Resilience for Health and Longevity
Chronic stress is now known to affect everything from gray hair to epigenetic age to most of the diseases that we face. Here are the top nine ways to handle it.
Dr. Stephen Sideroff is an internationally recognized expert in resilience, optimal performance, addiction, neurofeedback and alternative approaches to stress and mental health.
He is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, with a joint appointment in the Department of Rheumatology at UCLA’s School of Medicine, as well as the Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics.
For over 40 years, Dr. Sideroff has been passionate about studying and understanding resilience and optimal performance. He has developed and established innovative models of behavior and treatment approaches for restoring physical, emotional and mental balance and effectiveness in North America, Europe and Asia.
Dr Stephen Sideroff beautifully outlines the nine pillars of resiliency that allow us to handle the inevitable chronic stress in our lives.
Please join Dr Stephen Sideroff for this masterclass in human stress management through building lasting resilience.
Take away points:
-Stress can be both positive and negative. Chronic stress tends to be harmful.
-Stress can affect telomeres and other markers for aging
-Early childhood experiences can strongly influence how we deal with stress as adults
03:38 Steve’s early career in brain research
06:04 Failure of longterm results in stress management from single workshop
08:24 Early childhood experiences and the primitive gestalt effect on stress
14:23 Enhancing neuroplasticity
18:00 The path: mastering the nine pillars of resilience
24:12 Stress effect on telomeres and markers for aging
30:15 Concept of eustress for positive stress from Hans Selye
37:23 Key pillars of resilience
40:45 Relationship with ourselves, others, and something greater
41:52 John M. Gottman ratio of positive to negative couples interactions
45:03 Stress as sympathetic nervous system activator
48:21 Personal lifestyle choices
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Robert Lufkin 0:00
Hi everyone. Welcome back to the show. Today I’m thrilled to have Dr. Steven sidorov from UCLA who will be talking about chronic stress and how dealing with it through resilience leads to health and longevity. Dr. Souter off is both a clinician and scientist who has developed a groundbreaking program called the path that creates a model of healing, resilience and success to address the obstacles to optimal functioning that we all face. Before we begin, I would like to mention that this show is separate from my teaching and research roles at the Medical School with which I am currently associated. It is part of my continuing effort to bring quality evidence based information about health and longevity to the general public. And now Dr. Steven siter off Hi, everybody, welcome to the show. Today we’re going to be talking about stress and how resilience leads to health and longevity with our expert guests, Dr. Steven sidorov from UCLA. Dr. Souter off is both a clinician and a scientist who has developed a groundbreaking program called the calf that develops a model of resilience and success that addresses the optimal for the obstacles to optimal functioning. Stephen is an internationally recognized expert in resilience, optimal performance, addiction neurofeedback and alternative approaches to stress and mental health. He is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UCLA School of Medicine, as well as director of the Raul Wallenberg Institute of ethics. For over 40 years, Dr. sidorov has been passionate about studying and understanding resilience and optimal performance. He has developed and established innovative models of behavior and treatment approaches for restoring physical, emotional, mental balance and effectiveness around the world. Hi, Steve, welcome to the show.
Stephen Sideroff 2:04
Good morning, Rob. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.
Robert Lufkin 2:07
Yes, full full disclosure. Stephen and I are old friends. And we’ve even worked together at UCLA and our history, our history goes way back. See, then how how did you come to be interested in this area?
Stephen Sideroff 2:29
You know, Rob, I actually began my career at doing brain research. I’m very much interested in finding out learning and memory pathways in the brain. I wanted to work with people not with animals, and I wanted to be able to ask myself, how they experienced what we were doing and what goes on in their lives. And I wasn’t able to do that with the ones that I was working with. So I moved into clinical work and realized very early on, that stress is a primary modulator of anything else that you might be interested in and working with an individual. A person could handle life situations and do pretty well coping, until you add stress to their lives until they begin to have problems with the stresses in their lives. And when that happens, whether you’re working with an individual, whether you’re working with a couple or even a community, coping mechanisms begin to break down. And so I wanted to address how people dealt with stress very early on, because I saw how it was an important factor, no matter what we were looking at. The interesting thing, Rob, was that when I began doing workshops on stress I, I started out thinking, Oh, this, this is great. I’m giving people exactly what they need in their lives. Because people and individuals and corporations would come to me with stress related problems. And I saw I started doing workshops. And people would come to me at the end of their workshop, my workshops and say, Hey, this is great. I didn’t realize the impact of stress and all these different ways. In you know, you gave great tools. But a few months later, I would follow up with many of these people to discover that very few of them were really benefiting from the workshops, however good they were. And literally, we’re not using any of the techniques or following through with any of the processes that we talked about. And that got me to looking at people’s resistance to dealing with stress and, and that became a whole other area of my my research. And one of the things that became key to that is how we have this ambivalence around stress. On the one hand, we realize how it’s impacting us. On the other hand, we put more and more stress into our lives. And that began my research into the interface between our defense mechanisms, our early childhood experience experiences, how we modeled our behavior, after our parents and how those early lessons get locked into our not only into our behavior, but literally into the development of our brains.
Robert Lufkin 5:53
If I if I could interrupt you here, Stephen. And one, one point, just for clarification for our audience, when we’re talking when you correct me if I’m wrong, when you’re talking about stress, we’re talking about sort of the negative chronic stress that occurs in people and because there’s, there’s some literature about acute stress or hormetic stress from exercise, or saunas, or, or cold ice water baths, and how that can be beneficial to health and longevity. But just to be clear, we’re talking about chronic stress, which has a negative effect on health and longevity. Yeah, correct.
Stephen Sideroff 6:35
Well, yes, that I mean, that’s, that’s the point stress in and of itself is not necessarily a problem is if you’re not managing it well, if you’re not modulating it, if you’re not recovering after a stressful, stressful experience. And so, when you look at the lives of many people that grew up in childhood environments, for example, that were dangerous, stressful, traumatic, it sets up a life expectation in terms of how they act, how they behave. And so they may be on guard, they may be on alert for danger. And when you do that the nervous system doesn’t distinguish between real danger and imagined or expected danger, your body mobilizes with the sympathetic branch of the nervous system, the fight or flight branch of the nervous system. And when that happens, you use up valuable resources of the body. And this is where it has an impact on aging, it has an impact on the disease process, because our bodies don’t have an unlimited amount of resources. And so if you’re continually using them up, because you’re on guard, you’re expecting something negative to happen. And you don’t recover those resources. That actually is one of the sources of inflammation, oxidation, some of the very basic biological, and biochemical and physiological processes that cause aging in the body.
Robert Lufkin 8:26
Hmm. Is that are those concepts related to the primitive Gestalt concept that you’ve come up with? I enjoyed reading about that in your in your book and elsewhere? Does this tie in there?
Stephen Sideroff 8:41
It does. Expectation? Yes. When I refer to primitive distal patterns, I’m talking about the lessons learned during childhood. our earliest learning is survival, learning, learning, what works and what doesn’t work in life, what to expect. And we don’t go out and survey hundreds of families on how life works, and what’s the best way to, to live your life. We have our own little tiny world, that’s our family. And we believe we don’t know any better. That’s the world to us. That’s how the world works. And so we literally adapt to that childhood environment. We literally learned the lessons about who we are, how the world works and relationship based on what goes on in our early childhood environment. And our brains literally develop based on that learning. And that’s what I refer to as our primitive pistol patterns, those lessons of childhood that say, for example, a parent tells you you’re never going to amount to much or a parent maybe depressed, and doesn’t have the energy to give you attention. But as a child, you don’t, you’re not able to say, Oh, well, I understand my mother or father is depressed, we say, what’s wrong with me that my mother or father doesn’t even want to give me the attention that I need? So we turn it back on to ourselves. And these are the lessons that we grow up with that define who we are.
Robert Lufkin 10:33
So what are the what are the healthy ways of dealing with this stress how we all have stress in our lives? It’s it’s, it’s unavoidable, it’s part of part of modern life. So how do we approach that in a in a healthy way?
Stephen Sideroff 10:49
Well, the first thing is to realize that a lot of our behavior, a lot about thinking is not necessarily good thinking good behavior, that it develops out of these childhood lessons. So the first is really to start questioning some of those lessons and being open and willing to realize that if we don’t feel good about ourselves, it’s not because there’s something really wrong with ourselves, is something wrong with the lessons that we learned. One of the things I always emphasize to people is, these lessons are not in your DNA, that they are learned lessons. And just as they are learned lessons, you can unlearn them, as well. And I refer to, to what I consider to be the two primary factors that have to do with all of our lives. On the one hand, these are these primitive keystroke patterns, very powerful lessons that have a gravitational pull to them. But on the other hand, we have a tremendous degree of neuroplasticity, the ability to learn new lessons. And these two powerful forces struggle with each other. And my model of resilience is designed to enhance the neuroplasticity aspect, and begin to let go of some of those early lessons to learn new ways of being. And, little by little, it’s a gradual process of losing the grip that the primitive Keystone patterns have on us. And I do this through my model of resilience that has nine pillars to it. And the notion of the path. And people get very discouraged in the process, because of the powerfulness of those childhood lessons. And what I what I show them is all it takes on a moment by moment, day by day basis, is to find your way onto the path, which is living based on my model of resilience. And yes, you’re going to fall off the path because of the old lessons. But getting back onto the path is literally just takes one step, doing one thing, right, finding one way of treating yourself better to be on the path, one way of practicing a relaxation exercise to restore balance between the two branches of your nervous system, etc.
Robert Lufkin 13:39
And we all understand what stress is now resilience. How, what exactly is resilience? And how is that the key to key to a healthy handling of stress.
Stephen Sideroff 13:55
There have been a lot of different definitions of resilience. It the the study of resilience really began by looking at children who grew up under very difficult, stressful traumatic circumstances, but seem to thrive despite that, and those children were studied to see what caused them to be able to get past all of these childhood traumas. For me, what I focus on are the internal mechanisms what I bring to the table that allows me to be resilient. And so one of them is literally to have a good relationship with myself to treat myself well to be accepting of myself rather than judgmental and critical of myself. Because resilience is about being able to balance out the active of your nervous system with the recovery of your nervous system. Resilience is about being able to engage in a stressful experience, because we have stressful experiences all the time. But after the stress is over, to be able to recover baseline to be able to restore the balance in your body. So, resilience is about every moment of your life, optimally dealing with whatever it is that that’s going on. So this is the cognitive aspect of it, having a positive approach. There’s the emotional aspect, being able to manage your emotions, there’s the physical aspect of it, being able to relax, being able to calm your nervous system down, being able to get a good night’s sleep. These are all aspects of what goes into resilience, and being someone who’s resilient.
Robert Lufkin 16:03
What’s the best way for people to to start on the path by the way I should I should show our audience This is my copy my well worn copy of Steve’s book the path, mastering the nine pillars of resilience and success. If someone wants to go on the path, and through your book, what would they do for the what could they do right now as a first step, to start going on the path?
Stephen Sideroff 16:39
There’s two things that I would recommend first, is where where am I starting? What’s my starting point. And to find that out, I actually developed a 40 item, self scoring questionnaire that a person can take. And from that, they can actually plot out their profile along my nine dimensions of resilience. If they go to my website, doctors, Steven siter, off comm they can actually download my resilience assessment booklet that contains this questionnaire that they can take. My book also incorporates the the questionnaire. So one thing is where am I what’s my starting point, which of these nine pillars on my areas of weakness needing more development, and which are the areas of my strength? So that’s one thing, but the other is really a desire, and motivation, and intention to become more resilient. It’s a process that requires paying attention focusing and awareness. So to start off, a person must make a decision. I want to become more resilient. So those are the two places the motivation, the desire to be more resilient to want to really literally slow down the aging process, because stress risk and resilience do relate to the aging process. So it’s the motivation, and it’s where’s my starting point? That’s the beginning. Those would be the first steps.
Robert Lufkin 18:27
Yeah, if there’s any doubt that stress is a significant factor on aging, at least our our current biomarkers for aging. We just spoke with Kara Fitzgerald, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald. And in a recent interview, who is a expert on epigenetic methylation clocks for aging, which are ways of determining biological age by methylation, as opposed to chronological age, which we determined by our birth dates. But it was interesting that Dr. Fitzgerald mentioned that 60% of the methylation sites in the standard Horvath methylation clocks, that are the gold standard now are related to glucocorticoid systems in the body. And of course, the glucocorticoid axis is, is basically our stress axis, the way that with glucocorticoids and other stress hormones the way they do it, so at least a third of aging biomarkers are directly tied to stress. So, absolutely,
Stephen Sideroff 19:45
yeah, yeah. And, you know, we know it intuitively, we know that if we put too much stress on our bodies, it’s going to have deleterious effects. But now we have literally hundreds if not 1000s of studies that have linked stress with factors that can contribute to aging. And more recently, there have been a number of studies that have looked at telomere length in telomeres are the, what we might call the caps at the end of our chromosomes and DNA that holds the DNA in place. And when cells divide, and we the DNA splits off, these telomeres at the, at the ends, almost like the ends of shoelaces, the little plastic, plastics hold everything in place. But with each successive cell division, those telomeres get a little bit shorter. And so after a certain number of replications, those Tila manners shortened so much, that the cells can’t be replicated, duplicated. And we now have a number of studies showing that stress speeds up the shortening of these telomeres. So the they are speeding up the reducing the longevity of our of our basic cells in our body. So we actually have more and more evidence of these relationships.
Robert Lufkin 21:25
Well, that’s that’s that’s fascinating, is they’re kind of taking the opposite, asking the question the opposite way now that we’ve shown that stress accelerates telomere changes as a marker for aging, as as anyone taking the next step, and showing that reducing stress with like a program such as yours on the path will affect telomere length favorably to actually slow aging or even reverse aging, at least as as the telomere is the biomarker for right,
Stephen Sideroff 22:02
we’re beginning to see some research some initial steps in that direction. And it looks promising. So and I expect that the answer will be clear. Yes, as more and more research is done in this area.
Robert Lufkin 22:20
Yeah, and I guess as we as we understand the clocks better, and they’re more and more clocks with Tila mirrors, and proteomics and glycation and, and methylation. We’ll have more access to them. And even, we’re going to be speaking in another episode with the CEO and founder of a company for biomarker clock that costs under under $100, that will be available for people. So we’ll be we’ll get more and more access to these kinds of markers and hopefully get more information. Yeah, well, one of the way
Stephen Sideroff 22:59
that I look at this, Rob is that our bodies have a certain amount of energy. It’s not unlimited. And the body makes a choice between defense on the one hand, and healing growth maintenance. On the other hand, the more a person is in the stress mode, which is a danger mode, the more they are on guard more, they’re expecting problems in their lives. Worry, for example, the more their body goes into the defensive mode, circling the wagons so to speak, the more the energy goes there, the less energy is available for healing, and maintenance and development and growth. And so we’re always on a moment by moment basis, where our bodies are making these choices. So the more that you can be able to and I and when I have people practice a relaxation exercise, I tell them, the first thing you want to do as you sit down to do it is to remind yourself that you’re safe is no danger. Nothing can happen to you, for the next 15 or 20 minutes that you practice this, you are safe, that gives your body permission to send their energy into the healing maintenance mode as you turn down the activation of your nervous system. And so that’s a model of how you can facilitate your you’re slowing the aging process is the more time you give your body in that healing mode, the less time you go into the defensive stress protective mode. You’re giving your body more off opportunity to repair and heal and grow.
Robert Lufkin 25:05
As fascinating Steve, that that model for the sort of binary nature of the stress response really echoes what the longevity genetics research is, has just been uncovering in the last five to 10 years, the ideas of like mtorr signaling proteins, or ANP kinase or the ser tunes where they’re either turned up or turned down, and shifts the body’s resources from repair, and a tautology getting rid of senescence cells versus versus growth on the other side. And it’s fascinating how that fits right in with the, with the genetic models of longevity that we’re beginning to understand. And these, the the genetic models, interestingly, are, are conserved biologically going back billions of years. In other words, they’re present in yeasts, all the way to human beings. And it’s it’s fascinating how this is happening.
Stephen Sideroff 26:13
Yeah, yeah. But I there’s there’s one aspect here that that’s a little counter intuitive that I want to add to this. And you alluded earlier, you alluded to like ice baths, and things like that, and purposely stressing the body. And I’ll add something to that. And that has to do with our capacity. So if you think about an engine, and go a car, I’ve got ability to go up a hill, which we can relate, we can compare to stress, you’re stressing a car more, if you have it go up a hill, the bigger the engine, the bigger the capacity of that engine, the easier it will handle the stress of that hill, right? No, yeah. How does that translate to us? The more we have capacity to deal with stress, the less stressed we are by the stresses. When we we challenge ourselves to learn more, when we challenge ourselves to do things that we haven’t done before, we’re growing our learning, we’re growing our capacity to capacity to handle stress better, we’re growing our confidence. When we do that, we experience stress in a much more effective manner. We are less less stress becomes more what we’ve referred to as you stress. You alluded to it earlier, this is a concept that hon Sally a the person who actually coined the term stress, took it into the into the behavioral realm. He used that term use stress for positive stresses, positive stresses, a promotion, a marriage a baby, this stressful, but they don’t impact the body the way distress does. So when we engage in certain stresses that challenge us to grow in grow our capacity, they actually help to make us more resilient.
Robert Lufkin 28:32
So so the the US stressors versus the others, the positive stresses versus the negative harmful stresses, is it just a matter of the time effect that the positive stressors are short acting and the negative stressors are chronic, or it’s something more nuanced than that?
Stephen Sideroff 28:54
It’s more nuanced that that that some of the toxic aspects of the stress response are not as prevalent in US stress. So it’s not an absolute, because you can be very effective in your life in handling stress. But still, if you pile more and more stresses on, it’s still going to have a deleterious effect. So it’s a much greater but it’s not an absolute here. Mm hmm. Yeah. So someone who grows up with the message that they’re not okay. And then as an adult, they’re very confident and they’re very successful. But they haven’t worked on themselves. And so they have this unconscious drive to achieve more and more because somehow they’ve translated more money, more success into it. That’s how I can feel good about myself. They are not, I would not call them a resilient person, because they have not really figured out what’s driving them, what’s motivating them, and the secret of happiness. They’ve not learned that they think it comes from getting more money, getting more possessions, things like that. And that will never be the answer to happiness. So you stress is not the only answer here, it’s also working through those primitive digital patterns. So that you really, really are in alignment, in many ways with with yourself
Robert Lufkin 30:41
is, is there any way for for me to tell? Let’s say if I’m in a situation I going, Wow, this is really stressful. It might be exercise, it might be a sauna, or it might be an argument with a spouse or a friend, or some chronic business thing? Is there? Are there questions I can ask myself or things I can look at in the situation to tell if this is a positive stress or negative stress? Any any ways to sort those out?
Stephen Sideroff 31:18
Well, it’s, the answer is yes. But it’s not a simple answer. So what I find is that the people in that category that I just described to her have our unconscious, conscious to their driving forces of underneath feeling inadequate, for example, feeling like they’re pulling the wool over people’s eyes. And so they’ll have a big success. One of the keys here is it’ll feel good, but only momentarily. The next day, they’re back to where they started from still needing the next success in order to feel okay, that these successes don’t go in deep enough to really have that impact and make a difference on a deeper level. And that’s because we have, to some degree blocked ourselves from my deeper feelings, because as a child, they’re too painful to really deal with. And so we’ve found ways of pushing them down. And this is what I referred to as unfinished emotional business, emotional issues that have not been dealt with, but will continue to drive our out what we do in our lives, because we are always have this unconscious, instinctual need all this unfinished business. But if we don’t understand it fully, if we explored this fully, we will go about that process in an unhealthy way. That’s why a lot of times we choose partners that are very similar, the parent from our childhood that we have unfinished business with, were unconsciously trying to finish with someone else, the business that was unfinished here. And many times we choose, we choose a pit, a partner, that’s just as incapable as our parents to meet our needs.
Robert Lufkin 33:34
Yeah, very fascinating, and very, very complex and interesting material. I wonder, Steve, in addition to if, if our audience wants to learn more about this and and even work with you on this, in addition to the book, is there are there other ways that they can access your expertise on this any other programs that are available for them?
Stephen Sideroff 34:03
Yes, definitely. They anybody who’s interested can reach out to me I’m at CIT are firstname.lastname@example.org. But base best is to go to my website, Dr. Steven sidorov, calm. My book is available on Amazon. com. But on my website, I have a lot of articles that I’ve written. And I also have a couple of audio programs I have one in particular called resilience takes you step by step through a six week program based on my model of resilience. That’s one other program I have, you can get on my mailing list. Last year, I did what I call 365 steps on the path of resilience and success. Sort of in reaction to the the pandemic Pick up, a lot of people were reaching out to me because they were, their level of stress had had gone up and they were having difficulty coping. So I did a program where every day I sent out a message of resilience with an actual action step that a person can take. And so I’m actually getting ready to publish that as my next book. But I’m also getting ready to do another daily step program that I’m calling the path of wisdom. And so soon, I’ll be starting that people if they, if they go to my website and get on my mailing list, they will be notified of when I’m starting that program, as well.
Robert Lufkin 35:45
Great, we’ll have we’ll have links in the show notes to all those all your resources there for people to access to on the path. I’m wondering, is it possible to do you have the nine steps is what’s what’s the the, I guess? What’s the easiest step that people have the least problem with? And what’s the most difficult, most challenging step? Or can you generalize that way? Or is it different for everybody at all, at all,
Stephen Sideroff 36:16
it is different for everybody. Let me just briefly share with your audience what those nine steps are. So this three areas, the first area is relationship. The second area is organismic, balance and mastery. And the third area is how we engage with the world. So within relationship is your relationship with yourself, relationship with others, and relationship with something greater, which could be spirituality, or purpose and meaning in life and giving service something that connects you to the larger community within organismic, balance and mastery, this physical balance and mastery and this, when people talk about stress management, that’s usually the primary area that they’re talking about physical balanced and mastery, mental cognitive balance and mastery and then emotional balance and mastery. And then the last three are presidents flexibility. And the last one is power, which I define as the ability to get things done. people struggle really the most with the first because a lot of the others stem from the first which is your relationship with yourself. And this has to do primitive Keystone patterns that we’ve been talking about. And, you know, we can go to a counselor, we can go to a therapist for one hour a week and get some useful information. But we’re with our internal voice 24 seven. hear that voice, we hear the messages of what I also referred to as our internal parent 24 seven, and where does that internal parent message derived from? Well, the lessons of childhood. And the end, typically, we have an internal parent that could be overly critical with ourselves and have very difficult time being accepting and compassionate with ourselves. So I’ll just say right now that I work with people in my book, and my programs work with people to begin recognizing how we treat ourselves and begin comparing that to how a healthy internal parent internal voice would speak. And the healthy internal parent comes from a place of love, compassion, acceptance, support, and care. Those are the hallmarks of the characteristics qualities of a healthy internal parents. And now we can begin recognizing a model for health and begin comparing ours with that. There’s a psychologist by the name of john Gottman at the University of Washington. And he does a lot of work with couples. And he actually has a research studio where couples go there and spend a few days and he has cameras in every room following him around. But one of the interesting findings of his research is that when you look at healthy couples, they have a ratio of about 20 to one, positive to negative interactions, behaviors, language matters. usages of all different kinds. When that ratio comes down to about five to one, the relationship is in trouble. Wow. So I like to use this and this is your everybody in your audience can actually as another first step, can start monitoring their self talk and begin to see, do I use more 22? One positive to negative self talk messages to myself? Or is it closer to five to one positive to negative? And maybe some in in your audience? It might even be five to one where there’s more negative to positive. You didn’t do that. Right? You should have done this better. Why can’t you do this? messages like that? So that’s a very useful beginning tool of how am I talking to myself? How am I treating myself? Because that more than anything else produces stress? Yeah, that’s
Robert Lufkin 41:07
fascinating. I wouldn’t have thought that even five to one on positive to negative is still is starting to be on the bad side. Wow. All right. Well, before we, before we move on to you any other questions on any other things you want to highlight on the on your program here?
Stephen Sideroff 41:32
Well, the one other thing I would say is when we talk about starting points, if everybody thinks about their day, and you kind of visualize your day, most of us are going from one stress to another stress to another stress. Every time we engage in a stressful situation, we are activating the sympathetic branch of our nervous system. And usually, what happens is we only engage in a stress, even when we’re successful in dealing with it, before we give ourselves the opportunity to recover. We are looking around for the next danger, the next stress and further activating and further activating. And before our day is just beginning, we’ve already stretched the resources of our body, like a rubber band, you think of it stretching and stretching, rubber bands, for them to be functional, you have to release before you stress, stretch them again. So a start another starting point would be to balance that out, would be to practice some form of relaxation meditation on a daily basis. Because not only when you when you engage in these stressful behaviors are us having an impact on a daily basis. But your actual ability, if this is baseline, this is activation of your nervous system. This is recovery. On a daily basis, what I’m referring to actually causes a loss of the ability to go down to these deep levels of calm. So our range actually shrinks, but it shrinks this way. And the baseline and the baseline creeps up. But we don’t notice because we’ve adapted. So all of your audience right now sitting around are not aware that they’re holding tension in their shoulders, in their jaw and other parts of their body, that their nervous system is a bit activated. And the only way to address this is to practice the opposite response, the parasympathetic, the recovery response. So that’s another starting point for people to think about.
Robert Lufkin 44:02
Are there any programs you recommend or or apps that you recommend for meditation or for people who want to get started with this and and learning that relaxation response?
Stephen Sideroff 44:13
Yeah, so for starters, again, if people go to my website, I have a free audio download that they’re welcome to to receive and download for themselves as starters. There are a number of different apps that are easily available and discovered when you go to the App Store. But for starters if they wanted I had one very good one on my own. On my Dr. Steven sinner off comm that it’s a free download.
Robert Lufkin 44:51
Right yeah, yeah, the relaxation and resetting is such a such a powerful tool for so many reasons. That’s great. Well, Stephen, the last couple minutes. How about you? Are you on the path?
Stephen Sideroff 45:12
Good question, Rob. And what’s beautiful about the work that I do is that I’m continually reminding myself of the path as I share with you, your audience, and the individuals that I work with. So, on the one hand, I’m always reminded, and that’s one of the things that people have to also have to do is they have to find ways of reminding themselves to be on the path. But in my own work, I feel like if I’m going to ask people to do anything, I should be able to do it myself. And I should have gone through the process that I’m asking everybody else to. That’s the only way I think that people actually will trust, what I have to say, is they can they can tell, simply by spending any time with me, whether I’m on the path or not. And so, because I’ve gotten into this area, because of how important I think it is, and it’s been part of my own life, life journey, to be on the path, whether it’s a resilience or peak performance, I do a lot of work with executives, and athletes in peak performance. And there again, whatever I’m teaching them, I want to make sure that I’ve done myself. So I think I have been fortunate, in that I’ve had a very good childhood, I feel very blessed about that. And so with loving parents. So I’ve had a head start, so to speak, in this area. And I I do feel very blessed about that. But there are areas where that you know, no parents are perfect. Every no childhood is perfect. And so there are areas that I’ve been challenged. And one of the things that I’ve learned, Rob, is that any area that you’re challenged, that’s the area you want to pay attention to any any weakness that you notice, anytime, where you’re, I’m reluctant to do something go into a particular area, I’ve learned that that’s where my biggest lessons are. And so to answer your question, it’s an attitude that I have of wanting to learn wanting to grow, wanting to face these challenges, because I know, that’s where my greatest growth lies. And so I’ve taken that approach in life, I’ve taken the dare, I’ve taken the challenge, because I want to challenge myself, I want to take a look at these areas and face the dangers, because I’ve learned and as you do it, you begin to learn more and more, and you gain gain confidence and you grow. And that’s the area, the other area creates constriction. I’m not going to do this, it’s too scary. It’s too dangerous. It’s too uncomfortable. That is the anti resilience approach. So I’ve learned from experience and I’ve learned from taking the challenge.
Robert Lufkin 48:48
Does it get easier as you as you get more and more into this.
Stephen Sideroff 48:55
On the one hand, it gets easier. But then when it gets easier, you’re willing to take bigger challenges. And those challenges, on the one hand can be just as difficult and challenging. Except that I can look back at my history. And I could see that I’ve been successful, that encourages me. And I could see that when I’ve messed up. It wasn’t the end of the world. And that’s the other important lesson that you can make mistakes and you can learn to recover. You can blow it and it’s not the end of the world. So on many levels, going in that direction, taking the challenges. Always have lessons that serve you in your journey through life, in your journey on the path through live.
Robert Lufkin 49:50
That’s great in our last couple minutes. Steve, are there any other tools or lifestyle, things that you do as far as Sleep exercise diet supplements that you’d like to share with our audience.
Stephen Sideroff 50:09
I’m always learning, always challenging, because that’s what keeps my brain active. Be willing to be a child, a way to experience life, from a child’s perspective of wonderment of excitement, because again, that’s what expands your brain, the functioning of your brain. But I also believe that it, you know, we talked about stem cells, right. And we talked about early cells. Well, one way to tap into early is to be willing to be inquisitive, act like a child, I love my time with my grandchildren, get on the floor with them, and I’ll get into their stories, I’ll get into their games, because I’m touching into that earliness of life, which I believe has a restorative quality to it. So that’s another way. But it’s it’s staying on the path and realizing that there is a path. And the path is defined by optimally functioning every moment of your life. And we’re not going to be able to do that. But we can strive for that, in every time we fall off the path, as defined in my book and the nine pillars. We just pick ourselves up and get back onto the path. And that’s the best that we can do.
Robert Lufkin 51:57
Wow, thank you so much. That’s so beautiful, Steve, this, this has been a great, great episode. And I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. I’m so glad to get you on the program. And I, I hope to get you back on after your book after the next book comes out. And I really want to revisit this again.
Stephen Sideroff 52:20
Great, great, I must tell the audience that Rob is also a model of resilience as firsthand experience.
Robert Lufkin 52:34
Yeah, we’ll do a whole episode on that. Thank you. Thanks again. Thanks again, Steve. And we’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Okay.
Stephen Sideroff 52:49
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