Awakening, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Productivity

Getting more bang for your Thinking Buck

The human brain is a funny thing.  In Dr. Betsy Rippentrop’s Yoga for the Mind class, I learned something that massively shifted my perspective.  The human brain is like Teflon for the good stuff and Velcro for the bad stuff.  The good flows right on by, and the bad just sits there and festers.  This is a handy feature when the bad stuff can kill you, but in modern times, that “bad stuff” is often comprised of less deadly things such as your computer re-booting while you’re in the middle of crafting a nasty ol’ spreadsheet with lots of formulas and data that you have not yet saved, or getting (what you think) is a frustrated look from your boss in a meeting, or making a post on Instagram and getting only crickets in return. Yet, our mind fixates on those things, and we can quickly spin off into stories about how the world is crumbling and everyone and everything sucks, especially us.
 
So, what to do?
 
We must consciously focus on what is going well.  Recognize that our brains have this tendency to catastrophize, so intentionally pro-tastrophize or opportunitize or miracalize.  I cannot find an antonym to catastrophize, so I’m just making words up.  But you get the picture. 
 
Spend time thinking about what DID go right, what COULD go right, what IS going right in our day, in our body, in our life.  Our body is constantly releasing a slew of chemicals in response to our thoughts that changes the soup in which our cells live, and that soup determines what our cells do and what genes are activated within them.  We are not at the total mercy of the genes we carry.  The genes that get activated are determined by the signals they get from their environment.
 
Want some proof of the importance of mindset?  Check out this study: Mind-set Matters; Exercise and the Placebo Effect. Here’s a quote form the Abstract (underlining is mine):
 
In a study testing whether the relationship between exercise and health is moderated by one’s mindset, 84 female room attendants working in seven different hotels were measured on physiological health variables affected by exercise. Those in the informed condition were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Examples of how their work was exercise were provided. Subjects in the control group were not given this information. Although actual behavior did not change, 4 weeks after the intervention, the informed group perceived themselves to be getting significantly more exercise than before. As a result, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. These results support the hypothesis that exercise affects health in part or in whole via the placebo effect.
 
What the??  If we BELIEVE that what we are doing is good for us, our physiology changes to make it so!!!  This is mind-blowing. Let’s say you are a person who feels as if you never get enough exercise.  However, every morning, you walk down the stairs to brush your teeth, you bend over to get coffee out of the cupboard, you reach up to get a coffee cup, you let the dog out in the yard and toss the ball a few times and maybe chase the dog when it won’t give you the ball back.  You walk back inside and go upstairs to get dressed, reaching to the top shelf in your closet for your sweater and squatting down to get the socks out of the bottom drawer.
 
Well, look at that. You actually got in a lot of movement – shoulder stretches, squats, a little cardio, some incline and declines.  What if you started noticing all the ways you DO get enough exercise instead of telling yourself you are failing because you don’t go to the gym a few times a week.  How would your body change?
 
What other stories could you tell yourself differently to shift how your body reacts to them?  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been working with a coach, Ariel Kiley. I email her my Wins whenever I think of them (e.g. I am winning at Sober October because I haven’t had a drink yet, or I am FULLY BOOKED this week, or my body told me to quit obsessing about WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE and just take a bath (which I did)).  This is helping me counteract that negativity bias, and it’s also providing an electronic, searchable record of my Wins, so that I can pull them up when I feel poorly about myself.  SO HELPFUL.
 
I hope you are having a great day!!  If you need a Miracalize or Opportunize Partner, feel free to shoot me an email when you get a Win. <3
 
Space to be Human Lab

  • Curious about Cranial Sacral Therapy?  Get $15 off for the month of October (use code CRANIAL) when you book your session.

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Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Productivity, Yoga

What Do Meditation, Range, And Addiction Have In Common?


I’m aligning with my Gemini Rising self today and sharing a medley of things I’m reading, listening to, or pondering.
 
Meditation Medley
My Meditation Medley class has begun!  We spent the first week practicing Just One Breath.  Over the next several weeks we’ll explore several other types.  It’s not too late to sign up for the class!

  • The class will be held on the following dates from 12:45PM – 1PM CDT:
    • Aug 30, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 6, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 13, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 20, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 27, 2022 12:45 PM
  • You can register for the class here.
  • For payment, I am asking for donations to the QC Yoga Foundation.  We’d love to get a donation of $25 for the class, but any amount or no amount is also acceptable. 
    • You can make a donation to the QC Yoga Foundation here

Here is a link to the recording from Week 1, in case you want to check out what a class is like.   The class is held over Zoom, but you don’t need to share your camera.  You can see me, in case that helps you focus better (our faces help co-regulate each other, per Science and polyvagal theory).

Range
One of my favorite authors and mentors (Dr. Matthew Taylor) gave me this book to read: Range:  Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.  As a Generalist who historically has felt bad about being a Generalist, I have to say I LOVE THIS BOOK.  It’s making me appreciate my natural inclinations instead of seeing them as a fault. 

This book provides many stories (about Vivaldi, Van Gogh, Sebastian Junger, Haruki Murakami, Patrick Rothfuss, etc.)  and much research to support the benefits of pursuing many different interests as a method for figuring out what you really want to do with this one wild and crazy life.

Trying many things and failing is a how you figure out what you really love to do.  Taking ACTION to figure out what you want to do with your life (“I know who I am when I see what I do”) is the secret sauce.

The advice from the book in a nutshell: Dabble!!  Flirt with your possible selves!  Work forward from promising situations instead of working backwards from a goal.

Being a Generalist also helps you synthesize ideas from a variety of domains, which can lead to really inspired insights that someone who goes super deep into one specific area may miss.

I’m about half-way through the book, so I may write more about it in a future letter.  Little known fact – in 5th grade I broke the school record for writing the most book reports, so I have some skillz in that domain.

Addiction
“You’re not alone, and I love you.”  If we approached our loved ones who suffer from addiction with that energy, what would shift?  According to this TedTalk, the antidote to addiction is CONNECTION!

Alcohol
And on a related note, Dr. Huberman (one of my favorite podcasters and scientists) did a podcast episode on alcohol and its effects on the body. If you enjoy a cocktail regularly (especially if you average 7-14 drinks/week (like I do)), this podcast will give you pause.  The effects on brain health, hormonal health, gut health, mental health, and immune system health are, not to be too dramatic, but devastating.  This podcast has given me some really meaty food for thought.  I’m not sure where I’ll go with this, but I’m considering at least another 30 day reset. 

Space to be Human Lab

  • I appreciate referrals SO MUCH.  If you know someone who needs to work with me, please send them my way.  If they book a session, I’ll apply a coupon for $10 off your next session.  Thank you!!
  • Here is a link to book an NST session, a Yoga Tune Up session, or purchase gift certificates.

I hope you are enjoying this late summer evening!  I had my windows open today, and I feel as if I was deafened by the cicadas!  

<3

Heather

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Productivity, Uncategorized

On Liberating Constraints (aka Bossy Calendars)

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “calendar worship”?  When I first heard it, my ego was like, “Nuh-uh. Nope.  That’s not healthy.  That’s too restrictive.”  But then when I was introduced to the concept of “liberating constraint” in conjunction with “calendar worship,” my perspective shifted.  By putting self-imposed restrictions on our time, it can actually free up more brain space and energy to actually DO the things we want to do.  It can be a boon to focus and flow.  Let me explain.

I’ve been working with a business coach, Kate Reuter, and in response to my frustrations about having too much to do and too little time in which to do it, she encouraged me to start following The Life Coach School – Monday Hour One protocol.  With this protocol, you take your whole To Do list, and you book EVERYTHING on your calendar.  And then you throw away your To Do list.  You don’t need it anymore, because everything you need to do is now on your calendar. 

Easy Peasy, right?

Ha!  Well, it’s not easy.  But it IS eye-opening.

First I pulled together all the random to-do lists I have.  Then I put them in a To Do app (Todoist), and then I integrated that with my Gmail calendar.  That didn’t work so well.

Next, I actually did what Kate told me to do (Funny how one resists taking advice from an expert that one is paying quite a bit of money for.  Human brains are funny). I took my bullet journal (which is where I keep some of my tasks/appointments), my Acuity calendar (which is where I keep my bodywork appointments), and then I pulled up my Gmail calendar (which is where birthdays, some reminders, and some appointments are tracked).  No wonder I consistently feel overwhelmed – so much data in so many places.  Not to mention my Outlook calendar (which is where my appointments/tasks/reminders for my job as a project & resource manager at the bank are kept), but I’m keeping that sequestered for now.

I took all of my non-bank stuff and put it ALL on my Gmail calendar.  I started by putting in my recurring stuff:  Morning coffee & reading & writing, meditation, work-outs, showers, meals, blocks for when I work at the bank, blocks for when I see clients, and blocks for sleeping (8 hours/night). 

O M G

Before this exercise, I experienced so much self-recrimination for not accomplishing more in my week.  Why don’t I actually DO the classes I have paid for?  Why don’t I read more?  Why don’t I write more?  Why has my car been perilously close to empty for a week? 

Because my week is already pretty damn full with Living Life stuff – eating, sleeping, working. 

This was so eye-opening.  Yes, I do have some blocks of open time in my week, but I don’t have enough blocks to do EVERYTHING at the same time.  Which means I have to look at my values, and schedule those open blocks in alignment with my values.  I have to CHOOSE what is most important, and then block out time on the calendar to accomplish that.

For the past 3 weeks I have been spending an hour on Sundays planning out the upcoming week.  I already have all those recurring appointments in my calendar, which takes care of a big chunk of my week. I then take my list of To Dos that have accumulated over the week and book time for them in my calendar, and I reserve time for the following:

  • Relaxation and NOT doing stuff (usually Saturday afternoon and evening and tidbits of time throughout the week)
  • Finishing the Buteyko Breathing Certification class I bought LAST YEAR
  • Connecting with friends and/or family
  • Creating the Bodymind Blindspot Assessment and Program
  • And the misc. appointments and meetings that need to occur that week

What have I learned whilst doing this process:

  • Scheduling “free time” is liberating.  I can NOT do anything and NOT feel guilty.  “I’m just following my schedule, Ego, you can just be quiet now.”
  • I can’t do everything.  I have more realistic expectations for myself now.
  • Putting stuff on the calendar gets it out of your head, reducing “cognitive load.”  What that means is that all that stuff floating around in your head that you know you have to do “some time” takes up working memory and makes you less focused and efficient.
  • It takes discipline to do what you have scheduled to do.  Sometimes I don’t “feel” like it.  And then sometimes I don’t follow my calendar.  But sometimes I do, and then I feel very proud of myself, which is a lovely feeling!!
  • While I love working with a paper calendar, working with an online calendar makes setting up recurring events and adjusting the calendar much easier.
  • I continue to refine my calendar, based on how things went the prior week.  Each week I have a better idea of how much time things should take and what kind of balance of doing vs. being I need in order to stay sane.

If this concepts piques your interest, here are some additional resources:

Flow Research Collective – Calendar Worship and Time Tracking

  • This introduces you to the theory of “liberating constraint” and the logistics of how to start creating a calendar that will help you get into Flow.  Plus the host of the class has a gorgeous accent.  <3.

The Life Coach School – Monday Hour One

  • Brooke Castillo walks you through her approach.  I personally use kind of a hybrid between the FRC and LCS approaches.

From a spiritual, whole-person wellbeing approach, here is time-tracking guidance from “Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain” by Dr.  Matthew Taylor:

“Abusing your time commitments is participating in violence against self.  This may be in the form of overscheduling to the point that you are never still.  Or it may be by allocating your time in a manner that doesn’t reflect your inner priorities.

Both create strain and turbulence.  We aren’t machines designed to run at maximum capacity.  Try making a list of your values and prioritize them, then compare those priorities with how you actually spend your time.  Keep this list and check it each week as you plan your time.  Schedule just “being” time and honor that as a high priority.  Set the intention, set the schedule for a human (I LOVE THIS), then review.  Every week.”

Let me know if you have any questions about how I am implementing this advice, or if you need some ideas about how to get started without overwhelming yourself.

And now on to some news to share with my clients:

I am likely going to be moving in to MY OWN SPACE within the next month or so!! The new space will enable me to offer additional appointment times, and I’ll be able to offer you more treatment options including restorative yoga, mindful movement coaching, and resources to help with shifting your mindset.  I will also have an electric table, which will make it easier for you to get on and off the table, as well as enable me to lower the table, so I can more effectively treat those hips!  I am finalizing the details, but I wanted to give you a heads up as early as possible.  When I move to the new space, I will send an update in the newsletter and within your reminders from Acuity. 

Due to a variety of factors, I will also need to increase my rates.  Starting 2/1/22 rates for follow-up appointments will increase by $10.  I have options that will help keep your cost per treatment down, so please reach out to me if interested.

As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  I want to know what YOU want to know!  And if you need some help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

Whew, I budgeted 90 minutes for this letter, so I better scoot so I can get it loaded and sent out within the remaining 20 minutes.  Hope you have a great Sunday and chat with you next week!