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Ted Talk 141: 6 Ways To Ruin Your Health During A Recession

Everything indicates the next couple of years will be financially tough for America; inflation, low salaries, and the economic decline, aka recession. These things will definitely add an extra layer of stress into our lives, which backlashes on our health nine out of ten times.

The typical responses to stress are usually the less beneficial for our health, like being too worried or busy to work out or being focused on the things that affect us and we can’t change. We cut what we consider superficial, like a massage, going out for dinner, or even meeting with friends.

But what if the answer to coming out of recession triumphant and not crawling, begging for help, is sticking to those things we feel we need to cut to survive.

In this Ted Talk episode, Ted unravels the six things that will completely destroy your health during a recession. He goes through the devastating effects of lack of physical training, using food and alcohol to deal with stress, our relationship with negative thoughts, and why it is essential to keep investing in ourselves.

On the flip side, he also reveals the six things you must do to become your best self and thrive during challenging times. Listen now!


You’ll learn:

  • The psychological effects of a recession
  • How to bend the innate negativity bias and use it to focus on what we don’t want
  • Why you should never stop exercising
  • How to stop wasting time and energy on the things we can’t control
  • Why emotional eating and drinking are so good at destroying our health
  • What is the cost we pay by stopping investing in ourselves, and why it’s crucial we avoid watching the news
  • The importance of scheduling stress-releasing activities
  • Benefits of physical activity in the short, mid, and long term
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

164: Ted Ryce: 11 Ways To Relieve Stress That You Can Start Today

462: Stress Management Series: What Is Stress And How It Affects Our Body and Mind with Ted Ryce – Part 1

506: The 3S Method: How To Reduce Stress, Lose Weight and Maintain For Life with Ted Ryce


Links Mentioned

Steven Kotler books

507: Falling for Money: How to Have a Lifetime Love Affair with your Finances with Krisstina Wise


Podcast Transcription: 6 Ways To Ruin Your Health During A Recession

Ted Ryce: The media can’t shut up about it, “The US is about to enter a recession.” And listen, I can’t tell you if that’s going to happen or not. I’m not an economist. I have no opinions or thoughts about it. But I’ll tell you this: if that’s true, and we’re going to be entering winter, if winter is coming, financial winter is coming. Well, there are certain ways to succeed during an economic downturn, and there are certain ways to mess it up.

And that’s why today, we’re going to be talking about “6 Ways to Destroy Your Health During a Recession”. So what’s up, my friend? Welcome to the Legendary Life podcast. I’m your host, Ted Ryce, coach to entrepreneurs, executives, and other high-performers. Let’s jump right in. Now, you may be in a position where your career, your business might even do better in a recession. Or maybe you’re not sure, it might take a hit. Not quite sure.

But either way, regardless of if you’re going to do better, even if you’re going to do better financially, during a recession, the issue is, we’re going to be around a lot of people who aren’t doing better, and they’re going to be stressed, and they’re going to be angry, and they’re going to be fearful. And these people might be your family, they might be your friends, they might be your co-workers, they might be your employees, they might be people who you’re connected with on social media.

And so even if you’re going to do better, I’m going to assume that you’re going to feel the effects of the recession psychologically, even if you don’t feel it financially. And you may ask, “Okay, I got that, Ted, but why are you talking about how to destroy your health?” That’s the exact opposite of what I want to do. And the reason why I’m going to talk about 6 ways to destroy your health during a recession, is because it’s very simple, I’m framing this in a negative way.

And this was inspired by actually watching an Alex Hoare Mozi video, he was talking about how Charlie Munger gave a speech called, “How to Guarantee a Life of Misery.” And what Charlie Munger calls this is inversion thinking. And if you’ve been listening to my podcast long enough, you know I probably love this idea. I’ve talked about our negativity bias. In other words, how our brains are evolutionarily wired, to focus on threats.

Someone says, “Oh, I just had a baby,” you’re like, “congrats, that’s wonderful.” And then something bad happens, like the potential for recession, boom, your brain gets turned on, you really pay attention to it. Good things just aren’t as powerful as bad things. And the reason is very simple: good things don’t have the power to kill you, to affect your ability to survive. And negative things, potential threats do.

Now, of course, this instinct of ours…By the way, the negativity bias has been very well studied, it’s very well understood and studied. And so what we’re going to do is we’re going to use our brain’s natural way of working to think instead of what we do want, we’re going to think about what we don’t want. And if you stay past the seven things, I’m going to give you the opposites. All right, so if you do want to end on a positive note, I’m going to give that to you. All right, so let’s jump right in.

Number one, stop exercising, “Oh, gosh, I’m feeling this stress, even though I don’t think that I’m going to be affected by the recession, or I might be affected a little, or it may not affect me at all, I may actually do better. But still, I’m going to let the stress of the situation, the negativity of this situation, I’m going to spend less time exercising, that’s the first thing, exercise, just get rid of it, if you want to destroy your health.

Because we know when you stop exercising, your heart gets in less condition, that means you’re less able to handle stress, you’re not going to sleep as well. When you stop exercising, your muscles get less stimulation as well. Your cardiovascular system, as we talked about, isn’t as effective. So it so the circulation to your brain is less. It’s a great thing to do if you want to destroy your health during a recession. So stop exercising.

Number two, complain about things you can’t change. This is a great way to destroy your health. Because when you complain, you’re like, “Oh, man, it’s recession. Did you see the price of gas? I just spent 100 bucks to fill up my car. It’s not right. Look at these politicians. What are they doing? Nothing.” It’s great because complaining gives you the illusion that you’re doing something productive without actually doing anything productive.

So complaining is a great way to destroy your health. Complaining also raises stress hormones. You can really get into it, you can complain about the things that are unfair. And that shouldn’t happen. And that only if someone else did something different, this wouldn’t be the situation we would be in. It’s great, makes you feel better, but kind of raises your stress. And you don’t actually have to do anything except flap your lips about the things that you think are wrong.

Number three, save money by cutting out stress-reducing activities, instead of doing the massages, or the float tanks, or getting acupuncture or sitting in the salt room, or spending time with friends and family or going on that vacation, don’t do any of those things. Let the stress build up more and more, and tell yourself, the reason is because you’ve got to save money. And yeah, and let that affect you. Because stress is so much, it’s great to destroy your health stress, we know.

So stress is going to be higher, even if you’re not going to be in a bad financial situation. Again, we’re going to be affected by the news, we’re going to be affected by the people we’re surrounded by. So your stress levels are going to be a bit higher during a recession. And a great way to destroy your health is to get rid of those things that you typically do when things are going well when we’re not in a recession, but you’re just doing them because you’re feeling good, and you do more feel good things. But now that you need them to reduce stress, you get rid of them. And again, tell yourself, you’re saving money.

Number four, use food and alcohol to manage your stress. Because you know you’re going to maybe cut out the trainer or whatever it is, cut out the vacations, maybe shorten vacations, but you know you’re not going to get rid of all your stress-reducing activities. And the ones that you’re going to keep are food and alcohol. So if you really want to destroy your health, as soon as you feel stressed, reach for some food, or even better, alcohol.

Food is great, because food does actually make you feel better while you’re eating it because tasty food stimulates a reward centers in our brain, and makes you feel good. And if you do that a lot, you start to put on body fat. And the body fat raises inflammation levels, it messes with your ability to use the executive functioning in your brain, it also puts more weight on your body that you have to physically carry around. That’s going to lead to fatigue and other things. So, using food to manage your stress is great if you want to destroy your health during a recession.

And alcohol is even better, because not only does alcohol have calories, and if you drink enough of it, I mean, you can put on just as much fat as you would with food. But alcohol is the added benefit of disrupting your sleep, of also dis inhibiting you so that the things that you wouldn’t normally do because you’re thinking straight now you’re doing those dumb things, like maybe even doing other drugs, or maybe combining both alcohol and food, or maybe doing some shopping online that is absolutely not going to do anything for you.

And then when you wake up the next morning with a bit of a hangover, oh, you’re going to skip your workouts anyway, because you’re just feeling a bit hungover. And then you’re going to make more bad decisions with food because you’ve got a case of the fuck-its. It’s like, “Oh, man, I don’t feel like… I just want to eat what I want to eat.” So using food and alcohol to manage your stress is the fourth way to destroy your health during a recession.

Number five, watch, listen, and read negative news and pay attention to negative people, is a bit of a bonus here. So, negative news. And this is great because we tell ourselves, oh, I need to pay attention to this recession thing so I need to watch the 24 hour news channels, because I could get information in about five minutes. What they do is they take the same bit of information and they change the headline and talk about it incessantly, so it gives you the impression again, just like complaining that you’re doing something positive, you’re staying informed.

But you’re actually not getting any new information and you’re not acting on any of that information, it just raises your stress hormones. This is documented, by the way. So you’re watching negative news. People even get PTSD, from watching negative news. Of course, that has to be really bad. Maybe like 9/11, or a school shooting bad, mass shooting bad. But people even get PTSD.

So if you watch enough negative news, it can raise your stress hormones, make you more fearful, and it can really screw up your health. So it’s another great way to ruin your health during a recession while actually feeling like you’re doing something positive, because you’re staying informed. And, of course, the same thing applies to people; don’t hang around with anybody positive or who’s talking about solutions are focus on the things that they can fix in, in their lives, and perhaps, in other people’s lives, or even the world, hang around people who are just spreading negativity, it’s great for ruining your health.

And number six, is stop investing in yourself. So you have three big areas in your life. So you’ve got your health, your wealth, and your relationships. And instead of expanding and stepping up to solve the challenges in your life, or to upgrade yourself in any of those key areas, stop investing in yourself. Now this one doesn’t necessarily destroy your health, it just kind of helps the other things happen. Because when you’re investing in yourself, and you’re taking positive action to improve your life, it puts you in a more positive state of mind.

And you don’t want that if you want to destroy your health. Although again, when you stop investing in yourself, it’s not going to necessarily destroy your health, it kind of enables you to do all the other self-destructive things.

So, those are the six ways to destroy your health during the recession. Let’s go over them. Stop exercising, two, complain about things you can’t change. Three, save money by cutting out stressors-reducing activities. Four, use food and alcohol to manage your stress. Five, watch, listen and read negative news and people and pay attention to negative people. And six, stop investing in yourself.

And I guarantee you, if you do tho se things, when the recession is over, you’re going to look in the mirror, you’re going to be like, yes, I am more overweight than I have been before this thing started. I’ve got less hair, more bags underneath my eyes, more wrinkles, I feel like crap. And you know what, I’m probably pretty behind on my doctor’s visits. So that’s good. I’m really in a terrible position health wise. I’m setting myself up for diabetes, a heart attack, or maybe even cancer.

So that’s exactly what you want to do. Of course, folks, I hope you’re getting a little bit of a laugh here. I mean, obviously, this is tongue in cheek. So let’s flip this a little bit, and so let’s do this. Let’s talk about the positive things, the things that we should do. And number one is exercise to manage stress. And I will make this—obviously, that’s obvious. But here’s what I want to tell you.

My clients or myself, if I’m under stress, let’s say— and this could be anything from psychological stress to, I just arrived, for example, I took a nine and a half hour flight from Lisbon, Portugal, to Brasilia, Brazil. And when you get off the flight and the time change and the craziness, you’re not feeling it, like, should you go hit the gym and lift heavy weights?

No, you should do things that manage stress. And so what I want you to do is I want you to exercise in a way that manages stress. So a couple things here. Number one, you have to kind of be aware of your stress levels. And when that happens, instead of dragging yourself to go lift weights in the gym, go do something that’s going to lower your stress. For example, here are some things that I do.

Number one, if I’m really feeling stressed out, I’ll go for a walk and I’ll try to go for a walk outside in nature. Number two is I will go to the gym and I’ll do cardio because we know aerobic exercise—and I’m talking about Zone 2 cardio, so keeping your heart rate in the 60 to 70% of your heart rate max. So it’s like you don’t feel like you’re doing that much. You’re getting a little bit of a sweat, you’re doing something, but you’re not out of breath, you can hold a conversation easily. That is the best type of exercise to manage stress.

Or maybe for you, it’s yoga, maybe for you, it’s some other type of exercise, but something more low key that you know when you walk out of it, you’re feeling better. And that could very well be lifting weights too, it’s just, you’ve got to be aware. Like, for me, I feel that I push myself hard with weights. And I know I come out of there feeling. Certainly, my muscles feel pumped. But I know if I push it too hard with weights, I feel more stressed afterward, like I need to recover from it. Versus doing cardio, you come out of there, you’re clear, you feel your stress levels are lower, it’s a little bit easier. I mean, this is what I noticed, personally, is that I can talk to people a little easier, it’s a bit easier to make eye contact, because when you’re stressed, you’re like, “What do you want?!” And it kind of calms me down and more easy going. And so that’s number one is exercise to manage stress.

Number two is focus on the things that you can affect in your life have a positive effect on. And this is really important, because if we’re focused on the things we can’t…The things that we can’t change, we can’t change. But if we look at the things that we do have control over and focus on those, that gives us the feeling, the satisfaction of you’re making a positive difference.

And not only are you making a positive difference for yourself, you’re having a ripple effect on others who pay attention to you. Because we’re social animals, human beings are social animals, we catch emotions from each other, we get influenced by each other, I don’t care how independent you think you are, we’re all influenced by each other.

Unless you’re living by yourself in a cabin out in the woods, or wherever, a hut in the jungle, no contact whatsoever, via social media or in-person interaction, you are being affected by people, you can’t help it. I’m affecting you right now, because you’re listening to me, and I’m doing my best to have a positive impact on you. Because that’s the type of effect I want to have in the world. So focus on things that you can control and that creates a ripple effect, a positive ripple effect in your immediate circle, as well as further.

Number three, make sure you scheduled daily, weekly, and monthly stress-reducing activities. We need to double down on stress reduction, during stressful times, whether it’s a recession or not. So make sure you schedule daily, weekly, and monthly stress-reducing activities. That could be, for me, I know that something I do daily, is I’ll do a meditation, or I’ll go take a walk, or I will spend time with friends.

For example, I’m going to do two things today, I’m going to hit the gym later. Now I’m not feeling that stress, to be honest, things are going well for me, and business is going well. And I’m in Brazil, which is actually in a recession. But it’s kind of been in a tough place for a while now. But the people handle it differently. And it’s something I’ll talk about in future RTFs. But I’m still making sure that I’m scheduling things in my day to manage my stress.

So I’m going to the gym today. I’m also going to meet some new people tonight for dinner. And I’ve got a massage scheduled on Friday. So that’s not my daily thing. But that brings us to the next category, which is weekly. So I had acupuncture this week, and I’ve got a massage on Friday. Those are things that I do weekly.

And monthly stress reducing activities? Well, I’m going to look for something that I can do here. I’m either going to take a trip to a nearby place for a weekend or I’m going to go do some paddleboarding, which even could be a weekly thing, but right now, I haven’t scheduled one yet. And I’ve nearly been here in Brazil for a month.

So the schedule those things. Make sure to look at your schedule and schedule them in and just like you would not get rid of an important meeting or get rid of an important social time with your friends or family, schedule things in, don’t cancel them.

In fact, it’s great when there’s a penalty for canceling, so you actually have to pay a penalty. So even if there’s like, “Oh, if I schedule this I’ll have to go because I can’t cancel.” Great, do it, be held accountable, I like it. So good way to boost your health during an economic downturn.

So number four, find alternative ways to deal with stress besides food and alcohol. And I want to say this. There’s nothing wrong with having a meal out. Certain people say, certain influencers say, even some that I really respect, don’t use food as a reward. My friend, Dango, has said on Twitter, “Don’t use food as a reward, you’re not a dog.” And Stephan Guyenet, a neuroscientist who researches obesity, has said, “Oh, you really want to minimize food reward, because it starts to become a habit.”

But I’ll tell you this: we all reward ourselves with food. Even Dan, even Stephan myself, everyone does. It’s just you want to make sure it’s not the only thing you’re doing. It’s okay to have a glass of wine or a glass of scotch. But if you find yourself not enjoying the food, or the alcohol, and you’re just doing it, because you’re like, “Man, I’m stressed out, I got to pour myself a drink,” those are the times when you want to find an alternative.

And I’ve told this story a bunch of times, but I’ll tell it to you again. I was in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico last year. And instead of going to the happy hour and getting drunk with some of the other entrepreneurs that were there at the time, we go to the Hyatt Spa, we do sauna, we do plunge pools, and we talk and we meet people there. And we had met some fascinating people in the Hyatt Spa and a lot of interesting people staying at that hotel and would also come into the spa.

So to find alternative ways to deal with stress besides food and alcohol. Actually, I just got reminded of something. There’s a really cool go kart place here in Brasilia. So those are the things that you want to find. And I want to be clear here because one of my clients told me, he’s like Ted, if you’re going to tell me to go for a run, and eat a piece of celery, instead of eating, like some junk food and watching Netflix, I’m going to tell you to shove that run and celery right up your ass.

He didn’t say it that way. He didn’t. He didn’t say it so directly to me. But he kind of said like if someone told me that, that’s what I would say in return. And I agree with him in the sense that we don’t need to be told those things to do. But what we need to be challenged is to find our own ways of dealing with stress besides food and alcohol. So find alternative ways to deal with stress besides food and alcohol.

And number five, avoid negative news, and focus on information that inspires and educates. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it, listening to the Legendary Life podcast, I talk about how to make your life better. I don’t talk about, “Hey, there’s this thing going on, and it’s really bad.” You can’t do anything about it. So we’re just going to talk about it, your stress levels are going to go up, your brain is going to work less efficiently, because that’s what happens when you’re stressed, when you’re chronically stressed. Short term stress is beneficial helps you deal with a problem and then you know you get the release.

But for something you can’t control and have no control over, especially something that lasts for a long time, like a recession, it just makes your brain turn to mush. There’s actually research that shows stress shrinks your brain, specifically your hippocampus. So I believe that’s the right area, the hippocampus.

Anyway, again, avoid negative news and focus on information that inspires and educates. If something’s not making you feel good, like inspiring you to do something differently, or educating you on how to solve a problem in your life, get rid of it. There’s no utility in increasing your stress. So I don’t need to talk more about that, especially with you if you listen to this podcast.

And then number six is invest in yourself in key areas. Always invest in yourself. There’s health, wealth and relationships. Where do you need to invest in yourself? I’ll give you some examples for myself. I’m already signed up for business coaching. I signed up for a year of business coaching. I paid $26,000 for it. I’m making my payments, and I’m locked in. It happened before the recession thing started, so I’m kind of locked in.

And also to share with you another bit of information. I’ve already pre-paid for another year of business coaching, which I paid 18,000 dollars for it. And that was for a year as well. So I’m already paid up, I’ve got my coaching. But I’m also looking for other ways to invest in myself. So those are the big investments. When we invest in coaching or working with an expert, that’s the biggest investment you can make.

But I’m also investing in myself in other ways. I’m listening to certain podcasts or reading books, that type of investing. So you can invest by listening to podcasts, or let’s say, free information, you can invest by buying a book, you can invest by buying a course, that’s bit more than a book, and better, frankly. Books are mostly like entertainment these days. And then you can invest in coaching, those are kind of the four levels of investment.

Free stuff, book, which is maybe $20, or whatever. A course, which could be 100 to maybe a couple thousands, and then coaching, which is going to be in the thousands of dollars. And so the things that matter the most to you, and the things that you want to solve the fastest and the smoothest. And for me, that’s my business, I invest in the most, so I invest at the highest level for coaching.

And let me tell you—and I’ll even share a little bit about this, because we know how to make money with our business. But what Giselle and I don’t know how to do, is how do we find and hire the right people. And our business coach has helped us find a rockstar, we’ve got Stephan. For those of you who are coaching with us or who have coached with us recently, you know, Stephan, he’s our assistant coach, and man, is he making our lives easier as a result. So that’s a way that business coaching has helped us a lot.

Another thing we don’t know how to do is how do we act like a CEO? Because I’m very much a coach, and I love coaching. But sometimes I have to…Well, I’ve got to run the business, too. So those are two different hats, two different modes. So how do I become a… I know how to become a great coach. As I’ve said in the past, very confidently, I’m a world class coach. But am I a world class CEO of my business? No, I’m learning that. I’m in the beginner stages. I got my white belt on.

So when you have a situation like what we have. Gisele and I want to scale our business, we want to deliver even better results, while making even more money, while growing my following and improving as a coach. Those ae huge goals. So those are the types of goals, if you have big goals like that, that’s where you want to get coaching. If you want to transform your body, that’s why we do so well with our body transformation coaching, or if you want to transform your relationship.

So those are the things. If you want to make things move fast and effectively and get to a level where you really couldn’t get to on your own, that’s where coaching comes in. So you want to think about the area that needs the most work, or the area that you feel like you need to work on the most, at least, and that’s where you would want coaching. For the other areas, then, that’s where you look, okay, can I take a course on this? For example, I signed up for a writing course in July.

Now, it’s going to help me with my business, but it’s not going to directly teach me some of the things that I mentioned here. So it’s going to help you with my content, it’s going to help me create better content for you with this podcast. And it’s $850 for a week. So it’s a course, there’s some coaching in it, but it’s for a week, it’s short. And yeah, so that’s an example of like, it’s a less expensive, and less time-intensive investment. And it’s for something that I want to do, but it’s not the major, major, major thing.

I’m good enough, thankfully, of a content creator that you keep coming back and listening to the show. So is that helpful, me sharing my story? I hope it was. And I always talk about the investing in yourself because not only am I a coach…Oh, you’re just saying that because you have a coaching program, Ted? Well, 50% of that, for sure. But it’s like, what is that? Hair Club for Men?

But I’m also a client, right? I’m also a client. And I have coaches. I won’t stop working with coaches. I have coaches that I’m going to sign up for. I can’t wait to sign up for Steven Kotler, if you know who that is, author of Heart of the Impossible and co-author of Stealing Fire, I’m going to sign up for his High Flow Coaching, can’t wait to do that program. But I’ve got other things that need to happen first, and then it’ll be the right place for that.

Also, I want to do Money School with Christina Wise. Christina was on the show a couple of weeks back. And just, you know, she helps you transform your financial life, your financial health. So that’s why I love talking about investing in areas and especially, the levels of investment.

So let’s recap briefly: number one, how to create amazing health during a recession? Exercise to manage stress. Number two, focus on the things you have control over. Three, make sure you schedule daily, weekly and monthly stress-reducing activities. Four, find alternate ways to deal with stress besides food and alcohol. Number five, avoid negative news and focus on information that inspires and educates. Number six, invest in yourself in key areas.

That is it for today. Hope you enjoyed this one. Keep the conversation going with me on Twitter or Instagram @ted_ryce. And I will speak to you on Monday. Have an amazing week, and I’ll speak to you then.


Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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