Biohack Sitting

Are you an Active Couch Potato?

Living a modern life for many means we’re spending increasing periods of time sitting.  Since 1960 the number of jobs that involves sedentary activity has increased by a massive 83%. That’s a whole lot of sitting!  What are the implications?

It was found that our athlete heroes are actually not necessarily better off than those of us who are partial to a bit of sofa love.  Dr. Richard Weiler,  who’s credentials include physician for a British premier league football club and Senior Sports Physician at the British Olympic Association, looked into what his footballers did off the pitch. What he found was surprising. About 80% off pitch time was spent in sedentary states.

I’m reminded of my favourite dystopian film Wall-e!

It turns out that just because we exercise, it doesn’t give us a pass to have a mega ass-rest.  Too much sitting is bad.  Just a few hours of sitting suppresses a gene that helps our cardiovascular system maintain a healthy aspect, and reduces the reparative inflammation that works our natural defence against injury.  Not good for a footballer, not good for us.   This gene specifically reacts to how are we spend our whole day. It reacts to our overall low intensity physical activity. A burst of exercise doesn’t seem to turn these identified genes back on.  

These genes are sensitive to sitting but not affected by exercise.

All it takes is over 2 hours of sitting and the gene suppression begins. If you spend about 7 hours a day sitting you need a solution!  This is where low intensity physical activity comes in. We’ve to start thinking about doing just a little bit of movement spread over our day rather than packing it all in at the end or at the beginning of our day.  When we do these intense exercise bursts we tend to think we’ve earned butt-time and crash on the couch – it’s called the ‘compensation effect’.   But the key is we’ve got to stay moving all day.   Micro moving!  This is good news for those who aren’t that fond of exercise.
Bonus: Moving also helps clear our mind, our productivity goes up and so does our processing.

Researchers discovered 70,000 deaths a year in the UK were linked to a lack of activity. Westfield Health surveyed 2,000 people for the NHS and found only 60 per cent knew inactivity was bad for their health, but sadly only 12 per cent thereafter took action to reduce the time they spent sitting down.

So what can we do?  
1) Start using a standing desk or if that’s too much a hybrid standing/sitting desk.  There’s treadmill desks too if you feel eager!
2) Set a reminder on your phone and get up to think on your feet.
3) Don’t send internal eMails – visit in person and deliver the information.
4) Take some stairs if it’s just a few floors to get somewhere.
5) Go for a walk in a local park at lunchtime.
6) When you are standing – be mindful of standing with your shoulders back. Balance.
7) No playstation sitting marathons for you ( or the kids! )

.. To be honest it’s fairly instinctive – but also quite personal to how you live your life.  Just give it some thought and know a little can make you healthier than a pro-footballer!  Who knew emptying the dishwasher could save your life!  ?

.. What can you do to Move a bit more throughout your day?  

CBD with Therapy

As a specialist in Anxiety Solutions I am increasingly being asked both professionally and by friends just ‘What is CBD’?

We’re hearing so much about CBD these days, people talking like it’s magic, the wonder solution to all. Well it’s not. However people do use it as a food supplement much as people might Chamomile to sleep. Whether clinically proven or not they use it for anxiety, stress, insomnia, PTSD and some situations of ADD with their personal reports ranging along the spectrum of symptoms gone to an ease of feelings.

For my part I help many clients come off anti-depressants with talk therapy, but here too are people who claim great results with CBD supplementation.

CBD is a food supplement

My concern over these claims is: – that irrespective of whether someone is taking pharmaceuticals prescribed by a medical doctor or considering CBD – guidance, support and or therapy should always be included. For instance, I find it more than unacceptable that people are prescribed anti-depressants, without actually having the support of qualified talk therapy too. GPs are not qualified in psychotherapy. Ultimately taking an anti-depressant without identifying and supporting what’s actually wrong is just putting a plaster over the situation as opposed to helping someone, empowering that person to understand or cope. And it’s the same with CBD.

I’m in horror ? when I hear that people go to popular high street chains and expect the person who is working the till or managing the stock to be able to advise on CBD?  But people don’t even know what questions to ask or what to consider.  It’s a confusing area.

All in all. If you want to fix the electrics, get an electrician don’t DIY. All responsible psychotherapists have to undergo continuing professional development and learnings – and that is the case for my part too. So ask someone who knows.

Please contact me for a complimentary consultation.

If you are considering CBD the below are good questions to consider in your choice.  The products I use satisfies these.

1) Products grown outside in the sunshine,
2) Grown in organic soil,
3) Grown in Europe under licence
4) No GMO
5) No herbicides
6) No pesticides
7) Only brand qualifying for US prescription authorisation.

And know that the experience that one person has, may be different for others.

CBD isn’t classified as a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it isn’t in the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 either. As long as no medical claims are made and it is clearly marketed as a food supplement, then it is legal to possess, buy and sell.

I am a psychotherapist, not a medical doctor consequently I am qualified to help with mental health.

Shining a light on our Mood ?

Here’s some of the QUESTIONS that people ask me in my practice?

  • Why don’t I have FOMO but JOMO?
  • I’m anxious but I just don’t know why.
  • I’m so tired – always, even after I just wake up.
  • Why can’t I get pregnant?
  • I can’t seem to think straight – everything’s foggy?
  • I want to come off my medications …

We all are touched by these questions every day, and every day we have to put them to the side (and where does that stuff even go?) The questions I’m asked in my practice have changed over the years.  I’m going to shine a light on what’s going on but also give you an insight into how we can live better, with less stress in our screen filled world and reduce that background hum of anxiety we do seem to carry.

With tech we’re like kids in a SWEET SHOP. We know deep down so much of it is bad for us, but we like the stuff and taking it away would be horrible! We’re at a stage where we think tech is the big solution – and we’re not that wrong – but we need to take stock and understand how to combine our digital delights effectively with our lifestyles in order to not get sick.

Much of what we learned in school is outdated – that we only use 5% of our brain the rest just junk -Mistake! The same with DNA the bits we didn’t understand we labeled Junk – Bigger Mistake! And up until recently we were increasingly we taking our arrogant ill-informed wisdom out on the SUN – it’s evil was the guideline for doctors! That is until very recently when the Nobel prize in science and medicine highlighted the importance of circadian biology. The rhythm of day and night.  The sun has got bad press.  But it’s one of the keys to our health and wellbeing.

SUPERCOMPUTER
How would you take it if I said Wifi has been around for – yep, billions of years. The receptors working on data transfer the speed of light with software powered by water and chemicals. That’s us and the sun!   Our Circadian Nobel prize winners discovered what the ancients long knew about the sun. That is’s vital.  Delving deeper into science it turns out, that our eyes do not just do the job of seeing but they run the supercomputer – in not just us but the whole planet – in every single living thing on it. Even in blind people – they still have the receptors to set our software in motion to set our master-clock.

STEPPING INSIDE
We used to live 90% outdoors, now we’re 90% indoors. We’ve lost connection with our WiFi system. Exacerbating the circadian disruption is that inside our bright world we’re further staring into lights – screens. LED and screen or blue light . With the full spectrum missing, the natural built in warning means it’s like you’re staring at the midday sun! Your body thinks it’s high noon – all day and into the night. This excess light time also disrupts our other clocks.  A fundamental one is our digestive clock – it seems as long as our eyes are open our mouth is open too! So not only is our sleep – our reparation time – disrupted so too is our eating cycle – we’re now averaging a span of about 15 hours of light time and eating time. We’ve got a biological mismatch of cogs and clocks.

ILLNESS
Without optimised circadian time keeping – the door opens to obesity, coronary and cancer diseases and emotional disruption – from our moods to our ability to think clearly.  Clocks and cogs keep things running smoothly.  In the way the world eventually agreed to a common clock that GMT is 00:00 meaning we can get flights, launch satellites and use servers globally.  But without which we have costly confusions like with the States who have all their dates backwards and have had to rework space programmes because they were using out of date measuring systems when everyone else is in metric. Having a master clock makes things work .. like clockwork.

OPTIMAL LIVING
Our new tech has not been designed to work with us, the more advanced biologic interface. We’ve got to give ourselves a break though. Mother Nature has had more than a few billion years to get to perfecting us. And she never left us the instruction manual … so how do we keep our sweeties, adjust and go forward. It’s no secret that doctors are overwhelmed and left behind – medicine is not helping as it did and for many it’s now even harming. Coupled with that in this digital age, we’ve also got the age of information, people have taken things into their own hands – it’s called Optimal living or Biohacking or if you don’t buy into the computer analogy it comes down to the same thing. How to live in Harmony with tech.

THE DARK
As with most great things – it starts in the bedroom! This is the only place you’ve got actual control of in your 24 hours of modern living. So it must in this modern age truly be a sanctuary so that you can become physically as well as emotionally resilient of your day. There are 100’s of daytime Biohacks optimising modern living that we could go into, but your bedroom triggering our repairing and sleep hormone, melatonin, must be the place you start.  And actually it’s the most simple.

First it’s the power of the dark that ultimately brings light into our life.   If you’re on your laptop close to bed time or staring at your phone until your turn off your LED light. Well you’ve just told your melatonin that it’s mid day. So it goes away till much later.  Or perhaps you ate close to bed time so your body has to work, not repair.  Basically what’s happening in these instances is that you’re just getting fat and sick at night.  Hack wise, bedrooms must be dark and ideally have red lights only or salt lamps. Think sexy. For that a midnight wee – ideally a night red light in the bathroom.

Learn to respect the bedroom. If you’ve children a red only light is the only light that doesn’t trigger the wake up cells. Red light at night. Parent’s delight!

Wifi – and charging your phone:  Don’t do it in the bedroom.  You’re just charging your head and stopping your hormone system working optimally.  You’re mismatching the code into the supercomputer.  It has to work overtime, you wake up tired.

LIVE LONG LIVE WELL
I’m about Anxiety and Workplace Wellness. I’ve only touched the iceberg of optimal living. It’s just one part of my practice, one that takes in understanding the environment that we’re in so we can be well longer physically and mentally. Thriving in a screen filled world. About respecting the supercomputer that we are. Understanding that we’ve moved far from Nature and that’s not good for us. Getting outside more with a good Circadian understanding and a dash of Biohacks are a fascinating growth area to balance this.

Discovering the most advanced computer on Earth

We’re mammals that lived 90% of our life outdoors.  Now we’re over 90% indoors, “So what!”  we shout from our Alexa managed, central heating life, while drinking a diet soda from our internet synced fridge.

I lived the dream. Wide open beaches, hanging with my family and friends watching the sunset.  I went for three months – came back after 7 years! On returning, most people didn’t focus on why I went away or what it was like. It was always why did you come back?

Was it a gut instinct. Or perhaps just that seven year cycle of change.  Who knows for sure but coming back was, I thought, the end of my practice – Nature Sense, but it was only just the beginning.

Life there was pretty good.  On driving back home to my small fishing village, the continent and mountains of Africa to my right would rise and the grounded expanse of the beach lay in front to welcome.  It was away from the more formal setting of my clinic in Gibraltar that I developed NatureSense.  I’d see my clients – in the hills or on the beach.

Nature is just laden with metaphor where interpretation is oftentimes just not necessary.  Change for many just happened – and for many it was easier.  Plus there was just a connection to something greater.  When you sit on a sand dune with the Mediterranean to one side and the Atlantic gazing out across the strait – knowing that in times past there happened the world’s most amazing waterfall,  bursting the banks of the ocean to create the sea.  It’s then you know without words there’s a whole ton of stuff that’s so much bigger than you are.  It shifts you. You actually realise what the word ‘awesome’ is and it’s a million miles from describing the latest Marvel comic release.  It’s something you feel.

How did that fit into London?  At first it didn’t – returning back seeing clients – I was working with a new puzzle.  So much more anxiety than I’d been used to, so much more medicated depression and worse, loneliness with all the stresses.  People I’d seen before leaving the city were stressed because of something identifiable.  But here, now – it was like I had to become an Anxiety Whisperer – to decipher and explain that anxiety was a friend not a foe -that it was trying to deliver a message.  But one that was getting blocked.

I was finding I  had to get people to reacquaint themselves with themselves they’d been on anti depressants for so long that they didn’t really know how to react. I had to convince people that anxiety did have a reason.  That it was OK to feel it not fear it.

It was hard – so I had to dig deeper into the story, I had to look into the darkness of the city to find out what on earth was making the experience of this wonderful city so hellish, for so many.

On one of my early morning walks with the dog -( my therapist!) – I realised that I was dealing with people who were quite simply not just disconnected from each other – but from their fundamentals.  Sure they were having trouble with their rent, were going through break ups, wanted to talk at meetings but found it scary .. but the thread went deeper.  They carried something with them – I first thought it was just being too busy, but that was not really fully the answer. Perhaps it was social media, again not really the answer and eventually I realised it was because they were disconnected from life. There was a wire disconnected in their plugged in world.  With a fundamental missing they were working with only half the power.  Resilience was missing, emotional intelligence neglected over academic pursuit, eating shit food, Netflicking their nights and weekends away but still being tired … and never ever going for a walk.  A simply but fundamental to living well.  Or to coin the phrase that is now so often used, but so little understood – wellbeing.

If it was as simple as going for a walk – wouldn’t we all do it.  Well no!  As it’s not so sexy, it’s way too old fashioned, and besides how advanced is walking?  We have smart phones now, we’re totally dominating whatever is to be dominated.  We have an app for everything so walking?  Seriously!

I had to agree – so I knew I had to go deeper.  And that’s how I  discovered the most advanced biological computer –  us – and how to hack it.

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Shining a light on our mood