like wow, that bear, it’s pretty big. It’s dangerous. You just gonna you’re gonna fight the bear, right? So all of these things, the eyes, you know, pupils dilate, like you need to see better. Your muscles are receiving all kinds of energy, blood flow, everything is up because you need to fight or flight.

Mike Spurgin (00:30:49):
And so this response happens immediately, like in milliseconds because if the piano is going to fall on you, you need to explode out of its way in milliseconds. And all of this happens immediately. And there was no conscious thought about choosing this. This is just, this is just happening. This is just lizard brain. You’re saying this is just survival instinct. It’s all out of your control. You don’t, you’re just along for the ride. You’re strapped to this rocket and it’s taken off and it’s pulling you with it. And so we can, we can. So once that kicks in and once that happens and we’re sort of along for the ride and it’s a little bit out of control, but there’s some amazing things that we can do and we’ll talk about this later where we can train our brain and the filter. So the, so the sensitivity of the sensor, so let’s go back to the prison.

Mike Spurgin (00:31:39):
You’ve got the guards in there. There might be some like sensor on the fence. Okay. The sensor is, they’re designed to determine if some guy’s climbing up the fence. Okay, well we can have that sensor. So the hair-trigger, the refinement of the sensor could be so tight that like a bird lands on it or fly a butterfly lands on it goes off. Like it’s just continually false alarming. The wind blows, it goes off, it’s too sunny and that the, it goes off like it’s just constantly going off. Well then that’s our fault. Sitting in the control room. We’ve, that’s our fault. Maybe we have a motion sensor on a camera and every time a plane lands the sensor trips, you know what I mean? Yes, a car passes by on the freeway a mile away and BP if the thing goes off. So yes, those are resources and tools to do that job.

Mike Spurgin (00:32:32):
But the filter, the amount of sensitivity and filtering, that’s, that’s their fault. That’s on them. How they process that data. So the opposite of that would be we have the sensor, so lax that had never catches anything. The guys climbing up the fence thing doesn’t go off, nothing happens. So these are like two extremes and we want to, we, you know, we want to figure out where the, where the balance point is between all that. So all of this stuff happens and it’s out of our control. And then just to finish this adrenaline is the immediate one to four or five minute. It’s, it is designed to carry us through over the next like three, three, four, five minutes. That’s what has given us energy for it. It’s like throwing gasoline. You take a cup of gas, you throw it in a fire, huge flame.

Mike Spurgin (00:33:25):
And there’s the fuel. Yes, immediate heat, immediate fire, immediate explosion. But it burns out pretty quickly. So then what happens after that is cortisol. Cortisol then sort of comes on the back side of that. And this cortisol acts as like throwing a big log into the fire. Cause now let’s say we survived the bear attack, but now we need to spend like two days getting out of the Canyon. Okay. So just some hypothetical situation. We, we’ve attacked the bear. We killed it. Yeah. But the other bears are on the way, right? And we know that we need to now hike out of the mountain range and over to the other side to safety. And so we’re going to be up for like 24 hours and, and we need to get out of there. And so the situation has not calmed down, but we still need to be in sort of this really heightened state.

Mike Spurgin (00:34:19):
And that’s where cortisol comes in. And cortisol then can, can react with other hormones and trigger other hormones to continue to give us elevated attention, elevated energy, blood flow, heart rate, all of those things. It’s this cortisol response that is killing us. Suburban American men sitting in their office chairs looking at spreadsheets. They’re dying of cortisol. That’s what’s murdering men in their modern American life. It’s this constant chronic baselining of cortisol that is destroying us. So when they talk about stress being bad for your health and so forth, that’s the, it’s the, it’s the cortisol. That’s the dangerous part of it. Yep. All right. Brad, what are some of the signs that you think you yourself have experienced or you see in other guys where this constant low level stress in their life is wrecking diminishing the overall quality of their life?

Brad Singletary (00:35:20):
One of the things that I see and that I’ve experienced of course, is fatigue. I love the quote by Vince Lombardi who said that fatigue will make cowards of assault, but fatigue this, you know, when, when you’re tired and you shouldn’t be, you feel like you’ve run a marathon but you didn’t. This could be an example of some of this chemistry that my described earlier that it’s kind of being overdone. If we’re in a hyper aroused state of anxiety all the time, we can become depleted and our energy is just sapped and we could become depressed. And so fatigue when you shouldn’t be, you’re, you’re sleeping enough. You’re just tired. You just don’t have the energy. That’s to me, that’s an indicator about what may be going on in your processing of the world. You know, there may be some, you may be overly stressed with just fatigue.

Brad Singletary (00:36:12):
Another one that comes along with that would be like, so poor sleep. When we’re not sleeping well, the problems actually become come. The problem is compounded by the stress hormones that to keep you awake and save. So let’s say tonight I don’t sleep well. I sleep three hours, broken sleep tomorrow. My body knows that I have to stay awake and alert. So it’s going to provide me with some more of that chemistry that you described that preservation chemistry and that is going to, that’s going to deplete me more. It’s going to deplete all the things that helped me, help me survive more. And then my sleep tomorrow night is going to be jacked up too. So that’s where it’s compounding. So poor sleep fatigue, those are two of the things that really, that I noticed. Others would be like irritability. So many people don’t even understand, well, we understand irritability, but they don’t use that word.

Brad Singletary (00:37:11):
That is a word that in my home we, we, we use a lot because people say, you know, people may say without thinking it through, I’m so pissed off or I’m so frustrated, but irritability means I am, I’m edgy right now. I’m, I’m feeling irritable. Or we may ask someone else what’s happening? You sound irritable. That just means that you’re cranky and that you’re not feeling very patient. So irritability may be a sign that you’re dealing with a lot of stress and then depression. I talked about that earlier, just kind of a general mental instability. Those are some of the things that may, that I, that I, I guess come in contact with with my clients and I’ve felt a lot of that myself. Fatigue, poor sleep, irritability, depression. What about you? What other things do you know about the signals that stress may be causing a problem for someone?

Mike Spurgin (00:38:06):
I like the word irritable. We use cranky a lot in my house. When we say cranky, I’m on edge. That would be one. So are you, are you seeing then that guys who are in this like constant false arousal, this constant state of pointless cortisol? Because remember, just to circle back, all of this stuff is designed to keep us alive, right? We’ve talked about this before, not to make you friendly. Yes. We’ve talked about this before and that is that there’s nothing that’s life threatening about anything that I do in my modern life. Not one damn thing. Maybe getting in the car and coming here is probably the most dangerously riding motorcycles. Maybe I’m a little bit of an exception actually. As I think about it now, I do quite a few things that are, that are risky. Yeah. That are risky. But for the most part, let’s just, let’s put those aside.

Mike Spurgin (00:38:59):
For the most part I do very little. That is life threatening and very little things threatened my life. So I shouldn’t have any adrenaline like ever. And I shouldn’t have any cortisol for sure. No cortisol, maybe a little adrenaline every now and then. But like no cortisol, I should be zero. I should, if I got blood tested, if, I don’t know if there’s such a thing, but if I got blood tested, my cortisol should just be like zero, but yet it’s probably not. It’s probably 50% of my blood. I don’t know. I’m making it up. And I bet you there’s guys where it’s 90% of their blood and it should not be. That should not be. So, so are these, are these things, these symptoms that you’re just describing, are these just like red flag hello? Cannot be denied markers that that’s probably what’s going on.

Brad Singletary (00:39:50):
Yeah, totally. Yeah. You’ve got multiple things going on. I’m thinking of, I’m thinking of a guy right now that I’m working with and he has two autistic children. His elderly father just broke his hip. He’s in the middle of a, of a lengthy home renovation. He’s on disability for an injury at work injury from decades ago and has gone, he went through some severe trauma, you know, couple of decades ago, but every year about this time it, it, it kind of resurfaces. And so this is a person under extreme stress. And he talks about, you know, biting the kid’s head off or things like that where he’s just, the irritable level of irritability is just almost embarrass will. He’s not sleeping, you know, he happens to use some medication and different things. But yeah, these are all just important signs that something, some, there’s this, there’s too much, too much stress and that he’s not handling well and his body’s breaking down because of it.

Brad Singletary (00:40:52):
And these things compound. So we talked about sleep, fatigue, those two go together. If you haven’t slept, what are the chances that you’re going to be more irritable? It just, you’re half cocked all the time. You’re all, you’re already, you’re already, you’re halfway there. Yeah. And then your 10 year old breaks your fancy thing that you, you know, you have held for generations on the mantle above the fireplace and you go off and you, and you lose it. So yeah, these are some really common ones. I’m trying to think of some others. Things like weight gain, weight loss, those are questions that your Dr. May ask, you know, when you see the doctor, any, any recent weight gain or weight loss. I have done that. Sometimes that that itself has connected with sleep. That was a time that I gained like a hundred pounds over a short period of time.

Brad Singletary (00:41:45):
That was kind of crazy. That’s that, that’s pretty extreme. And it turned out that I had, I ended up having a sleep disorder sleep apnea. And the doctor explained to me that you get energy from two sources, sleep and food. So if you’re not sleeping well, your body still needs energy to go throughout the day. And if you’re not, if you’re, if you’re not getting this restored energy from sleep, your body says, give me more food. And so I, I like literally like one summer I put on a hundred pounds and I’m so extreme weight gain, weight loss, probably there are other physical manifestations of that, like blood pressure problems, you know, headaches, those kinds of things. Tension, muscle tension. Those are some good signs coming from your body.

Mike Spurgin (00:42:32):
Some of the ones that I was thinking about and read about was how cortisol interferes with learning and retention, memory retention. Because what it’s doing is it’s trying to suppress your executive functioning. It doesn’t really want you to think through, you know, the pros and cons. It just wants you to freaking like run and fight and survive, right? And so you’re not going to sit down and like weigh out the merits of like, I dunno, should I pick this or this or like it just wants you to just run and, and fight. So a lot of times people who are guys that I know who are like continually just a wash and just this like baseline cortisol situation. They’re dumb, they’re really dumb and it’s not their fault. It’s their brain doing it to them because their brain is trying to keep them alive.

Mike Spurgin (00:43:18):
But there’s nothing to, there’s, there’s, they’re, they’re not living their like biological purpose by having this cortisol. And so their executive functioning is just like being suppressed and they’re doing dumb things and they’re making bad decisions and they sort of know it somehow innately and they don’t know what the hell is going on. They’re just sort of like colorless and everyone else was looking at me, you freaking idiot. What are you, why are you making all these bad decisions? And again, it’s sort of, they’re just along for this cortisol ride. They’re in this bus, they’re on this coaster and it’s just taking them where it takes them. You talked about depression also it suppresses complete digestion. So one of the things that also happens is when you are in flight mode, you a lot, a lot of animals, this is, this is very similar to animals.

Mike Spurgin (00:44:07):
A lot of animals will take a dump before they run for their lives because, because their brain is just like, we don’t need that. We don’t need that. They’ll take a leak, they’ll take a dump. And plus the body is like, we can’t spend energy on that meal. You just gotta go, we’ll eat, we’ll eat another one later. Yeah. Just get rid of that and go. And so that’s, I love that you think this is funny. And so a lot of times people who will think about this, when you have a very frightening stress inducing situation, a lot of people will piss themselves. This is the body’s reaction to that because it’s essentially saying digestion, but it just turns off the stuff you need to worry about that we don’t need to worry about that right now. And so the switch just turns off and so that sphincter muscles relax and that’s your urine and bowels. And so a lot of times, you know, somebody pissed themselves. Like that’s what happens.

Brad Singletary (00:44:58):
I’m thinking of my, the reason I’m laughing, I’m thinking of my, one of my middle boys went to, went to a middle school this year and all the way to school on the first day of school, he farted apparently farty like repeated farting all the way to school. And that’s probably his body saying like, get this outta here. We’ve got other things to worry about. I think you’re right. Is my locker and how does this all work? Don’t you think? He was like freaking out full of stress and cortisol. Yeah. And at the end of the day he just thought it was so funny and that’s a cool family story we have but interesting that it interferes with digestion.

Mike Spurgin (00:45:31):
It shuts it down. It’s just that shit down. Literally like pun intended, because again, you can’t have, the body doesn’t want to waste blood in the digestive system cause it needs in the muscles in the brain and the lungs, those resources elsewhere, it just shuts that stuff down so it can focus those energy resources somewhere else. So when you’re in this constant cortisol state, your digestive system sucks. And so you and what you may also be doing is looking for dopamine because dopamine is a suppressor to cortisol. And so you’re probably getting it through these artificial highs of food, so sugar and carbs and you’re probably eating garbage, which gives you a little bit of dopamine hit and that junk food is hitting a compromised digestive system and you are just, that’s like talk about disaster. Dudes will like, I’ve heard of guys who like diarrhea, they’ll just be like, dude, I don’t know why I’m having this worst diarrhea right now. I got all this pressure at work and I just, you know, I’m throwing up and I’m got diarrhea and these are all things that all kind of loops together. These are all like we’re talking about flags, indicators. These are all signs that you are a hot mess of cortisol and stress.

Brad Singletary (00:46:52):
Yeah, this is your kind of jacked up. You’re talking about it. Especially if you have all of these or many of these, a number of these that should be, that’s like pissing blood. You know, you, you’re pissing blood. You need to go talk to somebody. You got to figure that out. There’s a problem here and if you have many of these stacking up these symptoms we’re talking about, it means that stress is really causing a problem.

Mike Spurgin (00:47:13):
It’s killing you. It will kill you, this will kill you. So it’s not a matter of if it was just when this will kill you. All of this is this a slow suicide. That’s what this stuff is. So where are we out here? So suppresses the immune system. So you’re probably to be sick, you’re probably going to get cold, easy. Like they’re just, anything comes along because again, when you are fighting for your life, you don’t need to be worrying. You’re right, you don’t got energy or resources to fight off, you know, bacteria or colds or things like that. And so this is a guy who is constantly like at the sniffles, he’s, he’s got like digestive problems weight gain. And so those are all part of it. So really he’s also suffering from like high blood pressure. Cholesterol is forming in his heart and he’s very likely having onset heart disease just daily. He’s also got extreme rates of potential for diabetes if he doesn’t have it already. So this is a recipe of this is murder, this is murderous, all of this. And it’s, you know, it’s, it’s self-inflicted.

Brad Singletary (00:48:27):
So we did, this isn’t part of our outline that we kind of put together here, but so what does that person do, Mike? He’s not sleeping. He’s gaining weight, is depressed. He can’t focus his, his job, his function at his job is diminished. And he’s, you know, irritable and angry. Can’t think what does he do? What’s the, what’s the first thing that he should do?

Mike Spurgin (00:48:55):
I have a, I have a guy that I’m acquainted with. He is in rehab right now, booze, pills, all of it. And his life. This is his life. He’s living this life and he’s, he’s got all of these red flags and, and he’s used pills and drugs and everything to try to dopamine out right over the top of this. So I’ll, I’ll tell you this, what most guys do is they just try to dopamine over this and, and that looks like I’m talking. So right now you ask me what’s a healthy way? I’m going to walk down the road for a minute of like, what are the unhealthy ways? Most guys, when they’re living this life, they’re looking they’re looking for anything to give them dopamine. So what are some of those, what do you see that guys are doing? Maladaptive,

Brad Singletary (00:49:44):
Numbing out a porn video, games. Just whatever they can do to to escape, you know, no, me not with, I don’t know, gambling, alcohol, any kind of compulsive behavior like that. Dopamine hit chasing down some chasing down some strange

Mike Spurgin (00:50:03):
Jason. So strange tail going to strip clubs gambling, taking business risks that, that he may not otherwise driving recklessly driving fast. Some of these guys too, you know, one of the things that chronic dopamine, ALS are chronic cortisol also has a tendency to do is it does it does have a numbing effect and it hasn’t some emotion because you don’t need to feel emotion if you’re running away and trying to fight your life. So just the fields that you used to have, they tend to get numbed out. And so guys kind of goes zombie mode when they’ve lived like this for a long time. And then some guys will tell me like, I just want to feel something and so they will do risky, high risk behavior because they’re just looking for some spark something, you know, do I even have the light on inside of me anymore? Like, I just don’t feel anything. People are coming in and out of their lives. There’s, they’re living these with people, but they just don’t have any sense of reaction to anything. They’re numb, you know, they’re dead inside, right? And so they do, they do high risk stuff with this goal of like, I just want to feel something. So those are all the broken way. The, the, the maladaptive, the harmful ways to deal with that. Where you are asking is what are some of the, what is a,

Brad Singletary (00:51:31):
What does an alpha do when he realizes that he’s under extreme burden of stress and that it’s harming him? Okay.

Mike Spurgin (00:51:39):
Pretty good rundown of the harmful self harm, ways to deal with elevated cortisol, chronic stress. What now let’s talk to the alpha. Let’s talk to the guy who wants to climb out of that, that hole. What are some of the things that this guy should be doing and looking at if he wants to get his hands around this, this life and this thinking, how does he start? Where does he start?

Brad Singletary (00:52:03):
Couple of thoughts on that. One is there’s a great Ted talk by Kelly McGonigal. I will link that in the show notes, but the title of this talk is how to make stress your friend. This lady is a health psychologist and she talked about how her throughout her whole career, she’d been teaching people stress is bad, stress will make you sick. And she did some research. I want to say this is through like Columbia. I’m not sure, but anyway, about the beliefs about stress. So if you believe that stress is bad, that’s those, those are the people that die from it and they, they, they’re measuring cortisol levels and all these kinds of things. If you believe that stress is good, that it creates the pressure to, to move the pressure to perform those people continued to be healthy. So a lot of this has to do with cognition.

Brad Singletary (00:52:54):
So my thoughts about what do we do when we’re stressed? How do you hack your way out of this stuff? I think one thought is to accept what is happening. You know, I talk with clients who for example, maybe they have some kids with some special needs. I have a client who’s got three adopted children and they’re difficult. Some of the prenatal conditions and things that they kind of came with make some of their behaviors tough and he admitted time that he, every day he comes home and kind of expects that today’s going to be smooth and today’s going to be okay and it’s not going to be okay. It’s going to be a shit show just like yesterday was. And so accepting the realities of what’s happening. I’m reading a book right now by Ray Dalio and he talks about one of his first principles is how well do you deal with reality?

Brad Singletary (00:53:46):
How, how are you accepting it? Do you face it? Do you allow it to be what it is? And so I think just in general to say life is stress. Like it’s going to be stressful in the, in the, in the hook. Earlier we talked about there’s never going to be a time when it’s not going to be stressed. So face it right now. I love what the Buddhists say that life is suffering, and the sooner we accept that, the happier we’ll be. So accept that stress happens in general and that stress is going to happen to you. Guess what? Your kid is going to be an idiot and your woman is going to be emotional and they’re going to come for your taxes next year too. It’s gonna, it’s gonna. It’s just gonna continue to revolve. Also, I think taking responsibility. So many people see themselves in a stressful situation.

Brad Singletary (00:54:37):
They’re not realizing that they put themselves there. They, they, they, they’re in this victim stance. And if you are in control of that, if you don’t allow yourself to have created that, you’ll never probably have the resourcefulness to get yourself out. If you’re continuing to blame others or blame situations outside of yourself. In the psychology classes, they talk about locus of control, which means that the location of control, where’s the control? Is it in you or outside of you? And the healthiest people believe that they have control. The locus of control is internal. And I’m in charge.

Brad Singletary (00:55:21):
I think also just taking some action looking at what things you might need to minimize. I read an article recently that said 60% of Americans, and this was actually from 20 2018, 60% of Americans say that the direction of the country as a source of stress makes sense. Most people feel like the direct, you know, what’s happening politically as a source of stress, but to be on the 24, seven news cycle, you know, clearly it’s important. Those are significant issues, but you’re watching this stuff 24, seven that’s going to increase that for you. Social media can, can produce stress. Those are some things you might look at avoiding. The thing about the news, most everything they report, it’s something you have no control over. So it increases that, that feeling, that out of control feeling to be just churning and burning the news all day, every day on breathing, deep breathing.

Brad Singletary (00:56:22):
And then you can pick it up from here. Maybe Mike in the movie, American sniper, Chris Kyle who was the lead character in the movie, and this is a true story, but there’s a, there’s a little line in the movie and you have to really be listening to catch it, but he says, if you control your breathing, you control your brain. So much of what I see with things like even panic attacks, even crying spells, I see this with my children, with my clients, so much of that emotion, what’s, what’s happening is you’re just, there’s this vacuum of oxygen and I can take my three year old who’s in a crying fit and if I can just help him breathe in a couple of times, just take a couple of deep breaths. He stops crying. And I love that thought. If you control your breathing, you control your brain. And that takes a real conscious effort because I don’t know what happens in the, in the biology, I don’t know what, what, what, what takes that away. But for sure if we recognize that we’re in that state of stress or arousal and we can just take some deep breaths. Mike, what does an alpha need to do to cope with this?

Mike Spurgin (00:57:33):
Yes. Yeah. Here it is. This is where we, where we get down to tools, tools in the toolbox, coping mechanisms, strategies. This is what I tell myself. This is what I tell my guys. Everything begins with breathing. I think you had talked about that there’s not one thing that is coming at you that we’re going to solve in a sentence or even a paragraph, you know, I’ll get a text or a phone call and to be a guy who’s just, he’s spirally spinning out. He’s got, he just got T-boned with some piece of information, something that hits, hits him or he’s done something and hit someone else. Like he’s run his, he just, he’s just run his car at full throttle into a school bus, a nun’s going to pet puppies, you know what I mean? And he’s on the phone and he’s like, what the F do I do now?

Mike Spurgin (00:58:24):
Well, I honestly don’t know. I have no idea. But what we need to do right now is we need to slow our shit down and we need to breathe. We need to breathe and it sounds super simplistic and nutty and, and hippy and crystals and all of that. I don’t care. I’m a grown ass man and I’ll look you in the eye and I’ll tell you the first thing you need to do is burry the brother breathe. And the thing, it’s a super simple thing. And my son, we were having dinner tonight and he taught me this very brilliant technique and I’m drawing on a piece of paper, a square, a box, and it’s, and it’s the S, it’s the square box, breathe method. And basically what he taught me wasn’t in his great teacher taught him this in junior high school is you put your finger on the upper right hand corner and then you, you slowly draw your finger across the line and that’s your, that’s your breath in.

Mike Spurgin (00:59:21):
And then you drag your finger down the edge of the box and that’s holding it. And then along the bottom you drag it and that’s the, that’s the exhale. And then you drag your finger up the top and that’s holding. That’s like keeping it out, holding it in, out. And then you cycle that. You do that four times and so you breathe, hold, release, hold four times and you make that last not as long as you can, but you make it last to a sustained amount and what’s happening there is you’re activating something called the Vegas nerve Hora the parasympathetic system. So earlier we talked about the reactive system, the sympathetic system. That’s all of that lizard brain stuff that fight or flight stuff that happens automatically. We don’t do that or control that. If we want to get out of that panic state, that cortisol state, that adrenaline state, we now have to do that with consciousness.

Mike Spurgin (01:00:23):
We fall into adrenaline unconsciously. That is to say our body just reacts to it, but there and there are also built in systems in the, in the software of all this to extract us out of it, that that, that the way that they had the body was engineered, it’s, it’s engineered to keep us alive and to get us out of trouble and then it’s engineered to resolve that feeling, resolve those chemicals to resolve that state internally on its own. We don’t need to do anything. You don’t have to, you don’t have to go anywhere and take anything to make this happen. This happen. This can happen in internally. It’s a very brilliant system. So step one is activate the parasympathetic system, which is sort of like the comedown, the bleed off mechanism that’s already built in rest and digest the rest and digest system. Yes.

Mike Spurgin (01:01:22):
And that’s the Vegas nerve. The Vegas nerve is fascinating. I’ve just learned about it today. I’ve digested pun intended. The Vegas nerve is essentially the, the neural network of connection between the brain and then the major internal organs specifically that the digestive internal organs. And so when somebody talks about the gut feeling, you know like, Oh, I just have this gut feeling about I should do a thing that’s real, that’s legit. And that is the connection of the brain into the, into the internals, your gizzards, your gizmos. And it’s the link in between that. And there it is. It is in effect a multiplier. It’s an additional bit of tissue that is reactive that adds data back into your brain, into the processing functions of your brain. So it’s a, it’s more brain in your body. And how this system is all designed is this reaction kicks in.

Mike Spurgin (01:02:24):
But we have to, okay, so here, here’s, here’s the punchline. This is where I go. So I’m trying to say I’m taking too long of a walk around the block to get there. Apologize. It starts with breathing. So this little exercise that my son taught me, I’ve never seen before, but it’s very effective. Square breathing square. Have you heard of it? Different methods, different, like how long do you hold it and whatever. But I love the visual of the square. Yeah, it’s four. It’s two. It’s in, out hold on each side. So that’s four sides. That’s a square. So I’m now going to add that in. Next time somebody calls me in that panic mode, I’m gonna see, let’s draw a box on a piece of paper or grab a post to note and put it on your desk. Or just take a piece of paper, just whatever square, take a dollar bill, whatever, and, and, and do this breathing exercise.

Mike Spurgin (01:03:10):
Because once you get into the breath, then you’ve activated the parasympathetic system. It’s a very simple system to turn on, but we have to flip the switch. So the, the the, the fight or flight mechanism is turned on for us, but we need to turn on the, the comedown system. The detox. This is the detox system. This, what does that epi pen, what does that thing, sorry. I’d be pet, you know, the guy, he’s a heroin overdoses and then the paramedics show up and they got this on or whatever. Yeah, what I’m talking about. Yeah. Okay. So they’re going to hit him with that thing and that’s going to like kind of undo the effects of the heroin or the ODI. Okay. So this is how we come down off this ODI of adrenaline and cortisol. We have anti-venom or something. Yes. Good, good, good analogy.

Mike Spurgin (01:03:57):
So this is our antivenom starts with breathing. And then once we have entered into sort of like the parasympathetic system, once we’ve turned it on, then there’s other things that we can do to continue to come off this, this this rollercoaster of, of these fight or flight chemicals. So this is kind of called the these steps here are sort of like putting your vagus nerve into high tone is what it’s called. And let me take these off here because this is sort of how it, how you do that. This is the toolkit, but I have this side note and I should have mentioned this just a minute ago, one of the, well no, let me tie these two together. So one of them is about, and this is something that I think I’ve worked really hard at and just kind of relearning myself and that is removing fear and then going from fear into self confidence.

Mike Spurgin (01:04:53):
In my thinking earlier, we had talked about, well what if we had in the control room of the prison, the ability to sort of tune the sensors so that we didn’t even fall into alarm mode. Like the alarm mode threshold was sufficiently high so that we didn’t trip into full panic mode at just, you know, like you said, a butterfly landing on the fence. So one of the ways that I have done that and learned to do that is through just developing like emotional fortitude, resilience, self confidence, and just trying to put myself in a general head state to the reality that I’m a fricking bad-ass. Like I’m an alpha, I do good shit. I do cool shit. Like I’m, I’m not a pushover. I’m not a pansy. I’m not I didn’t mean to say that in a derogatory way, but I’m, I’m capable of some amazing crap and do amazing crap.

Mike Spurgin (01:05:49):
And so when something bumps into my boat, I’m not going to sink and I don’t believe I’m going to sink. I believe that I’m going to, I’m going to freaking float through it and power through it. So I’ve just developed some like mental self-talk that I use to, to arrest the fall into, you know, the, the, the, the fight or flight mechanism. And then I use it again in case I accidentally got into it or I really did get into it for a legitimate reason. But now I need to begin to pull myself out. Well, removing fear if, if that whole fight or flight is because of fear, if I can, if I can use some self talk to get myself out of fear, then that is a step. That’s a method. That’s a tool. That’s a technique.

Brad Singletary (01:06:33):
I love that. Let, let the fear be the fuel. You know, that beating heart that you feel that’s energy. You’re rapid breathing. That’s oxygen being delivered to your body. It’s really reframing the fear. You decide what it means. I love that you mentioned something there about language or self-talk, what self talk yet what you say is kind of what you get. I just really believe that how we describe what’s happening determines how we experience it. So the self-talk and the description of what it is makes a big difference. If you change your language, you may change your very experience of distress.

Mike Spurgin (01:07:10):
Yes. okay. So to like amplify that, let’s say that something happens, it’s my fault or something that I could have warded off. I could go into that self-talk mode of like I’m a dumb ass. I always do this, you know, get very, I could very be very self deprecating and I beat myself up over that and I’m going to get exactly the outcome that I deserve and that is like this, this stuff’s going to run right over me and I’m going to continue to stay on that loop. What we’re talking about is reframing the reality, and I’ve mentioned this before, I just got handed a little educational gift. If I screw something up, I just taught myself a lesson. It costs me money and time or whatever, but I just bought myself an education, a piece of ed. I just, I just bought myself a diploma.

Mike Spurgin (01:07:52):
I just graduated from that lesson and that school and that situation. And so why would I even need to go to panic mode when like if I’m going to walk the walk, the diploma, what does that graduate, I’m going to walk to whatever. I don’t even know. I hear what you’re saying. I’m going to walk up and into the president of the university is getting me the diploma. There’s no reason fear that. And so if I’m in a situation where I just bought myself a diploma, like I don’t need to be afraid. I don’t need to go to panic, I don’t need to go to flight or flight. So reframing, whatever I can do to reframe that situation and to turn it, like you said, use it as energy to propel myself to change, to adapt, to perform differently, to perform better. That’s a gift and I should look at it like that.

Mike Spurgin (01:08:41):
Reframe this thing. Another one here is and this is what we would do if we were in our natural state, our kind of caveman situation exercise. The reason that I’m giving these fight or flight chemicals is so that I can run, I can climb, I can fight. If I just go outside and, and I do something physical, I get up, I changed my circumstances and, and my, my I act through my body that will, that will, will burn off those chemicals. It will just exactly do that. Have you ever had a situation where you just freaking wanted a terrible wall down and you went outside and you ran or jumped or punched a bag and it took it all away?

Brad Singletary (01:09:21):
For sure. Yeah. That’s a one of the most difficult times of my life. That was how I survived. One of the ways that I survived was that’s when I started working out. Remember I said earlier that I had gained a hundred pounds through a short period of time through one of the most difficult times I lost. I lost that a hundred pounds because I was working out, running on a treadmill. I’m running five K’s and stuff like that. Just signing myself up for things so that I could force myself to be physically active and I’ve kind of returned back to that. We’re going to, I’m going to tell some of that in the next episode, but yeah, physical activity burns off all a lot of that. Just that toxicity,

Mike Spurgin (01:09:58):
That’s a hundred percent right and so if you’re in a, you’re in a situation where you’re going to be in a long time. You know you had talked about the guy who’s got special needs kids and maybe he’s got the tax tax situation. You’ve got the work pressure like some of us just live in a life that’s a bit of a pressure cooker and there’s, and it’s going to be that way for six months or a year or whatever. We’re going to have to adapt and incorporate these things into our life and make it a part of our life. It’s just that reality. Earlier you talked about being a realist and just accepting and owning and facing and dealing and, and, and being legit about your circumstances. Some of us are in life situations and cycles of our lives where that is our daily, the daily grind is a real grind and the only way we’re going to get through that is if we stopped a lot.

Mike Spurgin (01:10:55):
Basically all of this. So exercise, stretching, moving and then and high in moments of high stress and high anxiety. Then law, lots of explosive moving. I tell guys go outside and scream, kick punch, like react explosively. It’s completely fine. In fact it’s like really good for you. Yeah, it feels so good. It’s screaming at the mountain. Totally throw rocks if you need to like drive your car. If you want to murder somebody, like take your car out of the desert and, and don’t do anything with your car. But like I guess I was just having this thought like driving fast down dirt road, please do not do that. But if you like get to the sport point spot where you can like, you know, screech, come in sideways, smoke coming off the tires and you get out and slam the door and you know like bring some bottles and throw them. And just freaking have it out. Do that.

Brad Singletary (01:11:50):
One of the things I have people do sometimes is throw ice. Most here in the desert, most of our yards are walled in with a like cinder block wall for those who don’t live around here. And so I’ll have people take a bucket of ice or a bag of ice and just throw this ice at the block wall that just, just shattered. They’re not hurting anything, but they’re really getting some of that explosive energy out. I love that as a little coping hack.

Mike Spurgin (01:12:14):
That’s really good. And what I would add to that is every time you throw that piece of ice tea, if you can like shout out, shout out what it is you’re pissed at. Like mother F and boss, bam, stupid ass, you know, whatever. Bam. Just like let, let that stuff out, bleed that stuff out. You know, back in the day, if you had they’ll put leeches on you to like bleed that stuff out, get it out, man. Get that stuff out. So here’s another one. Diet. How important is diet like diet? If you’re already have a compromised digestive system because you’re living in this cortisol and it’s kind of partially shutting it down and you, you’re just eating garbage, you’re not going to get any nutrition, you’re not going to get health out of that. So now would be the time to not eat like a seven 11 dumpster. So you’re not to eat. You need to eat the best food you can possibly get. And I don’t know what that’s going to look like for you. You’re going to have to figure that out, but you really need to be careful and thoughtful. What about caffeine? Do you have any thoughts on what caffeine does and stimulants in somebody in this zone?

Brad Singletary (01:13:17):
People have heard us talk about me drinking monsters on the show so much that some of my clients actually come here bringing me monster. So yes, caffeine. I’ve just learned recently though, how one of the things that caffeine does, it actually reduces blood flow to your brain. So a lot of kids who are having things like or or adults with this focus and concentration issue. Dr. Daniel amen. If you’ve followed any of his stuff, he’s got a good book called the end of mental illness, but he talks about nicotine, caffeine, those types of things. They actually reduce the blood flow to the parts of your brain that you need for focus and other kinds of things. So yes, caffeine foods for sure. I’ve just been reading so much recently about food and mood and I notice in myself, if I’m eating terrible, I feel terrible.

Brad Singletary (01:14:05):
And I many times behave terribly because I’m just in this reactive state. You’d see, we talk about kids, but their sugar rush and being on a sugar high, that happens to adults too. There was a time when I can actually count when I had an angry issue, Oh, I just had a big pot of, you know, fried rice or this was a high carbohydrate meal for me. But I agree with you, Mike, you have to, you know, find your own way with it. But think of it in terms of premium fuel. Only where we are very delicate like chemical beings, what we put in the food really matters. So matters. And this is a fat guy talking. I just know that matters and I can’t wait to 10 the next episode what I’m doing with that. But anyway, yes, food and mood all goes together

Mike Spurgin (01:14:56):
Completely tied together. And you know, like we’ve talked about before, we’re already suppressing intellect through cortisol. Then we dumped caffeine on top of that. Stupidest guys I know who make the stupidest decisions are running full speed, full throttle, eating out of a dumpster, and then porn monsters and rockstars over the top of all that stuff. Like, no wonder your life sucks. No wonder the people in your life don’t want to be around you. No wonder you just cannot figure out why you’re such a shitbag. It’s just like you’re not too, you’re not doing yourself any favors. So one of the things too, in addition to eating as properly as you can, probiotics, which I don’t know anything about, so in the comments, please tell us about that and teach us about that. There’s also GABA receptors, G a B a receptors. So this is now like, you know, nutritionist type stuff that I have no clue what the hell I’m talking about. Then full disclosure, I don’t know any of this stuff that I’m talking about. This is all just, I’m just reading research that I have found. So please, if we have said anything wrong or you want to add anything to that and you know more, which is going to be really easy for any high school student, I, any high school biology student is going to be like rolling his eyes. Something called probiotic bath. [inaudible]

Mike Spurgin (01:16:22):
I don’t know what the hell that is. So apparently that’s good stuff.

Brad Singletary (01:16:26):
You’re just taking pro probiotics for awhile. I don’t know how it all works, but I just, I believe that it’s had a positive effect on my both digestion and mood and so forth.

Mike Spurgin (01:16:36):
Okay, so you’re backstopping this. Yeah, your honor. That’s good. Okay. Health man. You got to get your health. You’ve got to get your diet, your diet. If, if, if your diet’s not right, you’re not right, you gotta get your diet right. Get that in check. Okay? So diet, exercise, we talked about moving your body, throwing ice, shouting, doing, jumping jacks, that kind of stuff. Okay. And stretching and yoga, that’s all. That’s all part of it too. You know, if you really want to do a deep dive in that, you can just research any of that stuff on your own. You know how to look for that information. Weightlifting, there’s a ton of things you can do. All right. Another one is break isolation. So something that happens with a lot of guys, this is pretty common, is that we go into this this he, there’s embarrassment that goes along with this.

Mike Spurgin (01:17:19):
There’s also pride and arrogance. There’s so many things that are very complex. And there’s another part of this too. And that was in ancient tribal societies, whenever we needed a reprimand, somebody who was getting out of line, we isolated them away from the tribe. We sent them away. And so that had the fear effective. If I’m not, if I’m not protected by the tribe, that I’m vulnerable and I’m at risk. And so when a guy isolates and pulls away from a tribe that he either never had or that he was once in, but it’s, but it’s pulled away from that adds and increases his cortisol and his fear. So that becomes this spiral. Isolation itself becomes a spiral. So I was reading this thing, whereas this study of these mice, and if it happens very quickly, like if they pull one mice away from the little mice, pack, mice, tribe, mice, whatever, that the health of that mice began to suffer almost immediately.

Mike Spurgin (01:18:13):
Like within one day they could, they, they, you know, they’re measuring like blood pressure and all these different things like in one day, in one 24 hour period, that mouse has like already started to suffer and his levels are going down and it’s equally detrimental and people men. So breaking isolation, getting with friends, family associates, people that, that we should have in our life that we know we should have in our lives. That is that is a resource. Let me just kind of click through these cause there’s no, we’ve, this has been a long show and I appreciate you guys hanging in there, but we’re now to the final, final, final 10 yards. And I think this is really some of the most important stuff. Something to a massage, which I had no clue was, was could be a part of this. You’re not in your head. Is that something that you’ve gotten experience with?

Brad Singletary (01:19:05):
Yeah, you just, you just build, you just carry a lot of tension in your body. And if you’ve never had a good massage, you should check it out to see what it’s like. Even if you’re doing this for yourself. I’ve got a little machine thing at home that I’ve had for 20 years or whatever. It’s a big, it’s a gigantic thing actually, but some chiropractor’s offices will offer massage as part of their treatment, you know, 40 bucks or whatever it is, and you get a little half an hour. But even if you’re doing that with these massage rollers and things like that, I’ve just had clients who were a massage therapist and they talk about, yeah, go just get your own stuff and you can even work some of that out on your own. You know, I’ve got my favorite places to massage, you know, in my joints, like my elbows and my knees. I can seem to care a lot of stress there. So I believe that is a great way to cope with stress.

Mike Spurgin (01:19:54):
You know, the Chinese three or 4,000 years ago worked all this stuff out, like pressure points. Have you ever seen any of those little Chinese maps where they tell you if you press on your foot here, that’s like your hearing and your eyeballs and lungs and liver, all these different things. That’s legit stuff. And what you just talked about is very simple and very effective. I have this little wooden cane thing that has got a spot in my shoulder and I can just take that cane and just freaking gouge it and dive into that and it hurts so good. I have a spot on my back where if I lean against a corner edge of a wall, I can kind of grind that thing out. Balls, tennis balls. Sometimes I’ll have a tennis ball on the ground and run my butt over that cause it’s in my hips and my legs and thighs.

Mike Spurgin (01:20:39):
So it’s nice if you can go get a professional massage. It’s, it’s good if you’ve got these simple to use things at our house we have a chair and we’ve got this very basic Amazon 39 bucks. It’s just this little pad thing. It’s like a pillow, but it’s got these roller kind of thing and it gets hot. Super good. So massage and working out like these physical tension points. Very, very helpful. It should be on your program. This is in your toolkit. This is all part of developing resiliency of the Vegas nerve music. This was a surprise. Didn’t know about this one. Music and singing. So apparently this Vega is a Vega or Vegas, like Vaus I think Vegas. Okay. So apparently that Vegas nerve travels through the neck and it, and it just is very, very close to the vocal chords. And there is a, and this makes a lot of sense to me, the more I thought about it and the research that singing, humming, chanting droning.

Mike Spurgin (01:21:43):
Even I, even gargling when the, when the vocal chords vibrate, they stimulate activity blood flow in the Vega nerve. Wow. And so, and then I was reading some studies where people who are inquires and people who sing in the shower and people who sing in the car and then sing at home, you know, there is this great power if you’ve ever been in an orchestra, have you ever been somewhere where you’re singing with someone else and there’s just like this Tingley sensation that you feel of unity and like fellowship and harmony literally and figuratively. Like all of this sort of limbic magic sparks are happening while you’re, while you’re doing that, that’s the thing. And that’s because you are activating this rest and relaxation. The sympathetic, the parasympathetic system is sort of being activated and being turned on, which is putting you in like a relaxed state.

Mike Spurgin (01:22:44):
So one of the techniques you might, you might consider doing is finding obviously finding music that is relaxing and brings you some peace and some joy. I would avoid thrash metal and that has the opposite effect. So that’s like caffeine that is stimulating. You don’t want that. You want music. Your GoTo stuff should be peaceful and relaxing. But what is also as powerful and more powerful is stuff that you can sing along to. And so after reading this, I’m going to F wa there was a guy that was reading something and he was like, every time I take a drink and I feel kind of amped up, I gargle before I swallow. I don’t know if he’s at home and he can do this. It’d be embarrassing if you’re at work, but his goal is to just do everything, put everything he can in his favor to relax and get that Vegas nerve. Oh, that’s awesome. The parasympathetic neural system. Okay, so that’s that one. Omega three fatty acids. I don’t know anything about that. Do you?

Brad Singletary (01:23:45):
Just that they’re good. They’re good. They make a difference. I take those as well. They make me feel good. I’ve seen people come out of the psych hospital before and they were there for a very serious issue, you know, maybe suicidal thoughts or whatever. And they come out with, you know, the, the psychiatrist prescribes him, you know, vitamin D and fish oil, which is the mega three stuff. So I was blown away about like really the doctors are prescribing this stuff. I guess they can see it in blood work or whatever. But yeah, it’s so good for your, for your health, your heart and brain strength and so many of those things, the nervous system, take it from Brad, get yourself some of those vitamins. I don’t really think about that, so I’m not going to comment further.

Mike Spurgin (01:24:27):
Okay. So laughter and enjoying yourself. This one seems super obvious when we’re caught up in that, that panic spike or panic cycle and that anxiety, you know we’re trapped in that anxiety zone often. We’re not enjoying our lives and we don’t find anything funny and there’s nothing that’s bringing us any sort of like that, that state of laughter. And I’ve been in that too. And so I have an like a lot of YouTube videos of comedians that bust me up that are guaranteed to like crack me up. And there’s a lot of nights where before I go to sleep and I will just watch a comedy routine on YouTube of somebody that is really good and that is very, very, very helpful. Very helpful. Have you ever done that?

Brad Singletary (01:25:18):
Yes. Well that’s kind of my favorite genre of any kind of entertainment is comedy. And I didn’t realize you were into that, Mike. You have to send me some links, but yeah, I have the same, I love the dumb stupid humor, you know? But also some of the foul mouth comedians and stuff like that. I love that because it just, it just gets me going. I can laugh over and over. As a matter of fact, someone just posted a funny video on our Facebook group, bill Burr. Anyway, good stuff. I, that’s medicine for me. You right. Laughter.

Mike Spurgin (01:25:49):
Okay, here’s the recommendation. Here’s my recommendation. I think it’s bill Burr. He’s the guy who was a helicopter pilot, bald guy. He’s like got a Boston accent. I don’t remember. I don’t. Okay. I think, okay. So I think this is bill Burr, but he tells a story and there’s a little YouTube video. Someone else who took that story. So it’s a recording of one of his concerts, one of his shows. And then somebody made a youth somebody made a cartoon video of this story and the story is bill in the newspaper read this, this news report of a dude who had some terminal illness and then books a helicopter flight, a sight seeing helicopter flight. And then he’s up in the air and the homie jumps out of the helicopter but doesn’t die. Oh wow. And I won’t spoil the story, but it is the most and the way, and there’s all kinds of humor in this, like so many layers.

Mike Spurgin (01:26:42):
So frickin layers of morbid comedy around this situation. And then the cartoon adds to it. It is the best thing I’ve seen in my whole life. I completely recommend it. It’s so dark and morbid and terrific and probably foul. Listen to it with some headphones. It’s absolutely insane. I can’t get enough of it. It cracks me up every time. So get yourself some, some very reliably effective. It could, you could be watching friends, episodes of mash or whatever, but I think it’s very, very good if you have a stream, a continuous stream, like don’t not, I know that some guys when they get in these States, they just get all serious, right? Yeah. I’m under stress. I got a lot going on. I can’t, I can’t afford the to relax and goof off and have levity. That’s the exact wrong thinking. Right. Okay. So that’s enough about that. Here is one that shocked me, but I have heard of this and it is exposing yourself to

Brad Singletary (01:27:52):
Cold. Do you know about that? Like a cold shower and yeah, I did not tell me. It just a shock, you know, it’s just a shock to your system. Some people do like hot shower, cold shower. So you’re standing in the shower, go from hot to cold and kind of alternate that or I’ve heard of people doing things like, I’ve had my clients do this, like hold ice in your hands, melt ice in your hands, just let it melt. That’s the kind of thing have heard about. Yeah. That it just is, it’s a shock to your system a little bit.

Mike Spurgin (01:28:20):
So somehow through some biochemical reactive process, it has the effect of activating and then strengthening and increasing the performance of the vagus nerve. And so when I was reading about this and made me think of this Tony Robins video that I watched, it was his, it was like a documentary on him and it was a guru. Yeah. Yeah. I’m not, you’re a great guy. Great, great documentary. Really fascinating. And he, did you remember the part where he’s got that swimming 56 degrees. It’s like a little micro swimming pool and he just likes, it’s like a dunk tank. Like he just pops into it and from memories, right. He puts ice in there and then like gets in it every day.

Brad Singletary (01:28:58):
Yeah. Like 50 something degrees or something that, yep. And

Mike Spurgin (01:29:02):
Then I, I was acquainted with that made me think about another guy who I kind of respected, admire as like a thought leader and I’m just checking him out. And like every day he does like a little ice bath thing. Like I think it’s, he puts a little water in the bathtub, dump some ice in there every day. And I talked to my wife about this and she’s like, yeah, every time I got a shower I run it cold for like 30 seconds. So apparently it’s a thing and I didn’t know about it, but I’m going to try to do it now. So again, this is all stuff that, that, that activates the parasympathetic system and it’s, it’s all designed in to reduce that fight or flight reactive sequence that’s, that’s hyper elevated. Let me see if there’s anything else. I think we may have pretty well run that out.

Mike Spurgin (01:29:49):
The last one D should I launch it cause I’ve got a couple of sort of spiritual remedies. Should we do that? Okay. And then you’ll finish out. Yeah. So the last thing I’ll talk about you know that parable, the TA, the Taoist, the Dallas parable, who knows what is good and what is bad. Do you know that one? Oh, it’s the idea that really quickly, in essence there’s a farmer and his son, the wild horse comes in the capture the horse and they think they’re rich now because they have this horrible, the neighbor who’s watching all this things, wow, you’re rich, you got this horse, this horse just showed up in your pasture. Like you’re, you’re rich. And the worldwide farmers wise farmers like, well, I don’t know, maybe who knows, who knows what is good and what is bad. Next day the son jumps on the horse, he’s trying to tame it out, gets bucked off, breaks his leg.

Mike Spurgin (01:30:40):
The old guy comes with a neighbor comes over and he’s like, ah, you’re ruined. Like you’re not going to be able to bring in your crops now your son can’t work the plow. Like you’re ruined your dad. And the wise farmer is like, well, I don’t know. Who knows? Who knows what is good and bad. The next day the army comes, they’re looking for all the young men, the songs they’re gonna put them in. They’ll put them in the army and the war and they look at him in broken leg and like, we don’t want that guy. And so that the old neighbor comes over, he’s like, Oh my goodness, your son is saved. You know, like, and that old man again, he’s like, who knows? Who knows what is good and what is bad? So that the moral of that is like, is there a, is there really a bad thing or a good thing that happens to us?

Mike Spurgin (01:31:23):
It’s all like what you had said earlier. It’s perspective, it’s perspective. So maybe just maybe the stress and the, the, the, the anxiety and the panic and the dread that I’m feeling that I’m internalizing, that I’m carrying with me in my life. It’s very, very possible that that could happen to someone else. The exact same situation could be happening to someone else who has a different perspective on life, a different out, a different view of things. And those same things happened to that guy. And he reacts calmly, maturely with wisdom and honor and character and it, it does not spiral him out. It does not spin him out. It may be a wave that hits his boat for sure cause these might be really big things. But this guy is living in a head space and a spiritual space in an emotional space where he’s able to endure that and he sees it in perspective and he and like the parable, who knows, who knows what is good ultimately and what is bad.

Mike Spurgin (01:32:32):
So my kind of closing statement on all of this is if, if I’m living in a state where I know first of all, I know how to back my way out of the fight or flight mechanism through those methods that we just talked about and I’ve put in some time in some research and I understand what the parasympathetic system is and the Vegas nerve and, and I research out diet, exercise, taking a cold shower. Like I put some time and effort, I sit down and I take some time and I figured those things out and incorporate those into my life. And then on the front end I add in perspective and maturity and I understand my S my who I am as a person and I, and I understand that I can reframe and correctly frame stimulus and things that are coming at me and happening to me, then very likely I won’t turn into that chronically elevated, highly anxious guy who lives four or five or nine or 10 or 12 years in that state because I haven’t fallen into that state. I’m going to let you talk about, I think the spiritual Remnick says I had some thoughts about some meditation and some prayer and a few things, but I’m gonna hand you the ball and let you care to cross the line.

Brad Singletary (01:33:53):
I was just reading this article about coping with stress and the author was Steve later who is the senior rabbi of the Wilshire Boulevard temple in Los Angeles and he said three things. Number one, repentance. And that’s really a kind of a religious term for those of you not familiar with that, but the idea is to make things right again to make amends for your wrongs. And here we’re talking about stress and maybe this is just handling stress of, you know, the Corona virus or whatever the job situation. But in general, if you were steadily working to make things right, again, you’re going to be more spiritually in tune and feel that you’re, you know, I always say that if you have a clear conscience, you can be at peace if your conscience is clear. But if you’ve got all these wrongs out there that you need to make right again, that will, that will help you cope with your stresses of day to day.

Brad Singletary (01:34:47):
Also, he mentioned prayer and maybe you know, I would say most of our followers are believers to some extent. If you’re not though, the idea of prayer is to intentionally arrange your thoughts. Most prayers have an element of gratitude in them. So prayer, some meditation of some kind. It really just arranges your thoughts and it puts things in the order that you would like them to be. That’s what, that’s what I love what he said about prayer. The last one he mentioned was generosity. And in the a Ted talk that we mentioned earlier she talks about oxytocin as a way to fight cortisol. Now oxytocin is, that’s the connection hormone. And so he’s saying generosity connects you with other people. Generosity bonds you with other people. And that’s a healing element. And he just closed his article with a Chinese proverb. I’ll just share this.

Brad Singletary (01:35:49):
It says, if you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a month, get married. It’s funny, he said, if you want happiness for a month, if you want happiness for a month, get married. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody else. You need other men, other men need you, love on them. Some. some of you don’t know this about Mike and guys like him and Jimmy. My best friends when I see them, it’s a hug like, like your grandma gives you. I mean, this is like a squeezing hug. It’ll make you uncomfortable sometimes. Mike here will say, I love you man. Dudes don’t talk that way, but you know what an alpha does. He’s not afraid of that. And he says those words to me. So this article was important for me. Repentance, make things right again. What do I need to fix? Prayer, connecting with my higher power, whatever that may mean for you. And generosity. It kind of reinforces how fortunate we are. That human connection actually strengthens our, our immune system and literally produces healing in our heart tissues and our brain. And that’s when I got to share spiritual remedies. Take us home, bring us home, Mike.

Mike Spurgin (01:37:19):
Brad, you’re a genius. This show taught me a lot. This discussion taught me a lot. I’m not gonna lie. I act like I have resources and tools. Some of these things I already knew. Some of the stuff is not new to me and I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna pretend like I don’t F this up all the time and do it, do a very mediocre job of navigating pressure and stress in my life and then reacting negatively to the people in my life because of that. It’s not to them. So you know, we, we talked about how the guy who’s a Washington, this is sort of along the ride, but at some time he’s, at some point he’s going to climb out of that some. At some point he’s going to do the right thing. He’s going to do the alpha thing. He’s going to take some of these resources that we’ve talked about. He’s going to get a hold of somebody. He’s going to call you. He’s going to come in here. He’s going to call somebody who’s going to participate in a alpha Corum, a Facebook group, you know, the closed private group. He’s going to get some good wise words from somebody who’s going to go to lunch and this stuff’s going to start to like unravel and he’s going to get it sorted out, right? He’s going to get it figured out.

Mike Spurgin (01:38:35):
My, my final statement is, is what you would open up with and that is repentance and making amends. And the 12 steps, step eight and nine is making a list of the people that you have wronged and you have harmed and then make amends. So what an alpha does is when he finally comes to a census and he’s off, you know, hyper dosing caffeine and eating like an idiot and he’s no longer fearing the irrational and he’s come off this, you know, this, this, this crack high of cortisol, this, this baseline of cortisol and he’s, and he’s, he’s come back to himself. He’s come back to his senses like he’s living the life of a, of a person again.

Mike Spurgin (01:39:25):
He screwed up a lot. Like you screwed over a lot of people. He’s done a lot of idiot stuff and what an alpha does and what a man does is he, he ponders through what he’s, what he’s, you know, he’s shit all over the place and so he’s, he sets out to clean that up. And so he makes a list, he does a step a eight and he makes a list and ponders through and works that through. And then he goes and make some ads and he works out how he can make that right, set that right with each person. And that’s what an alpha does. So there is every reason to have hope. There is every reason to know and to believe that this feeling that you’re in that feels so hopeless. So devastatingly trapped in it is absolutely. Brad and I both sit here and have been that guy and have, we’ve lived on both sides of that and been in and out of that many times.

Mike Spurgin (01:40:26):
And I’m in a sustained period where I’m out of it. I’m detoxed out of that, I’m sober from that and I’ve got these tools and resources to keep me sober from that. And if you are in it, there is a thousand percent hope and confidence that, that you’re going to climb out of that and you’re going to stay out of that and then you’re going to help somebody else just like we maybe helping guys. And so come join us on this side of the sobriety of this situation and help us reach back and grab other brothers who are freaking out and, and, and out of their minds in that state because they’re no good to themselves and they’re no good to the team. They’re no good to the brotherhood. They’re no good day. Their family, like when they’re in that they’re, they’re just on.

Mike Spurgin (01:41:20):
That’s, I don’t know, is it the bench or the injured reserve? Like that guy’s, no, he’s not contributing nothing. He’s not even on the team at that point. So those guys, we need and want you on the team. And so we’re helping and, and the, the, the whole core of the alpha quorum, the beauty of what is the alpha quorum. The alpha quorum is dudes who have God. Scars, got wounds, been shot at, shot, shot themselves, shot and have shot themselves. It’s all of it and are now happily safely on the other side of all that and are looking back, calling back, hollering back, encouraging, going down into the trenches to grab arms, grab you know, bloody limbs and help pull and extract these guys to this side of the fence, this side of the safety barrier and, and we want to be that for you. And we want these, these, the little programs we have and the, and that Facebook group and everything is created and is functioning to help that happen. And we want that to happen and we want you out of that head space. We want you untrapped and Unchained and unshackled living free living, completely calm, happy lives of competency and strength and maturity and wisdom. That’s where you want to be and that’s where we want you to be and that’s what we’re going to help you get there. That’s it man.

Brad Singletary (01:42:58):
Right on brother. So much here about how to cope with stress, how an alpha deals with that and we end up talking about spirituality. It’s fascinating to me that we, we, we’ve gone kind of you know, from the outside in, inside out. I don’t know how it goes, but we’ve, we deal with our body. We deal with our thoughts, our words, and also in the deepest part of our identity, spirituality. Great stuff, Mike. Good to have you here man. Glad to be a part of this with you. And until next time guys, we’ll catch you later. Hey, thanks for listening to another episode of the alpha corm show. We believe that men changed their lives by engaging with a tribe to improve their actions, attitudes, and attributes. You can check out the show notes on our website@alphakorum.com follow us on Instagram and Facebook and please leave us a rating and review wherever you listen to our show. Hey, this is a podcast, not therapy. So even though we may feature professionals on the show, this is not intended as therapeutic advice. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to us and we can get you pointed in the right direction. Until next time, gentlemen,


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