How To Develop Autonomic Fitness So That Stress Strengthens You

Conor Murphy
by Flow Research Collective
August 1, 2023
“Do you think that life happens to you? Or do you think that you're an active agent who's making this thing happen? And I think that goes back to this core stress issue, which is, do you view these various scenarios that you find yourself in as empowering or limiting?”
Conor Murphy


In this episode, you will learn about:

  • What is stress? (4:54)
  • What is the general mindset that we bring to stress? (7:01)
  • Positive & Negative stress (9:41)
  • Stress responses (10:33)
  • Growth mindsets, grit & stress (12:19)
  • The milkshake experiment (13:18)
  • Does mindset determine our reaction to stress? (17:42)
  • Self-imposed stress vs. Externally imposed stressors (20:24) 
  • The difference between trauma and stress (23:13)
  • The 3 big elements of the stress response (26:10)
  • Regulating your stress response (29:43)
  • How to effectively deal with stress (31:05)
  • The prefrontal cortex & stress reactions (35:10)
  • Trauma & stress reactions (43:23)
  • The autonomic nervous system (48:16)
  • PTSD, autonomic fitness and stressful stimuli (54:46)
  • How to develop autonomic fitness? (57:15)
  • What is chronic stress? (1:03:11)
  • What is acute stress? (1:06:16)
  • How to approach stress (1:07:43)


Conor lives at the intersection of data science and optimal psychology, using data and technology to understand and reinforce the best parts of human experience.

He transitioned to the tech sector after spending four years leveraging data for more impactful humanitarian interventions in developing countries.

Since then, he has held a variety of positions including a faculty role for University of New Haven and Galvanize's Master of Science in Data Science program, principal data scientist and consultant for a number of startups and a data scientist and educator for Artificial Intelligence at Databricks. Outside of data, Conor is an avid skydiver, getting into the sport after reading Kotler's The Rise of Superman.


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