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July 27, 2020

How to survive and thrive when bad things happen – Dr. Jim Taylor

With all that's going on in the world, we need to have strategies and tactics to deal with the stress and anxiety. Dr. Jim Taylor gives us those tools in his new book, How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen.

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[00:02:26.160] – Allan
Dr. Taylor, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:02:29.670] – Dr. Taylor
Thanks. Thanks very much for inviting me on. I think it'll be a lot of fun.

[00:02:33.120] – Allan
Yes, well, the topic we're talking about wouldn't necessarily be considered fun, but I think it's a really important topic for us to get in right now, particularly when you consider what stress does to our health. The name of the book you have is called How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen, Nine Steps to Cultivating an Opportunity Mindset in a Crisis. And, you know, going through the book, you really did lay out a lot of tools and really a kind of, in my mind, a good framework for us to think about problems.

[00:03:04.920] – Allan
And, you know, we can talk about him in terms of crisis, which is what this is about. But I think a lot of times just are, some of our day to day issues, things that we just struggle with. In many cases, if we're if we are cultivating this opportunity mindset you talk about in the book, I think we're just gonna be in a better place all together.

[00:03:24.560] – Dr. Taylor
For sure, and one thing I emphasize in the book is that there are crises both small and large, and no doubt that we are experiencing some very large ones at this moment in the U.S. and around the world. But every day we experience as adults and young people, different levels of crises and small ones as well that impact us. And the more we can practice a good approach to the little crises, the better prepared we will be for handling the big crises.

[00:03:54.130] – Allan
Yes. It was. It was funny, I my dog woke me up. She she had to go and had my coffee and was like, look, you know, the rule. Let me have my coffee, cup of coffee, and then I'll be, I'll take you out. Well, she couldn't wait. She's like, no, we're going. So I poured myself a cup and I'm walking out of the door. And as I walk out the apartment, I hear clang. And I know that the gates now closed and I didn't bring my keys and everybody's asleep. You know, my wife's asleep and everyone in the building's asleep.

[00:04:24.160] – Allan
So I sat outside for two hours waiting for someone to come out or for my wife to realize I was gone. But, you know, in the instant it happened, you know, your brain just kind of wants to fire up, you know, all the anger stuff, all the things that are actually going to make you not solve the problem. They just seem to want to bubble up intensely at that first moment.

[00:04:50.250] – Dr. Taylor
Right. Well, it's quite interesting because what I call the crisis mentality is really our primitive reaction to perceived threats. But what we're seeing now in modern times versus on the Serengeti 250,000 years ago when we first evolved into human beings, Homo sapiens, is that what worked then doesn't work now. And so, as an example, our greatest instinct is to survive. And I'm guessing that getting locked out of your building wasn't really a threat to your survival, but you reacted in much the same way. Your fight or flight reaction got triggered and you felt some very strong emotions and maybe you felt this need immediate need to figure it out and resolve the crisis, which was the perceived threat. But it sounds like you were able to work through that.

[00:05:44.310] – Allan
Well, I just decided I was I was relegated to where I was relegated. And I may as well just sit there comfortably and hang out with my dog. Worse things could happen. You know, there's a lot going on in the United States with COVID, with, you know, the kind of racial inequity conversation and the political aspects of what's going on in The United States. There's like three crises, all kind of combined and overlapping and interlaying.It's just really tough time. What are some of your thoughts on what you're seeing as far as your responses and you know just where we basically are with that?

[00:06:28.580] – Dr. Taylor
Sure. Well, there's no doubt that we are experiencing a perfect storm of crises and it's so many levels. And in my book, I talk about many different types of crises that are applied here. We've got personal crises, health crises, safety crises, financial economic crises, governmental crises, societal, environmental, all these things, all these different types of crises are rolled up into these three really substantial crises that are affecting our lives.

[00:06:57.980] – Dr. Taylor
And what that simply does is turn up the volume on our reactions to the crisis. And so I'm starting to see in my practice as well as just in my life. Higher levels of stress, more emotionality, more anger, frustration, sadness, despair. So certainly, especially these days, what I consider to be some poor decision making when it comes to how best to deal with some of these crises, particularly with COVID. And at the same time, I want to be fair that we're also seeing some really wonderful things that people coming together, people supporting each other, and a lot of inspiration. A lot of pride. And so as with any kind of crisis, this perfect storm of crises is bringing out the best in us, the best in humanity, and also some of the worst of humanity.

[00:07:48.420] – Allan
Yeah, and I think that kind of blends in to kind of the core tenet of what your book is about is that, you know, we we don't necessarily want to just go into all of these crises and in every crises and just think in terms of how do I survive. Typically, these crises also open up opportunities for us if we have the right mindset. Can you talk about the survival rival conversation? And then you know how that how that blends into our mentality?

[00:08:18.560] – Dr. Taylor
Absolutely. So S.A., as I mentioned earlier, survival is our most important instinct because if we can't survive, then we're not gonna pass on our genes and property species and keep human beings going, continue to move forward and survive in the world. And this has been wired into us since we climbed out of the primordial muck millions and millions of years ago. And and it is such a powerful drive. So when whenever we perceive a situation as a threat to our survival, it triggers this cascade of reactions.

[00:08:48.650] – Dr. Taylor
And let me Allan, let me give you a very brief neuroanatomy lesson here, that this part of the brain in what's called a primitive brain is the part is called the amygdala. And it's where all information throve in all information flows through. And what it does, it it's responsible for creating emotional reactions and behavioral reactions to a perceived threat to our survival. And so, as I mentioned earlier, our instincts are survival, which when our survival is threatened, it causes this reaction of fight or flight.

[00:09:21.890] – Dr. Taylor
We can either attack a thing to survive or we can run away from it. And whats interesting is on the Serengeti 250,000 years ago, threats, crises were were very immediate and very tangible. So it might be a saber tooth tiger, or a rival tribe with a really big club. And the fact is, is that we didn't have time to deliberate to think about what's the best plan of action here, because if we did, we were already dead or beaten.

[00:09:48.470] – Dr. Taylor
And so we created this instant change in us psychologically, emotionally, physiologically and then behaviorally. And so that served us very well for a very long time and ensured our survival. But there's this other part of us that's almost instinctive as well, and it's being able to thrive and the word thrival. By the way, I didn't think it was a real word at first, but it actually is. I looked it up.

[00:10:12.730] – Allan
My spell doesn't like it for sure.

[00:10:15.340] – Dr. Taylor
Oh, really? OK. Very good. And so there is also this part of us that wants to thrive. And it's what's really created advancement through all of human history. It makes us want to get up in the morning and do marathons or triathlons or learn to play the piano or to develop the Internet or whatever it might be. So there's the other part of us, but it's not quite as primitive or primal or as immediate because you cannot thrive, you'll still survive.

[00:10:45.120] – Dr. Taylor
But as evolved beings, we have this side of us that drives us to do more than just to survive. And so that primitive mindset, the amygdala creates what I call a crisis mentality. And the other side of that was what I call an opportunity mindset. And again, little more neuroanatomy class here. That is a part of the brain. Well, first of all, we have this thing on top of our of our heads, the separate us from animals. And it's called the cerebral cortex.

[00:11:13.860] – Dr. Taylor
It basically involves our ability to think. And a part of that cerebral cortex is the front of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. And you're probably familiar with the phrase executive functioning. It's a big thing with kids in development these days and basically executive functioning. And the prefrontal cortex is associated with making decisions, identifying options and choices, weighing risk rewards, looking at future versus immediate benefit.

[00:11:39.580] – Dr. Taylor
And this is the side this involved with the thrival part of us. And what's really important, understand these days is that crises then back in the day in primitive times are very different than crises now. So, again, the crises in primitive times were very immediate, clear and tangible, and they required immediate action. But, Allan, modern crises are very different, particularly if you think about COVID, racial inequities, political strife. They're often unforeseeable. They're often not predictable. They're not easily understandable because clearly there's a lot we don't know about COVID. Also, they're often distant and indirect.

[00:12:14.130] – Dr. Taylor
So a lot of us haven't been much affected by by COVID. And yet we're required to do a lot of things that are necessary to prevent it from spreading. Also with COVID, as we're learning with the spread of COVID around the country, the crisis is delayed and it's lingering. And the reality is that the health and the economic crisis caused by COVID is going to last for a very long time.

[00:12:38.770] – Dr. Taylor
And then another really challenging part of it, Allan, is that there's not a lot we can do to get rid of COVID. We can't fight COVID and we can't exactly flee COVID. Yes, we can lock ourselves in our houses, but it's still there. So the challenge here is that what worked so well for our survival back in primitive times when faced the crisis no longer works now because we can't fight and we can't flee. And so that then requires a more evolved reaction.And that's where the opportunity mindset comes in that engages the prefrontal cortex and our executive functioning.

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Use code Allan20 and get 20% Off! [00:15:28.370] – Allan
You know, as COVID came about. I was. I'm here in Panama, and I bought a gym last June and I've been working for nine months, almost nine months to get the gym up to my standard. You know, I'm buying new equipment, getting painted, organizing all these different things. And I just made my last purchase of what I felt was necessary to kind of have the gym ready, make it gym ready anyway. And then COVID. And in Panama, they're taking this a lot more serious than they are in most parts of the United States because they just don't have the medical facilities to deal with a massive outbreak. They just don't. It could it could handle it if outbreak the way that it would just naturally do it.

[00:16:12.890] – Allan
So they're shut down here was much more dramatic and draconian than anything in the United States. So not not belittling that, as any kind of law. This is definitely not fun. But, you know, immediately it was it was this frustration that just overtook me. And, you know, I'll admit my reactions for the first two months of this outbreak were they were negative. You know, I went down that as you put the book, the negative emotional chain.Can you talk to us about that reaction? The frustration that we feel, particularly on these drawn out crises and then what we can actually do about it?

[00:16:51.260] – Dr. Taylor
Sure, sure. Well, before we do that, I'd like to sort of complete my thoughts a little bit on the opportunity mindset and how that's different from this sort of urgency and the intensity of the crisis mentality. Is that OK?

[00:17:01.810] – Allan
Sure, sure. Sure. Absolutely.

[00:17:03.210] – Dr. Taylor
Yeah. So an opportunity mindset is obviously much more positive orientation. It's a can do orientation, it's like we're in this crisis. It sucks. But how do we deal with it in a positive way? So that's the first thing versus like, oh my gosh, it's the worst thing in the world. Is it so bad? Which is the crisis mentality. Second of all, with engaging executive functioning in the prefrontal cortex, it's creating a staying calm, not freaking out and being very purposeful and deliberate in how we're going to respond.

[00:17:31.930] – Dr. Taylor
So instead, I make a distinction between reacting, which is sort of this immediate, visceral reaction and a response, which is for me, very, very deliberate, very thoughtful, very purposeful. And in some key components to the opportunity mindset is, first of all, our values. And so basically what happens in a crisis is our world is rocked. The ground on which we stand is no longer stable. And that's especially true in the case of a hurricane, an earthquake and so on.

[00:18:02.700] – Dr. Taylor
So really going back to what do we value and what's important to us that helps that can help disconnect away from them and the amygdala and get the information flowing to the prefrontal cortex. Also, our attitudes are really important. Am I going to be a victim here or am I going to take ownership? And so that's really important as well. So basically an opportunity mindset is about having a clear understanding of what we're dealing with in a crisis and then having a method in the madness, because what a crisis creates is madness.

[00:18:33.220] – Dr. Taylor
And if you can have a method through it, then you're going to deal with it much more effectively. And lastly is being decisive. And there's a lot of uncertainty, Allan, with respect to a crisis, as you well know, when's it going to start? When's it going to end? When can we move on to phase two or phase three? When can we reopen? And it's important to be decisive, as decisive as you can, and taking the actions that you believe will help you get through the crisis. So any follow up before I move on to the frustration and the negative mode?

[00:19:01.670] – Allan
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I you know, the way I kind of put this or thought about this was I locked myself out. You know, what are the ways that I'm going to be able to get back in because I can't I can't go through the gate by myself. It's locked. And there's no other way into my apartment. There's no other key. So I just have to wait for one of three things I kind of already mapped out. OK, either I'm going to hear my wife come out on the patio that overlooks where I'm sitting. So I'm listening for the sliding glass doors to open or someone's going to come out of the building, or three if a friend drives by or rides by on their bike. I can have them Facebook message my wife and let her know that I'm locked out. So I had three solutions that I'm basically working towards. And then also just in my head thinking, you know, petting a dog is stress relieving and, you know, we're going to have some hangout time whether she likes it or not, that's what we're going to do.

[00:19:55.740] – Allan
And I knew, OK, there's some things I've got an appointment, you know, I might be late for or might not make. And I'll just have to apologize because it's outside my control at this point. So for me, it was it was kind of a little bit of acceptance. But then I did have some at least some positive actions that I could take during that period of time while I was I was waiting for the crisis to end. And thankfully, my neighbor Bay, he came out and let me in. He was going to charge me dollar for it. But he did let me in.

[00:20:26.510] – Allan
And so it was over, you know, but had I gone through that whole, like I said, the frustration, the negative emotional shame that I found myself doing with COVID, you know, it wouldn't have been as productive and I wouldn't have I wouldn't be talking about it fondly. I guess that's the best way to say it.

[00:20:44.460] – Dr. Taylor
Right. And I just want to point out a couple of key things that you did very well. Firstly, you accepted that which you couldn't control. That is, you are locked out. That is reality. And to rage against the machine of reality is a very fruitless and frustrating experience. Second of all, you controlled what you could control. You were looking for a friend to ride by on a bike. You pet your dog, you relax. You drank your coffee and you did what you could.

[00:21:10.380] – Dr. Taylor
And so so those are some really positive steps. And what was key about that is that frustration is a strange emotion, because when I asked people if frustration is a good or a bad emotion, they say it's a horrible emotion. It feels bad, but it's actually a really important emotion evolutionarily, because when you're frustrated, if you think about we all know what frustrated means, what it feels like, it's like, oh, my gosh, I'm stuck.

[00:21:35.460] – Dr. Taylor
But few people really understand what frustration, what causes it. So basically with frustration, what causes frustration is when you're heading down a path toward a goal and then a giant gate falls in your path or a boulder or whatever you want to say. So your path is blocked. So that causes frustration. So frustration starts out as a good emotion, Allan, because when you're frustrated, what's your initial motivation? To clear the path toward your goal? The problem is, is that initially when you're frustrated, you typically just do more of the same harder.

[00:22:10.540] – Dr. Taylor
And that violates the law of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. And so if it's not that easy to remove that gate or that boulder, then you're going to get more frustrated. And that leads to the second part of my negative emotional chain, which is anger. Now, again, I ask the question of people, is anger a good or a bad emotion? Well, people say it's a terrible emotion, it feels horrible. But it's actually evolutionarily a good emotional initially, because when you're angry again, it motivates you to clear the path toward your goal.

[00:22:45.570] – Dr. Taylor
The problem, Alan, is that when you're angry, One, is you can't think clearly, and two, you can't focus effectively. So typically what happens when you're angry is this is sort of frenetic attempt to clear the path. And again, that doesn't work very well. The real challenge is the third chip piece or link in the chain, the negative emotional chain, and that's despair.

[00:23:11.900] – Dr. Taylor
And this is not a trick question. This is this is a bad emotion. Because as soon as you despair, you give up. And as soon as you give up, you lose any chance of resolving the crisis. Then you become a total victim. And so the goal is to stop at frustration, easy to get to anger. It's hard to come back from anger. And it's really hard to come back from despair.

[00:23:37.750] – Dr. Taylor
But if you can master the frustration and this is something I do a great deal in with my client, tell us, what do you do when you're faced with a frustrating situation? And so a couple of key steps. First is take a break. As long as you stay in the situation that's causing you the frustration, you're going to stay frustrated. Let's use your example of of being locked out of your apartment building. If you stand there, you probably continue to be frustrated.

[00:24:05.590] – Dr. Taylor
So the best thing to do is take a walk around the block with your dog, get some physical distance, which creates emotional distance, which will reduce the frustration. But that's not enough, because if you then go back, the gate is still gonna be locked. And so the next thing to do is to identify what the cause is, what's the problem? And again, it's pretty clear you're locked out. And this, of course, is very simple. If we do, can we can talk about COVID and apply it there as well with a more complex situation. But then once you identify the problem, I'm locked out, then you can come up with a solution. Well, I can wait it out. I can. I can wait for a friend to come by on a bike. I could yell up to my wife. There are a lot of different options. And if you can find a solution that will work right away, well then the frustration is going to disappear. Because you're going to have a solution to the problem. And so if you go through some of these deliberate steps, the most basic is to take a break. Look what the situation is. Identify the problem, find a solution. Then you can return to the situation. And then if all else fails, because there are some days when like with COVID, the promise not can be solved today.

[00:25:27.450] – Dr. Taylor
In that case, it's best to redirect your attention on something else. So with COVID. Maybe go back to work. You get some exercise. You hang out with your family. You check the news, whatever it might be. But the important thing is when you start to feel that frustration instead of letting your amygdala take over. Which is totally fruitless and frustrating experience is to re-engage the prefrontal cortex and think through this process.

[00:25:57.100] – Allan
It's much like a personal trainer. You ask people about pain and everybody is like, well, pain is bad. And I kind of correct them a little bit. I say, no, I say pain is not a bad thing. It's actually a very good thing because it's a signal. It's telling you something if you're if you're willing to listen. And frustration kind of works that way in a sense. The way I look at it know, the next time I went out the door, I made sure I had my keys.

[00:26:24.070] – Allan
So it's it's pretty settled right now. I'm going to have my keys on me when I leave my house again. So it was an educational opportunity I guess is the best way for me to look at it. It's silly, I locked myself out and all I needed was the keys that I had left sitting on the counter. And so going forward, when I leave the house, there's a little extra reminder there, kind of seeded emotion. Take your keys with you, dummy, so it doesn't happen again. So I did kind of find you know, I did densify the cause, keys on the counter instead of in my pocket. And now going forward, I have a solution.

[00:27:03.320] – Dr. Taylor
Right. And I think your example of pain is a great one, because when people think of pain, they think about survival. And back on the Serengeti, 250,000 years ago, pain usually meant that you were about to die. So it is sort of very important survival purpose. However, moving forward into the thriving. The reason why people exercise, run marathons is it was easy. Everybody would do it, but probably nobody would do it, because that's not the challenge. It's not thriving. The reason why people push themselves physically is because of the satisfaction, the fulfillment that comes from challenging ourselves and overcoming our limitations.

[00:27:41.910] – Dr. Taylor
And so so pain, yes. Can certainly be bad. But it also can be a really wonderful sign, of I'm working hard. I'm pushing myself, I'm getting better. And so, again, it all is about attitude and how you look at it. And that's the lens through which you experience a crisis, pain, frustration, what it would have you.

[00:28:03.010] – Allan
Yeah, you know, Sometimes it's very difficult for us to kind of take that step, particularly when we're talking about something as big as, say, COVID or the political issues or whatever. When we're dealing with something that's for the most part outside our control, it's a little bit harder to do that. And there's certain people that are more wired to be able to do that and less, you know, back and forth. We can we can train ourselves.

[00:28:31.760] – Allan
And I think that's one of the cool things is going through the book. You spoke about three mindset forks in the road. And really, as I went through that part of the book, I was like, you know, if we kind of say bread ourselves, but worked on ourselves to try to, you know, utilize these three things, we're gonna face challenges so much better. Could you take a little bit of time to go through those?

[00:28:58.880] – Dr. Taylor
Yes. So I talk about mindsets in terms of basically how you think about a situation and how you think about it relates to how you approach it, how you act on it. And so one of my fork in the road is optimism versus pessimism. And so there's no doubt that this perfect storm of crises we're experiencing, they're all really uncomfortable. They're not pleasant at all. But we still have to deal with them.

[00:29:24.200] – Dr. Taylor
And so with COVID, you know, in a way, by getting all negative and going to the dark side, if you're a Star Wars fan, is it adds insult to injury. So the injury is of course is the threat of COVID or getting COVID and economic stress thats on us. But if we go to the dark side and we're negative and we're defeated and we're catastrophizing, that just adds to more the pain and the stress and the doubt and the worry. So we can approach it with what I call realistic optimism, because it wouldn't be reasonable to say, oh, this is a great experience, this is so fun.

[00:29:58.640] – Dr. Taylor
But realistic optimism for me is OK. We're in this situation. What can what can I get out of this? How can this benefit me and my family? And in using the opportunity, for example, to whether it's exercising more or spending more time with the family and connecting with them more or helping others or whatever, it might be approaching the situation with something of an optimistic, positive mindset. And again, it's not being unrealistic its not deluding ourselves to thinking that, oh, this is the greatest thing in the world, which it's clearly not.

[00:30:28.670] – Dr. Taylor
But we need to look at in a more positive way, and it's a bit of a cliche, have a positive attitude about things. But it's a cliche because it really helps. So that's one that's one mindset fork in the road. The second is disrupted versus stable. The fact is, these crises have disrupted our lives. They've thrown a wrench into all our routines and our habits and things that make us feel good and make us comfortable.

[00:30:53.660] – Dr. Taylor
And so we want to look for. We need to actively create stability in our thinking, and in our interactions. So even within COVID, how can we create routines that create a degree of stability and consistency? These, again, human beings like stability and like consistency. Because going back to another 250,000 years ago in the Serengeti, if we didn't see consistency, if we didn't have stability, the chances are we were going to die. And so, you know, we can't create stability in the world writ large, but we can in our lives by, you know, keep the house clean, eating well, staying committed to work, staying committed to other activities that we're involved in.

[00:31:35.680] – Dr. Taylor
That's another really important for the road, seeking out stability, creating stability and consistency in our lives. The third is a fork in the road is comfort versus risk. Again, our wiring tells us that in a crisis, we want to circle the wagons. We want to retreat. We want to be as comfortable as possible. And there's certainly some value in that. At the same time, though, it's really important that during times of crisis that we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and take some reasonable risks and do some and I don't mean unreasonable risks like like coughing in somebody's face or going outside and socializing within a foot of a person.

[00:32:12.640] – Dr. Taylor
I mean, doing things that will continue to challenge us. And this is a thrival side of us. Doing things to continue to push ourselves to grow and to prosper. And so I think some basic things we can do is, for example. I wrote a blog post recently about five life hacks we can we can engage in to attempt to make our lives better and to use this as an opportunity to grow from this crisis, because it's one thing to grow in normal situations, but if we can grow as people in tough situations, then it's a lot easier to keep that going when life returns to normal.

[00:32:53.570] – Dr. Taylor
So one of those hacks is just how you going to use your time? You know without commuting? There's another couple. Maybe for many people it is an extra hour or two of time in the day. Being very deliberate and thoughtful about how you're going to use your time. I think family is another life hack. How can you grow closer to your family? How can you build your relationships in these close quarters?

[00:33:13.330] – Dr. Taylor
The third and this is sort of a personal thing as well as professional is declutter. Because it's something I saw in our neighborhood in Northern California, where in the first month or so after COVID in shelter in place came into play. We there were tons of junk out on the sidewalks because just clearing out the stuff in your house you are never going to use again is really positive. But it's also a metaphor for just clearing out the junk in your mind, because during crises, our minds get cluttered.

[00:33:41.750] – Dr. Taylor
I've mentioned that several time number four for my life back is exercise. They're very as you well know, as a personal trainer, there are very few things that is therapeutic is getting out and getting exercise and moving our bodies and releasing endorphins. And it's just so positive for our mental health, our levels of stress and so on. The fifth life hack for me, and this is a this would make things a little more challenging.

[00:34:06.870] – Dr. Taylor
This is the tribal side is look for old habits that you don't like and you want to change. And might it might be poor reading. It might be lack of exercise. It might be spending too much time at work and might be spending too much time in from a screen, whatever it is. Identify a habit that you don't like and make an effort to change it. These in a way, that's a gift that COVID has given us because we now have the time and the space and a disruption in the routine of our lives which can maintain habits, forces us to break out of those limitations, to find things that we can do to become better people.

[00:34:47.290] – Allan
For me, it was was Facebook. I got myself off of Facebook because it was not helping at all. So I took a I started about a little over a week or so ago. I decide, OK, I take a break. I've taken some short breaks before, but this has been the longest break I've had from Facebook personally in a while. And some of the positive benefits of that is and I can count probably on half of my hand.

[00:35:12.460] – Allan
How many times I've had zero inbox in my life. I've gotten to zero inbox. So, yeah, a couple of your hacks there just fell in place for me here as I've been dealing with kind of the slow down is the best way I can put it, because until COVID picks back up, my life is just gonna move a lot slower.

[00:35:37.500] – Allan
Dr. Taylor, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:35:46.750] – Dr. Taylor
Yes. Great questions. So I have three. One is exercise, and this has obviously been an overriding theme. But I'm an athlete and I so believe in the power of exercise to make us physically healthier as well as mentally healthier and happier. So exercise number one. Two find something you have a tremendous passion for. No doubt if you care deeply about something, you're gonna be engaged. You're gonna be focused. You're just to be more alive.

[00:36:12.970] – Dr. Taylor
So it doesn't matter what it is. It can be work. It can be something sports related. It can be cultural. It can be religious. It doesn't matter. It can be political. Whatever it is. Find something your passion about and dive into it. Because one thing that's very clear from the research is that people who are passionate about things are the happiest people because they care deeply about something and it engages them.

[00:36:35.570] – Dr. Taylor
And the third is connect. And this is a real problem I've had during COVID in the language use. I'm a word guy from writing, speaking, consulting, words for me, they're my stock and trade. And so when I heard about social distancing, I thought, who came up with that phrase? Because we don't want social distancing. We want physical distancing. Six feet is not a social issue. It's a physical issue. And during this time of isolation, we need to connect more than ever.

[00:37:04.630] – Dr. Taylor
We need social interactions. Now, safely, of course. But it's so important that another one of the most robust findings related to both happiness and stress is that the happiest people, the people who are the less least stressed, are those who have the strongest social relationships and connections. And so one way very powerfully to mitigate a lot of these challenges that we're feeling related to the crises is to connect with others. And if we can maintain those connections and deepen them while we are going through this crisis, we're going to respond to it in a much more positive and much more healthy way.

[00:37:42.640] – Dr. Taylor
And we're much more likely to thrive rather than just survive. And it might just be that we'll just survive rather than just totally falling apart. So exercise, dive into a passion or something and make a real effort to connect. Those are my recipes. Those are my ingredients for for health, fitness and happiness.

[00:38:02.930] – Allan
Those are great. So, Dr. Taylor, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, How to Survive and Thrive When Bad Things Happen, where would you like me to send them?

[00:38:13.410] – Dr. Taylor
Sure, well, two place for the book, everybody, of course, goes to Amazon. Do a search for that or for my name? Dr. Jim Taylor. And it'll come up and also my Web site. DrJimTayor.com I've got so many things. I've got a blog. I've got podcasts around crises and many other issues. You can learn far more than you probably ever want to know about me and my work on my Web site. DrJimTaylor.com.

[00:38:37.830] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/444, and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Taylor, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:38:47.450] – Dr. Taylor
Great pleasure, Allan, and be well.

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Melissa Ball
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