anchor-Popeye

Anchors: Maintaining your Health in Your Most Stressful Times


Do you remember the end credits from Anchorman?  

 

Go ahead and watch it a few times – 60% of the time it gets better everytime.

 

The reason I bring this up, besides the fact that I find it hilarious, is that Ron is using an anchor to calm himself before he reads the news.

 

Look at just about any sports figure and you’ll see the same thing.  

 

  • Jordan never played a game without his UNC shorts underneath his uniform,
  • Gretzky used to baby powder his stick,
  • Deion used to layout his entire uniform on the floor before putting it on.

 

 

All these weird tics served as anchors for these all time greats right before a game.

 

Which brings up the questions…

 

What the hell is an anchor?  And most importantly, how does this apply to us?

 

Glad you asked.

 

WHAT IS AN ANCHOR?

 

An anchor is a form of neuro-linguistic programming stimuli that call forth states of mind – thoughts and emotions.  That definition is a little too woo-woo for me.  While I have increased my woo-y-ness in the last few years I don’t think I could recite that line and not think I was a pretentious d-bag.

 

For me, I define an anchor as something that makes me forget the world.  In other words, brings me into the present.  

 

Stress is worrying about the future and regret is about the past, anchors keep you where you are – in the present.  

 

HA get it?!

 

Anchors come in two different styles, positive and negative.  For the sake of this piece I’m going to stick to negative anchors that affect your health and not address the fact that some people whore themselves out when they feel depressed.  I pass no judgement, these were my favorite girls in college.

 

Creating positive anchors help you deal with life’s stress and leave you in a better place after the fact.  

 

Negative anchors like binge eating, drugs and alcamohol might seems to work right now but you’re just setting yourself up for future disaster.  

 

I know, I know, I sound like an after school special.  

 

HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOU

anchor-Rock-Time

I follow the Rock on Instagram…because really how could you not?  

 

Every once in awhile he’ll post a picture of himself dripping with sweat after a hard workout.  The caption will read something along of the lines of “Flew 3 million miles, got in at midnight and just finished clangin’ and bangin’.  Another 16 hour day tomorrow.”   This is of course dressed up in Rock-isms and other hilarity.

 

For some working out after flying all night might seem insane, but it’s what the Rock does to keep himself present and normal.  Working out has been his anchor especially when he’s globetrotting promoting a new movie.  

 

Do you have anything that is your “go-to” in times of stress?  

 

A glass of wine after a hard day at work?

 

A beer before you talk to some girl?

 

A whole pizza because nothing seems to go right in life?

 

These are all anchors.  These all bring you back to a calm present state during a time of stress.  At the moment you are downing that delicious beer, nothing else matters.

 

There is no beating around the bush that we live in a stressful time.  Between the political climate, the constant threat of a terrorist attack, maintaining a living in a shrinking middle class and trying to raise a family in the age of non-stop social media we are constantly on high alert.  

 

That’s not even factoring in planning of a large event or putting in the work with trying to change careers.  

 

I know for me at least, I feel like I should never rest – like if I do I’m the laziest son-of-a-bee-sting in the world.  But, like redlining your car, eventually it’s going to break down – which is why we need to have anchors to keep us sane.

 

Negative anchors, like the ones above, make us feel good in the moment but they ultimately leave us worse off than before.  Not only do we have to deal with the initial problem we also have to deal with the extra weight these anchors add to our bodies.  

 

We need more positive anchors and less negative anchors.  This will ease the mind without creating future problems.

 

Things like exercising, reading and writing make us focus on the present rather than everything else going on around us.  They leave us in a better position afterwards.

 

FINDING A POSITIVE ANCHOR

 

Stuck on what could be your positive anchor?  Here is my list that took me five minutes to come up with.  Feel free to add more:

 

Exercise-

There is nothing that requires you to be in the moment than focusing on not dropping a weight on your head. Plus endorphins, hormones and other good things.

Meditation-

I know woo-woo meter at 100 right now, but taking 10-20 minutes to focus on your breathing really does wonders for your headspace.  Meditation has been shown to have incredible health benefits.

Reading-

Focusing on a book can take you to different places outside of your own problems.  Depending on what you read it could also help you solve some of said problems.

Sports-

The physical nature and the immediate gratification of winning is enough to turn any frown upside down.  Wow I’m embarrassed for even thinking that last line.

Playing an Instrument-

You can’t think about your problems if you are trying to play something that resembles a song.  

Writing-

I thought writing was for drunks and intellectual superiors – I’ve seen Californiacation.  Then, I started this website and getting my struggles, triumphs and thoughts out of my mind has done incredible things to my overall mood.

Video Games –

Video games, like books, can take you away from your problems and help you put your focus on leveling up.

Make a List and Prioritize Your Shit-

Like writing, sometimes you just need to get your thoughts or to-do list on paper rather than having it knock around in your head.  

 

FINDING YOUR ANCHOR

 

Like my answer for the question “What’s the best workout to get in shape?”  Find something you enjoy and do that.  

 

Our lives are filled with things we don’t want to do.  Work, driving the kids around town, maintaining a house all suck.  Find something you even mildly enjoy and do that almost daily.

 

The only two boxes this activity needs to check off are:

 

Do you need to be mentally present when doing it?

 

Is it leaving you in a better place afterwards?

 

If you can check both then you my friend have yourself an anchor.  

 

Now go do it.

 

YOUR TURN

 

What’s your anchor?  Let us know in the Aesthetic Physiques Community page.

 

Dave