Midlife and Mindful

Midlife and Mindful

As we get older and face uncertainty, we are able to gain more clarity about what really matters. For many of us, focusing on what matters also has the ability to lower stress.  With so much going on right now, it’s important to take care of ourselves.  How do we lower our anxiety in order to increase feelings of well-being? 

There are many amazing podcasts available and these are some of our favorites to help you decompress. Here’s a few DIY mindfulness ideas during the pandemic. 

Reviewed & Recommended:

Tara Brach podcast:  Listen to June 12th episode “Anger & Transformation

Tara is a psychologist, author, and proponent of Buddhist meditation.  She has the softest voice, and it makes me wonder if she’s ever been angry in her life. She says that when we get hijacked by anger, it makes us small.  This increases our suffering. However, we can awaken the awareness of anger towards transformation. She also has guided meditations. Definitely more on the woo woo side but she has great advice and is so calming. 

Model Health Show podcast: Listen to episode #417 “8 Ways to Manage Stress During Complicated Times  

Shawn Stevenson’s podcast is entertaining and educational.  In this episode, he has experts talk about different aspects of stress and the best ways to calm our system down. The first expert talks about how everyone has a stress threshold and that having the right mindset is key. He pointed out we have macro stressors (bereavement, a break-up, losing a job) and micro stressors which are a lower grade type of stress like a deadline or dealing with someone’s irritating personality.  He noted that when so many micro stressors are piled on, it can easily reach our threshold (hello, pandemic).  Shawn goes into detail about the science behind the health and how our body responds so you’re always learning something new.

Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish: Listen to episode #84 Jennifer Garvey Berger: "Creating Routine in Chaos"

The Knowledge Project is my favorite self improvement podcast.  His background is in cybersecurity from a top Canadian intelligence agency which may sound odd but trust me, he’s wicked smart and there’s a wide variety of topics. In a New York Times interview he said, “We are trying to get people to ask themselves better questions and reflect. If you can do that, you will be better able to handle the speed and variety of changing environments.” If you are a curious person, it’s a great way to nerd out and learn something new.  In this episode, he interviews Jennifer Garvey Gerger who is an author and works with leaders all over the world.  She writes about leadership and said that leaders need to lose their control over others during this time.  Leaders need to be able sit with someone who is scared or grieving without trying to fix or solve the situation. She goes on to talk about how to become a better listener.  She recommends getting curious about the other person and asking more questions.  She believes there will be a fundamental change in how we feel, how we consume and that we will be more interconnected as a result of the pandemic.  “We don’t want a new car.  We want to be loved and respected and the car just represents those feelings”.  My favorite line was this, “Answers are not available for the future. So what can I do today, tomorrow and next week to plant some of the seeds for a better future in some way?” I could listen to Shawn Parrish all day long.

5 Take-Aways to reduce stress:

Music: Music causes a biological response that can be calming so listen to your favorite mellow music.

Focus on helping others:  If you’re in a position to help someone, do it. It’s one way to feel better about your own situation.

A Ritual or Routine:  Set aside your own time and concentrate on three things; what to let go of, what to focus on, and being grateful.

Recovery: Make time to space out and have downtime.   You’ll be more creative and productive as a result.  Put away all technology devices for an hour and watch your life change. There’s science behind how this will help your productivity and creativity soar.  

Stay connected:  We’re all missing out on being social right now.  Skip the Zoom fatigue and have a regular phone call.  Better yet, take a social distance walk.

If you have other mindful and wellness tips and podcasts you want to share with us, let us know at hello@illumehire.com. Take care of yourself.