Stories of Hope in Hard Times – Podcast – Part 1

Watch the video and read along with the transcript below of the podcast I was invited to be on. The podcast is called Stories of Hope in Hard Times by Tamara K Anderson, and this is the first of two parts

Michael didn’t set out to be a college professor, he just wanted to learn to manage his stress, but this quest led him to not only lower his blood pressure but influence tens of thousands to live a more healthy lifestyle.

Episode Discussion Points

  • Looking younger than you are has pros and cons

  • The diagnosis and curiosity around “meditation” that led to his becoming a professor of stress management, health and wellness.

  • Stress plays a part in high blood pressure

  • Dr. Olpin has learned several tools, including meditation, that help bring out bodies back into balance, and when a body is in balance it can heal.

  • Everyone has more stress than is useful

  • What turns on the stress response

  • Stress makes every health problem worse

  • As stress levels go up, immune function goes down.

  • The impact of losing his older brother to suicide had on him and his journey toward acceptance which included forgiving and letting guilt and negative self-talk go.

  • How God helped him change his thinking so he could work toward peace, and how meditation helped him hear God’s spirit speaking to him and guiding him.

  • When he meditates before prayer, his prayers and his ability to listen are exponentially more powerful.

  • How are thoughts are like bees busy buzzing around and meditation calms them and puts them back in the hive. And once they are quiet they can hear inspiration.

  • Studies show that people who meditate frequently can get into the theta and delta levels in their brain (*which usually appear when people are in deep sleep).

  • People who meditate are biologically 12 years younger than their age.

  • Every system in the body breaks down when we are in a stress response (fight or flight)

  • Meditation helps stop the stress response and bring the body back to normal

  • Meditate means to focus—whether it be on a mantra, watching the sunset, a campfire, or the ocean waves rolling in.

A Simple Meditation You Can Do Anywhere

  • Put one hand on your chest and try NOT to make your chest or shoulders move as you breathe.

  • Put your other hand on your stomach to help you breathe deep and expand.

  • Breathe in naturally through your nose.

  • Then exhale as slow and soft as you can.

  • Don’t worry about how fast or slow you are breathing

  • Simply focus on your breath, and bring your mind back if it wanders (don’t get mad at yourself if it does wander).

  • Then move through your body from the top of your head taking each part and relaxing or releasing the muscles with each exhale (ex: inhale, breathe out—relax your eyebrows, inhale, breathe out—relax your cheeks and jaw, inhale, breathe out—release your neck and shoulders, inhale, breathe out—release your arms, then hands, your back…on down to your toes.)

  • This type of breathing is the exact opposite of fight or flight breathing and will automatically calm you down.

  • His goal with his mind body wellness is to help people live at their peak levels.

  • The waves of stress never stop, but we can learn to be peaceful through the waves of life.

Favorite Bible Verse

Proverbs 3:5-6—especially where it says, “Lean not unto thine own understandings.” Don’t get cocky. Lean on God and He will steer you in better direction than you could go on your own.

Every time Dr. Olpin tries God and His promises things work out for the best.

“We can’t out-God God.”

Dr. Olpin likes to apply this verse every time he presents by saying a prayer before he teaches and asking for God’s help to reach His children. And it always goes better.

Connect with Dr. Olpin

#tamarakanderson #storiesofhopeinhardtimes #podcast #hope #God #hardtimes #healthylifestyle #stress #stressmanagement #meditation #suicide#help #mindset #Godsspirit


You can find the transcription of today’s episode here:

Tamara Anderson 0:03

The story of how I became aware of Dr. Olpin and I have a good friend who went back to school. She took a couple of his classes, and it completely changed the way she managed her stress in life and, and since we’re all juggling with so much stress, I thought I have got to have this guy on my show.

Tamara Anderson 0:28

Welcome to Stories of Hope in Hard Times, the show that explores how people endure and even thrive in difficult times, all with God’s help. I’m your host Tamara K Anderson. Join me on a journey to find inspiring stories of hope and wisdom learned in life’s hardest moments.

Tamara Anderson 0:49

My guest today is a professor of health promotion and is director of the Weber State University Stress Relief Center where he has been teaching for 21 years. He has presented many classes, seminars and workshops on stress management and wellness at the national, regional and community level.

Tamara Anderson 1:12

He is the author of a college textbook on stress management and two additional best selling books, Unwind: 7 Principles for a Stress-Free Life. And The World is Not a Stressful Place: Stress Relief for Everyone.

Tamara Anderson 1:27

Best of all, he has been happily married for 33 years and enjoys four amazing kids and two grandchildren. In his free time you will find him biking and trail running in the beautiful mountains of northern Utah where they currently reside.

Tamara Anderson 1:41

I am pleased to present Dr. Michael Olpin. Dr. Olpin Are you ready to share your story of hope?

Dr. Michael Olpin 1:49

Thank you for this invitation.

Tamara Anderson 1:52

Oh, it is an honor to have you on the show. Let’s kind of break the ice a little bit. Dr. Olpin you had a funny experience at a restaurant not long ago with your boys. Would you mind sharing that with me?

Dr. Michael Olpin 2:08

Well, I’ve always had this. I don’t know if I could call it a defect. But ever since I can remember. I’ve looked a lot younger than my age. And I guess I am now technically a senior citizen. And we were at a restaurant and I noticed that there was a discount for senior citizens.

Dr. Michael Olpin 2:40

And I said well, I’m a senior citizen, can I have that discount? And the person there said you’re not a senior! No, you can’t have the discount. Sorry. And my kids who are with me, they said really?

Dr. Michael Olpin 2:55

He is old. He’s older than he looks. The girl there said sorry. You’re not gonna get the discount. He’s got to pay full price.

Dr. Michael Olpin 2:55

And oh, my goodness. Well, there you have it. That’s a funny story. It’s funny how things like that happen. And you do have a youthful look to you. So that’s good, right?

Dr. Michael Olpin 3:23

Nope. So I sometimes when I was younger, I couldn’t get away with it. I mean, I couldn’t go to things or I couldn’t drive. Or people would say I don’t want to date you. You’re still in high school or something. Oh my goodness.

Tamara Anderson 3:45

Pros and cons, right? Yeah. Oh, that’s fun. So let me ask you this. How in the world did you end up settling on becoming a teacher of stress management or wellness and all that stuff? What is the story behind that?

Dr. Michael Olpin 4:10

So it’s a long time ago when this started, going back 40 ish years but a couple of things really got me interested in this direction more than anything. I went on a mission from my for my church.

Dr. Michael Olpin 4:27

And then when I got back, I got a job at a library in Provo. I lived in Provo, grew up in Provo, and for two years I fell in love with reading. I fell in love with books.

Dr. Michael Olpin 4:40

I fell in love with just everything I could. I didn’t date. I didn’t eat. I just read stuff for about two years. It’s an exaggeration, but for two years I tried to read as many things.

Dr. Michael Olpin 4:55

I’d always ask people what’s interesting to you and there was one group of people who said there’s this, these books on meditation that you should read.

Dr. Michael Olpin 5:04

Because I would talk about kind of my interests, their interests, and they said, You should read these books on meditation.

Dr. Michael Olpin 5:12

And I found them over in the library, and they’re there in this place, nobody ever looked at them. 1982 to 84, and they were just the dustiest oldest books. And I pulled them out, and I started reading and it was just some research, study about the benefits of meditation, this particular type of meditation.

Dr. Michael Olpin 5:42

It was about that time when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. And the doctor said to me, you’re going to have to be on high blood pressure medication for the rest of your life. And I said, Why do I have high blood pressure?

Dr. Michael Olpin 6:01

I was pretty active. You know, I tried to eat what I thought was good at the time. And he said, We don’t know for sure. But you do have high blood pressure, you probably just chose the wrong parents.

Dr. Michael Olpin 6:18

Because my mom had high blood pressure as well, and so did her parents. And so there was a genetic component there. I learned that stress played a part in high blood pressure back then that was not really well known. But I learned that stress played a part.

Dr. Michael Olpin 6:33

And so in these books, they were telling about how, if you meditated it corrected hypertension, and I thought, well, that’s cool. And then I looked through all the books, and it never said how to do it. Oh, no. That’s great.

Dr. Michael Olpin 6:57

Gotta go meditate. And I had no idea how and in Provo in 1982, there was no one to turn to. That wasn’t a thing that people commonly did or even talked about. And so I kind of decided to take the drugs.

Dr. Michael Olpin 7:15

And soon after that, there was an advertisement in the local newspaper there. And that told about a guy who was coming through, and he was going to tell about meditation. Oh, and I thought, wow, serendipity.

Dr. Michael Olpin 7:34

How serendipitous, I didn’t expect that. But here’s this guy. And so I went. I was married at the time, my wife and I both went to his presentation. And he just said everything that the book said, you know, meditation works for this, this, and this; all these great things that meditation does, to rebalance the body to put it back in homeostasis.

Dr. Michael Olpin 8:01

And then he said, and if you want to do it, I will teach you and it will cost you a lot of money. I’m a starving college student, oh, crud, but I had this feeling inside, I should do it at night.

Dr. Michael Olpin 8:15

So both of us, we’ve found our credit card, we’ve never used it. We found our credit card, and we paid for it. And so sometime later, we had a one on one meeting with this guy.

Dr. Michael Olpin 8:33

That first time meditating, and I had never done anything like that before. But after I was done that first time, it felt so incredibly different, mentally, cognitively. I just felt so quiet inside, I had never felt that peaceful, you know, and I tried to do peaceful things, you know, prayer and, and contemplating, but the act of meditating the way he showed us, the way he showed me. It was so dramatic.

Dr. Michael Olpin 9:18

And I went, Oh, my goodness, this is the best thing ever. And we had a little conversation afterwards and he said, Okay, now just do this every day for the rest of your life. And I did!

Dr. Michael Olpin 9:36

From then on I just every day, my wife and I both and my blood pressure normalized and my stress levels, kind of, you know, the little angers that I would have kind of subsided and I thought this is so cool.

Dr. Michael Olpin 9:52

And I thought I’d love to teach this but it costs way too much money to do that to go on that road. So I thought I kind of put it on the back burner for teaching it. And then we just practiced it every day along with all the other things. And then later on I started in my master’s degree at BYU in health promotion.

Dr. Michael Olpin 10:16

Well, they gave me two clsses to teach. They said here, just while you’re in your master’s degree, teach these two classes, one of them had a curriculum already and the other, they said, there’s no curriculum for it. Just teach whatever you want.

Dr. Michael Olpin 10:28

And I thought, wow. So I’ve made it kind of like what my current mind body wellness classes, it was kind of the beginnings of that included meditation. And so it was then that I started teaching it. And I just fell in love with teaching.

Dr. Michael Olpin 10:46

And it was after that, that I went, got my PhD. And then I got a teaching job back east, and then I ended up after four years there. We’ve, we got a job here at Weber State. And, and I’ve been teaching it ever since.

Dr. Michael Olpin 11:06

You know, the mind body wellness, stress management, wellness coaching, kind of, I’ve taught quite a few of the classes that are in our program, but those are my favorite ones. So I’ve taught a lot of groups, community groups, church groups I’ve taught, like there was one group here in Utah that they were called, The hypertensives or something they had a name, and not everyone in there had high blood pressure.

Dr. Michael Olpin 11:35

And so I would go weekly. I taught him how to meditate. And then weekly, we would go and practice every week for just like during the lunch hour. And so I’ve had a lot, a lot of opportunities to focus on the meditation.

Dr. Michael Olpin 11:55

And then during that time, I realized, that’s one tool of dozens of tools that seemed to work for people to help reduce stress, get us back in balance. And once we’re there in balance, we tend to heal. symptoms tend to go away, like my high blood pressure went away.

Tamara Anderson 12:19

Wow, that is so amazing, isn’t it, that just learning simple techniques can help with so many physical challenges that we have, it shows how much probably stress we’re all carrying around on our shoulders. And I guess as a society, we’re not maybe coping as well as we should.

Dr. Michael Olpin 12:45

Yeah, I would say that, I could probably count on my hands, the number of people who have more stress than they need, just about everybody I know has more stress than is useful. And the weird thing about that is the stress that we have comes from how we think about things, how we process things, how we interpret things.

Dr. Michael Olpin 13:13

And if there’s a perception of a threat, then our body just automatically turns on that stress response. And there’s no one to one relationship where the stress will turn into this problem.

Dr. Michael Olpin 13:32

In fact, I would say, stress doesn’t really cause any of our health problems, except for maybe headaches, where there’s a one to one that causes this. But I do know for sure that stress makes every health problem worse, every single one.

Dr. Michael Olpin 13:50

And the higher your stress level is there’s been dozens and dozens of studies showing this as stress levels go up, the immune functioning goes down.

Dr. Michael Olpin 14:03

It’s like a perfect inverse relationship. As stress goes up, the immune functioning, the immune power goes down. And so everything that’s associated with well being based on a strong immune system is compromised when stress goes up. And I mean, that’s everything from colds to cancer and everything in between.

Dr. Michael Olpin 14:28

So the sad news is it’s a dangerous reaping culprit. But the good news is when the right tools are applied, it’s an easy fix. We just have to know what those right tools are and then apply them pretty consistently.

Tamara Anderson 14:48

Absolutely. Well, we will for sure talk about those tools. But first, I thought I would kind of bring in some of your personal story and to ask how you’ve been through several challenging moments in your, your own life.

Tamara Anderson 15:06

You have a brother who committed suicide, you tore your Achilles tendon. Oh my goodness, that just sounds awful. You know, your appendix ruptured, and you died while they were operating on you. I mean, these are stressful things.

Tamara Anderson 15:20

So what I’d love to ask you is maybe to take one or two of those stories, and talk me through the stress management principles you applied to get through it yourself. Does that make sense?

Dr. Michael Olpin 15:37

The one with my brother, it’s still hard. He committed suicide at a young age of 60. And that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. To have my older brother, no longer here.

Dr. Michael Olpin 15:54

And, you know, I went through so many emotions, anger, denial, I mean, the Kubler Ross has five stages of grief, I went through all of those. But at some point, like, you know, if you think about those stages, they were exactly what I went through denial and anger first, then bargaining, then depression, I’ve never been really depressed, but I was sad. For a very long time, I still am.

Dr. Michael Olpin 16:32

And, and I had a lot of support, family and friends, I had to come to a place of acceptance, I had to come to a place of, there’s nothing I can do that can change the fact that he’s gone. And it’s easy to start imagining, you know, what I could have done differently?

Dr. Michael Olpin 16:58

Or what I should have done differently? Or how could he have done this? How selfish of him, you know, call names, call him names, and, and from, there’s all kinds of things that entered my mind at the time of, for whatever reason, I deserve to feel this way about it.

Dr. Michael Olpin 17:18

And so, you know, my self talk, or my, my ongoing conversation with myself was, finally I would have been there when he needed me, or how could he not have told me that he needed me or something like that, that at some point, I had to get to a point of one, he’s not in any pain anymore.

Dr. Michael Olpin 17:39

He had incredible physical pain for years and years for decades. And he’s no longer in physical pain, I have the belief that life doesn’t end, when we finished this physical bodies time, I have the belief that he’s he’s probably doing just fine. And without that physical pain, he’s probably happy and enjoying things to a much higher degree than he was here.

Dr. Michael Olpin 18:10

I mean, I realized all the things that I was saying, were very selfish. You know, I don’t deserve to feel this way. I don’t deserve for him to leave me kinds of thinking. And I had to get to a point of just completely accepting that this is what happened. I can’t bring him back.

Dr. Michael Olpin 18:33

And I can completely forgive him and forgive me for doing or not doing whatever it was that we did or didn’t do that we’re making up. And just accept, and that was the only way I had inner peace about it was just forgiving, and letting it go. And accepting.

Dr. Michael Olpin 19:00

And as soon as I mean, that was a process. But as I kept doing it over and over again, that little muscle grew, and I and I got to a point where there’s no pain in there now. I don’t have any pain about him being gone. And the fact that he did it the way he did, it’s still a little sad. But I don’t have the pain. Does that make sense? Yeah,

Tamara Anderson 19:26

it does. It does. I noticed several things that you were talking about there as you share this very tender story that first of all, thank you for sharing it. One, it seemed to be that the thoughts that you’re thinking had to change almost as far as kind of maybe from a negative cycle to more of a positive forgiveness.

Tamara Anderson 20:01

And so my question to you is, I’m sure you didn’t do that by herself. But what role do you feel God plays in that ability to forgive not only yourself, but perhaps your brother in a situation like this?

Dr. Michael Olpin 20:16

Well, to be really honest, I would have thoughts come to me know this way of thinking is not helping think this way over and over and over again. And I don’t think that was my own programming,

Dr. Michael Olpin 20:33

I think it was, if you want to be peaceful, this is a better way to think. And I think it was entirely God, God’s Spirit, however you want to call that, that was helping me get through that with the, with the consistent, similar messaging. Let it go, just let it go.

Dr. Michael Olpin 20:58

Forgive, let him go. He’s happy kind of thing. So I think it was entirely a result of God’s influence on my eye. I’ve always felt like God influences my thinking. I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking patterns.

Dr. Michael Olpin 21:18

I think that there’s a connection between God’s Spirit and my mind. And when I let that happen. That’s when those life affirming those peace inducing messages happen. Does that make sense?

Tamara Anderson 21:42

Yes, it really does. I’m going to kind of draw back to what you were originally saying about meditation. Do you feel that meditation helps you quiet your mind enough to hear those positive affirmations?

Dr. Michael Olpin 21:57

I wish I could tell you stories after stories after stories about because I’m a strong believer in prayer. But when I meditate prior to prayer, my prayers, mostly in the Listening side, are just exponentially more powerful. I mean, that I often look at our thoughts. It’s kind of like a hive of bees. Right?

Dr. Michael Olpin 22:28

Our thoughts are just, and we actually do a type of meditation in one of the classes I used to, where you close your eyes, and then you kind of pull up a chair and watch your thoughts. Because you’re not your thoughts, you are having thoughts.

Dr. Michael Olpin 22:46

We think we’re where our thoughts, but when you, you can separate out and just watch your thoughts. And so and when we used to do this in class, we would do it. And as you watch your thoughts, it’s an interesting thing, they kind of settle.

Dr. Michael Olpin 23:01

One of the things that people will always say, and I say the same thing for myself is our thoughts are completely out of control. They’re like those bees that are just coming in and going and but when we watch them, we recognize how out of control they are.

Dr. Michael Olpin 23:21

When we meditate, it’s like those bees just kind of go back into the hive. And what’s left is quietness. And so when we are quiet, that’s when I think that connection between us and God’s light, illuminate. Because when we’re busy thinking so much, there’s no room for those messages to get through.

Dr. Michael Olpin 23:49

So when we kind of open up gaps, and in those gaps, that’s when his insights, inspiration, whatever you want to call it profoundly. I remember one occasion, just to give an example. And I didn’t try to make this happen. But I was I was in my my room.

Dr. Michael Olpin 24:11

And I had, I was sitting in my chair and I was meditating. And it was the coolest thing. I was just sitting there doing my daily meditation. And it was like suddenly. And well let me preface this just a little bit. There was a I was supposed to give a speech. Somewhere I have no I don’t even remember where this was I was going to speak.

Dr. Michael Olpin 24:37

But I remember I had to speak to a group of people about something and I had no idea what I was going to talk about. Nothing was coming to me. No, just I mean I had I tried to take some notes and it didn’t fit. And so I just kind of let it go.

Dr. Michael Olpin 24:55

I started meditating, not intending for this to happen. Not even thinking about this peripherally, but I sat down and then it was like after about five minutes of just doing my usual meditation, beginning to end and everything in between just flooded into my head, it was just like, now you’ve talked about this, now you talk about that. And I quickly turn the light on and wrote everything as fast as I could, because it was just coming, like a, like a download. And, I thought how cool is that.

Tamara Anderson 25:40

That is amazing. And that happens

Dr. Michael Olpin 25:44

pretty frequently. I mean, surprisingly frequently. And I really do think it’s just when you quiet your mind, which you can’t consciously do. You can’t consciously just make your mind go still. We’ve tried in our classes.

Dr. Michael Olpin 26:00

I always tell them, Okay, close your eyes and make your mind go still. It’s hilarious. When they’re done. They’re just like, I give him like 30 seconds, just to kind of and every time every single time. They say, Oh, that was impossible. I couldn’t possibly. Or they’ll say something like, well, I kept thinking the word still and it just, but that’s a thought. You know what I mean?

Dr. Michael Olpin 26:33

You can’t you can’t make your mind have no thoughts. And so, but when you meditate, it seems to settle the thoughts a lot. And then cool things can happen.

Tamara Anderson 26:49

We’re gonna take a quick break, but when we get back, we’ll have more lessons, tips and things you can apply to your life. Stay tuned. In my friends, are you looking for a meaningful Christmas gift this year?

Tamara Anderson 27:05

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Tamara Anderson 27:35

But it is based on a true story that happened to my mother in law. It’s great for those friends that you’re just like, what do I get them, something simple. That’s under five bucks for a great stocking stuffer. So if you want to share this message of hope with your friends or family members, check it out; a Broken Down Holiday on

Dr. Michael Olpin 28:01

They found that when they would put people on electroencephalograms hook up, hook them up to their head while they’re meditating. So and that measures brainwave activity, so there’s like beta, alpha theta and delta brainwaves and the theta and the delta brainwaves, when those are predominant.

Dr. Michael Olpin 28:26

That’s when we sleep. That’s when we recover. That’s when we’re getting deep rest and our body’s fixing itself. Right? And then beta is like how we are now alpha is kind of in between, kind of see it in Gnosis you see it in as you’re falling asleep.

Dr. Michael Olpin 28:42

And as you’re waking up, that’s the predominant Brainwave. Well anyway, what they found when people were meditating, it’s the first time they ever had seen when people who had been meditators for a long period of time. Their brainwave activity went down, the predominant one was the theta and delta brainwaves.

Dr. Michael Olpin 29:06

And they were still awake. And they had never seen that before,. where somebody’s conscious, was at that deep level of rest. And so I think that’s why one of the things another interesting thing about just the meditation is they found that people who meditate have biological ages about 12 years younger than they had did a control group of same group, you know, same group of people, only non meditators.

Dr. Michael Olpin 29:46

And they found that the meditators based on a lot of different physiological parameters had biological ages 12 years younger than the non meditators. Wow. And if you think about it, it just makes Since the stress response is designed to be fast, you know fight or flight, it’s designed to be and it breaks down.

Dr. Michael Olpin 30:09

Every system in the body is out of balance when we are in stress. For a short period of time, that’s not a big deal. But for a long period of time, it’s like putting your foot on the gas pedal, and putting your foot on the brake at the same time, and hoping nothing bad happens.

Dr. Michael Olpin 30:26

And so, what but when you meditate, or when you do the variety of things that we do in the class, it takes us back to normal functioning, which is a slower, more healing pace. And then in in those times when we do need to have the explosiveness. We have that.

Dr. Michael Olpin 30:26

But it shouldn’t be happening all day every day. And that’s what most people they’re in that fight or flight response, chronic stress. All day long. I had one student who she’d had a headache for 20 years, every single day, my word. And we did a couple of things in the class. No more headaches. Wow. And another lady who had fibromyalgia so badly, it hurt to wear a shirt. It was just that painful.

Dr. Michael Olpin 31:27

And it was really after we taught her how to meditate. It was mean, we did a few things. But later in the class we did, we taught her how to meditate. And after it was over, she said, I could just feel the pain going down my arms off my hands. I have not felt this good. And I don’t know how long and, and I thought perfect examples of when the fight or flight fight or flight response is turned off. The body goes back into balance. And a body in balance heals itself.

Tamara Anderson 32:05

So let me ask you this, we’ve talked a lot about meditation, would you mind teaching my audience really quick, maybe a simple way that we can meditate so that we can start to reap some of these benefits?

Dr. Michael Olpin 32:24

So the easiest one to do and one that you can do. I mean, like I said, there are dozens of ways to meditate. The word meditate simply means to focus. Right?

Dr. Michael Olpin 32:36

Every single type of meditation involves focusing on something whether that’s candle or a mantra, or I think that’s why people when they are sitting by a fire, you know, at a campfire, they just, it’s very meditative or to watch a sunset and you just watch it happen.

Dr. Michael Olpin 33:05

Almost everyone’s by the beach where you just take in the ebb and flow of the sea. That’s very meditative. And so the one that we can do right here is just simply put our awareness and focus on our breath.

Dr. Michael Olpin 33:25

There’s dozens of ways to breathe interestingly, but this one is very, very relaxing. You just put one hand on your chest, one hand your stomach and you try to make it so your chest hand doesn’t move when you inhale and exhale.

Dr. Michael Olpin 33:41

We should also breathe almost only through our nose when we’re, unless we’re working out or running a flight of stairs are, our breath should be in and out through our nose mostly.

Dr. Michael Olpin 33:55

And so you inhale, and you make it so your chest hands stay still. But your stomach hand moves out. And you don’t worry so much about how fast or slow your breathing. You focus on the depths of your breath.

Dr. Michael Olpin 34:14

So you inhale. But try not to make the the hand the chest hand move. And then you exhale and your stomach hand moves back in. And then to add to it, you make the exhalation.

Dr. Michael Olpin 34:34

As slow and soft as you can make it comfortably you don’t make it uncomfortable, but like you inhale and then you exhale slowly and softly. And then you just let that rhythm ebb and flow of your breath. Just follow it down. down, and you state.

Dr. Michael Olpin 35:03

The reason why you can do this anywhere as your mind will immediately and frequently wander off. And all you do is go, Oh, my breath. You don’t get mad at yourself because you you’re not a good focuser of your breath. Just your mind wanders off to what you got going tonight is, did I turn the oven off is the laundry done?

Dr. Michael Olpin 35:32

And you just go oh yeah, my breath. And then you just focus on letting the exhale be as soft and slow. And keep focusing, let the inhale be natural. Not hard and strong. And, you know, just natural inhale.

Dr. Michael Olpin 35:53

But don’t have any anything up here moving. You know, your shoulder, some people breathe. And they’re like this even you know, you see that on to you. And TV. When somebody’s really angry. They’re like, know what I mean? Fight or flight. So this is automatically disengaged, disengaging the fight or flight response.

Dr. Michael Olpin 36:16

One by focusing on something that is not dangerous. You know, we’re not, there’s no danger in breathing. And so the body’s not getting any messages. Oh, I’m in danger. And that kind of breathing is the exact opposite of fight or flight breathing. Which is a quick and shallow, right.

Dr. Michael Olpin 36:40

And so you inhale. And you exhale, soft and comfortable. And even as I’m doing that, I noticed my shoulders kind of go on you. I don’t know if you sense that. And then as you’re doing that you can kind of go through your body and just kind of, okay, how does my face feel, I mean, eyebrows, net, put into their natural position, relaxed my jaw, just kind of move through your body.

Dr. Michael Olpin 37:08

And don’t try to change anything. Except just allow it to release, you know, release my shoulders. So inhale. Exhale, release my jaw. Inhale, exhale. How do my feet feel? Inhale, exhale, you know, whatever speeds comfortable and so you can kind of work that is a combination of two or three different what I call relaxation exercises. But you can do those anytime, anywhere, except for when you’re driving.

Tamara Anderson 37:43

Yeah, don’t do it there.

Dr. Michael Olpin 37:47

You can still focus on your breathing. I mean, I know sometimes when I start thinking about something, I noticed my hands gripping the wheel. Mm hmm. And I can immediately go relax my hands kind of thing, though. So that’s even even then we say the meditation that I train people in. You never do that when you’re?

Tamara Anderson 38:14

Yeah, probably not.

Dr. Michael Olpin 38:17

But you can do this one, just about anywhere. And it’s, it’s a wonderful way to just take your mind off of whatever it is that you’re imagining is stressful. And putting it on something that if you do it that way automatically takes you out of fight or flight and into rest and repair.

Tamara Anderson 38:46

Wow. Well, that that is such a powerful strategy. And I love that it’s something that people can do just while they’re even listening to the podcast, you know, just relax. Now I do have a question. When you’re breathing out, are you breathing out through your nose or through your mouth? Nose, nose, okay, so breathe in through the nose, breathe out through the nose super slowly.

Dr. Michael Olpin 39:10

So all of the books and all the writers about who’ve written about breathing for general relaxation, they will all say in and out through your nose.

Tamara Anderson 39:23

Okay, that’s good to know. Oh my goodness. Wow. Time is flying because we’re, I feel like I’m just learning so much. So question for you. Do you have a favorite Bible verse that’s become meaningful to you as you have navigated the ups and downs of your life?

Dr. Michael Olpin 39:45

Yeah, I have to say it’s in Proverbs. I love the thought lean not unto thine own understandings. And what that tells me is oftentimes I think, Oh, I’m so smart. Oh, I know so much. And that reminds me, I probably know as much as an ant knows, in comparison to what God knows, in His omniscience.

Dr. Michael Olpin 40:19

And so don’t get too cocky, don’t get, you know, don’t think you’re that great, you’re not. But if you turn to God, and trust in His power and His love, then he’ll steer you in better directions than you could have gotten on your own. And that has, every time I apply that, and I think we should test all of the promises, you know, try them and see if they work, don’t just say, it doesn’t work, until you’ve tried it.

Dr. Michael Olpin 40:58

And every time I try it, things end up a little better, or a lot better than I could have planned for. And I mean, it just keeps happening over and over. It’s been that way for years and years, where every year my wife, and I just say, this year was better than the last every single year, and we have tough things going on. But when we just keeps letting go of our belief that we’re superior, we can’t out God God. Very true, as we try it as we try to stay as humble as possible about what we think we’re all about.

Dr. Michael Olpin 41:45

Every time I present something anywhere, like last week, I had a couple of presentations, one at Weber State LDS Institute, and another one was at a company in Salt Lake. And the thing that I found, and I did the same thing, when I would teach, when I as I’m teaching, when I would do face to face classes is if I prior to going in, if I say a prayer, and I say something to the effect God, these are your people.

Dr. Michael Olpin 42:18

These are your sons and daughters. You know, what’s best for them? Let me be an instrument in your hands. It always goes better. It always goes better. And the times that I don’t I go. I, I’ll ask myself, what was wrong with that, not 99% of the time, it’s because I didn’t do that at the beginning.

Dr. Michael Olpin 42:49

I didn’t let go of my belief that I’m the one doing this. And it’s been cool because there have been times when and you’ve probably had this to where you’re in the middle of a podcast or you’re teaching a group of people. And suddenly, I remember once we were on a on a roll in a class having a conversation, then suddenly, I just started writing some things on the board. And I went, and some stuff came out of my mouth that I had never thought of before. And I quickly wrote that on the board and I had somebody take a picture. This is cool stuff. I’ve never thought of that before. And I really do think I can do it myself, that kind of thing never happens.

Tamara Anderson 43:43

Yeah, it’s, I love what you said, you can’t out God, God. And God has specific messages he wants his children to hear. And he knows who’s going to be in that class, just like you were saying, and I will tell you, that’s happened to me over and over as I’ve been podcasting, especially when I do my own little episodes with just me speaking that sometimes I’ll be going along and I’ll just get the distinct impression.

Tamara Anderson 44:09

Nope, don’t go down that way. And I pause and I pray again, because I pray before every episode. And I think what do you want me to say? How do you want me to say it? Because often I just need to tweak how I’m saying it or tell a story in between or something like that. But it’s it’s very interesting to invite God into that process of teaching or speaking or creating something, you know. So he really does care about each of us and how we learn and he wants people who are listening to hear it in a way that is right for them. You know?

Dr. Michael Olpin 44:49

I think you’re right.

Tamara Anderson 44:51

Before we wrap the show up today I want to invite you to tune in next week where Dr. Olpin will dive a little deeper and share several key practices that will decrease stress and improve your life balance.

Well Dr. Olpin, this has been incredible to sit here and learn from you and hear all about it. Not only your story, but also just little bits of wisdom of what we can do as we hit stressful situations to help us navigate it, perhaps with more peace. Meditating, we talked about that, but also implementing just simple strategies that, when done combined with inviting God in can make a world of a difference to get us out of that fight and flight mode, and help us journey through all of life’s challenges. Not only holding God’s hand, but being wise about taking care of ourselves, our bodies, right? So I know there’s going to be people who are going to say, Who is this guy? And how can I learn more from him? Because as soon as my friend told me all about you, I’m like, I gotta, I gotta have this guy on my show. So tell me, first of all, where people can find you online and where they can buy your books.

Dr. Michael Olpin 46:18

So I have a couple of websites that I’ve had for for a while. The one that is the easiest to get to is just So Michael, and then O L p i n one And that I’ve kind of linked that quite a few ways to my main stress management life management website. That is stress management. So that’s one word stress management And in that I tell about, like, I do individual coaching, I do group work I do. I have quite an all the things that we use in the stress management class, and the mind body wellness class are available on that website. And website, I’ve got a blog, I have a free newsletter, you can sign up for and then it just when I decided to put send one out, you get it for free. I’m always learning I’m always trying to learn what’s cutting edge in this world of mind body wellness. I’m not interested in people just being okay, I want us to live at our peak levels are optimum levels. And can we be there? It’s like a bell curve. Everyone’s kind of built around the middle. I want to be up here. Because when I’m 82 I still want to beat the tar out of my kids and pickleball and racket.

Tamara Anderson 47:58

There. you go Let that thought motivate you, righ?. Wonderful. And your books. Tell us about your books.

Dr. Michael Olpin 48:10

The textbook I wrote. It’s now in its fifth edition. I wrote it with somebody until this last edition. But this textbook is the one we use for my stress management class. And so it’s pretty close what it reads more like a self help book, or being in a classroom than it does a textbook. Then I wrote a book with a guy who was with Franklin Covey, Sam Bracken, we wrote the book: Unwind! 7 Principles for a Stress-Free Life.

Dr. Michael Olpin 48:49

There you go. It’s actually been translated in five languages now. Wow. I keep getting packages of a book and it’s I can’t read a single word on it.

Dr. Michael Olpin 49:05

The World is Not a Stressful Place is a book that I wrote quite a while ago. And it was just somebody, it was actually a student. She said you need to write a book. And so that’s what came from she it’s her fault that I wrote. On my website, I’ve subsequently written workbooks that are better than that book that go into like, there’s one workbook called Understanding Stress, which is just the science of stress how it works, how it really works, rather than what they are. They’re telling you it works. And then we have a workbook on preventing stress, reducing stress. And then I have an entire book on just mindfulness. Oh, that is helping us to enjoy and savor this moment. It’s been so that’s what that workbook is about. And it’s really good. I’ve used it in workshops and And around and in my class. And everyone’s says that is one of the best descriptions of mindfulness and how to be mindful, day to day moment to moment that they’ve ever read.

Dr. Michael Olpin 50:28

And then I have my fifth book of those workbooks is a, kind of like a wellness coaching book that kind of walks you through what we do in the mind body wellness class, and my Wellness Coaching class that focuses on how you make these behaviors, more permanent. So it’s not like a New Year’s resolution and becomes something that becomes a part of you as you do certain things, you know, some more like a habit, right?

Dr. Michael Olpin 50:59

If you just read them, it’s kind of like a sunburn, you get a little, and then it goes fades away. Unless you practice the things, it doesn’t help a lot, because we are nature has to go back to our programmed habits. And most of the time, those programmed habits don’t serve us as well. And so we focus on in that book on how to make these new skills and these new behaviors more permanent. So that’s your normal, instead of your old normal.

Tamara Anderson 51:35

Oh, that sounds fascinating. And so those are on the stress management place website,

Dr. Michael Olpin 51:43

you can get to it from either one. Okay, it’ll from the mic off, and Michael Olpin one or the stress management place.

Tamara Anderson 51:49

Wonderful. Oh, my goodness, well, I will be sure to link all these things in the show notes of today’s episode, so that people can find those things more easily on your website. But thank you so much for coming on the show for sharing your personal stories, and then also for teaching us several tactics on what we can do to help lower the stress in our lives and kind of live in a more normal and balanced way. Because that’s what’s really going to help us make it through hard times with greater hope, right?

Dr. Michael Olpin 52:27

I’ve decided and I could be wrong in this, but I think hard times are part of the deal. Our job is to figure out how to navigate; the waves are going to keep coming. And there’s no end to the waves, you know, people think, Oh, when I get out of college, or when I get married, or when I have kids or when I get when I retire, then I’ll be happy. Then that never happens. The waves never stop. And so, but my thinking is if I can be peaceful through that or through all that, then I can enjoy the waves instead of have the waves clobber me. And I can surf the waves or some, you know, some metaphor like that. But I don’t think I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have hard things. You know, everyone does. Everyone does. Yeah. And so if we can be peaceful through them rather than chaotic, then we win. And everyone around us wins when we’re peaceful to.

Tamara Anderson 53:32

Hey, thanks so much for listening to today’s show. If you like what you heard, subscribe so you can get your weekly dose of powerful stories of hope. I know there are many of you out there who are going through a hard time, and I hope you found useful things that you can apply to your own life in today’s podcast. If you would like to access the show notes of today’s show, please visit my website stories of hope There you will find a summary of today’s show, the transcript and one of my favorite takeaways. You know, if someone kept coming to mind during today’s episode, perhaps that means that you should share this episode with them. Maybe there was a story shared or quote, or a scripture verse that they really, really need to hear. So go ahead and share this podcast. May God bless you, especially if you’re struggling with hope to carry on and have the strength to keep going. When things get tough. Remember to walk with Christ and He will help you bear the burden. And above all else, remember, God loves you

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By Michael Olpin

I'm Michael Olpin. I'm really good at helping you get rid of your stress ... for life.

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