November 18, 2023
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/qa-463/
[00:03:44] Q: EAA Insights asks: “Jessa, what's the most narcissistic thing Ben has done?”
[00:12:25] Q: Chris Brands asks: “How do you overcome major differences and still leave the connection within?”
[00:21:32] Q: Brisk asks: “What emotional regulation techniques do you employ in the moment to avoid escalation or conflict?”
[00:28:05] Q: “How have you guys built your spiritual life together?
[00:36:19] Q: Trek Zoji asks: “Have Ben's biohacking extremes ever been a point of contention for the relationship? Has Jessa ever tried to talk Ben out of an experiment? Any successful persuasion?
[00:41:29] Q: Erin asks: “With all the biohacks you have tried over the years, how do you two decide which ones will stick for yourselves? Especially for Jessa, I imagine all the different supplements, machines, et cetera, coming to the house for Ben to try can get overwhelming!”
[00:47:05] Q: Yanay asks: “Do you sleep in the same bed? How does that affect your seep quality? I've struggled with that before.”
[00:49:43] Q: Andre Robles asks: “I've looked at your schedules and can't seem to manage half what you do. How do you do it all?”
[00:54:15] Q: Other BS asks: “How do you both contribute to your marriage considered as an economic partnership based on self-employment? How do you divide up economic roles in the family business(es)?”
[00:59:07] Closing the Podcast
[00:59:56] End of Podcast
[01:00:18] Legal Disclaimer
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
One of our Greenfield family values is unconditional love and radical transparency. And, for me, those are two keys for conflict resolution. Meaning, you must feel as though you are in a safe place and there is this written or unwritten rule that you can be radically transparent and not judge harshly for that. And B, everything gets covered in unconditional love. Meaning, there is no sin or shortcoming or argument too great that you cannot simply, at the end of it, say, “You know what, let's put this behind us. I love you. This isn't even worth fighting over. I'm sorry for anything I did.” And then, usually, the other person winds up saying, “I'm sorry for anything I did.” And, it seems almost every conflict we have winds up with some semblance of us not 100% sure who is right, who is wrong, or not really caring so much about counting that as much as saying, “Hey, our relationship, our children, us, what God has called us to, it's all way more important than this silly thing that we happen to be fighting over. I love you. Let's forget about this and move on.”
Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life Show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.
Well, folks, this should be an interesting episode. Say hello, Jessa.
Jessa: Hey, everybody.
Ben: Hello, Jessa. Just to set a scene here for you who are listening in. No video for today's podcast because my wife and I are actually–
Jessa: I look like crap.
Ben: Yeah, we're on a walk right now and she looks like crap apparently. We have increasingly been getting some requests from people who want to hear a little bit about Jessa, Jessa, Jessa, Jessa. It's all about Jessa. People just won't shut up about Jessa.
Jessa: That is weird to me.
Ben: But actually, Jessa and I, we're actually down at a retreat that we've been helping teach at in Napa Valley called Couples Collective where a bunch of couples come together and we taught a workshop on legacy and education, and our spiritual practices, how to have a healthy body, healthy mind, healthy spirit, healthy marriage, healthy family. By the way, we're walking right in the middle of the road. Should we move over? We'll move over just so you guys don't have to hear our horrific screams as we're struck by a golf cart here in Napa Valley.
Jessa: It is possible here too.
Ben: It is highly possible. It's basically a glorified retirement community I think we're in.
Ben: So anyways, we're here at this retreat and it's a Sunday afternoon. We thought, well, gosh, we should just go ahead and answer some of these questions that have come in on Twitter and Instagram. And, I guess it's X, not Twitter now.
Jessa: Never was on it, never been on it.
Ben: People have not tweeted us questions but they've X'ed us questions, and Facebook and the like. So anyways, we figured we'd just hop on the horn and reply to some of your burning questions for Jessa and I as a couple. As a couple although some questions are distinctly oriented towards you, Jessa.
Jessa: I know.
Ben: So, here we go. I figured we'd kick things off with a little bit of, I don't know, I suppose humor and a common thread that seemed to pop up in some of the questions. So, you ready for this, babe?
Jessa: I'm ready.
Ben: Okay. So, we got questions about–drum roll, please. Hold on, let me make sure I look at myself and that I look okay before answering this question, asking you this question. Okay, narcissism. EAA Insights asked, “Jessa, what's the most narcissistic thing Ben has done?” And, Jeffrey asked, “What makes you two any more knowledgeable than the average couple and specifically how does your wife handle all the narcissism?”
Jessa: Oh, my gosh.
Ben: Jessa, do you know what narcissism is?
Jessa: I do. I know what narcissism is and I hate this question. I actually woke up hating this question.
Ben: How would you define narcissism?
Jessa: Somebody who largely cannot see themselves ever being wrong in so doing turning things on others to twist things to make things go their way.
Ben: We have totally different definitions of narcissism.
Jessa: What do you think a narcissism is?
Ben: So, I've always thought narcissism was an excessive interest in or admiration of one's physical appearance like obsession with one's self.
Jessa: I think it can be both. I think that can definitely play into it.
Ben: Was a narcissist who stood and stared at himself in the pool at his own reflection?
Jessa: I don't think that was him.
Ben: And eventually fell in and died or something like that.
Jessa: I know which one. It's a Greek tragedy. I know what you're talking about.
Ben: I've bastardized some Greek tragedy. But anyways, and you defined it as what, again?
Jessa: It's someone who sees themselves as correct or right and has this incapability of seeing themselves as wrong. Therefore, they end up twisting a lot of things that people say on them to make them be right all the time.
Ben: Oh, my definition of narcissism is definitely more correct than yours.
Jessa: Well, now, I want to know what it really is.
Ben: Alright. So, I'd love to hear your take on this, and admittedly I do know I am a fitness influencer. I take my shirt off on the Instagrams and flex. I have been a bodybuilder. I definitely spent a lot of time in spandex as an Iron Man triathlete. I wake up some days and look at my week and know that I have some kind of a photoshoot where I got to have my shirt off. And so, I will work out or pay attention to how I eat. But, I don't know if that makes me a narcissist. So, how do you deal with all my narcissism?
Jessa: I don't think you're a narcissist. I think you know that you're attractive that you're a good-looking person.
Ben: Oh, thanks.
Jessa: Yeah. And, I mean, I don't think I'm ugly either. So, does that make me a narcissist? I don't know. I don't think you're a narcissist. I think you've struggled with tendencies of that in the past. And, by the grace of God, you no longer struggle with that as intensely as you used to. But, I don't sit here and dwell upon the things that I think you've done that are narcissistic because I don't believe in dwelling in the past. I believe looking to the future and looking in hope.
Ben: Well, that's really good to hear. Do you want to hear my take on this?
Jessa: Yes, I do.
Ben: Because it's for years and years now. I will get comments like, “Hey, enough already with the shirtless photos and the duck lip selfies and the staring pensively off into space with the blue steel.
Ben: And, you're going to laugh at this possibly whether you're listening or whether you're my wife, but go and talk to my mom. From the time I was a boy, from the time I was a baby, my parents couldn't even keep a diaper on me. I have rarely been clothed. I have some kind of rare Flintstone gene, I suppose, but they used to clothespin with a dozen clothespins; my diaper, my onesie, everything on me. They'd come into the room two hours later and I would be buck naked just laying there in my crib.
As a boy, I just ran all over the neighborhood and nothing but my shorty shorts, just never really cared for the concept of clothing. I still hate shopping for clothes. And really, if I wasn't married to you Jessa, I'd probably be even more naked most of the time. And furthermore, if you look at every single picture of me from the time I was a tiny baby up until now, most of them are indeed some version of duck lips or blue steel.
Jessa: There's a lot of flexing in some of your older pictures.
Ben: There is a lot of flexing, but again, I was a bodybuilder and I do fall into the category of someone who is kind of sort of paid to flex on social media sometimes.
Ben: And so, I think to me, I seem to have this built-in genetic dislike for wearing clothing in general. Some facial configuration that just automatically goes duck lips or blue steel when someone's taking a picture of me. And finally, yeah, I'm in fitness so I flex sometimes to display a workout or an exercise or some biohacking muscle-gaining supplements.
Jessa: Can I insert something here? I'm just going to. I'm not going to ask.
Ben: No, I'm right. We've already established whatever I say is right.
Jessa: I am a background person and it's probably largely why many people have not heard a lot of podcasts from me and don't hear a lot from me. And so, anybody who has to be in front of the camera, you're such as yourself, it makes me a little uncomfortable because I personally just don't understand it. I can't wrap my head around doing that or needing to do that because I am largely afraid of it to some extent. So, that could be other people too.
Ben: Yeah. It's kind of interesting because, for me, I've always loved theater, being on stage doing goofy little videos with me and my brothers, producing things that people would watch or listen to, creating art not for the sake of art itself but so that I could hang it at the fair or in an art competition. I've kind of always really liked public-facing displays of skill or persona or entertainment or education or the like. Again, I like the stage but I don't think that makes me a narcissist. Gosh, darn it, I'm right about that.
Jessa: And, I prefer not to be seen most of the time.
Ben: Yes. And look, we both do clay masks. We both do eye moisturizer to get rid of bags under the eyes. We both work out. We both take care of our skin. I don't know about you, but sometimes I even pay attention to the clothing I'm wearing when we're on vacation in a hot local so I'm not getting–
Jessa: I think I actually pay attention to that more than you do.
Ben: Getting asymmetrical tan line.
Jessa: I don't care about that.
Ben: But, I don't think it's narcissistic. So, anything else you want to say when people say what's the most narcissistic thing Ben has ever done or how do you deal with all my narcissism?
Jessa: Like I said, it's not something that I sit and dwell on a lot, so I honestly don't even have an example. I'm sure everyone's shocked by that maybe. I don't know. I just don't think about it.
Ben: Well, it used to rub you the wrong way when I would do cheeky shots on Instagram.
Jessa: Oh, yeah. Well, basically, I was of the opinion I had to deal with all my girlfriends being like, “Yeah, I had to breeze through the Instagram because Ben's backside was.” And, I'm like, “Okay, not everybody wants to see your bare body.”
Ben: When I got into that, when I would do butt shots and talk about a butt workout because I used to hang out a lot with one of my good buddies who's a real personality on Instagram named Hunter McIntyre. And, he used to do butt shots, and then I kind of got into, “Oh, you know what, he's getting a lot of traction on his butt shots, I should do a few butt shots.”
Jessa: Yeah. It's not for everyone. Not everybody wants to see it.
Ben: Yeah. Well, you asked for it so there you go.
Alright. So, narcissism. Pipe in on the shownotes if you want to, which are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/BenJessa2023. That's BenGreenfieldLife.comBenJessa2023. But yeah, I'm going to deny the narcissism.
Alright. So, shall we get into some more serious topics here?
Ben: Alright. How do you overcome major differences with each other and still stay connected? And, by the way, just in case it's the first time anyone is tuned in, Jessa and I have known each other for 39 years, have been married for almost 21 years. And, I would say we feel we're pretty emotionally, spiritually, and physically connected intertwined and a strong married couple, I suppose. Knock on wood.
Ben: By God's grace.
Jessa: By God's grace, exactly.
Ben: So, how do we deal with conflict basically is the question. How do we overcome major differences or conflict?
Jessa: Well, it's really funny because we had something come up a couple of weeks ago and it was probably the most explosive I've probably ever been in my life.
Ben: Wasn't that argument when I was right?
Jessa: No. I think you actually ended up saying “You're right” to me or you were able to see.
Ben: So, in your words, how do we deal with it, how do we deal with conflicts?
Jessa: Okay. Well, I have my own personal style and you have your personal style. I grew up in a household where I never saw my parents argue. We knew they argue, we just never saw it.
Ben: Yeah, me too. Behind closed doors.
Jessa: Yeah. I never had it displayed to me in a positive way. I never had it displayed to me in a negative way. I just knew that things got resolved and I have no idea how they got resolved. So, for me, largely, and I would say most of my siblings as well are avoiders.
Ben: Do you mean the attachment versus avoidant personality style because I feel I was raised needing verification and approval? So, maybe I'm a narcissist, but for me, it's like I'm the part of our relationship, the spouse who's always asking, “Hey, are you okay? Is everything okay?”
Jessa: And, that makes me want to punch you.
Ben: “What's wrong? Are you alright?” Like, “What's wrong with me?” as you're asking me “What's wrong with me?”
Jessa: Exactly, which is making me mad now.
Ben: Anyways, back to the attachment style.
Jessa: But no, it's not an attachment style, it's arguing. I feel it's a way of arguing or not arguing. Conflict makes me so uncomfortable that I would rather never have to deal with it. And so, when we do get into disagreement or an argument or whatever you want to call it, a lot of times I will just go pretty silent and I think you've experience this because I'm also very fearful of my words. I'm fearful of hurting somebody or saying something wrong or saying something that I might have to apologize for later. So, I get pretty quiet, and then–
Ben: Which drives me nuts, by the way, because all I want is for the conflict to be resolved. I mean, I know there's that Bible verse that says, “Never let the sun go down on your anger.” I don't think that's meant to be taken literally. I think what it actually means is just don't be angry for a long period of time without trying to set things right. Yet, I don't going to bed or even just going through a day feeling like there's something between us.
Jessa: Right. And then, there's me, I'm also a processor, I'm like, “I need to understand what my feelings are” because in the heat of the moment, I don't think I have a real understanding of what we're arguing about or if I'm actually right or any of those things, or even if it matters if I'm right, or maybe we just need to come together. Actually, I think that's generally it. Most of the time, I always tell my boys, “It's not about being right, it's about making things right.”
Ben: That's a really powerful statement. “It's not about being right, it's about making things right.” And, I think that when you step back and look at what we call our Greenfield Family Constitution, meaning we have one living document that has our Greenfield family Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions, what we do in the morning for our morning family huddle and family devotional to our family dinnertime habits and dinner time routines to the pieces of the Bible that we memorize, to the times that our sons have their rite of passage into adolescence and rite of passage into adulthood, to how the family crest works to the family bank and the contact details for everyone who runs the family wealth management, to how we put together our family trust. It's all in there, but part of the mission statement is basically that one of our Greenfield family values is unconditional love and radical transparency.
And, for me, those are two keys for conflict resolution. Meaning, you must feel as though you are in a safe place and there is this written or unwritten rule that you can be radically transparent and not judged harshly for that. And B, everything gets covered in unconditional love. Meaning, there is no sin or shortcoming or argument too great that you cannot simply, at the end of it, say, “You know what, let's put this behind us. I love you. This isn't even worth fighting over. I'm sorry for anything I did.” And then, usually the other person winds up saying, “I'm sorry for anything I did.”
Ben: It's basically this idea of covering.
Jessa: It's like put your swords down.
Ben: Yeah. It's 1st Corinthians 13 in the Bible says, “Love covers all. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” And, it really, for me, comes down to with your spouse having, again, a written or unwritten rule of radical honesty and radical transparency no matter what, and no judgment zone where you can say anything that's on your mind and know it's not going to be lorded over you or held over you, paired with the idea that at the end of the day, if you really love someone and you cover everything with just a phrase like “I love you” or “I love you too much for this to come between us. Let's put it behind us, this isn't worth it.” It seems almost every conflict we have winds up with some semblance of us not 100% sure who is right, who is wrong, or not really caring so much about counting that as much as saying, “Hey, our relationship, our children, us, what God has called us to, it's all way more important than this silly thing that we happen to be fighting over. I love you. Let's forget about this and move on.”
Jessa: Yeah. And then, one more thing that I feel like, I think, is come up especially recently is if you're going to ask a question like “How are you?” or “Are you okay?” you have to be willing to receive an answer that you may not like.
Jessa: And, sometimes people–
Ben: I'm not okay because you left your underwear on the floor for the 20th time, okay?
Jessa: Yeah. You have to be okay with it, yeah. I mean, if you're going to ask the question, just be prepared.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, and understand that–
Jessa: Not unleashing but just being like, “Okay, please accept what I just said, and don't turn it on me.” Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. This came up actually in one of the sessions this week was some people are raised like I was talking about earlier in a situation in which they must earn love or at least feel as though they must earn love from their parents by constantly seeking approval, and that's an attachment style personality in which someone's constantly want to ask, “Hey, do I look okay? Are you okay? How do you feel? What's wrong with you?” et cetera. Whereas, the avoidant personality is like, “Hey, I'm independent. I'm on my own. Leave me alone. I've got this figured out. Please quit asking me if I'm okay.” Because there's a yin and yang, opposites attract type of magnetic arrangement of the universe in many, many cases, an avoidant spouse is married to an attachment spouse. And, unless you're aware of that and you're able to identify, hey, I'm asking this person if they're okay because frankly, I'm seeking approval for something or I'm not listening to my spouse say, am I okay or understanding their concern and their need to be more of a people pleaser than I am and I'm just avoiding them and that's rubbing them the wrong way? But, if you're aware of that, I think that's really the key step because then you can identify it and nip it in the bud.
Jessa: It is. I mean, we've had bad communication style and bad argument styles and all of that and I feel like it's interesting because the more you're aware of it, but the more that you exercise it too, the better that you get at it. And, I'm not saying arguing all the time, but I'm just saying don't be afraid of the moment when they do come up.
Jessa: Because it is an opportunity to exercise your muscle. Yeah, it's an opportunity. So, I've actually been grateful especially the last year of just being able to have a discussion, a heated discussion without getting too hung up on my opinion, and being able to be flexible with you and come to a nice solution.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Jessa: And, I wouldn't be able to do that if I don't exercise it.
Ben: And, kind of related to this, Brisk asked, “What emotional regulation techniques do you employ in the moment to avoid escalation of conflict?” I think that one really resonates with me because I'm not an angry guy, at least. I'm pretty sure I'm right about that. I don't tend to be the guy–
Jessa: I've seen you get heated.
Ben: Well, I'm getting there.
Ben: I'm getting there. So, I am not the kind of guy who's punching walls like steam coming out the ears, that cartoon where you see the face get red and the sound of the tea kettle and the steam is pouring out of the loves. However, and I think stereotyping a bit here, men tend to, just based on testosterone alone, air towards anger and heated passionate emotions that one would identify as anger during a conflict. I think sometimes women tend to be very good at verbal abuse, bitterness, biting comments, and sarcasm. Men tend to be more based on strength, anger, and rage. And, those are just the way that, painting with a broad brush, a lot of men and women are wired up.
Ever so occasionally, and Jessa you know this, you'll see my pupils dilate and you can see the tea kettle noise start to come out, let's go this way. And, I will actually–hold on. Let's go this way. Sorry, you guys, we're navigating as we're talking. We don't really know where we're at right now. We're in some random neighborhood in Napa Valley.
So anyways, I have found myself in the past doing everything from cathartic rushing out into the gym and hopping on the AirDyne and hammering away on the bike to somehow channel that rage to punching something, to slamming a door, not punching you, but just punching something. Slamming a door to burying my face in a pillow and screaming. And, trust me, none of that seems to work for me as well as what I have found to be the ultimate solution. I go outside, I open the door, I start walking and I pour my heart out to God and I pray. And, I say, “God, I don't understand why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling. I don't understand why she can't freaking be right and understand what I'm saying. God I just need your help. I don't know what to do. I don't know what I'm going to say when I go back and talk to her.” But, for me, I have settled finally, after more than 40 years of life, the strategy of praying while walking, praying while moving. Because when you're angry, it does help to move.
Jessa: It does.
Ben: Praying while moving for me is the number one key for emotional management during conflict resolution. Yes, that means walking away from an argument that you may want to finish. But, I think it's better to walk away from an argument; walk, pray, get cooled down, get guidance from higher power, God, and then come back and engage. S, that's how I do it.
Jessa: I would say I'm pretty similar and I'm just going to put this in here because people who do get explosive and yell or just lose it, you lose credibility when that happens. And, I mean, you just look like a loose cannon. And, that's been my perception when that has happened in the past with you is I'm like, “Wow, he's losing it and I really don't have any respect for you in that moment.” And so, yeah, getting angry really doesn't do a lot for your case.
Like I said, I go quiet and it is on purpose because there's a lot I want to say. And, I will go quiet because, like I said earlier, I don't want to have to go back and apologize for words. And, I don't want to perpetuate the argument because I feel like when you just unleash your tongue and just say whatever is in there, it's not really generally in a spirit of helping the problem or solving the problem, it is more I just want to hurt you. I want to make you feel pain because you made me feel pain.
Jessa: And, it just perpetuates an argument and nothing is resolved or you all say a lot of really hurtful things, resolve it eventually, and then you have a whole lot of repairing to do afterwards. So, I will get pretty quiet. I've said this in some of our arguments, I'm like, “I don't agree, but I need time to think about this.” And, like you, I will go sometimes on a hike or I'll just start doing mundane housework so I can just think. You always say that I'm like, “If she's cleaning the house, she must be angry.”
Ben: Leave her alone, she's cleaning. Just let her do her thing and do not get in the way of that freight train.
Jessa: Yeah. Because it takes me some time to even understand my own emotions in the heat of the moment. And also, most of the time, we're both wrong to some degree and most of the time we're right to some degree. And so, it's like finding the ownership of where I am, maybe an error, and being able to own up to that and then being like to you, here's where I feel maybe I'm right.
Jessa: But, generally most of the time, you're both in error.
Ben: I realize there's an elephant in the room here. You might be listening and you might not have a prayer life. You might not have a religious or spiritual practice. You might not have a relationship to God but yet we'd be remiss not to just share the way that we do things because we are Christians, and I think that actually helps quite a bit when it comes to the intrinsic religiosity that some type of spiritual practice can provide that allows you to have that convenience of knowing you can speak to a higher power, knowing there's a greater purpose for your life, knowing when you're down or you're afraid or you can't sleep at night. You can pray or you can read an uplifting section of scripture that's been inspired by the breath and the mind of God. And so, there certainly is that. And, I will acknowledge that I know not everyone has that but man, it's a game changer.
And so, the next question was a spiritual one. Again, “How have you guys built your spiritual lives together, and what practices have been the most helpful?”
Well, I'll address that right there. But, the first thing that I should say is that whenever Jessa and I have conflict or an argument or we are in the process of resolution, it always culminates in both of us holding hands and holding each other and praying together. That's usually at the end. That's usually after we've gotten to the point of, “Oh, hey, this is too much of a silly issue for us to be allowing it to come between us and destroy everything that we hold dear and everything that we've built.”
Jessa: And, be out communing with each other and be out of communing with God.
Ben: And the bitterness and the anger and the heartache that this is going to produce. And then, we come before God and we both will apologize to each other. We'll say, I'm sorry to God, we'll ask for God's forgiveness and love to cover the situation. And, the reason I said this ties beautifully into the next question is even though Jessa and I have one-on-one retreats that we'll go on where we'll do planning and vision planning and life planning, regularly scheduled one-on-one dates that must be calendared and family meetings like a morning family huddle, morning family devotions, evening family song, family prayers, family dinners, we pray every single night; the last thing that we do when our heads hit the pillow. And, the reason that I think that that's probably the most powerful thing that we do for our relationship and especially as John Kalis asked, “How have you built your spiritual lives together and what practice has been the most helpful?” That's the top of the totem pole. Again, back to what I think you said Jessa. It's really hard to pray together when something's still between you and it's really hard to come before God at the end of the day and not have set everything right between you and your spouse.
Jessa: And, there's a scripture that's to that. It says, “How can you hate your brother whom you've seen and love God whom you have not seen?” So, how can you hate somebody standing in front of you and talk to a God who you say you love but you haven't seen.
Ben: Yeah, the Bible is so sexist. It says brother, but it means brother and sister. Written in different cultural times. Usually, if you said man and men, men and women and brother meant brother and sister, but the idea is that if you adopt this habit of systematically praying every single night, it's just magical, the fruits that pour forth into your life and how good it feels to fall asleep, being able to bring your cares and your worries aloud verbally to God allowing your spouse to hear that, praying to God about the visions that you each have for each other's lives, praying to God about your children and your hopes and dreams and wishes for them, praying to God about a move or about a family member who has health issues or about yourself with health issues or whatever. A lot of times you'll find yourself like, at least this is the case for me, I'll be praying and at the same time realizing as I'm praying, “Oh, these are things that it's really good that Jessa is aware of hearing me pour out my heart to God because it lets you hear what's in my heart.”
Jessa: Yeah, it gives me insight into what's going on between your ears and in your heart and all those things. So, it's very revealing.
Ben: Right. And, I think the key here is you're praying to a loving father who's got open arms for you and it's like you're resting your head in God's lap and just saying, “Oh, God, here's what's on my mind after today.” And, it kind of is a little bit of a sneaky way to squeeze in some of what you'll find many philosophers and great thinkers and achievers do at the end of the day, and that's self-examination. Because when you're praying, you're often examining yourself, your motives, your day, and it's almost an end-of-day summary with God basically.
Jessa: And, just to circle back to that question, “How do we start our spiritual practice?” That's just one part of our spiritual practice. But, for me, personally, I started my own practice first and really saw the fruits of it and really wanted to bring that to my family. And Ben, similarly, when I was praying a lot and just seeing the benefits of it and the–
Ben: You mean by yourself in the morning?
Jessa: Yes, by myself.
Ben: By the way, those you who are listening, so Jessa is in the bedroom with earplugs in her Bible and a devotional for 40 to 60 minutes every morning, usually after we have our family devotion, sometimes before. And so, she's had that practice for way longer than even we've had our praying as a couple together at the end of the day practice.
Jessa: Yeah. But, just seeing the benefit of that and actually seeing the Lord work and move and answer prayers, and I just was like, “What a tremendous gift, how could I not share this with my husband, with my children?” And so, then when you were struggling with even praying or reading the Bible, I'd be like, “You need to pray. You need to read the word of God. And, I'm telling you it's going to be amazing. It's going to be amazing and it's going to bless you. And, you started doing those practices.
Jessa: And, am I right?
Ben: You are right. Thank you, babe. Jessa really stuck with me through thick and thin even when I was a real stinker of a husband. She kept praying for me. She stayed committed to me and eventually, I learned what is now my big five priority. First is God and my spiritual habits. So, that's first thing in the morning. Devotions, prayer, Bible reading. Second is my spouse, making sure that everything is right with her and she's set for the day and that anything that's come between us is that there's nothing between us. Third is the children and the family, bringing the family together for our morning family huddle and devotions where we're reading, we're praying, we're talking about the day, everything from who's making what for dinner to what time's jiu-jitsu to where's everybody playing tennis to what's the book report that we're working on today. And then, of course, we have our evening routines as well as a family but then comes my health, my workout, taking care of my body. And then, finally fifth, after God, spouse, family, and health, comes business. And, that priority has just been a huge game-changer for me.
Jessa: You got to put on your life vest first. You've got to make sure that you're spiritually sound before you start telling people how to be spiritually sound.
Ben: Yeah. I put on my life vest and my oxygen mask and my helmet and my breast plate.
Jessa: okay. Any [00:34:50] _____ like anything else.
Ben: And my rollerblading shin pads, yeah. Yeah, okay.
Ben: Long story short is it's praying at the end of each day. I think that's the greatest spiritual habit that we have that keeps us yoked spiritually, which is interesting because Jessa and I have different learning styles. Jessa is more, I guess, you can say, Jessa, how you would describe your learning style.
Jessa: I'm very experiential hands-on.
Ben: Dyslexic basically.
Jessa: I'm dyslexic. It's really interesting because actually reading the Bible is not difficult for me at all. It's the only book I've ever found to read.
Ben: You're the third dyslexic person I've talked to who can't read any books except the Bible. And, when they open the Bible, they can read it just perfectly.
Jessa: It just opens up and I don't know why.
Ben: It's crazy. It's like magic, yeah. Weird.
Jessa: So, I am normally an audio learner or visual. And, if I can actually touch and do, then it's solidified in my mind.
Ben: Yeah. So, we don't go through a lot of books together, Jessa and I don't. We've tried. And usually, it's a failure because I read a book a day and Jessa reads a book a year, maybe a little faster than that, but yeah.
Jessa: I'm slow.
Ben: Yeah. So anyways, we find that for us, it's more prayer, talking, dates. We don't do a lot of book studies and things like that together.
Jessa: We had that in the past.
Ben: We have the same devotion that we go through each morning as a family. Right now, it's called “New Morning Mercies.” Fantastic little devotional. But, we don't go through. We just have different learning styles and we've grown to accept that, which is fine.
Which kind of, I think, is a good lead into some questions more about–I guess, we're back to maybe a little bit narcissistic-esque type of questions. “Jessa, have Ben's biohacking extremes ever been a point of contention for the relationship, or have you ever tried to talk Ben out of some kind of biohacking experiment?”
Jessa: Point of contention for me is there's a lot of gadgets and taking care of those things and sorting those things. That is probably my biggest contention point.
Ben: Can I paint up the scene for folks? Every day at our house, usually somewhere between 6 to 12 boxes of random gadgets, gear, biohacking technologies, et cetera, all piled up at the front door all for me to test, put through the ringer, research and then ultimately recommend or not recommend to my audience based on what I've tested. And, as a result, the house is one constant with some might consider to be a treasure trove or others might consider to be a trash sheep of biohacking equipment and tool and gears and light sound devices and mini trampolines that people are tripping over. And so, yeah, there's a lot around, but have you ever found me doing something that you're like, “Oh, this is dangerous, I need to talk him out of it?”
Jessa: Not necessarily biohacking. I think the one thing that I really had felt very convicted to talk to you about, which was really hard for me, I think you know this, was getting the COVID vaccine. I was very, very, very, very against that and I really, really believed that God was telling me to tell you not to do it for a lot of reasons.
Ben: Yeah. I should give the background story of that.
Jessa: There's a lot to that story.
Ben: It was a very high-end and quite interesting to me at least speaking opportunity at a certain location that required me to be vaccinated to attend and to speak. And, at the time, one of my go-to advisers on the topic of vaccinations was my dear friend and a multi-time podcast guest, Dr. Matthew Cook. And Matt, despite since that time saying he was pretty much just wrong about vaccines and now sees mostly vaccine-injured patients in his clinic, and he said this on my podcast instead of COVID patients, he had me convinced that with the proper peptide protocol, the proper detoxification protocol and the right vaccine that we could potentially get me vaccinated and mitigate a lot of the damage. And, God knows since and I've seen so many people have strokes and heart attacks and blood vessel damage and spike protein accumulation, look, it's not a news flash for anybody that for some people, that can be a very risky thing. But, I remember I was telling Jessa, “Hey, babe, this is going to be fine. I'm going to be fine. I got all the tools and the biohacks and the supplements to help me with any issues.” And, you just kept telling me, “No, no, no, I got a bad feeling about this. Don't do it.”
Jessa: And, it didn't come from a health perspective. I was actually very against it because, to me, so the people who get vaccinated, the only ones that are going to be able to take care of it are wealthy people who can afford peptides and do all these things and that's the message you're going to send to people because that's really not okay. And then, I had a lot of other issues with it. I just think the whole COVID vaccine was pushed into, you get this or you lose your job, you get this or we're going to shame you until you get it. I mean, to me, it was all spirit of the devil.
Ben: Thanks for just getting this podcast banned. You've so many trigger words just now.
Jessa: Well, it's true.
Ben: But yeah, there's a lot of really good points there. Although I would say vaccination is definitely a biohack. It's hacking your biology to potentially cause the immune system to produce some kind of antibody or to get the existence of some kind of antibody inside of your [00:40:38] _____.
Jessa: It wasn't that I didn't think you could take care of it or that was not my issue with it. It was more of a moral issue.
Ben: Yeah, moral issue and public-facing issue. If I do it, a lot of other people who might not be able or have the knowledge to do all the things I was going to do to mitigate the potential damage would not have access to that and still go out and do it. So, I would say that that's funny to bring that up because I would say that's the biggest one too that I could think of. I can't really think of any other experiments I've done where you were just like, even when I got stem cells injected into my dick, you were just like, “Yeah, whatever.”
Jessa: Girls get that in their vagina. I mean, people do it all the time. And, I'm not saying because people do it all the time that makes it safe and fine.
Ben: Yeah. Didn't you get stem cells in your clitoris?
Jessa: I have, yes.
Ben: Yeah, you did. You did PRP too.
Jessa: And, it was amazing.
Ben: Okay. See, Jessa is a biohacker.
Jessa: And, it was awesome.
Ben: Yeah, she biohacks her package.
Jessa: Hurt like hell but it was great.
Ben: I remember you saying it did hurt. I can only imagine.
Okay. So, “Jessa, I imagine with all of the different supplements machines, et cetera, coming to the house for Ben,” speak of the devil, “it can get overwhelming, but which of the ones have you tried that have stuck with you in terms of protocols you've learned from me or my audience or the people I work with that have made your life better?”
Jessa: I'm a very simple person and there are a few biohacks that I do use. To me, it's kind of funny because a lot of them seem very traditional like have been done by societies since the dawn of time. I'm like, “So, they're not really biohacks, we just rediscovered old wisdom.” Okay. I'm an artist by nature and I'm a very free-flowing person. And so, a lot of times when I see the biohacking world and all of that, there's so much rigidity, and you have to do it every day, you have to do this. It's just rigid and I'm not naturally that way. So, I've only hung on to a couple of things.
Ben: I think what you're getting at is that a lot of biohackers tend to be control freaks who have a very rigid schedule and routine that they refuse to break whether it'd be the 9:00 p.m. bedtime or the 6:00 a.m. sungazing or the 1:00 p.m. peptide injection. And, if it doesn't happen, their head explodes.
Jessa: One of the things I've said to you before is I'm like, “Well, while you're busy living forever, I'm busy living.”
Ben: Busy trying to live forever, yeah. Spending all of the years that you're getting added to your life, getting years added to your life.
Jessa: Yeah. And so, some of the ones that I have hung on to is I love to sauna. I do a lot of hot yoga just for the same reasons. I like the detoxification, like the infrared–
Jessa: I will take supplements if I understand why I'm taking them. And, that requires somebody to explain that to me.
Ben: What are the key supplements that are just like, hell, yes, is in your protocol right now?
Jessa: Definitely minerals. Even since then, I've had to learn exactly what my dosage looks like because I don't think it looks like everybody else's.
Ben: And, you use more transdermal than oral, right?
Jessa: Yes, because it gives me a lot of stomach upset.
Ben: Like transdermal magnesium.
Jessa: So, once I understood why we're taking minerals, especially as a slight thin woman who has a mom with osteoporosis and a lot of other things, I'm like, minerals and trace minerals have become really important to me. And then, let's see here what's another one.
Ben: What about hormones?
Jessa: I'm just busting into that world.
Ben: Are there any that make you feel really good?
Jessa: I started taking a little testosterone and I like the mental clarity that comes with that? Everyone said that you're going to feel boost in physical but I've never really lacked in that.
Ben: And, that's like you use–is that a cream?
Jessa: It's a cream. And, that was because of what you said to me because when you get the injection, you get a jumping estrogen.
Ben: Big bolus and a big conversion to estrogen. Same in men, yeah.
Jessa: Yeah. And so, I was like, “Well, I definitely don't want that. I try to avoid that.” So yeah, hormones, but that's new.
Ben: What about progesterone and DHEA?
Jessa: Progesterone is the one I'm trying to figure out because for me, and nobody's been able to explain this one to me yet, I think we'll find something. But, I get crazy UTIs if I take progesterone.
Ben: Yeah. That's pretty common. We're looking at one called Simply Progesterone right now, which Dr. Mercola uses and recommends instead of a few others. But then, of course, I use transdermal progesterone when I'm really anxious at night and I need to release a gamma. It's a gamma-aminobutyric acid inhibitory neurotransmitter precursor and transdermal progesterone for anxious men or children or women can be good.
Jessa: Yeah. But, I've done transdermal and certain brands have given me UTIs. I've done the oral and those have given me UTIs. The only ones that haven't are bioidentical ones. And, that's really the only one. And, I have to take a pretty small amount.
Ben: And, do you follow any type of specific diet?
Ben: She's not kidding. This is a girl who will eat lettuce and ketchup one day as her only food and a ribeye steak the next day and then, I don't know. You don't really do a lot of the smoothies and the supplements, but yeah, she does not follow a diet, you guys, at all. It's interesting how different we are in terms of our approach to systematic supplementation diet. Jessa is very loosey-goosey. I think I've talked about this before on a podcast kind of the shoemaker's wife wears no shoes. And, I'm pretty dialed in but Jessa's, I would say, my optics are that you're doing more testing and you're getting things more dialed in as you age.
Jessa: Yeah, yeah, I am. Well, I mean, I saw my mom go through menopause and she turned into a psycho. And, I remember that moment, I was like, “I have to figure this crap out before it happens to me” because it was so awful and it affected everybody. And, I was like, “I don't want my family to feel they have to walk on eggshells and go through 10 years of hot flashes.” It looked terrible. It was terrible.
Jessa: I love my mom, everybody. It's just, it was rough.
Ben: “Do you sleep in the same bed? Do you sleep in the same bed and how does that affect your sleep quality?” Well, first of all, yes, we sleep in an amazing bed. I was actually getting guilty when I interviewed Katy Bowman who bragged about how her and her husband just stretch out some sheep skins on the floor and sleep on the hard floor. Isn't the Liver King who sleeps on wooden slats?
Jessa: I don't care.
Ben: I get the idea of making your body hard, but gosh, I like a nice soft plush bed. So, we use an Intellibed. Why did I say Intellibed? No, we used to use an Intellibed. We use the Essentia now. I don't know why I just had a brain fart. Sorry, Essentia. We use the Essentia because it has the built-in cooling technology and the EMF blocking technology and it doesn't have a bunch of Wi-Fi on it like an Eight Sleep or whatever. So, we do sleep in the same bed. How do you feel about that?
Jessa: Honey, I'm going to be real honest with you. I sleep better sometimes when you're not in the bed.
Ben: And, I sleep horrifically when I'm not sleeping in the bed. I have a sleeping style that basically involves me draping my entire body over Jessa and then drifting away to sleep with a leg pretzeled around her. Yeah.
Jessa: I'm really okay with that starting out but it's funny because sometimes I feel like I'm so mean to you in the middle of the night but you're so asleep. You don't even remember it.
Ben: I'll wake up when she's hitting me or punching me and then just gently fall back asleep. But, for example, we had the ChiliPad for a while, which allows for you to customize the sleep temperature on either partner's side. That kind of broke and the company started to go out of business. So then, we switched to something called a BedJet, which we're experimenting with now which uses cooled air, an air conditioning unit for the bed but seems to make the entire bed really cold.
Ben: So, we're still trying to dial in the best way to use that. In addition, I sometimes will use a gravity blanket on me that's not on Jessa. But ultimately, I think that if you look at data, this is interesting, on sleep, the number one reason that people have fitful sleep is because their partner has fitful sleep or their partner is bothering them during sleep. However, I also feel the snuggling, the pillow talk, the preying, the need to not switch beds after you've done all of that, waking up in the morning and having that snuggle, to me, I will gladly trade poor sleep or at least slightly poorer sleep the rest of my life to be able to sleep in the same bed with my wife.
Jessa: I would definitely agree with that.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Okay.
So, how about this? We got some organizational questions.
Ben: So, “I've looked at your schedules, how do you manage to fit it all in?”
Jessa: I don't know how you've seen my schedule because I've never put that out there.
Ben: Would it be fair to say that I tend to be a little bit more organized with my schedule than you?
Jessa: Well, yeah, I think we already talked about that in the biohacking stuff. I'm like, “You have to be.” I am not that person, so I choose not to. I opt out to some of it.
Ben: I have shared my own organizational system with Jessa and then I just let her do her own thing. So, what I mean by that is that I have notes, the iOS notes synced across all of my devices and I use that as my dream catcher to keep a clear head. So, anytime anything comes into my head, call this person, get this item, shop for this, ask this person a podcast question. I write it down in there and then three times per day: breakfast, lunch, and before dinner, I transfer anything in there onto my actual calendar. I use something called BusyCal. Organize it, structure it, make sure everything that's randomly come into my head during the day is transferred from notes straight into a calendaring system, and then everything's in front of me, and on Sunday evenings, I sit down, I look at my entire schedule and I map out everything from the workouts to making sure I know which podcast guest is when to if I have any other appointments, I lay it all out and I do a deep dive for about 10 to 15 minutes every Sunday so I know almost by heart that week's schedule. And, it's pretty rigorous, it's pretty scheduled, much of the chagrin of anybody who asked me if I can hop on a last-minute phone call, I tell them I got one eight weeks from now. But, I am pretty dialed in, that's the only way I get done everything I get done is I protect my time very wisely and almost everything has to be scheduled and has to be categorized. And, I keep that notes document, so I always have a clear head.
Jessa: Yeah. And, for me, a lot of my stuff is like, okay, you have to have two hours of some kind of physical activity in the day and maybe an hour of some kind of creativity. And, these are the supplements that I have to because I know myself since I'm a very fluid person, I will not do it or sometimes will forget it like my vitamins. Every Sunday, I get out my little granny pill thing.
Ben: I've seen that. I spilled the whole thing on the floor a few times.
Jessa: Yeah, I know. I know. And then, I was all messed up. So, every Sunday, I fill that thing out to make sure that I have everything dosed out for the week, and otherwise, I won't do it. And, it has to be in a certain place and I have to do it first thing in the morning or I'll never do it. So, I think even though being fluid has its strengths, it has its weaknesses as well, and I have to have a little bit of structure. It's loose structure but it's there.
Ben: Yeah. And, I guess one thing that I'll share is I hack my environment, meaning that I have a certain place in the house I do certain things like guitars at the end of the dining room table, podcasts are in the office, devotions are in the Zen den. I hack my systems, meaning everything from the 10-minute guitar lesson a day to the exact same devotional every single morning to the same prayer every day to all of these different habits that I engage in. There's a system behind everyone from the workouts to the spiritual practices, to the requirement to read two chapters from a book each night before I go to bed, et cetera. So, I hack my environment, I hack my system, and the final thing I hack is my purpose or my why. Meaning, anything I'm doing, I have to ask myself why. “Why am I interviewing this podcast guest? What is the purpose of this? Why am I practicing my guitar? What is the purpose of this? Why am I reading my book? What is the purpose of this book?” And, by deeply knowing my purpose and why, having a certain environment in which certain activities take place and then having a system, meaning knowing what you're going to do when you walk into the gym, when you pick up the guitar, when you pick up the book, when you make the podcast microphone hot you are able to accomplish a lot. So, those are three things that I do that I think are helpful.
Jessa: Yeah. I mean, that's great. That's a lot. Like I said, mine's very loose.
Ben: Yeah, you're type B, I'm type A.
Jessa: Exactly. Wish I had a better answer for people.
Ben: This might be the last question we have a chance for, but someone says, “How do you contribute to your marriage considered as an economic partnership because you're self-employed? How do you divide up the economics or the bookkeeping in your personal or business lives?”
Jessa: Yeah, I don't fully understand that question so you're going to have to explain that one to me.
Ben: What's your involvement with our money and our bank?
Jessa: I spend it. I'm just kidding.
Ben: I knew that was coming. You do the eyebrow thing I don't understand.
Jessa: I mean, in a lot of ways, I take what you bring in and I turn it into something physical and beautiful like our home, our food, the clothes we wear, everything.
Ben: Do you do any bookkeeping?
Ben: Do you do any checkbook balancing?
Ben: She doesn't do anything, you guys. No, I'm not kidding. I have always been the person who dialogues with and has conversations with and organizes the conversation between our accountant, our wealth management team, shout out to Way2Wealth who manages our finances and our family bank and our life insurance policies. My CFO Joe at Ben Greenfield Life and any other financial discussions that take place with my supplements company, our supplements company, Kion, with the Fried Pickle Gaming company that my sons and I have now. I, because I tend to be a little bit more organized and scheduled as we've already established, usually have the optics on that. And then, Jessa and I just have really clear communication. So, every month, at the end of the month, I sit down and go through all of our books, all of our spreadsheets, all of our expenses, and our income. And then, it's on an Excel spreadsheet and I will tag Jessa if I have comments. I'll be like, “What's this for $172 expense at the gas station?” or whatever, something that–
Jessa: Filling up a diesel truck these days. That's what it is.
Ben: Something that I need insight on. But, Jessa is right, she specializes in taking my work and taking what I bring in as far as money and turning that around and making the home beautiful and inspiring and comfortable place to be, and going out and engaging in hospitality and ministry, and making sure that the right food is in the house. And, she dialogues a lot with our yard people and our house manager. And so, she's kind of boots-on-the-ground household manager, but I do a lot of the financial management.
Jessa: Yeah. And, I mean, to be really honest with you, I grew up in an extremely frugal home and that's never going to depart. I will go to the reservation to buy the cheap gas. I will make things–
Ben: We do not live an ostentatious life. So, as a matter of fact, so probably no surprise, we're not filthy rich, but I've built up a fitness empire, I've got a supplements company. I've written books. And so, we have what I would consider to be a good income but we drive all of our cars into the ground for 20 years, barely spend any money on fancy clothing, eat as inexpensively as possible, all real whole natural food and rarely eat processed foods. The thing we spend the most money on is once in a while, we go out to a nice restaurant, we enjoy good food.
Ben: When we travel, I learned this from another financial manager named Garrett Gunderson, don't save up and go on vacation. And, while you're on vacation, be like, “Well, we spent all our money on the plane ticket in the hotel so now we're just going to sit in our hotel room and eat cheap food on vacation.” Splurge when you're on vacation. Actually, enjoy it because those are experiences you'll never forget. And so, restaurants and when we're traveling, going out and doing a few things that probably cost more than what we do if we were at home, which I think is acceptable. And then, finally, our home, we like to have a home in which we can entertain people, bring people in for big dinners, be hospitable. And, we use our home as a place of ministry. So, even this new home we're building in Idaho, it's the most expensive thing I've ever bought in my life. But, at the same time, that is going to be an icon passed down through the Greenfield family for generations that is used for ministry, for hospitality, for fork-to-farm dinners or farm-to-fork dinners, for being with the family, for taking care of our parents. So, yeah, I am a fan of spending money on experiences, on restaurants, and on your home. And, those would be probably the areas where we splurge if we splurge on anything.
Jessa: Yes. Yep.
Ben: Yeah. Well, we sailed through most of these questions. If you guys like this, you can get the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/BenJessa2023. We just decided we go on a walk and answer all these questions for you. And, if you like this style of format and you like to hear from Jessa, pop into the comments, let us know, BenGreenfieldLife.com/BenJessa2023, and we'll answer your questions and comments and we read them all. And, it's just fun to be able to hop on with you, babe, and do a podcast with my best friend and my lover. Give me a kiss. That was a hot microphone kiss. Alright, you guys. Thanks for listening in. Till next time. I'm Ben Greenfield.
Jessa: Jessa Greenfield.
Ben: Signing out from, well, we did that like we were pros, BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.
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Q: EAA Insights asks: “Jessa, what’s the most narcissistic thing Ben has done?” 07:42
Q: Chris Brands asks: “How do you overcome major differences and still leave the connection within?” 16:22
Q: Mr. Anonymous asks: “How do you handle arguments? Does your wife ever drive you to the point of driving you nuts? If so how do you handle it?” 25:33
Q: Brisk asks: “How have you guys built your spiritual life together? What emotional regulation techniques do you employ in the moment to avoid escalation or conflict?” 35:00
Q: Trek Zoji asks: “Have Ben’s biohacking extremes ever been a point of contention for the relationship? Has Jessa ever tried to talk Ben out of an experiment? Any successful persuasion?” 43:08
Q: Erin asks: “With all of the biohacks you have tried over the years, how do you two decide which ones will stick for yourselves? Especially for Jessa, I imagine all the different supplements, machines, etc., coming to the house for Ben to try can get overwhelming!” 48:25
Q: Yanay asks: “Do you sleep in the same bed? How does that affect your sleep quality? I’ve struggled with that before.” 53:58
Q: Andre Robles asks: “I’ve looked at your schedules and can't seem to manage half what you do. How do you do it all?” 56:37
Q: Other BS asks: “How do you both contribute to your marriage considered as an economic partnership based on self-employment? How do you divide up economic roles in the family business(es)?” 1:01:10
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