How to Optimize Your Brain-Body Wellness

Fun Fact: Last year, I worked intensively with a small group of clients on an in-depth protocol for brain-body wellness. This protocol involved coaching, Brainspotting, QEEG (brain mapping), biohacking, and brain-supporting lifestyle interventions.

Results: Each client improved certain aspects of their brain-body wellness, ranging from brain voltage, performance speed, sleep quality, and happiness levels. I tracked 23 metrics for each of my clients, and I saw a range of 70-100% in improvement (yes, one client improved on every metric we tracked across the board). Wowza!

(And by the way, I don't take credit for these improvements, and I don't believe that any coach/practitioner should take credit for any of the progress that their client makes. Quantum physics supports the idea that ‘entanglement' means that the client and the coach/practitioner are affecting each other. Ultimately, however, we know that it is the client him/herself that takes responsibility and ownership for their improvement).

Want to know how we did it?  I believe that brain-body wellness is THE key factor in your success, so I am providing a helpful starting point to achieve these kinds of results on your own. Some of the interventions we did (Brainspottting, biohacking, and lifestyle interventions) require special equipment and specialized/certified practitioners.  But there are three steps that you can take on your own that will get the ball rolling with some significant momentum in the right direction:

1) Intention,

2) Goal Setting and Tracking, and

3) Responsibility.  I also believe that asking the “magic wand” question is a powerful tool, and this time of year is the best time to utilize this well-researched approach (based on Solution Focused Therapy). We also used a laughter-practice, which made the process FUN.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

Intention

The power of intention was demonstrated in a study of Buddhist meditators who were able to change their resting metabolic rate by applying meditative practices/intentions. Through the power of intention, these meditators were able to increase resting metabolism by an impressive 61%, or lower it by an even more astonishing 64%. Intention aligns with the idea that we have the freedom to choose among infinite Quantum possibilities.

Transformational interventions begin with intention because they set the endpoint of where we want to go from where we are today. In this quote, Dr. Deepak Chopra provides a further definition of the power of intention when they are created and then released into the universe:

Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.

Dr. Chopra provides a five-step process to create intentions that include meditation, having trust, and letting go.

1. Slip into the Gap. 

2. Release Your Intentions and Desires. 

3. Remain Centered in a State of Restful Awareness. 

4. Detach from the Outcome. 

5. Let the Universe Handle the Details. 

Another resource I recommend is the “Inner Pilot Light” exercise from Dr. Lissa Rankin, MD. She likens our Inner Pilot Light to bread crumbs in the direction of what to do. Our Inner Pilot Light can help us to set a meaningful intention because we can ask for help, accepting that we cannot do it on our own, and instead ask questions such as, “what are my beliefs about health?”, “what are my beliefs about my illness?” and “what are my beliefs about the body’s ability to repair itself?” (Rankin, 2014, p. 194-195).

Goal Setting and Tracking

Okay, so maybe you're a (recovering) management consultant (like me) or a numbers-oriented investment banker (like my husband). Perhaps you're ready to get specific about things you'd like to accomplish in the coming year. You can read elsewhere about SMART (or SMARTER) goals and other fun stuff, but what I’d like to offer you here is the idea that your goals should not only be SMART/SMARTER, they should also cover more areas than just business and money! With my clients last year, we used the Quality of Life Inventory tool as a starting point to broaden our horizons and expand our focus. I don’t suggest that you set goals across all 15 of the following areas (5-7 is enough), but here is a starting point to get you thinking about areas of your life where you can set goals for 2020:

1.     Health, defined as lacking pain and/or disease and being physically fit

2.     Self-Esteem, defined as a respect for self, taking into account strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures

3.     Work, defined as your career or occupation

4.     Play, defined as what you do in your free time including relaxation, hobbies, sports and having fun

5.     Learning, defined as personal development and expansion of skills

6.     Creativity, defined as the use of imagination and talent to create as in creative writing, painting, photography and other creative pursuits

7.     Helping, defined as giving back to others in need

8.   Love, defined as close relationships and often with a single person that involves sexual feelings and intimacy

9.   Friends, defined as a group of individuals that share common interests and support one another

10.   Children, defined as the quality of relationships with offspring

11.   Relatives, defined as the quality of relationships with parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended family.

12.   Home, defined as the place where one lives such as an apartment or home

13.   Neighborhood, defined as the is the area around one’s home

14.   Community, defined as a town, city, or zone that encompasses the area around one’s neighborhood, and yes

15.     Money, defined as the material standard of living based on money earned and possessions owned (McGrath & Skilbeck, 2012).

The 15 areas above, suggested by the Quality of Life Inventory, are a starting point because they have been studied and used for well-being and satisfaction metrics to plan interventions by psychologists and coaches (Frisch, 2013). If you are still hungry for more information about goal-setting (and you are getting tired of reading), check out this YouTube video where I discuss goal-setting in the context of setting up your best year in 2020.

Responsibility

I mentioned ‘responsibility’ in the introductory section, specifically that a coach/practitioner should not take credit for any progress that their client makes. Instead, the client owns that progress through her role in creating success. The coach is more of the “guide from the side.” For an in-depth discussion on responsibility, I will send you to my favorite resources on this subject, Steven Covey and Jack Canfield. Here I will focus on the fact that responsibility works both ways, involving both the client and the coach. Based on the Quantum physics principle of ‘entanglement,' the coach has a responsibility to be in her or his own best state-of-being to provide the best outcomes for the client. The client also takes an active role in creating positive results by sharing the responsibility to grow in consciousness. Did you know that optimism is a crucial predictor of positive outcomes for medical procedures? (Scheier et al. 1999). The client shares the responsibility with the coach to hold a positive intention for improved results. The more each (the client and the coach) knows about and accepts the interconnectivity of the transformational relationship, the more likely the entangled pair will experience positive outcomes. Here are two profound questions to ask your coach (or anyone that supports you in achieving your success):

1) how committed are they (the coach/practitioner) to the process of assisting you?

2)  how well are they (the coach/practitioner) taking care of themselves/their success so that they are best able to support you?

I know the second question may appear especially nosy and personal (to ask a coach/practitioner). However, I suggest that you take the time to make sure to find out if those who are supporting you are in a strong position themselves. You don't want to be supported by a weak/insufficient support-system. A coach/practitioner that isn't taking great care of themselves is unlikely to propel you to your highest success level in 2020.

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Finally: The “Magic Wand” Question and A Laughter Practice

I will cover this briefly by sharing that at the start of my work with each client, I asked them the “magic wand question”:

“If you could wave a magic wand and improve your life instantly, what would it look like?” 

This question was the start of many amazing trails blazed together. This question comes from the work of Solution Focused Therapy, of which I'm a big fan. I will also share that I'm a fan of the movement around laughter yoga and the idea of making anything transformational FUN (or funny). Fun and funny mean different things to different people, so I got lots of input from my clients about what made them laugh and lighten the load of transformational work. I now have a long, diverse list of fun/funny videos, but I will share with you here just a few:

Mick Jagger Told John Maloney “He’s Not Funny”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWrKf5ik1i4

Wheel of Music Impressions (Jimmy Fallon): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss9ygQqqL2Q

Steve Martin as RUPRECT (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF8QAeQm3ZM

Have a happy and healthy new year!

References:

Frisch, M. B. (2013). Evidence-based well-being/positive psychology assessment and intervention with quality of life therapy and coaching and the Quality of Life Inventory (QOLI). Social Indicators Research,114(2), 193-227. doi:10.1007/s11205-012-0140-7

Rankin, L. (2014). Mind over medicine: Scientific proof that you can heal yourself. New York, NY: Hay House.

Scheier, M. F., Matthews, K. A., Owens, J. F., Schulz, R., Bridges, M. W., Magovern, G. J., & Carver, C. S. (1999). Optimism and rehospitalization after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Archives of Internal Medicine, 159(8), 829-835. doi:10.1001/archinte.159.8.829

Thomas, M. D., McGrath, A., & Sklibeck, C. E. (2012). The psychometric properties of the Quality of Life Inventory in an Australian community sample: Psychometric properties of the QOLI. Australian Journal of Psychology, 64(4), 225-234. doi:10.1111/j.1742-9536.2012.00054.x

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