How to Combat the Stress of Everyday Life

How to Combat the Stress of Everyday Life

Today’s guest, Phil Barth, suffered a heart attack at an early age and was told that he needed to manage his stress or risk a worse heart attack in the future. In our conversation he shares actionable steps that you can take right away to reduce stress, and increase your happiness and well-being.

Stress can have a wide range of effects on both the body and the mind, affecting our health, happiness, well-being and success.

Today's guest, Phil Barth, suffered a heart attack at an early age and was told that he needed to manage his stress or risk a worse heart attack in the future.

In our conversation he shares what he learned about stress and how to manage it and actionable steps that you can take right away to reduce stress, and increase your happiness and well-being.

What you will learn

  • Why "yes" can be a stress-inducing word
  • How to put the 4:1 ratio to work for you
  • Simple yet powerful strategies to combat stress
  • Daily practices that will boost happiness and well-being – and they only take a few minutes of your time

About my guest:

Phil Barth’s life took an unexpected turn on August 5, 2015 with a surprise visit to the cardiac wing of Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati.  He had suffered a heart attack.  His doctor told him that he had to reduce stress to avoid a worse heart attack in the future.  Phil’s first thought was “Okay.  How do I do that?” which led him on a journey of exploration and learning about stress and how to manage it and he’s put that into actionable items that we can all use.


[00:02] Bobbi: Welcome to UnYielded Thriving No Matter What, where we talk about how to make your next chapter in life your best chapter. I’m your host, Bobbi Kahler, and I believe that the best is yet to come back, everyone, thank you so much for being here. I am very excited about today’s show because today’s topic is something that, well, pretty much everyone can relate to stress. In today’s conversation, my guest Phil Barth, and I talk about his experience with stress and very simple yet powerful things that we can all do to fight the stress of everyday life. I absolutely love the ideas that he shared, and I’m going to be implementing them for myself. So a little bit about my guest before you meet him. His name is Phil Barth, and his life took an unexpected turn on August 5, 2015, with a surprise visit to the cardiac wing of Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati. He had suffered a heart attack, and his doctor told him that he had to reduce stress to avoid a worse heart attack in the future. And Phil’s first thought was, okay, well, how do I do that? Which led him on a journey of exploration and learning about stress and how to manage it. And what I love is that he’s put that into actionable. Items that we can all use every day. Phil, welcome to the show.


[01:40] Phil: Thank you. Glad to be here.

[01:42] Bobbi: I am so excited for this conversation. And now that we finally get to talk after all the drama with losing electricity the other day and the yellow jacket. So here we go. So why don’t we just dive in and start with your story starting back in, what, 2015?

[02:00] Phil: Yes. It was just a little over eight years ago. The hardiversary, is that what you call it? In early August, I was at summer camp with my son, and I was noticing things that suddenly the hills, we go there every year, and suddenly the hills were getting higher, and I was getting out of breath, and I was having all sorts of problems like that. And of course, what I did was I said, well, I’ll go to the doctor eventually because next week we’re going to Las Vegas. And the week after, I’ve got a meeting in South Carolina. So I’ll get there eventually.

[02:39] Bobbi: I’m too busy. I’m too busy to go to busy.

[02:43] Phil: To have heart problems. But on that Thursday, I had what they called a small heart attack. We played this game called Hungry Human Hippos. This was the last straw, right? I’ve been not feeling good all week. What it is, you’ve heard of the game Hungry Hungry Hippos where they get the marbles? Well, you replace the marbles with softballs and the hippos with humans. So you’re down on a caster from a garbage can getting swirled around while you’re trying to catch as many softballs as possible. And I started out as the swirler, and that didn’t work so I switched to being the hippo, and it got me good and dizzy, and I just walked out. I said, I’m not feeling good, went to the nurse, and she took my blood pressure and it had tanked. And she said, about that time, my wife called because I told her I wasn’t feeling good earlier. And the nurse grabbed the phone. She said, look, if it’s my husband, I call 911.

[03:39] Bobbi: Wow.

[03:40] Phil: Took off in an ambulance. They checked me out for a bunch of different things. And then they give you that there’s some chemical in your blood. I don’t know if you could hear the dogs in the background. It’s a crazy house. Anyway, I had had a heart attack, and what happened was two days later, after they put some stents in and got me fixed up, the surgeon said, you need to manage your stress. I was hoping for something like diet and exercise where you can just check off the boxes. I didn’t even know how to manage stress.

[04:14] Bobbi: Wow.

[04:16] Phil: So that was part of it.

[04:18] Bobbi: Yeah. So when he said that manage stress to you, did you feel like you had a lot of stress in your life?

[04:24] Phil: Yes.

[04:24] Bobbi: Oh, you did know.

[04:27] Phil: And now I’m eight years into the journey, and I realize a lot of it was unnecessary stress that I’m putting on myself. Stress is fine if you’re trying to escape a yellow jacket. That’s what it’s there for, the fight or flight. Stress is not fine if you decide that you can make it. Set the land speed record on the way to the airport because you just were doing something silly before that or worrying about something that has a 5% chance of happening three months from now. So stress can serve you in small bits, but I was taking it all on, and so I learned a lot from the stress journey.

[05:03] Bobbi: I bet. So I have to say, when you’re at summer camp, I used to do youth leadership retreats. When you say summer camp, I think about where we used to do those. Those were way out. Were you near any kind of facility?

[05:18] Phil: Fortunately, yeah. This particular summer camp was right off the highway. Got a lot of acres in the woods, but right off the highway and 15 minutes to the hospital.

[05:31] Bobbi: About that bad.

[05:32] Phil: No, not bad at all. So I was actually closer to the hospital where I would have wanted to go anyway than had I been at home.

[05:39] Bobbi: Wow. So that was fortunate.

[05:41] Phil: Very.

[05:42] Bobbi: Yeah, right. So they say you got to manage stress before I get to the stress, because I like how you put the small heart attack in the air quotes. I didn’t know there was such a thing. How do they classify it?

[05:58] Phil: They draw your blood, and there’s a chemical your body gives off only if you’ve had a heart attack. And they measure the amount of the chemical, and I think it was three, and it can go up to 300. So he said, you had a small heart attack. I said, I don’t ever want to have medium.

[06:15] Bobbi: I don’t even want another small one.

[06:17] Phil: No, exactly. It’s like Starbucks. They don’t say small, they say tall. And what?

[06:23] Bobbi: Grande?

[06:24] Phil: Yeah, you had a venti heart attack. But wow, I never wanted to have another one. So I took his advice and investigated, how am I going to manage the stress?

[06:34] Bobbi: Yeah. So tell me about that journey a little bit.

[06:39] Phil: So there was, first off, the recovery from the heart attack that took through about the end of the year, working part time. And the one tip he gave me, the doctor was he said, every three months, you need to take one week off if you can. And I’d been at my job for a very long period of time, had the vacation, and I said, I’ll do it. And I said it in front of my wife, so I had to do it.

[07:03] Bobbi: She’s going to hold you accountable.

[07:04] Phil: Held me accountable. So it was March and she said, Spring break is coming up. Take the week off. We’ll stay home. But you’re going to unplug from work and stress and we’re just going to have a staycation.

[07:17] Bobbi: Yeah.

[07:18] Phil: What happened was the first day we went to the Cincinnati Zoo. And so that evening, I got on Facebook and I posted, hey, here were the great things that happened to me today, just on a whim. And I said, oh, we saw gorillas and baby Cheetahs. Had a picnic in the car. And everybody gave me a like. And if you get likes in Facebook, oh, my gosh, that’s why we’re here.

[07:39] Bobbi: Like me, please like me.

[07:43] Phil: I’ve got photos of my kids. Don’t make me run up and down the street going, do you like them?

[07:47] Bobbi: Do you like.

[07:50] Phil: Day two, we went to the art museum and again, I posted, at the end of the day, here were the things that happened that were great. And by the end of the week, I found out that it was kind of destressing me by focusing on what was good. And then I asked myself the question, okay, so I was off for a week. Will I be able to find things once I’m back at work? And how long will I be able to find things, put them out on social media, and talk about what’s good in life? And the answer is, it’s been about seven and a half years.

[08:19] Bobbi: Wow. And you continue to do that every day?

[08:21] Phil: I continue to do that almost every day. You can’t, but almost every single day I’ll put something out there. And what happens is you train your body or you train your mind to look for it.

[08:33] Bobbi: That’s right.

[08:34] Phil: You’re looking for what’s good. And once I started looking for what’s good, then you automatically see it. Once you buy a blue Honda Accord, you’re amazed by how many other people.

[08:43] Bobbi: Bought blue Honda Accord, even though you never saw one before?

[08:47] Phil: Never saw it before. And so that was the start of and the follow up is once you start filling your mind and your mind is busy looking for good things, it’s not going to be focusing on all the bad things.

[09:00] Bobbi: That’s right.

[09:01] Phil: So those were the first two. I have a thing called the nine S’s of stress management. We can put a PDF link in the show notes, but those are the first two. Seek what is good or the green and subtract what is bad. Or I use the colors green and red. I love the color red, but it’s the opposite of green. Right. If green is good, then you have to have something the opposite. So subtract what is bad in your life as much as you can. Yeah, those were the foundations and there are several others that I’ve discovered along the way.

[09:33] Bobbi: But to seek what is good and you’re completely right. And happiness researchers, it’s not just like, oh, this is a good idea. No, it’s been proven that what we train our brain to see will see more.

[09:49] Phil: Can’t be you can’t see nothing but good. I think Ziegler had a quote, all sun and no rain makes for a desert. There’s got to be some of the red in your life. But I think the ratio, if it’s four to one, if you find four good for everyone bad, you’re going to be generating enough positive hormones that lower you, they will lower your stress. And I’ve been reading books on the impact of stress on health and it’s no wonder I had a heart attack. I was lucky that it was a small heart attack.

[10:20] Bobbi: Yeah. Because it was a wake up call without being worse than that.

[10:25] Phil: Yeah.

[10:26] Bobbi: Wow.

[10:27] Phil: Yeah. At one point the cardiologist said it could have been the widowmaker. I didn’t even know I had an artery called the widowmaker. But when he said, you know what that means, I was like, I can probably use my context so I can figure it out.

[10:42] Bobbi: I actually had a guest on the show not too long ago. He was out mountain biking outside of Seattle on a very remote trail, and he suffered that kind of heart attack. I know. And luckily enough, hikers found him within minutes. The chances of that happening are so remote, but he one of the few that survived. That’s serious. So I’m curious, too, why did he say to take one week off every three months? Did he tell you?

[11:16] Phil: He never told me.

[11:18] Bobbi: What great advice.

[11:20] Phil: Yeah. In hindsight, I expected to get a lecture on diet and exercise, but also going on in my head, and this went on for months afterwards, too. I was slightly overweight, but I was exercising and I didn’t smoke, and so if he had to pick one, he’s probably not going to lecture me on diet. He probably looked at me and said, or maybe he does this all the time because there is a lot of medical research on the impact of stress on your health. And so he came in and hit me with that, and it was perfect because I wasn’t expecting it, and it changed my point of view. I said, I better do something about this.

[11:57] Bobbi: Yeah. So what was it that he shared, the impact of stress on your health? What was it that he shared or that you’ve learned that really stood out to you the most?

[12:07] Phil: He didn’t share anything with me. He just said, you can’t do this.

[12:10] Bobbi: Okay.

[12:11] Phil: I think at some point he may have mentioned the widowmaker, too. But I’ll tell you, the worst part of it was after the stent. I mean, this is for me. After the stent, they had to put blood thinners in to give you the stents and all that, and then you have to lay perfectly still for hours while that blood thinner medicine goes out of your body. And I hated that more. I mean, I was asleep for the stent.

[12:36] Bobbi: Yeah.

[12:37] Phil: I hated I was like, this is uncomfortable. This is awful. I know there’s a recovery ahead of me. I don’t ever want to face this again. And I’ll do what they said, whatever.

[12:46] Bobbi: It takes, because stress is, I think, everybody it’s one of those things that we all know stress is not good for us, but we don’t know how bad it is for us, maybe, right?

[12:57] Phil: Exactly. I’ve been reading the book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and it’s really long and it’s very technical, but I do it on audio and do it at 1.5 speed to kind of blitz through the technical science. And it really makes some good points about just how many awful things stress can do to your body.

[13:18] Bobbi: Yeah. Earlier you said you talked about the unnecessary stress, and you gave the example of breaking the land speeding, because how many people do that? When I used to travel all the time. I’m one of those people that it’s like, I’ve got enough stress in my life. I’m not going to put more stress on and say I’m going to get there ten minutes before my flight. So I always got there early and everything, but I was stunned how many people get there, like, at the last minute, and they’re running through the airport carrying their shoes because they don’t have time to put them back after security. So I get that one. What were some of the other unnecessary stresses that you feel like you had?

[14:03] Phil: I never said no to anything, so I took on too many things. You have to say no. You have to prioritize. I have a whiteboard with a big volcano written, well, decent sized volcano, and I have little thick figures that go into the volcano. I call it my chucket list. You got a bucket list? Of things you want to do, Chuck. It is the things I’m throwing in the volcano I don’t want to do. And I specifically make notes. I am not taking on this role. I am not going to do this because if I don’t make room for what’s good and I don’t room for my family and the things that really bring me joy, because I’m taking on every possible little thing that comes down the road, I’m just hurting myself. And I’m adding stress because it’s the stress of, oh, my gosh, I got something else to get done, and the stress of I can’t be there for my family and it compounds. So I think the biggest thing is I just said no to things.

[14:56] Bobbi: Yeah. Because I know you wrote that. And one of the things, I don’t know if it’s on your profile or in our correspondence, that one of the most stress causing words is, do you how do you decide what to say yes to and what deserves a no?

[15:12] Phil: So I’m going to borrow a quote from Derek Sivers. He’s an author. He actually wrote a book with this title. He says when he’s given an opportunity, if it’s not Hell yeah, it’s no.

[15:22] Bobbi: That’s right.

[15:23] Phil: Something I really want to do. You can’t do that 100%. Sometimes there are things that you have to do. The joke I use in my keynotes is I can’t wake up one morning and go, I can’t see myself waking up one morning and going, colonoscopy prep. Hell, yeah. Pay taxes. Yeah. But in either case, you can say, do I want to avoid colon cancer? Hell, yeah. Do I want to avoid going to jail because I didn’t pay my taxes? Hell, yeah. So you can turn those around. But in general, if it’s an option and you have an option to do it, and you can’t see this is really moving me in the direction I need to go in my life, you got to say no.

[16:06] Bobbi: Yeah, go ahead.

[16:10] Phil: Well, I was going to say and if I’m the one asking the question, the best answer you can give me is, yes, I’ll do it. The second best answer is, no, I won’t, because the third answer is, let me try to work it in. Well, maybe, et cetera. And then I’m putting stress on you waiting for me too.

[16:25] Bobbi: That’s right.

[16:26] Phil: So I make it a yes or a no, and as often as I can, if it’s not going to move me forward, they’re going to be better off with somebody else anyway, and I say no.

[16:34] Bobbi: Yeah. You know what I was thinking is, I think so many times there’s so many distractions that could be a yes. You know what I mean?

[16:45] Phil: Yes.

[16:47] Bobbi: But by using the framework of if it’s not a hell yes or a hell, yeah, it’s probably a no. I mean, unless it’s something where it’s brand new and you have to I don’t know do some exploration to even know what it would be. But those distractions often become yeses. When maybe they shouldn’t be. Wow.

[17:09] Phil: I don’t have a formal methodology for it, but if I can see this being something I really want to do to help others, sure, if it might be fun, I’ve got a QR code. I did a QR code for my website, and I generated it using, I believe, Chrome. And so it put a little trex in the middle of it, and I said, now, wait a minute. That can’t be part of the QR code. And this is absolutely nothing but fun. I said, I wonder if I could put a picture of my son in there. And you can. I wonder if I can put a rubber chicken in there. So I did a little picture of rubber chicken. I have a rubber chicken QR code.

[17:45] Bobbi: Oh, my God.

[17:46] Phil: I use rubber chickens in a lot of my keynotes. That’s the stressors in your ears. They’re just little rubber chickens. Throw them out. And then the next thing I thought of was, again, for nothing but fun. If I could put a rubber chicken on a QR code, why couldn’t I put a QR code on a rubber chicken? And so I put a little sticker QR code on it, and now I’ve got little rubber chicken business cards with QR codes on them.

[18:10] Bobbi: Oh, my God. That’s adorable.

[18:12] Phil: It was just fun.

[18:13] Bobbi: See, I found one. Oh, my God. See, that’s great. That’s great.

[18:20] Phil: So that was kind of my hell, yeah.

[18:25] Bobbi: Okay, very quickly, I don’t know why, when my dad was in the hospital this was many years ago, he had to have surgery on his foot because he had skin cancer on the bottom of his foot. And my nephew Robert decided it’d be great if I got Grandpa a blue rubber chicken. So he took it to him in the hospital, university of Chicago hospitals. And of course, my dad was such a prankster. Loved it. I think he probably drove the nurses and the doctors crazy, but they all started laughing. They’re like, Bob, where’s your rubber was?

[18:57] Phil: Oh, that’s awesome.

[18:59] Bobbi: It was just fun. So what do you mean by when you said the rubber chicken that’s the what? The stressors in your ear. Is that what you called it?

[19:05] Phil: Yeah, I use it in two different types of keynotes, but one of them is a stress. No, you can’t. No, you’re not good enough. This is going to hurt. The other one, I use them to represent the fears, negativity and self doubt, all of which cause stress, but all keep you from your goals. I actually have little stories where I bring them up and they’re talking in my ear. It’s fun, but it gets the message across. And I have one not within range, but I say that there’s one chicken you need to fear. And seriously, the thing is, it’s about 3ft tall, and I call it it’s Red and it’s the red rooster of regret. Someone you need to fear if this is something on your hell yeah. Or no. And if you say no to something because you’re all stressed out and doing other things and it was the thing you really wanted to do in your life, that’s a regret. And that’s what you need to fear is not trying.

[20:03] Bobbi: Yeah. Because those are the things you will end up yeah.

[20:08] Phil: Nobody, nobody ever regrets taking on one extra project at work. I’m sorry, I got that wrong. Nobody will regret saying no to an extra project at work on their deathbed.

[20:19] Bobbi: Right.

[20:19] Phil: Might regret not having spent time with family, not having taken that trip to Europe. Whatever.

[20:25] Bobbi: Whatever that might be. Taking your kids fishing.

[20:27] Phil: Exactly. Little things. And that’s one of the points of the book. Not to digress too much, but when I started looking for all those great things and those stress reducers, they’re little things.

[20:37] Bobbi: Yeah.

[20:38] Phil: They’re watching a sitcom with family, they are making banana milkshakes. Just little things make such a difference.

[20:46] Bobbi: And so many times, because we’re little, we don’t pay attention to them.

[20:49] Phil: Right.

[20:51] Bobbi: Even something like, I have three dogs. Something as simple as in the evening, if the dog jumps up and cuddles next to me on the to. It’s about savoring, I think it is, but you have to slow down enough in order to do that.

[21:08] Phil: Absolutely.

[21:09] Bobbi: Yeah. So the other thing, Phil, I wanted to make sure I talked about you talked about what is oh, the way you start your day is a really important part of your success. Or stress management.

[21:26] Phil: Exactly. So there was a study done about ten years ago out of Harvard where they looked at how people started their day. And the participants were in two groups. The first group was given just three minutes of bad news to start their day. The other was given three minutes of solution focused news, six to 8 hours. People who were in the bad news group had a 27% chance, higher chance of reporting their day as bad. You can tank your entire day just based on those first three minutes. So I always start my day off positively. And you were talking about dogs. That’s a big part. You heard them barking in the back. That’s a big part of it. So my routine is I call it the ABCD. Way to start your day. Other people will have different letters, but you can always make it into some sort of memorable acronym. But a is affirmations. I have a little video that I put together that runs with pictures of my family and the music underneath it was done by my oldest son, who plays guitar, and it gets me pumped up and I could do that. I also have Affirmations that come through on my phone. Just, I’m going to make someone laugh today. I’m going to have fun today. Whatever that was. A B is I read a book first thing in the morning. I normally read the Bible. If that’s not your cup of tea, whatever you can read that will put your mind in a positive framework, some sort of higher power, whatever. And I know if I don’t read something first thing in the day, the day is probably going to get away from me, and I won’t have had that chance to put some positivity in my head. C is coffee very important? The cardiologist said you can have one to two cups a day, so I have a good cup of coffee. And then D is dogs, because dogs are the most positive animals on the planet. They see you after sleeping, and it’s been 8 hours, and they’re, oh, my gosh, I’m so happy to see you. I love you so much. And they’re wagging their tails, and then you feed them dog food, and they’re like, oh, this is delicious. I once had to eat a dog treat on a bet with my son. And it’s not delicious. No, not at all.

[23:38] Bobbi: But they think it is.

[23:39] Phil: They love it, and they love you for giving. And then they come up on my lap, and you’re just petting them. And you’ve started all of those positive hormones you need in your head, and it takes, I don’t know, 1015 minutes max. I just get up a little earlier, and then you’ve set the plan in motion for a great day.

[24:00] Bobbi: So whole thing, ten to 15 minutes?

[24:03] Phil: Yeah, you can do it. Three. I heard a Tony Robbins routine where in three minutes, just think of three things you’re grateful for. Spend a minute in the past. Experiencing that. So if I’m grateful for one of my sons, I spend a minute in the past when I was first holding him in the hospital, just thinking about and your brain generates those same chemicals it did back then, and I will do that sometimes. Person, place or thing, one of each. So the place might be the beach on vacation with my wife. The thing is probably the cup of coffee.

[24:37] Bobbi: There you go. Because coffee is good. Man. I’m intrigued by the little video that you put together. I love that I used well, I.

[24:48] Phil: Asked my son, I said, look, could you give me kind of a hard rock version of the William Tell Overture? And I said, I’d like it to be a minute. And the plan was I’m going to put different pictures of me doing my thing when it comes to a conference or I’m speaking at or us on the beach or whatever, and I’m going to rotate them in time with the music on Imovie. And I’m going to use those for my introduction when I do a keynote. A 1 minute introduction. Get everybody pumped out. And once I did, I was like, Holy cow, this is really cool. I don’t want to get myself pumped up with that 1 minute every day. Yeah. And I’ve made a bunch of them because it’s like, oh, I want this one for family. I want this one, and all I got to do is pop a new picture. And he did all the hard work with the music.

[25:38] Bobbi: That is so cool. What a cool idea. Because going back to that study, what percentage of people had a bad day when they were in the negative news bucket?

[25:48] Phil: 27% chance higher. So a 27% higher chance.

[25:53] Bobbi: Wow. And what do most people do when they first wake up in the morning?

[25:56] Phil: Turn on the news.

[25:58] Bobbi: Or they look at their phone and they see the newsfeed?

[26:01] Phil: Yeah.

[26:01] Bobbi: Oh, my God, this has been on my mind a lot, because I don’t do that. I used to. And by changing that one habit and just starting with a few affirmations, my day is better. Because otherwise you’re depressed or angry before you get out of bed.

[26:18] Phil: Right.

[26:19] Bobbi: And if you look at the headlines, they are inflammatory. It’s not just reporting the yep, it is. Wow. That is that’s amazing.

[26:32] Phil: And I don’t care if you love Fox and hate CNN or hate Fox and love CNN, even if you’re on your favorite site, it’s inflammatory and it gets negative hormones started because you’re mad at somebody instantly.

[26:48] Bobbi: Okay. Because I love sports. Even a lot of the sports shows anymore. It’s the same way.

[26:56] Phil: Yes.

[26:57] Bobbi: And it’s like, can we just talk about sports? If we can’t find joy in sports, we’ve got a problem. In my opinion.

[27:06] Phil: I agree with you 100%. And I have taken like I said, I love Facebook, but you have to be careful because Facebook, in 2019, the study said that there were 2 hours and 20 minutes was how much time the average person spent on social media per day. Now, that’s Facebook. That’s Twitter or whatever Elon’s calling it today. Instagram, YouTube, which I think skews the numbers a bit, because I’ll spend time on YouTube watching a video on how to fix something in my car. But at any rate, every one of those companies wants as big of a piece of pie as they can get. And so if Facebook sees you not only participating in the back and forth fighting that goes on, but just slowing down to read it, they’re going to give you more of it. Because that’s how they make their money. They give you that and then they give you an ad for something you and your wife were talking about three minutes ago, but we won’t go there.

[28:00] Bobbi: Which is freaky, but it happens.

[28:02] Phil: Oh, all the time. But what I do is I’ve got friends that just like to fight on Facebook, just block them. If they have something they want to say to me, they’ll say it. But otherwise they get blocked and it doesn’t show up in my feed, then my feed is more of. My niece putting pictures of her two little kids. She lives down in Florida. I don’t get to see that unless I’m on Facebook. So just give me all the stuff that’s positive, block all the stuff that’s negative, and then they’ll get their piece of the pie for me.

[28:32] Bobbi: Yeah, because, oh, my goodness, it is what we put in our heads makes such a big difference in how we feel, and that directly affects stress and happiness and the whole bit.

[28:44] Phil: Oh, yeah.

[28:45] Bobbi: So tell me a little bit about your I like how you say it. You said it sort of bestselling book, which I don’t is that kind of like a small heart attack? Phil I don’t know.

[28:56] Phil: So the book is called Great Things Happen Every Day and finding Joy in Friends, Family and Banana milkshakes is the subtitle. It’s got a picture of my son on it on the beach. When we first did the book, we put it out for a Kindle, as a Kindle for five days, and it was Free nice. Put some things out on various social media channels, and in five days, it went to number one on the bestseller list for Kindle books about stress management that were free.

[29:31] Bobbi: Nice. That’s a bestseller.

[29:35] Phil: The thing of it was, I tell people I sold thousands of copies and I earned zeros of dollars. And the question is, can I call that a bestseller? And Kindle says I can, but my bank says I just I like calling it a best sort of seller.

[29:51] Bobbi: Yeah, I like it.

[29:53] Phil: Yeah. And that’s how I introduced it. But that leads into, well, what did I want to do with the book? Did I want to make dollars? I would have taken a million dollars. But no, that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to get those copies out in the hands of people who needed lower stress and positivity. And from that point, it’s been very successful.

[30:12] Bobbi: Yeah. So the book, is it like vignettes of your great things, or is it help people find those?

[30:19] Phil: Okay, well, it’s the introduction, and I’m hoping by sharing my great things, you can find your great things and you can learn. And at the end, here’s, the lessons I’ve learned. But what happened is about 2019, my wife said, look, you’ve been putting this stuff out on social media for years, and you wrote that one book, and it was on Cleveland Sports, and it’s out there, too, but it was positive. And it was negative, that book, because they were good in basketball and they won one game in football. So it was the whole gamut for the year. And she said, Why don’t you write a book that I will actually read? I don’t know. And she was right. And so what I did was I took the posts that I copied the posts from social media, and I organized them. Okay? These are all the things that happened around Christmas. These are all the things on our family trip. These were all the things that happened on shopping adventures, and so just copied them in and then told the backstory. And it was a lot of fun to write, and it made me laugh. There’s a whole section of dad jokes in there, so it’s the great things we found. And I warned I warned people on the dad jokes. Look, if you don’t like dad jokes, just page the next check.

[31:33] Bobbi: Just go right by.

[31:35] Phil: I won’t be offended. But yeah, that was the whole idea behind it. And I’ve had people tell me it really helped me through some bad times.

[31:43] Bobbi: And that’s what’s important.

[31:45] Phil: Exactly.

[31:45] Bobbi: That’s what’s important about it. I love that idea, too. I mean, I bet that was a lot of fun to write. It was, yeah. So what is the number one lesson that you learned through all of this?

[31:58] Phil: I think it’s the first one. Retrain your brain.

[32:00] Bobbi: Yeah.

[32:01] Phil: Start looking for what’s good. Force yourself. If you have to. Force yourself. Force yourself. Force yourself to find what’s good. Make a daily list. You don’t have to publish it on social media. I always say if you seek it, you’re going to see it. Your brain will. And once you do that, save it. So I’m taking pictures all the time, right. We all have this same extension to our hand.

[32:23] Bobbi: That’s right.

[32:24] Phil: And let’s use it to take pictures of things or screenshots or whatever, of things that make us laugh, things that make us happy, things that bring joy to your life. And then the fourth one, if you want to do it, is share it. Get some goodness out there on social media, but at least the first three seek it. If you seek it, you’re going to see it, and then you save it. Because if you save it on your phone, this is a little bit technical and gobbly gook, but if you save it as a favorite, you can set up your computer to run it as a screen saver. And so all favorite photos of your kids, of your pets, whatever, a little bit at a time keep coming up. And I have a changing background. Every half hour, another favorite picture comes up. And it’s cool because in that moment, it takes you back to where you were.

[33:12] Bobbi: Yes. And then you get that release of positive hormones.

[33:15] Phil: Exactly. And then I think the second thing I’ve learned is at least four positives for everyone negative, and you’re going to.

[33:21] Bobbi: Be in good that’s that’s a powerful one, too. I was thinking on the save it and the share it part of know, because sometimes our house here in Arkansas, we back up to a ravine. It’s like a bird sanctuary. I’ve never lived in a place with so many birds in my entire life. And it’s amazing. And I’ll see these beautiful birds, or we have so many hummingbirds. And this year, because this is only our first full year down here because we also have a place in Colorado. I’ve never seen this many beautiful butterflies, like, different color butterflies. And to take a picture of those and be reminded of them, because it’s one thing to notice them in the moment, but then you’re extending that feeling by going back and saving them and sharing them. So I think that’s a great idea.

[34:06] Phil: Oh, yeah.

[34:07] Bobbi: Love that. So tell us a little bit about, I guess, where can people learn more? I know you’ve mentioned your keynotes a few times. Yeah. So tell us more about all that.

[34:17] Phil: So WW, it’s a really nice website, which means I did not do it. It’s got my keynotes, it’s got links to LinkedIn, Facebook, my YouTube channel, the whole thing. It’s got a way to contact me. It’s got links to the books.

[34:40] Bobbi: Well, Phil, I so appreciate you coming on. This has been great. You’ve shared so many great things.

[34:46] Phil: So just thank you, Bobbi, thanks for having me. This has been a lot of fun.

[34:50] Bobbi: I hope that you took away as much as I did from that conversation. There were so many great ideas to help us combat stress and live healthier and happier lives. Lives. Thanks for tuning in. I appreciate that. And hey, if you know of someone who’s really struggling under the weight of stress right now and who could use a boost, please consider sharing this episode with them. It might be just the message that they need to hear. Have a great week and keep thriving.

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