health and wellness
Many of my clients are used to me telling them to do their homework. However, it’s more than just doing what your therapist tell you to do. We all know that we are supposed to do our exercises and it will help. The truth of the matter is that we are working with our motor control system. Here is how it works:
Imagine you decide “I want _____ (ice cream, cookie, cake etc)”. That desire is rooted in your limbic system and is the “fill my needs” part of the brain. The cerebral cortex of the brain is the strategist. It decides which route to take. Then we get into the good stuff. The motor control centre coordinates the pattern of movement ie. “do it this way”. The message is sent to the spine which is the “do it” command. The muscles are where the doing it action occurs.
When I am testing your muscle and it doesn’t work, I am getting the brain to fail. Because the brain learns from failure, if we don’t find a reason for the failure, the pattern remains. Testing the muscle lights up the Motor Control Centre and makes it available for learning. we can either do the same old thing (reinforce the failure) or give it something new (create a new neural pattern). Giving you a corrective exercise that pairs the failing muscle with the compensating muscle (in the correct order) makes a greater impact because we are re-grooving the neuromuscular pattern.
How many repetitions does this take? There is some debate on the timing and I find it’s quite individual. A minimum of 700 good repetitions upwards to 3000 good repetitions. What does a “good” repetition mean? We do not want to fatigue the muscle. This isn’t strength training. We need to get to the point where we feel the muscle activate but not tire it out. With proper form. And in the proper order.
The point is, if you do your homework diligently 3 x day, 15sec or 15 reps (activation portion of your homework) for a minimum of 2-3 weeks, you will reinforce the proper pattern.
It can be a challenge at times for me to always “practice what I preach”. What I mean by that is, we are all human! The key to what I teach though is to enable individuals to have the skills necessary to “flip” the negative emotion that is dragging them down. We can do that in various way and certainly it is going to be a different strategy from person to person. I am not immune to this process. There will always come a time where I have to do a flip.
Here’s how it happens for me. An event happens (either real life or latching on to a negative thought pattern that goes wildly out of control), then I literally can FEEL myself stepping from one emotion to the next DOWN the ladder of emotions (recall, we are all human, to live in bliss ALL the time is EXHAUSTING!). Then I wallow! Woe is me! Waaaa! A full on PITY PARTY and I am the STAR!! Then I get really annoyed with myself because it isn’t any fun to hang out in that space for very long. My mood spreads to my kids because as you know Moods are Contagious then it goes from a party of one to a full on disaster. Ever host a party in high school and then the whole town seems to show up and goes out of control? Ya, that!
And then I take a step back, take a few breaths, teach a dance class. I do SOMETHING, ANYTHING that boosts my mood even a little bit.
This time around I decided to check in with my kids (post dance class) and asked them this question.
“What do YOU need t0 feel less stressed?” And their answers were not at all what I expected they would be.
My son was the first to answer and this is what he said…
“Having a Dad”
“More family dinners”
Let me point out here that my son is 10 years old. 10. And he wants to weight train? How cool is that? I wish there was a Bull Dog Gym for kids here in Victoria because I would love that for him. The personal trainer in me will come up with something though.
And here is what my daughter said…
“More family dinners”
“More family time on the weekends (with compromises from each of us in relation to what we do).
Do I have great kids or what? It was a clear reminder that despite my misgivings and flaws, my ups and my downs, that I am doing pretty OK by my kids. My stepping back this time and focusing on my children and what their needs are was what we needed as a family. We had a great family meeting, we all feel better and I am back up that ladder of emotions (and my kids too for that matter). My point here is that we all have points where things don’t go the way we want and we get get stressed out, angry, depressed – whatever emotion you tend to get addicted to but it doesn’t mean you have to STAY there. Here is a quick and easy way to make the step to feeling better.
1) Recognize where you are at right now
2) Honor your feelings – they are there, no point in avoiding them!
3) Do something. ANYTHING that gives you the HAPPY feeling. We aren’t talking skipping on clouds and jumping rainbows here. Just find something that makes you smile. Visit a chip truck (although not here on Vancouver Island!), turn on your fav song and ROCK IT OUT, walk out side and spend 5 min soaking in the sun. You will FEEL your energy and mood start to shift.
Once you feel better, even if just a little bit, you will be able to step back and take a different perspective on your situation.
Until next time,
For more information on private sessions go to www.ehpcentre.ca
Years ago, I embarked on a personal development journey that changed my life. I was in a marriage that wasn’t healthy and needed some personal direction (that’s the coles notes version). I just needed SOMETHING. Have you ever felt that way? Like you weren’t sure exactly WHAT you needed but you knew it was something? Without getting into the down and dirty details of my life history, there was a pattern of emotional addiction (attracting to you situations that create the same emotional reaction) that I recognized and just couldn’t break out of. I actually was stuck in a freeze mode (think flight, fright, or freeze) and wasn’t functioning at my best. I was so embedded in the freeze mode that I must admit that I took a program that takes a few months to a year and stretched this out to THREE YEARS. Yes. Freeze mode. I might hold the record for the length of time to go through this process.
My personal journey was so transformative, I knew at some point I would have to include it in my ever growing collection of skills. EHP goes well beyond traditional talk therapy. This style of counselling DIGS DEEP and GETS THINGS DONE. As my friend and mentor says “If all you want to do is talk, that’s what friends are for.” I love it! And it’s true! How many times have you talked about the same situation OVER and OVER and yet…..it never really goes away.
In my professional life, I was already teaching about health and wellness, educating people on how to break bad eating habits, and lifestyle coaching. I also became a holistic health practitioner to complement my business and to create lasting physical change in my clients health and wellness but I knew there was more to it than that. I wanted to share my experience with my clients and provide this for them as I knew other factors were hindering their healing process or fitness goals.
Along the way my friends would hear me talk about “footsteps”, “pillows”, and “bliss list” but now I am so happy that I get to teach it! After years of implementing my skills in my personal life, I went on to get a degree in Psychology and training as an Emotional Health Practitioner.
If you want to learn more about how I mastered the Energy of Emotion, got rid of my pillows and followed my footsteps to create positive change in my life, check out www.ehpcentre.ca for more information.
It’s not to say that I am perfect, none of us are! I still have my crazy mom moments, my days of worry and those days were the stress gets the better of me but what I don’t do is let it drag me down for any length of time. The skills I learned empower me to create the change I need to, to pick myself up, dust myself off and go out and create the life I want.