It’s that time of year; you know, the one where everyone makes a New Year resolution to lose weight, or eat healthy, or save money. Every year we make resolutions, and every year we don’t quite reach the lofty goal we set. There’s nothing wrong with having big audacious goals, even during a pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 have made now the most crucial time in history to achieve those self-care and wellness goals. So why do people not succeed in their resolutions? The main answer is that we don’t arm ourselves with the tools needed to succeed. The growth mindset is the tool we need to ensure that we achieve every single goal we set for ourselves. Life and business coach Alaina Schwartz joins us to discuss how the growth mindset impacts business and health and how you can shift your perspective from the fixed mindset to the growth mindset. This podcast is just what you need to start your 2021 off right!
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Lifestyle Medicine with Dr. Harris
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:00:00] Join me, Dr. Richard Harris, as we strive to unlock the secrets of the human body. Strive for wellness, strive for great health. Follow the show on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Android.
And now a word from our sponsors. This episode of the Strive for Great Health Podcast is brought to you by Oxzgen CBD. A lot of people ask me what I recommend for CBD, and actually have a couple of companies that I recommend depending on their goals. But if you’re looking for a CBD isolate and to learn what a CBD isolate is, check out our CBD podcast; I recommend oxygen. It meets all of my qualifications, US grown, third party inspected, organically grown hemp plants, and it has a bunch of high-quality products. I really love the immune boost because it has glutathione, it has zinc, it has Vitamin D, and CBD. All things that are great for our immune system.
And they have wonderful topical products as well. So it’s one of the CBD products I actually use. And it’s one that I do recommend. To learn more about Oxzgen, head to our website, theghwellness.com, and click on CBD at the top. And now to this week’s episode.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:01:30] Welcome to the Strive for Great Health Podcast; I’m your host, Dr. Richard Harris. And today, I have another guest that I met through LinkedIn. I’m telling you, if you haven’t connected with people on LinkedIn during this pandemic, you are doing it absolutely wrong. LinkedIn has been the biggest blessing of my 2020.
I’ve met so many amazing, wonderful people. And with me today, I have. Yeah, I could say Dr. Alaina Schwartz, you’ve got the J.D. right. You could say that. Does it, does anyone call you doctor?
Alaina Schwartz: No, no one calls me doctor.
Dr. Richard Harris: Alright, well, how about Esquire? Can we go with Esquire?
Alaina Schwartz: Oh, you can go with Esquire. Sure.
Dr. Richard Harris: I know if I had a J.D., I would make everybody call me Esquire. I don’t know why I just would.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:02:20] When I used to practice law, I used to do my name comma Esq. So Esquire did follow my name when I, when I, when I signed and stuff like that when I was a lawyer.
Dr. Richard Harris: I just think it’s an awesome title. I don’t; I don’t know why. I just think it’s a really cool title, not what we’re here to talk about.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:02:36] We’re just kind of goofing around, but we are going to get into what we wanted to talk about, and that’s mindset today. But before we get into the growth mindset, I just wanted you to share with the, my listeners, your background and how did you get into, you know, what you do now, which is, which is coaching and helping develop people.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:02:56] Yeah. Yeah. I love that. First of all, I’m thrilled to be here with you. So thank you so much, Dr. Richard, for inviting me on, and I will use doctor and yeah, so I started out as a lawyer in the music industry for 18 years, and my career culminated as me being the executive vice president of the largest independent music company in the world at the time. And when I finally hit that level of success, I had created a multiple six-figure law practice for myself. But when I had stepped into the E.V.P. position and created that level of success, I was fine. I was never more miserable, actually. And it started to make me really physically ill.
And part of that was that I wasn’t really living my passion and my purpose. I was living somebody else’s agenda. I was living my parents’ agenda, who, you know, wanted me to be the lawyer. And when I finally was able to admit that to myself in a bigger way, I realized I just had to leave, and I literally just walked away from a mid-six-figure, you know, high profile gig to pursue.
I wasn’t even sure what; I didn’t have a plan. Plan, which by the way, I do not recommend to anybody when they’re taking a leap out of corporate, into entrepreneurship, have a plan. I did not have a plan. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but I knew I couldn’t stay doing what I was doing anymore. And I moved out of New York City and gave up my identity as a lawyer.
And in the process of doing all of that proceeded to have what I call a dark night of the soul. Now, some people might call that a midlife crisis, but I see it happen at any age, you know, from people who were in their twenties and thirties to people who are in their sixties. But for me, it did happen, you know, in, in my early forties and in the process of that I just, all the structures in my life collapsed my, you know, marriage became strained.
I went from having a really sweet nest egg to being almost a hundred thousand dollars in debt. As I said, I gave up my identity as a lawyer. So there was a confluence that really created this place of a living hell for me of what I was experiencing in my life. And I started to seek out ways to to get myself out of the darkness I was in.
And I started to discover techniques that helped me rewire my brain and rewire my thinking and understand how much of my beliefs that I’d been carrying with me were creating the experience of my reality, my whole, my whole lens of perception. And in the process of that, I also hired a coach, a purpose coach, to help me really understand what my purpose was because I’d been trying a lot of things I was really passionate about.
And I learned that I was good at many things, not all of which I’m meant to do. Not all of which felt like they were my purpose. And so when I hired this purpose coach, it became, became very clear, very shortly, that my purpose was essentially helping mentor others. Mostly not all, but mostly who are in the entrepreneurial space because I do, I do work with some intrepreneurs as well.
But mostly who were in the entrepreneurial space who are looking to grow themselves and grow their impact in the world and, and have, you know, greater impact, greater income, more freedom in their life, but works significantly less than the processes of doing that.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:06:17] Well, thank you so much for sharing your personal story and. You know, on this podcast, we always start off with a personal story because everyone’s stories have meaning; everyone’s stories are powerful, and you never know when sharing your story might click with someone else. And what you said is the same thing that happened with me. You know, I had a pharmacy degree, I had an M.D., I came out of residency, and I was in a very dark place.
It had left me disillusioned with medicine. I didn’t know who I was anymore. And it manifested itself by behaviors that weren’t typically my behaviors, you know, I was drinking all the time. I was partying. I was hanging out with different girls all the time. I was spending money on things I didn’t need, you know, just trying to fill the holes in my life.
And then one day, luckily, I got brought back into church and, and that’s when I found myself and found my purpose again. And I realized that my purpose was to holistically help individuals become the best versions of themselves they could possibly be. And my aspect of that is focused on mainly health, but I also do a lot of mindset coaching.
Like you said, that’s so important. And also, like you, I kind of quit without a plan and, in retrospect, hire a coach, people! Like it’s like, seriously, if I hire a coach, it cuts the time the pain, the money you spend, it’s well worth it. And when people ask me now, what was the number one mistake I made at that time when I switched, I said, I should have hired a coach.
Cause he probably would have saved me two years and thousands and thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars. But luckily, I was in a position, you know, being a doctor where I can make money to do that. A lot of people aren’t. So yeah. Let’s get into what we sat down to talk about today. And that is the growth mindset, which is so important to just about every aspect of your life, whether that’s health, finances, relationships, worldview, everything, but to understand the growth mindset, we first have to understand what is the opposite of the growth mindset and that’s the fixed mindset.
So why don’t you tell my listeners a little bit about what is the fixed mindset?
Alaina Schwartz: [00:08:26] What I want to also say is I totally resonate with your story, by the way. Because I, I wasn’t, you know I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I definitely had an alcohol abuse issue, and it is, it is that desire to fill the void inside of us.
And when we align with our purpose, it actually naturally fills that void for us. At least that’s, that’s been my experience and the experience with my clients. And so getting onto your question, you know, a fixed mindset is, is basically really briefly, this is how it is. This is how I am. This is who I am.
I really can’t change. This is how the world is. And I, I kind of have to accept my fate in the world and accept what I’m doing in the world. And I don’t really have a lot of control to really change any of that. It’s sort of, I, you know, it’s like you get together in a relationship and you’re like, well, this is just who I am.
And it’s no, that’s not really true. It’s who you’re programmed to be. It’s who you’ve programmed yourself to be. It’s maybe who society has programmed you to be, but it isn’t really true cause nothing is really fixed. And when we start to learn that actually, you know, from the entrepreneurial space, a fixed mindset is one of the biggest recipes for failed businesses.
I feel like, of not understanding that it actually takes growth. It actually takes a different way of being than accepting; this is just the way it is.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:09:50] Right? And if you look at people who leave jobs, they don’t leave jobs because they hate the job; they usually leave the job because their boss has a fixed mindset [00:08:17] And in business, you see itself presented as the boss seeks all the glory there, I, people, I did this, you know, I did that, I did this. They never share praise with their team. They never congratulate their team. You can notice that these bosses tend to not train people to do their job, to eventually replace them.
You know, they say, I’m the only one who can do this. No one else can do this like me. You just have to listen to what I say. They don’t take feedback. There’s no critiquing; there’s no criticism or thoughtful evaluation of processes. You know, these are all things we see in business with the fixed mindset.
And then, like you said, in personal life, it’s just that, Oh, I was born this way. I’ll never change. You know, I’ll always be a failure. I’ll never be someone who’s good enough. You know, that the abilities I have were determined at birth, and that’s so sad because you see so many people stuck in that type of rut, and you’re just like, Why?
Like what, what happened to you? What makes you think that, like, what makes you think you can’t evolve? What makes you think you can’t be a caterpillar and turn into a butterfly? Like what, what is it? Cause it literally, it’s the only thing that’s usually stopping someone is the demons and the artificial walls that they put in their head.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:11:16] Well, so many people believe that the life that they were born into is the life that they’re destined for. You know, how, how they’re growing up, whether it be their economic you know, where, where they are, whether they grew up in a, in a poor family or, you know, you know, middle-class family. It’s like, they believe that they’re destined to be that way forever.
And because that’s, that’s what they know, that’s what they experienced, and it’s it, as you were you know, alluding to it. Just programming. Right? So, so there is something that happened when we are children to make us, you know, the vast majority of our beliefs become sort of fixed in our mind unless we become conscious of them fixed in our subconscious mind, actually, unless we become conscious of them and then actually really work to change them.
But you have to really be committed to make that change on a regular basis. And when you don’t realize, when you’ve grown up in this environment where you believe this is all that there will ever be for you, this is who you are. This is like sort of your fate is determined at the outset. Then most people really, really struggle to move into a place of so many other things really possible.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:12:30] Yeah. And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about next. And that’s the growth mindset, and this is something that I’ve had ever since I was a kid like you mentioned, and I really believe it was from my grandfather. My grandfather used to always tell me forge ahead. That was his key, saying just no matter what happens, life gets hard, it doesn’t go your way, just keep moving forward. Keep moving forward. And, I think the first instance that I can really remember of me applying the growth mindset was when I was seven, not seven. So I, when I was in seventh grade, I didn’t make the basketball team. And instead of getting upset about it, I said, okay, well, what am I going to do to make the team?
What do I need to do? Well, let me start playing with kids who are better than me. Cause if, if I play people better than me, I’m going to get better. And I said, well, let’s have a plan. So I said, okay, I’m going to work on dribbling for 10 minutes, footwork for 10 minutes, and then shooting for 20 minutes every single day.
And I did that for a year. And so the next tryouts, I was so dominant that one of my friends came up to me during the tryouts and said, Richard, turn it down. None of us are going to make the team If you keep playing like this.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:13:39] I love that. That’s awesome. That’s so great.
Dr. Richard Harris: It was, it was a hilarious moment in the middle of the tryouts, and I made the team and ended up playing varsity basketball.
And so that essence of what I did is the growth mindset. But let’s talk a little bit about what is the growth mindset? What do you see in the growth mindset? What are the characteristics of people who have this mindset?
Alaina Schwartz: [00:14:05] By the way, I love that story. That’s an awesome story. And what you’re talking about is the testament.
You know, when people have a growth mindset, and they realize that they can essentially learn anything, then they take it on, and there’s a consistency to that, right? There’s a commitment and a consistency. And so that is one of the things about a growth mindset is understanding. We actually can change the outcome of our reality, but it requires consistent application.
And so, one of the things that I see in a growth mindset is taking a hundred percent ownership. So when you didn’t make the team, you didn’t go off and go, Oh, what are they doing to me? Like, they’re not treating me right. Or I’m getting the short end of the stick. What can I do to be better? Right.
So you moved into the phase of like taking extreme ownership of your the outcome of your results. And when we take extreme ownership, then we have the ability, the capacity to actually change the results. So, you know, one of those is to take ownership. The other one is to actually grow with people, to find people that will help you grow.
And what you talked about in the beginning, I think is absolutely key, is hire a mentor, hire a coach because it really does shave years and, you know, potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars off of really costly time and mistakes. You know, be, open-minded be open-minded to what’s possible. We have a tendency, you know, we have two things.
We have confirmation bias and negativity bias, right? So the negativity bias is always looking for what’s wrong. And so we tend to go out in a situation. It could be in a relationship, it could be in our work and focus on what’s not working, and that’s negativity bias. And we were actually ancestrally, you know we developed that ancestrally because when we moved out, you know, stepped out of caves, we really needed to make sure that we weren’t going to get eaten by saber tooth tiger.
So we were always looking for what’s wrong and in the process of that, that, that part of our brain never really matured past that. So we still have a tendency to look for what’s wrong. So we need to rewire our thinking to look for what’s right. And part of that comes from being open-minded. Part of that comes from being comfortable with being in the discomfort zone because everything that we want, everything that we want is outside of our comfort zone.
You know, whether it be a new relationship, more money, whatever it is, it’s all outside our comfort zone. And in the process of that, when we can get on, when we can get comfortable being uncomfortable with there’s so much or growth in that. Right. And most people freak out when they feel a level of uncertainty.
And the more that we can realize that uncertainty is part of the mystery is part of the beauty of life and understand that there’s so much juiciness in that, the more we can actually accept it. And also, one of the things in your, you know, basketball story was preparedness, right? So we look at being prepared.
So it’s not just hoping and expecting that, that things are gonna work out, but actually being prepared for it. So those are some, you know what I see as some crucial. Steps to really moving into the growth mindset to understand that the way that we grew up, the environment that we grew up in, the beliefs that we have, that none of it’s really true.
It doesn’t have to be true for the future. And we have the capacity. We have the ability to actually change our future, to have it look like what we want. We just have to have the faith and belief that it’s so, and then take the action that supports that consistently.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:17:34] Thank you, Esquire. There’s a lot to unpack there. Before I start, have you had, have you read extreme ownership by Jocko Willink?
Alaina Schwartz: No, I’m very familiar with the book and, and I love the principle of that, but I have not actually read that book.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:17:49] When you said extreme ownership, that’s what got, that’s an amazing book. And the follow-up the dichotomy of leadership; they’re two of my favorite books.
Definitely check that out, but you have to take ownership. You know, John Wooden once said, you’re not a failure until you start to blame. Because once we start to blame, we’ve hit that fixed mindset and the growth mindset, we say, okay, what can I learn from this? What can I do differently? What can I tweak?
Who can I help with this information? Because a lot of times, things happen to us, and it’s not meant for us. It’s meant for us to tell our story. So it helps someone else and prevents them from going through it. So that’s how you can approach these things in. Everything can be sort of a learning experience.
I always say you haven’t truly failed unless you’ve learned nothing from that incident. And if you’ve learned nothing from the incident, you’ve made a choice. So you’ve made a choice to fail. And that’s one of the things that I always tell people; the negativity bias is so huge. This is why when you watch the news, they always start off with murder stories and terrorism stories and all of that thing because it hooks people.
They know that psychologically we have a bias to remember negative stories more than positive. Stories. And just like you said, you have to rewire your brain with positive thoughts to get rid of that negative bias. And that’s so important because if you have that negativity bias, you see everything in a negative light; even things that happen to you are positive.
You skew and make them negative somehow. And that’s so important. The confirmation bias is important, and this is probably the worst thing about social media. Is that people post things and don’t verify them. And then you say, Oh, this is in line with what I believe. So it must be true. No, no, I’m a skeptic. And so when I see something, especially if it’s something that’s in line with what I believe, I dig harder.
Because I know that my confirmation bias is there, and I will just be more susceptible and more likely to believe something that I see if it’s in line with my own internal beliefs. So I have a hard stop there that I put in my mind that I’d questioned those things more carefully and then discomfort.
That’s so true. You know, I’m at the phase of my life where. I have to be uncomfortable. I have to keep challenging myself, and I started a podcast. I didn’t know anything about podcasting. I still really don’t know what I’m doing with this whole podcast thing, but I’m just moving along and. You know, a lot of people who I know who are in the fixed mindset, they’ve told me, Richard, you don’t know what you’re doing.
Like you don’t, you don’t know what you want to do. Like, why don’t you grow up? And I’m like, no, that’s, it’s not about not knowing what I want to do. It’s about evolving, and what I do and how I want to make an impact on the world is going to change over time because I’m going to continue changing over time.
It’s once you have that mindset, then you realize that, Oh, you know the people who have it say, man, you’re doing some really cool stuff. And that’s one of the ways I know the difference in who I’m talking to if they’re fixed versus growth. So how can we shift our mindset? What are some practical tips that we can do to help shift us out of that fixed mindset into the growth mindset?
Alaina Schwartz: [00:21:06] Yeah. Great question. Great question. And there are some simple things to do, and I’ll go back to hire a mentor cause that’s, that’s really helpful. One of the other things about people with a fixed mindset is they tend to live in the past, right? So they’re always reliving their past experiences, and your body doesn’t know the difference between something that’s vividly imagined and something that’s real.
And so every time you’re living the emotions of the past, it’s as if it’s happening over and over again to your body, and you’re literally wiring that into your brain. Right. And so one of the things that, that you want to do is live more in the moment and living more in the moment, meditation is a huge, you know, thing that I recommend to all my clients, like those of my clients who have developed a meditation practice have really moved the dial tremendously as a result of living in the moment more rather than living in the past.
Because when you live in the past, your future becomes the predictable path. You know, and so when you can live into the feelings of your future more when you can live into the feelings of what you want, the actual emotions of what you want and embody that emotions, you’re literally rewiring your brain for the future, and then it can’t eat, you know, your reality can’t help, but fill in the grid, you know, your subconscious mind will fill in the grid of what’s missing when you really embody the emotions of your future.
One of the easiest ways to do that, It’s like so simple, so simple Richard, but so many people like don’t actually do the work to do it, which is gratitude. Right? So a gratitude practice is one of the easiest and most simple ways to develop, you know, appreciation for exactly what you have. Because what you appreciate appreciates.
So you literally experience more fulfillment and joy from what you have. Plus, the universe actually gives you more to appreciate. So both in a literal and metaphorical sense it, you know, everything that you want then ends up growing. And so cultivating a gratitude practice by not only every day, writing down what you’re grateful for at least ten things you’re grateful for, but really feeling into it.
You know, really feeling into each of the pieces of the gratitude. So if you had a wonderful experience with somebody, you know, maybe you had an amazing conversation, you know, maybe you give gratitude for having the conversation you give gratitude for that person for the way that they listened for being able to be yourself and feeling authentic, like for all the pieces that went into making up that experience.
And the more that you do that, the more that you start to rewire to then focus on the thing, more things to be grateful for. Make sense?
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:23:46] Absolutely. Those are, those make sense. And those are some of the things that, you know, I have a webinar called three things that you can start doing today to improve your health for free.
And the last one I talk about is gratitude because it’s so important. Nerves that fire together wire together. And what that means is if you start to have more positive thoughts, if you start to think about gratitude and all the things you have to be thankful for, more of those thoughts flood in your head.
And then you start to see everything in your world in a different perspective. Right? Einstein said the most important thing about the problem is not the answer. It’s how you frame the problem because how you frame the problem determines how you look at it, how you approach it, and that will determine the outcome that you get.
And that’s something that even in research now, people are being aware of is that when you do a research study, how you ask the question matters because that determines how you interpret the results. And so there’s a, there’s a lot of disconnect in what people see, and oh, this study said this, but this is a counter, counteract your study.
I’m like, no, it matters how you look at how they ask the question. And they might actually be saying the same thing in the results, but you have to look at how they ask the question. So I think that’s really important. Of course, meditation, mindfulness, just being more aware of your surroundings, being more aware of your feelings, being more aware of the thoughts and feelings of others.
Taking information that comes from others around us and being able to put on their own lens. You know, the self-transforming mind where you’re able to literally take someone else’s viewpoint and put it through their perspective and not your own. And all of these things are important in shifting our mindset and being able to connect with those around us and connect with ourselves in a better light to fuel that growth to fuel.
Your next stage in life to fuel your business, or, you know, if you want to get that promotion, all of these things are important, and we kind of alluded to this already, but if you didn’t get it, mindset affects your health.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:26:08] Yeah, for sure it does, for sure. It does. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it literally rewires your D.N.A., right?
So, you know, our thoughts are really that powerful, and I love what you said, by the way, about questions because disempowering versus empowering questions, the answer of which will give you what you want. If you say to somebody like why isn’t this working, then the answer that you’re going to get is why it’s not working.
If you ask yourself that question, how can I make this work? The answer you’re going to get is going to help make it work. Right. So, so the answer to those questions you have to look at, do I want the answer to those questions and start asking yourself more empowering questions? So that’s a great way now, now going back to health.
Yeah. Our, our mind literally, I mean, it’s, you know, part of the daily work that I do in my own meditations of helping, you know, rewire my brain. Mind and body for, for better health, for optimal health, so that I can tap into my autonomic nervous system, because the thoughts that we have literally rewrite our D.N.A. turn on, on and off the D.N.A. markers.
And in the process of that, you know, it, the D.N.A. that we have as a result of living in, you know, a stress response, the vast majority of the time, our D.N.A. starts to break down, and that creates a lot of diseases. And so by changing your thinking, You know, you’re literally enlivening, like every cell in your body.
It’s like nourishing every cell in your body and turning on the markers for health and vitality. So our thoughts literally do create our health. I mean, our thoughts create everything, right? Our thoughts and our emotions create everything. And so by being able to change your thoughts to more positive and empowering thoughts and being able to create corresponding emotions that go along with that and to know that whatever happens, like, I, I have an opportunity mindset.
So I look at challenges as opportunities. Where’s there an opportunity here? Is there an opportunity for growth? Is there an opportunity? COVID has been an amazing blessing for my business because I’ve just looked at it the minute it happened. It’s like, where’s the opportunity here for me to help more people, you know?
So in every challenge, there’s a corresponding opportunity. And it’s whether we look at it as a challenge, whether we look at it as an opportunity and how we look at it, how we think and feel affects our, our state of being and our state of being absolutely impacts our health.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:28:25] Absolutely. So optimists live longer, optimists have less chronic disease.
If they do get sick, they bounce back faster. So if this was all in our head, it wouldn’t have any of these biological effects, but it does. We know that chronic stress actually destroys brain cells in the memory portions of your brain. You know, it, it turns off the higher-level thinking centers of your brain, the prefrontal cortex.
This is where we make decisions. Right. And it activates the reptile brain, the amygdala, part of the primitive brain. The brain, the part of our brain that just reacts, you know, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on the same level as a reptile where I’m just reacting to my environment. I want to be able to take in complex information, synthesize, come up with a plan and then act.
And so moderating our stress is very important for that. And one of my favorite quotes is by William James says our best defense against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. And that is so important. That’s that opportunity mindset that you talked about. You know, I’ve talked about this before on the podcast.
One of my businesses went completely belly up when COVID happened; we were in schools. Right. And so once, once the schools closed down, we were like, Oh, well, we’re done. You know, we haven’t done any business since February. But we’re taking this time to kind of reapproach things and then look at what we can do differently once we’re able to safely get back in, in schools.
And luckily for us, that business, we have no overhead zero, so we can, we can go, you know, this entire time and still pick right back up where we left off once we’re able to. So we’re just looking at this, like an opportunity to network and outreach and, and figure out better ways to do our business once that business starts again.
It’s so important to work on your mind because you can’t heal the body without healing the mind, and you can’t heal the mind without healing the body. The two of them are exquisitely linked. So are there some practical tips that you can give people on how to apply the growth mindset to their health? Maybe their wellness or fitness goals?
Alaina Schwartz: [00:30:43] Yeah. Yeah, for sure. You know, freedom is the space between stimulus and response. Right. So the more freedom that you can create before reacting or responding, you can see, you can turn that reaction into a response, right? You talk about like, the energy, the brain centers that get activated, you know, when the amygdala is activated, it’s dumping the hormones of stress into the body, which are actually addictive.
We literally become addicted to those hormones. And so one of the ways is to get out of stress. And do things differently, do things differently than the way that you did. And so, for example, if you wake up every day and the first thing you do is check your phone, you either check your email or you go onto social media to stop.
Like literally, like I have my clients take a minimum of an hour break when they first wake up where they don’t look at their phones. Now, if you have to look at your phone to check, if you have an appointment or something, then do the minimum and get off of it. But, but the point is, is change things up, do things differently than you have done it.
You know, it, what happens is your body literally gets programmed to get the, you know, the dumping of hormones on a regular basis. And so it knows, okay, I get up, and I do this. And then I start to look at my email, or I start to look at my social media, and then I’m going to get another dumping of hormones.
And then I’m going to have my breakfast, and I’m going to have my shower, and I’m going to do this. It’s like you do the same thing every single day. And you’ve changed your body to, you know, do the same thing with you every day. And so you really literally change up your habits, shift up your habits. And when you start to do that, then you start to, you know, shake your brain up a little bit and, and your mind goes like, wait a minute.
I was expecting to do this right now. And I wanted that hormone. And come on, let me do this, do some of this more, and you might feel the pain to go ahead and do that. But the more that you can, you know, the more that you can continue to do something different, the more that, as you were saying, those neurons will fire and wire together.
And then you can start to rewire your brain, rewire your neural synapsis so that you’re much more residing in your neo-frontal cortex, rather than, you know, in your limbic system.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:33:05] Yeah, that’s so key. One of the biggest things that I tell people and the biggest negatives for our health right now is our addiction to our cell phones.
A lot of people don’t realize that cell phones are from everything about them is made to addict you to them, the colors, the noises, the ring tones, even the apps, what they look like. These companies hired behavioral scientists to make these, so you literally could not put them down. Right. For every ad, the way it fits in your hand, all of it is designed to addict you to having that cell phone, and there’s data that shows that you get a dopamine surge whenever you get a message, right.
That you can literally get addicted to that, it hits your reward pathways. There’s evidence that shows that you get a surge of cortisol even if your phone is even in the room with you; if you can even see your phone, you get stress responses. And so I always keep my phone out of sight.
I keep it in the other room. I, I keep it away from me most of the time. I don’t even know where my phone is until I have to go look at something. And just like you said in the morning, I try to have at least a 30 or 60-minute window where I do not look at my phone. And one of the ways that I’m able to do that is I wake up early.
You know, I wake up early. I pray, I meditate. I go to the gym and then after I do those things, you know, by then it’s usually seven o’clock, eight o’clock, you know, before my days getting started really anyway. That’s when I hop on my phone to look, and I have my appointments scheduled a,t my first ones at 10.
So I have like a two-hour window between my morning routine and my first appointments. That’s just me time. If I want to work on my classes or do some reading or something like that, that’s hove I’ve scheduled my day. And I think that’s so important to, to unplug because we really don’t unplug anymore.
The people are on their phones and checking email. And from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed, you know, people, how many people fall asleep with their phone in their hands at night.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:35:14] That’s crazy. It’s totally crazy in that. And I love that because I actually have a very similar morning routine to you.
And I don’t schedule my first calls until 11:00 AM for the same thing. I’m a little bit of a later night owl. The first two hours of my morning are spent in, you know, meditation in working out in contemplative time so that you know, setting myself up emotionally for the day so that I’m clear on what I’m working on.
And then, then I will dive into, you know, what I need to do and the work and the email. And also, I, you know, for me, social media is, is business media. So I don’t really go on anymore. I’ve trained myself not to use social media as, as you know, a distraction because that’s the other thing is it’s, it’s majorly distracting and it, and again, so many people see, you know, what do people post on social media?
Their best of, It’s the best of reels, and we’re comparing our worst-ofs to other people’s best-ofs. And then we fall into the comparison trap, and it makes people feel really bad about themselves when, you know like somebody was a ten-year overnight success, but we don’t get to see what went into creating that success.
We only get to see the success and the key highlights of the success. And so, social media, to me in so many ways, is very detrimental to our mindset, to our wellbeing that using it with discernment is so really important because as you said, I mean, they hire behavioral scientists, they hire, you know, what is it?
Facebook hired 400 MIT grads to make it more addictive. And so, you know, there’s a reason why it’s addictive, and it does really take quite a bit of commitment and willpower to go; I want something more than this.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:37:00] Absolutely. And it’s to take it back to health for a second. You know, one of the things I go through in my wellness courses is, you know, I have all the health stuff, you know, nutrition, exercise, all of that, but there’s a whole section on mindset, you know, willpower goal, setting, all of that.
And I think the biggest thing that I tell people when they’re trying to change their mindset about health is to break your goals down into smart goals. You know, smart, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based. And so you people have big audacious goals, and I’m like, that’s great to have big audacious goals, but if you have big audacious goals, without mini-steps, the moment you detour that goal is done, you’re going to fall off.
You’re going to feel like a failure. You’re going to quit, right? If you’ve broken it into small portions, along the way, a detour doesn’t derail you. Because you’re like, okay, I’m not even if I detour, I’m really not that far from where I am on this specific segment and where I want to go. And so then you, you detour, you’re like, Hey, actually, I’m still pretty close.
And then you get back, and then you hit your next segment, and then you hit your next and your next and your next and by, you know, who knows, you know, depending on your goal, how much time it would take, you finally hit your big audacious goal. And you did it, even though there are going to be detours because breaking things down into S.M.A.R.T. goals allows you to prepare for those detours, allows you to recognize them, and allows you to see that they really did knock you as far off track as you thought they were.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:38:32] Mm. Yeah. I love that. I actually do something very, very similar with my clients, chunk it down, you know, because part of the brain puts us into fight or flight when we don’t know the how. So when you have a goal, the first thing that people ask is how am I going to do it? And because the how is the uncertainty, the how isn’t known to you in that moment then in the process of that, your brain goes into fight or flight, and it makes sense feeling the goal impossible.
It makes it unattainable because you’re, you know, you’re in the amygdala. You’re not in your neo-frontal cortex where all your solutions, where all the inspiration, where all the creativity, where tapping higher levels of intelligence is. And so, being able to chunk it down to bite-size doable pieces allows you to wrap your brain around how in a very different way.
So that you can move the dial forward in baby steps, and a lot of baby steps equals one giant step. As, as you were saying, those big audacious goals.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:39:32] Absolutely. Well, this has been a phenomenal conversation. I feel like we could probably talk for hours about all different kinds of things, but I want to be respective of your time.
So if my listeners are interested in your services, of course, I’ll have this in the show notes, but how can they get ahold of you, find you on social media, all that good stuff.
Alaina Schwartz: [00:39:53] Sure the best place on social media is LinkedIn. I like literally hang out on LinkedIn a lot because it’s such an amazing networking platform.
It really is. And it really has moved my business forward tremendously, so they can find me by just searching my name, Alaina Schwartz, on LinkedIn, and I’ll come up there. I also do hang out on Facebook, so you can find me there as well. And then on my website, which is www.alainaschwartz.com and I offer you know, a freebie on that for people who are interested in, you know, 10 steps to scale their business, there’s, there’s a freebie that I’m happy to help you that’s actually actionable information that you could take to really help you move the dial on your business. So, thank you so much. It’s been such a delight to be here with you.
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:40:45] You’re welcome. And I love how you incorporate the health aspect into entrepreneurship. Because as an entrepreneur, you are your business, and if your health goes down, your business goes down.
And if your mind isn’t sharp, if you have brain fog, your business is impacted. So I always see entrepreneurs on like, okay, you’ve got this business plan, what’s your wellness plan. And they’re like, what are you talking about? I don’t need that. I’m like, yes, you do. Like your, your mind is the business. You need to prepare your mind and sharpen your mind as much as possible.
And I love that you incorporate that into your coaching technique as well. So thank you for coming on the show. Thank you for taking this time. It’s been great. And I know we, we had a lot of value, so listeners go back through, listen again. And, you know, we hope that this message reached and helped someone.
You know, we, we actually prayed before this episode started just so the message could, could reach those who need it. So thank you again for coming on, Alaina. I really appreciate your time. To my listeners, thank you for listening to Strive for Great Health Podcasts with Dr. Richard Harris, have a blessed day.
Thank you for listening to the Strive for Great Health Podcast with your host, Dr. Richard Harris. It’s our mission and goal at the podcast to impact as many lives as possible. To empower individuals, to take control of their health, and live a life full of joy and purpose.
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