It goes without saying that running a business can be incredibly stressful. There’s day to day tasks, tackling problems, not to mention trying to better balance your professional and personal goals.
Many of us are tempted to focus on the “hard skills” that will seemingly make this stress go away when we succeed at them – things like marketing, building sales skills, and refining your offers.
But one of the most underrated skills you can have as an entrepreneur is nurturing the “soft skills” to help you manage stress and, ultimately, become a better person and business owner.
To help with this, we’re joined by yoga and mindfulness expert Bridget Rooth.
Based in the UK, Bridget is the founder of MindSteadyGo, a retreat center that specializes in mindfulness workshops and presentations for business organizations to “help them manage and mitigate their stress.”
She also previously ran her own translation and English editing company in Beijing and worked as a French/English conference interpreter for more than a decade.
Long story short, Bridget’s experiences – in business and in life as a whole – have made her passionate about sharing how to balance your mind and, in doing so, meet your goals.
In this episode, she shares that expertise with us. Hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!
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Listen to the Podcast 🎤
Show Notes 📓
✅ Check out Bridget’s free resources for building better balance between your work and personal life: https://mindsteadygo.com/freebies/
✅ Connect with Bridget on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bridgetrooth/ or follow her on social media @MindSteadyGo!
📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU
🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/
🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/
Read the Transcription 🤓
Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin; and in today’s episode, we’re talking about how to better manage your stress. Now, the reality of running a business is that we both have to focus on hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills being things like how to sell better, market better, operate better, and then all of our soft skills; how to be a better human being, basically. And I think this topic relates to every single one of us as business owners, it’s not always easy to manage the stress in our business, and we’re often on emotional roller coasters as we, kind of, run through the peaks and troughs of what being a business owner is.
So, we thought it’d be very important to cover this subject, and so we brought in Bridget Rooth. Now, Bridget has decades of experience running businesses, and more importantly, with stress management. She spent 12 years building a business in Beijing, a translation firm. And after a short period of time, she found herself frustrated. She wasn’t taking as great of care of herself as she would’ve liked, and her stress was at an all-time high. She spent four years traveling the world, becoming a yoga certified instructor, and today runs retreats helping individuals manage their stress better.
And so, Bridget unloads with us for the 30 minutes of this episode with all of her wisdom about how to better manage stress, how to be able to show up as a better business owner, and how to create balance in our life between those hard skills that we need as business owners and those much more important soft skills we need to be great human beings. As always, stick around until the end for some awesome resources and we hope you enjoy this one. See you in there.
Austin: All right. We’re live.
Taylorr: We’re here.
Austin: Hello. Oh, man, I’m so excited for this episode. Bridget, thank you so much for joining us today, it’s so good to see you.
Bridget: Well, thank you for having me, gentlemen. As we’d say in the UK, I’m very excited to be speaking to America from England.
Austin: Oh, man. Yeah, we’re lucky to have you. We need your class over here, so thank you.
Taylorr: Wasn’t that the truth, for sure.
Taylorr: I wish I heard the phrase, gentleman more.
Austin: I know.
Taylorr: We don’t get that over here.
Austin: I get scruffy dude more than I get gentleman.
Bridget: Well, let’s see if I stick to that, by the end I’ve changed, you’ll know.
Taylorr: All right, noted.
Austin: Oh, man. Wow, my self-confidence I feel like is at risk here, but we’re just going to see how it goes, so I’m optimistic. I’m optimistic, Bridget. All right, well, look, there’s so much to unpack here, oh my gosh. You are an expert by definition and it’s an important expertise. If you’ve read the show description, you, kind of, know what we’re talking about today, audience members, but before we get into it. First of all, we were looking all throughout your website just to, sort of, get an understanding of who you are, and I have to comment, just from a design perspective, it is one of the most beautiful websites, I think I’ve ever seen. I am such a huge fan of what you’ve done with it, so kudos; for one thing, are you the creative visionary behind that?
Bridget: Oh, wow, thank you so much. A friend of mine, actually, designed the logo. She’s a graphic designer and she designed the initial website, but I did the sketches, so all the sketch work is mine, so we’ve just redone it with all of my artwork, so that means a lot. Thanks, guys, for saying that. And also, the idea is that when people come to the website, they already feel their stress dissipating because it’s meant to be lots of white space and beautiful photos of where I live, so, yeah, that’s what we’re aiming for.
Austin: It’s amazing.
Taylorr: Mission accomplished.
Austin: Right? Yes. Nailed it. With the first thing that we noticed, we were like, okay, the logo, the color schemes, the white space. Amazing. And then, the art, clearly.
Taylorr: That’s right, the graphics.
Austin: Drawn custom graphics. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Beautiful. So, yeah, we were, really, impressed. Just impressed by you, generally speaking, too. We saw like, you’ve been all over the world, you lived in a bunch of different cities, you’ve run businesses in Asia and Europe and I’m, again, we’re excited to dig into the history, but one thing, in particular, that we noticed is you spent some time in Thailand and Taylorr and I have not personally been to Thailand ourselves, but we’re a big fan of Thai culture and, specifically, Thai food. I love Thai food in ways.
Taylorr: Emphasis on the Thai food.
Austin: That I can’t verbalize. Yeah, yeah. So, we’re curious, from somebody that’s spent time in Thailand, what’s your favorite Thai food?
Bridget: Wow. I think coconut curry, probably, which is.
Taylorr: Awe, that’s a good one.
Bridget: It’s a curry done in coconut milk, it’s, really, delicious. But the other thing, I think, about Thailand is so much beautiful, fresh fruit, fresh tropical fruit, you know?
Bridget: But I’ve had some bad experiences with chilies, though, as well there.
Taylorr: Oh, I can imagine.
Bridget: Yes. I wanted.
Taylorr: Oh, it’s not that spicy.
Bridget: I once crunched on a chili and I had to go home with a lump of ice in my mouth because it was so bad.
Taylorr: Oh my goodness.
Austin: Yeah, they don’t mess around.
Taylorr: Spice means different, yeah, in Thailand.
Austin: Yes. Yeah. I have this local Thai place by me and you go in and they’ll ask you how hot you want your dish, and I like it spicy, so, usually, I’m like, spicy and they’re like, Okay, well, American spicy or Thai spicy. And that’s how you know like, I better be careful with how I respond to that question or else it’s going to be a painful next couple of hours. Oh, man, that’s awesome.
Bridget: I lived in China for 12 years, as you probably know, I lived in Beijing.
Bridget: And there was the same there, in the restaurant, they would always ask you, [Speaks Chinese dialect – 5:57] do you want spicy? And you’re like, Yeah, yeah. And they’re like, really? And we’re like, Yeah, we live here. And then they’re like, Okay, you’re okay. We know it’s true then. Yeah. So, I do love spicy, it’s good.
Taylorr: Oh, man.
Bridget: At least Asian food, all the time.
Taylorr: Yeah, I bet. It has to be completely different from being in the UK or the US, from, actually, being there to in-person, I would assume, right?
Bridget: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think they, kind of, tone it down when they’re overseas, compared to their own countries. Yeah.
Taylorr: Have to fit to the market, you know? So, respect. Yeah. So, Beijing, we’re, really, excited to unpack your background, you’ve been, to Austin’s point, all over the world. You spent, was it 10 or 12 years in Beijing building your business? What was that experience like, building a business in China?
Bridget: Yeah, I was there 12 years. Well, the first four years, I worked for a French law firm, and so I, kind of, got a bit of an inside idea about setting up companies and the risks and all of that, sort of, thing. And I’m bilingual, French, English, so I did a lot of work in English for them, and then I ended up setting up a translation agency, and we edited a lot of English, so English written by non-native speakers. So, yeah, I had a wholly-owned foreign enterprise, it’s called a WFOE. It was brilliant. I moved there in 2003, so five years before the Olympics in 2008. And it was just a great time, it was fun, and we had an amazing international community.
It was a very lovely place to do business because everybody helps everybody among the foreigners, because we haven’t got our family there or our best friends or our mates or anything. So, you have to make friends very quickly, and on a business level, we networked a lot and we helped each other a lot, so all of my friends were, really, my clients, all of the French companies, my kids went to the French school, all of the French companies, a lot of them became my clients because I knew the dad or the mom or you know? So, yeah, it was, really, fun, I loved it. My kids loved it, they were more or less teenagers there and, yeah, it was a, really, great experience.
Austin: Wow, man, that’s so cool. What an amazing adventure. And I have to assume that the market, I guess, or the way that transaction happens, isn’t an exact carbon copy of what you might see in the UK or the US or is it? How similar is it to doing business in Beijing versus elsewhere?
Bridget: I think it’s just different on every level. Culturally it’s very different and banking-wise, how you transfer money, I just think it’s, yeah, it’s very different. And you’re, really, only working with people inside China. I, actually, had a platform for English editing, so that could work with global clients so that I could get payments from anywhere in the world, but.
Bridget: Yeah, mainly I just worked with companies within China, with the Chinese company because it’s quite complicated to get money into China, et cetera, but, yeah, business is business wherever you go, isn’t it? You’ll always find a way, you always find a way around, to figure out how to work and find clients, et cetera. So, yeah, it was a lot of fun.
Austin: Well, the thing that’s, definitely, true, no matter where you go, is that business is just about people and.
Austin: Relationships. I’m sure that is a constant no matter where you are in the world. So, another thing that we saw, and I think, maybe, this will segue into, sort of, your current line of work here, but it seems like you’re an outdoors enthusiast, you like being physical and doing stuff, which is awesome. And from what I understand about Beijing, it’s a metropolis, right? Air quality can be a problem at times, so what was it like, sort of, integrating the urban environment with your love for the outdoors and physicality and so on?
Bridget: Well, it was a shock. Because I came from 12 years in France, living on the coast, so a lot of.
Taylorr: Oh, wow.
Bridget: Body boarding and horse riding and running and swimming and everything that you love about the outdoors. And I couldn’t do that in Beijing, so I had to go into the gym more or less for the first time in my life. And that’s how I discovered yoga, that’s how I got into yoga initially. Because, yeah, it was too polluted to run outside. And also, I don’t think they have the culture of outdoor running, well, they didn’t when I was there. So, yeah, that was tricky. And we didn’t have a garden, we lived in an apartment for 12 years, but I used to go to the Great Wall a lot, because it’s, actually, not very far from Beijing, it’s only an hour and a quarter to the closest part.
And Beijing is surrounded by mountains, so it’s, really, beautiful, you can just get on a bus or go in a car. So, yeah, I used to hike a lot, I think that was my letting off steam place, and by the end I knew how to go there on my own or go with friends, et cetera. So, yeah, I always find a way to find my bit of nature, but it was a hard city to live in, I think. It’s very, yeah, it’s hard, it’s intense, it’s busy, there’s not much quiet; on the other hand that, kind of, fills you with energy too, so.
Bridget: That’s the good side as well.
Taylorr: Yeah, how about balance, I suppose, huh?
Austin: Yeah, definitely.
Taylorr: So, what attracted you to yoga, specifically? Was that something you wanted to explore in the past and now you had the opportunity to, is it something you stumbled into? Because it seemed like it, kind of, took you all over the world after that point in Beijing.
Bridget: I was the, kind of, person that I hate to deal with now because I had a terrible idea of what yoga was. I thought it was boring and non-competitive and why would I do that. And I, honestly, went to the class against my better instincts, but because I’d always been sporty and I did gymnastics at school and stuff, I could do it. So, I did do it very competitively, in the wrong way, I did yoga in a very ugly way for a long time. I did Bikram Yoga in Beijing, which is the one where you’re in the hot room.
Bridget: So, yeah, I did do it to release stress, et cetera, and release pressure and get out of my mind, but it wasn’t, really, until I left China and started doing yoga with Americans and my travels in Columbia and Argentina and stuff that I started to realize there was a whole other side to yoga and there was a whole philosophy and the part that you do on the mat is only one section, and then, eventually, I went to Thailand where I trained. But, yeah, I have to thank Beijing for pulling me into yoga, really. And I did love it and I did get hooked on it and that’s what I mean by doing it in an ugly way. I think I have a much better attitude to yoga now.
Austin: Yeah. Yeah.
Taylorr: Did I hear the word competitive right, by the way?
Austin: That was, literally, the same thing I was just thinking. Competitive yoga feels like it should, well.
Taylorr: I don’t have a box for this, and then that.
Bridget: No. I competed with myself and with other people in the class and we had a huge mirror and our teacher was an ex professional ballet dancer. So, she set the culture. But I didn’t know any better and I’m glad, in a way, I did it in that way, because now I know what a better, healthier way is, you know? Yes. Now, I, totally, love my body and in so much as I’m heading for 60 and I want to look after it and don’t want to damage it. So, yeah.
Austin: Yeah. Wow. Well, I, certainly, respect the balance between the, sort of, mental and physical health that really, again, from my naive understanding of yoga is, kind of, the point, right? It’s the connection between mind and body, so, yeah, that’s awesome. And I also love the fact that you didn’t just start doing some yoga to feel better, this took you on a whole journey that’s lasting your lifetime, which is, kind of, amazing. You found something that you, immediately, connected to and that you were, really, passionate with and that’s awesome, it’s a blessing, in some ways.
Bridget: You know how when you’re at school, or when you’re young, people say, what do you want to be when you grow up? And you have these very spontaneous things. I, actually, wanted to be a sports teacher and I went to a very posh school, that’s why I speak the way I do, in England. And my dad was overseas and I was sent to this boarding school and they said, No, Bridget, you can’t be a sports teacher because you’re not in any of the national teams or county teams, you know? So, I just went, Oh, well, I won’t do that. But, I think inside me, I just love the body and I love teaching people how to use the body, et cetera.
And so, becoming a yoga teacher was just, sort of, my version of becoming a sports teacher, I think; so I reckon it was inside of me all along. And my physio says that, basically, your body is predisposed, so I had a very flexible body from the outset and it was very easy for me to do yoga, so I think that helped me engage with it. But, yeah, after I left Beijing when I was 50, my third child left to go traveling and I was like, Oh, I’m going to go traveling. So, I went off for four years, I had the online business, I, literally, gave my company in China away to a friend who also had a translation business, and I just flew away, I just left everything, I ran off.
Bridget: Yeah, I carried on with the yoga and everything and, eventually, I went on a yoga retreat in Thailand and I engaged with yoga in a, really, brilliant way and did it for a month full-on, and then, yeah, then I did my yoga teacher training. So, yeah, it was a whole, kind of, I was fed-up with working with documents and I was fed-up with deadlines and I was very stressed as well. Not everyone has the privilege of going traveling for four years, but I worked part-time, I used to work in the morning on my editing business, and then in the afternoon I did what I liked, so that’s how I, kind of, switched from being in the language industry to being in the wellness industry, I guess.
Austin: Wow. Holy cow.
Taylorr: So, it sounded like you, kind of, reached, I’m making assumptions here, but almost a burnout stage of the work that you were doing. Is that what, kind of, put you on that path of being like, here, just take the business and I’m going to go discover wellness? Because somebody just doesn’t give their business away without a low point, so, tell us more about that.
Bridget: I think it’s more with hindsight you understand what drives you, but I was just fed-up, I was fed-up with living in a big city. I was fed-up with dealing with clients, and also, I think AI, artificial intelligence, was moving into the translation area, so it was time as well to move out. Because now it’s not humans, we used to take a document in French, translate it in English, now they put it through AI and you just correct it. But I do think it was that, I was just fed-up of everything, I just wanted a break. And I think being a mom was the best thing I ever did. 25 years of that, and I don’t get a medal, everyone does it, you know?
But I just thought, you know what, a bit of me time would be, really, nice. And because I’d set the online business up, because I knew my three children would be in three different places, I could just go, I could do the work from anywhere that everyone does now, I did it then. But that’s what let me escape, but, yeah, I think I was at the end of my tether, let’s say, I was done, in that. And also, I wanted to move away from working with documents because I was, basically, chained to my laptop, so I thought I have to figure out how to move into another area, you know? And that’s what I did.
Austin: That is what you did, for sure. Yeah, respect.
Taylorr: Heck, yeah. Respect. Yeah, there’s this phrase, I guess, that I heard recently, I forget who said it, it’s somebody that knows what they’re talking about who said it. But, basically, it was like, a poorly laid out plan violently executed is better than the perfect plan not executed at all. Something to that effect. And what I love about you, just, generally speaking, but, specifically, your story in this area of your life is that, you noticed that there was an issue that needed to get resolved and you just took action. You didn’t spend a bunch of time ringing, well, maybe, I’m sure it wasn’t as fast as, maybe, it sounds in the story here.
I’m sure there were some, really, challenging decisions to make, but you just did something, you didn’t let yourself sit in that stress and anxiety longer than, maybe, you needed to once you identified that a change needed to happen. Which is huge.
Austin: So, good job. You inspire me. Yeah. Yeah. So, we noticed that as you’ve, sort of, been moving into this or you did move into this phase, you focused, heavily, on business people as those that you’re helping overcome some of these stressful scenarios and mental spaces that they can find themselves in. So, why the interest for you with businesspeople? Because everybody gets stressed, right?
Bridget: Yeah. So, just winding back a bit. When I was in my four years of traveling, I realized that I, really, missed business. It’s every day I’d open my laptop, speak to my editors, deal with my clients, but I missed networking, I missed chambers of commerce, I missed my clients, and I just thought, well, hang on a minute. So, now I have no stress. But I, kind of, have no excitement. I went on a continuum and I went err, down to the other [nose press end – 18:51] and I went, no, this isn’t me either. I love talking to people, I love social interaction, I love asking people, how do you get clients in your business and what’s your marketing? And I just thought, whoa, I miss that.
So, I thought the only thing to do is marry the two, marry wellness and business, which means working with business people. And I think it helps a lot, because when people come and, so I run these retreats from my house on the coast in England, when they come to stay with me to do my stress management training or if they come on one of my small group retreats, it’s almost like, okay, yeah. So, she’s from the business world, she understands. As soon as I say I’ve had a business in China, they’re like, oh, she, probably, gets stressed, she understands it.
Taylorr: Some relatability.
Bridget: So, I think it, really, helps, I haven’t, really, had a corporate background in that I didn’t go up and become a C-suite person because I went off on my own little vibe. But I think, yeah, I think it, really, helps to understand where business people are coming from. And I still love talking about business, I still get to talk about business with these people, because often it’s not always that, but sometimes it’s the business that causes some stress, you know? So, yeah, that’s how I ended up marrying my two loves, I think, and realizing what they were, I think, as well.
Taylorr: Yeah. Wow.
Taylorr: What a journey to have gone on to make that decision, quite the pendulum, from strict business all the way to stress-free but no business, kind of, back to the middle. That’s the journey of life, in a lot of ways, I feel like, and I’m sure many people can relate to that. I’m curious, though, obviously, you’ve experienced your own stress; at this point you’ve helped countless business people achieve better stress management.
Taylorr: Are there any common patterns that you see to what people struggle with the most as it relates to their stress management? Is there almost a common theme that you find in everybody or is everyone, uniquely, different in their stress management?
Bridget: I think everyone has different symptoms, but one thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of people feel ashamed of their incapacity to deal with their stress and blame themselves.
Bridget: And that adds just a whole other layer, doesn’t it? Like self-worth and poor self-confidence. So, insomnia or sleep deprivation is a massive area that I see. I also see a lot of coffee drinking, so with these people, but I’m not blaming them.
Taylorr: Yeah, let me just.
Bridget: Yeah, I know. You get into the cycle.
Taylorr: This is tea, it’s fine.
Bridget: I just had a woman, she came for a retreat and she’d been pushed out of her job after 19 years by a new director and had a lot of horrible stuff happen. And she was just at the end of her tether and she slept the whole night through on the second night. And I was like, yes, no. And it’s not because of me, I just create an environment in which they can release their stress, but it’s because, I think, number one, when people come to work with me, I, kind of, manage them. I go, right, eight o’clock we’re doing yoga and 9:30 we’re doing this and this is your lunch, now go to the beach and do some thinking and be free and, okay, come back, we’re in the yoga room.
So, I think, number one, it’s that. They can, literally, say, I don’t have to worry about myself anymore because Bridget’s given me a program. So, I think that helps a lot, it helps them get some head-space. And then I show them how to release stress; we release it in yoga, we release it with breath and we release it with nature. And it’s not complicated; it’s just how do you fit that into a very stressful work life? And now I know what that’s like when I was in Beijing, yes, I could escape to the Great Wall for Sunday and that would help a lot. I think one of the biggest things is that people, and this sounds judgmental, but they’re not, really, proactive. I think our stress response should be like a conversation.
So, if my body says, oh, our neck ache. Because that was my big thing, is I used to get a lot of neck problems from poor breathing, from poor posture, from too much stress. My body’s having a chat with me, so why am I not going? Oh, okay, sorry about that. Let me sit up straighter, let me open my chair small, let me do some breathing exercises. I think that we just don’t respond to what our body asks of us, and, I guess that’s part of what I teach people is befriend your stress response, because it’s, actually, just trying to protect you.
And once you can understand why your breathing becomes more rapid or why you get very nervous, et cetera, say before giving a talk or something, and then using those tools like breath, very basic tools that you can use anywhere that you don’t, actually, need. They’re in your body and they’re free, I think that, really, helps people. I, really, don’t think it’s that complicated, I just think we have to deal with a lot in modern life, and sometimes we need to do the whole, stop the worlds I need to get off. And, they come and get off in my world, as I call it. And, yeah, and then they live. I think, especially, for women, I don’t want to generalize, but often women are more the caregivers in the home and looking after the kids or whatever.
So, I’ve had people when I cook for them, they’re just like, Oh, thank you, oh, thank you, that’s so nice and thank you. And I’m like, Guys, this is what happens. But they’re not used to that, they’re not used to people caring for them, even making them tea, so they feel, kind of, overwhelmed and they’re very grateful and it makes you realize, oh, okay, so they are the ones who are doing a lot of the caregiving. And it takes a toll on you, doesn’t it? Am I making sense, guys?
Taylorr: Oh my gosh.
Austin: Well, man, it’s just such important work that you’re doing, I love it. And I love that there’s a simplicity behind what you’re explaining right now. And look, this is coming from a person who finds themselves very stressed a lot of the time, but I think, at least for me, one of the symptoms that I experience with stress is overwhelm and then resistance. Everything feels so much harder. So, when it comes to like, okay, well, I’m going to go, you start doing yoga as a way to manage my stress, my initial response to that isn’t like, it’s, probably, not that hard to just do some stretching with a YouTube video and do five minutes of just touching my toes, the basics, right?
But my brain, my stressed brain in fight, flight, or freeze response mode goes, Oh, yeah, well, where are you going to find five minutes? You’re too busy for that. Right? Which is, totally, not true, but it’s because it feels like this large barrier that has to be overcome or something; when in reality, to your point, probably, even just marginal improvements in your stress levels overall, probably, isn’t that complicated. Or, probably, even that much of a time investment if you have a couple of exercises that are top of mind for you. So, anyway, thank you for demystifying that.
Bridget: I think we’re not good at changing our habits, let’s face it. That’s what you need to do when you’re living a very stressed life. When I ask them to explain their lives, I’m like, Oh my God, I feel stressed just listening to this, you know? And people get so into it that they forget what a stress-free life is like, so, I think, one is, we’re very bad at changing habits and one of the things I say is just have little tiny goals, why not do a one minute breathing exercise while you boil the kettle to make tea? You know we’re obsessed with tea, so, maybe, the same for you, the equivalent of making a coffee, things like that, stick a habit onto an existing habit.
Do you sit down and have your lunch every day? And if you do, well, why not have some relaxed breathing after that? Or do you have a way of ending the day between working from home at your computer, I imagine, and then going off to what would be like normal life in your home? So, could you do a little lie down? Could you put your feet up the wall just for two minutes? So, that’s how I encourage people to start. Like, yeah, going to a 90-minute yoga class, who has time to do that? Not many people.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.
Bridget: So, let’s be realistic, and I think little steps is the way to go. It’s like if you’re learning a language, you’re better off doing five minutes every day than you are doing an hour on Sunday in one go, you’re better off just doing these little increments. And the other thing is, studies have shown, and I can’t quote them, but two minutes of deep breathing, so breathing where your belly moves out because your diaphragm goes down, pushes the belly out, your lungs can inflate, that deep breathing that we get out of the habit of doing, we get into the habit of the shallow breathing and lots of little breaths. Just two breaths of deep breathing is enough to switch your body into a calmer mode, you know?
So, our body can respond very quickly and we can be in charge of that, we can breathe voluntarily and we can breathe consciously and that’s enough for our body. And the other thing is that our bodies get used to the way we breathe, so they fight against us. If you want to do deep breathing and you’re not used to doing it, your body’s going to make it feel uncomfortable, we can’t do that, it feels awful. So, understanding that our body is set in its ways just as our mind is, and then we have to retrain. But the good news is that you can retrain, you can retrain the way you think, your mindset, but you can, definitely, retrain the way you breathe and you can improve problems in your body and back, and here’s one tip; if in doubt, breathe out.
Taylorr: There you go.
Bridget: So, most of us have a lot of air in our lungs, we call it hyper-inflated. So, my glass of water, if it was nearly full and you wanted to give me some more, there’s hardly any room, well, it’s the same with the lungs, they’re already full with air. We can’t, really, inhale and exhale can we, because there’s only a little bit of space? So, by exhaling we can deflate the lungs, so just like raising the arms, and then go [exhales] blowing it all out already, probably, makes me feel better. So, if in doubt, breathe out. That’s my tip to you.
Austin: I love that.
Taylorr: That’s such a simple exercise.
Austin: What a great, it is. Seriously.
Taylorr: Yeah, well, one of the things I was pondering as we were, kind of, taught going through the show so far is, I have, and I don’t know where I’ve garnered this information, maybe it’s just habits or so on, but stress, for me personally, has always been such a reactive thing and, I think many people can relate to this. There are moments where you acknowledge that you’re stress, I think there are also some moments where you’re stressed and you’re not even aware of it, which we can touch on. But let’s say the neck thing, right? I’m hunched over, I have shallow breathing, I’m aware now that I’m stressed, and then I might say, okay, let me just take a step back, go outside, get some fresh air, take a breath, and then I just go back to it and an hour later I’m back stressed again, basically.
And it’s always been very reactive in nature, where I notice I’m stressed and I do something about it. What I love about what you just outlined is it’s very proactive in nature, it’s like you can, while you’re making a cup of coffee or tea, just do some deep breathing or go take a lie down or you’re being conscious of, even if you’re not feeling stressed in that moment or you’re not aware of it, you’re still practicing the habits of relieving stress. Am I painting that right?
Bridget: Yeah. And being proactive, I think it’s like the fire brigade, I don’t know, what do you call the fire brigade in America? The fire station, is it? The firemen?
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s right.
Bridget: You know how every day they practice for fire? They practice how fast can I get into my suit and jump in my boots and get on my fire truck, et cetera, even when there’s not a fire they practice, don’t they? Because it becomes such an instinct and it’s so embedded and they can do it so quickly and the team functions so well together. And I think that’s what breathing practice is, it’s us preparing for the fire. So, every day I do my breathing and I can do it in a very innocent way, sitting on the bus; just breathing, doing some deep belly breathing, I can do it when I’m out walking as much as I can do it on my yoga mat or in my bed watching my duvet going up and down with my belly.
And the day I have an emergency shitty email from a client or you have a fright because you see something and you’re fearful, I can control my breathing then, once the moment has passed, all of the hormones have flooded my body, but then I’m very good now at controlling my breathing because I’ve been practicing it for so long. And I think that’s what being proactive is, it’s like teaching your body how to go to that place of calm, you know? And, yeah, I think you can do it, that’s called body-led, it’s like the body, we’re using the breathing to overcome the mind.
The meditation would be the mind overcoming the body, but the breathing one is where you say you’re sending a signal to your brain through the deep breathing that you’re safe, you’re calm, all is good, don’t worry. And, yeah, I think that’s why you have to practice for when shit happens. Are we allowed to say shit on this show?
Taylorr: Hell, yeah, for sure. We have the label, so we’re in good shape. I feel like you just unlocked something for me, that fire station gate, oh, it’s this new word I learned today, so that’s fun, analogy.
Taylorr: Really, put it into perspective for me.
Bridget: Yeah. Yeah, that’s it. That’s why it’s worth it. But I think awareness is a big thing and a lot of the people who come to me are so exhausted or so worn out that they haven’t, they’re just out of control and I don’t say that in a mean way, they just don’t know what’s up and what’s down anymore; they’re just so exhausted, emotionally close to the edge, et cetera. So, yeah, I think having awareness and having someone pointing things out for you like calm your breathing and all of that and just doing stretches, just very natural things like that because we overuse these muscles and they get very sore and tight, so just doing little simple things like that helps. Awareness is everything. Awareness is fantastic, isn’t it? Because once you can start checking in with yourself, then you can, yeah.
Taylorr: Catch it sooner.
Bridget: Take steps to improve and without putting any pressure on yourself, I think that’s the thing. The skill is to respond to your stress because you’ll have it, whatever happens, accept that and then respond and say, Right, well, I can make it less damaging for my body. They say the body keeps the score. It’s the outward show of all the inward stress, you know? Anxiety is fear of the future, isn’t it? So, if you’re anxious all of the time, you’re fearful about the future, the result is that you can damage your body physically because of too much tension, et cetera, et cetera, you know?
Austin: Man, I love that so much.
Taylorr: I feel like my whole world re-shifted.
Austin: Right. Dude, Taylorr, I think that we have a trip to the UK in our future.
Bridget: Oh, yeah.
Taylorr: I think so. We’re going to go hang out on the coast with Bridget. It’s going to be awesome.
Bridget: It’s very, very.
Taylorr: Heck, yeah.
Bridget: Wild where I live. It’s very beautiful. A lot of nature reserves, so there’ll be no buildings, it’s, really, beautiful. Yeah.
Austin: Wow, I am sold.
Taylorr: Wow, that’s awesome. Yeah, let’s do it.
Bridget: You can do your podcast from here.
Taylorr: Yeah, there you go. Ooh, that would be a great episode, Austin. We’ll just do it on the coast of the UK. All right.
Austin: I’m game.
Taylorr: We have a mission in our future.
Austin: Round two. I love it.
Taylorr: Round two, Bridget. This has been an incredible show, thank you so much for joining us. So, as you know, you’ve created a ton of value for our audience and for us, I feel like I’ve learned so much in the show today. What are you working on right now that our listeners can benefit from?
Bridget: So, something I’m working on that I’m hoping will go up this autumn is the idea that not everyone, sadly, can come to the UK to do a retreat with me. Not everyone can afford to go on a retreat, so I’m going to make a do it yourself retreat that you can do at home, which will have everything that I do in my retreat. So, you could say you two guys could get together, or two girlfriends could go to one house, so that’s something I’m working on and it’ll be a complete package and it’ll be free. And this is my way of contributing to, the price of everything has gone up in the UK, I’m sure in the states as well.
But if not on my website, on the freebees page, there’s already a guided breathing exercise that you can do at your desk, it’s a, really, cool one where you have your arms behind your head and it helps you breathe in your belly, there’s quite a lot of stuff there, there’s a little booklet about how to de-stress. Yeah, go have a look, there’s, definitely, content on there that, and they can sign up to my newsletter, even if they’ll never come for a retreat, I’m still happy to know that people are reading what I write, so that means a lot.
Austin: Go do that, people.
Taylorr: Well, guys, show notes, go check them out, links are where they always are, of course. Bridget, thanks again for coming on, what an awesome episode. And, guys, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it, and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.