Podcast 285: Mindfulness and Landlording

Mindfulness and meditation is all the rage these days as apps like Calm and Headspace have become mainstream. I talk about a few things to keep in mind when you’re stressed and in a difficult situation.

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Show Transcription:

Eric Worral: (00:00)
Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of RentPrep for Landlords. It’s episode number 285 and I am your host Eric Worral. And today we’re going to be talking about two subject matters that don’t typically make it together in the same sentence. And that is mindfulness and landlording. So we’re going to be talking about why they don’t typically belong together, but maybe why they should when we’re talking about all that right after this.

Voice Over: (00:25)
Welcome to the RentPrep for Landlords podcast and now your hosts, Steven White and Eric Worral.

Eric Worral: (00:32)
So I have to say, I hesitate doing this episode in this topic .a little bit because I feel like there’s a wishy-washy feeling attached to mindfulness meditation. And those are things that are really becoming prevalent right now in large part due to apps such as Calm or Headspace because it’s just kind of feels wishy-washy, right?

Eric Worral: (00:53)
It’s a, you think of somebody who’s levitating with their knees kind of folded into themselves and you know, maybe making noises like, hum hum. But I have to admit that over the last couple of years, it’s a practice that I have explored and gone in and out of practice with. And that’s meditation. And if you are one of those people kind of like, I’ve been who find the topic to be a little bit gag-worthy. I’m a good book that I’ve read on it is called 10% happier by Sam Harris. He’s a, I’m an area, actually, it’s Dan Harris. Sam Harris is an expert in this field as well. But Dan Harris, who had a breakdown on live air, he just emotionally, mentally melted down on good morning America and he had been working his butt off to be the number one anchor. Right? He wanted that top primetime spot and he was on his way to getting there.

Eric Worral: (01:47)
But anyway, he had some PTSD from reporting over in Iraq. It’s from some of the things that he saw over there and he was kind of leaning on drugs and alcohol and really just a workaholic trying to get to his destination with his work. And after that meltdown, one of the things that he found was that meditation made him 10% happier. So that’s the title of the book that he has, but he does a really great job of demystifying it, taking out kind of all the wishy-washy aspects of it. And really just kind of talking in plain English about this topic. But the last couple of years is something that, like I said, I’ve gone in and out of practice with, but I think that it is a great exercise for anybody who is going to get into real estate and specifically managing properties and tenants.

Eric Worral: (02:35)
And I brought it up in the podcast before, but managing a property with tenants is a difficult thing to do sometimes because that is your investment future. That is your blood, sweat, tears, equity. You can say it’s more than sweat equity in that property and you want to make sure that somebody who’s living there is, you know, enjoying the home, but also taking care of it as, and then for them, I mean, it really is meeting one of their most basic needs and that is shelter, a place to live. So sometimes these two worlds collide. And as we know what the truth is it lies in the middle a lot of times, right? And I know that it’s easy for landlords to say, Oh my gosh, all our tenants are horrible. And then for tenants to say all landlords are evil and there’s kind of this great battle that kind of exists in that realm, but a lot of times the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Eric Worral: (03:28)
And whenever you have things like shelter and investments and sweat equity kind of just fighting at each other, that’s going to be sometimes a Trump [inaudible] situation. So when something like that happens you can kind of rest and go back to mindfulness. Now what I’ve found for myself, and this is going to be different for everybody else you know, it’s going to be something specific to you, might be different than even your partner or somebody else that you’re close to. But for me, I’ve started to identify triggers that I have that kind of let me know that something’s off. Sometimes it’s obvious, right? And you just blow a gasket and you get really upset. Well, that’s obvious to you, your neighbors, that stranger across the street that it’s not going okay. But sometimes there’s little things that creep up that you don’t realize that are happening, but could be the result or tension that you’re carrying around from being a landlord and dealing with everything that you deal with.

Eric Worral: (04:26)
Wa what I’ve discovered about myself is a couple of years ago I started getting TMJ, like locked jaw on the morning. I was biting down really hard on my sleep. And then realizing that the, the doctor told me that he goes, he kind of did this little demonstration for me, and he goes, all right, I want you to make a fist and I want you to squeeze as hard as you can. And then he goes, okay, now I want you to open your hand. Palm open bite, just wants you to just kind of squeeze without closing your hand. And he said, when you’re doing both of these things, you’re putting the same amount of tension on your hand and your muscles, but one of them is obvious where you have that closed fist and the other one where it’s open, you’re still kind of walking around with that tension.

Eric Worral: (05:05)
So he kinda introduced me a little bit to just some breathing exercises and you know, taking note of times that I might be kind of stressed out and not even realizing it. And from doing this actually, I was able to greatly reduce the issues that I was having with TMJ with like lockjaw on those issues. And it made me realize how many times that I would just have tension and I would feel it kind of in my temples and the other place I could feel it and notice it, it was my shoulders. My shoulders will just start to rise up. Almost like somebody pulling them, like, you know [inaudible] pulling on the strings or something and my shoulders, I’ll be driving, especially if it’s like really bad weather out and people are driving like jerks, you know, I’ll start to just kind of feel my shoulders kinda rising up towards my ears.

Eric Worral: (05:48)
And when I feel that now I’ll just say, okay, take a breath. Breathe. It’s OK. So being able to identify those things, especially in a, where you’re dealing with another human being, another individual trying to live their life and realizing that, you know what? This is starting to go off the rails a little bit. What can I do? Well, I can stop, I can take a breast, I can kind of put a little bit of focus on my breath, realize that my life is not in jeopardy in this moment. There’s just a tenant who is dealing with a frustrating situation, but it’s frustrating to me too, and I’ve had this happen. I know you have, if you’ve had rental property long enough where I don’t know like the drain gets backed up and there’s a little bit of water damage that happens, but you think it might be because they weren’t properly maintaining something or they didn’t let you know early enough that there was an issue and they think that you’re a slum because you’re not coming out there and checking the drain every month.

Eric Worral: (06:40)
You know, that’s maybe a bad example, but I know that you’ve got one that comes to mind if you’ve been managing properties long enough. So this is kind of my pitch or at least my push to checkout an app like Calm or Headspace. I know that Headspace has like a free seven day trial period that you can check it out and there’s tons of resources on YouTube and other places as well. But if you can at least start to kind of just see when you’re flaring up and when you have a tension building or your triggers are starting to show when you’re getting worked up and emotional dealing with a tenant. Because the last thing you want to do as a landlord is be an emotional landlord. Do you want to make sure that you’re level headed and that you’re coming into the situation with a good head on your shoulders and that you’re kind of centered in a way.

Eric Worral: (07:27)
And if you can get into the practice of meditation and dig into that, I think you may find that easier to do. I’m not saying I’m perfect at it, I definitely have my moments where I am pretty bad at it. But I do find that once I get back into the practice and you know, it’s just five, 10 minutes a day usually in the mornings for me really helps with just being able to control my emotions and kind of see when my emotions are controlling me a little bit earlier and having that awareness is so helpful. So again, check out those two apps and then also 10% Happier by Dan Harris is also a great read. I listened to the audiobook. He narrates it and does a great job with that as well. So yeah, shoot me an email. This is something that you’ve been exploring yourself. I’m always curious to hear how that works for you and how you’ve been able to apply it to being a landlord. Love to bring that up on a future episode. Again, that email is eric@rent-prep. All right guys, until next week, have a great week. Take care.