31 Jan, 2023Are You Addicted to a Life You Don’t Even Like?
“Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.” – Kelly McGonigal
Human beings are incredible because they have the capacity to endure difficulties and stress, but how much can we take until we finally break? How do we cope with stress and avoid being addicted to living a life we do not want?
Stress is a state of mental or emotional tension resulting from adverse circumstances. It puts our mind and body in an emergency state to bring our body back to balance. All of us can manage short-term stress but we are not designed to stay in that emergency state.
If you are one of those having a hard time coping with stress, then listen in as I give you more insights.
Stop living the life you do not want; a great future is waiting for you now.
⚡️ Stress can make us grow and be better, but mismanaging it can destroy us.
⚡️Our thoughts as well as an unknown future or outcome cause stress.
⚡️Our physical, mental, and emotional state affect the people around us.
⚡️Many are addicted to the hormones of stress.
🔥 Too much stress:
- robs your body of its resources for growth and repair
- leads to immune mediator diseases and other long-term effects
- hinders the capacity to create the future that you want
🔥 Ways to combat addiction to stress:
- Know who you want to be and act toward that person
- Stop and think about how you are living your life and what you get stressed about
- Manage stress and yourself better
- Realize you deserve better and can do better
- Know there is always a choice to do something different
- Spread love and kindness to others
🎯 7:35 My mum as my teacher
🎯 10:19 My own addiction to stress
🎯 11:59 My first time on television
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About Pete Cohen: Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people. Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.
It’s then all about coaching you to remove the obstacles that are in your way and helping you install the habits of success.
Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.
Pete Cohen 0:01
Happy, beautiful, amazing day. It is the Future Self Podcast. This is Pete Cohen. And today's podcast is called Are You Addicted to a Life You Don’t Even Like? I'll see you after the theme
Hello. Good morning happy beautiful Good afternoon. Good evening wherever you are in the world. Thank you so much for joining me for the Future Self Podcast. Super excited that I get to talk to you today. I love podcasting. I absolutely love the opportunity to be able to share some wisdom some tools and tips and some ideas. You know, we know that people don't really change when we tell them what to do. We know people tend to really change when they when their perspective changes. They have an opportunity to look at something with a fresh pair of eyes. You know, and what has been happening in the world. Recently, has been a massive eye opener for myself. Human beings are incredible. You know what human beings can withstand what human beings can do. It astounds me. And I love to ask the question, as many of you know who listened to the podcast? What can I do for you? And when you ask that question of people, often the answer is well, I don't know. I'm not sure. But it starts off a really interesting conversation. If you ask people, How do you feel about where you are right now? So it was great to ask questions of people that people often don't get asked. The most common question is more how are you? Hey, how are you? I used to work in a gym and we used to have a competition to see what the most common answer would be. The most common answer was not bad. That was definitely in the UK. I'm okay. Very rarely would someone come in and visit how are you? I'm fantastic. And great. I'm amazing. You know, people would just give a standard response based on perhaps a response that they had given many times in their life. And with the title of this podcast, are you addicted to a life that you don't even like? Well, I don't know. But when we look at the experience of being you what is that experience? Like? You know, we can look at it and we could judge it or criticize it or blame and shame or we can just completely ignore it because I think a lot of people don't actually ever stop, just stop, stop. How are you? Going on? And genuinely taking a moment just to acknowledge how do you actually feel as human beings what we have been through collectively over the last few years is pretty incredible. It's one of the things we we have in common. We've all been through this thing called COVID. I would imagine pretty much all corners of the world have known about this thing. And human beings who I love, have done some incredible things to rise up to move through that. And we seem to be on the other side. And now we're facing more crisis and more challenges and it's like, well, how much can human beings actually take? How much can we take until something breaks? This is what I find really interesting about human beings. Because in making, asking the question, Are you addicted to a life that you don't even like? I think it's more are you addicted to the hormones of stress?
This is the thing I really want to focus on in this podcast with you today is just taking a moment to think about what Okay, let's just take a moment let's stop because stopping is really if you want to go somewhere. First of all, let's just stop if you're going to go on a holiday to stop think about what it is that you need to take with you think about maybe what you need to leave behind and with the work that I do with people. I'd like people to think of that as some sort of a journey. Look, we're going on a journey together. Where do you actually want to go? And what's interesting is that most people don't actually know where they want to go. They just know where they don't want to go. They don't want to be where they are. They want to get away from where they are. But if you don't know where you want to go, you probably will end up exactly where you were before. You might have heard of the that code that expression about you know, I'm just going round in circles. How many people have ever had that scene I just keep going around in circles. I keep I keep doing the same thing. I keep you know, I leave that relationship and then I go and find another relationship with that was very similar to the relationship I had before. Or I do a job I don't enjoy that job. So eventually I leave but then ended up finding myself doing the same job I was in before or a join a gym and I go for a bit and then after a bit something happens and life gets in the way, which is one of the most interesting expressions that people say life gets in the way. What exactly does that mean when someone says that? What do you mean because everyone's different, but it's a very common expression. And human beings we tend to revert back to what we know. Or the way I look at it is we tend to revert back to who we think we are. And when we look at stress and we look if you want to look at one of the definitions of stress can be defined as a state of mental and emotional stress, strain tension that is resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Stress can be defined as a state of mind or mental and emotional stress strain tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstance circumstances, which basically knocks the mind and body out of whack. It takes the body out of what's known as homeostasis, which is what your body is always trying to do is trying to maintain some sort of balance, the yin and the yang, you know, our ability to, to work to do things, but then coupled by our ability or the importance of rest and recuperation. And I think what so many people are doing all around the world. It's not necessarily that they're addicted to a life they don't even like they're just addicted to the hormones of stress and I can tell you, I would have put myself massively in that category. I had a wonderful teacher. She was my mum, my mum. God bless her soul. What does that mean? I miss my mom. She was incredible. If it wasn't for her, I definitely would not be doing what I'm doing right now. I believe my wife wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for my mum. Because my mum always said and those of you that listen to the podcast, you've heard me say this before. My mum taught me and fact she didn't even teach me she showed me which is the best way to teach someone is to go first and to be in a radiant exemplar. And she taught me there was an answer to everything. There is an answer to everything. And she showed me that she showed me that throughout her life she wouldn't stand for what other people said she would always look for solutions to problems, but she was definitely someone who was addicted to the hormones of stress. My mum used to love watching TV programs like casualty, or 24 hours in a&e, or soap operas like EastEnders the news she could get in the Great Britain worrying team if there was nothing to worry about. She would find something. She was definitely addicted to that life. And her father was exactly the same my grandfather, who was an addict, he was a gambler. He got dementia actually at a very early age, but he was someone who literally also live by the hormones of stress. My mum used to tell me the stories. My mum was an only child, often in the back of the car. My grandfather would get down, you know, for some reason, because maybe there was something in front of him on the road that he didn't want my mom to see. She he tried to protect her didn't want her to go to university just wanted to protect her. He was someone who lived by the hormones of stress let's just be really honest with the way that most people are moving through the world today. They're not switching off the the stress response, which is what we know as the fight or flight response, our ability to run towards something or run away from something or even the freeze response where we're like who those hormones are activated way too much. I think we all know that. But it less we stop and actually think about how we're moving through the world and the impact that is having on us, but also the impact that it's having on people around us. I mean, I've realized over the last year, or definitely since November last year, how much my state affects my wife because she's very sensitive and she's been through so much as many of you know that I know that when I'm stressed it's not fair. It's not fair on her. But I've always been addicted to doing things my challenge has always been to know when to stop know when to take my foot off the gas.
Knowing that there's and that's a lot to do with fear that if I stop what could happen, you know, to let go because I think if how many how many of you would actually say You know what? I've kind of mismanaged myself. You could say I'm right or I'm wrong or I don't think that really matters. I think it's just like hang on. Am I miss managing myself? Am I living too much by the hormones of stress? Am I addicted to stress? And not all stress is bad? No. There's three types of stresses, physical stress, there's chemical stress, there's emotional stress. And in my work what I've realized more than ever, if we want to predict the future, the best way to predict the future is to create it. But the creational state is you can't be in the creational state. If you're in the constant state of stress. They're just you just think about this. When you're in a state of that that stress state. I just had a flashback the first time I was ever on television. I was on a program called the time the place I think I was about 21 years old, 22 years old. And the presenter came to me right at the end. I was waiting to speak the whole time I was so nervous. My heart was pumping and pumping away. adrenaline was pumping around my body I was in a constant state of stress. There's no way I could have stayed in that state for a very long period of time. But it half an hour seemed like a lifetime and he came to me at the end and I was so nervous. The voice in my head was speaking so fast. I went well. Yeah, I'm a personal trainer and stress. Well, stress is stress is a form of stress. But so it's exercise and when you're exercising you're subjecting your body to stress so that if you do it you know enough but not too much and you stressing yourself a little bit then helps you to deal with the stress of living in your in your day to day life. And he looked to me guy called John Stapleton like I was completely crazy and said thank you very much everyone was here next time. And that was my first experience of being on television. But I couldn't maintain that state. And as I've gotten older especially if you're presenting in front of 1000s Millions of people as I became a household name, and having my own TV show. You get better at what you do you get better at managing your internal state. And when I work with some of the greatest athletes who've ever walked the face of the earth I realized with them again, it became really important for them to manage their state. And I think that we're not encouraged. We're not taught. I've been recently working yesterday I was working with a whole load of head teachers from primary schools, the week before I work with 50 head teachers of secondary schools. And boy, is that a stressful job and you imagine you're managing is hard enough managing ourselves, but you're managing governors of schools, you're managing parents, you're managing your team your teachers, you're managing the pupils. Wow. And I could see that a lot of these guys were stressed out big time. And I was putting a light on them and that felt uncomfortable. I think for a lot of them because they're not used to it. They're not used to someone putting a light on them. They're used to putting lights on everybody else. But when you put a light on yourself, you know what's going on? What we see is humans incredible capacity to deal with things that are difficult, so amazing what human beings can endure. But what is the cost of that? What's the impact? What's the long term effect of what we've gone through? For many of us, it's just we've got better and better and better at living by the hormones of stress being addicted to the hormones of stress. By the way, how many times in this podcast Have I already said the word stress quite a few times. See, when stress really comes about. It's when we can't predict a future outcome. Right. It's when we we feel that we can't control the situation. It's when we're there is a perception of danger where we feel that something is going to get worse. And that's what my mum did you know, she did the best that she could she she she changed her ways. I know that she did as she got she got older, she got a bit wiser. But she'd always think about the worst case scenario.
And we know that stress is an emergency state that is activated, it's activated. The reason is activated, is basically to bring our body back to balance. So if you think of an animal in nature, like a lion that's chasing a zebra, or zebra however you choose to say it that if the zebra gets away, it's not going to live by the hormones of stress, it will go back to a different state and then before you know it will be grazing again. If you have animals, I see it in my cat you know she'll literally go a bit crazy sometimes and go into this funny sort of state. But then then she'll go into a very deep sleep. It's we're not designed, we're just not designed to stay in that state. So we have that emergency system again, you know this and I'm not telling you anyone there's just you just know it because knowing and doing is not knowing maybe on the back of you listening to this. You might become more curious about how you can manage yourself better how you can use the what's known as the refractory period, which is that space between thinking emotions and feelings, where there's always a choice. There's a choice to do something different as opposed to doing something that you've done before. To boldly go where you've not gone before. As a coach and someone comes to work with me, they come to me because they got problems. Very rarely do they come to me, because there's something that they want. They think they're coming to me because there's something that they want and even if there is something that they want, we've got to look at what well, how are you feeling about where you are right now? What's working, what do we have to stop doing? Because if we want to move into the world of creation, which is what we can all do, is very hard for you to be at your best for you to create really what it is that you want to create, build whatever it is that you want to build with your life build a better body a better build a better mind, build a bit of business, build a better relationship. If you're living by the hormones of stress, if you're addicted to those emotions, which I'm going to explain to you why I think that is you know this this this response is primitive. And what's happened to a lot of us is that it's it was adaptive, but it's become maladaptive. And all organisms in nature can tolerate short term stress. We know that and if you keep in this as you really stopped and thought about it, if you keep in stress, you're basically you're mobilizing enormous amounts of energy for some threat or perceived threat in your outer world. And what that does is just robs your body of resources. For growth and repair. So are you living a future that you don't want? I'd say a lot of people are because they are living in a victim mentality and I can't speak for everybody because I don't know everybody. Most people are inputting into their brain stress and while I remember reading about the Boston bombings, people that watch more than think it was five hours of it on television experience more post traumatic stress than most of the people that were there. And we living in a world that wants us to be on our toes wants us to be in fear how many people are trying to sell you something because they're trying to solve a problem. You know, they're trying to make you think of a problem that you have. So you feel you feel that problem. You feel the stress of that problem, and then you think they've got the solution to you know, any that's what most people are trying to do. They're trying to tap in that's what most TV programs are about. Most films they're about let's get someone into a state of stress. And what we know is that the long term effects we know this, they're pushing our genetic buttons that create disease, they compromise the compromised our immune system. They're called now known as immune mediated diseases, causing things like cancer, Ms. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, food allergies, you name it, causing inflammation in the body because that's what stress does. It causes an inflammatory reaction, but that's why exercise is good because if you exercise you're causing a certain amount of an inflammatory reaction because inflammation precedes repair, so that you should get stronger providing you rest. So then you're then able to do more. It's just whether we want to stop and think well hace How am I actually living my life?
And I've said this before with one of the hospitals that I've worked with here in the UK, Southampton hospital, the chief medical officer asked him how many people in this hospital are here because of lifestyle choices that they've made. And he said no about 75% So those lifestyle choices. One of them is choosing to be stressed what is stressing people? Is it their mother in law, or is it their co worker? Is it their bills? Is it the news? Is it their boss? Is it there? Is it traffic? Because there's if you really put your mind to it, what what could I get stressed about? I mean, that's probably not a great question. But what could you get stressed about? And how many of those things that you could get stressed about? Can you actually do anything about because what we know is that when we live by the hormones of stress, we secrete a number of hormones, one of them being cortisol. And what we know is that by excessively doing that, as I said, you know, pushing the genetic buttons that cause disease, that then causes things like heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, digestive issues, just basically suppression, memory and attention issues, decrease sensitivity to pain. Again, we all know this, but this is about doing something about it. That's why knowing and doing knowing without doing well, this is what Dr. Stephen Covey said is well that's to not know and this is why when I was talking yesterday to these teachers are saying if I was in charge of the curriculums, I would be teaching in schools, of teach loving kindness, just to be to be kind to not only understand but to do it right everyone today let's go out and perform acts of loving kindness. I would teach mindfulness I would teach people to be able to step back and observe their thoughts. I would teach exercise and activity, but I would teach it through doing you know, these are the sorts of things I think I think we all know just how important they are. And it's not that people are necessarily addicted to a life they don't even like that's a byproduct of being addicted to stress, stress. They're just arousal chemicals. Then they use the problems and the conditions in their life. to reaffirm their addiction to those emotions. So people often need that, again, this doesn't apply to everybody. But they need that bad job. They need that poor relationship. They need that difficult situation because it allows them to continue to have that stress response that many of us have become addicted to. And I put my hands up and say, I've been like that I can still do it. But I just realize, especially with what's happened to me recently that I deserve better, and I can do better. What about you?
We know that how we think about our problems. It's crazy. It's incredible that we can get stressed without even doing anything we can without going anywhere just by thinking we can think thoughts and just by thinking those thoughts can turn on the stress response just by thought alone. So we can become addicted to our thoughts that produce an incoherent state. And when there's incoherence things just get out of balance. Let me ask you this question, what will be the greatest thing that you ever do? In your life? What will be the greatest thing that you ever do in your life? The things that are stuck in samurai because how much greatness is there in you? And you know what is possible
the creative things. You know you are a human being and you have this opportunity to recreate yourself. And the reason I'm making this podcast today is because look, I'm constantly learning. I'm starting to go out into the world more than I did, for a few reasons. One because of because now COVID isn't what it was. And more and more people are running events and they're looking for, you know, a great speaker like myself to come and talk and inspire and give people different perspectives. Also that you know, I don't need to be with my wife all the time at this moment in time because she's just recovering from from some something horrendous. But we got through it. And what we get through we can grow through, you know, this is this is you know, life. There is no growth without stress, there is no growth without opposition to that. So there's always going to be stress. It's just managing that in a way that doesn't destroy us and allows us to keep going. But the real reason I'm making this is because obviously I've been working with his head teachers. It's become very apparent to me just how stressed these people are and what they have been through. Can you imagine having been a teacher through COVID or a head teacher managing all of that, and I listened to them and they managed it, many of them by being extremely stressed inside and not showing that to the world. But doing a great thing by talking to other head teachers supporting each other. But isn't it sad that we have to rely on horrible things like this for us? To do great things. This is what I was proposing to them. Let's not wait for another one of these things to happen. Let's start working together now right now to build a better system for our children in schools to build a better world. And then you see the reason is because of that, but also what I've realized more than ever is look, I'm all about future self. That's the name of this podcast. If you want to create a future self that isn't stuck in a default future, knowing that you're living a future that you don't actually want because you know what you're doing isn't serving your future self. Knowing that you're living by the past and you're recreating the past every single day. I've just realized that when people are doing this, it's hard to get into creation mode. It's hard to get into that when you're in that stress state. It's all about just surviving. It's not the time to eat. It's not the time to sleep. It's not the time to be creative and loving and kind. It's time to run away from the danger or go hide or just stay in the middle and do a bit of both freeze. The greatest thing that you might ever do in your life. Who knows? It just might be who you become. And it just might be how you learn to manage yourself better. A great life it doesn't happen by chance it happens by design. So are you addicted to a life that you don't even like? I don't know. Are you addicted to living by the hormones of stress? I don't know. It's probably quite likely. What's your number? One takeaway from what you have just heard? Is it possible? Is it is it possible that you might have had a little bit of a little bit of a little hallelujah
so I want to thank you for listening to the podcast. I appreciate you. So so so much we love all of our listeners. Please if you haven't subscribed to our podcast, please do. Spread the word and we will see you next time for another Future Self Podcast.