I’m super excited to share with you an exclusive interview with Dr. Amit Sood of Mayo Clinic. In this conversation, we talk about stress reduction, living your best life, and how to make the world a better place. (Full Audio show available here).
Dr. Sood is one of the World’s great experts on stress reduction, life strategy, and happiness. He integrates cutting edge advances in science with timeless principles. Dr. Sood is the Chair of the Mayo Mind Body Initiative, Director of research and practice at Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, and a Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. This only represents a small fraction of Dr. Sood’s accomplishments.
Enough with the introduction, we get it, this guy is amazing! Let's get into the mind of Dr. Sood and help ourselves and the world!
Berhoff: Is stress a human need?
Dr. Sood: Stress is necessary. Stress is part of being alive. When you are alive, you seek growth, comfort, and pleasure. Too little stress is boring. That is actually more stressful to have nothing to do. Excessive stress is also not desirable. What we desire is an optimal state. (Full Audio show available here).
“Stress is part of being alive."
Berhoff: What strategy can we use for a momentary relief of stress with no formal training?
Dr. Sood: We have the ability to shift our perspective from short term to long term. If you are stressed in the moment, then zoom out! Zoom out until you are looking at yourself beyond yourself. Zoom out to see yourself on the planet, then in the solar system, and beyond. Take a moment to realize the stress you are experiencing doesn’t matter as much as you thought it did. Ask yourself, will this matter five years from now? Ten years from now? When the short term is a problem, shift your mind to the long term. If the long term seems threatened, then zoom in! and pick the load of the next one minute to focus on. (Full Audio experience available here).
“It is more important to be flexible than it is to be in the present moment. The flexibility and ability to shift your perspective can allow you a moment of peace even in the middle of a storm.”
Berhoff: In the past, we have had conversations about positive versus negative thinking and you have always had a different take than what most think. Can we talk more about the subject?
Dr. Sood: The more you can free yourself from this dualistic thinking of things being positive or negative, the better off for you. This is a good waste of time. A better approach is to look at the truth as-is. This is more practical. (Listen to the full audio to sharpen your skills)
“Look at things as they are”
“Look at truth in its’ most optimistic version”
Berhoff: How do you support someone who is going through a stressful or traumatic time?
Dr. Sood: When someone is in the middle of pain, they don’t need insight, they need support and validation. They don’t need to know that it could be worse. If it is you, then seek the support and validation at that time if possible.
Berhoff: How do we best deal with uncontrollable and unexpected stress? Something that you didn’t see coming. Surprise! Stress is here!
Dr. Sood: Utilize the Zoom in, Zoom Out strategy. Will this problem matter 10 or 20 years from now? Can I find compassion in this stress? Most of this kind of stress goes away. Have a sense of self-compassion and self-acceptance. It doesn’t mean you are a weak person.
Berhoff: How important are the basics of stress management? For instance sleep? How important is this?
Dr. Sood: Sleep is very important. Sleep is the time when the brain is clearing the mind of extra neurotransmitters that were collected throughout the day. Any medical condition is made worse with a lack of sleep. We are living in a hyper-vigilant state. This is totally preventable. We can’t eliminate pain, but we can eliminate suffering.
“We can’t eliminate pain, but we can eliminate suffering.” -Dr. Amit Sood
Berhoff: What is meditation?
Dr. Sood: There are many ways to describe meditation (as there are many different ways to describe what love is). I describe it as having intentional attention. Intentional attention with a grateful and compassionate intention. (Dr. Sood talks about how to meditate and more in the full audio)
“It is really not about meditation eventually, it is about becoming a kind human being.”
Intention, Morality, and Wisdom are the core components of meditation.
Berhoff: Is there a global strategy to infuse the everyone with compassion to change the world?
Dr. Sood: Forgiveness doesn’t make you a whole lot of money typically. We should plan our future around kindness, not just commercial success. If we focus our energy on kindness and happiness, we will be much happier. Nations have to prioritize kindness as a way to happiness. This is infectious. This can happen in our lifetime.
Dr. Sood talks more about his hypothesis of a better world in the full audio. He speaks of an island where people are living to 150 years old. Click here to hear the full interview.
Assume positive intent with others. Give others a break. Start with a place of compassion. -Dr. Amit Sood
"In one single generation, we can transform the entire world."
"Compassion is cutting edge."
We need to reach a point where dishonesty surprises us, not honesty. -Dr. Amit Sood (StressFree.org)
This article can also be found on the Huffington Post