NFL Coach Reveals How to Reduce Stress and Relax
Getting to the point where you are calm and relaxed on a regular basis can be a tough task. Life’s daily stresses have a way of getting in the way and stealing your peace of mind. The Cheat Sheet chatted with former NFL coach Steve Gera, who now focuses on player education and coaching development programs. He helps sports and corporate professionals lead a healthy lifestyle and teaches them how to heal faster through proper lifestyle choices. Gera offered some valuable tips for how you can maintain your sanity and lower your stress levels. Here’s a peek into our conversation.
The Cheat Sheet: Tell us about your current career and life after the NFL.
Steve Gera: After coaching in the NFL for a decade, and serving as a Marine Corps officer prior to that, I found a niche in working with teams and companies on strategic planning in the performance space. I work with professional sports teams, colleges, players, and corporate clients on what we refer to as “2% solutions.” After I assist my clients in creating solid foundations, we then find novel solutions that fit their specific goals to give them a competitive advantage. Much of my work is done in planning and coordinating performance science education programs.
CS: What services do you offer?
SG: My team delivers content on everything from leadership training to brain science. We work across both the performance and commercial domains in sports, and with any company looking to gain competitive advantages in the corporate sector. I live in Los Angeles, but spend about four months out of the year on the road. Traveling is stressful and having methods for dealing with it is important for my family.
CS: Why can’t some people seem to relax?
SG: If you are stuck in a pattern, the only way to get out is to rewire your brain to a new pattern. Nobody likes feeling terrible. The issue most people who can’t de-stress have is that they’re too connected to the things that drive them crazy via technology or work. They’re also typically unwilling to make any big changes on their own.
CS: What are some changes you would suggest?
SG: I encourage people who can’t de-stress to start with easy things like going for massages. Unlike yoga and exercise, all that is required of you is that you lie down for 60 minutes. The next thing I suggest is a technology sabbath at home or on a walk. A lot of my clients will spend Friday night downstairs with their family while their phone is upstairs. Small nudges like these help tremendously.
CS: What other lifestyle habits are key to lowering stress?
SG: Stay active and exercise, and do it on a schedule. Some other things I suggest:
- Make decisions: Don’t sit on issues without making decisions.
- Be grateful: There is a lot of neuroscience coming to light that points to simple acts of gratitude as being huge for stress reduction.
- Find your own mindfulness space: For some people it’s running, for others reading, and for some it’s meditating. The point is that we all have something we love to do that gives us headspace. Go ahead and enjoy those activities.
In part two of our discussion, Gera will share his four best relaxation tips.