Use STRESS to Your Advantage with Barry Shore
“STRESS means ‘stomach-turning reality, enabling self-success.’ Choice, not chance, determines your destiny. How you choose to respond to any given situation will help determine it.” – Barry Shore
I had the pleasure of speaking with Barry Shore, a mental wellness advocate, philanthropist, multi-patent-holding entrepreneur, speaker, and “Ambassador of JOY.” Barry is the author of The Joy of Living: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy and the host of The JOY of LIVING Podcast.
- The three fundamentals of life
- Using STRESS for success
- Practical tips for cultivating JOY
The three fundamentals of life
Some say the only constants of life are bills, taxes, and death. While that may be one side of the truth, there are more fundamental aspects to existence than morbid facts. Barry—as a renowned JOY ambassador—believes in more than bills and taxes; he sees the joy and purpose of it all and leans into it wholeheartedly.
“What we're going to be discussing today is what I call the three fundamentals of life,” Barry explains.
- Life has purpose
- Making a difference (or “going mad”)
- Uncovering and unlocking the power of everyday words and terms
MAD, in Barry’s eyes, stands for “make a difference.” When we lead a purpose-driven life, we make a powerful difference.
“If you ask anybody what ‘www’ stands for, they invariably say it has to do with the Internet. Factually speaking, they're correct. But in our world, the world of the positive, purposeful, powerful, pleasant—www stands for What a Wonderful World.” Barry explains.
And that world needs what we’ve got, and what we’ve got is purpose and the ability to make a difference by uncovering the power of typical terms.
Using STRESS for success
Barry—18 years ago at 55 years old—became paralyzed overnight from a disease so rare it was hardly on the radar. He lost all mobility from the neck down and could barely speak. He went from active and independent to needing 24/7 care in the blink of an eye.
“Smile is one of the greatest acronyms you could ever internalize, utilize, and leverage because smile stands for Seeing Miracles In Life Everyday.” Barry shares, “I was in a hospital bed in my own home for two years, I couldn't turn over by myself. I was in a wheelchair for four years and then had braces on both my legs, my hips to my ankles. And that was progress. Thank God, today I'm able to be vertical and ambulatory with the help of a seven-foot walking cane.”
Miracles are more than grand displays. The simple act of walking, waking up each day, breathing—are all little miracles happening all the time.
“When I look at what we can do to use stress to our advantage—it makes a big difference in people's lives because everybody has stress levels in their life. It's the most searched word on the internet, before COVID, during COVID, and after.” Barry points out.
Most of us have the same stressors, from Elon Musk to Mother Teresa, it all comes from the same places:
- Money—too much or too little
- Relationships—family, friends, co-workers, and self
- Health—our own or the health of someone close to us
These three culprits wreak havoc in our lives and can send us into spirals of overthinking and fear.
“Using stress to your advantage is to enable you to be happier, healthier, and wealthier.” Barry explains, “Let's define joy before we get into stress. Joy stands for Journey of You, for you to become the best you possible, make the world a better place, build more bridges of harmony, create more joy, happiness, peace, and love—what a wonderful way to live.”
Joy, Journey of You, spells out the life-long pursuit of our best selves—what can we do but find joy in that journey?
Stress, if we look at how the world views it, stands for Stomach Turning Reality Enabling Self-Sabotage.
“You know what happens: I lost my job, we might lose the house, my cousin committed suicide, the kids are going crazy not in school, the country's falling apart, etc. People are either doing that outwardly or inwardly.” Barry explains.
Barry looks at stress as Stomach Turning Reality Enabling Self-Success. “You don't have to have been paralyzed. It's about you; whatever your struggle is. And it's enormous. And it's really confronting you—you have a choice. You have a choice, and it's small incremental steps.”
With this simple mindset switch—mindset stands for Meaningful Insights, Nurturing Destiny—we can turn stress into a power for good.
Practical tips for cultivating JOY
With the cultivation of joy, we’re less likely to succumb to stress. It’s tricky to be down and out about money, relationship, and health when we’re committed to our Journey of You, and focusing on spreading that joy everywhere in our lives.
“When you're a channel of goodness, everyone you interact with, whether it's somebody on the phone and you want to make their day say, ‘I just want to tell you how much I appreciate you today.’” Barry shares, “I don't care if it's the person handing you a difficulty because your check bounced or something untoward is happening. It makes such a difference.”
Small acts of kindness are what propel people through the day. They provide hope—which stands for Helping Others Progress Everyday—and act as shelter from the biting edges of day-to-day life.
“The joy of living can be summed up in one word: giving. When you shift your perspective and recognize that you are a giver, and that's the greatest accolade you could ever have, things happen—positive, purposeful, powerful, pleasant things happen.” Barry continues.
Below are three practical daily tips for joy that have a lasting impact.
Not the regular keeping-us-alive-breathing. Deep, intentional breathwork.
“We're talking about deep, diaphragmatic breathing. It's a process that I teach. What I've learned is this is a 3200-year-old program, and it takes less than two minutes. You do it twice a day, once before noon, once in the afternoon.” Barry explains.
We breathe in through our nose in a comfortable position, deep into our diaphragm, and breathe out through our mouth slowly and gently. This exercise takes about 12-15 seconds, four times in a row.
“You will become calm and aware. That is the essential definition of wisdom—calm and aware.” Barry continues, “Do this 11 days in a row. By the 12th day of the practice, you will be consciously calm and aware, open up and unclog the twin channels of giving and receiving, experience greater intimacy than you've known, and reignite the electric touch.”
Say Thank You
Consciously and conscientiously, say thank you at least three times every day.
“‘Thank’ stands for To Harmonize And Network Kindness.” Barry shares, “Say thank you three times a day consciously and conscientiously for the rest of your life because it will help your family, friends, all living beings, and you.”
Learn to Love Dog Poop
Which one of these is not like the other, right? “What is this all about? Well, dog poop is a great acronym. It stands for Doing of Good, Power Of One Person.” Barry explains.
“What we want to accomplish is to become our own spiritual chiropractors, you want to make sure that your thoughts are good, your speech is good, and your deeds are good. So you align yourself, your thoughts, your words, and your deeds always in good. And now you're in flow.” He continues.
The power of one person reaching out to another person, and another, and so on, creates a chain of humanity that turns into a tsunami of goodness in the world which supports JOY and the act of Stomach Turning Reality Enabling Self-Success.
What are some ways you’ve cultivated your Journey of You, and how have you seen stress used for positive motion?