Note: This is a 3 part email sequence, all the 3 parts have been compiled in this blog post. Each email is separately labeled.
Have you ever felt stressed before?
Dumb question, I know. Obviously the answer is yes.
Have you felt stressed lately - like in the last week?
Another dumb question. Obviously you have.
Well let me ask you a smarter question instead...
Do you think you would have an issue with p*rn if you never experienced stress?
This is the first email of a 3-part series where I am going to show you how men should handle their stress.
By the end of this sequence, you'll understand how stress correlates with slips/relapses AND you'll know what to do differently the next time you're up to your eyeballs in the cares of life so that it doesn't lead to hulk-like outcomes.
As a starting point – what is stress? (Oh so we're back to the dumb questions again, perfect).
Well, you may not know this but there are actually TWO types of stress: Eustress and Distress.
No, I'm not making that up.
Distress = negative stress
This would be things like...not being able to pay bills, relational tension, whether or not your favorite hockey team will advance past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 20 years...
(To use a hypothetical example that is definitely not inspired by real life events).
Distress is comprised of the things we typically think of when we hear the word "stress"
But there is another side to this lovely equation (sorry if math stresses you out)...
Eustress = positive stress.
You read that right. POSITIVE stress. There is such a thing.
Think of a time where you achieved a MAJOR accomplishment.
Maybe it was athletic, academic, culinary, social, spiritual, etc.
For me - what comes to mind right away was the time I got 133% on a first year Physics midterm in university that 90% of the class failed.
Ok, humble brag over.
When you reflect on your accomplishment - was there any stress involved?
Did you worry that you might fail? Of course you did!
Did you have to meet a deadline or a standard or the expectations of a particular person? Most likely.
Did those stressors cause you to crumble or drive you to great lengths?
Well...clearly they did or it wouldn't have led to such a great accomplishment!
So this tells us a few things...
Stress is not actually the issue.
It is our management of stress that causes the real problems.
You know, things like...
Affairs. Addictions. Physical health problems. Poor performance. Etc.
In the second part, I'm going to show you how you can manage stress better so that you have few (and eventually zero) relapses.
If 24 hrs is too long for you then for starters, might be time to work on patience.
Actually, I have the perfect solution to your impatience. Check out my daily podcast, Unleash The Man Within. I have tons of episodes on how to handle stress and pretty much any other recovery-related topic you can think of.
PS. Our most popular episode on the podcast currently is my interview with Dr. Trish Leigh where we dig into the neuroscience of porn addiction. It's pretty riveting stuff! Check it out.
What's up man!
In the first part, we talked about stress. The good, the bad, and the ugly (aka. my hockey team not being able to make it past the first round of the playoffs).
In this second part, we connect the dots.
Because here's the truth... ANYONE can talk about stress management.
Doctors, researchers, marketers, and good ol' Aunt Gladys (I don't actually have an Aunt Gladys, but it was easier than typing the actual names of my aunts. Indian names, man. Do not recommend.)
The real question we need to answer is – how does your management of stress correlate with your success (or lack thereof) in recovery?
Well imagine this...
Bills are piling up. No end in sight.
Tensions mounting at home. No obvious resolution.
Work projects are coming in left, right and center. No slowing down here.
How long do you think you could sustain such a scenario?
This is going to be hard to hear, but as a man...you have limits.
If I'm being honest. I hate that.
I'm 32 years old but most days I wake up with feelings of 21-year-old-Sathiya-invincibility. But I'm not invincible, and neither are you.
God has designed our brains and bodies to DEMAND a resolution to stress.
This happens a few ways...
We'd all LOVE to believe that #1 is the best option, but in truth – it's not. To only focus on the external is the move of a very weak man.
Removing the cause of your stress doesn't make you more of a man because there's no a battle to win. That's no fun!
#2 has been and always will be the superior option.
But here's the thing...
The stress you feel day in and day out WILL be dealt with. It's just a matter of how.
You can cope with stress in healthy ways - exercise, movement, resolving conflict, processing, journaling, praying, worshiping, reading your Bible, meditating, etc.
Or you can cope with stress in unhealthy ways - porn, Netflix, eating, alcohol, crude language/joking, mistreating others, etc.
It is VERY likely that if you are struggling with porn, or something similar, it is helping you cope with stress.
For me, porn took the edge off. It gave me a sense of relief.
Porn also was my reward, in a weird way.
It gave me a sense of "unconditional" acceptance. And that was a pretty nice feeling when other areas of my life weren't going so well.
So what do we take away from all of this?
If you learn HOW to manage stress in healthier ways, you will make healthier choices.
Let me ask you a few questions. In the last part below, I'll show you what to do with your answers.
Don't gloss over those 2 questions. They have unlocked MANY a breakthrough.
And if having these kinds of questions posed is helping you get clarity, you might want to consider booking a call with our team. We pretty much spend all our time asking questions to get clarity on your situation (and yes, we do also assess if you're a good fit for our program, so consider yourself warned).
We've set aside just a few (4 to be exact) spots for people reading this emails this week. No pressure but here's the link if you're interested.
Make sure you answer those 2 questions before you read the last part of the blog, I'll give them to you one more time:
Part 3: Becoming A Master of Stress
Let's summarize the first and second part so that we're all caught up to speed.
PLUS, I gave you 2 questions to answer, and in this part, I'm going to show you what to do with those
Okay first question was "What is your greatest cause of stress?"
For me lately, just to be candid, it's been running DeepClean. I've gone from being a coach/podcaster to being a CEO and lately I'm feeling in over my head but I am figuring it out (As the Jamaicans say - thank God for Jesus. Yes, they actually say that).
So now we have to ask a follow-up question.
WHY is this stressful?
Don't settle for the easy, male-brain answers.
"It's stressful because it causes me stress."
"It's stressful because I don't like it."
DIG man. Why is this causing you so much stress? What are you afraid of? What are you anticipating? Who are you worried about letting down?
Because if we can find out WHY this is so stressful, then we can figure out HOW to leverage it.
Next question - What would it look like to handle this in a healthy way?
To really answer this question, you gotta engage the imagination.
PICTURE yourself handling this stress like a pro.
What are you doing?
Why did you picture it that way?
For me, I picture myself waking up in the morning, looking at my calendar and seeing space.
I know that sounds dumb, but my schedule has been insane lately and that's why I feel so stressed.
I don't have margin time-wise or emotionally to do other things that I really love like making music, spending time with my wife, watching the Toronto Maple Leafs get my hopes up in the regular season only to crush them in the playoffs, etc.
So why did I picture my calendar with space in it? Because that space means I'm showing up for my loved ones the way I want to.
It means I'm present with my friends. It means I'm being the man God made me to be instead of being a giant ball of stress.
See how much clarity we can extract from just two simple questions?
So let me pose the question slightly differently...
Imagine yourself perfectly handling your greatest stress right now - what does it look like? Why?
This is going to give you major clarity into what your next steps are.
For me, I am about to do a round of hiring to take a few things off my plate. I can practically FEEL my calendar clearing up and it feels real good.
Maybe you're picturing yourself getting into a disagreement with your wife but you're handling it with composure and kindness.
The next action steps are different there, but still relevant.
Engage the imagination and then translate what you see into practical steps.
Schedule them. Get accountability for them. ASAP.
I know I could've given you the classic work on your breath, take a sabbath, set boundaries, etc.
Those answers are old news. They're effective, but what I'm providing you here is going to not only dissipate stress in your life, it's going to enable you to PREVENT stress from mounting later on.
You have to think preventatively if you really want to break free of porn or any other misbehavior in your life.
This is usually a pretty big leap for the average porn-consumed individual, so if you need some help, you can book a time with my team and we can see if our program might be worth your while.
Here's the thing to remember: Stress isn't going anywhere.
There is no such thing as a certain stage of life where stress is less. Seasons will come and go, stress will remain.
Don't put this off - if you can improve your stress response now, your future self (and loved ones) will thank you!
Cheering you on,
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