TomTom the Health Navigator: Reflections part I

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The ability of our body to adapt dynamically and instantaneously to changes in the internal and external environment is an essential part of human nature and essential for our health. To survive in face of adversity, overcome challenges, to achieve our goals and thrive, our organism needs to adapt itself continuously. In other words our organism needs to be able to alternate its internal milieu between, the stress response when an action is required and the relaxation response where the organism is at ease and restores its resources, recuperate and regenerates for the next action to come.

However, the body is having difficulties maintaining this dynamic balance. The reason for this is multiplex, but can be summarised as the experience of a conflict between biology and culture.

How so…?

While our biology hasn’t really changed since prehistoric times, our environment has. In turn the changes in our environment i.a. culture and society has changed the way we think, feel, act, etc. However, the way our body reacts to change with a stress response hasn’t and is alas still based on the prehistoric fight-and-flight program even though the challenge is psychosocial in nature.

One view is that our organism just hasn’t had the time to update itself to the new challenges. Changes used to be gradual over many generations spanning hundreds  or thousands of years. Now, we experience multiple major lifestyle changes within a generation. This has a lot to do with the evolution towards a more computerised environment, the ensuing changes in the way we live and work, the way life and work is organised and the speed with which these changes are happening.

In other words we’ve changed the world around us to such an extent and in such a short time that it has surpassed our own development. That discordance is making us sick and worse…

So far evolution was something we never really had to think about, until now. We better start thinking about it as maybe just maybe by giving human nature a helping hand we will again thrive instead of survive.

To be continued… (soon)

TedX Brussels Interview

I was kindly asked for an interview by TEDx Brussels to give my ideas about the Deeper Future and this to complement their full speaker program to which I hope to be invited to one day😉

“This is no Joke”: Stress in the Deeper Future

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Photo by Bibbi Abruzzini

“Did you know that stress shrinks your brain? This is no joke,” says Tom Meyers, an Osteopath and Stress Coach who works with patients suffering from work-related stress. TEDxBrussels interviews Meyers to understand how to cope with our high-pressure world and the unnecessary stress we experience multiple times per day.

1. Why has stress become such a problem for our health, relationships and economy? 

First, lets look at what stress is. Stress is an autonomic biological survival response resulting from a near-instantaneous sequence of neurological, hormonal and physical changes to protect the body from danger.

The changes involved in a stress response, often referred to as the ‘fight and flight response’, are various. They might cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and the hormones adrenalin and cortisol. At the same time the immune response is inhibited, digestion slowed down, libido suppressed, and heart rate variability decreases.

Unfortunately this response hasn’t had an update since prehistoric times. The stress response was a great bio-defense mechanism for when we were facing physical threats. However, it is not so apt to the psychosocial challenges that our society faces today – excessive workloads, deadlines, poor management, information overload and so on. Our biology hasn’t been able to update itself to face the new environmental stressors and here lies our first challenge.

The second challenge is that these new stressors are more chronic in nature. The kind and duration of stressors we face have changed but not the stress response itself. The consequence is that the body finds itself having less and less time to relax, recuperate and regenerate.  In the RRR-mode our immune response is boosted, digestion and libido is turned up, and heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension are reduced, and hormone levels rebalanced and heart rate variability increases.

Did you know that stress shrinks your brain? This is no joke. Increased levels of cortisol changes the vascular flow and glucose distribution in certain parts of your brain like the hippocampus which is related to memory, and the prefrontal cortex which is implicated with consciousness, personality, decision making and social behaviour. No wonder there is an increase in depression and burnout.

A third challenge is that it seems that we’ve forgotten that we’re humans. Being human comes with a body and that body has different needs than our mind. We’re mind-driven and never think if our body can handle the objectives set by our mind. I call this the “copy-pasting” phenomenon. For example some people are always active and go as far as feeling a sort of guilt when they‘re not doing something. Yet the body’s biological design is one where action needs to makes way for relaxation in order to recuperate and regenerate. On top of that when we do take time to relax we tend to make the wrong choices. The example that I give in presentations is of someone saying “I’m going to relax this evening and watch a horror movie”… What!?

We are living in a culture where health promoting behaviour has become – unbelievable but true – inappropriate. An example: no one questions a smoker taking a cigarette break but when a non-smoker takes a break for some fresh air he or she feels often guilty, stigmatised. Do you recognize this?

To sum this up in one simple phrase: we’re facing a conflict between biology and culture and it makes us sick, costing society billions and more it is killing us.

But now comes the question, is biology to blame?

2. How do you help people around the world to reduce the pain of stress? 

My health practice, presentations and workshops are based on three pillars: To help you – to help you help yourself – to help you, help yourself and others.

As an Osteopath and Stress Coach for Body & Mind I help people by allowing the body to “reset” and return to ease. My patients initially came to me to treat physical aliments, gradually experiencing great improvements in terms of how they dealt with stress, clarity of mind and decision making. Overall they felt lighter, as if a weight had been lifted from their body and mind. Now 10 years and 2 clinical trials later I’ve been able to demonstrate that the approach I have developed has indeed an effect on both body and mind. It results in a reduction of perceived musculoskeletal pain, anxiety, stress and an increase in heart rate variability.

Research, combined to personal experience, has given me plenty of insights. With the rise of the information age we’ve become disconnected and less socially conscious. We have forgotten that we are simultaneously a whole and a part of a larger society. It is time to go back to the future, retrace our steps and come to terms again with what it means to be human.  With such understanding we can lay new foundations to grow and thrive instead of merely survive. And believe me when I say that thriving is easier than you think if you don’t let yourself stand in the way.

3. Why is managing stress important in the context of the Deeper Future? 

Our society will face extra challenges ranging from global warming to terrorism; as a result, stressors will increase whether we like it or not.

We are already suffering. To put that suffering in figures: here in Belgium alone 1.1 million or 10% of the population takes antidepressants, 13.5 million boxes of sleeping pills are sold a year, 1 in 4 employees and 1 in 5 doctors are at risk of burn-out and the cost of sick workers exceeds that of the cost of unemployment.

If we don’t start to do something today, individuals will become more self-centred, anxious, depressed, burned-out, tense – and less creative, less intelligent, less social, less tolerant. The risk is that over time we will wipe ourselves out.

To thrive again in the face of change…

a good start is understanding and managing stress.

This improvement is accessible to all and has been proven to yield good results in a very short spam of time. One step at a time, we can make the changes needed to transform the world. Every individual must become a change agent instead of getting stuck in the ‘Que Sera, Sera’ mindset . A deeper, more meaningful and mindful future is in our hands. It is a choice that must be translated into action.

4. What is your vision of the Deeper Future? 

Despite the challenges we are going to face, I’m still very optimistic about the future. However, more and more people are asking questions, driven by the feeling that we can’t go on living like this. As a response, we are witnessing an increase in co-creation living and work spaces, complimentary therapies as well as documentaries shedding light on the obscure hunting our world.

I experience this every day in my work as a health practitioner and public speaker. People are seeking to live a more meaningful life and are realising that health is essential to realizing their dreams. More and more people are willing to spend time and money to re-take health in their own hands. We are calibrating our minds, getting ready for a higher level of being where less is more. The Deeper Future is… bright! However, how bright it will be depends on our health and how “light” we’ll become.

Interview published on the TedX Brussels Blog: TedXBrussels.eu

2016 is yours to create

Do you, like me sense that we have arrived at a critical moment in time? At one side there is the noticeable change in climate, the increase in terror and although we have more means to be healthy there are more sick people now then ever before.

Where are we going from here? What will the future hold for us?

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Well, you can sit by and wait for the future to happen and live by the outlook “que sera sera…” and with that also be contented with what you get. Or, you can say “I have a Dream…” and create your view of tomorrow. Whatever choice of view you decide today belief and behaviour is what will shape the future. Do you trust the belief and behaviour of others and wait for them to create the change, or like me envision and be to change you want to see in the world? Part of being human is that you have free will and thus a choice to undergo, level-to or rise up to the challenge.

So what do you want from 2016?

Whatever path you choose, be good to you, always.

Tom

For info on consultations, upcoming workshops or presentations visit Reaset.me

Awesome You

Inspirational speaker, author and inventor of Anticonventional thinking Jeffrey Baumgartner has interviewed me to talk about the life change I made now 15 years ago and the journey that has made me the person that I am today.

“In the past, Tom was a waiter, sommelier on a cruise ship and deli owner. But he was unhappy and felt lost — until a coach asked him three simple questions that changed his life. Today, Tom is a successful osteopath and body coach helping people from all over the world reduce the pain of stress.”

Want to listen to the interview to learn what questions changed my life? Then listen here below on Mixcloud

For more info on Jeffrey Baumgartner go to awsomeyou.be or creativejeffrey.com …

PS If you want a good read this summer… I can highly recommend Jeffrey’s completely bonkers but oh so captivating book The Insane Journey …

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The insane journey is a twisted tale about mentally unbalanced men, clever women, a talking penguin and a couple of aliens all participating in a deadly chase across a desolate, wind-swept Europa that exists in a tomorrow slightly to the left of yours and mine.

Does your body need coaching?

When needing help on the quest of personal development, self-realisation or spiritual growth there is a plethora of coaching formats: Life coaching, career coaching, personal coaching, systemic coaching, business or executive coaching,…

All of the above mentioned focus on supporting a coachee achieving specific personal, professional or spiritual goals through mental processes. The coach helps to identify skills and cabapilities that are within a person so that this person can use them to achieve his or her goal.

However one very important element seems to be compeltely ignored or seemingly forgotton to put into the picture, the body. Are you asking yourself now what has the body got to do with personal development, self-realisation or spiritual growt… everything.

To be continued….

www.tommeyers.be

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Tom Meyers

Osteopath And Stress Coach for Body & Mind

The Pursuit of Happiness

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Tom Meyers offers seven tips on the road to true contentment
Article published in Together Magazine 54 December 2014

The promotion of wellbeing is essential to the pursuit of happiness. Self-Realisation or honing and living your potential and the sense of fulfilment it brings you is one way to promote that wellbeing.

However, self-realisation, being in alignment with your life’s purpose, is a long-term process, a life-long mission, to be enjoyed every step of the way as there is no true end to self-realisation – it is more like a direction than a destination.

Just like a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, it’s not about arriving, it’s about the experiences, the teachings on the way, the stories, the landscapes, the smells, the tastes of the local delicacies, the culture and, of course, the victory over oneself, having walked the distance and fulfilled a dream.

When you arrive you do look back on your achievement, contemplating on how you did it and then look towards the future, ready for the next challenge on your path. Self-Realisation is being in perpetual discovery of oneself, of pealing off the layers, in order to come closer to the real you.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are also about short-term objectives. To have a vision and become who you were born to be is essential, but living is about here and now. Do not get caught up in the vision itself and forget to live in this moment. And that moment is very much in peril in today’s hectic, online, harder, better, faster and stressful environment, where time becomes as elusive as our health, wellbeing and happiness.

You can change the tide and become a master of your own happiness and live a life where you manage your stress. Stress is after all an essential survival response and part of being human. If you’re living a super-human life, stress does become a nuisance.

Research suggests that up to 40% of happiness depends on our habits and activities.

How to promote health, wellbeing and happiness in seven simple steps:

Step 1: Take time-out

If not you, who will do it for you? Taking breaks is essential and short breaks now and then help you to make up time afterwards. This might be counter-intuitive but it’s true. For example when you struggle writing, when you hit that wall, go for a walk, breathe in some fresh air. You’ll feel more focus afterwards.

Step 2: ‘Return to Ease’

Numerous scientific studies have proven that breathing exercises, where you become mindful of your breath and induce a sense of calm and joy, a meditation or a mindfulness exercise, help to reduce anxiety, treat depression, reverse the effects of stress and help you to be more focused. The more you practice the quicker you’ll get back into the zone after a stressful moment.

Step 3: Inner forgiveness

Can you forgive yourself? There is something very liberating in inner forgiveness, which changes your attitude towards a past experience. To be the observer of yourself, your thoughts, your feelings and to forgive yourself by accepting what was and to let go of the anger, fear, rage and other emotions that you feel when recalling an unpleasant memory, to detach from past experiences and to let bygones be bygones. In the process of self- observation and changing your attitude, you self-correct, heal wounds and ultimately alter the direction of your future.

Change your dream and your world changes.

Step 4: Gratefulness

What have you been grateful for recently? Practicing grateful living as inspired by the teachings of Br. David Steindl-Rast is a universal practice that fosters personal transformation, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith dialogue, intergenerational respect, non-violent conflict resolution and ecological sustainability. Instead of seeing the worst in everything, start seeing the opportunities. Stop complaining, pointing the finger at others and take an observer‘s perspective. What has this situation taught you? Then be grateful for the lesson learned.

Step 5: Compassion and altruism

When is the last time you helped someone? Research suggests that meaningful social

interaction helps you to reduce stress and enjoy better mental and physical health.

Step 6: Hugs

Our society is deprived of touch, especially single people and the elderly, and it has a detrimental effect on their health. Hugs have healing power, even hugging yourself. Hugs trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin which is known to be important for trust and a sense of wellbeing by reducing fear. A hug a day keeps…

Step 7: Creativity

When was the last time you created something? Knitting, painting, cooking, ironing, doing the dishes or hands on, physical work are all activities with an end result, which help you gain resilience and prevent and treat depression.

In other words the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is in your hands.

For more health and wellness tips, tune in to the feature Health Matters on www.radiox.eu or visit www.tommeyers.be

http://www.togethermag.eu/sites/default/pdf/TOGETHER54.pdf

Tenets of Health

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 15 December 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to the last regular episode of Health Matters for this year.

In the last 14 episodes I‘ve taken you an a journey to find answers to the question: What is health?

We all seek health but are we ready to take up our responsibility to give it at least a chance to express itself? Are we willing to look into our own bosom and act today rather than wait till someone else does it for us as I can tell you with certainty that day will never come…

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As soon as we are born we know one thing for sure the body will die. However from that moment of birth until your last day, your body – by nature – is genetically programmed towards health which in other words means that it strives for unity or wholeness through creating a physiological dynamic equilibrium.

That dynamic equilibrium however is being challenged more than ever before through our changing environment that leads us astray from nature towards an artificial unsustainable IT dominated culture that is in conflict with our biological system that hasn’t changed since prehistory.

However health and our current technological environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Both systems have laws that govern them and what we need to find is the right milieu where both support each other and not work against each other as is the case now.

As the IT world doesn’t stop expanding and renewing itself it isn’t there that we need to start our quest for change or reflection on health matters. Health on the other hand is being halted even though we have more means to our disposition to stay and be healthy we do get sicker by the day not only individually bot also as a society.

So why not add to your list of new years resolutions the intention to reflect upon the essence of health and to implement health behaviour?

To get you started here are a few tenants you might like focus on:

  • Health is in my hands it is my responsibility.
  • I’ll be mindful of what I think and say as thoughts alter my biology.
  • What I eat I become.
  • I will remember that what I send out comes back, what I saw, I reap, what I give I get, what I see in others exists in me.
  • I am human, not super human.
  • I will find out and never again ignore what my heart beats for.
  • Unless you start caring about myself no one will.
  • Don’t live another ones dream live your own there is room for all.
  • Have less be more.
  • Know that you are awesome

Well, that’s it from me this year I hope I’ve been able to inspire you with the information shared here in Health Matters on Radio X. The English commercial radio station that has a heart for you.

Rest me to say may love and light accompany you during the holiday season and be good to you always.

Happy-Holidays

When you like more information about my presentations or consultations or when you just want to get in touch, then visit the website www.tommeyers.be

Soul-Purpose (part 4)

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ nr. 52 on Radio X from 8 December 2014

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I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to another episode of Health Matters.

How are you feeling today? I sincerely hope you’ve been listening to the previous episodes of Health Matters, as today is the last part of a series on the topic of self-discovery of finding those unique skills you are born with and when put into your daily reality leads to a greater sense of fulfilment and purpose which, contribute to the pursuit for happiness, health and the feeling of wellbeing.

Three questions have been asked and their purpose explained:

What do you admire in others?

What do others admire in you?

What have you done, that truly made you happy?

Three questions, three ways of looking into the mirror to see one’s soul reflected. I hope you discovered some new things about yourself, or that you start the see the bigger picture of some of the experiences you’ve had, or see sense in messages that you’ve been receiving but didn’t really pay attention to until now.

Now you know and can start another process. You’ve observed yourself, your past experiences and you can start projecting a new future from here. You can start to draw a blueprint for your future.

Lots of people are lost, walk around aimlessly. Are you one of them, then today that can change… or maybe you like to change your direction, then for you today can be the day where you start to walk another path.

And yes one more question is in need to be answered. How do you see yourself in 10 years time. I want you to write what your ideal day, week month looks like. You’ve found out your talents now imagine that you’ve nourished, developed, honed these talents… and are living them consciously what would your life look like. Start with the phrase I wake up in the morning and… then you fill in the rest.

Do you wake up alone or with partner, are you married, do you have kids,… make the dream a realistic experience but don’t limit yourself by todays standards or limitations… Dream how you really would like to wake-up, have your day organised,… what your ideal life would look like what you are born to be, what your unique combination of skills offer to yourself and others.

As I explained last week. I answered these questions put to me by a coach 14 years ago. I wrote down my perfect day, week month…

I live today 80% of what I had envisaged then but what is more important is that I had so many wonderful experiences on the way… like having my own radio feature and articles in Together Magazine… thanks to upholding my vision and never wavering from it. That I’m healthier, happier, and feel more fulfilled then ever before and it doesn’t end here.

I feel it is only starting.

You can create your dream and be who you were born to be. True happiness comes with the process of conscious living. By unlearning many things you have learned and learning new ways. By doing there is no trying.

And know : You always have choice you always have a chance

Lyrics from song Nr 7 SAM by Kids with the Crown

Have a great day, and I’ll catch up with you again next week with another episode of Health Matters. For more information about me my presentations or consultations or when you just want to get in touch visit the  website www.tommeyers.be

Soul-Purpose (part 3)

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ nr. 51 on Radio X from 1 December 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to another episode of Health Matters. In Health Matters I share with you my professional experience as an osteopath and stress coach, bring you scientific insights and pass on practical tips how to manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

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In last weeks episode, I shed light on the second of the three questions where you ask yourself: What do others admire in me? Which is the reverse perspective of the first question and gives you insights into whom or what you attract. Attract just like a magnet so to speak and thus without really doing anything to attract it in the first place.

This question can also be looked into differently. You could observe what people have said to you that you are good at or feel drawn to you for?

It’s what you resonate outwardly… and that people pick up without you having to do anything for it… Like a personal beacon coming from deep within. Have you ever noticed how successful people radiate… yes that kind of vibration comes from being in their element, in their personal Power.

First question ‘what do you admire in others ‘ was you versus others, the second ‘What do others admire in you’ others versus you that leaves a question you with yourself and that is exactly what the third question is all about and it goes – What have you done that truly made you happy -.

Take a moment to revisit past events and observe all the moments where you had a blissful feeling, a feeling of belonging or where you felt and thought if I would do this for the rest of my life I would be happy.

What was it about that moment that made you feel that way. What made you so happy? … and no it wasn’t that moment where you were lying on a beach drinking your favourite cocktail… I’m not taking about those moments… nice and blissful as they are it’s not a talent as such… However travelling can be. Some people feel better when they move around… others prefer to stay in one place.

But it could be for example when you were creating a presentation for  a unique occasion and for which you had to do research, write a speech and then give the speech and where afterwards people came up to you asking how many times you had done this already while it was your first time… yep that happened to me… and from that experience I distilled that I actually loved research on a topic I was passionate about and that I loved standing in front of people and share information that I was actually good at it without too much effort and from which I then summarised as being blessed with the talents of a researcher and teacher.

From question one and two I distilled communicator, traveller and therapist…

So for me 5 talents… 5 building blocks… 5 ingredients that I needed to explore. Ok to put things in perspective I did this exercise 14 years ago when I was 30 I was unhappy, depressed. I was working in the catering business as a waiter and ran my own little deli. So nothing at all to do with the talents I had just discovered and that are part of my life today.

What are yours?

Next week we’ll continue the journey and start the process of putting those talents to good use.

But before I leave here is a quote by Edgar Cayce in line with our quest

For life is, and experience is, what each soul makes of it. Fulfilling the soul’s purpose is a greater service, a greater joy than may be had by him who may have built a city or have conquered a nation.”

Something to reflect upon the coming week. Have a great day, and I’ll catch up with you again next week.

For more information about my presentations or consultations or when you just want to get in touch visit my website www.tommeyers.be

Soul-Purpose (part 2)

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ nr. 50 on Radio X from 24 November 2014Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 21.14.15

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to episode 50 of Health Matters. Yes 50 episodes we started last year with the quest to understand and manage stress and evolved into a journey of self-discovery as a means to health, wellbeing and happiness

In Health Matters I share with you my professional experience as an osteopath and stress coach, bring you scientific insights and pass on practical tips how to manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

In last weeks episode, I shed light on the first of three question that guide you to find the talents you were born with.

Talents we all have them but who truly knows and hone’s them? In the quest for self-realisation talents are the cornerstone for living a meaningful and happier life as you will discover.

The first question was: What do you admire in others? By means of this question you observe through others, your talents that are waiting to be discovered or that are underdeveloped. Important in your exploration is to see if you discover likenesses in your answers when you observe different people especially friends. Is there a common denominator, a common admirable talent or talents that you recognise in them and if so how would you define that talent? Write it down. I suggest you keep a diary and write down your self-observations to get even more out of the whole experience of self discovery. Writing or for some typing helps processing on a deeper level.

Lets go to the second question. In the second question you reverse the perspective and ask yourself: What do others admire in me?

To answer this question you imagine yourself and your best friend and think with what kind of questions other mutual friends come to you for and not your friend. For what kind of help do your friends come to you for? Or what do you spontaneously attract?

For example people always seem to come to you to tell their problems. It’s always you they seem to talk to about their recent break-ups… or it’s always you they come to when their computer is playing up again…

Whom and what at do you attract? Look back and see if there is a pattern especially to the spontaneous requests by people you didn’t know.

You can also answer this question differently. What have people said to you that you’re good at or feel drawn to you for? For example if you observe that people keep saying oh you’re such a good listener maybe you should listen to what they are really saying… the message behind the words. To be able to listen is a talent… when people seek your council and trust your opinion you have the talent of counselling of a therapist maybe.

Do you start to see the picture? Do you start to see how self-observation and the observation of others can be used as a mirror to your soul of finding out who you truly are?

Next week i’ll elaborate on the last question What have you done that truly made you happy? But maybe you can already try to find out yourself what this question can bring you for information.

And whatever you do enjoy the process, share it with a loved one or friends… start a meaningful conversation over a dinner or why not in the pub and you can always let me know how you get along through my website www.tommeyers.be where you also find information about my presentations or consultations.

So for now have a great day and you’ll here from me again next week here on health matters.

Be the change you want to see in the world

www.schoolfordreamers.com