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Focusing on change

Updated: Mar 1

Focusing on change and a growth mindset

In January we talked about having planted seeds for your life garden and getting clarity on what your life will look like; who is there, what is the overall environment of your garden, and how are you living through it.

This month we want to focus on change and the growth mindset.

Change is tough.

We don't like change.

Our brains don't like change.

The people around us don't like change.

Everyone wants us to stay the same.

If you are totally satisfied with your life as it is, then this is not for you. Go about continuing to do what you are doing. But I have found that there is always a need for growth because we are never an "expert" in everything, which means we are always growing at something.

Some basic truths

Change is inevitable.

If things didn't change, our lives would be very boring indeed.

Imagine if the seasons didn't change. Or if we only ate the same food, met with the same people, only stayed in the same places.

Your mind and body are in a constant state of change.

Don't you want to have some say in which direction it goes?

Our fundamental biology is stacked against us... Until it's not.

Stress hijacks our brains.

Our stress response puts us in the state of survival. And that may have been good for primitive man and his legitimate fears of death from predators, but we don't really have those issues in a modern world. And we certainly don't have that in a first world existence.

Be that as it may, our brains still get hijacked under stress.

And it doesn't really matter what the stressor is- work, relationships, our health, bills to get the idea.

The brain still responds to all this as life threatening and throws you into survival mode. Ugh.

Now, I won't bore you with the finer details of the neurologic and physiologic effects of the stress/survival response (I am sure I have spoken about this enough) but let me tell you, it's not great.

In fact, some sources say that up to 96% of all diseases are attributed to stress. Yikes!

So, doesn't it make sense to try to train our minds to mitigate the survival response and do something else?

Yes, I agree.

Let's go!

Growth vs. Survival

There are probably a few different options for how to change your mental default but I like growth.

Now, when I say growth, I mean personal growth.

And by personal growth I mean- what is my current state of awareness?

What serves me?

What would I like to improve?

What habits would I like to develop?

Who do I WANT to BE?

Recently, I landed in a position where I am mentoring some young doctors.

This, was not something I was seeking or even wanted.

It just happened.

I could have said, "NO WAY!" and just moved on with my life.

But instead I decided that there is a reason why they are in my life and there is a reason I am in theirs. So, let's dive in and see where this takes us.

It's been an interesting journey so far.

But what's really interesting is that the original direction of where I wanted to go and how I wanted my life and practice to be, has suddenly shifted.

All I wanted was to make just a little more money so I could fund my trips to Oregon and watch my son play baseball.

But now, I am working with this team and dreaming of a massive vision- (once again, trying to change healthcare!).

Will I never learn. lol.

Maybe I will think of it as, "I will not stop." ;-P

What does this have to do with growth vs. survival?

Good question! I'm glad you asked.

Once I started to shift into a massive growth mindset, that's when I suddenly realized that I was in a survival one. Your brain is tricky like that.

It lulls you into a sense of security with just enough latitude to make you believe, "I am making progress" when really, you are just settling with the status quo.

I realized when I was saying things like, "I just want to be able to go watch my son play ball."

"I don't want to push too much."

"I just want a little growth."

It was my way of just surviving and it was because I was AFRAID.

"When you are in state of maintaining what you have, you are actually in survival mode."

I am grateful to this young group of doctors for their drive and passion.

It reminds me of myself when I was their age.

And honestly, if they did not show up in my life, maybe I would have just continued to suffer through mediocrity.

I didn't even know I was settling for mediocre.

But I see it now.

Survival mode equals NO HIGHER LEVEL THINKING or OUTPUT.

The problem with survival mode is that, under stressful conditions, you are not able to access your "thinking brain-" the prefrontal cortex.

What does that part of your brain do?


Look at the part in light green under "executive functions."

It's no wonder it was hard for me to figure out how to fund my trips to Pacific University baseball!

I can't plan or prioritize or access working memory.

Basically, I can't figure stuff out.

How am I even effectively treating patients? LOL.



A chiropractic adjustment, will break that cycle of survival mode and allow you to regain access to that executive function part of your brain. It also shifts your nervous system from STRESS to the RELAX portion called the parasympathetic nervous system.

So you want to know why it's so important to have regular chiropractic care, ESPECIALLY when you DON'T HAVE SYMPTOMS?

This is why!

Getting treated just when you have issues is the old school medicine.

If you want to keep growing and improving...

(I have to control myself or else I will go off on a tangent and start soap boxing. ;-P_)


Developing a growth mindset

Here is a very simple tool to help develop a growth mindset and train your body out of survival mode.

  1. Be clear about what you want your life to look like, who you want to be, what habits you want to develop. For those of you who know what a vision board is, those are great tools. Here is a fun little post on how to make one if you are interested.

    1. Begin by committing to ONE thing you will do consistently for at least 6 months. (I know that seems like a long time but GROW UP! Something's are hard. If you want to be great, learn to do hard things. Remember, even a school year is 9 months long. And when you look back at school, honestly, it was a cake walk). building habits is the most effective way to grow.

    2. After 6 months, you will have some real data to make an educated decision about whether or not that practice was beneficial and got you closer to your vision.

    3. Ask-

      1. What did I learn from this practice?

      2. How can I change my practice to incorporate my learnings?

      3. If I was going to try to explain or teach this lesson to another, how would I do it?

    4. REPEAT.

  2. Breathe- now I don't just mean breathe in and out. You will use your breath as a way of training your brain to put a stopper on survival mode.

    1. If you tend to be a person who is lower energy and more tired, take a breath IN and hold it. When you start to get to that point where your body is telling you, "take a breath!" practice calming your mind down before you let that breath out. Make sure you are relaxed and making a conscious decision to exhale rather than reacting to the fire alarms your mind (and body) are sending.

    2. If you tend to be stressed and anxious then you take a deep breath in, blow it all OUT and hold your breath. The rest is the same as above.

Change is inevitable.

We can start to embrace it and align with it by fostering a growth mindset.

The unique thing about humans is that we are naturally always trying to improve.

Funny how we don't always apply that to every element in our lives.

*For those of you who love supplements and want to know which ones are best for supporting you with the survival response:

  1. Drenamin- adrenal support to help your body mount a "healthy" stress response and not burn itself out.

  2. Cataplex B Core- B-complex to support our energy making requirements and essential for heart health.

  3. Tuna Omega 3- my favorite omega 3 supplement. Omega 3's reduce inflammation, including in the brain, but also provide essential fats to help build hormones. No hormones= no communication=bad news & bad health.

  4. Bacopa complex -herbal combination of Bacopa, Schisandra, Eleuthero and the essential oil of Rosemary that acts as a "brain tonic." Helps with cognitive function, memory, concentration and stress.

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