HEALTHY, SEXY BRAINS:  How to Neurohack Your Brain For Better Focus

Written for Focus Magazine, Summer 2018- Romance Issue – on Newstands Now

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DISTRACTED MUCH?

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What “just trying to focus on breath” sometimes feels like.
But add tortilla chips to the thought bubble. And a squirrel.

Ever since that Microsoft study hit the headlines stating that “Humans Now Have Shorter Attention Spans Than Goldfish!” and we learned that our focus has been reduced from ~12 seconds down to ~8 (on average), I’ve been concerned about the direction we’re headed. (I mean really… we’ve become out-focused by goldfish? Will we be distracted down to gnat level next?) Thus, I started paying more attention to human behavior and how it impacts brain health and our focus. More specifically, I’ve delved into questions like,

“What is restorative, and what is depletive to our brain health?”

(Or, on a bad day:“What would Freud … Hey, yum, Plantain Chips!”  Because yes, even though I study this stuff, sometimes I get distracted too.)

Certainly, all of the incessant phone-checking and multi-tasking we do is depletive since it wastes so much of our precious, limited bandwidth on transitions vs. on the actual tasks at hand. And maybe that would be worth it if multitasking were more successful, but it’s usually not: multitasking has proven to be comparatively less effective when measured against the productivity of singularly focused time. Turns out, when we put our lives on Airplane mode, hunker down and get into our flow, that’s when we tend to perform our best.

Additionally, According to a report by Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University, people spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy. So, distractedness isn’t good for productivity, nor is the emotional gain  positive.

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As one might expect, multi-tasking and a lack of focus are not so attractive on a date either. Giving someone your undivided attention is one of the key components of falling in love. In fact, Harvard psychologist Zick Rubin conducted research that indicated that “couples who are deeply in love look at each other 75 percent of the time when talking and they are slower to look away from their partner when interrupted.” Comparatively, in regular conversations with nonlove interests, “the subjects only looked at each other between 30-60 percent of the time. The brain knows the difference too! When it detects that a potential love interest is “looking at them 75% of the time, it registers in a particular region of the brain and phenylethylamine (a.k.a. PEA), an amphetamine-like secretion is released by the nervous system when we first fall in love.” (Ever felt butterflies in your stomach when with someone you like? Or felt your palms sweat and/or your heart race? You can thank PEA, this self-made love-drug for that.)

Knowing all of this about the power of a lengthy, engaging gaze (and again, I clarify “by a love interest” because an uninterrupted, lingering gaze by someone else might be creepy) …wouldnt it be a shame if a great love match was not made just because someone couldn’t stop checking their Instagram feed? Is the new headline going to be,

EXTRA EXTRA!

iPhone Induced Gaze-interruptus Ends Love!!

PEA insufficiency: Kills Off Stomach Butterflies Too!

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But before we blame technology for our distractibility or we call Peta about the dead stomach butterflies, it makes sense to ask what else might be contributing to our lack of focus, because this issue isn’t confined just to new daters or daydreamers. If we cannot focus optimally with our partners, our children, our work, our finances, our community, etc.- then we are in trouble, and the Goldfish wins. So let’s take a look at a list of other factors that may be making our brains distracted:

Things like:

  • Lack of adequate sleep
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • A diet void of essential minerals, vitamins, and amino acids
  • A seemingly “good” diet but one that includes food intolerances
  • An unvaried routine that lacks ample new learning experiences
  • Toxins
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Head injury
  • Epigenetics
  • Medications

…just to name (more than) a few.

So in addition to putting our phones in a box when we need to be focused—what other behavioral and/or lifestyle choices can we make to offset the brain-depletive factors above?

Here’s a list of my Top 5 Life Hacks for Better Brain Health and increased focus:

  1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night

Sleep is an absolutely essential reset for our brains. It gives our brains a chance to clear away toxins and flush out dangerous proteins. In his TedTalk, Jeff Iliff, a neuroscientist at Oregon Health & Science University reports that this beneficial process makes us smarter, more attentive, perkier, and healthier during our waking hours.  As such, if you or a loved one within earshot has sleep apnea, it is highly advised to properly address this. Not only can it cause morning fatigue and/or headaches, significant daytime drowsiness, attention and memory problems, irritability and mood issues, but according to Dr. Daniel Amen, “Sleep apnea doubles your risk for having a stroke and triples your risk of dementia and depression” so it is not something to ignore.

 

Brain Healthy Sleep Lifehacks:

Angstrom Magnesium can help people relax before bedtime

Turn off the lights and get rid of bedroom tech. When our bedrooms are lit up like the dashboard of the Starship Enterprise, we allow the light to disturb our Circadian Rhythms which often causes sleep disturbances… and lack of sleep often means a lack of focus. Additionally, the erratic EMF signals coming from our cell phones can disrupt our sensitive nervous systems. (See previous blog piece for many more sleep tips)

 

2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, 5x a week

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting in at least 150 minutes a week. But you may be wondering—whichexercises, specifically? The best exercise for you is the one that you will actually do consistently! As with all aspects of health and wellness, what works for one person’s body and circumstances may not work for another, so know your body and what it needs.  That said, aerobic exercise, resistance training, and mind-body exercises are all reported as providing benefits for brain health. Having some diversity in our workouts sets us up for multiple benefits.

 

Brain Healthy Exercise Lifehacks:

If physically able, try to have some interval training included to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF.) BDNF is a protein produced inside nerve cells, and it’s known as “fertilizer” for the brain, keeping them functioning and growing, and propelling the growth of new neurons too.

Adding in workouts that encompass bi-lateral movements can further engage both hemispheres of the brain, encouraging neuroplasticity. Examples may be dancing, swimming, fit boxing, Qi Gong and/or Yoga… anything that uses both sides of the body and particularly anything that encourages cross body movements.

Classpass Subscriptions are an all-time favorite lifehack because they offer such a wide variety of classes. The subscriptions have expiration dates that do not typically rollover (thereby providing extrinsic motivation to those of us who need it, to hurry up and get into the gym or else risk wasting our investment!) The extra bonus is that it also engages people more with their community, which can add to both the accountability and the sociability factors. Being social is an important component of longevity and brain health as it can help ward off loneliness, which is shown to be worse for health than even smoking. These various classes get people out and about, sampling new places, creating new opportunities to broaden social circles, meeting new friends while offering new challenges to our brains as we navigate new parking lots, moves, skills, gyms, etc. (Classpass for the win!)

Get out in nature where there’s fresh air and walk, hike, bike, walk on the beach…take Tai Chi…whatever works for you. As soon as we get outside, we change our body by breathing in new air and spores that adds to the diversity of our microbiome. As we age, we tend to lose this diversity, which is not ideal.

3. Keep learning new things

This is a key recommendation by neuroscientists who study the brain because novelty increases our neuroplasticity. By learning new things, we not only form new synapses but strengthen the ones we already have.

 

Brain Healthy Neuroplasticity Lifehacks

Find new routes to drive and be extra observant of all that’s around you

Take a class to learn something new, try new things, challenge yourself consistently

If you are age 50 and above, check out UCLA’s Longevity Center where you can audit a UCLA class for $150!

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4. Have a mindfulness practice

Mindfulness has been studied extensively and has proven to be a powerful, worthwhile tool in the pursuit of brain health. It helps us protect ourselves from toxic stress, supports self-regulation and better decision-making capabilities. It even has the potential to, literally, change our brain. In a time when we are inundated with stress and distractions, we need practices that are restorative to counteract the depletion.

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Brain Healthy Mindfulness Lifehacks

Muse Headband $249 –www.choosemuse.com

We all know by know that mindfulness and a Zen status is helpful…but we do not all know how to achieve that state. This wearable device is a headband that tracks your brainwaves and communicates with you through nature sounds as you develop your meditation practices. It helps by using increasing or decreasing sounds to inform you of your mind status. For instance, when you’ve successfully quieted your mind, the waves are quiet… or they pipe in loud crashing waves or a storm to indicate when your mind is busy, so you know to return to your breath at that time. Over time, the real-time EEG feedback can make meditation easier to learn. Also your progress is trackable and measurable, which may inspire some to keep on trying when their mind chatter and distractibility (the unofficial term “squirrel brain”) tells them to stop.

 

5. Prioritize Nutrition

The brain uses 30% of our daily caloric intake, according to Dr. Daniel Amen,  and how and what we eat has a profound effect on us biochemically. While there are some general guidelines that the most well-respected experts agree upon (minimal or no processed foods, reduce sugar intake, eat more veggies and antioxidants, eat organic when you can, stay hydrated, avoid trans fats, eat healthy fats, etc.) and there are some great recipes to share in that regards, there still remains many conflicting opinions about what we should eat, how we should eat, what time, etc. The truth is, we are all so unique! What works for one person may not work for another, so once we get beyond the basic agreed upon standards– “Best Recipes” are mere suggestions until you know what your body does and does not respond to well. This is why I believe that researching, understanding and respecting our own Bio-Individuality is the missing component when taking people from feeling good (or “just ok”) to feeling great! For optimal health, a customized nutrition program based on the individual’s biochemistry, genetics, toxin levels, symptoms, etc.  This information can often be determined via the work of an excellent Functional Medicine MD and/or a Functional Medicine nutritionist/coach. From there, a specific plan for a patient’s ideal protocol can be formulated, encouraged and addressed with behavioral modifications that help make the good habits stick. Thus, the depletive can be identified and eliminated, and the restorative is supported in a very targeted, tailored well-informed, efficient way. That said, there are a couple of incredibly helpful books out to help people gain awareness of how and why the general recommendations are essential.

Brain Healthy Nutrition Lifehacks

Find a good Functional Medicine MD and/or Coach well versed in Genetics, Nutrition and GI health- so they can help a client get their GI tract in optimal shape—since there is a direct connection from the gut to the brain.

A favorite book about brain wellness and food is GENIUS FOODS by Max Lugavere because it is interesting, easy to read and filled with well-researched life hacks from an objective point of view. He covers topics like Fish, Fish oils, Good Fats, Bad Fats, Calorie Restriction/ Intermittent Fasting, Proteins, Carbs, Antioxidants, etc. and he discusses the pros and cons o the various recommended diets that we read about in the media.   GENIUS FOODS by Max Lugavere

Another Favorite is WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I EAT – The no-nonsense guide to achieving optimal weight and lifelong health, by Mark Hyman, MD  FOOD: WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I EAT by Mark Hyman, MD

Stay hydrated – Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally and thus, lose efficiency when we are dehydrated. Try adding a bit of Redmond’s Sea Salt to your water (or a pure Himalayan seas Salt) if you have been perspiring a lot and you are concerned about magnesium loss. Ingesting good quality salt (i.e.- tested for purity) is a quick and easy way to replace what we lose. Salt also contains the electrolytes magnesium, calcium and potassium. REDMOND’S SALT

Drink non-fluoridated water – fluoride is a neurotoxin, and it can make its way to the brain and nervous system.

Natural coconut water is another good source of hydration, as it contains five essential electrolytes: sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. HARMLESS HARVEST COCONUT WATER

Eat Clean! Check back for my big list of favorite resources for Clean Eats. There are some wonderful ways to eat clean while saving time, money and the energy it takes to restore our health from the depletive things we eat. For now- here are two favorites:

THRIVE MARKET

IMPERFECT PRODUCE

Take a healthy cooking class! If you live in the LA area, get on my mailing list because we will be offering Everyday Brain Healthy Cooking classes. Superfoods. Super Vibrant. Super easy. You know…the kind you might ACTUALLY make.)

Wishing everyone health and happiness!

 

The most important PEA you will ever meet: Phenylethylamine (PEA) known as the ‘love-molecule’, is a neuromodulator remarkable for its abilities to:

  • Improve mental cognitive performance
  • Boost mood and concentration
  • Control weight
  • Induce that great “Runners high”
  • Create those butterflies in the stomach when meeting someone special
  • Dilate pupils when in a state of lust (which, by the way, is reported as making people look significantly more attractive)
  • Cause ‘runner’s high’, phenylethylamine is your brain’s most powerful stimulant.

And…drum roll please… it is also found in chocolate!

 

( For more Lifehacks: See in depth blog about sleep! And subscribe to the feed for more tips.)

 

Next up:

Concussions/ Head Injuries

Medications

Hormones (I’m no expert, but know some)

Better Memory Tricks

Fast Easy Healthy Eats

Favorite Snacks

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MY FAVE TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP

Do you remember being a kid, begging to stay up late, fighting the nap mandates and waking-up at the crack of dawn?

WHAT WERE WE THINKING!?

 

It pains me now to think of all those “great sleeps missed!” Great sleep is delicious and so underrated.  Truth is, it’s one of the fastest ways to a better mood, more energy, a sharper brain, it helps us control cravings and it’s one of the BEST anti-aging techniques around! It’s also beneficial in terms of Alzheimer’s prevention: Without great sleep our brains can’t flush out the toxins that accumulate.
Imagine it like this: pretend like there is a little dishwasher in your brain that only runs adequately once we reach a certain sleep quota. This is because this “dishwasher” cycle takes so much energy, that it requires all other energy-sucking activities shut down in order for this magic dishwasher to power up. Once we’ve stored up enough energy to run it, the flow of liquid whooshes through to clean the debris on and in between each item in the “dishwasher.” (In our case, the liquid is actually the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, and it increases dramatically, pumping fluids up to the brain at a rapid rate, washing away waste proteins and toxins that build-up between brain cells during waking hours. So basically, when we are sleeping adequately, that fluid gets activated and our brains get their wash cycle!) If this procedure does not happen effectively…. well, you’ve seen the accumulation in the dishwasher when it hasn’t run properly, right? And who wants all that leftover debris?  In real life, we can also accumulate debris which may be one reason why sleep disorders are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. That essential wash cycle may not be happening enough due to lack of sleep.

 

So, know that by making sleep a priority you’re helping your brain get cleaned and self-restored each night. (Grateful moment: How divinely made are we to have this self-restorative ability?) Now we just need to turn our self-restoration setting ON at night by shutting the rest of us OFF  so we get enough great, restorative sleep to activate the process optimally.

Note: Around the year 1900, we were sleeping an avg. of 9 hours per night. Now we sleep an average of 6 hrs. per night. That is a drastic (33%) reduction in a short amount of time, evolutionally speaking, and thus our brains have not had enough time to adjust. Additionally, our brains are trying to contend with the increase in sleep disturbances and overstimulation due to the unfathomable increase in electricity and technology which have proven to be big disruptors as well.  That’s a lot to expect out of our very important, fragile brains.
One of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to give our brain the rest it deserves, and we can start by getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night!
Here are a handful of my fave sleep tips that I share with the groups I present to about Alzheimer’s Prevention/ Peak Brain Health/ and Women in Midlife:
  • Try to go to bed before midnight to get the most restorative sleep
  • Decide on a schedule & try to stick to it
  • If you nap during the day, keep it 30 min. or less (10 min. is ideal)

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  • There’s advice out there that says “If you drink coffee, try not to drink it past 2PM.” That’s because caffeine stays in our system for ~8 hours. LIFEHACK: I found that I actually have to cut myself off from caffeine at 11AM because I am sensitive to it, and some of my clients have found the same. So, if you wake up frequently in the night/early morning–  start paying attention to the timing of your caffeine intake to determine what your own ideal caffeine cut off time should really be. Does it need to be earlier than you may have thought?

 

  • If you drink coffee, try to choose organic coffee, or beans that have been tested for molds and pesticides whenever possible. The neurotoxins in conventional (highly sprayed!) coffee beans can be disruptive to our nervous system, as can be the molds/mycotoxins.  LIFEHACK: I love Bulletproof coffee for this reason: they have strict guidelines that need to be met in terms of the beans purity.  The Brain Octane Oil I add gives my brain some extra nourishment. They are both available at Whole Foods market, online or at Amazon. Bulletproof Coffee & Brain Octane Oil 
  • Don’t eat for 2-3 hours before bedtime if you can avoid it and avoid spicy foods at night if heartburn or digestive issues may be waking you up.
  • Exercise at least 30 min. a day.  LIFEHACK: try to finish at least 6 hrs. before bedtime so you do not get the energy surge associated with exercise.
  • Establish a relaxing nighttime ritual, like soaking feet in Epsom salts or taking an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are filled with beneficial magnesium and can be found at any grocery store.  LIFEHACK: To save money and for convenience, I buy Epsom salts online in bulk since my kids also use it to recover more quickly from sore muscles from sports and we go through the smaller bags way too quickly!  I add my own lavender oil and sometimes as well as some Redmond’s sea salt since it is often purer than sea salts that can absorb pollution from the sea. (Sea salts help us detox.)

Epsom Salts Tested For Purity- by Saltworks (bulk

Redmond’s Sea Salt – tested for purity   

USDA Organic Lavender Oil

  • The warm water from a bath can trigger our parasympathetic system (i.e.- calmness.) The trick is to not re-excite yourself with TV or too much stimuli after the bath….because then the benefit is reduced.
  • Avoid computer, phone & electronics for at least 1 hr. before bed.

 

  • Keep phones/tablets out of the bedroom to avoid the signals from the Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s) which negatively affect our nervous system.

 

 

  • If you drink alcohol, try to keep it to “Happy Hour”: Avoid alcohol before bed if possible. It may help a person fall asleep initially due to its sedative effect but then that wears off and it often causes various sleep disruptions, including snoring, restlessness and not enough of the restorative type sleep, while the body undergoes a “rebound effect.” (Ever experience that initial spike in blood sugar, then a precipitous drop that wakes you up in a restless fit around 3 AM?) Alcohol also causes a disruption to the Circadian rhythm. Melatonin is a key facilitator of sleep and regulator of sleep-wake cycles, and research indicates that a moderate dose of alcohol up to an hour before bedtime can reduce melatonin production by nearly 20 percent.

 

  • If you do drink wine consider switching to some of the great organic wines. There are some out now that have been tested to be sulfite free, pesticide free and mold free. Conventional wines tend to be loaded with additives, pesticide residue from the highly sprayed grapes, contain molds and mycotoxins, all of which can be disruptive to the nervous system/ sleep. etc. and/or cause hangovers that affect brain function the next day. LIFEHACK: Dry Farm Wines is my fave go-to source for delish lab tested wines that are also low sugar, so none of that initial sugar spike and crash that negatively effects our cortisol. Dry Farm Wines

 

  • Keep room temperature cool

 

  • Take care of any snoring or sleep apnea issues- it’s very important for health! (A person is 2x more likely to get Alzheimer’s if they have untreated sleep apnea!)

 

  • Magnesium is known as the most powerful relaxation mineral available. It’s an antidote to stress and it can aid in sleep, can help relax muscles and help with a myriad of other conditions that might help a person sleep better.  Being magnesium deficient can cause insomnia. LIFEHACK:  There are so many types of magnesium it’s hard to determine which kind to take! The kind I love is Angstrom magnesium because it is easily soluble, and it does not act as a laxative like some other types of magnesium. (Check with your physician before taking. It’s safe for most people but there are some conditions that advise against magnesium intake.) Due to how easily it is absorbed (many types will pass right through you) the brand I love is  Mother Earth Angstrom Magnesium

 

  • Do a “Brain Drain”: write worries tasks down to mentally “set them aside” for the night. Knowing that our “to do list” is  not ignored but shelved away somewhere safe can give the type of peace of mind that assuages anxiety for some
  • Try using lavender oil before bed …put on wrists, temples or on the pillow.  LIFEHACK: This lavender scented pillow spray is such a nice treat! I’ve been obsessed with it ever since discovering it at the Hotel Bel Air. It’s so gorgeous and transforms my mood in an instant to one that says “I am taking good care of myself now.”  ThisWorks Deep Pillow Spray
  • Try deep breathing or reading a book if you cannot fall right to sleep (but avoid e-books due to the light)
  • Try earplugs or a white noise machine if you’re sound sensitive  LIFEHACK: I use a great air filter that creates a nice hum and also delivers very clean air with fewer allergens that can stuff me up and wake me at night. I also like that it has a “dim” setting so the lights are not too bright. Air Doctor Air Purifier
  • According to sleep researchers/experts, it’s better to get up for a bit than to lay in bed wide awake for a long duration because it sends the wrong signal to the brain and breaks the association that “bed is for sleep or sex only”
  • Avoid using Benadryl as a sleep aid (proven to be very detrimental for brain health when used to induce fatigue/sleep, which is an off-label use.)
  • Use more stress-reduction/ mindfulness techniques during the day to create more ease at night: less stress = better sleep.
  • Learn breathing techniques that you can utilize during wakings to try to reset your relaxation response. Excerpt/ Screenshot taken from the National Sleep Institute website: http://www.sleepfoundation.org:

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  • If you find that you have too many night-sweats that wake you, see your physicians to get to the root cause and to seek relief.  LIFEHACK: in the meantime, consider using moisture-wicking sheets and/or PJ’s. It’s amazing how far technology has come in the athletic world to develop sports performance fabrics that soak up moisture, and the same technology can be used for sheets and sleepwear. Soma offers a lovely line of sleepwear and you can get other brands on Amazon, as well as Moisture Wicking Sheets        Moisture Wicking Sleepwear

 

  • If you suspect peri-menopause, menopause (or even Man-o-pause!) to be the reason for night sweats, consider seeing a functional medicine physician who specializes in hormones. LIFEHACK: To find a Functional Medicine MD, try utilizing the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) search tool. IFM -Find A Practitioner 

 

  • LIFEHACK: One product that has worked well for several women I know in reducing peri/menopausal related symptoms (including night sweats) is called Dim Plus and you can read about it by clicking the link below. But please, check with your physician. I ‘ve not tried this myself the way I have every other product listed on this page- and I’m not a hormones expert, so please do your own due diligence. Nature’s Way Dim-Plus    

 

  • Assess whether or not you have inflammation, and if you do– can you get to the root cause to address it?  The pain associated with inflammation (such as arthritis, headaches, an upset stomach, nerve pain) can disrupt sleep. LIFEHACK: One product I’ve tried and swear by is called Total Restore  It is not for sleep or inflammation, per se, it’s for gut health, and there’s definitely a gut/brain connection. More specifically, this product is for leaky-gut syndrome.  However, for me it also works as a sleep aid! Ever since I started taking it I’ve been getting the most amazing nights of sleep. I can see how it might address sleep disturbances because leaky-gut can harm sleep for several reasons:  Leaky-gut can increase inflammation and levels of cytokine (the inflammatory messengers and studies have found that those who do not sleep well have higher cytokine levels than healthy sleepers. Higher cytokine levels can lead to insomnia.  Higher cortisol levels are also associated with leaky-gut, and the increase in this stress hormone can make it more difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. So, I cannot say precisely why it is working so well for me – just that it is and…. it kinda makes sense.  And in the meantime, by taking this I’m doing something good for my digestive tract.  Win win!/ Are there underlying health issues that you might benefit from addressing, like body aches? Digestive issues? Snoring? Allergies?

 

 

  • LIFEHACK: Another interesting option is to use auditory stimulation to induce Slow Wave Sleep. Our ability to achieve Slow Wave Sleep reduces as we age, but science has found that certain acoustics and rhythms can induce it.  Worth a try!  Slow Wave Sleep .  There’s also something called Binaural Beats, two sounds at once that have been shown to reduce activity in the brain when trying to sleep. Fascinating to read about. Here’s a link to a piece by the Sleep Doctor about it: Binaural Beats- info from the Sleep Doctor

 

But my BEST LIFEHACK of all?  Become your own sleep scientist! We are all individually unique (and you will hear me say/  type that ad nauseam!) What works for one person may not work for another. As I say to all of my clients,

 

“Step into your power as the World’s Leading Expert in You!”
Utilize that position to discern what does and does not work for you, and continually tweak until you get to a place of ease and continuity. And then…recalibrate as things shift– as they always do.
Great sleep, great health… it is not a destination but a journey and you are the one doing the navigation. (Coaches are just there to help hold the map, share navigational skills and give support.)  Nobody knows you, your life, your needs better than you!

 

That said,  sometimes it feels challenging to find and implement the tools that might work, especially when exhausted! If  you feel that you could benefit by receiving some personalized coaching attention, please reach out. I love helping people reach their goals, and nothing is more rewarding than seeing someone thrive.

Sweet dreams 🙂

-Michelle

 


 

 

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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by http://www.thriveandfly.com or written by Michelle Gillette for the purposes of social media, for publication or for coaching is solely at your own risk. (Can you tell I grew up around attorneys? )

Media / Spotlight Series Interview – Sarah Seidelmann

 

 

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It was a pleasure sitting down with Sarah Seidelmann, a Physician turned Shaman, Healer, Author & Life Coach, to discuss her latest book SWIMMING WITH ELEPHANTS.  Sarah’s honest and often-funny memoir gives a first-hand account of what it was like to bravely buck tradition to “Follow Her Own Feel Good” in pursuit of a more fulfilling career. In Sarah’s case, this meant transitioning from the life of a Pathologist/working mother of four, to a wonder-filled career in the healing arts.  Sarah takes us through conventional life in Duluth, Minnesota, where she was logging in long hours in a lab, but becoming less passionate about the work, craving a more time with her kids, a more flexible schedule, and wanting something that felt more meaningful. She takes us on a journey through her exotic travels, to her metamorphosis to her current life as a Mom/Shaman/ life coach.

In our interview, We discuss her book and how she models for women not just how to go out and follow their dreams, but also how to bravely embrace their own muchness, multitudes, and multifacetedness — something so many women tend to leave on the table when taking up the “mom role,” (Yep. Been there too. … But not so much these days. 🙂

Also mentioned in the interview is Sarah’s 2nd book, BORN TO FREAK: A Salty Primer for Irrepressible Humans, still in print and a wonderful book for anyone feeling like they may be different. (Spoiler alert: the book celebrates “different!” and all that uniqueness has to offer, using the amazing and diverse beastie world as a beautiful example. )

Sarah’s website is http://www.followyourfeelgood.com

Link to my INDI shopping site for products shown

Jewelry provided by @lovearoundtheneck

Females Making Difference: Victoria Nodiff Netanel & Her 7 Mini Therapy Horses

 

Meet Victoria and mini therapy horse, Pacific Blue Moon, who stopped by our home to play a little duet with our fur-baby, Henry.  Victoria has SEVEN mini therapy horses that travel all across the US to help people in need by comforting them and soothing their souls. Learn more about how Victoria and her Mini Therapy Horses make a BIG difference at http://www.minitherapyhorses.com and on Instagram @minitherapyhorses.

Spotlight Series Interview- Shalini Vadhera

 

Global Beauty Expert, Entrepreneur and Role Model

Shalini’s successful entrepreneurial career has taken her from being a celebrity make-up artist, to a best selling author of Passport To Beauty, a favorite guest of Dr. Oz and the Today show, the founder of a $21-million dollar global cosmetics company, Founder & CEO of Passport To Beauty, Co-Founder of the Boss Box & Founder of Power Beauty Living! And if that’s not enough… for her passion and work empowering women around the globe, Shalini was just awarded the 2017 Mahatma Gandhi Award in London at the House of Lords.

In addition to being an amazing entrepreneur and role model for girls around the world, she is a dear friend and a wonderful soul who believes in celebrating women’s beauty inside out, and outside in. She does so by celebrating women from all around the globe, embracing all shapes, sizes, shades and backgrounds with the same fervor. It was such a lovely moment to get to sit down with her for this interview.

Spotlight Series – Interview with Serena Poon

Le Cordon Bleu trained gourmet chef, nutritionist and wellness coach Serena Poon

Here I interview Le Cordon Bleu trained gourmet chef, nutritionist and wellness coach Serena Poon, who’s known throughout Hollywood for curating holistic healing and wellness programs & delicious food for her celebrity clientele. In this Spotlight Series for Focus Tv Chef Serena Serena Poon share her passion and gives us the skinny on how she helps keep her celebrity clientele well-fed, healthy, happy, energetic & svelte! She shares how she got started as “Hef’s chef” and why healthy eating became so important to her.

Serena also introduces one of my “Can’t Live Without”  life hacks! It is her new (not yet available to the public) supplement called Just Add Water. Watch the video to find out why I am so obsessed with this little packet of uber-nutrition that simplifies wellness. (Yes, I do geek out over anything that creates more ease and nourishment in women’s lives…and this is a very good one, my friends.) Tune into the love fest. ❤

And PS- if you want to get on the waiting list to order her product when it’s available to the public, comment below or follow her on Instagram @Chefserenapoon

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When women support other women, “abundance” multiplies. Pass it on…

 

 

 

Spotlight Series – Jen Bricker

 

Interview with Jen Bricker, the internationally bestselling author & aerialist

Jen Bricker was born without legs and with her heart on the opposite side of her chest. Shocked and uncertain they could care for a child with two birth defects, her biological parents gave her up for adoption. In her loving adoptive home, there was just one simple rule: “Never say ‘can’t.” And pretty soon, there was nothing that this small but mighty powerhouse set her sights on that she couldn’t conquer: rollerskating, volleyball, power tumbling, spinning from silk ribbons 30 feet in the air, and becoming a best-selling author of a book that’s been translated into nine languages. (Yes, she is now motivating the world!)   Watch this interview to hear more about her journey (which includes finding out that she has a celebrity/athlete as a biological sister!) and to learn what’s next for this dynamic powerhouse.

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Embracing “Imperfect”

Life Hack Alert: Do you know about the SF based company, Imperfect Produce?
They offer funny looking (i.e.- not perfect or “marketable”) but very healthy, delicious fruits and veggies for 30-50% less than grocery stores, delivered to your door. I get the @imperfectproduce fruit & veggie organic box.

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There are just so many things I love about this concept…where do I start. (And nope, not a paid endorsement. Not even one free rutabaga. I just truly appreciate what they are doing.) I “eat ugly” (their tag line”) because….
First of all, it diminishes waste so it is great for our environment.

“Fact: 1 in 5 fruits and veggies that are grown in the U.S. don’t meet cosmetic standards – the crooked carrot, the curvy cucumber, the undersized apple – usually causing them to go to waste.” – Imperfect Produce

Secondly, diminishing waste is not just good for our planet, but great for our farmers who will now get paid for their full harvest. (Yay! We love our hardworking farmers!) Thirdly- it celebrates the VALUE of something vs. just the attractiveness of it. (Wow. So good. the world needs so much more of THIS.) With all of this striving for perfection in the world, what a great message. My mantra since I was a teen (and I have often needed to remind myself of this!!) is that “Life does not need to be perfect to be perfect.” And it is true.
Fourth, since I’ve been getting the box, I’ve been eating more veggies and I’ve become more creative in the kitchen. I received some squash that I had only seen before, but never cooked. Now I have a new veggie in my repertoire! (Box comes with recipes and fun facts.)

Fifth, they are hiring! They are creating jobs, people.
Sixth, snap a photo of your wonkiest fruit or veggie from the box and they will donate FIVE pounds of food to a local food bank! This is a win/win..win win win…win. So… let’s embrace imperfection today. In our selves and also in our fruits and veggies. 🙂 #imperfectproduce#imperfectproduce#wonkyproduce

1 Minute Mindshift: Embracing ALL of Our Emotions

 

aging.gracefully1 min. MINDSHIFT: Have you ever felt inadequate about “achieving happiness?” In this world that stridently pursues (and posts) about “happiness!😀” (guilty) we can feel “less than” when we face our own anger, sadness or jealousy — even though those are all very normal emotions and part of being human. By embracing our own duality & the full range of our normal, human emotions we liberate ourselves from the need to vilify (what we consider to be) the “negative” emotions. And when we take that unnecessary shame out of the equation– our energy is so much clearer. When we stop resisting emotions & the associated discomfort– it frees us to adequately process them ….and often that’s plenty! That’s all we need. Other times we can choose to use that pent-up energy to do something good with our discomfort. (I.e. Yes “comparison is the thief of joy” but once processed a bit it can also become a kick in the butt that causes us to make positive changes in our lives! Maybe it inspires us to go after something we want, but have been denying ourselves. Jealousy can be an uncomfortable but powerful signpost. Or – for example, my anger about elder-abuse can become the reason I vote a certain way, volunteer and go to sit with an elderly woman, listen to her stories, brush her hair and hold her hand. Not out of pity — but out of respect because I’m ANGRY when I see people taking advantage of the defenseless. I am moved to positive action by it.) It’s what we DO with our emotional energy that matters– not whether or not we “have” it. (We all have it) Nor is it whether that emotion is good or bad. (They can all cause good, bad, neutrality or anything in between- depending on how they manifest.) I use the example of water in the video– it’s much the same. Water can cause horrific destruction and death or it can save lives and be restorative bliss (and also everything in between!) Same with our emotions Where it goes … what it leads to, how it’s processed and who it affects– that’s all energy with the ability to shapeshift. And so are we.  #mindshift #process