Clients show up in my office feeling lost and lackluster even thought they have many things to be happy and grateful about. If you follow the prescribed path laid out by your guru leader, culture, society you will eventually fall flat.
You cannot find meaning following someone else’s formula. The only way to find that effervescent joy you see others achieving is to open to the truth inside you.
This is hard and many feel overwhelmed focusing on what brings them meaning in their lives. So many of us were shamed for our deepest essence of who we are. We were told, “your a girl” “you want too much” “your different from us” “you can’t do those things” “boy’s aren’t sensitive”. We were told our value was getting a good job, into that school, getting married to the right person, having children, which meant the meaning of our life was what our community saw as valuable and available to “people like us”.
We learned early to turn off our internal barometer in favor of other people’s opinions. We found accolades and acceptance, when we did as we were told.
In my experience when we follow our personal truth toward meaning, we create, deeply from that violet light inside ourselves, a sense of belonging, being lovable, and enough. We will never have these if we aren’t looking internal for our sense of true north.
Each of our true north coordinates are different. Each of us has value, each of us has worth. Your first task is to learn to recognize your experience of openness and expansion.
These are your signals to finding your own inner peace, and establishing a sense of what is good for you. Flexibility, openness and expansion are signs of health and wellbeing. We are looking for these when we want to create lives full of meaning.
To get started think of a time you were doing something you truly loved, just because you love doing it. It could be cooking, hiking, watching TV, anything you truly love doing.
Just make sure it is not something you love because you are “supposed to do it, like it, or want it”. Make sure it is not something you love just for secondary rewards, like compliments or having someone else approve of you. Make sure it’s not something that just feels good because you are numbing out.
When you have memory of those things you did because you loved them and they created a sense of openness and expansion within you, notice how it feels in your body. Take a moment right now to feel the lightness, the ease, the fun. This activity is about noticing how you experience these feelings.
This embodied experience of openness and expansion, is the experience of purpose and meaning. Following these feelings when you are participating in your life will bring you a life full of purpose and meaning.
This is your road map to living a life you want with intention. It is about what is good and wanted in your life. And doing things that bring your unique gifts into the world. These feelings of openness and expansion are your marker for following your own path. It is the lantern that shows you your way. Following this light is how you build the life you want. And live your life on purpose. …
If you are interested in learning more about finding purpose and meaning in your life, bookmark this page or click the social media links to stay connected and learn more about mind over matter and how our physiology and psychology are inextricably linked.
If you are ready to get started making changes in your life. Then visit our clinic website to check out our amazing professionals and book your 1st appointment. www.studiob.life – we have a variety of programs to help you create your best life using psychology, physiology, and food.
My time managing fitness centers taught me that by Feb 14th we would have enough towels, lockers, and parking spaces again. People burned out on their focus and quit those new years’s goals within 6 weeks of making them.
Over the years, I learned a few things to make sure that burned out shooting star is not what I do:
1st – Sustainable change happens in small steps. Research shows solid consistent change in about 10% increments is the most predictable sign that someone will really shift their lifestyle. Sometimes it is hard to get started you can sign up with a coach, online program, or even do therapy focused activities at home.
2nd – Tracking works. I can hear your groans. Many of my clients are very audible when I bring this up. However, again research shows us that by just tracking your current behavior you will change it. Begin just counting how many times / day you do X behavior.
It can be one you want to let go of or one you want to increase. Just becoming aware of what you are currently doing and why (triggers for that behavior) will shift your consciousness around it.
Consciousness is the first step to change.
3rd – Be compassionate, toward yourself and others. You know I love this statement … research shows … compassion is a bigger driver of successful change than castigation.
However, many of us were taught to use shame and punishment to impact someone’s (including our own) behaviors.
Find that place of feeling content and appreciated for what you have accomplished thus far, even if you feel that’s only .1% of your life. It’s from this place of feeling cherished that you will make the most progress toward your goals.
As we turn the corner on another year, enjoy your day, your people, and whatever activities you have planned to being the new year.
The more I work with people using energy systems, the more I realize that one way into our experience is manipulating our “work” load. As we work on pushing up against our anaerobic threshold we can learn to expand our arousal level and increase our ability to self regulate.
This is the model I orient my psychology work from. Blending my two careers into one has taught me that the body and mind are not separate and that I can address experience through both to help heal dysfunctional physical or psychological patterns.
Hello, I am Dr Stacy Reuille-Dupont. I was an exercise scientist who turned into a clinical psychologist when I realized being healthy was about more than working out. Now I study how your body is changed by thought and emotion and how thought and emotion impact our physical systems. Here are some of the ways mental and physical health impact each other and 3 ways you can use exercise to optimize your health.
For example your heart has its own electricalsystem1 that keeps it beating in rhythm, we strengthen it through cardiovascular exercise. This is things like running, biking, swimming, walking, anything you do with your big muscle groups for a period of time that makes your heart beat faster and breath rate go up.
Equipment like treadmills, recumbent bikes, and elliptical machines are used to help people raise their heart rates indoors and get an effective cardiovascular workout done on limited time.
When we workout doing cardiovascular exercise we help our mood too. Our serotonin 2 endorphins, domaine, oxytocin, acetylcholine, all increase. These are the feel good hormones in our bodies. Doing just 2 – 30 minutes aerobic exercise sessions per week for at least 7 weeks is as good as taking a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI) anti-depressant medication for depression3.
These feel good hormones do more than just make us feel good, they also regulate other processes in our bodies and decrease inflammation throughout our physical system. This is important because inflammation 4 wreaks havoc on our tissues. It creates brain fog, digestive issues, joint pains, weight gain and makes us feel more stressed out.
When we feel stressed out everything is harder. It’s harder to learn, our relationships are more difficult, often because we are more irritated, it is harder to relax, and harder to get excited about doing fun things, which is exactly what we need to do if we are going to feel better. So it’s a double whammy of struggle.
When we feel stress we are feeling the increases of chemicals in our endocrine system. Specifically through what’s called the HPA-axis, this is our hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. They work together to shift us into high gear and stay alive through a threat. However if we don’t move those chemicals out of our system they keep us inflamed and don’t help our tissues relax. And our body mind can’t tell if the threat is really happening to us or just something we saw on TV or in our video game5. We feel it in our physical system and then we respond as though it is happening to us even if we are just watching it or playing a game.
Exercise is also considered a stressor and it works with the HPA-axis 6 too, but it gives us a mechanism to metabolize and use up those chemicals as our muscles, heart, lungs, and bones are working to move faster, lift heavy things, and challenge our fitness levels. So when we move our bodies and challenge ourselves we are building a stronger physical and mental system that works together 7.
Another big way exercise helps us is through our breathing. When we workout we breathe harder. Our lungs are one of four organs that help us get toxins out of our bodies. Exhaling even helps us lose weight8.
Breathing is directly tied to our nervous system. When we breathe in we impact our sympathetic system, this is our high energy creative doing and fight/flight side of our nervous system. As we breathe out we impact our parasympathetic nervous system side9. This is our rest, digest, stay, and play, creative inspiration, feel good side. We want to be here more. This is where we feel safe and connected to people around us and something larger than ourselves. This tells our brains we are ok and the world is ok. We don’t have to be afraid. We have help and support when we need it. All humans need these feelings. When we are here our bodies and minds work better.
So getting enough exercise is really important in our overall health. It helps our bones and muscles get stronger, helps our heart and digestive systems work better, and helps our minds learn faster, our moods feel more positive, and increases our self-confidence.
Here’s 3 exercises you can do help your body-mind get the workout it needs.
Running – Running is great because it asks the large muscles of our body to move over time – also known as cardiovascular exercise. Plus it’s hard for most of us and creates a mental game we must play if we are going to keep with it. It teaches our body how to function more effectively and our minds how to stick with boring things.
Strength training – Strength training is about challenging your muscles to be stronger than they are now. There are lots of ways we can build our strength. So we can usually find something where we don’t get too bored. We just have to pick lifting, pushing, pulling things that are just a little bit heavier than what can comfortably do now. However it’s hard to lift heavy things. This challenges our muscles, builds our bones, and helps our minds remember we can do hard things.
Yoga – Yoga asana or postures are known for its ability to help us regulate our nervous systems through repetitive movements linked to our breathing. Remember above I talked about how our breathing is tied to our nervous system? This is part of why yoga works so well. Plus it asks us to contract and lengthen our muscles in a rhythmic pattern that helps our muscles stretch and become stronger under stretch. This is important for our range of motion – how much we can move a joint on our body – and keeps us moving throughout our lifetime. Yoga teaches us to be present to each experience as it happens and to just witness it, let it go as it has happened, and move to the next moment. We do not have to hold onto our judgment, frustration, fear, or joy because things are always changing. Yoga teaches us that change is ok and that we can make it through any changes, good or bad.
If you have a healthy and developed nervous system and strong mind you can handle anything that comes your way. Even the hard stuff, the boring stuff, the wanted and the unwanted stuff. A solid nervous system helps you regulate your emotions better and helps us stay present to our experiences which make our relationships, confidence, and ability to impact our world better.
Today think about how you can move your body and help control your mind using movement. Challenge yourself to do hard things, lift more, run / walk further, or stay present to your breath. Use your body to experience everything that comes your way today.
What you do today, impacts what you can do tomorrow. Many won’t be willing to put the effort in today to have the life they want tomorrow.
Be willing to do the hard work of creating the life you want. This is called living an embodied life.
Want help incorporating these ideas into your mental and physical fitness routines?
We work with people online and in person to learn more about how you can live more embodied everyday, understand how you can cultivate good feelings through simple movements and breathing exercises, and look closer at the science behind what’s happening in your psychology and physiology?
2 – Peluso M. A. M., & Guerra de Andrade, L. H. S. (2005). Physical activity and mental health: The
association between exercise and mood. Clinics, 60(1), 61-70.
3 – Wipfli, B., Landers, D., Nagoshi C., & Ringenbach, S. (2011). An examination of serotonin and psychological variables in the relationship between exercise and mental health. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 21, 474-481. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01049.x
4 – Dandekar, A, Mendez, R, & Zhang K. (2015). Cross talk between ER stress, oxidative stress, and inflammation in health and disease. In Christine M. Oslowski (ed.), Stress Responses: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1292, (205-214). Springer Science+Business Media. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-2522-3_15
5 – Cunningham-Bussel, A. C., Root, J.C., Butler, T., Tuescher, O., Pan, H., Epstein, J., Weisholtz, D., S., Pavony, M., Silverman, M. E., Goldstein, M., S., Altemus, M., Cloitre, M., LeDoux, J., McEwen, B., Stern, E., Silbersweig, D. (2009). Diurnal cortisol amplitude and fronto-limbic activity in response to stressful stimuli. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(5), 694-704, ISSN 0306-4530, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.11.011.
6 – Vassilakopoulos, T., Zakynthinos, S., Roussos, C., & Economou, M. (1999). Strenuous resistive breathing induces proinflammatory cytokines and stimulates the HPA axis in humans. American Journal of Physiology, 277(4), R10103-R1019. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1999.277.4.R1013
7 – Cotman, C. W., Berchotold, N. C., & Christie, L-A. (2007). Exercise builds brain health: Key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation. TRENDS in Neurosciences, 30(9), 464-472. DOI:10.1016/j.tins.2007.06.011
8 – Meerman, R., & Brown, A. J. (2014). When somebody loses weight, where does the fat go? Gastroenterologocial Tracts. The BMJ, 349(7257), 1-3. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7257
9 – Appelhans, B. M., & Luecken, L. J. (2006). Heart rate variability as an index of regulated emotional responding. Review of General Psychology (10)3, 229–240. doi: 10.1037/1089-26188.8.131.52