Save 17% with an Annual Subscription

My Top Stress-Relief Technique

It works on multiple levels.

My Top Stress-Relief Technique


  • Full access to this post is for Members of 2%. Become a Member to get full access to all Member posts and our full archive.

Two Percent has the best damn sponsors on the planet. We work what works and ignore what doesn't.

Discount code EASTER for all brands.

Podcast preview

Due to some travel delays, the podcast reading of this post will drop in the podcast apps a bit later tonight.

The post

Fridays are reserved for our signature posts.

  • The first Friday of the month is our epic Burn the Ships workout.
  • The second Friday of the month is Gear Not Stuff.
  • Third Friday: The Expedition (my favorite to write because it nourishes my ADD brain).
  • Fourth Friday: AMA.

But, four times a year, we find ourselves in months with five Fridays. These rare Fridays also need a signature post. And so it came to pass that in March we launched All Killer, No Filler Fridays.

All Killer, No Filler

Here’s what All Killer, No Filler Friday posts do:

  • Feature ONE THING that’s improved my life recently.
  • These posts will be quick and to the point.
  • They will be, as it were, all killer and no filler.

This fifth Friday, we’re covering a powerful stress relief technique that works on multiple levels.

Today's All Killer, No Filler post was prompted by a conversation I had on Wednesday.

I was in New York City to give a talk to a group of people who work on Wall Street. The group graciously invited me to dinner afterward (Sparks, the restaurant where Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano was shot).

One of the guys in the group asked me, "What do you do to relieve stress?" It's a relevant question. Wall Street gigs are fast-paced, and making the next right move is equal parts paramount and agonizing.

But we all face stress—lots of it. Roughly 75 percent of us say we're stressed. More than half say stress prevents us from enjoying life.

The question sent me down a rabbit hole of why chronic stress is so pernicious and, eventually, what I do to relieve it.

So that's what we're covering today.

The problem with modern stress

  • Section summary: We experience more chronic stress today, and it's implicated in our top six causes of death.

Stress is your body's natural response to a threat. It evolved to keep us alive.

When you get stressed, your body releases stress chemicals, raises your blood pressure, and more. That "fight or flight" response evolved to help us survive acute threats. For example, it helps us sprint away from a hungry lion. It can still help us in an emergency today.

But humans are wondrous because we can create stress just through thinking. By the tales we tell ourselves about what we need to do, by when, and in relation to who.

Our modern stressors are much different than our ancient ones. Instead of lions, we now worry about a work project due on a certain (artificially created) deadline. Or getting our kid into "the right" college. Or making enough money to afford the right house in the right school district with the right car in the garage.

Our modern stressors are also longer-lasting. We dream up modern stressors and stew on them. And stew. And stew. Our stress becomes a slow-dripping water torture.

This is bad. The American Psychological Association explained, "The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body."

Chronic stress won't kill you immediately. "(But) when you look at the diseases that do us in, they are predominantly diseases that can be caused, or made worse, by stress." That's according to the MacArthur genius Robert Sapolsky, who has spent a career studying stress.

For example, our six leading causes of death—from heart disease to cancer to suicide—can be caused or amplified by stress. Here's a breakdown of the research.

Plus, stress makes you restless, irritable, and discontent. And who wants to spend their limited time on earth like that?

So it pays to find effective ways to deal with stress.

My favorite way to relieve stress

So I'm with these Wall Street people at Sparks. And this Wall Street guy asks me how I relieve stress.

I didn't have to think hard about my answer.