My 5 Most Important Lessons From 2022 | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 037

My 5 Most Important Lessons From 2022 | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 037

Over the course of a year, you pick up a lot of new tweaks, lessons, and tricks which can increase your enjoyment for life. But the problem is, most of these lessons don’t build into habits, and you don’t get as much benefit out of them as you otherwise could.

Only by practicing these lessons consciously will you be able to adapt them into your lifestyle and reap the rewards. And that’s one area where I’ve put a special focus on this year.

In this episode, I reveal my 5 most important lessons that I’ve implemented throughout 2022 that have increased my satisfaction for life—and they’ll do the same for you. 

Best part?

Most of the lessons revealed inside are simple to implement and create massive improvements in your daily life. 

Listen now.

The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!

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Watch a Clip From Episode 037


Episode 037 Highlights

  • The “Energy Training” secret for accepting every part of yourself and bolstering your mental health (2:33) 
  • How getting angry and screaming can actually make the people closest to you love you more (3:24) 
  • Why asking for help as a man is difficult (and how to make it easier) (6:58)
  • How to build an impenetrable fortress around your mental health by spending a few seconds building “micro-habits” (8:59) 
  • The two-second “Stress Eliminator” exercise that instantly melts the stress from your shoulders (10:16) 
  • 1250-ish b idea
  • The insidious way bottling your emotions with your spouse builds a subtle resentment (even if you think it’s helping your relationship) (13:43)
  • Why ignoring how many tasks you cross off your to-do list actually makes you more productive (19:49)
Episode 037: My 5 Most Important Lessons From 2022 | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 037 | Dean Pohlman – Transcript

Hey, guys, it’s Dean. Welcome to the Better Man podcast. This is a solo episode, and in this episode, I’m going to talk about my most important lessons that I personally learned from 2022. And in this episode, I’m going to cover five lessons, which I not only not only learned, but actually internalized in practice, because there is a big difference there between reading something and logically understanding the concept and actually internalizing it and being able to emotionally process something which takes a lot more work.

So I’m going to go through those five things in this episode. I think you’re going to be I think it’s going to help you really get something out of it. Maybe it will inspire you to take a look at these pieces of knowledge and figure out how you can apply it to your own life. Just some other things I’m going to be doing a I’m going to be doing kind of a wrap up 2022 and planning your 2023 episode later on. That’s also going to be a solo episode. And then we’ll get into some more, more episodes after that.

Also want to let you know if you guys are members, we’re going to be doing a new challenge to kick off the new year. This is going to be a more experience beginner / intermediate level. So be on the lookout for emails for announcements regarding that.

All right. Here we go. So the first big lesson that I learned for 2022 and again, this is this is more than just learning something, but actually internalizing it and being able to being able to, you know, to emotionally process. There’s a big difference, right? So that first lesson is that I have to accept myself for who I am, all of myself. I can’t just pick and choose the parts that I like and leave out or ignore the other parts. And this came about as a result of doing something called energy training with a friend of mine who was also on the podcast. His name is Brandin Epstein, and he works he basically does mental performance and he works with some professional fighters.He works with some… not that I’m a fighter, but he works with some pretty cool people. And he’s he’s he’s a and his process really helped me a lot. His episode we did in the Better Man podcast was one of my earlier episodes, [Episode 14: https://manflowyoga.com/blog/brandon-epstein-peak-performance/] and it inspired me to want to do some one on one training with him.

So one exercise that he had me do was just really get mad and angry and scream. And the point was to kind of let out rage or to experience that rage. And I had a lot of difficulty with this, not because I have difficulty getting angry, but I actually don’t have I’m like the Hulk. I’m always angry. But but it was difficult for me because there were some there were some underlying kind of subconscious, subconscious something in place that prevented me from letting out that rage. And we kind of dug into that. And part of this process was really, really being going with your gut and not trying to process something logically, but just saying whatever you are feeling and really just like trying to be emotional instead of logical. So when we did that, the reason that I didn’t want to to be rageful, so to speak, or to, you know, or be angry, was because it was because I had.. sorry, I just lost my train of thought was because I had this idea that if I experience pain or sorry, if I experience anger, I showed anger that it was going to prevent other people from loving me, particularly from the people who are close to me in my life. So I had this I had this aversion to showing anger because I think just, you know, if I had to think about it now that I have thought about it, I think that I thought that being angry with my parents would mean that that they would be mad at me. And that led to, you know, this irrational belief that they wouldn’t love me if they were mad at me.

And and so the same thing carried over into my other relationships where I felt that if I were angry, that I would not be loved. So there was this there was a part of me. There is a part of me that needs to experience anger, that needs to let this out. And I understand that anger is not just anger, right? There’s anger is a response to when something doesn’t go your way or when something threatens your world view of yourself or your goals when you feel threatened. So anger is that first response when really there’s a bunch of there’s a lot of other things that are behind that. Right. There’s there’s a feeling of being there’s feeling of sad. There’s a feeling of loss. There’s a feeling of maybe confusion or being disappointed or let down. So there’s there’s there’s there’s usually emotions behind anger. But for me, I was ashamed of my anger. And that prevented me from fully accepting who I was. And I tried to shove it down in a box. And what would happen was I would get upset and then I would I would get upset over time. It would build up and then it would come out, right. And this and this and this more of a disproportionate level of anger or rage. And so that was a big lesson for me, that I have to accept myself for all of who I am and not just the parts that I want to be there.

I actually… so I’ve talked about this a lot, but I’m a huge proponent of therapy. And last week I actually had a similar discussion with my therapist and he said, Yeah, you can’t just be the ideal version of yourself. You have to be the best version of yourself. And that to me was prompted a lot of thinking. So anyways, accept yourself for for all who you are and not just the parts that you want to be there.

All right. That was lesson one.

The second lesson was recognizing that I’m not alone and that I can ask for help. Now, most of us know that we’re not alone, that we can ask for help. And there’s a reason why we don’t ask for help. Usually it’s admitting to ourselves that, okay, maybe we’re not as smart as we thought we were. We’re not as capable as we thought we were. It’s also we don’t want to ask for help because we feel ashamed asking for help. We don’t want to impose on others. So there’s a lot of and I think especially as a man, it’s tough to ask for help just because, you know, we’re and we want to do things ourselves.

We want to we want to show how capable we are for people around us. And it’s just anyway, that’s just my perception. But really what I mean by asking for help is not just asking for help from other people, but asking the universe for help. So being able to put things out into into the world, into the universe, to say, you know, hey, universe, dear universe, I’m really feeling overwhelmed. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’ve got all these things that I’m trying to do. I don’t know how it’s going to work out. I don’t know the process for doing this. Please help me. Or like, please, you know, in a lot of ways it’s kind of like prayer. It’s just it’s telling the universe. It’s something greater than yourself, something that we don’t really understand. But some of us might feel is intuitively out there, at least kind of. I do. And it’s asking the universe for help. And that’s something that is really helped me.

It’s not that. It’s not that I you know, I asked the universe for help and then it reply says, Oh, well you just need to do this and this. But just asking the universe for help and putting it out there, Hey, I’m stressed with this. I need some help. I don’t know how this is going to work out. It really helps me move through that discomfort that I’m feeling, and even if nothing else changes, I feel better about it. So that’s one thing that I that I internalized this year is is the is the ability to ask the universe for help, that I’m not alone in this, that I can ask the universe for help.

So that was lesson number two for me.

Lesson number three was the importance of micro habits for mental well-being. And when I say micro habit, I mean something that only takes a few seconds. You know, my, my, my morning yoga routine is… my morning Man Flow Yoga routine and mobility routine and exercises. That’s a habit, right? That’s something that takes a few minutes. That’s something that that’s that’s or working out three times, doing weight training three times per week. That’s a habit. But a micro habit, I would say, is something that only takes a few seconds and really, you know, behavioral science behavior science is not a word, but according to behavior science, there really is no difference between that habit and a micro habit. It’s still an automated behavior, but the point is that I have been able to establish some micro habits throughout my day to help with my mental well-being, because you can’t always take 15 minutes off and you know, you can’t always take 15 minutes to yourself and go meditate for 15 minutes to yourself and go do a quick Man Flow Yoga session or go for a walk.

But what you can do is you can slow things down, you can take a breath, and you can do something that will immediately provide some relief. And that doesn’t take more than a few seconds. So one of those things is taking a breath whenever I’m feeling stressed. So whenever I am stressed, whenever I realize that I am forgetting to breathe, then I will take a deep breath just, just [breathes in and out] in and out of the nose. As I’m exhaling, I’m letting my shoulders relax. I’m trying to kind of get out of the fight or flight mode that I’m in. If I am in it and kind of taking account of my body. How am I feeling? Where am I holding stress and just slowing things down and letting that go with breathing?

And that’s… something that I have found really helpful. And if I also have time or if I remember to do it, or if I have the motivation to do it, then I’ll also then I will also add a little bit of a small gratitude practice on top of that, where I say, okay, I’m grateful for this, or I am grateful for that, and I will. I’ll be specific, right?I’ll think I’m grateful for how beautiful my wife is, or I’m grateful that I have a career that I love or something like that. But I’ll just try and practice some gratitude. And that’s another thing that is also that’s also that I also practice is these little mini gratitude practices. And I’ve talked about this before, and if you’ve ever heard me talk about my journaling process or addressing kind of stress at the source, one thing that I really like doing is thinking about things that are giving me the most stress in my life and then identifying practices that I can utilize to help minimize that stress or help address that stress. So if you have things in your life that you love but also cause stress like for me, that’s that’s going to be my wife, my son, my job, right? These are all things that I love and I don’t want to give up, but there’s also aspects of it that are stressful.

Then I take a second to practice gratitude for the things that I love about those things. So it’s easy. It’s really, really easy to focus on things that upset us or things that make us make us angry or things that we don’t like. What takes more effort and deliberate effort? Deliberate, mindful, conscious effort is practicing gratitude because it’s not natural for our brains. Our brains are meant to look at things that are threatening us. We default to looking at the things that threaten us because we need to survive. And that carries over into things that aren’t necessarily important for our physical survival as well. So we have to actually practice being positive or practicing gratitude. So this is one thing that I really enjoy doing. I don’t know if I say I would enjoy doing, but something that I recognize the benefits of and that I forced myself to do because I know it’s going to be good for me.

So lesson number three The Importance of micro habits for mental well-being.

Lesson number four is the importance of making space for my feelings in my relationships, and especially in men’s relationships with females in their lives. And I’m speaking as a man married to a woman. I understand not everyone. That’s not everyone’s situation, but this is the experience that I can speak to. And I think that most men tend to put their wives feelings before them. I think there is a perception that, you know, there is a perception there is a societal belief that men need to be more emotionally resilient than women, that we need to be the rock. And as a result of that, I think we hold a lot of our feelings in and the way that this shows up and in my relationship is that I hold feelings in I hold in my frustrations and let my wife air out her frustrations. But I don’t say my own frustrations.

You know, the biggest tendency men have to do is to try and fix problems. Right. And so that’s something that I know I’m not supposed to do. So when my wife says, you know, I’m Dina really stressed with work, I don’t come at her and say, like, well, let’s figure out what we can do to reduce our stress at work, because that that’s that’s terrible. That’s not what she wants. But it also is hard for me to absorb complaints or frustrations because I feel personally responsible for them. And that’s that’s on me. You know, that’s not something that I put on her. That’s that’s my that’s that was my environment growing up. That is the subconscious belief that I developed, that when people are complaining to me that they are complaining to me that they are making me responsible. And that’s usually not the case. But it is a subconscious belief that I that I have and that I’m you know, I’m I am aware of and I try to emotionally become aware of in those situations. But the result of that is that I don’t I have a problem putting my frustrations out there because I feel like I feel like I’m not supposed to or I feel like there’s just there’s just not space.

Actually, the way that I like to think of it is there’s the way that I like to think about it is there’s just not space in this relationship for my emotions. There’s a lot of space for my wife’s emotions, but there’s not a lot of space for my emotions. And it took me a while to realize that this was a problem because I thought that I was doing her a favor by not putting my burdens on her. But what I was actually doing was building up resentment that would come out in disproportionate amounts, that would come out in anger, that would come out in me yelling because I was reserving all these and holding it all these frustrations, not letting her in. And on top of that, I was also not I was also preventing myself from connecting with her and having a better relationship because I wasn’t sharing these things that were frustrating or scary or concerning me. And so it prevented me from connecting with her.

The other tendency that I notice is there’s, there’s, there’s emotional space for my wife’s really for my, for my wife in our relationship. But there is space. There is space for time and for my activities in our relationship. So I’m allowed to do things like work out in the evening when Declan gets home or finish my workouts in the evening. When Declan is getting home, I’m allowed to I’m allowed to do stuff that is is is maybe less stressful around the house. I’m always doing something around the house. At least I feel like I’m always doing something, always cooking. I’m cleaning. I’m I’m picking up I’m helping Marissa with watching Declan or I’m watching Declan myself. But I also do have time for a lot of things that I want to do. And I think there is kind of this subconscious understanding between my wife and I that I will get to do these things. But in return, she is allowed to have the emotional space and relationships. And this is just my experience. But I if that’s my experience, I know that there are other guys out there who have that similar relationship with their partners.

So I think it’s important to recognize that and what I’ve started to do to address that understanding is to slowly practice expressing my frustrations. And there are certain ways to do this. For example, you know, I’ve realized that the best time to express my frustrations is not when my wife is at a level eight, her level nine, in terms of her frustration, it has to be done when she is feeling calm, when the issue is not prickly. Right. So there are guidelines with which I do this. I try to take cues from my wife to understand, okay, she’s asking how I am feeling right now. She seems like she’s in a good mood. So I think it’s okay for me to express things that are that are frustrated me right now. But, you know, if we’re having a heated argument and then I think, oh, this is a good time to air out my frustrations, it’s usually not a bad idea. Sorry, it’s usually not a good idea because that means that my wife is not going to talk to me for 4 to 8, 12, 16 hours, just depending on how serious it gets. And yes, four to 8 to 12, 16 hours. That’s that’s the calculations that I’ve done. So the big point here is that it’s important for men to make space in their relationships with their partners.

And in order to do that, you need to start practicing it. It’s going to be uncomfortable at first. It’s going to be uncomfortable for you because you feel like you’re putting your burden on your burden that you assign to yourself, to your wife. And it’s also very uncomfortable for your wife because she’s not used to it. Right? She’s used to you keeping things in. But if you can do that with the understanding that you’re going to strengthen your connection with your partner, and you are also going to avoid bottling up frustrations that can lead to more explosive outbursts later on. Then it’s something that that you should understand is worth it. But again, it does take practice and it also does take kind of experiencing it in a way where it becomes emotionally processed and not just something that is logical. In order to do that, you have to put it into action.

So lesson number four is the importance of making space for your feelings and your relationships.

And then the fifth thing that I really learned and internalized well, I think only happened within the past couple of months. But it’s really important. And this lesson here is the to do list isn’t something to get done. It is the thing. And what that means is you need to enjoy the process of your to do list. You’re not going to enjoy everything on your to do list. But there are there are most likely there are certain aspects of what you do that you can focus on and enjoy. You know, for me, I’ve you know, I’ve got a lot of things that I do with Man Flow yoga.

I’ve got this podcast, I’ve got workouts that I create, I have programs that I create, I’ve got members that I take care of, whose questions I answer, whose comments I reply to and and that that is work for me. But it is also something that I can enjoy and it’s also an opportunity to reply to someone. It’s an opportunity to look at someone’s methods and say, Wow, this person is saying that they really benefited from what I am teaching. And they have and they benefited so much that they want to learn more for me or if they’re expressing a frustration with me, then instead of thinking, Oh, this person is complaining, I look at it and I think, Oh, wow, this person is open enough with me or feels open enough with me that they can express their frustration with me.

So a lot of a lot of the things that I do with Man Flow Yoga and then just with life in particular, I need to be able to look at those things and, and, and, and, and appreciate, enjoy the process of those things. It’s not about just finishing these things so that I can relax at the end of the day, because that never happens, right? I mean, you know, for me, the only time that I get to relax or that I feel that I can relax is, is, is and this is just my daily practice. But for me, it usually happens sometime in the afternoon. I think about three times, two or three times per week in the afternoon. I’ll have, you know, 10 to 15 minutes to myself where I can sit down and chill and relax. And then at night I’d say again about three times per week after around 9:00 after I’ve put Declan to sleep, after I’ve cleaned up the kitchen, and sometimes I’m still cleaning up the kitchen and cleaning things up until, you know, I go to sleep. But about three times per week, I do get that time in the evening when I can relax.

But the point is, if I spend all of my time doing all of these things for ten or 15 minutes, twice per day, three times per week, it’s not really worth it. Right? So I need to be able to I need to be able to enjoy the things that I do during the day instead of just doing them to get them done. And also the to do list never ends, right? I don’t you know, I don’t know what your job situation is, but for me, for what I do, my to do list never ends. There was always something to create. There was always something to build, to improve. There’s always people that I can reply to, and so it never ends. So I need to be able to enjoy all of it because it’s never going to end. I can’t just do it and I can’t just do it because I’m trying to finish it and then relax later. It’s it’s a never ending process. So that has been a big understanding for me that I have put into practice again near the end of this year of 2022.

So those are my five things that I wanted to point out.

Guys, if you haven’t already left a review on the Better Man podcast, I want to invite you to leave a review for me right now, if you could. This is really important. It’s really helpful. So you can do this on Apple Podcasts, you can do this on Spotify. I’m actually going to read a Comment from ggarber1992, that was left earlier this week. It says, “Great podcast. This past October. I challenge myself to do at least 15 minutes of yoga every day. I found that using your videos greatly helped me achieve that goal and managed to make a habit of doing your yoga more often. Then I started listening to your podcast and love how you talk about mindfulness and stress relief. As a father of a two and a half year old daughter and a one year old son. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you do. Thanks, man.” Well, thanks very much. I appreciate that. I appreciate that review. And guys, if you want to hear your own review, read aloud, leave a review and I will try to read it aloud on the podcast next week.

I’m going to be doing… Again, the next couple weeks we’re going to be talking, diving more into stress. We’re also going to be talking about wrapping up 2022 and also looking forward to 2023 goals, setting goals, creating habits. This is something that is super exciting to me. I love reading these books. In fact, I read a couple of books every… I read the same two books pretty much every year because it’s just it’s so good for me to refresh myself on creating good habits and how to get rid of bad habits.

And so that’s something that I integrate a lot into what I do here with this podcast and talking about how to create good habits and, and just being able to live a healthier, less stressful, more fulfilling lifestyle. So be on the lookout for those guys. Happy holidays. I hope you have a great week in front of you and I’m looking forward to getting started with your workouts.

Hopefully you do as much as you can, but after that, getting back to your workouts, really getting into it again, we are going to be doing a new challenge, a brand new challenge in the Man Flow Yoga members area. This is focused on a more experienced audience. So if you’ve been doing yoga, Man Flow Yoga for at least six months, if you have a pretty good handle on the beginner workouts, this is something that you might want to consider doing.

So more details on that will be announced via email. Not on my email list. Go to ManFlowYoga.com/sign-up and that will help you sign up for my email list. Make sure that you get things like announcements. If we’re doing any sort of promotions or sales. And also you’ll be the first to know when this podcast episode goes live every Thursday.

So. All right, guys, thank you so much for listening. I hope this was useful to you and I look forward to seeing you guys on another workout video soon. Bye bye.


If you’ve watched a video of me on social media or in the Man Flow Yoga portal, you’ve seen me proudly wearing Rhone’s Activewear Gear. Rhone creates the best activewear apparel — and they even introduced a new line of dress clothes that are, hands down, the most comfortable dresswear I’ve worn. Want to try Rhone’s clothing yourself? Save 20% on your order by going to https://manflowyoga.com/rhone

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