Chronic Stress

I Need a Solution for My Chronic Stress [Podcast Episode #085]

How stressful is your life?

Most of us just try to "make it through the day" without giving much thought to the amount of stress that day entails. How many stressful days can you take before there's a build-up that starts revealing itself in your health?

Today we're looking at stress. What causes it? And, more importantly, what can you do to eliminate it from your life, not just cover it up? Let's get to it...

Episode Resources:

I Need A Solution For My Chronic Stress [Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today I'm excited because this show, it's one of those ones where I learned a ton and I think you're going to too. Today we're talking about stress and dealing with that stress through proper mediation. Let's dive right into Glenda's question.

Glenda wrote, I recently listened to a talk you did about stress and its impact on weight gain. I know that I carry so much stress and I suspect as you said, it's one of the reasons I can't lose weight. I just don't know what to do about it. What's the best way for a busy person to get rid of their stress.

Glenda, thanks for writing in. Stress, it affects, I'd say pretty much all of us to more or lesser degrees and it can definitely play a huge role in your bodies ability or inability to lose weight.

As I already eluded to specifically, we're going to be talking today about using proper meditative practices to reduce your stress. If you're anything like me maybe you're rolling your eyes and thinking, oh geez here we go again about meditation. I hear this all the time.

I practice it, maybe have an app in your phone, or you do some meditative breathing or whatever it is. As you're about to learn, there is a huge difference between practicing moments of mindfulness or having meditative moments verses truly mediating to actually calm down your stress on a more permanent level.

I've got an amazing expert today. She is, I call her the Queen of mediation because she just devoted her entire life to it and she has a very interesting story as to why she has devoted her life to meditation. So I'm very excited to introduce to you Emily Fletcher.

Meet Emily Fletcher

Dave: Hey Emily, thanks so much for joining us on the show today.

Emily Fletcher: It's a delight to be here.

Dave Smith: So I was wondering if you could start off by maybe telling the audience a little bit about yourself. So I'm quite familiar with your work and you're like in my mind kind of the Queen of meditation. I was wondering can you tell us how did you end up taking on that role, sort of spreading the word about meditation?

Emily Fletcher: Yeah, it would be my pleasure and thank you for saying that. I love being called a Queen. Empress. President of ... I'll take all of it. So I had a weird unlikely journey from Broadway showgirl to meditation teacher.

I was on Broadway for about 10 years before I started mediating and my last Broadway show was a chorus line. Which is, you know when the [inaudible 02:59] in seventy-five. It's an incredible show and I was honored to be apart of it, but my job was that I understudied three of he lead characters.

Which means you show up to the theater each night and you have no idea who you're going to play. Some people are really, it's like everyone's nightmare. It's like everyone's stress dream. You're just getting thrown on a Broadway stage, you have no idea what's going on.

That was my life for a while and you know some people are very good at this job. I'm not one of them. Sometimes I would literally be standing on the stage before I knew which character I would play. Like I would look around and I would see, well there's not Val so I guess I'm Val. Then I would just step into a six page song.

So I was living my life in this constant state of anxiety. So even if I wasn't on, I was constantly panicked that I was going to be thrown on in a moments notice. That sort of started to affect my anxiety levels. It started to affect my sleep. I started having insomnia for about eighteen months.

I couldn't sleep through the night which led to me going gray at twenty-six years old. I started getting sick, I started getting injured. It was really confusing to me as to why I was living my dream, doing the thing I had wanted to do since I was a child and I was miserable.

To be honest, like all of us, I think I was under what I call "I'll be happy when" syndrome. You know I really believed in my heart of hearts that once I got on Broadway that my whole life was going to be perfect.

Like I really believed that it was going to be martinis with Liza at Sardi's and instead I was rocking myself in fetal position under the dressing room table listening to Eckhart's Holy on repeat. Wondering why like all these self help books weren't changing my life. Like I was doing all the things. I really prided myself on being a seeker.

Never stop looking for solutions. Trial and error will may take time but you will find your solution.

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I had read all the books. I worked with all the therapists. I'd done ... I had so much software as I like to call it. Like I had so much information, but I wasn't able to run it on my nervous system.

I literally wasn't able to run it on my body. So thankfully this incredible woman was sitting next to me in the dressing room. She was understudying five of the lead roles. Which to this day, I don't know how she did it, but this woman was crushing it.

I mean to the point, you know those people who are happy all the time and really good at their job. She was Australian and so I just assumed it was because she was Australian or maybe you know Canadian's have that too. Or just like you're just nice because you're Canadian.

Dave Smith: It doesn't mean we're stress free because I can relate to a lot of the things you've already talked about.

Emily's First Meditation

Emily Fletcher: Okay, well it turns out this woman like being Australian was not her secret. It turns out that mediation was her secret because I was like lady, what do you know that I don't know. She said, I meditate. This is almost a decade ago. It was exactly a decade ago.

Actually this week is my 10 year mediation anniversary. So anyway, she said she was meditating and I didn't really believe that you know sitting quietly in a chair could impact your life and your performance so much.

So I didn't believe her so I just kept having insomnia, anxiety and going gray, and sucking at my job. Then finally it got so bad, I was so embarrassed about my performance that I thought well I got to try something.

So I went along to this intro to mediation talk, I liked what I heard. I signed up for this four day course and the first day of the first course, I was meditating. Now to be honest, I had no idea what that meant, but I was in a different state of consciousness that I had ever been in before and I liked it.

Then that night, I slept through the night for the first time in eighteen months. I have every night since and that was 10 years ago. Then I stopped getting sick. I stopped getting injured. I stopped going gray. I'm thirty-seven years old. I'm going to be thirty-eight on Monday and I have like 2 gray hairs now. I was legitimately going gray a decade ago.

So like ... We all talk about the neuro science how meditation can reverse body age in a moment, but basically this thing up leveled my performance. It up leveled my body, it up leveled my life so dramatically that I thought. Why does everybody not do this?

So I left Broadway. I went to India and I started what became a 3 year training process to teach this and then I opened up Ziva meditation. Which is the name of my company. About 5 years ago and to be honest it's been the single best thing I've ever done.

People ask me if I miss performing and the answer is decidedly no. I'd be like I'm still performing, I just now get to use my lifetime of performance training, but more immediately to help others.

I mean performing can help others, but meditation does it so quickly and so powerfully. That now selfishly I do this thing because I get to wake up to emails from my students everyday. Saying Emily, my insomnia is gone, my migraines are gone, my sex is better, I did lose weight, my skin is better, my IBS is gone.

I don't need anxiety meds anymore, I got off my anti-depressants, I started this new job and like literally everyday I get these emails and so it's very hard for me to walk away from that.

Even though it has nothing to do with me individually, but I'm really happy to get to be a vessel and a conduit so that people can learn this practice and to implement into their lives.

The "I'll Be Happy When" Syndrome

Dave Smith: Wow, what a compelling story. That's amazing. You said many things that I want to touch on. One in particular you said, you were sort of stuck in this idea of, I will be happy when ... So that's inspiring to this next thing. So for you, it was talking about being an actor, a performer on Broadway. With the clients that you work with, what's their story? Or what do you see typically? I'll be happy when ...

Emily Fletcher: That's such a good question. So I work with a range of people. I work with everyone from inter city kids in the Bronx to A list celebrities to [inaudible 08:22] managers. Really what we focus on at Ziva is meditation for better performance. We call ourselves the school for high performance.

So I tend to attract a lot of high performers. As of this month, I've worked with Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winners. I've taught NBA players, CEO's of companies, you know Google, Harvard business school, you name it. So I'm getting to work with some of the world's elite, some of the riches, most successful, most powerful people on the planet.

What's fascinating is that it doesn't matter how much money you make, where you live, how many kids you have, how many houses you have, if you have jet, it doesn't matter. We're all suffering from this syndrome of the "I'll be happy when" syndrome.

So what this looks like in practical terms is you know, you're twelve years old and all you want in life is a bike. Then you get that bike. You're really excited about it for a day, then the next day you're like you know what I really can't wait until I get a car when I'm sixteen.

Then you get that car and then all you want is to get out of your parent's house and go to college. Once you get in college, you're like man, I can't wait for spring break. You get out of college, ah I can't wait until I get a job. Then you get a job and you're like Oh I can't wait until I go on vacation.

Then you go on vacation and like man, I can't wait until I get some wifi and I can start answering my work emails again. Then you make a million dollars and you're like Oh I did that. I bet I can make hundred million dollars. Once you have a hundred million dollars, then you want a jet.

Then once you have a hundred million dollars and a jet, then you just miss the days that you could get high and go to the park and not have to manage your money all day.

What will be "enough" for you? What will really give you happiness?

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So it's like our happiness becomes this little carrot that gets further and further away from us. Then we die. That is the way most people are living their lives. They don't have the ability or the tools or the training to be able to experience their own happiness right here, right now. They don't have the tools to access their happiness eternally which is the only place it resides.

So we all convince ourselves that our happiness is going to lie on the other side of this next job, this next line in our resume, this next employee, this next acquisition, this next kid, this next zero in the bank account. The reality is that day never comes. We've done decades of research on it and

so what I love about meditation is that in no uncertain terms it is giving you access to your happiness in the only place it resides, which is inside of you. Once you start to feel that relief physically, everyday, twice a day. Then you stop being under the illusion that your happiness lies on the other side of any person, place, or thing.

What that allows us to do is to start to approach your goals and your mission in life with a level of detachment and a level of ease and elegance - Verses if you think you're going to be happy on the other side of whatever your goal is right now. Then it's really easy to get a death grip on that desire.

Then you choke hold this and you stress out about it. Then it's much harder for nature to give you the thing that you're reaching for. If you trust that you ... It's not even trust, if you start to be able to actually physically and viscerally experience that bliss and fulfillment internally.

It may not be easy to find happiness inside but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.

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P.S. what's happening neuro chemically is that within 30-45 seconds of starting meditation, your brain actually starts flooding with dopamine and serotonin. Those are bliss chemicals. So when you start flooding your brain and body with bliss chemistry, that's what's allowing you to access that happiness internally.

As you change the projector, the projection changes. So as you change your brain, your changing the lens through which you see everything. That very quickly changes your relationship to your goals, it changes your relationship to your body.

It changes your relationship to your loved ones because you're no longer saying, well if my boyfriend goes to therapy then I will be happy. If I lose fifteen pounds, then I will be happy. If I get a car, then I will be happy because you already experienced that happiness internally.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Dave Smith: You know, it's so interesting hearing you speak because I think of our society. So speaking of North America in particular, how we live in such a culture society of abundance and we have so many things. This is something I've been processing myself for the last couple of years...

I think back to university days, Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Anyone who took any psychology courses would be familiar with this pyramid that starts our first level of satisfying our basic needs of survival: our food, our water, our shelter. Then once those are satisfied we move up to the next step of the pyramid and probably most people in the audience have heard this before.

Then you start looking for safety needs and social needs. Eventually you work your way to the top and it's what he labeled self-actualization. Really trying to fulfill your life's purpose. You know as you talked Emily about this carrot, you said there's always this thing and you listed off so many things that we think will be fulfilling.

You know that new car, that next promotion, the new house, the next paycheck, the bigger raise, whatever it is. That carrot keeps on seeming like it's going to be a solution. It becomes a bigger stress.

Emily Fletcher: 100%

Dave Smith: Do you, when working with your clients and you see this pattern happening. Do you have sort of an aha moment or like a first thing where you can say, let's do this to really quickly give you some big wins. When you talked about taking your course, it blew my mind that you said in one day you were meditating and that night you slept well. So is there kind of this thing, do this today and all of sudden your life is going to change?

Emily Fletcher: Yes and no. There is this thing and it's incredibly powerful and the silent meditation that I teach at Ziva. I like to call it the Tesla of meditations because it's very fast, it's very powerful, and I think it makes you sexier. You know call me crazy, but I don't think that stress is sexy.

To your point about the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, they've done a lot of research recently that says up to $50,000 annual income, your level of money or income directly impacts your happiness. Between $50,000 a year and $5 billion dollars a year annual income, your happiness is not impacted by money.

So basically what it's saying is if you know you have a place to sleep, you know you have enough money to eat food, like you can survive, then like your ratio to money to happiness is irrelevant after that point. Yet we all play this story in our head. Well if I just get to this point or if I could just earn this. If I could just have this level of financially freedom, but that day never comes.

The Many Styles of Meditation

So the silent mediation that I teach at Ziva and what Ziva has really evolved to be is that it's a system. Like I move people through a system to make themselves sufficient. So it's quite different than what most people probably think of when they hear the word meditation.

It's a little frustrating because meditations becoming so popular right now and everybody's using this word so liberally. That I think it's actually confusing for people who don't yet have a daily practice and it's confusing for people that don't have any training because one person will say, well I'm doing breathing meditation and I'm doing walking meditation.

I listen to a you tube meditation and I did an app meditation. I did washing the dishes meditation and so we're just using this word like a catch all for anytime you're not on Facebook or something.

I just think we've got to be a little more specific with our vernacular, we have to be a little more specific with our language now that it's becoming so popular and so many people are interested in it.

I think it's going to help everybody long term and so the distinction I like to make is that there's mindfulness, which is a directed focused style of meditation. Or like a visualization or a breath work.

So anytime your actively doing something or if you're directing your focus in any way. I would put that in the category of mindfulness. This is a little of bit of a simplification and yes we can get a lot more intricate, but for the purposes for this chat I think this would be great.

So there's thousands of different styles of meditation. Most of them fall under one of two categories. Directed focused style of meditation and then there's what I teach, which is more of ... It's called Diana or nishkam karma meditation, which is all about giving your body deep rest. It's all about surrendering. It's all about letting the body heal itself in the way that it knows how.

So like I think, if I'm correct if what you were asking for. Like is there one exercise you can do that allows people to get out of the I'll be happy when syndrome. Allows them to realize that we're actually all drowning in abundance.

Dave Smith: Exactly and to your point I Think exactly what you said. You said it so well is that so many people. I think if you surveyed you know the general population probably 90% of us would say I've tried meditation at some point.

So I guess what I'm getting at, for all those people who have this carrot dangling and keep on building more and more stress into their lives and attempt to meditate and don't have the experience that you had. It's easy to say, well I tried meditation and it's just not for me.

Why Meditation May Not Be Working For You

Emily Fletcher: Yes, so this is a huge point because everybody's promising the moon when it comes to meditation right.

There are people who do it and that have a technique that is designed for them and people who actually take the time to get proper training. Mediation is revelatory and it changes their lives. They can't say enough good things about it, right.

Then someone's like oh yeah cool, meditation. Let me try that! and then they download a free app and they do it twice and they can't stop their minds from thinking because they think that's the goal.

Then they feel frustrated with themselves because they weren't able to achieve their imaginary goal of stopping their brain. Then they feel, not only like they're failing at meditation, but also like it just won't work for them. Then they're a lot less likely to start.

Most people give up after the first try, forgetting that failure is just a step towards success

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So I'm on a bit of a mission to really re-train and re-frame what people think meditation is. To really clarify this language around you know ... Mindfulness is great and breath work is great and guided visualization are awesome. I'm actually going to give your audience a free guided visualization if they want to check it out.

I hope that people enjoy it, but all of those techniques that I just mentioned, I like to call them and this is going to sound a little derogatory and it's not meant to. I want to delineate. I like to think about it like an aspirin.

So imagine that you're in pain and you take an aspirin. That aspirin is going to be really good at getting rid of your headache in the right now. Similarly if you're really stressed and you listen to an audio or you do a guided meditation or you like a You Tube video, like that might help you in the right now.

What I teach at Ziva is a very powerful system that makes you self sufficient. So that you can mediate on your own, every day and it's not only handling the stress in the right now. It's getting rid of all of the stress of your past that's actually now being stored in your body. So the thing is that every single time you've ever been stressed.

Every time you have every launched into a fight or flight stress reaction, that stuff gets stored in your cellular memory. Now we're starting to know it actually gets stored in your DNA. It changes your DNA overtime.

The point is that different styles in mediation do different things to the body. So at Ziva we're not only handling your stress from the right now, but we're also getting rid of that lifetime of accumulated stress and that's really the thing that allows people to improve their performance capabilities and allows them to increase their fertility and increase their brain elasticity and boost their immune function.

In all of these like really crazy, like seemingly miraculous benefits are happening, not because mediation is magic, but because stress is really, really bad for us. You know people are asking well how can meditation possibly do all these things. You sound like a used car salesman.

How can mediation do everything you're promising. The better question that we should be asking is how does stress mess so many things up?

Dave Smith: I could not agree more. You know Emily one of the topics that I get most frequently asked to speak on is stress and the role that it plays specifically in weight gain and it's that overlooked variable. I get so many people, they always say the same two variables they talk about, I've got to fix my diet and I've got to fix my exercise.

Once I have those two components fixed, the rest of my life is going to be great because the weights going to melt off and I'm going to be happy, that carrot again. That whole carrot idea. They don't realize that being in a state of chronic stress can make their body actually in able to lose that weight. Regardless of what they do diet or exercise wise.

The Chemical Side of Meditation

Emily Fletcher: Yes. 100% and my friend Dave Asprey who you might know. You guys might know him from ... He's like the bullet proof coffee guy. He's like a big bio hacker. He's kind of like the father of this modern bio hacking movement.

So I'm actually going to go out to teach he and his family to do Ziva meditation. Dave's been doing lots of different styles of meditation for years. He actually owns neuro feedback lab, but he wants to check out Ziva meditation, which I'm thrilled about.

Anyway, Dave has this cool analogy and I think it's really helpful for people especially people who are beating themselves up because they feel like they don't have any will power or self control. Or they're feeling like ah, I just can't go to the gym and I just ate that cookie anyway.

They like beat themselves up, but the reality is if you don't understand what stress is doing to your body. Then you're never going to be able to really fully master your relationship with exercise and food. Well I'll start from the beginning.

If you want to understand why stress impact the body in the way that it does we have to go back in time. About 10,000 years.

So we're hunting and gathering in the woods. Say a saber tooth tiger jumps out at you with the intent to kill. Well if that happens, your body's going to launch into a series of chemical reactions.

The first thing that happens is your digestion floods with acid to shut down digestion. You need all of your energy to handle this tiger. So if you're stressed, your literally not digesting your food as effecting as you could.

The second thing that happens is that same acid then seeps onto your skin so that you don't taste very good if that tiger bites into you. Which is what caused the premature aging. That's why people who are stressed, age faster than people who meditate.

Then your bladder and bowels evacuate so you could be light on your feet. Then your adrenaline levels increase and your cortisone levels increase. I don't really like teaching from fear tactics, but if people want to freak themselves out. They can do a quick google search about what adrenaline and cortisone are doing to the body. It's belly fat, infertility, it's erectile dysfunction, it's premature aging, it's like dumping acid in your body all day everyday.

Then finally, your immune system goes to the back burner because who cares if you're going to get cancer if you're about to be killed by a tiger.

So this series of chemical reactions is very useful if your demands are predator attacks. If your demands are kids, jobs and flights and deadlines then this fighter flight or stress reactions become maladapted.

It actually launches you into what Dave calls like a golden retriever brain or you're basically in survival mode. So if your in fighter flight, your meat suit, your body is doing everything it can to stay alive. Which means it's going to try to feed on fight or the other f word. Anything it can find. You know what I mean. It's just like stay alive, keep the species going for as long as possible at all costs.

Why You Can't Lose Weight When You're Chronically Stressed

So this craving for fat and sugar use to be really useful to us when the only sugar we had was like a pot of honey a hundred miles away. Like when you find that honey you better eat a lot of it because you need those calories.

Now there's sugar everywhere all around us and not only is it plentiful, but it's also refined. So it's not how sugar is intended to be ingested, but we still have an ancient craving to just eat as much of it as we can.

Same thing with fat. Like if you're eating raw fat, it's not that bad for you. The fat as we know it today, is not ... The body doesn't know what to do with it. Yet when we're stressed, we're trying to stay alive. So what happens is that this meat suit is like eat as many calories as you can.

So you see a plate of cookies, you're like eat the cookie. Then you're trying to reason with your desire. Like don't eat the cookie. You're like, but I really want it. No, don't eat it, but I want it. Don't eat it. I want it.

Then what you turn into is decision fatigue and actually role power fatigue. Ultimately what's going to win is your survival mechanism because you can't negotiate with that fear part of your brain.

You can't negotiate with the amendola. You can't negotiate with your brain when it's in fighter flight because that piece of your brain started evolving 300 million years ago. So it creates language. So you trying to reason with yourself is a fruitless exercise.

My meditation is so powerful of this because it takes you out of fighter flight and it moves you into what I call, stay and play. Then you start waking up the executive function of your brain, which is the prefrontal cortex which does understand language. Then you can actually play out a scenario and you can pro and con it.

You can make a decision based on, what do I actually want to do, what's going to be for mine and everyone's highest good. Instead of getting yourself decision fatigue and feeling like you're failing trying to negotiate with a 300 million year old survival mechanism.

Dave Smith: You said so many key words there. Talking about decision fatigue or will power fatigue. Then you used the word failure. This sort of closes this vicious loop that you described. You get to the point of decision or will power fatigue we in our minds fail and then that increases our stress levels. Eventually propels us back into wanting some sort of comfort.

Something we have control over. Which in many peoples cases is control over food. So we just get right back into that vicious loop. So the idea of pulling ourselves out of that loop. Sounds like putting ourselves into an entirely different loop altogether. That sounds like a dream. My question is ....

Emily Fletcher: It is.

Dave Smith: So you talked about. You did a really great job of describing the difference between mindfulness or you know sort of reflection verses mediation from outside. So from someone who hasn't been through the training that you've been through. My initial thought is okay, how much work do I have to learn how to really meditate. Is it just going to be another stressor in my life?

How You Can Commit to Meditation

Emily Fletcher: Good question. So I do think that people if they don't have a technique that is designed for them or if they don't have any training, they assume meditation is going to be another hard thing. Or is another thing to put on the to do list or another thing to feel like you're failing at.

In my experience if you have a technique that is designed for you and if the training itself is enjoyable. You resonate with the teacher, then actually the training itself can be fun. That's really my mission at Ziva, is to make meditation entertaining and enlightening.

Then more importantly, is that you then want to commit to the practice and you understand both intellectually and [necessarily 26:55] what it's doing for you. Then meditation becomes like dark chocolate. Where you're like ah, I can't wait to do this thing. It's so pleasurable.

Then you have this little hit of energy on the other side and you start to see how it's impacting your productivity because stress makes you stupid. Then it becomes like this beautiful self fulfilling prophecy.

What a lot of my students say is, Emily I never commit to anything, like I started that diet, I started that work out thing, I started you know reading that book, but I could never finish.

What a lot of my students report is that the meditation is the first thing they're really able to commit to because they actually want to because it feels good, because you're actually accessing the feeling that happens when you indulge into any kind of addiction.

Life if you think you're addicted to buying shoes, what you're actually addicted to is that dopamine hit that happens in your brain when you buy the shoes. You think you're addicted to oreos, but you're actually addicted to that dopamine hit that happens when you get that sensation on your tongue. You know sex habits. It's like you're actually addicted to that flood of chemicals that happens when you organism.

So what's happening in meditation is that it's flooding your brain and body with those chemicals so when you actually start to crave it and look forward to it. Depending on what style meditation you're doing.

So, but to answer your question it doesn't have to ... You don't have to like move to the cave, you don't have to stop drinking Jack Daniels, you don't have to stop having sex in order to learn. Like it actually can be really easy.

What is Zivamind?

Our other mission at Ziva is to make meditation accessible. So what we did is we created the world's first online meditation training. It's called Zivamind. and I'm really proud of it. It's about 25-30 minutes a day of video training for eight consecutive days. Each day builds upon the previous day.

So like on the first day you get basically they keys to the car and then on the second day you get some driving instructions. On the third day you get some directions and on the fourth day we do a check in. So each day is building upon the previous day and by the time you move to that eight day training.

People graduate with a practice to take with them for life. So they have a practice that's 15 minutes in the morning and I recommend people do it before coffee, breakfast, or computer. Then about 15 minutes somewhere in about that mid-afternoon slump. So when we find ourselves reaching for the nap, the coffee, or the chocolate I recommend that people do their second meditation then.

Then what most people report is they have this huge hit of productivity and creativity on the other side. They have more energy to go to the gym, to hang out with their friends and family. To do that creative project instead of being so exhausted after work.

So that's called Zivamind and people can just find that at zivamind.com and as soon as you enroll, you like a guided visualization to help with sleep and you get a few homework exercises and the actually training starts the next day.

That's like a beautiful way for people to get started no matter where you live, no matter if you have access to a teacher, there's also a payment plan that makes it really accessible.

Then if people feel inspired, like oh I love this I want to take it to the next level, then I highly recommend they find a teacher that they learn face to face. I teach in person in New York and in LA. I can also help people find a teacher around the world.

Dave Smith: The thing that really resonated you're speaking of there's that idea of uniqueness and finding sort of ... You talked about a meditation that works for you and I talk about this all the time with exercise.

I hear from people that say you know Dave, I'd love to exercise, but I just hate it. I've tried this and this and this. The reality is I think all of us neatly as human beings with an amazing body we enjoy movement. It's just a matter of finding what that movement is that we like doing.

Once we do, just like you talked about meditation being like that dark chocolate. Which I'm sure grabbed everyone's attention when you said that. We can grow to love moving our bodies once we find out how we actually enjoy doing that.

So that's very, very exciting. I'll put in the show notes for any of the listeners if you go to makeyourbodywork.com/85 I'll put links to Zivamind as well as Ziva meditation and also to a free gift that you have for us Emily. We'll talk about that in just a second.

Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: To wrap up this show, what we like to do is we called Make Your Body Work take away and I really want this to be practical for the listeners who maybe have had a bad experience with meditation, maybe the idea of meditation just never has been appealing to them.

But they're like Glenda and they want things to changer whether it's weight, whether it's just feeling stressed, whether it's brain fog, whatever it is. They know that they might get benefits from it. What is the one action step that you recommend that they can do today?

Emily Fletcher: Okay great question. So I would say if people only hear one thing or take one thing away from our whole conversation, I think this could be super valuable.

It's clearing up the number one misconception about meditation. So when most people hear the word meditation they think okay I've got to clear my mind, I have to somehow access some blissful, vibrating floating cosmic state of nothingness. That's the only way it's going to be working.

So if you have ever tried meditation and felt like a failure because you couldn't clear your mind. Please know that you're not a failure. It is the nature of the mind to think and here's the really good news.

The mind thinks involuntarily just like the heart beats involuntarily. So trying to get the brain a command to be silent is as effective as trying to give the heart a command to stop beating. So just to really drive this point home, I want everyone on the count of 3, I want you to try to give your heart a command to stop beating. Ready, 1, 2, 3. Please no one die.

Dave Smith: I was just going to say, hopefully no one's being rushed to the hospital right now.

Emily Fletcher: I know, but you get how silly that is. Right. Like our heart beating isn't you to us. We get that it's involuntary. So what I want people to understand is the mind thinks involuntarily as well. So regardless, even if you think I'm a ding dong and you try some other style of meditation, please know that thoughts are not the enemy.

What I invite you to do instead is start to gage the meditation based on how you're performing at life and is the meditation starting to change your sleep, your creativity, your patience, your kindness.

If those things are starting to shift then that's probably a good fit. That's probably a good technique for you. If those things aren't shifting, then maybe come on over to Ziva.

Dave Smith: I love it. You know just really quickly to share a bit of a story. I think I maybe have talked about this on one of my previous podcasts as well, but I went to an actual class to learn how to meditate and went in there with the preconceived notion exactly as you just described.

That meditation was clearing of the mind. I was the only new person there, I was in a little tiny room with probably 8 or 10 other women. Who the average age was probably seventy-two. So I was a little bit out of place and basically one of the woman she did a little talk and then said close your eyes and let's meditate.

For thirty minutes I sat there feeling like a complete idiot because I had so many thoughts going through my mind. I assumed each one of them was in some state of zenful bliss where there was nothing going on between their ears and they just felt so you know relieved of stress. So what you just said there is so encouraging because I don't think that anyone achieves that absence of thoughts state.

Emily Fletcher: Well so, thank you for sharing that because it's so important and I know that so many people can relate to your experience. Like if you even dabbled at meditation, I guarantee that, that has been your experience probably.

So the important distinction to make, it's not that you can not achieve those states of consciousness, it is possible to get to a state of consciousness where you're moving beyond the realm of thinking and into the realm of being. That's exactly what we do a Ziva. We give them the tools to access a verifiable fourth state of consciousness. Which is different than waking, sleeping, or dreaming.

The point that I want to make is that no one can give their brain a command to be silent. So it's a subtle, but important distinction. So it is possible to get there, but you've got to have some training.

You've got to have a teacher who knows what they're talking about and not just hey, you know I think today I'll be a meditation teacher. All right everyone, take some breaths and picture your chakras. That's great, but there's a lot more to it than that. It's like any other skill.

If you have a technique that's meant for you, it's a practice, it's a training, but it's possible to achieve those states of consciousness. No ones going to get there by being like all right brain shut up.

Emily's Free Guided Meditation

Dave Smith: Ah, very well explained. Now I do want to talk about your free gift. Again for the listening audience if you go to makeyourbodywork.com/85, I'll have a link to it. What will they get when they visit this link?

Emily Fletcher: Yeah so this is definitely an aspirin meditation, but it's my favorite aspirin mediation. So it's a guided visualization. It's called Ziva performance and it's about 9 or 10 minutes long.

I use to work with a lot of actors and performers, but I've adapted it to be a really great tool to have in your back pocket. So anytime you want to perform at the top of your game, even if you're coming home from a long day at work and you want to be super president to handle your kids or if you have a job negotiation, or you're interviewing for a job or anytime you just want to show up the most amazing version of you.

This is what Ziva performance is. It's a guided visualization, there's some breath work, there's some imagery, there's a way to pull the lens of your awareness out. So that we don't get so caught up with you know right or wrong, success or failure. We start to trust ourselves, we start to trust our intuition and it's just a way to get you really present into your right brain. Which grounds you in your body and in the right now.

People have loved it. I've had a bunch of actors say I've booked my first sitcom, I booked my first film after listening to it. So it's just a fun,easy way to get your toe in the water. Then if you like it, then if you enjoy it and you want to develop a more in depth practice then you can check out Zivamind.

Dave Smith: I love it. Well Emily, thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to join us today and share so much about the concept of meditation. Honestly, I've learned about what mediation actually is and hopefully, I know the audience will as well. So thanks for being with us today.

Emily Fletcher: It's my absolute please. Thank you for having me and for all the work you're doing in the world.

Dave Smith: Thanks again Emily for joining us on the show today. Just for really opening up. I think I'll speak for the audience as well as for my self. For opening up our eyes to what it really means to meditate and what we can hope to accomplish through proper meditation.

For everyone who is listening, I really encourage you to reach out to Emily. Check out her free gift that she offered and just try it. You know the free gift it's free. Give it a shot. As she said, it's sort of that starting point. That asprin medication.

See how you feel and if it does feel like there was a change in practicing those moments of mindfulness or that little quick fix of meditation maybe consider taking the next step and actually enrolling into her program and trying it out. See what it can do for your life, what it can do for your stress and your performance in just improving your overall happiness.

Happiness is our nature. Practicing meditation is simply reminding ourselves who we are.

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Get Your Free Copy of CAN'T LOSE

Now before we go. I do want to announce something really exciting. I mentioned this for the first time ever in last weeks podcast. My new book. It's called Can't Lose - fourteen winning secrets for woman who think they can't lose weight. It was just released and it's available only right now. Right now only on my website and even better than that.

I'm actually giving away free copies right now. So you can go to makeyourbodywork.com/book. Again that's makeyourbodywork.com/book and you can order your free copy. I'll ship it out to you, it will be there within the next couple of weeks.

It is highly based on the interviews that I've done on this podcast and other interviews that I've done with different health and wellness professionals and experts from all over the world boiling down the whole weight-loss equation into fourteen areas that you may want to focus on. The neat thing about it is that it's not a one size fits all sort of solution.

I highly recommend that as you read through it, think about the same thing that I always encourage you when you listen to this show. Think about, is this for me? Is this the one thing I'm going to get the most benefit from? Or as you read through each of those chapters, what's the one golden nugget.

What's my one action step? Because I'll tell you the last thing I want to do is present more information. Instead my goal with this book was to present an opportunity to take action. So again I highly recommend that you check it out. As you do, I'd love to hear from you. What do you think? What are you learning and most importantly what are you doing? So check it out again makeyourbodywork.com/book.

Next Week's Episode

I'll be back here again next week with another great guest on the podcast. This show upcoming next week is all about people who are living a sedentary lifestyle by the nature of their work and the three things... These three action steps that you could do to spark your metabolism even if you're sitting all day. So you won't want to miss that if you're someone that sits at a computer or sits for your work. So that's it for me today. Can't wait to see you here again next week.

Thanks for joining me today!

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