Staying Present: Clear Your Mind in 30 Seconds With Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper

Mike (00:02):

Bills, schedules, payroll, programming, that broken monitor on the rower and we’re out of toilet paper. If your inner thoughts sound like that, Chris Cooper has a fast, effective drill to help you slow down and stay present. Cooper’s on the air for Two-Brain Radio, right after this.

Chris (00:16):

Chris Cooper here to talk about Level Method. When it comes to owning a gym, it can be really tough to show your members their progress and keep them engaged long term. Level Method provides experienced gym owners with a visual step-by-step fitness progression system that’s fun, engaging and easy to use. With Level Method, your clients can reach their fitness goals faster and safer than ever before and become raving fans of your gym. It’s a total game changer that creates powerful moments that you’ll never forget. I use it at Catalyst, it improved my conversion and my retention. Go to to find out more.

Chris (00:50):

Hey guys, it’s Chris Cooper here, and I want to talk about how to turn your brain off. I know that’s a funny topic coming from the guy who wrote Two-Brain Business and, you know, And I’ve also written books about cognition and behavior like the Ignite Gym. But today I want to talk about first, why your brain doesn’t shut off when you leave work, why you keep staring at your phone? Why you’re distracted when your wife and kids are talking to you and why you struggle to stay present when you’re not at work, then I’m going to give you an amazing strategy.

Chris (01:23):

The first strategy that’s actually worked for me in 15 years of trying this. So first off, why you’re distracted when you get home. In your brain, there’s this little walnut-sized area called the amygdala. And the amygdala is a very primitive part of our brain. It’s the fight or flight center. And it’s developed, you know, from eons ago and every little bit of information that comes into your brain passes through this first. Is this a threat to me? Because you want to be able to react to putting your hand on the hot stove without even thinking about it. So this is our first primary filter, but the amygdala is like a muscle. It can actually grow. And so the more you use it, the more you’re exposed to fight or flight, the stronger that part of your brain becomes. And you start to look at everything as a threat or everything

Chris (02:16):

first with the question, should I respond to this right now? As entrepreneurs, especially when you’re starting out, there are a lot of threats to your business. Everything’s on the line. You know, your entire future is put at risk when you make this entrepreneurial leap. Like let’s not sugar coat it. You could go out of business and go bankrupt. Now that probably won’t happen all at once. But your brain, the amygdala is a very old system. It’s binary. It’s a yes, no black or white, does this thing threaten me, not how scary is this? Not how urgent is it? It’s urgent right now. And this threatens my existence. And that’s fine until it’s time to shut that off because you’re at home. So as an entrepreneur, you’re exposed to these stressors all the time and the amygdala gets stronger. It gets bigger. It actually grows and takes up more space in your brain through a process called neuron mirroring.

Chris (03:14):

And so it gets bigger and stronger and it’s like a muscle and it wants to be working all the time. And so you get home and the amygdala’s like, OK, now what do I do? Give me something to do, coach, you know, I’m eager here boss, tell me what to do. And so it actually looks for drama. It looks for things to piss you off. It looks for reasons to get excited. It looks for reasons to justify its own size and shape and existence. And so you check your phone. And so you dwell on that negative conversation that you had at work. And so you ruminate about that one problem client, when your wife is talking to you and so you look for stress or you create stress, you create drama because that’s your amygdala trying to justify itself.

Chris (03:56):

It’s Chris Cooper here. Your gym’s programming won’t attract new clients, but it can help you keep your clients longer. Good programming includes benchmarks, novelty, skills, progressions, leaderboards, you know all that stuff. But great programming contains something more: a link between each client’s fitness goals and the workout of the day. Your coaches need to tell your clients more than what they’re doing every day. They need to explain why they’re doing it. Gym’s whose coaches could explain the why connection had a 25% better retention rate during lockdowns. Imagine how that translates into better retention when things are back to normal. Now, I want to solve this problem for gym owners. Programming is the service you deliver to your clients. So I partnered with Brooks DiFiore, who had one of the highest adherence rates in the world for his group classes at his gym to build We built this for Two-Brain gyms and we give them free access in our mentorship program. But I’m now making this available to the public. Programming proven to improve retention and cashflow in your gym. Visit Two-Brain to get it.

Chris (05:04):

And so the way that the amygdala stays active is it either thinks ahead to the future to look for threats there, or it keeps you in the past, in story mode, to keep revisiting stresses and mistakes and, you know, fights that you’ve had. And so you ruminate. The way to get yourself out of that state, get yourself into the present, stop paying attention to all the crap at work and start focusing on your family and staying in the now is to get out of past state, get out of future state and live in the present. The way that you do that is a great exercise that I’ve learned from Jay Shetty recently in his book, “How to Think Like a Monk.” So what we’re going to do here is a really, really simple exercise. And what I’d like you to do is if you’re driving, maybe pull over, if you’re walking somewhere, just sit down. If you’re doing housework, this will only take us 30 seconds. It’s a great exercise, but you need to be present to learn how to be present. I’d like you to just be sitting calmly with your eyes open. We’re going to do this as a 5, 4, 3, 2 1 exercise. So the first thing that I want you to do is take a really deep breath for four seconds in, hold it for four seconds. Breathe out through your mouth for four seconds and hold that for four seconds.

Chris (06:33):

You’re going to breathe in for four seconds again. And while you’re doing that, I want you to identify five things in your local surroundings that you can see. Five things you can see. The couch, the TV, the kid, the Legos on the floor, the blinds on the windows. OK? Just find five things you can see, but make a mental note of those five. As soon as you’ve identified those five things you can see. I want you to identify four things you can touch. So, you know, my bum is touching the coach. I can touch the coach. My fingers are touching the pillow. That’s on the end of the coach. My feet are touching the carpet and my back is touching the couch pillow. OK. If you’re standing up somewhere, my feet are touching the insoles that are in my shoes. My hands are touching one another right now, as I’m talking, my ears are touching the headphones on my microphone. My shoulders are touching the shirt that I’m wearing. OK. Think of four things that you’re touching right now, then find three things that you can hear. What do you hear right now?

Chris (07:45):

I hear the hum of the fluorescent lights. I hear the feedback from my mic. I hear a door opening down the hall. And after you found three things, you can hear. I want you to find two things you can smell. So I can smell the foam. That’s on the recording studio that I’m in now. I could smell the coffee. That’s on the shelf at my arm’s reach. And after you found two things, you can smell. I want you to find one thing you can taste. OK? So I can taste the coffee because I just drank it. OK. What can you taste? So again, these five things, five things that you can touch, sorry, five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell. And one thing that you can taste. What we’re doing here is starting with the easiest and most obvious sense and drawing you inward, inward, inward to the least prevalent sense.

Chris (08:47):

And that will help you stay in the moment. And what I found is that when I do this exercise, I have to stop and think as I go deeper. And that draws me into the present. And after I’m in the present, I can stay there for a little while. And when I start ruminating on the past, or, you know, fast-forwarding to the future in my mind, I do this exercise again. Five things I can see. Four things I can touch. Three things you can hear. Two things you can smell. And one thing you can taste. When you take 20 seconds to go through this exercise and consciously do it, you’ll get better at it. And you’ll stay in the present for longer each time you do it. It is a practice. It’s a meditative practice. It’s not a challenging one. Anybody can do it and you’ll get better at it as you go. I hope it helps.

Mike (09:40):

Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Coop is back with more on the regular. So don’t forget to subscribe. And if you want more tips and tricks from Chris Cooper, join the Gym Owners United group on Facebook. Chris is constantly posting articles, instructional videos, and advice. That’s Gym Owners United on Facebook. Join today, and be sure to send Chris a message to say hi when you’ve joined.


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