Toe-to-toe with Alex Jordan

video transcript

[Antonia]

Today, we're joined by Alex Jordan, agent at McGrath Paddington. So lovely to have you with us today, Alex. 

[Alex]

Thank you. Lovely to be here. 

[Antonia]

So I want to jump straight in. You're of course, a leading agent, arguably Queensland's number one agent. But something people probably don't know about you is how much time you dedicate to looking after your physical and mental being. And I know you've shared with me that the motivation for that is driven from some personal health issues. Are you happy to share a little bit of that story with us today, Alex? 

[Alex]

Sure yeah, happy to. I've had health issues from when I was a bit younger. I have two autoimmune diseases and the reason I focus so much on health is to manage these conditions. So it's become a topic of interest and I'm passionate about it because now that I've got children, I need to make sure they don't have the same experience. I was worried that they would, because genetically these things can be passed on. So, health is something that I read about on a daily basis to try and manage inflammation and my issues with health. I am on a very strict diet, we could call it a ‘Ketogenic’ diet or ‘Keto’ diet, which I’ve lost a lot of weight from - from that and the Crohn’s disease. But it's the way that I can manage my inflammation, so I don't have to be on strong pharmaceutical drugs. So at the moment, my day starts early in the morning. I try to look at the sun… when the sun is actually there. So I actually bought myself a red light therapy, it's like this panel that mimics the morning sun and the afternoon sun.

[Antonia]

And you use that as an alternative? 

[Alex]

Yeah, yeah, I do. I'm into all this biohacking stuff because I'm always trying to figure out how to manage inflammation, anxiety and stress I guess. So I start the day and I try to get outdoors, fresh air, barefoot, on the ground and then look at the sun with eyes half closed for 10 to 15 minutes. Because actually, if you're into this sort of thing, there's a podcast that a guy does and it’s “Huberman Lab” and Huberman talks about all of these things. He's a neuroscientist, and he goes through the benefits of doing these things for sleep, for anxiety, depression and so on. 

[Antonia]

And is it about grounding? Is it about the feet touching the Earth and looking at the sun or all of those things combined? 

[Alex]

Yeah, I think when you study health, you come to a realization that the more connected you are to nature, and you almost have to go back to how humans lived hundreds of years ago, the better the health outcomes. So it's a combination of breathing in fresh air. Getting natural light into the optics, into the brain and grounding yourself because we are energy beings. And when you ground yourself, you can actually measure the energy running through your body when you're wearing shoes versus when you're grounded. You can actually buy a device and it shows you. So as soon as you're grounded, you go to neutral, you're at 0. But if you sit on an electric chair, you'll be at very high amperage, which is not natural for humans. So the only way you can neutralize yourself is to go and ground yourself. And if you look at today's society, we're so disconnected from nature. We wear rubber shoes, we walk on concrete surfaces. Very rarely do you get the opportunity to Earth yourself. So that's where the concept came from. It came from an electrician actually who used this to help his arthritis and his knee pain. And now you can buy mattresses with covers, you can buy the actual cover I should say - that's an earthing sheet that connects to the Earth. So you put it into the Powerpoint, you don't turn the PowerPoint on, it stays off. But the Earth of the PowerPoint makes the mattress, which has a little bit of silver in it so it's conductive - it makes it that you're Earthed when you're sleeping. 

[Antonia]

How fascinating. And so does that allow you to sleep?

[Alex]

Better sleep, lower inflammation (which can be measured). I think if anyone's trying to judge the experience, if you go to a beach or if you go somewhere into nature and you feel better afterwards, an element of that is from the connection to the ground. 

[Antonia]

We always feel better when we take our shoes off and we walk along the beach and water laps at our feet. There's something so therapeutic about that. I think we all know that. Yeah. So you start every day that way in your backyard, Alex?

[Alex]

In the backyard, yeah.

[Antonia]

And what time roughly would this commence?

[Alex]

It's getting a bit later because of the light, but at the moment it'd be six o'clock. In Summer, it's a bit earlier. And as we get towards Winter, I'll probably adjust that. So it's as the sun rises I want to be awake, and I do a little bit of a meditation on YouTube, which is a 15 minute meditation or a 10 minute one, there's two different ones. And then as I'm sort of trying to look at the lights, I listen to the guided meditation at the same time. 

[Antonia]

When does that dreaded mobile make its way into your hands? 

[Alex]

Unfortunately, I'm not very good at that. I actually check my phone very early in the morning. I think part of that is the anxiety that I wake up with because I wake up quite early with a bit of anxiety. Often I don't know why. And I need, well not need - but I choose to look at my phone just to get an understanding of what I need to do. And it sort of clears me a little bit because I'm always worried about what's happened during my sleep. So I'm thinking I better find out when I wake up. And I'm like, all right, I'll check the email, I'll check a few things and then I'll put it aside for an hour or so.

[Antonia]

I appreciate your honesty on that because I think that's something that most of us do. And I think anyone listening would assume that given the level that you are at in your career, that you've got that all managed and down pat. So I appreciate you actually being up front about that because I think it's something that many of us do struggle with - that need to check in to just regain that sense of control and to understand what's eventuated overnight while we've been asleep. 

[Alex]

And it's something that I need to practice to get better at. There is a perception that if you're high performing in this industry, that you've got everything in your life well balanced and organized. It's definitely not the case with me, I'm fragile and broken. I'm not systemized and structured or as disciplined as people assume I am. There's an assumption that everything's working like clockwork and you’re like this ‘beautiful watch’. We’re not in that sort of realm, I would say.

[Antonia]

And again, I feel like it’s really important we have these honest conversations because sometimes I think we feel guilty if we are picking up the phone and we're not able to switch it off and we assume that, yes, given where you're at, that you must have that all perfectly sorted out. 

[Alex]

I think there are certain things in life that if you don't have these things well balanced that you will struggle to live your best life. And the most important thing in my experience is sleep. Getting good sleep. So I try and get to bed quite early. I try not to eat too much before bed. My nighttime routine governs my next day's mood and I guess, actions. So if I don't get night time right, the next day has been compromised. 

[Antonia]

Yeah, I think getting enough sleep is really important. A lot's been said about that. What does a good sleep look like for you? Is it 8 hours? 

[Alex]

Look, ideally it's 7 to 8 hours and full darkness. So not even a small amount of light, because your circadian rhythm runs on melatonin and melatonin is the hormone that's produced by the pineal gland. And if it gets exposed to light, it stops the production of melatonin. So if you have a wake up during the night and you need to use the bathroom and you turn a light on, that will then trigger your circadian rhythm to say that this is wake up time. So the next night, you'll probably wake up at a similar time unknowingly, and we practice that with our children as well when my wife is breastfeeding. We wouldn't have much light at all. And the idea is that if you're looking at your hand, you're not seeing your hand. It's that dark that you're not seeing it. So I try and get a good 8 hours of darkness, but I end up waking up at like 4 - 4:30, but I'm tossing and turning. 

[Antonia]

So you're obviously going to bed very early then Alex.

[Alex]

Yeah, I'm in bed between 8 - 9 PM usually. I don't drink because it has an impact on my inflammation, so my routine is really important to just be able to function. 

[Antonia]

Well, thanks so much, Alex. It's been a pleasure and I always learn so much when I talk to you. Thanks for sharing your insights and your knowledge about how you're able to prioritize your physical and mental well-being. 

[Alex]

Thank you. It's a privilege and a pleasure. Cheers! 

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