Relax, retrain, forgive, repeat!
Dr. Goldstein’s show is going to stop us distracted, multitasking, text binging, social media addicted modern humans in our tracks and rock our world! We all know the dangers and drawbacks of hyper-connectivity and distractibility, and our diminishing focus and mindfulness in hectic modern life, but we seem to be collectively shrugging our shoulders, complaining a bit here and there, and carrying on, glued to our devices. My visit with Dr. Goldstein had a deep impact on me, because he explained beautifully how our repeated use of technology gets integrated into habit. We have engaged in “intentional practice and repeated it until it becomes automatic–until it becomes habit.”
We often talk about habit-forming in a positive context. Hey, I love my morning chest freezer cold plunge—listen to my podcast on that topic! We are all good at fastening seat belts and brushing our teeth each day. But what about undesirable, stress-producing behaviors that have become habits to our detriment? We know that humans are wired to respond with a dopamine burst to novel stimulation in our environment; in primal times it was a rustling in the bushes, today it’s the ding of text message. Consequently, a couple years ago, I bravely and proudly turned off all notifications and text message sounds on my phone. Oh yeah, but how many times do I reach for my phone over the course of a day—to see if I have any text messages, because my text messages don’t beep? OUCH! It’s hard to talk our way out of the negative aspects of technology.
I tried when I explained how I love my iPhone because I’m no longer bored when standing in line at the bank. Now I can be productive. Dr. Goldstein explains that he too loves technology and it can improve our lives in many ways, but we have to be mindful and disciplined in our use of technology. Yes, I know how importance your text messages and emails are, and obviously so do your friends who endure repeated distractions during live interactions in favor of you attending to your dings and buzzes.
We acknowledge that hyper-connectivity makes us tense and stressful, but have difficulty transforming to a new way of being because of the powerful force of habits. Dr. Goldstein explains how we can take control and experience more happiness and peace in daily life. First, actively relax when you notice the routine daily events that cause your body to body tense up (traffic, social media binges, contentious conversations). Second, retrain your attention away from multitasking or feelings of anxiety and into a relaxed state of present awareness. Third, when you fall off track and succumb to the distractions of modern life, forgive yourself, and invite yourself to begin your practice anew the next day or the next minute. Finally, repeat steps 1-3 for the rest of your life. Habit retraining requires repetition and endurance.
Dr. Goldstein has written books like Uncovering Happiness, The NOW Effect, Mindfulness Meditation, MSBR Every Day stands for (mindfulness based stress reduction). He operates the Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles with his wife Stefanie. They offer an awesome six-month intensive online Course in Mindful Living with expert guidance and group support. Slow down, relax, and listen carefully to this show.
What is the Center for Mindfulness? How can we use this in today’s busy life? How do you hone focus? [00:03:56]
We have trained ourselves to pull ourselves to distraction. [00:07:26]
How can we optimize our relationship with technology to get some freedom? [00:08:28]
We are addicted to stimulation. We don’t even need notifications for our messages. [00:14:38]
What would happen if I broke convention and did some self-reflection? [00:16:09]
The idea that we are separate from each other is an optical delusion of consciousness. [00:18:14]
Between stimulus and response, there is a space and within that space lies our power to choose our response. And within our response lies our growth and our freedom. [00:22:38]
The number one thing we can do is learn to actively relax our nervous systems. [00:23:31]
Are we really meant to be this stimulated? [00:27:09]
Is Brad’s habit of starting the day with his freezing dip a good way to start the day? [00:28:21]
How did an orange change Elisha’s life? [00:33:17]
The brain is always on the lookout for issues that can cause problems. [00:37:00]
Blame is often misdirected when we have an uncomfortable emotion. Venting is okay when you are not directing it at someone else. [00:38:20]
The second step is attending to things. Practice paying attention. [00:41:40]
There is surprising power of waiting/boredom. Imagine if you mastered restlessness and anxiety. [00:46:41]
A great meditation you can do is to soften your body and allow yourself to be aware of your breathing. Keep a notebook next to you and when a thought comes to you, jot that down. [00:52:24]
Step three is when you fall off the path and you find yourself not doing this stuff. Then forgive yourself for the time gone by. Begin again. [00:53:38]
Dr. Goldstein’s 6-month online mindfulness course, described here, begins in September. [00:56:09]
- Dr. Elisha Goldstein
- Intensive 6-month online mindfulness course
- Framingham Study
- Brad Kearns’ Chest Freezer Cold Therapy
“All we have to do to create a habit is to intentionally practice and repeat something and it becomes automatic.” – Elisha Goldstein
“The idea that we are separate from each other is an optical delusion of consciousness.” -Albert Einstein
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space and in that space lies our power to choose our response. And in our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor Frankel
“A habit is an intentional practice that your repeat until it becomes automatic.” – Brian MacAndrews
Brad Kearns: Welcome to the Get Over Yourself Podcast. This is Brad Kearns.
Elisha Goldstein: “Have a look at where in your regular life your body is bracing, because that’s telling you that you’re stressed in that moment.”
“So, if you can kind of find yourself with five minutes an opportunity to kind of settle in and softening your body and just taking a few deep breaths, that’s incredible practice to do.”
Brad Kearns: Hey listeners, I have an awesome and beautiful podcast for you from Dr. Elisha Goldstein; founder of the Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles, California. His wife, Stephanie, co-founder. They are doing some incredible work there, and this guy just hit me up out of the blue, with sort of an email pitch. We filled so many of these. “Hey, want to get on your podcast.” Yeah, yeah.
I noticed he was in LA and I like to do podcasts in person to make that connection. So, I said, “Hey, why not?” Didn’t really know what to expect. It didn’t have a lot of preparation going. I was squeezing him into a busy day with a couple of other podcast appointments of people that I go after and target and know and have an association with.
So, I just showed up a little late (sorry Elisha) into his beautiful center, and we went into one of the best discussions I have had in recent memory. And I think this guy is going to change my life, man. As he delivered his message in such a clear and impassioned manner, I felt like he was talking directly to me, which he was, because we were sitting across the table.
But man, this guy hit me in the ribs man, and was twisting the knife around. And it was such an awakening to realize our habitual use of technology that has become an addiction. We’re all familiar with this and we talk about it and complain about it, but it’s because we’ve created a habit. And we talk so often about creating positive habits like, “Hey, Brad Kearns, I jump in cold water every morning, it’s so awesome, it’s become a habit. I don’t even complain or cringe at the water. I go in there and do my breathing.” But then again, I reached for my phone, oh, guess what? I turned off all my notifications. Big deal, because I still reach for it habitually. It’s an automatic behavior.
Same with keeping the email window open and engaging throughout the day with email when in another window, I’m trying to focus on a peak performance cognitive task. Like write an article or do a research for a book or contribute something tremendous to the world rather than just clear my inbox.
This guy hit me hard, man, with a big smile and a warm, open, acceptance that one of the steps in healing is to accept that you’re not perfect and move on and try again, rather than self-flagellate and complain about it and commiserate with other people.
I’m telling you, this podcast is going to blow your mind. We jumped it up the line-up because at the end, he gave a little pitch for his course, that begins in September on a certain date and runs to December. I’m like, “All right man, you just jumped the line-up, not only because you brought a beautiful A-game, but because you have this intensive six-month guided course in mindfulness.” So, wow, take a look at the website, think about it, it could change your life.
What an honor and a privilege to sit with Dr. Elisha Goldstein. Enjoy the show about mindful living and breaking our habituation to technology. And also, forget about the technology, what about our anxious thoughts and our racing mind and all these things that we complain about in everyday life, and how good it will feel to take charge of your life again, and make some positive changes. Here’s how; we got step by step approach along with the beautiful commentary – Dr. Goldstein bringing the A-game.
Dr. Elisha Goldstein, the Center for Mindfulness here in West Los Angeles. So excited to join you and we have some important stuff to talk about, man, because we got issues today in modern world. I’m concerned about my own tendency for distractability and hyperconnectivity, which seems to be the opposite of mindfulness, which is your game and what you’re helping people with here. So, tell me how we can manage the challenges of high tech, modern life. We’ll go from there.
Elisha Goldstein: Okay. Well, that’s a great question Brad, and also probably the question of our time, I would say. Almost everyone, I would say is struggling right now with feeling overconnected and sort of obsessive compulsive with being pulled towards their tech and distracted. The number one thing that actually helps us, I think kind of get on the road of achieving success, peak performance is really starting to focus on honing attention again.
Like how do you hone focus? What’s the keys to the ability to begin to attend to what matters again? Because right now, we fall into this place of being fooled by what seems to be urgent notifications, something popping up on our phone or … actually, we don’t even need a notification anymore. Like one of the hacks that’s out there with our phones, is to turn off all notifications. Like turn off all notifications except for key notifications, so we’re not pulled towards our phone.
But what happens is, with a lot of people is, it’s all internalized right now. So, the programming is really there and it’s intense. So, our brain works off memories and it sees something in our environment or it has some kind of emotion, it pulls in or goes into the past to say, “What is this and how do I deal with it?” And then it kind of spits out a perception and an action after that.
So, what happens is we get now pulled towards our tech or distractability just by the mere programming. We don’t actually even need the environment anymore. We’ve kind of internalized that.
Brad Kearns: Right. This is a genetic hard wiring that we are wired to respond to novel stimuli in the environment. In the old days, in life or death survival times, it was because there was a rustling in the bushes, that we needed to be attentive to. And now, it’s the ding, we get the dopamine hit from the text message and try as we might, we’re still pulled to it.
Elisha Goldstein: Another thing to consider is, it’s not even just the dopamine hit. It’s not the need for stimulation, although, because we are addicted to stimulation. That’s no question. We’ve been programmed in that way as well. But part of it, it’s our underlying anxiety that we’ve created in our culture now. So, it’s more that we need to relieve the anxiety. So, you’ve heard these terms, FOMO – Fear of Missing Out or FOKU – Fear of Keeping Up. Right? And so-
Brad Kearns: Well, I haven’t heard the second one. Wait, what it that? F-O? FOKU!
Elisha Goldstein: Exactly. And so-
Brad Kearns: Hey, where have you been? You’re late again, FOKU.”
Elisha Goldstein: FOKU, got to keep up.
Brad Kearns: Fear of Keeping Up.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah.
Brad Kearns: Oh, my goodness.
Elisha Goldstein: And that’s sometimes more driving than the FOMO. Because now in this 24/7 world we’ve lived in for quite a while now, all we have to do to create a habit is intentionally practice and repeat something over time, it becomes automatic, right? We don’t need to pay attention anymore. So, the brain does that – it’s practice and repeat, so we create this habit. And then it says, okay. It kind of taps you and says, “You don’t need to pay attention, you don’t be conscious about this anymore. I’ll just do this for you automatically.”
So, now we are automatically in this kind of pool of 24/7 being on and again, just kind of being pulled towards distraction. How many people you know now … I mean you could kind of survey parents, you can survey anyone and say, how often do you just singularly attend to something? Right now? When you wash the dishes, do you wash the dishes? Are you washing the dishes while doing something else? While you’re working out, are you on the treadmill while watching TV or watching sports or CNN or something, or you’re just working out?
Like we were constantly pulled in many directions and so, we just train this in our minds now. We’ve trained this ability to just pull ourselves towards distraction. And then our culture kind of pulls us in that direction as well. Our environment, you see everyone else doing it. So, the brain says, “Oh, monkey see, monkey do. That’s what I’ll do.”
Brad Kearns: Yeah, well the social media app makers have very smart people spending hours and hours figuring out ways to prey upon these tendencies that we have. And so, they draw you in. One of the examples was that if you’re there to do a tidy little task on Facebook such as delete your account, the process of deleting your account is laborious because they know that you maybe going to get lazy and give up.
Same thing with accepting a friend. You are presented with options to consider another a couple of dozen choices and decisions to accept friends. And that’s done purposefully to continue to have you engage more time with the application.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah. And so, I think you hit the nail on the head one. And people are starting to realize this and this has been out in the news more – think of the past year or these confessions that have come out by all these-
Brad Kearns: Confessions, yeah.
Elisha Goldstein: They’re sort of confessions. And they’re confessions. And the interesting thing about creating technology in order to hook us, and so now we are a programmed culture at this point. But then you get those same people who say, you ask them, “Okay, well, what’s your rules with your kids when it comes to the tech that you’ve created?” “I don’t let them go on it.” And I’m a pro-tech person. Like I love technology. I was the guy in my graduate school, first year who is the only one sitting there with a laptop in a circle and people were kind of looking at me kind of funny. I went to a kind of an alternative graduate school.
So, I love technology. And I have to say in my own life, I’m constantly being curious about my own relationship with technology, and how I can kind of optimize it to get some freedom. I mean, I do interesting experiments which people here might kind of consider, which is just kind of leaving … and this would sound crazy in this day and age, right? To just leave your tech at home for I don’t know, a few hours or a day or something like that and just see what you notice.
What you start to see is maybe at times there’s this bracing that happens in the body. Like those phantom vibrations that can happen as well. But what I notice in my life is I start to relax a whole lot more. It’s really interesting. Like my body physically responds to me not having some distance. And that’s not to say that now we need to create distance from technology. No, we just need to kind of optimize our relationship to it.
In the world’s wisdom traditions for thousands of years, there’s been like a day of Sabbath, right? Just a day off is what they’re saying; just take a day off. And what would it be like? I’d just kind of be curious about what would it be like if everyone took a day off just once a week from their tech, and see what you noticed as just an experiment, and just see what you notice.
Brad Kearns: Right, and the idea of everyone doing it, then you’re not missing out, then you don’t have FOMO anymore. It’s like when you’re in Spain and the stores are closed from 2:30 to 4:15 all over the place, then there’s no advantage. But I think what happened here in this fast-paced culture, is someone realized that they can get a huge advantage if they open their store on Sunday, and then all hell broke loose and now here we are with the 24/7.
Elisha Goldstein: That’s exactly it.
Brad Kearns: And so, one person taking, I don’t know, I got to ask you – like I take time away from my email to go have fun and hang out on the boat one day and go for a hike, a detachment from my normal life. And then I come back and I’m slammed and overwhelmed, and it’s almost like it compromises some of the value of the vacation, because no one else stopped with me. They just piled it on.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, exactly. And at the same time, there’s this thought that I can’t take that time away because it’s going to be this again, this FOKU kind of coming up, right? Because when you get back, it’s going to be this mountain of stuff. So, people put these little reminders and these responders in their email basically saying like I’m taking … I mean, what would this be like, actually?
So, when people take time away, some people put reminders that say, “I’m going to be away for these many days, any emails that you’re sending, I’m not going to look it over. If this is important, I’m coming back on this day and send me the email when I come back.” Right? So, they’re not coming back to a mountain of things. “Or if this is important, you know where to get me if you know …” Something like that.
Brad Kearns: You know who you are.
Elisha Goldstein: You know who you are. You know my number, you can kind of get me or something like that. That’s another way of doing that, and I’d be curious … again, we’re just kind of breaking through what we think is possible because again, we’re programmed sort of into a box with our relationship with tech. And so, we can ask ourselves, “What would it be like to send a reminder, put a responder or email if I’m popping out for three hours saying, ‘If you’re sending this for the next three hours, I’m not going to be looking over these emails. If this is important, contact me after this time?’”
Brad Kearns: Yeah, you get those. Like Tim Ferriss talks about his batching of emails, and then the little responder says, “Sorry, I only check emails in the morning and in the evening, so you’ll have to wait.” And some of it, it’s a little hottie and you wonder if the person’s actually doing what they say they’re doing or they’re just projecting this image of productivity and greater discipline. So, that’s tricky too.
But yeah, I would like to figure out a strategy to kind of overcome. And I think what you said about the habit forming, that hit me pretty hard because if we’ve made this a habit, this hyperconnectivity, it’s literally out of our control because it’s a habit. We just reach for our phone and we look and we look and see if any text … “Okay, I turned off all my notifications on my phone.” “Oh, congratulations Brad.” But guess what, how many times do I reach for it a day? Probably a crap ton of times looking to see if I have any texts because I know the thing’s not going to ding if I have any texts.
So, it’s like I almost defeated the purpose. I get like a C minus instead of an A plus for turning off notifications, because we’re still addicted to the connection.
Elisha Goldstein: The stimulation, addicted to stimulation. And that goes to the point of, it’s not so much the notification anymore. I mean there are a lot of like great hacks that are coming out, like turn your phone into grayscale. I did that, that didn’t seem to make an impact for me. Or turn off all your notifications or these different things.
But the reality is, again, when it comes to habits, habits are things that are internalized. Our brain is wired to survive, right? It’s not wired to be happy. It doesn’t matter whether we’re happy or not. It doesn’t care. We’re wired to survive. Because if we don’t survive, we don’t have any chance of being happy anyway. If we’re happy, we don’t survive, what’s the point?
So, it’s constantly checking to make sure we’re okay. But there’s a part of our brain actually that’s just monitoring how we’re doing to keep us into balance. And if there is like an imbalance that’s going on, let’s say an anxiety that’s happening, an underlying anxiety, or a thought comes up, “Hey, you might be missing something,” then what it’s going to do, is it’s going to create that thought is going to create … and feeling’s going to create an action. And that action is going to be to check.
So, you don’t need the notification anymore. The program has already happened. So, all that says is, “Oh my God, I’ve really been programmed. It’s internalized now. I’m doing this without the notifications at this point.”
So, that’s why when I say like, and it might be hearty to say, set an autoresponder to say, “I’m going to be gone for …” Or if you’re on social media, Facebook, “I’m not checking this for a day.” Basically, hopefully what you’re doing to some people, some people will be pissed off. Like, “What do you mean you’re not checking this for a day? You’re not part of our culture? You’re breaking free at our culture.” But be that rogue person because you might actually be inspiring some people too. Like think of it in that coin.
Sometimes I lead courses into the workplace, and people are in their cubicles and we’re … I do a lot of work with specific types of understanding stress and certain meditations that help support people with balance, emotional balance with peak performance, stuff like that. And some people say, I don’t feel comfortable closing my eyes and doing this meditation because some people are going to think like, what are they doing – just resting or sleeping or that kind of thing?
I say to them like, “Consider this for a second; is it possible that you actually might be inspiring some other people around you to take a break or take some time to themselves for a moment, and you might actually be supporting people? So just hold that in mind while we now engage this practice.” Something like that.
So, we’re kind of saying breaking free from what our mind says, the initial judgment, the snap judgment of this is not okay to say, “Well, what if it was okay or what else would happen? What are some other alternatives that might happen if I did this thing? If I broke from the convention that’s here right now. If I broke from the matrix that we’re in.”
Brad Kearns: Arianna Huffington with her promoting of sleep, when she was head of Huffington Post, she would leave her curtains in her … the glass windows to her office, she’d leave the curtains open and go take a nap so that people could see her taking a nap, and that was an accepted part of the workplace culture there – with a “do not disturb” sign on the door. Like, “Hey, are you taking a nap? It looks like you’re taking a nap.”
It was like a purposeful thing to like show that the leader was on nap time. And therefore, I mean, what a great message to send if you have that chance as a leader, but even as a random person, closing your eyes at your desk and they see you doing that a few times a day. They can ask questions and starts to pick up some momentum.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, maybe more of our leaders should be doing that, because they set an example of shifting our implicit biases of what’s okay and what’s not okay. Albert Einstein had this quote that had been attributed to him that said … and I’ll maybe butcher this, but this is in my words, but that this idea that we’re separate from each other is an optical delusion of consciousness.
What that means is, and if you get down to the quantum physics of it, with what we’re starting to find is, we’re mostly made of space. And there’s kind of this energy flowing between people here. And so, when your actions or your thoughts or the way you are, influences the people around you and you see researchers like Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler at UC San Diego, and there’s another university – who took research from this study called the Framingham study, which was measuring heart disease. And what they found – for over a 50-year longitudinal study, when they took the data from that and they said, “Well, let’s see what happens when we look at relationships.” And initially they did it around obesity, and they found that … you might know this study.
Brad Kearns: The clusters of obesity.
Elisha Goldstein: That obesity is contagious up to three degrees. So, you see your friend eating a particular way, you go, okay, you get a kind of permission to eat a particular way or not exercise and you know, this type of thing back and forth, three degrees. So, then they took that same study and that same data and did it for happiness, and they did it for loneliness. And they found the same outcome that happiness, positive emotions and a general level of life satisfaction is also contagious up to three degrees, and so as loneliness; contagious up to three degrees.
So, it’s really interesting when we consider that when you say Arianna Huffington is sitting there in her … I know the Huffington Post apparently was also famous for just having … what did they have? They had-
Brad Kearns: Free donuts?
Elisha Goldstein: Like within their office space, they had areas to sleep basically. Areas to rest.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, pods. Like in Google’s building, these sleep pods now. Really fancy like spaceship. You just close the door and you’re in this pod.
Elisha Goldstein: I’ve seen some of those, amazing. And so, we can also begin to, with our own actions and behaviors, taking time out or paying attention to one person and listening to them. Rather than that just being healthy for us and helping us relax, our actions are contagious up to three degrees. And behavioral contagion is a really well-researched area now, at the same time. There’s a ton of research around our behaviors, influence are contagious to other people.
Brad Kearns: I mean, we sense these or we believe these in a casual manner, that going out with these two friends, they’re kind of negative, they’re kind of downers. You feel drained when you leave the engagement, but now we have the science backing this up, saying you hang around people who are negative attitude, it’s going to push into you.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, absolutely. There was a study done years ago by a guy named Antonio Damasio out in University of Southern California, and actually some others prior to that, that showed that when you’re looking at a monkey picking up a peanut, and putting it to its mouth, the part of your brain that’s involved with taking your arm and doing the same thing lights up.
So, you see some of the neuroscience behind it. You see some of the behavioral contagion around it. So, there really is this sense of interconnection. And so, I just said, consider this for a second, is that whatever you do for yourself that’s around your own health and wellbeing, whether it’s around your distractability and trying to hone your attention to be able to focus on what matters, intentionally start training that, you’re not just doing that for yourself, you’re doing that for the people you spend most of your time with. You’re doing that for the ripple effects of their friends and friends and friends.
So, your actions are way greater than what you think they are. That’s some of the science about why everything you do matters.
Brad Kearns: I’m thinking of the either good example or bad example I set for my kids or out with my girlfriend. If both people have their phones, we’re going to go back and forth disengaging because I don’t want to be bored. So, I’m going to pull my phone out if someone’s on their phone and how to transcend that would be kind of … I guess you work on yourself and set an example in all ways and have your discipline use of technology and then it’s likely that’ll rub off with people around you.
Elisha Goldstein: We can think of it like that. I mean the number one thing really to do … like a Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor – you’re familiar with him. He has a great quote that’s been attributed to him that said, “Between stimulus and response, there’s a space. In that space lies our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
So, really the first step to be able to step into that space and get more familiar with it between the stimulus and response, because the space is like tiny.
Brad Kearns: It can be quick, sometimes.
Elisha Goldstein: It’s not even there.
Brad Kearns: “Bom! Bom! Hey, you ass hole, you just cut me off.”
Elisha Goldstein: Or, “There’s my phone, let me pick it up and check, even though I just checked it 15 seconds ago.” I think the statistic right now is the average person is on their phone 11 hours a day or something like that.
Brad Kearns: I saw that. Yeah, the kids, they’re referencing the number of text messages the average teenager sends is mind blowing. Yeah.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, and it’s stressful to be interacting that much. It’s brain overload. So, the number one thing we can do as a precursor to support us and to widening that space, is really to learn how to actively relax our nervous systems. A very simple way of doing that, like that anyone can do anywhere, anytime without taking like 30 minutes out to sit and do a meditation or go get a massage or something, is to just be on the lookout. It’s very simple. This is one of the first things I teach people in the six-month immersion online course called A Course in Mindful Living. Is be on the lookout where in your regular life your body is bracing.
So, where is your body tensing? Because your body is now holding the patterning and the programming, the automatic programming. And so, where is it bracing, because that’s telling you that you’re stressed in that moment. And so, if you’re stressed, you’re going to kind of make more mistakes typically. I mean, a little bit of stress is okay, a lot of stress, that’s where we get into trouble, right? And so, if your body is bracing, the first step is to actively soften your body. If you do this, like let’s say three times a day, you just do it three times a day … and this again, this takes no time out.
Or maybe there’s tension in your shoulder, you notice it’s really intense and so you actively choose to just stretch that area to open it a little bit, you’re going to notice some big changes. You’re going to be a little bit more aware in your day. You’re going to start widening that space between stimulus and response to be more open to the choices and possibilities that are there for you in the moment. Like, “Do I need really to check this again after I checked 15, 30 seconds ago? Or do I want to pay attention to my kid who’s trying to talk to me right now, or my partner who’s trying to like talk to me right now? Telling me something really emotional, that’s an important part of their day or whatever it is.”
You’ll get better at paying attention to what matters. In order to hone our attention, the first step is learning how to really relax our bodies.
Brad Kearns: So, noticing those times when you’re bracing going, “Oh, there I go bracing.” I guess I do that in traffic a lot or on tough conversations on the phone or something.
Elisha Goldstein: Some people do that the moment they wake up in the morning. Their body is bracing from the alarm. If they have kids in the house or a partner or a tough conversation, it’s right there in the morning. Some bad news in the morning, whatever it is. Yeah, the anticipation of the traffic and getting out on time, the email, the mountain of emails. Sometimes when you think you’re having fun and it’s getting soothing through flipping through the variety of apps, really kind of check in with yourself and see how your body is doing in that moment. Your body might be kind of stressed trying to get out that 10-line text that you’re trying to beat out before you have to go somewhere else or whatever it is.
Brad Kearns: Before the light changes.
Elisha Goldstein: Exactly. So, just check in. Your body’s keeping score of it and it’s kind of telling you how you’re doing in a way that your thoughts may not realize in that moment. And the first step is to just actively … first of all, what you start noticing as you’re doing it, is it’s enjoyable. You start really enjoying relaxing your body. Your car rides are better, your relationships are better. You feel better in your life when you’re more relaxed. It’s our natural state to feel kind of more calm and balanced. We just happen to live in a very frenetic world that really activates our nervous systems in major ways right now.
Brad Kearns: Then we crash and burn and are fried at the end of the high stimulation day.
Elisha Goldstein: Totally. Are we really meant to be this stimulated? It’s just a good question to ask. And maybe that’s just too abstract, actually. “Am I okay being this stimulated?” is the question. Check in with yourself like, “How do I feel throughout the day? Does it feel good to be this stimulated throughout the day or do I need more moments of actively kind of balancing, relaxing my body or relaxing my mind?” Inevitably, that’ll help us focus more. That’s the step two; to focus more on what matters.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, I notice getting older, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t stay without interruption in front of a computer screen for four straight hours or six straight hours where maybe 20 years ago, I could because I just had more juice in the tank. So, I guess that’s one of the good things about growing old, is I need that downtime. And I noticed these times in my day, where I just have to sit there for a couple of minutes and … this probably never occurred to me back when I was a kid just running around, but we didn’t have the technology either. So, maybe I’m just trying to recalibrate to something that’s natural.
Are you big on a morning routines, because I’ve talked a lot on the podcast? And I’m a big enthusiast of cold therapy and I start my day jumping into the cold tub and I feel like it’s a great meditative experience because the water’s so cold. I have to focus on breathing in order to not succumb to the cold and spend the proper amount of time in there. But the main benefit I’ve noticed that’s sort of less tangible, is that I know that my day starts with this trip down outside into the tank and its sort of a ritual just like pouring coffee. But it’s something that I am in control of, and it shows that I have discipline and focus to be able to jump into the water because it’s kind of cold.
Elisha Goldstein: You have a cold tank in your-?
Brad Kearns: I have a chest freezer. So, you listeners that haven’t heard me pound this down your throat to date, you go on YouTube and search for Brad Kearns-Chest Freezer Cold Therapy. So, you have a big chest freezer, the top opening, like you put meat in and I fill it with water. I plug it in on a timer, not all the time. Otherwise, it’d be a big block of ice, right? So, it goes for two, three hours a day and the water is about 38 degrees.
So, you open up the lid, you unplug it of course, and you jump in and you have a ready-made icy cold river like the fins did in the winter and then running back to their sauna. And you can do contrast therapy where you go back and forth from the tub to a sauna to a Jacuzzi. And it’s very relaxing. But every morning-
Elisha Goldstein: I think I might have to get myself one of those. That sounds really great.
Brad Kearns It’ll change your life, it’s so fun. And of course, there’s hormonal and cognitive benefits, blood circulation, all those physical benefits you get from exposure to cold. Like what they’re doing in the cryotherapy chambers. But to me, that stuff’s great, but I’m also feeling like I’m a person that maybe needs that structure and that pattern where this is part of my day along with morning exercises.
So, I do the exercises. I jump in the tub and that pair, which doesn’t take a long time. So, I know I can do it every day. It’s doable. But it seems to maybe predict success later on with managing my email inbox when I should be writing a distinct cognitive focus period.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah. You know what, I think that’s a great example of something that people feel like is doable in the morning, if they have kind of a cold tank that they can have. Because they can just go jump out there and-
Brad Kearns: Cold shower is fine too.
Elisha Goldstein: Cold shower is fine too.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, something’s that’s a disciplined and mindful health practice, that this is what I do.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah. I have no doubt in my mind that doing what you think is beneficial and healthy to your body, right in the morning when you wake up, sets up your day in a successful way. Because you already feel like – at the very least of it, aside from whatever it’s doing to you physically, you’re sending yourself the message right in the morning that I care enough about myself to take care of myself. So, you’re sending this idea of like confidence and self-care, that right in the morning … For me, my kids wake me up like at, I don’t know, 5:30 in the morning, six in the morning.
Brad Kearns: Healthy kids.
Elisha Goldstein: They’re up or my animal – it could be one of them. So, the morning’s a little bit harder for me. Although, I totally believe in that like personally. So, for me, what I have to do is I have to intersperse it throughout the day. And so, I make sure that my day is kind of flexible. Whether it’s doing multiple short meditations in the day. And again, people have kind of a misnomer about meditation, is that it has to be some 20, 30-minute practice, an hour or something like that. Because a lot of the traditions teach like you should be doing like two 20-minute, two 30-minute, two 45-minute practices throughout the day, to really get the benefit of it.
But really, again, what you’re trying to do is create a habit, a certain habit of mind. So, again, intentional practice and repetition creates that. So, if you can kind of find yourself with five minutes in the day or 10 minutes or something – and again, this could be in a replacement of a different routine that’s more automatic for you, like checking your email for 10 minutes as an example, right? So, just kind of swapping one of those out for an opportunity to kind of settle in and just be aware of your body and notice where the tensing is and softening your body and just taking a few deep breaths. That’s an incredible practice to do.
Brad Kearns: Dr. Elisha Goldstein says it’s okay to do a five-minute mini meditation. Oh, are you too busy for that? I don’t think so. The two times 30 minutes a day to sit quietly and think of nothing, but your breathing, that’s a tough challenge man. But a mini meditation of five minutes with thumbs up from the doctor, go for it. That’s beautiful. Instead of your … I don’t know, you could replace a cigarette break, that might be a good swap right there too.
Elisha Goldstein: Again, if one of the ideas is to hone your attention, you could, if you have the ability to, make breakfast and just focus on making breakfast.
Brad Kearns: Oh yeah. On your information there, the biographical info, there was something about a tomato that changed your life. Is that-
Elisha Goldstein: An orange, yeah.
Brad Kearns: An orange. You’re peeling and eating the orange. What was that all about?
Elisha Goldstein: Oh, man. Well, okay. So, this was a time in my life where I was working hard and playing a whole lot harder, abusing my mind and body with tons of drugs and alcohol. It was a really intense time. I took a month away and I was in the corporate world and I took a month away to this retreat, and this guy introduced me to … and I was stressed, and I also had a lot of emotions. And so, this guy introduced me to an orange. He introduced me to an orange. He said, “i, this orange is Harry and I’m …” He introduced me to an orange, and he said, “Here, just try this out. Like just trust me. Like just take this as an experiment, play with this. Just follow my instruction here.”
He said, “Hold this orange.” And he said, “What do you see when you’re holding this orange?” And I said, “Well, it’s orange, it’s round. I don’t know, it has some dimples in it.” And he goes, “Okay, now just follow my instructions.” He said, “Now, just smell it. Don’t tell me.” He just had me come to my senses one by one as like a single tasking type of experience. Hearing it, smelling it and beginning to unpeel it. And as I did that, for the first time, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before except maybe in some slow-motion video; I saw the zest pop out from the actual peel of the orange. And as I did that and peeled it away, he said, “Well, what do you see?” And I started seeing the membranes of the orange and the different colors.
So, I was kind of bringing my senses to it, my full attention to this experience. And then as I peeled the orange away and eventually put it in my mouth, he said, “Now, just bite through it and see if you can be aware of where the taste is on your tongue. Like where does your tongue pickup taste?” And I kind of tasted it and the juice was starting to flow and quite literally, it was the most amazing orange, most flavorful orange I’d ever tasted in my entire life.
He said, “How do you feel?” I said, “I feel relaxed, I feel good.” And it made me realize that it’s not like, meals as an example, it’s not the food. It’s really my relationship with it and how I’m paying attention to it sometimes, that brings out the wonderful experience and even the flavors that are there, my enjoyment. And if we can be aware of more moments of enjoyment in our day and we can allow ourselves to just kind of linger in them, because they’re all there. We’re just not to them. We’re more attending to all the things we’ve been talking about here. What would be different in our days, weeks and months ahead if we were more aware of the joyful moments that are out there? What would that do for our physiology? What would that do for us mentally? What would that do for our happiness? And would it inspire others to do the same?
Brad Kearns: I would argue that it would, and instead, we’re a lot of times in arguing conflict space, and I noticed that the most heart-breaking thing to me, is when you’re arguing about something that would be by all accounts be perceived as wonderful. So, the couple’s arguing about which hotel to stay on their vacation. It’s like, “Really? Wait a second, you’re taking a vacation, you’re going to a nice place, and then you’re bickering about a nuance of this opportunity. You could be arguing about getting evicted from your apartment, right?” I mean, that might be a more understandable time to engage and have the stress and the emotions come up. But no matter how we’re doing, even if everything’s great and my kids are healthy, that’s high on my list of things that I wouldn’t want to complain about … there’s something else we’re going to find to occupy our high-stress pattern.
Elisha Goldstein: Well, because our brain’s always on the lookout for what the problem might be.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, survival.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, and it’ll look into the past to see like, how do I measure up and fix this problem, and then it might say what are the potential issues that this problem might cause? And so, we think of the worst-case scenario that could possibly be there. That triggers our nervous system and says, “Oh my God, this is a potential worst-case scenario.” And so, we start kind of going into fight or flight or freeze mode with our nervous system. And then, what that does, is again, skews our perception and says, “What I need to do is really soothe myself, so I’m going to check this right now.” And we reach for our phone and that starts soothing us-
Brad Kearns: Because it’s a habit.
Elisha Goldstein: Because that’s the habit. That’s the habit. We didn’t think to do that; our body just knew to do that. In the same way, it knows how when a bowl of soup is in front of us to grab the spoon and bring it to our mouth without thinking about it. Now, we do the same thing with certain unhealthy soothing techniques that really only amplify our stress. It may sooth us temporarily, but amplify our stress. And so, we have to be able-
Brad Kearns: I guess that’s a drug, alcohol, text message, obsessive checking. These are all going in that temporary soothing. I mean, we’re doing stupid shit for a reason. So, I guess it’s that we’re getting temporary payoff, but then, winding down into a bad pattern.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, and the question is a temporary bad payoff, and then what happens after that? If we have a partner who says like, “Why are you checking your phone so much?” or something like that, you start feeling a little shame, like something’s wrong with me. You’re uncomfortable of that shame, so you lash out at them. And you say like, “I can’t handle this,” and so we kind of blurt it out.
I think it was Brené Brown who had a really great definition of blame when she said it’s just an uncomfortable emotion that you just kind of like need to expel in some way. When you have an uncomfortable emotion, you need to expel it, so you blame it on to somebody else. And I thought that was a brilliant explanation. And so, that’s how we get in trouble in our relationships too.
Brad Kearns: Venting, right? You open up the vent. It’s a great word choice. And so, you’re just blowing off that hot steam that arrived from some other, maybe an interaction that was independent of who you’re venting to.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, venting at the expense of somebody else. Like putting it on them versus like, “I’ve just been so stressed, just got to tell you all about it.” It’s more of like, “And it’s your fault at the same time.”
Brad Kearns: Yeah, different. I mean, venting is healthy when you have that partner to commiserate with and you know that you’re getting their total support, and so you’re going to complain about something that happened and get validation and all that great stuff. But when you’re venting in that negative way, yeah, that’s tough.
I apologize on the air to Mia Moore, because I identify a couple of times where I vented and sort of was redirecting stress that came from another area. It’s a horrible practice and it’s super common. And we also kind of … there’s some level of acceptance where, “Oh, you just had a bad day, that’s why you came in and kicked the dog, and that dog didn’t deserve to be kicked. And there’s no excuse for it.” Right?
Elisha Goldstein: Well, there is that excuse.
Brad Kearns: There’s no justification for it.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, but what I would say is, and this is important for everyone to understand when it comes to relationships; we again, our brain again is wired to program things and to make them automatic. And so, we have certain patterns we’ve created with our partners in our relationships that are just automatic. They react a certain way, we react that way. Again, we don’t need to pay attention anymore because we’ve gotten used to these people. Our brain has frozen them-
Brad Kearns: We can do text message while we’re arguing and that same pattern – oh, mercy.
Elisha Goldstein: And so, the first step is really to be on the lookout again, in your relationship, where are you bracing? And then by doing that, the very moment you notice that, you’ve stepped into that space between stimulus and response. You’ve had a moment of mindfulness, I would say.
Brad Kearns: So, congratulations for noticing you’re being an asshole again, for real.
Elisha Goldstein: There you are, right there. And so, then you soften your body, and then in that moment of awareness, you can choose like, “Well, how do I want to pay attention? How do I want to relate to this person right now? Maybe I want to be curious about their experience versus telling them how I think their experience should be or what I think the right way is.”
In doing that, you create this opportunity to break out of the matrix again and create a moment of connection instead of a moment of disconnection. Disconnection is like a feeling of imbalance. It’s a feeling of unhappiness. When we feel connected, we feel more balanced, we feel more happy. And so, in our relationship, we want to move towards like, “Okay, well what’s something I’m doing right now that can kind of create connection?” And in order to do that, we need awareness. We need to pay attention. So, we need again, start training our ability to attend, and the first step there is learning how to relax.
Brad Kearns: The first step, so what’s the second step?
Elisha Goldstein: The second step is now attending.
Brad Kearns: Attending to it.
Elisha Goldstein: So, now, it’s like I’m relaxing, now, what do I want to pay attention to? So, now I’m starting to kind of attend for a little bit longer. Like again, we can start training our attention or retraining our attention in our life from the programming of the distraction and the distractability we’ve been experiencing that’s enhancing our stress, by just paying attention to one thing at a time just for a period of time. Just single tasking, instead of multitasking. That’s it.
Brad Kearns: Just as training, the orange is a perfect example of something to do your work on.
Elisha Goldstein: Perfect. Yeah. I was actually hired not long ago by a company-
Brad Kearns: Sunkist oranges, this show is sponsored by-
Elisha Goldstein: That would be good. You’ll see me on the commercial with big a soft orange in the middle of my mouth. But by a beverage company that was asking me, does meditation and tasting this beverage have anything in common? Is there any connection there? I said, “Well, as long as it’s tasting, sure, absolutely.” And so, I led a whole bunch of people in tasting this beverage in a particular way to bring in their senses to it, so you could do something called meditasting. And so, play off that word.
So, we can kind of bring our attention to single tasking with anything. Whether it’s tasting food or a drink or whether it’s washing the dishes or whether it’s walking or whether it’s listening to our partners or our friends or whether in a business meeting instead of … And this is a huge crime in business right now, where there’s business meetings that can last like two, four, six hours, and people are sitting there on their phones like kind of answering emails and doing stuff like that.
But, what’s happening is the inefficiency is huge because they’re not actually paying attention to the meeting. And also, what they’re training the brain in doing, again, is multitasking and distractability. And so, if they just kind of put it down, soften their body, what they’d find is they’re more relaxed and they’re actually training their mind and they’re integrating and taking in more of what’s happening with their partner, with their friend, with the meeting. They’re creating a feeling of connection which is healthy and associated with happiness and wellbeing. And so, yeah, we can connect with ourselves, we can connect with others. The first step is relaxing the nervous system, learning how to pay attention, just practicing paying attention on purpose.
Brad Kearns: Dang! I’m also seeing the related problem of the two, four, six-hour meeting that’s boring as heck, and so, you’re compelled to whip out your phone. And I’m raising my hand like, “I’m that guy.” Like I don’t like to be bored and I’m so happy to have my phone when I’m standing in a line at the bank because then, I don’t feel that frustration of wasting my day standing in line, because I’m doing something, I’m catching up on email.
But then you keep going down that path and I can reference several times where I’ve been in a meeting and doing my own thing because the pace of the meeting wasn’t what I deemed to be productive or I was bored off my ass. So, then we’re going into a bad pattern where we whip out the device anytime that we haven’t obtained the desired level of stimulus.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, we’ve just kind of done the program. I would argue that the meetings wouldn’t need to be four and six hours if people were paying attention. They could be much shorter.
Brad Kearns: I mean honestly, like if I’m in charge of the meeting and I see one person on their phone, that’s a great chance to recalibrate and say, “Hey bud, do you want to come up and should we do your presentation next, because clearly your bored?” I mean, that happened in third grade, and we’ve forgotten about it now.
I took my son to UCLA when he was in high school. He wanted to go to UCLA. He’s at UCLA now, and we went into a Greek classics class. We just bursted into the room and there was a class going on, “Hey, check this out. Let’s go sit in the back.” And there was two thirds of the kids had a device and even a laptop open doing other stuff, and they were scattered all over this large lecture room where they could have crammed into the first three rows, and the professor was going on with a slide show.
It was kind of boring, it was low energy. And I walk out of there, I’m like, here’s my thing, if I’m the professor, first of all, I’m going to say, “Here’s your choice, bail if you’re going to use a device or come to the first three rows, and I’m going to rock your world and give you value added with a super funny, hilarious, memorable, fast-moving lecture that’s going to help you learn this stuff.” Because when I went to college at UC Santa Barbara, I remember a handful of those professors, they would get standing ovations after their thing, because we were so captivated by what they had to say and the way that they said it, and the enthusiasm that they had. And then you go to other classes and they’re boring as heck and you’re whispering and passing notes and all that stuff.
So, it’s like it’s on the professor for being that boring that some dude had to … he had a great snowboard video. I was right in his line of sight on his laptop, and this guy was shredding down the helicopter skiing.
Elisha Goldstein: That’s way more stimulating.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, and it wasn’t a ski resort. It was just powder snowboarding in the Greek classics class at UCLA. But the whole thing was enlightening to me about how messed up we are on all directions.
Elisha Goldstein: I would argue this, I wrote a blog quite a while ago called The Surprising Power of Waiting. And the intention there was, yes, we are addicted to stimulation and so, we feel bored. And as kids, we’re kind of trained, that you feel bored, go do something else, figure it out.
So, sometimes I tell my kids, they go, “Dad, I’m bored.” I’m like, “There’s a real power in boredom. It’s good to get used to being bored sometimes,” because what’s underneath boredom is anxiety, it’s a restlessness. Like, “I got to be doing something else. This isn’t good enough right now. I got to be doing something.” So, imagine this, imagine if you mastered restlessness, and anxiety. Imagine if you created mastery over restlessness and anxiety, and restlessness and anxiety no longer were a source of suffering. Like you can use stress again as a motivation. I don’t want to get rid of stress. Stress is really healthy. It’s part of being human.
At the same time, it has these … after a certain amount of time, the results go down and down, and so depleting results. But if you weren’t controlled by anxiety, if restlessness no longer controlled you, but instead, you can be aware of it and then choose what you want to do in the moment, you would be way more grounded and balanced and focused and you would feel like a great sense of personal control, which is associated with feeling happy in life.
So, what’s the goal here? Is the goal like to keep busy and engaged or is the goal to just feel good and feel happy, and feel connected in this world? Also, productive and all of these things that we want. Like to be in control of our lives.
So, our emotions, the center part of our brain is the greatest filter for our thoughts and our actions. When we feel a particular way … we can have the same event happen to us – if we feel like really down and depressed or anxious, we’re going to perceive it one way. If we feel like … we just came into like Publishers Clearing House, just paid us millions of dollars and we had that same event that happened, it would be water off a duck’s feathers. Same event, depending on how we’re filling. So, if we had mastery over our emotions, we would feel a great sense of control in our lives, and that would be the source of a very enduring happiness.
Brad Kearns: So, if I’m feeling restless in line at the bank-
Elisha Goldstein: There you go.
Brad Kearns: … and I’m going to put my phone away and just acknowledge my restless state, and then do something about it, which could be noticing the artwork on the wall, the banker carrying … starting a conversation up or what?
Elisha Goldstein: No, here’s what I would do. First, you have to tell yourself, “I’m not doing nothing right now,” because that’s the argument that’s coming to your mind. “I don’t want to waste my time. Like I’m going to check my phone because maybe I might be missing out on something, or I can keep up with something.” To bring us back to where we started from. I’m not doing nothing. Actually, I’m training probably the most important … I’m creating the greatest sense of mental fitness right now by being aware of where the restlessness and discomfort is in my body, being curious about it. So, connecting with myself. Remember, connection is the foundation of feeling happy. And seeing if I can soften around it and seeing if I can kind of open around a little bit, take a deep breath, expand it may be, like play with it, play with this feeling and see if you can come into a place of feeling okay in that moment.
Because if you felt okay and good, like okay, so then you can grab your phone or whatever. But do it from a place of consciousness, intention, attention. Don’t do it from a place of impulse and compulsivity and obsession and stuff like that. That’s the first step. You have the greatest opportunity … and we’re going to get a lot of kickback on this from, “What are you talking about? Nothing wrong with me on my phone.” That’s fine.
But I would argue that like, just consider this for a second. If you had mastery over your emotions, waiting gives you a great opportunity for emotions to arise. That restlessness, that anxiety, whatever, that discomfort and see if you can identify where that lives in your body, and be aware of it and soften around it, extended it. See if you can create mastery around that.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, I reference many times in life (I’m sure you’ll have the same examples) where you have some downtime, and these incredible insights come to you. And I have this spiral notebook. I mean, I’m a writer and I have my laptop is where I work, right? And I’m trying to do everything digitally, but once in a while, I’ll be sitting in the airplane gate, I’m not going to get my laptop out because I don’t want to bother the 12 minutes I’m waiting till they call my row. But I’ll get the spiral notebook out and I’ll jot down some notes in a relaxed state, knowing that I don’t have much time.
So, I’m not going for this four-hour binge where I’m going to sit and be productive and have my coffee steaming off the desk like a real writer. No, I’m just going in and just feeling what’s coming out. And a lot of times, that will represent the centrerpiece and the most important insights that lead to many, many pages of a book. But they came out because I didn’t force it, and I just was relaxed and letting it flow.
Elisha Goldstein: Oh yeah, totally. Well that’s true. When you’re relaxed, you’re more open to inspiration.
Brad Kearns: More open to inspiration, sure.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, to being inspired by something. And I know as someone who’s been writing blogs for 10 years and written five books, it’s always the best when it comes from me being inspired by something. When I have to try and really force something out, it’s never my best writing, it’s never the most interesting thing I write. And it will get the least likes that are out there. Mostly, I create some clever title or something like that. But when I’m inspired, it’s like, “Ooh, this is it.” Like when you’re able to relax, soften into it, you’re inspired.
A great meditation to do by the way, if anyone’s interested in it, is just to do like just a regular breathing meditation where you soften your body. You just allow yourself to be aware of your body naturally breathing, but keep a notebook next to you.
When a thought comes up to you, a creative thought, pop out of the practice and jot that thought down and then go back into it. Because when you allow yourself to go into a state of just kind of, let’s say, just basic meditation like that, you’re dipping beneath the operating system a little bit, the programming that’s been kind of soft wired into you, I would say, through just growing up in this world and culture. And you’re dipping beneath that, and beneath that, sometimes is some really fertile ground, some really creative ideas, some really kind of inspiring things.
In doing this practice, you want to capture them and write them down and then bring it back. Some people would argue that, “Well, if they’re really that important, just kind of leave them there and they’ll come back to you or something.” But I would say just capture them, write them down.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, then you clear your head for further meditation.
Elisha Goldstein: It could be that.
Brad Kearns: So, the step one is to actively relax, notice the places where you’re bracing. And then step two is attend to it and train yourself to overcome this distractability and multitasking tendencies, and just relax into it. So, is there a step three?
Elisha Goldstein: I’d say step three is that when you fall off the path and you find yourself not doing this stuff, even though you had the intention and commitment to do it, that you forgive yourself for the time gone by. So, step three is forgive. Forgive yourself for the time gone by, because the past is the past, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can learn from it. So, investigate, like why you fell off, like what happened? Did you get sick or did you just kind of forget about it and fell into different old patterning, stuff like that.
Then just invite yourself to begin again, because now you’re in that space between stimulus and response again, and you can just say, “I’m present, I can just begin again. No big deal. I fell off the bike, I’m going to get back on.”
I would say the final step, step four, is to just repeat step three indefinitely and then, you’ll be right on your way to mastery.
Brad Kearns: Wow, that’s really big in the diet, fitness, body transformation scene. As we all know; the failure rate of dieting is 99%. But they think that that’s overstated because people drop out. In other words, 1% is not even that good. It’s worse than that.
But when you fail and you fall off the wagon, people just take that and they get discouraged and so they have less resolve, less resiliency to continue. And so, it’s like kind of a self-defeating thing rather than saying, “Oh, you blew your diet this weekend at the State Fair, let’s start Monday.” And for some reason, that’s not sticking, like it seems obvious. But why can’t people get that forgiveness part?
Elisha Goldstein: I would say, there’s a middle step that’s important there, which is to investigate like what happened. Like why did I eat that cake or that apple fritter at the State Fair? Whatever it might be, right?
Brad Kearns: Because my diet was too stressful and I hated it in the first place, etcetera, etcetera.
Elisha Goldstein: I was highly stressed, I was riddled with negative thoughts and I got caught in the autopilot and I went to self-soothing.
Brad Kearns: You’re a quote machine, you know that man? This stuff, Brian, he’s the audio guy that pulls off. This is the best I’ve ever heard described what a habit is. “It’s an intentional practice that you repeat until it becomes automatic and then it becomes unconscious.”
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, it becomes a program.
Brad Kearns: Beautiful. I feel like you should be a recurring guest on the show because this stuff was just fabulous. I really appreciate your game here. So, let’s maybe describe what you got going on here at the center or on your intensive online course for people.
Elisha Goldstein: Yeah, I would just say that the biggest thing is really this … what I found is, in doing all the things that we’ve been talking about, is what’s hardest for people is the endurance part. To kind of make it last. You have to make a commitment, you have to practice and repeat something over a period of time to make it actually a habit. And so, I realized that people need time in order to create a habit. The more complex the habit is really, the more time we need. So, that whole like 28 days or 21 days to create a habit, that’s okay if you’re like just kind of drinking water or something as a habit, something kind of simple. But if it’s something more complex, you need more time.
Then, because of this optical delusion of separateness you and I had been talking about, it actually takes like people that you surround yourself with, who are inspiring to you – that can make it easier. If you had a tribe around you who were all doing the things that you wanted to do, that would naturally lift you up, and help you create motivation and permission to do this type of stuff.
So, what I did, is I created a six-month online immersion mentorship program. I call it a coaching program called A Course in Mindful Living. And basically, what happens is, in doing that, we’re trying to support people in doing exactly what you and I were talking about today; helping them learn how to actively relax their nervous systems, helping them focus, helping them be more aware in their lives, and helping them learn how to self-soothe during the difficult times and feel more connected and balanced.
The payoff of that, is we’re more in control of our lives, we pay attention to what matters more, and inevitably, we support a greater sense of resiliency and happiness in our lives. And that’s at home and at work. And so, we integrate coaching throughout the program. So, people are assigned a particular coach, they a one to one connection within a group connection with, and they have access to engaging these coaches regularly throughout the program. And they go through a really systematic six-month program that’s surrounded by community.
So, the intention is that, throughout the program, they connect with people. Locally, they can press a button and find people in their area if they want to, but they connect with people throughout the program and they start to develop relationships with them. And even if they’re online relationships, the very touches they give to these people on a regular basis, naturally starts to program this sense within their minds that they’re supported and they have a community of inspiring people around them, that helps support the commitment that they want to make.
So, that’s the six-month program. The next one, I think the registration starts September 24th.
Brad Kearns: So, it’s timed, you’re doing it together.
Elisha Goldstein: We do it all together, the whole time. So, yeah, September 24th, and then the actual course begins October 15th.
Brad Kearns: Oh, my goodness. We’ll have to put this podcast out before that. We’re going to jump the line-up.
Elisha Goldstein: I guess I threw those dates out there, yeah.
Brad Kearns: Dr. Elisha Goldstein, fabulous stuff. I’m going to get a whole crew into the course. This sounds exciting. Thank you so much for spending the time on the show and I know you got to go to your next mindful appointment. So, glad to catch up to you.
Elisha Goldstein: Great, having you here Brad. Thank you.
Brad Kearns: Hey, have you heard of genetic testing by now? You probably have. Yes, for the first time in history, we are able at a simple and affordable transaction to basically spit into a plastic tube, mailed off and find out what your genes are all about.
I love working with dnafit.com, because it’s so simple. You get a wonderful infographic report, which is easy to understand. You don’t have to wade through a lot of science. Yes, you’re going to get a detailed printout of many, many pages talking about the interactions of the various genes that are present and expressed in your body or not and how that affects your health. But the one-page infographic, that’s when we’re really talking, because you can get actionable tips and insights that you have an elevated need for vitamin D. That you have a low tolerance for alcohol or a high tolerance for caffeine or lactose or omega-3s or antioxidants.
The most important and life-changing insight that I received from my DNAFit test, was that my genetics reveal a muscular makeup that’s 54% power and strength, and only 46% endurance. In other words, I was banging my head against the wall as an endurance athlete for years and years, training in a manner that was not optimally aligned with my genetic predispositions.
Don’t waste 20 years like I did, not knowing what your genetics are all about when it comes to your dietary habits and exercise protocol. And because DNAFit loves the Get Over Yourself Podcast, they have created a special super-duper 30% discount off of all their products just by entering the code GOY30 when you’re checking out. And if you have already ordered the fun, exciting ancestry.com package, a great gift idea, where you can get your family involved and everyone sends in their spit sample and you can get your ancestry, “I’m 46% Ireland and 44%, England, Western Europe. I’m a pure breed.” I don’t know if that’s good or bad. With dogs, it’s bad. Probably with humans, not great either.
“But I am what I am,” said Popeye and I, and my sister and my brother and my mom and dad, all have our fun reports to look and see all this cool stuff at ancestry.com. So, check them out. But if you did an ancestry.com report, or if you’ve done a 23andMe genetic report, the new technology allows DNAFit to pull from the same central database and produce their fitness health diet, exercise, genetic infographic for much less cost because you’ve already gone through the DNA sequencing from the other sources.
So, check that out on DNAFit.com and leverage what you may have already done or get started with DNAFit and get your diet and exercise right with that awesome 30% discount; GOY30.
Brad Kearns: Hey listeners, here’s a wild idea. Eat good, clean, delicious, sustainably raised meat. That’s why we’re going to talk about Wild Idea Buffalo; 100% grass-fed and finished meat. These are animals that lived a fabulous healthy life out there on the great plains of South Dakota. Look at their website wildideabuffalo.com, and the homepage picture is going to blow your mind. These beautiful animals out grazing.
You probably know or have a basic awareness of the distinct contrast between the horrible, miserable feedlot existence of the conventionally raised animal, a grain-based diet filled with hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, and a body filled with stress hormones when they slaughter it violently. You may not want me to go deeper here, but I will. anyway. This is a quote from Jared Chrisman, primal health coach who’s in tight with the Wild Idea Buffalo people, introduced us. Thank you, Jared.
He says, “Slaughterhouse animals have been taken out of their natural environment and trailered to a feedlot where they stand in their own faeces, eating corn grain. And in some instances, expired human food like cookies and candy, sometimes with the wrapper still on. Then, once the animals are sufficiently fattened up, they trailer them again, putting them under more stress and they put them in shoots and kill them in mass quantities without regard to the animal’s wellbeing.”
So, this concept of having stress hormones running through the bloodstream as any hunter will tell you, is bad news. If you don’t get a clean shot on an animal and it suffers before it dies, you’re going to have a meat that doesn’t taste as good and has less nutritional value.
Then we have the contrast of the natural life of the Wild Idea Buffalo, whose diet is basically water, grass and sunshine, and supporting this goal of sustainability. They call it Beyond Organic. The company’s mission to let them graze on the pasture, not ruin the native lands of America, but just be in harmony with the environment.
When you taste an animal that’s been sustainably raised, you will notice the difference even if you’re a less sophisticated consumer like me, who just eats food for energy my whole life and goes out there and trains. Of course, I’m a little different now. But when I consume a pastured egg with that bright orange yolk, or when I bite into a grass-fed steak or some Buffalo Burger, which is one of the greatest meals. So simple to prepare, try it yourself. Give them a chance. I know you will be extremely pleased with the quality of food that you get from wildideabuffalo.com.
Speaker 3: Here’s what you do, follow Brad’s instructions carefully. Visit wildideabuffalo.com and hit the order button. They have organized everything for you with beautiful pictures. Click on monthly specials. Try their bundles, so you get free shipping. If you’re on a budget, hit the ground bison and burger section. They have all these different flavors and packages. And if you have pets and you care about them, you’ll click on the pet food section and order up for those beautiful animals too. They deserve to eat healthy food instead of garbage in a bag. Wildideabuffalo.com, check it out today. Thank you for listening.