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Andrew Bernstein on Stress: Parts 5-6 by Andrew Bernstein - CrossFit Journal

In CrossFit, Videos

February 12, 2011

Video Article

In this multipart series, Andrew Bernstein, author of The Myth of Stress, presents to CrossFit athletes and coaches his process of dealing with stress.

In Part 5, Bernstein concludes his breakdown of stress over traffic jams. Using the worksheet, the participants discover that the truth of the situation is in reality, at this time, the traffic should be there.

“The reality is we’ve got things out there we want to change, but when we experience them as problems and we get emotionally charged, we try to change that from anger or frustration, and it’s not a very efficient way to move,” Bernstein says. According to him, the worksheets help bring realization.

“Now instead of a problem, we can say there’s a situation. There is still something there, but it doesn’t have the negative emotional charge,” he says.

In Part 6, Bernstein describes when the worksheet is the most helpful.

“The time when you would want to do this on paper is when something lingers,” he says.

According to Bernstein, stress triggers tend to cluster.

“Start with the most charged one,” he says.

He also advises to start with those involving others before tackling those that more directly involve you. According to the expert, the root of most of our stress is the concept of “should.”

“The combination of your brain, your culture and your language sets you up to experience a lot of stress,” Bernstein says. But “it’s not inevitable. Because if you challenge the way that you think about things, you won’t experience stress.”

Part 5
9min 53sec

Part 6
11min 42sec

Additional reading: The Positive Impact of Physical Fitness on Emotional Fitness by Dr. Brooke R. Envick and Rick Martinez, published May 25, 2010.

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9 Comments on “Andrew Bernstein on Stress: Parts 5-6”


wrote …

"Reality empowers you, delusion derails you."

Great series/


wrote …

Love this series of videos. Thanks, Andrew.


wrote …

Such a great series. I immediately went out and got the book. Incredibly insightful. Thanks!


wrote …

Hey this is a great video but it would be a lot more useful if you guys supplied a copy of the .pdf file!

Ive watched parts 1-6 and particularly step 6 (of the 7) is vague in the verbal explanation. That also seems like the important part they are talking about here.


replied to comment from Harlan Schulze

Harlan, you can get a copy of the pdf at

Thanks, everyone, for helping to spread the word. CrossFit is such a great community.


wrote …

Great stuff. This should be taught at every school in the country. What a difference it could make in the way people think and act. Great series


wrote …

In reality at this time I should be watching this video because it is high quality and chalked full of usefulness. Thanks Andrew for a great series.

Just curious if there is any connection to the signifier/signified concept that floats around in postmodernism and language like this is a desk because we say it is a desk or this is only stress because we say it is stress?


wrote …

Brian, I have been asked a lot of questions about ActivInsight over the years, but you are the first person to ask about the signifier/signified connection! You win the Semiotics prize. I love that it's on the CF Journal.

I read de Saussure and Derrida in college, but that's not really where I was going with the myth of stress material. There are people who argue that stress is useless as a concept because it refers to anything, or that we only experience stress because we use this charged word. I think that's BS. We know when we feel bad, and I call that stress. Call it something else and we'd still feel bad. The stress doesn't happen because of the signifier "stress". It happens because because we believe things should be different, or things shouldn't have happened the way they did, or things are going to go badly. To me, that isn't about signifier/signified. It's about what's really true and knowable in a practical way.

I'd say I'm more aligned with Socrates and the Stoics than with the postmodernists. But if we poked at it a bit, it might all point to the same thing.

Thanks for the question. By the way, I just posted something related to CrossFit on my blog, and would be curious to hear people's thoughts either here or there:


wrote …

Well, I THINK that my comment would go under "stress"...on Friday, 2/18, I lost control of my 1993 Dodge 3/4 diesel pickup on icy roads in southern Oregon and proceeded down an embankment & rolled the vehicle twice, which stopped with the wheels pointed towards the sky (totaled). After cutting myself free of the vehicle, I retrieved my dog...amazingly neither of us sustained anything more than minor lacerations from flying metal and glass. When the state trooper handed me his report I remarked that "it must be all that CrossFit training that saved my hide". He smiled and I found out later that he runs his own box in nearby Kla Falls. Small CF world!

PS: as for my pup, he's one tough customer too

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