How to Turn Your Stress into Empowerment with Faye Lawand

me&my health up podcast episode #71 – Transcript

Anthony Hartcher 0:01
Imagine how good it would be to turn your stress into a source of empowerment. Just think how good this would be, hey, you could say goodbye to your COVID stress. I would love that right now, my home state New South Wales, Australia has just been declared a national state of emergency. So I am keen to learn and share the secret sauce of how this stress can be turned into a source of empowerment.

In this episode of me&my health up, we chat with Faye Lawand on this hot topic of stress. I’m your host Anthony Hartcher, a clinical nutritionist, and lifestyle medicine specialist.

Just before we tackle stress, I would like to share a little bit more about Faye. Faye’s lived experience of stress started from birth during a civil war in Lebanon, it manifested in her and subsequently resulted in three burnout events which were debilitating. Faye spent the next 15 years of her life researching and experimenting to develop a blueprint of how to prevent burnout and turn stress into empowerment. So here is burnout, free Faye Lawand, and welcome.

How are you today?

Faye Lawand 1:19
Good. Thank you so much for your very warm introduction. I’m good, and all our thoughts are with all of you in Australia and particularly New South Wales.

Anthony Hartcher 1:30
Yeah, thank you. I really appreciate that acknowledgment because certainly, we have some people that are experiencing hardship with the lockdown. So and you know, you’re very familiar with what it’s like to be locked down. So yeah,

Faye Lawand 1:47
Those countries sorry to interrupt you, lockdowns go contrary, contrary to the way we’re wired to live in a way that sustains our optimal levels of health and well being and that’s why you’ve probably noticed that a lot more of us now are more agitated than usual, we’re behaving in a way that seems to be a little bit more out of character, that we have things coming up from the past that we thought we had dealt with, because our nervous system is actually wired to be inclusive, and to be together, and when we are required to move away from the other, and to protect ourselves from the other that alerts and signals danger to the nervous system.

And the nervous system shifts into this place of, of stress into this place of survival, and that’s not that state of survival, as we know, is not the optimal state for ease health and well being that we all dream of, when we dream of, you know, a wonderful life that’s worth living.

Anthony Hartcher 2:48
Yeah, thanks for sharing that because I’ve certainly observed exactly what you’re relaying there, in terms of, you know, people out there teetering on that breaking point, you can see that it’s not going to take much to get the person over it because they’re, as you said, they’re in that heightened sense of, you know, acute awareness and acute sensitivity, so to speak, because the stress levels are so high.

Faye Lawand 3:19
The other piece of that, that contributes to the heightened stress levels is the levels of uncertainty under which we’re all living.

Like right now, regardless of which part of the world you’re in. We’re facing unprecedented unfamiliarity, unpredictability and uncertainty because we don’t know where this is going. We have no idea where this pandemic, how this pandemic has evolved, and how it’s going to resolve because it will resolve and so with that uncertainty, a level of unfamiliarity, once again, that triggers to the brain into the nervous system, that there’s danger out there that there are threats out there. After all, the nervous system needs certainty and predictability to be balanced in order to be grounded and to serve you and to serve your health and you’re well-being.

In the absence of certainty and an absence of familiarity with all our nervous systems hear all 7 million nervous systems on the planet, 7 billion nervous systems on the planet right now, are compromised and of course, it’s a spectrum, but I think it’s really important to acknowledge and to recognize that all of us literally are experiencing the same level of interior and internal un-wellness when it comes to our nervous system, health and well being.

Anthony Hartcher 4:39
And just, you know, you’ve had many lived experiences through heightened stress in your life and you know, you’ve been able to resolve that through a whole lot of study and research and putting things into practice and seeing what works and doesn’t work.

What have you found over that period that has served you In terms of coping with stress in an uncertain times?

Faye Lawand 5:05
Yes, you know, after many, many years of study and lots of inquiry and lots of experimentation, and you know, some steps forward and many more steps back and continuously adding to my toolkit, and my exploration of modalities that work to recover from burnout, but also prevent them, right.

So right now I’m all about like, of course, the recovery methods are also the preventative methods, and Anthony and I know that with your background, as a clinical nutritionist, you’d understand what I’m about to say, the secret and the missing piece to burnout, recovery and burnout prevention is a nervous system support, it is so essential to consistently, daily regularly care for and support the nervous system and what that means is to really to release the tensions from the nervous system that creep up as a result of, you know, life experiences as a result of overworking as a result of overdoing it as a result of emotionally heightened life situations.

As a result of surgeries, you name it. Our nervous systems are wired with a capacity to reset after loads of tiredness and fatigue and even trauma but where were so many of us get ourselves into trouble is that we don’t take the time out regularly, daily, and consistently care for our nervous system and support it so that our nervous system will support us because our nervous system is it’s the part of ourselves the part of our mind, that knows what we need in order to be healthy, happy and successful.

The thing is, it can’t, we need to help flip the switch for it because once we flip the switch for it, then it totally knows how to reprogram everything to bring us back to a place of balance where we can experience effortless flows of health, happiness, and success.

Anthony Hartcher 7:13
So how can listeners best support their nervous system in terms of flicking that switch?

Faye Lawand 7:20
Yeah, first of all, it’s important to prioritize it. It’s really important to prioritize, you know, like when we talk about self-care, Anthony, I think that that’s it’s very much part of the mainstream discussion right now and I think it’s great, I think it’s great.

So all of those self-care, things that we hear about are all very helpful, for sure and so prioritizing those and prioritizing, caring for the part of ourselves that isn’t visible, because you know, just because we don’t think that we’re stressed or just because we don’t think that our nervous system is overwhelmed.

It doesn’t mean that it’s not stressful, it’s not overwhelmed and probably the primary thing that you can do if you do nothing else, and you want to experience a nervous system support starting today, or tonight, pay attention to the way you consume technology, attention to the way you consume, Social media, the way you consume the news, the way you consume emails, the way that you consume all of that stuff that’s on the digital devices that clutter our space.

When we are on our feeds, or when we are on email, or when we are on the phone, we’re disconnected from ourselves, we’re immediately externalized. When we’re externalized, we are very much at the default off someone else’s agenda. So you are consuming the ideas of someone else, you’re consuming the thoughts of someone else, you’re consuming the beliefs of someone else and you’re no longer anchored to what you want to how you feel, and to how you think.

And most critically, the times to be mindful of the consumption of technology and social media are in those critical hypercritical moments. Right before we fall asleep at night and right upon awakening in the morning.

You know, that’s the time where it’s the hypnagogic state, and then the hypnagogic state that’s when our brainwaves slow down massively and the slowing down of them of the of the brainwaves.

In our conscious thinking, the mind slows and settles and in the subconscious mind the deeper levels of mind open up. So we actually have access natural innate access at least two times a day, right before we drop off and right upon awakening, where we have direct access to the most fertile part of our mind so that we can plant there, the thoughts, the ideas, the feelings that we want that will empower the life we want to live.

Instead of using that time, Anthony, when the mind is so suggestible to consume the thoughts, the beliefs, the emotions, and the ideas of someone else, just that one simple practice. If you do that for three days, you will be amazed at the difference that makes in the way you feel, the way you think, and the way that you go through your day.

Anthony Hartcher 10:28
And so what do you recommend for listeners to do instead of consuming technology just before bed and just before rising?

Faye Lawand 10:34
Yeah, there are so many things, we’re probably the best thing that you can do is focus on what you want.

Focus on what you want to ask yourself the question, you know, in the morning, how do I want to feel today? What do I want? What am I want to get accomplished today? How do I want this meeting to go? How do I want to be with my children? That conversation that’s coming up? How what outcome? Am I looking for in that, in that conversation?

What is the most important thing of the check of my to-do list that I need to accomplish first, like get intentional on how you want your day to go, instead of being a default, with what’s presented to you? So that’s, that’s one thing and of course, things like, you know, meditation, fantastic to do first thing in the morning, you know, just recognizing, putting your hand on your belly and one hand on the heart, and just on the chest space, and just feeling the body breathing for you.

You know, those, those types of things are so supportive, that you can do in the morning, all it takes three minutes, three minutes. The last thing at night are one you can do all of these practices at night but another wonderful way to use that innate, innate access point to the subconscious mind before you go to sleep at night is if there’s an unresolved situation in your life.

If there’s something an open-ended question that you’re grappling with some area in your life where you’re seeking clarity if you just bring that up right before you drift off, and then just allow the mind to kind of like, process it for you and work on it for your during your asleep and then you’ll get the answer either through a dream that you have, or a thought that you have upon awakening, or some kind of insight will occur to you that you’ll know what you need to do next, you’ll know what steps you need to take next, you will know what solution is best for that living situation because when you are when we are in that hypnogogic state, the centers of the brain that are responsible for clarity, decision making, creativity, problem-solving, they all come to the surface and so we’re able to access the deepest levels of wisdom and truth within ourselves.

So that we’re not being outwardly asking other people for their thoughts for their opinions and for their advice of consistently undermining our ability to care for ourselves and our life and creating self-doubt.

You know, Anthony, once I learned this, what I’m now talking about once I learned this, it was much later on in my journey. Much later on in my 15-year journey. I have not had I have not grappled with self-doubt since I learned this about six years ago, because right now, self-doubt isn’t even doesn’t crop up in my life because why should it?

I know and I believe in and I trust that I have a source of knowledge and a source of truth and a source of wisdom inside of me that knows better than anyone around me about what’s next, what’s in my best interest to do next and next and next and next and that’s probably it sounds so simple and usually it’s the simplest practices that are the most effective, and the ones that are most overlooked.

Anthony Hartcher 14:00
You got any other simple gems as you know, that first one was a great one just around social media detoxing, you know before you go to bed and before you rize and, you know, just to replace that with actually what you want or something that’s unresolved and allow the the mind in the subconscious state to come up with solutions for you.

What else do you suggest to your clients in terms of you know, if they’re coming to you with extreme stress and uncertainty and, and self-doubt? What else do you suggest that they do in these times?

Faye Lawand 14:35
Get out of the head and into the body? Because it’s when we are in the overthinking mind and we are disconnected from the body. Right? And you cannot neurologically you cannot feel sense and think at the same time and we know that the thinking mind that oh overthinking mind is very closely associated with stress, anxiety, inability to sleep, and so on.

The best way to get out of the mind is to get into the body and there are many ways that you can do that.

How can you do that three ways, three of my favorite ways, probably one of the easiest, the quickest Hacks is probably doing some tapping, like just tapping and the best places to tap Anthony are the places around our sense organs because if you think about it, it’s through the sense organs that we relate to the world around us. So there’s a lot of wiring in our sense organs, which means that those sense organs are very, a, hold a lot of tension.

So just tapping around the eyes, around the temples, around the nostrils around the mouth, particularly around the jaw. There are more nerve endings in the jaw than anywhere else in the human body and that’s why if you’ve ever experienced high levels of stress, or high levels of anxiety, or all that jaw clenching, this is all nervous system imbalance all of it.

A good tool to use to help you with tapping, if you’re not familiar with it is The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. It’s a free app. I don’t get any kickbacks from it. I’m not affiliated with it in any way, but I think it’s an excellent resource and that’s wonderful for whether you’re a beginner, or whether you’re a more seasoned Tapper.

So with that being is the first hack that I would recommend to get out of the mind and into the body. The next one is to sense the body to feel the body and now with all of those, you know, downloadable free apps, there’s a plethora of guided body scans that you can do.

So you know, and if you go on something like Insight Timer, if you have five minutes, you can just filter five minutes, if you have 20 minutes, you can filter for the amount of time that you have, and do a body scan, feel your body. Now, as you feel your body, a couple of things happen.

First of all, you’re getting out of your head and into your body but also with time, as you notice sensations in the body, you start to understand what the mind is trying to communicate to you through the portal of the body because the mind is always speaking to us through the body, but it does not do so with conscious language that our thinking minds can understand it does that with sensations and so as we as we get into the habit of noticing the body and noticing sensations, eventually and very quickly, we’ll start to understand what the mind is trying to tell us through the body, and then that gives you an opportunity to course-correct.

Then the third way to get out of the mind and into the body is basically with your breathing, and there are so many breath techniques out there so many that you can do, the best one that you can do is just place the hand on one hand on the belly, one hand on the heart and feel the body breathes for you notice my language feel the body breathes for you, because the body is giving your life is giving you is doing respiration for you.

You don’t have to do anything consciously but when you bring your conscious awareness to something that is happening, subconsciously, you start moving away from that reactivity, and into a space of receiving and being and noticing when you are in the noticing space, you’re no longer in default mode.

So to recap, the first thing is to get a handle on your consumption of digital media, particularly in those critical moments right before sleep and right after we awaken. What can you do instead? We said you know get intentional about how you want to feel what you want to happen instead, bring up a question for your mind to sort out for you through your dream state, and then get out of the head and into the body either by doing a body scan by doing tapping, or by simply feeling your breath in your body.

Anthony Hartcher 19:26
Just those that are agitated, like in a heightened state and are feeling is, I just can’t calm down enough to do these sorts of suggestions, or what do you recommend for those people?

Faye Lawand 19:40
Again, tapping is great and I’m going to give you a personal story that happened to me not that long ago and then another one which is a quick hack is to engage your senses because once again once you’re in an actual anxious state, your mind basically what’s happening when you’re when we’re in anxiety mode is the mind subconsciously, of course, we’re not consciously creating it, the mind has traveled to the future and it’s imagining fearful situations going wrong in the future.

Right? It’s creating all sorts of worst-case scenarios in the future and because the mind lives in the body, we start experiencing it physiologically as a panic attack or an anxiety attack, and so the the pathway out of that is to come into the present.

Now, the breath alone isn’t going to I mean, it might do it for you, it might do it, yes, it might do it for you, but what I have found is most effective for coming out of that, Future traveling to the future where the trouble lies, is to engage the senses.

So look around and out loud call out four or five things that you can see, engage your sense of hearing and call out two or three things that you can hear, engage your tastebuds, and notice one taste in your mouth, engage your sense of aroma, and notice smells right now in this moment, and then feel your skin, feel the skin of your body, and notice what sensations are on the skin, and by the way, speaking of the skin, other than it being the largest organ in the body, it’s also and I also find it’s one of those underrated organs or under spoken about organs, because we now know that the skin and the brain are made from the same cells from the same tissue.

So basically, the skin is the outer part of your brain and your brain is the inner part of your skin. So bring your attention to your skin, feeling the air on your skin, the sunlight on your skin, the touch of the fabric on your skin is going to bring you back into the here in the now, and if you need to recycle this sense engagement a couple of times, then so be it and then once the nervous system shifts back to a relative place of rebalancing, then the question that you ask yourself is, what am I imagining going wrong in the future and then once you know then you can imagine something else instead.

Anthony Hartcher 22:29
It overwrites what you’re projecting in the future. So you know, rewrite it with what you actually want is that what you are saying?

Faye Lawand 22:39
You can’t do that when you are in a physiological heightened state when stress hormones are raging through your body. It’s, really, really challenging to do that and that’s why the pathway out of these psychological, psycho-emotional states is through the physical emotional state is by using your body to shift your internal state so that then you can shift your mental states.

Anthony Hartcher 23:07
Excellent. Great tip there. How can listeners best connect with you?

Faye Lawand 23:15
So lots of ways to do that. So my name is Faye Lawand and that’s just that’s how you can find me online as well. So you can find me on your typical Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, my YouTube channels not that great, but it’s on the way to being ameliorated.

I have a meditation channel on Insight Timer, I’m on Instagram, LinkedIn, and my websites as well and if you have trouble remembering the spelling of my name, Lawand rhymes with the wand and if you think about it, it has like an element of magic around it and I like to think Anthony, I like to think that at working with the modalities of the subconscious mind and the nervous system like I do, that there are elements of magic in that, that allow us to reconnect with those sources of magic inside so that we can live the life that we want without taking the drugs without doing the talk therapy in a way that is natural and effective and, and there are no side effects and that works and is good for you.

Anthony Hartcher 24:22
Agree and I’ll include all those links to how listeners can reach out to you in the show notes so that they can go direct to the show notes. Wherever this is published and directly contact you. I really appreciate it.

Faye Lawand 24:37
My pleasure and as a special gift to your listeners. If it would be of support. I actually have a free 30-day calendar with activities like the ones that we talked about to help support the nervous system so that you have some ideas of things that you can do during those critical moments right before sleep and winds up Awakening so that you can remain in that supportive nervous system. State support, your health, your happiness, and your success.

Anthony Hartcher 25:10
That’d be fantastic. I’ll also include the link to that in the show notes so listeners can go directly to that. So thank you so much for your generosity, really appreciate it and I’m sure the listeners have really got so much value out of what you shared today.

So thanks again Faye and for the listeners, if you like the episode, please share it with others that could also benefit particularly if you know of anyone that is stressed and could really do with Faye’s wisdom on how to de-stress and how to go to a source of empowerment through the stress.

So I think that’s the magic that I got from it is turning that stress into empowerment and Faye gave us some fantastic tips and techniques on how to do that.

So thanks again everyone and stay tuned for more insightful episodes of me&my health up.

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