Life Will Never Be Stress Free, But We Can Manage It

Life Will Never Be Stress Free, But We Can Manage It

Nothing stresses Dr. H out like talking about stress, as you’ll hear in this episode! Our host shares several of the methods he uses to alleviate his anxiety in the moment, including the story of how our producer stressed him out while making this episode and what he did to get past it.

How do you de-stress? Share your thoughts with us at [email protected]

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Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Episode photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels.

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A transcript of this episode is below.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by Omega Bright CBD, formulated by Omega Bright Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Omega Bright CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction? Last week in our mini episode, I asked for feedback on whether or not you minded if I talked about topics other than ADHD, and this was in response to an email I got from one listener who said, stick to ADHD and don’t go off into other areas where you’re not an expert. And so I thought I’d ask you all how you felt about that. And thank you so much for the feedback you gave me, which was uniformly, please continue to go into different areas. One woman wrote, “it would be painfully boring to avoid any conflict and stay on the beaten path by only discussing safe topics. Please don’t do that to us.”

Well, thank you very much. And then another one wrote, “the individual who wrote to you most definitely does not speak for me.” And another one wrote, “I like it when Dr. Hallowell talks about topics besides ADHD.” And then another one, “love all the different types of episodes on all topics.” And I really appreciate that feedback, because the last thing I want to do is lose listeners because they don’t like what I’m talking about. On the other hand, I really don’t want to bore people or bore myself, so that would definitely be a bad recipe. So our producer, I didn’t know what I should talk about today, and our producer, Sarah, said, why don’t you talk about ways of reducing stress in this very stressful period? Well, her request caused me stress, because I think stress reduction is about the most hackneyed, cliched, overdone, overworked, ridiculously everywhere you look topic in the entire field of mental health.

You can’t go through any mental health grocery store without getting bombarded by stress reduction. And it’s stressful for me to have someone ask me to talk about it for that very reason. And I get impatient and I want to say things like, life is stress, get used to it. Yes, it’s stressful. Okay. Do we really need to have tips on reducing stress? Life is stress. Your heart is beating against stress. You’re dealing with gravity every day, standing up pumping blood throughout your body. You cannot be alive without stress. You simply cannot. What you want to do is maximize good stress, like working out, and minimize bad stress, like my getting worked up over being asked to talk about stress. And then to make matters worse, just before the session began, our engineer asked me if I had a clock in the room that was ticking. Well, yes I do, in fact, have a clock in the room, and yes, it does tick. But I can’t believe he could hear it.

Well, I guess that’s why he’s a sound engineer. So, stressed out, I stood up and went and took the clock into the other room. And then as I was sitting down to do this mini episode, I was so stressed out by having had to move the clock that I went and pushed the escape button, which took me out of my connection with the sound engineer and the producer. So I had to go through the laborious process of logging back in, reconnecting with them so I can deliver to you this episode on stress reduction, totally stressed out. So, now, collect myself, take a deep breath. That’s a good stress reducer. And then I said, okay, Ned, now come on. Think of some ways, honest ways of reducing stress in your life. And so, I did that. I thought of what I did when I used to play squash better than I play now, before my hip replacements. And I do still do play, just not nearly as well. And I’d be in a close game, and it was coming down to the end and I would feel stressed. What would I do?

I would visualize my daughter’s smile. Lucy’s smile. And I would visualize it when she was about six years old looking up at me smiling. So that visualization of Lucy’s smile, I do it to this very day, visualizing Lucy’s smile. So visualize someone you love or visualize a place that calms you down, and you can do it in the midst of a competitive squash game, or in the midst of a stressful meeting, or in the midst of traffic. Visualize a person or a place that you love. Another is simply associate with pleasant people. Pleasant people are stress reducers. Just as obnoxious, annoying people are stress enhancers, stress increasers, stress creators, pleasant people, nice people are stress reducers. Nice people are not boring. When I tell my wife she’s so nice, she says, oh, that makes me sound so boring. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Nice is wonderful. Nice is spectacular. Boring is good. Boring is no stress.

Now it just so happens that we, people who have ADD, we can’t tolerate boredom. Boredom is our kryptonite, so we can’t stick with it very long. But try to associate with pleasant people. Another stress reducer is good news. Oh my gosh. How can we find good news? One way is by not listening to the news, which is almost entirely bad news. And then looking for good news. What’s a nice message that you may have had? I got some good news this morning when I discovered that my daughter’s dog came back with a clean bill of health. We worried she might have some serious illness and she doesn’t, she’s healthy as a clam, or healthy is a healthy dog. Good news. Cultivate good news. Save it and pass it along. Pass it along. We all are starved for good news.

Of course, the near mention of my daughter’s dog leads me to my favorite stress reducer, which is a dog, as I’ve said many times. It’s not for no reason that God spelled backwards is dog. Dogs are the angels God put on this earth to help us get through life with less stress. If you can possibly have a dog, get a dog. Another one of my favorite stress reducers is a shower. I love the shower. So I’ll just stand in the shower for long period of time just letting the water splash my back, and stick my head underneath it, and splash around, and make funny noises and just enjoy the feeling of being in the steam and in the pouring down rain of the shower. It’s a wonderful feeling. And often toward the end I’ll make it cold and it’ll just be so invigorating. Invigorating and refreshing.

And then of course, another favorite stress reducer that almost everyone loves, except people who are hyper sensitive, is a massage. Massage, oh my gosh. If I could get a massage a week, I’d be so happy. But I can’t for any number of obvious reasons. And a final one that came to me, being a writer myself I had to stick this in, a cup of hot chocolate and a favorite book, a relaxing book. The one that came to my mind was a Robert B. Parker detective novel. I happen to love Robert B. Parker novels. And it goes well with a cup of hot chocolate because Robert B. Parker is famous for putting food recipes throughout his books. So there you have a list of stress reducers, and I calmed down enough to do the thing that I hate to do, which is join the parade of tips on stress management. But to sum them up, pleasant people, good news, dogs, a shower, a massage, and a cup of hot chocolate reading a book by someone you really like to read.

Well, that’s it for the mini episode. Before I go, I want to take a moment to remind you to check out Omega Bright CBD. They’re our sponsor and they’ve been doing a great job with us. I’ve been taking Omega Bright CBD for the past three months, and I feel it’s really cut down on my impatience, even though I did get impatient when being asked to talk about stress reduction. You can get Omega Bright CBD online at Distraction listeners can save 20% off their first order by using the promo code podcast 2020. that’s podcast 2020. Go to Okay. Remember, please do reach out to us. We love hearing from you. Love, love, love, love, love hearing from you.

Reduce my stress and send me an email. Record your thoughts and send a voicemail as a voice memo, and send it to [email protected]. And maybe include one of your favorite stress reducers and we’ll add it to our mini episode next week. Distraction is created by Sound’s Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the brilliant Scott Person. And our producer is the equally brilliant Sarah Guertin. And I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for listening.

The episode you just heard was sponsored by Omega Bright CBD, formulated by Omega Bright Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Omega Bright CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at


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