I had the privilege of hearing Dr Libby Weaver speak at the Sydney Business Chicks event last week, and my intention is to share the key messages I received here with you.
I received so much valuable information that is so relevant to what I stand for and what I'm here to do in my work to support women who are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, being all things to everyone else and putting themselves last at the sacrifice of their well being.
In this two hour workshop Dr Libby shared the Three Pillars - the Biochemical, Nutritional, and Emotional reasons behind what might be driving your body to behave and function in certain ways, such as chronic stress, urgency, pressure and sacrificing personal well being to please and be all things to others.
How can we really be at our best at home, work and life if we are not taking care of ourselves??
What makes up your health is the combination of every little choice we make each and every day.
Biochemical influences on energy
Every single second there are billions of biochemical reactions occurring in our body. We need nutrients to support these biochemical reactions. Cells within the body can only communicate when nutrients are present.
Nutrients come from real food from nature.
Your body naturally has the capacity to make substances that create energy, but it needs the nutrients in order to do so.
Nutrients create energy and energy is the currency of health.
Stress hormones and energy
We have an inbuilt ancient survival mechanism running to keep us safe from danger. This is functioning at a subconscious level - you can't instruct it, it happens outside of your awareness and has the primary goal of your survival at heart. So if danger is perceived the body adjusts it's chemicals and hormones to prepare for "fight or flight". Adrenaline is one of these hormones, and when present it acts like a messenger waving a red flag communicating a red alert, a warning of danger.
Here's the important thing to know.
The body doesn't know the difference between real or perceived danger. So if danger, risk, fear, worry is perceived or imagined, the body will fire up it's stress response. Then your cells react and respond depending on what's going on with your chemicals and hormones.
Basically what's happening as things are evolving so quickly on the planet, is that we are constantly living in fight and flight mode which means the body is pumping adrenaline and is ready to react to danger. Think about the impact of social media and mobile phones that allow us to be plugged in constantly creating pressure, stress and overwhelm for many.
This impacts whats happening inside your body. Reduced blood flow to the digestive tract as a result of living in the red zone, means there is limited blood available to digest and extract the nutrients we need from our food.
We need to be out of stress mode and into rest and repair mode to extract nutrients from our food.
How Can We Get Out Of Stress Response?
Current science shows the only thing that will extend the rest and repair nervous system response is to extend the length of exhalation - that's it.
Therefore anything that encourages mindful deep breathing is highly recommended. Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, Deep diaphragmatic breathing.
Short, sharp breathing into the chest is driven by adrenaline. When breathing deeply this communicates to every cell in your body that you are safe - you couldn't breathe like this if you truly were in danger.
Dr Libby spoke a lot about the importance of optimal liver function and that the body is not equipped to break down processed "food". We get our nutrients through food and remember we need nutrients for optimal biochemical functioning in our body. Her key message here is exactly the same as mine, pure and simple.
Eat real food. And don't over complicate it.
Eat lots of plant based food, organic is best. Nature gets it right and man often doesn't. Question why you put your trust in food that is on the shelf when it's full of chemicals that haven't even been tested for safety in the human body. I won't say anymore about nutrition here.
What things in our modern life cause us to create Adrenaline and activate the stress response?
Caffeine and the perception of pressure and urgency.
Caffeine creates adrenaline production and increases the load on the liver. I'm not going to talk any further about this here. If you want to find out more check out Dr Libby's resources here and her books for further information.
Perception of Pressure and Urgency
A large part of the stress response is due to how you perceive and create meaning about things occurring every moment of the day. Again this happens at a subconscious level, until we become consciously aware of our patterns and ways of thinking. When are are aware, then we get to choose how we see and experience our life.
Perception matters. How you see and create meaning around life either creates pressure, urgency and stress or it doesn't. The language you use matters.
How you perceive the world and your experience through your own unique filter, provides the information for your body to create a chemical response directly to that information. So regardless of the situation or circumstances if you perceive pressure or urgency, then the stress response is activated.
How we see things and feel about things matter.
So you could re-frame the things that upset you whether it's your skin, your body, exhaustion, fatigue, moodiness and see these as the messengers that are telling you something is out of balance. It's up to you to listen and work out what's going on because living tired and exhausted impacts every single part of your life and the people in it. You are not helping anyone or yourself by functioning in this less than optimal way.
You have to care about yourself enough to make changes, to take responsibility for your life.
Explore your perception of urgency
Identify what stresses you out. It is never about the thing, it's always about how that makes you feel, and it's triggering a subconscious fear. If you're willing to look under the surface you will find out what you're really afraid of. It can be hard to look under the surface alone, this is exactly what I do and can help you do this, find out how and book a session HERE. And for most of us our greatest fear is that we are not enough, and if we are not enough then we will not be loved.
As a result you will do ANYTHING to avoid that pain, such as running yourself to exhaustion to gain approval, love and acceptance or be the good, helpful nice girl, people pleasing and over giving again in the pursuit of love.
Choose to view life through a lens of appreciation and gratitude. Your nervous system can't focus on two things at once - appreciation and gratitude will take you out of the survival stress response.
Shift your perception around what you have to do on a daily basis from one of pressure, stress and anxiety to see the gifts and opportunities and all you are grateful for. This will shift you out of the stress response.
Feminine energy responds to praise. Masculine energy responds to challenge.
Any time we berate, judge, criticize, blame, or feel guilty we create a stress response in the body, which further perpetuates the cycle.
Long term change has only ever come from kindness - not from deprivation.
Emotions and Beliefs
When you are educated and know what to do, why do we do what we do when we know what we know?
Because of our subconscious beliefs, many of which were formed in our younger childhood years.
Our beliefs are what determine our behavior and our experience of life.
If you believe there are not enough hours in the day, that will be your experience.
If you believe you will never get everything done without being exhausted this will be your experience, and you continue to create evidence to back-up this belief.
You see the world how you see the world and how you are inside, not how it really is. This is why two people have completely difference experiences of the same situation.
Many of our deeper beliefs were absorbed subconsciously as a child as we learnt to make sense of our environment, and these beliefs were shaped by our parents, society, religion, peers and teachers.
We are hardwired for love, being essential to survival. Much of our behavior to achieve, be successful, be liked, respected, to be the nice girl who gives, gives and gives is driven subconsciously by trying to pursue love to avoid rejection and feelings of not enough, not deserving or lack of worthiness.
Our beliefs create our perceptions which create our emotions and therefore our behavior and experience.
When you know better and you just can't seem to do better - there are subconscious beliefs impacting your behaviour.
You can work with a coach to help you change and transform your beliefs so they align with what you desire. This is exactly what I do as a Master NLP Practitioner and EFT Practitioner to identify and clear the beliefs and blocks that are preventing you from taking action aligned with what you want. You can find out more and book a session with me here.
When you know that you're enough, when you can bring love and acceptance for who you really are, then taking care of yourself is effortless.
- Education doesn't necessarily change behaviour.
- Our bodies are functioning in a chronic stress response.
- Caffeine and perceived pressure and urgency activate stress response.
- We get to choose how we PERCEIVE our life.
- If you're having difficulty changing despite what you know then your beliefs are impacting your behaviour.
- Restriction, criticism, self-judgement and harsh self-talk activates the stress response.
- Gratitude and appreciation, self-love and kindness and deep diaphramic breathing can help to bring you out of the stress response.
- Self love and kindness will also bring you out of stress response.
- Deep diaphragmatic breathing is the only thing that can extend the rest and repair response.
- Get your hands on Dr Libby Weavers new book Exhausted to Energized to find out more.