Top 5 Neuroscience Hacks

Do you want to do my favorite neuroscience hacks that can help improve your memory, retention, and overall cognitive health? If you’re like me and you’re constantly trying to learn new things, these can be invaluable. 

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5 Neuroscience Hacks

1. Taking a 10 Second Pause

Studies have shown that taking a 10-second pause, interspersed with trying to retain new knowledge, can help you to get a 20-fold replay. In other words, whatever information you are trying to retain, you could learn that 20-fold by taking very intentional 10-second pauses. How does this happen? It’s will affect your hippocampus and your neocortex which is critical for memory and retention. 

2. Listening to White Noise

Although some people may be distracted by white noise, many individuals that suffer from ADHD or ADD can benefit greatly too. White noise can help increase dopamine which can help with working memory. It can help tune out the background noise and help you to focus on the task at hand.  

3. Wearing Blue Light Blockers

We are stimulated by blue light all day long. However, after seven o’clock when your circadian rhythm is beginning to shift and you plan to use electronics, blue light blockers can be very helpful. It is one of the simplest things that you could do that can improve the quality of your sleep, thereby improving memory and retention. 

4. Crossing Midline

Crossing midline is a great way to connect the right and left hemispheres of our brain which is connected via the corpus callosum. When you cross midline, you’re improving coordination and communication between hemispheres, which can ultimately help you improve your learning. Something as simple as bringing your knee to your opposite elbow either in the sitting or standing position can be a great way to wake up your brain!  

5. Movement

Movement is key for learning. Sitting all day while trying to learn something new is not the most ideal way to optimize your retention. Aim to move every 30 minutes and also try moving while simultaneously learning, like walking while listening to an audiobook. 

Of course, that’s not all of the amazing things that you can do to help improve your cognitive health, memory, and retention. See what resonates with you and see if that can be integrated into your life. 

We are happy to help, so please reach out. We do virtual and in-person consultations, so we’d love the opportunity to help you on your journey. If this was helpful, give it a share and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Need help? Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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8 ways to heal your chronic pain

Chronic pain is in part considered a neurodegenerative disease and is mismanaged in our country. We need to dig deeper into the biological and metabolic factors as well as the pathophysiology of chronic pain. This goes well beyond opioids and NSAIDs.

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What you need to know about chronic pain

Essentially, chronic pain will distort the cognitive and emotional processing of day-to-day experiences. The volume in chronic pain is dialed up, and our ability to inhibit or turn that volume down is decreased. Therefore, we have what we call sensitization. That means that our nervous system is hypersensitive. Everything is amplified, and the ability to dampen it is decreased.

In addition to that, it can be associated with anxiety and depression. Oftentimes, these may go hand in hand. Of course, it’s necessary and important to look at any type of adaptive movements or compensations that may be contributing. Beyond that, it’s important to look at toxin exposure, intestinal permeability, otherwise known as leaky gut, inflammation, dysbiosis in the gut, and hormone imbalances. Increased cortisol from chronic stress or decreased sex hormones, like DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, can influence our ability to perceive pain. 

Lastly, chronic pain does not equal tissue damage. With acute pain, there is often acute tissue damage which contributes to increased swelling, pain and increased white blood cells in the area. However, with chronic pain, there is no tissue damage. The tissues have healed, yet your brain is still perceiving that there is increased pain.

8 ways to heal your chronic pain

Let’s discuss eight things you can do to address your chronic pain.  

1. Stop the Opioids and NSAIDs

Long-term use of opioids can actually increase pain and your perception of pain. NSAIDs drive leaky gut, so intestinal permeability. That contributes to a release of lipopolysaccharides (LPs), which is considered an endotoxin. The more LPs that you have in your body, the more inflammation and the more pain you can experience. 

2. Support Key Nutrients

Chronic pain is considered a dysfunction of the mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells. You want to make sure that you’re supporting the nutrients for your mitochondria. Proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, for example, are crucial for the membrane health in your cells. 

3. Improve Glycemic Responses

Eat balanced meals with proteins, carbs, and fiber sources to prevent blood sugar dips throughout the day. If you’re eating a high glycemic food like candy, white bread, or enriched foods without any protein or fats, you can have poorly regulated blood sugar. You want to improve your membrane thresholds by stabilizing your glycemic response. 

4. Modulate Stress

This can be done through mindfulness practices, meditation, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, autogenic training, progressive relaxation, and much more. This is a crucial part of healing chronic pain and understanding your body’s signaling, which can be done through a variety of modalities. 

5. Purposeful Graded Exercise

It is important to start low and go slow in a very systematic progression. For example, if you were going to start walking, you would start walking for five minutes every other day. Once you’re able to do that without any increase in pain, then you can proceed to eight minutes. This will allow you to progress safely without getting discouraged.

6. Heal the Gut

Your gut is 70% of your immune system. This is what drives inflammation, and typically, chronic pain is associated with chronic inflammation. You want to get to the root of your gut issues. Gastrointestinal issues might not be obvious and could present as systemic inflammation, joint pain, and so on. 

7. Prioritize High-Quality Sleep

It is important to make sure that you are not only getting enough sleep, but you’re getting deep and REM sleep to fully restore and repair your body. 

8. Assess and Decrease Toxins

You can start by going to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website and begin to choose one product at a time to switch to a cleaner product. This could be something as simple as switching from plastic water bottles to stainless-steel water bottles. You could change the products you’re using on your skin or your hair. Toxins, including medications, are things that can continue to perpetuate the chronic pain cycle. 

You can get better! You can heal your chronic pain. Look beyond just basic physical therapy, exercises, cortisone shots, and surgeries. You have to dig deeper into all of the things that play into chronic pain. 

We are happy to help, so please reach out. We do virtual and in-person consultations, so we’d love the opportunity to help you on your journey. If this was helpful, give it a share and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Need help? Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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How stress affects your sex hormones

Everyone talks about how much stress can impact your health, but do you know how much it can specifically impact your hormones?

Whether you are experiencing hormonal imbalances such as heavy periods, erectile dysfunction, low libido, or even things like breast cancer or endometrial cancer, you want to make sure that you’re assessing the amount of stress that you have and more importantly, how you’re managing stress in your life.

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What you need to know about stress

When we are in a constant chronic stressed state, we have an increased release of cortisol, one of our key stress hormones.

When cortisol is increased, initially you will have a decrease in the production and manufacturing of our sex hormones such as progesterone, testosterone, androgens, and estrogens. Initially, less progesterone will contribute to a more estrogen-dominant state. This can contribute to an increase in aromatase, which is a key enzyme in estrogen metabolism. This can contribute to things like fibroids, endometriosis, and even breast cancer.

The interesting thing is when we have long periods of stress, this will decrease the production of our androgens and estrogens so this can attribute to things like hot flashes, low libido increased stress, and our ability to manage stress. 

In essence, cortisol, influenced by our ability to manage stress, will, directly and indirectly, impact our sex hormones.

How can you begin to address stress management in your life?

Although you can’t get rid of stress, you can learn how to manage it in your life. That can involve proper sleep, proper nutrition, hydration, decreasing alcohol, as well as nervous system regulation techniques.

Please be sure to check out all my vagus nerve hack videos. You can do deep breath work, meditation, yoga, animal flow, and so on. Make sure that you are scheduling time for relaxation, and not over-scheduling yourself for obligations. 

If you are interested in making a consult for yourself, please make sure to reach out. You can check us out at themovementparadigm.com, we would love the opportunity to help you.

Need help? Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Vagus Nerve Hack | Pyloric valve release | visceral release

If you’re experiencing any gut issues or stress, then this vagus nerve hack, the pyloric valve release, may be very powerful for you.

The pyloric valve connects the stomach to the small intestine. If you have increased stress, blood flows away from your digestive tract. Additionally, low fiber intake, decreased pancreatic enzyme efficiency, or low stomach acid can contribute to pyloric valve dysfunction.

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Essentially, when food is not broken down well, then the bacteria are passed downstream to the small intestine. That can cause a whole host of issues from dysbiosis and SIBO — small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

The interesting thing about the pyloric valve is that it is innervated with parasympathetic fibers as well as sympathetic fibers. The sympathetic fibers act on noradrenaline, which will increase the contraction of that sphincter. The parasympathetic fibers contribute to the relaxation of that sphincter. And that’s where the vagus nerve comes into play.

How do you perform this release? 

First, you want to locate the pyloric valve by lying on your back. You start from your umbilicus, or belly button, and come up about two inches. Everyone’s torso is going to be a little bit different, so the location of the pyloric valve will be different for every person.

Once you come up about two inches, then you should be able to feel the sphincter. It will feel like a little circle. You’ll be able to work your way into the tissue.

Once you’ve located it, you can begin to do a very gentle soft release here using a small circular motion. Then, when you do the actual pyloric valve release, move your hands over to the left, towards the stomach. Use both hands to gently pull the tissue in towards the pyloric valve. Once you gently pull the tissue over, you will hold that for one to two minutes to allow everything to relax. 

Whenever you’re doing these types of releases, think intentional, not aggressive. You want to let the tissue relax and soften. You may feel tenderness at first which is normal. It should release, however, as you continue. You do not want to perform this right after you eat.

Try doing this before bed to help down-regulate the nervous system. It’s a great way to calm the nervous system. You could also do this before you eat to bring yourself to a parasympathetic state to optimize your digestion. Enjoy! 

If you are interested in making a consult for yourself, please make sure to reach out. You can check us out at themovementparadigm.com, we would love the opportunity to help you.

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Is intermittent fasting for you?

Have you heard about intermittent fasting? Maybe you’ve had a friend or family member who’s been successful with it and you are wondering if you should, too? Let’s dive into what intermittent fasting is, the types of fast, its potential benefits and adverse effects, and how you can incorporate it safely into your life.

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Intermittent fasting is a broad term defined as periods of feeding and restricting. This can include many different forms. Think of intermittent fasting as an umbrella term.

Here are four common ways to intermittent fast:

1. Time-Restricted Feeding

This involves prolonging the amount of time that you’re not eating and shortening the time that you’re feeding. The most common example of this is a 12 hour fast from night until the next morning. For example, eating dinner at 7:00 p.m. and then eating breakfast at 7:00 a.m. If you were prolonging that further, you could fast up to 16 hours. A 12 to 16-hour fast is most common, although more is an option as well. 

2. Alternate Day Fast

This involves eating your normal calories on one day and on the next day you have a decreased caloric intake of approximately 600 calories.

3. Modified Fasting

This could involve reducing your caloric intake by about 10 to 20% on a day or multiple days a week. You could go as little as 600 calories. 

4. Fasting Mimicking Diet

This is typically done one time per month for five days. During the five days, you would consume a ketogenic diet, which is high in fat, low in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. This would be done on five consecutive days once a month as a means of a cyclical fasting-mimicking period. 

Benefits

The next big question is what the benefits of fasting are, and there are quite a few. It is important to recognize that there are a lot of mice studies and some human studies, so there needs to be more research with greater human subject samples.

Additionally, restricted eating, intermittent fasting, carbohydrate restriction, and caloric restriction can all have similar effects on the body. Autophagy, our natural cell recycling program, can be improved through all three of these.

Shorter-term studies on mice and humans show that there can be a positive effect on insulin resistance, blood pressure, blood sugar, lipids, as well as inflammation, weight loss, and even brain health. There’s no doubt that longer-term studies on humans are needed to support the long-term benefits of sustained weight loss. 

Who should use caution?

Now, who should use caution with intermittent fasting?

First, I believe that you should work with a health practitioner to guide you and coach you to make sure that this is the right time and the right plan for you. Anyone that is frail, pregnant, has a previous eating disorder, has disordered eating should not fast.

If you have low blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, or insulin-dependent diabetes, you also should not fast. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that is overlooked is if you have an HPA Axis dysfunction, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal dysfunction. This is our main stress pathway in our body.

If you’re under chronic stress, it is not a good idea to do intermittent fasting. This perhaps may be the sole reason why I choose to not put many of my patients on intermittent fasting because. It can be yet another stressor on their body that they can’t tolerate at this time. I’m also very cautious to do intermittent fasting with women, especially if they are dealing with existing hormonal issues, such as cortisol dysregulation, estrogen dominance, or low progesterone.

For men, however, I have found that it can be very helpful, but there are some things to think about even beyond the things I just mentioned. It depends on your specific goal if intermittent fasting will help you achieve your goal. For example, if you are lifting to build muscle mass, you have to eat more calories. Intermittent fasting may not be the best fit because it may be very hard to get in all the calories that you need in a condensed period of time. It is important to think about what your goals are, your current health conditions, or the concerns that you’re working with. 

Tips for successful fasting

If you decide to give it a try, track how you’re feeling for at least one month. If fasting is helping you meet your goals, stick with it. If it’s not, stop. It’s that simple. If it’s a way of life for you, fantastic, but it’s not and your body’s not responding the way you thought, it’s okay to change gears and move in a different direction. 

  1. Make sure that you’re drinking a lot of water. 
  2. Clean your gut and health up first. 
  3. If you are waking up and drinking bulletproof coffee with ghee and MCT oil, you have already broken the fast. If you put creamer in your coffee, you’ve broken the fast. 
  4. Build up tolerance slowly. Start at 10 hours, 11, 12, and so on. For women, I would recommend no more than 14 hours and for men up to 16. 
  5. If you feel unwell at any point, stop the fast and reconsider if this is the right approach for you? 

Having metabolic flexibility, being able to fast and feed is very powerful and is evolutionary in nature.  If you decide to, make sure you are taking all the necessary steps and track your journey.

Need help? Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Vagus nerve hack: visceral sympathetic release | celiac plexus, superior/inferior mesenteric plexus

Did you know that stress can inhibit the vagus nerve? When we are stressed, we are activating our sympathetic nervous system, our “fight or flight” system.

We can access the sympathetic nervous system through our viscera. We can do specific visceral techniques on ourselves that can down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system so that we can upregulate the vagus nerve, which is the cornerstone of our parasympathetic nervous system, or “rest and digest” system.

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How stress affects our viscera

Stress can affect us in so many ways, but let’s specifically speak to how it affects our viscera.

Stress inhibits or turns down the vagus nerve, which is what innervates our entire digestive tract. If we are stressed, blood flow moves away from the digestive system. If we’re in a sympathetic state, we are not able to digest, assimilate, and even eliminate our food as well as we should.

Additionally, if we have a high vagal tone, then we will have good protective epithelial or gut barrier function. If we are in a constant fight or flight system, then, unfortunately, we don’t have that protective barrier that can contribute to things like leaky gut, IBS, and even inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

So what can you do about it?

The visceral sympathetic release technique is something you can do on yourself that can downregulate your sympathetic nervous system. You can target the celiac plexus, the superior mesenteric plexus, and the inferior mesenteric plexus, which are all nerve bundles part of this system

While you’re lying down, you want to assess each of these three areas. 

  1. You will start about an inch under the xiphoid process, which is the bone right under your sternum. That is your celiac plexus. 
  2. Then, move down to halfway between your xiphoid process (bottom of your sternum) and your belly button to your superior mesenteric plexus. 
  3. About one inch above your belly button is your inferior mesenteric plexus. 

Assess for a temperature, edema, or tenderness in each of these areas. Wherever you notice any kind of restriction, decreased elasticity, swelling, or soreness, then that’s the area you want to address. As with any type of release, you want to have a very gentle approach, especially with the viscera. You are manipulating fascia, which does not need to be aggressive. You want to be very intentional about your technique and your pressure.

This is a great opportunity for you to tune in to your own body and viscera. As you move through the technique, you’ll find the key areas that you want to release and proceed to hold each spot. You can use both fingers, one on top of the other, to sink into the tissue until you feel one of those shifts in what you’re assessing.

Is there a decrease in tenderness? Does it feel like there’s less swelling around the area or is it more elastic?

You can assess for any change in the tissue or does it feel like a sense of relaxation?  That could feel like a sigh, swallow, yawn, or just a sense of calmness in your body. 

After you perform the technique, reassess to see how that tissue feels. You can reinforce that with diaphragmatic breathing to up-regulate your parasympathetic nervous system even more. This can be a great technique to do before you go to bed or before you eat, especially if you have gut issues. 

If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Optimize your testosterone

Did you know that testosterone in men can decrease at the age of 30? However, that does not necessarily mean that you need hormone replacement. Today we are going to talk about the science of low T, the causes, and what you can do about it.

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Let’s first start with this — testosterone can affect men and women. However, we will focus mostly on men. The signs of low T in a man can be anything from low mood, low energy, erectile dysfunction, low libido, fatigue, poor sleep, decreased strength, and muscle mass among other things. This is something that most people associate testosterone with, but it’s important to recognize all of the other symptoms that correlate with low T. It can also lead to things like brain fog and irritability.

Many things can affect low T and it is important to dig deep to see if this is a possibility for you and how you can improve it. 

Causes of Decreased Testosterone

Now we are going to get into things that decrease testosterone. 

1. Chronic Opioid Use

One of the biggest drivers is chronic opioid use. This happens in up to 74% of chronic opioid users. That means if you are going to go play golf or work out and you pop a couple of Advil’s, remember that could be associated with your low T.  

2. Insulin Resistance

Increased visceral body fat (belly fat) is inflammatory in nature and drives insulin resistance. This can cause elevated blood sugars and lipid issues. Also, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension can all be associated with low T. 

3. Poor Sleep

This is what I see the most in my men with low T; they are experiencing poor quality sleep. That might mean not getting enough sleep, watching TV before bed, sleeping with the TV on, using their phone right before bed, or drinking alcohol right before bed. All of these things are going to tank your testosterone. 

4. Inflammatory Diets

The Standard American Diet is what many men consume. High-fat, high-sugar, and processed foods. All of these things often drive food sensitivities, inflammation, and then begin to spiral into affecting our sex hormones. In this particular case, your testosterone. 

5. Stress

Stress is what drives high cortisol. Whenever we’re thinking about how our sex hormones are affected, we want to think about adrenals first. This produces our stress hormones and an imbalance can affect the thyroid and then sex hormones. If you have high levels of stress, this may be an area to focus on. A lot of times I’ll see men that are in their 30s to 40s that are experiencing high-stress lives that have low T simply because of their lifestyle. 

6. Low Protein Diets

Men need to have at least 30 to 40 grams of high-quality, essential amino acids in every meal. This is key for optimal hormone health. We also need healthy fats!

What You Can Do About It

So, what do you do about it? First, you should get properly evaluated by a functional medicine practitioner, a hormone specialist, or a professional that can guide you and coach you through this journey. With that said, if you decide to pursue hormone replacement, you want to make sure that your lifestyle factors are dialed in.

If you are experiencing high stress, poor sleep, inflammatory diet and you decide to start hormone replacement for low T, I can assure you it will not be as effective. It is so important to address the basics first so that you can optimize your natural T before approaching your potential hormone replacement. So what other things can you do?

1. Moderate Intensity Strength Training

You want to be performing over 200 minutes a week of exercise, most importantly coming from your strength work. Strength training will naturally boost your T. It’s such an easy way to do it, but it has to be consistent just like anything else. 

2. Proper Sleep

Addressing sleep is so imperative. This requires a journey. It can be starting by just looking at your sleep hygiene and picking one thing that you could change such as blue light blockers after seven o’clock, having a set time that you go to bed and wake up, and turning the TV off 30 minutes before bed. There are lots of things that you can do to begin to shift your natural circadian rhythm so that you are optimizing your repair and restoration.

Ultimately, we want to think of testosterone as a growth and repair mechanism. When you have rotator cuff injuries, stenosis in your spine, or degenerating discs, you want to be thinking about testosterone, especially when that’s happening in your 30s, 40’s, and 50’s. Sleep can optimize your natural repair process. 

3. Intermittent Fasting 

This has been shown to be very helpful for optimizing testosterone in men. This can be done in a 16-8 window; fasting for 16 hours and feeding for eight. This has to be highly individualized to the person and their activity level. This is not for everyone. However, just know that it is something that could be explored to see how that works for you and be objective when you’re able to; look at blood work or saliva when you are testing your hormones.

4. Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are key to helping you optimize inflammation and supporting other functions in the body. One thing you could do is eat fatty fish at least two times a week if not more. Also, things like walnuts and flax seeds are great sources of omega 3’s. For a therapeutic dose of EFA, you want 3-6 g of EPA/DHA in a supplement. 

5. Zinc and Vitamin D 

These are key for low T. So please make sure that if you’re not getting enough in your diet that you are supplementing as well.

6. Botanicals

Botanicals can be very valuable in supporting natural testosterone. 

There are a lot of things that you can do to address the basics in terms of lifestyle to naturally support testosterone before you explore testosterone replacement. I think there’s a continuum and you want to make sure that you’re doing things at the right time for the right reasons and with the right guidance. I cannot stress that enough.

If you need help, please make sure to reach out. I will make sure that we take great care of you, educate you, and make sure to get you in the right direction. We also have a great support team that can also help you depending on what you need.

Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes. If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Change your life in 20 seconds

Did you know that you can change your habits and your life in as little as 20 seconds a day?

As it relates to neuroplasticity, neurons that fire together wire together. This means that the things that we do day in and day out, and the thoughts that we have will feed into more behaviors and more thoughts — that can work for us…or against us.

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Our thoughts and behaviors can be what we refer to as habitualized or automatic. The habitualized mind is often the suffering and struggling mind. It’s when we are comparing, contrasting, condemning, complaining, or competing with ourselves and other people.

The concept of ‘habitualized’

Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is move from this habitualization to cultivating calmness, clarity, creativity, and compassion. To do this, we have to think about how these neurons are firing and wiring together. 

So, now for the fun part. Our neuronal pathways are not our destiny. We can make such profound differences in our lives because our nervous system is plastic, meaning we can make changes.

No matter where you are in life, whether you are trying to make healthier habits, pursue a different career, and/or improve your relationships, you can make small tangible habits that will change your wiring. 

It only takes 20 seconds of focus on a new habit or some type of change to release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is what helps us to create new wiring.

Let’s say, for example, you want to begin to work out. You believe that you “should” work out at least four times a week:  strength training, cardiovascular activity, and stretching. That task seems very overwhelming for the nervous system because that means that your conscious mind, 1% of your total mind, is suggesting a specific goal. However, your subconscious mind — filled with all of your behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, and daily activities — is the other 99% that is not quite ready. 

How you can change your life in 20 seconds by increasing your BDNF

If you want to make this successful, start with doing 20 seconds of activity per day, like 20 seconds of squats for example. Now, to make it a habit, do this for 30 days. Do you really want to make it stick? Do it for 45 days. So, 20 seconds a day for 45 days to build new neural pathways. To me, that sounds like a win. 

If we can begin to look at our health and our life from a different lens and realize that we all can change and these neuronal pathways are not our destiny, we can create new wiring. Whether we have experienced trauma in the past, we have stressful lives, or unhealthy habits, we can make a difference. If we think of this from a neuroscience perspective, we have the power within us and can do so in as little as 20 seconds a day for 45 days. I think that we can all be much happier and healthier.

Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes. If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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6 ways to improve your sleep

I am going to start with a bold statement: sleep is more important than exercise and nutrition combined. Whether or not you are one of the 50 to 70 million Americans that suffer from some type of sleep disorder, snoring, waking up feeling not well-rested, trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, then this is definitely for you.

What are some indications that you may not be getting the most optimal sleep that you can? You could have memory issues, mood changes, yawning during the day, irritability, heart disease, or high blood pressure. All of these can be associated with poor sleep, both quality and/or quantity.

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Sleep is a naturally reoccurring state of the mind and body. We have decreased use of our voluntary muscles, inhibition of sensory activity, and ultimately reduced interactions with our surroundings.

Here’s the take-home – sleep is one of the most overlooked and undervalued methods to recovery, overall health, and well-being.

We want to think about sleep as our time to rest, restore, and recover. If we are not doing those things, how could we possibly have a great workout? How can we have the energy to go work out? How can we have the desire to want to eat healthily and not crave carbohydrates or sugar-rich foods?

We have to sleep well in order to make optimal health decisions. Additionally, all of our systems are restored when we sleep. Our immune system, skeletal system, and hormonal system are all affected. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, memory and mood issues, depression, and/or anxiety then sleep is imperative. This is when all of our tanks are filled. While your REM sleep is helping with your brain, think of your deep sleep as helping with your body. 

Now let’s talk about six of my favorite sleep hacks. 

1. Blue Light Blockers

Put these on at seven o’clock if you are using any type of electronics: TV, phone, or iPad. Make sure to turn your electronics off at a minimum of 30 minutes before you go to bed if not an hour. Also, when you go to bed if your phone is in your room, put it on airplane mode, Wi-Fi off, and place it at least eight feet from you. Here’s a link to my favorite blue light blocker.

2. Foot Recovery

Check out Naboso technology for their splays or socks to stimulate and help recover your feet. These will stimulate the small nerves in the feet and optimize circulation, which is a great way to restore and recover before bed. 

3. Develop a Routine

You’ll want to focus on downregulating the nervous system and preparing for sleep. If you’re not doing anything, start with five minutes of a pre-bed routine. Diaphragmatic breathing is a great start. If you’re already meditating, that’s fantastic. If you’re not meditating, try breathwork. Start at one minute and then gradually move up until a longer period of time. You could also try taking a bath or reading a book. There are lots of ways that you can begin to downregulate your nervous system and prepare for sleep. 

4. Optimize Your Airway

Whether you snore, wake up with your mouth open, or have a dry mouth in the morning, then you can consider nasal dilators. You can use Mute nasal dilators which is one of my favorite brands. This will help to open up your airway and makes it easier to breathe diaphragmatically. Additionally, if this is appropriate for you and if you are a mouth breather, you could consider mouth taping. There are lots of different tape brands that you could use, I like the Nexcare tape because it is gentle. Mouth taping forces you to breathe in through your nose. If you have some type of structural airway dysfunction, then you might want to start during the day just for a short amount of time such as 30 minutes to test it before you try to go sleep with it. 

5. Not Eating Three Hours Before Bed

Think of digestion as a very complex metabolic reaction. Think of sleep as our time to restore and recover. We can’t do both of those well at the same time, so you want to stop eating and drinking alcohol within that three-hour window. Alcohol is something that destroys the quality of your sleep. You will sleep through the night for sure, but the quality will definitely be affected. This is one of the biggest things to consider if you’re trying to optimize your sleep.

6. Setting up Your Environment 

We want to think about your sleep environment as clean, without distractions, electronics, a dark room, black shades if possible, and hypoallergenic sheets. Make sure that everything is set up to provide a nice environment for you to rest and restore. 

Although there are many different sleep hacks, I would suggest just picking one of these things that might be appropriate for you that you could work on. If you don’t have a routine, start there. If you are not wearing blue light blockers, start there. Find out what resonates with you and give it a shot. Then week after week as your sleep hopefully continues to improve, you can begin to add another layer to your sleep regime. 

We want to try to optimize everything about sleep so that we can heal, recover, and perform at our best. If this was helpful, please give it share with a friend or family member. As always make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Sleep well!

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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10 Best Health Hacks for the New Year

10 Best Health Hacks for the New Year

Do you want to hear about 10 of my favorite health hacks that you can do this New Year and, most importantly how you can be successful at them?

When each new year rolls around and everyone creates goals and resolutions, unfortunately most often are not successful. Why is that? It is because we have to align our subconscious mind with our conscious mind. Our conscious mind is telling us that we have this specific goal, however, our past experiences, emotions, actions, and activities of daily living are going to factor into our subconscious.

We as humans always seek pleasure over pain. This is why is it so easy to sleep in the morning rather than go work out. We want to seek what’s pleasurable, what’s easy, what’s comfortable, and something that is familiar. We have to be able to break out of those comfort zones and begin to align our subconscious with our conscious.

Rather watch or listen? 

Key Concepts You Need To Know

Before we get into all of our fun hacks, I do want to make sure that you have a concise, clear plan for the New Year. As my business coach, Dave Frees, always says, when you are setting a goal, it should be specific and you don’t want to put limits on it. For example, “I want to work out three days a week or more by June 1st or sooner. It speaks to our subconscious mind in a much different way.

Now we have to think about what is our goal and how are we going to align ourselves up for success. If you want to work out three times a week, you may have to start with five minutes, so that you can be successful. Then you can move that up to 10 minutes three times a week, and slowly increase it over time.

It is not ultimately about how much weight you lose or how many calories you are burning, it is consistency and forming habits. Are you going to make this a habit for a lifetime or is this simply a New Year’s resolution? 

The last key concept that I want to talk about is waking up your reticular activating system. This bundle of neurons is specifically in your brainstem and this is an area where it regulates sleep, wakefulness, and focus. It is something that we want to think about if we want to achieve a specific goal, whether that’s business, health, or whatever it may be, we have to bring our attention and our awareness to this specific thing.

For example, if I want a new Jeep and I begin to put that in my mind, I will see Jeeps everywhere. We could do that with our health. If you want to feel a certain way, look a certain way, be a certain way as it relates to your health, lose weight, improve your gut health, etc., then you want to bring your awareness, focus, and attention to those specific things. This will also work on our subconscious mind so that we can be effective in our goal setting and reaching. 

Now we’re going to get into my 10 favorite health hacks. Although I have many, these are the key things that I think make a profound difference in your life. 

10 Health Hacks

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

I recommend starting diaphragmatic breathing for one minute before sleep. It can help optimize your sleep, calm your nervous system down, and train your body to know how to tap into your superpower. 

2. Meditation

One minute of meditation a day can have a profound impact on your health. You can figure out the appropriate time of day to build into your schedule, not fit into your schedule. You could use an app, guide, or just do it yourself.

One minute of meditation allows you to begin to develop a consistent habit of meditation. Meditation can impact your brain health, actually changing the gray matter in your brain. It also impacts your clarity, focus, and attentiveness to be able to perform your daily tasks. The list goes on but starting with one minute is a fantastic start. 

3. Vegetables

Consuming one or more additional vegetables per day either raw or cooked is great for your health. It gives you a focus of trying to have more colors, variety, fiber while focusing on nutrient-dense foods rather than eliminating foods. 

4. Strength Training

You should aim for 10 minutes of strength training three times a week. If you are already strength training, fantastic! Add more weight, intensity, or variety. If you are not, try three times a week of 10 minutes of your basic strength movements.

Muscle is the organ of longevity, so the more that you are strength training and building muscle over time, which believe me is challenging, the better you are. The better your health is and the more resilient you are. Everyone starts somewhere, so starting with 10 minutes is fantastic.

5. Walking

You want to aim for walking outside in nature for at least five minutes a day. This way, you will get your Vitamin D exposure. Also, being in nature lends itself to things like gratitude and being more mindful, present, and grounded. If you could do this barefoot, even better, however, just starting with a five-minute walk outside is a great way to increase endorphins, and be more mindful/present. 

6. Limiting Blue Light

I recommend putting on blue-light-blocking glasses after 7:00 p.m. The goal is to decrease the amount of blue light stimulation that you’re having before sleep. Circadian rhythm disruption is one of our key inflammatory drivers. Everything that we do should be revolved around optimizing our sleep.

7. Lymph Drainage

You can check out my other videos on lymph drainage on how to perform this. You can either do it by tapping or dry brushing.  It takes less than a minute to perform and can have a great impact on the way that your body is detoxifying. I recommend performing this daily.

8. Sensory Stimulation

You can use something like the Naboso insoles, which is a textured surface that stimulates the small nerves in your feet. You can also use Naboso mats, sensory balls on your feet to do a foot release, going outside and grounding, or using a rock mat. Using some form of sensory stimulation will help drive optimal movement and it impacts our emotional regulation. 

9. Identifying Inflammatory Foods

Perhaps in the New Year, you could do a modified elimination diet of gluten or dairy to see how these things are affecting you. Food triggers are one of the most commonly overlooked drivers of many emotional and physical health issues. Gluten and dairy are the two most common food triggers.

10. Vagus Nerve Hack

Performing a vagus nerve hack throughout your day will allow you to regulate your nervous system. There are many variations and I’ve posted lots of them, so please check all those out.

You can do something as simple as the salamander. You perform this by interlacing your fingers behind your head, side bending to one side, and then looking with your eyes in the opposite direction. Hold that for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. This can improve your cervical range of motion and stimulate the vagus nerve bringing you back to that state of social engagement.

Ultimately, these biohacks for health will optimize how we feel, live, and move through the world. If we can do them consistently over time, you’ll have the greatest results. In the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, it states, “Small changes compounded over time are what make you successful.” This year I hope you think about how you can become successful.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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