Episode 011: Practicing the Fundamentals, Stress and Play [podcast]

Did you know that you can learn to make stress work FOR you instead of against you?  On today's episode, we learn about the negative and positive effects of stress.  Also on today's episode – how play can help you think better.

(c) Emmy Carr

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On Today's Episode

Rhythm of Life:  What Happened When I OD’d on Potato Chips
Tune-up Tip:  The Beauty of Beans
Random Riffs:  What you can learn from  a 1920’s Children’s Book Series that you probably never heard of
Feature:  Practicing the Fundamentals – Part 2

Rhythm of Life – What I Learned From OD’ing on Potato Chips

Every once in a while I will do something that I instinctively know isn’t in my best interest, like eating an entire bag of potato chips. Afterward I’m reminded that solving for an immediate problem without thinking it thru can often just create a much larger one.

Listen to hear how I learned some valuable lessons from the experience, and realized that my potato chip caper wasn’t a debacle after all.

Tune-up Tip – The Beauty of Beans

Beans are a nutritional powerhouse with many benefits, yet are often overlooked in the typical American diet.  Low in calories and fat, and high in protein and fiber, among other things, the recommended serving is 1.5-3 cups per week.

For more information on the health benefits of beans, click here.  We’ve also shared a link on how to get more beans into your diet.   Please share with the group ways in which you’ve successfully added beans into your diet.  The possibilities are endless!

Feature Segment – Practicing the Fundamentals Part 2: Stress and Play

Stress and Play?  What do these have to do with your life?

Our attempts to build a strong and healthy foundation can be undermined if we ignore the role that stress and play have in our lives.  When we use them to our advantage, stress and play help build that foundation stronger.

How so?

  • You can use stress to grow stronger and more resilient.
  • Play has incredible power to provide energy, positivity, intelligence, creativity, and innovation.

Many things can cause stress, including major events or smaller events that accumulate, causing chronic stress.  The symptoms can be cognitive, emotional, physical, or behavioral.  There are many reports available related to stress and its effects on our health.

When our body experiences stress, it will respond to protect us.  This sounds good….right?  For the short-term, it can be.  The key is to not let it go from good to bad.  When the stressor is chronic and we don’t have a way to combat it, it’s no longer good.

How does your body respond to stress?  Is it short-term stress, where your system goes back to normal?  Or is it chronic stress, where your system is severely taxed?

Interestingly, our attitude about stress itself can cause us to experience more or less stress.  Watch Kelly McGonigal on TED talk share how to make stress your friend.  Then, share your attitude about stress and how you work to combat bad stress.

Ask yourself these questions about stress:

  1. How would I rate my stress level in general on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the highest?
  2. What triggers distress in my life?
  3. Where does distress manifest itself?
  4. Where have I experienced eustress recently?
  5. What was the benefit?
  6. How might I use stress to enhance my life, rather than detract from it?

And now, PLAY.

Play has incredible positive powers.  Play is fun and feels good; it’s something we usually would prefer to keep doing.  But play isn’t just fun and purposeless.  It offers significant benefits both personally and professionally.

  1. Physical play forestalls dementia.
  2. Learning is enhanced by play.
  3. Memory lasts longer when accompanied by play.
  4. Social connections develop and strengthen.
  5. Play transforms work; brings newness and excitement to the job.

Stuart Brown, in his book Play, says that play teaches us how to think in a more creative and constructive way, and those lessons can be carried into the workplace.  During play, the brain is making sense of itself through simulation and testing.  And because it is play, it is non-threatening with no fear of failure.

Work can be play.  If you can experiment without pressure, then it is play.  The ideal work environment is one where people can combine work and play.  One great example of a company that combined a work concept with eternal play is Pike Place Fish Market.  There is even a book written about it, called Fish!  by Stephen Lundin, Henry Paul, and John Christensen.

Mary Poppins told us the same in the Broadway hit song – “Spoonful of Sugar

Now that we understand the importance of play in strengthening our foundation, let’s ask ourselves some key questions:

  1. How much do I play outside of work? At work?
  2. What do I think my life would look like if I played more?
  3. Do I believe enough in the power of play to incorporate it into my busy life?
  4. Do I have a situation in my life that could be helped by playing?

Play.  To solve a problem.
Play.  To develop your mind.
Play.  For the sheer fun of it.

If you have a story about how play has helped your life, please share here or on my Facebook page.


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