Stress Resilience

with Paul Campbell

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Our brain continues to grow and can be changed.

Paul Campbell

CEO & Co-Founder of bLife Inc, Director of Business Development at Microsoft

Lessons Learned

Five morning minutes of focused breathing improves focus, clarity, and outlook.

Bridgewater $150B AUM Founder Ray Dalio says meditation is his secret weapon.

Brain training can improve cognitive abilities lasting up to ten years.

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Lesson: Stress Resilience with Paul Campbell

Step #5 Improvement: Our brain continues to grow and can be changed

The prevailing scientific belief was that the brain was fixed, and then there was the understanding about neuroplasticity, that our brains continue to change and we create these new connections within the brain. That basically the brain can continue to grow.

We also learned that when we're engaging in these kinds of exercises, like meditation, body awareness, breathing exercises, calming exercises, positivity building exercises, that we're making changes in our brain as well, for the better.

And so then it just says, okay, we know what the outcomes can be. We know how to get there. Like anything else, it's now how do you start to incorporate that into your life? And so that practice really is about a behavior change. So we're learning a lot about how to trigger behavior change for whatever the outcome.

In this case, one of those small things that you can start to do to incorporate into your daily life things that give you a sense of being able to manage your stress, understand what your triggers are. So it starts with knowledge. What are my triggers? When am I stressed?

We talked to some people and they, stress is just that's it. We're always stressed. We don't even think that there's anything you can do about it. So for some of us, we've got to get to that point where the status quo, we have to say is not good enough. For me, it was a health scare that got my attention. It can be anything for all of us. Hopefully, it doesn't take something as dramatic to then get to a place to say, "You know what? I can perform better. I can be healthier and be happier if I start taking these small steps."

So that's the beginning, and it really is just small steps that we can do. It's been proven that even just spending five minutes quietly focused on one's breathing and on the day, particularly starting that in the morning, can have tremendous benefits not only to our biology but just to one's outlook, getting clarity on what's important and what's not important, and not getting into that feeling of we're on this rat race. So it's just small things.

What we focus on is it's not a one size fits all. So you can buy a book and the book will say, "Meditation is it!" and it's great. I charted it on my spreadsheet. I know it's great for me. But for certain people, it's not. So you want to learn what works for you and personalize or have a program that can adapt to where you are. When I was a beginner, sitting for five minutes was all I could do. Now I can sit for much longer or I can do different types of exercises. So creating a personalized plan would be my recommendation that I’d have.

Meditation is definitely one of the most powerful exercises that we can do for our psychological and physiological health. No doubt about it. The evidence is overwhelming. It's now study after study on what happens when we meditate, and more and more people, notables and celebrities and business leaders. Ray Dalio, who is the co-founder and the head of the largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Capital, says that meditation has been his secret weapon over the last 30 years. You don't get more captain of industry than something that's a $150 billion hedge fund. He meditates twice a day, every day, and has been doing it for 30 years.

So you're not only seeing people like Oprah Winfrey talk about this or Arianna Huffington, who has done an amazing job of evangelizing the power of sleep and the power of meditation and taking care of our mental and emotional self, but you've got guys like Ray Dalio. Hugh Jackman for the new X-Men movie, just talking about how he used meditation to get himself ready. It's very physically demanding and stressful, so he used meditation. So just more and more people. But it is one of a number of different brain-based exercises that we need to integrate into our lives that have the impact of reducing stress and making us more resilient in our mind and in our body.

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