Digital Transformation without Stress

Digital Transformation without Stress: Part 3

We’re living in a fast-changing world and there are many voices of how fast it will change. Some experts like Futurist Gerd Leonhard predict that over the next 20 years we’ll see more changes than in the last 300 years.

How to navigate these challenges ahead and thrive.

Just look at all the changes we’ve gone through since the first iPhone came out in 2007. Unlike previous major world-changing events in our evolution like the industrial revolutions where we competed from a physical perspective with machines today’s revolution is not only physical but also challenges our intelligence with a singularity – a time where artificial intelligence will qualitatively, far surpass all human intelligence – predicted by 2045.

While the first industrial (r)evolutions were answered with the power of creativity and intelligence, this strategy probably won’t work any more because as mentioned before technology will soon surpass us in this. Already we’re seeing technology being used in ways that, a few years ago we or at least I thought impossible like counselling. But already existing today and introduced with success you have the mental health chatbots Tess and Woebot. Another amazing feat to give us insight into what is to come has been shown to us by Google who introduced a virtual assistant that can make an actual telephone call on your behalf.

The question is how will we overcome the challenges for example in employment? A report by the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2030, as many as 800 million jobs could be lost worldwide to automation. New jobs will be created, yes off-course but these will unlikely be in the field of manual labour or mobility because what can be automated probably will be automated. Also, it might not be in the areas where mental capacity is needed. Just think it through with me, imagine… and this is not imagine if…’ but ‘imagine when…’ in a few years time these technologies just mentioned and many others have exponentially grown in power.

Whole industries will become automated and artificial super-intelligence will start coming up with solutions faster then any human or group of humans will ever be capable of performing. That is the reality of our future as we know it.

In the end, the quest will not be about jobs. But about the meaning and purpose, we will give our lives and how technology is developed and used to become better at being human. Most authors on books about digital transformation or futurism like Gerd Leonhard, Yuval Noah Harari, Christian Kromme, Baroness Susan Greenfield, James Barrat and Max Tegmark but also Tim Cook from Apple talk about how technology should serve humanity. In other words, we’re entering the human-centred era, where spirit comes to the foreground.

It has eluded us it seemed an impossible task but while technology is proving that nothing is impossible given time we need to step up and take our evolution into our own hands.

cropped-futurize-yourself-design-your-life-on-purpose-by-tom-meyers2.jpg

We are capable of so much more without technological implants or biohacking. What we need for that is time, and that is exactly what technology can give us. I love the analogy by Futurist Christian Kromme who in his book ‘Humanification’ describes how just like in the body there is an autonomous nervous centre that makes sure our heartbeats, lungs breathe air and do a zillion other things without us having to think about it. That automated system that is what technology can offer us and developers of technology should strive for so we can focus on what is essential, evolving on purpose and bringing meaning into our life to become who we were born to be. To work from the heart and step into our unique role to perform our unique part in the bigger scheme of Life and the Universe that connects us all. A part nurtured from our soul, that fills us with meaning and purpose.

If you have ever lived and worked from the heart even if it is only for a minute you know the feeling that that gives. It fills you with joy and passion, you feel light, connected and nurtured even though you might not have eaten for a long time.

Today we’re living in a time where we have to make a conscious choice to design our life on and with purpose and futurize ourselves for the greater good. Yes, many elements of life will be automated, the IoT will make life easier, but we may not forget that as human beings we need a stimulus to grow. We need to use our brains because just like muscles they abide by the law ‘use it or lose it’. With no stimulus, without meaning or purpose, the brain will shrink and that will have detrimental consequences for your health, well-being and happiness.

So step into the heart and become curious about how you can evolve on purpose and navigate the challenges ahead and thrive with resilience.

In my book “Futurize Yourself – Design your life on purpose” you’ll find key’s to get you started on your journey of the heart in a tried and tested manner that speaks to everyone who has read the book.

 

Tom

Osteopath, Body-centred Stress Coach, Speaker and Author of “Futurize Yourself”

Futurize Yourself by Tom Meyers.png

Listen to my story on The Top 1% Podcast: https://goo.gl/c9igmw

The Top One Percent Podcast with Tom Meyers.png

 

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Digital Transformation without Stress

Digital Transformation without Stress: Part 2

Tom Meyers 2In part 1 of “Digital Transformation without Stress,” I addressed that technology has the potential to become a strong ally in our evolution. It will do this by becoming, just like the bodies autonomous nervous system, a part of our life that will perform a lot of tasks to help us to adapt with more ease to the changes in our environment without the need of our attention. Over time an algorithm will even be able to anticipate our needs.

What was once science fiction becomes science fact, and yes I’m looking forward and am excited about some of the developments. I’m for example excited about space travel, self-driving cars and an AI that can help me with my basic administrative tasks.

At the same time as an osteopath and body-centred stress coach, I see that not all these changes are without its challenges. Some are downright detrimental for our health, well-being and happiness.

For example change, positive or negative is always stressful and when stress is not managed, it will lead to illness. Not only physical problems like musculoskeletal pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental problems like concentration problems, anxiety and depression but also behavioural problems like short-temperedness, aggression and even radicalisation.

Another example is the less we start using our brain because more and more is automated and taken out of our hands, the less neuronal connections our brain makes. So, in other words, the brain becomes smaller, less resilient and the consequences detrimental. Already the brain has been getting smaller since the Stone Age

“Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimetres to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball.” (John Hawks)

In his latest book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century,” Yuval Noah Harari (author of Sapiens and Homo Deus) also refers to stress and mental resilience as challenges to our future that we need to find solutions for before it’s too late.

Mr Harari argues that on the one hand, the future of work is one that will need constant retraining, as a profession for life becomes something of the past. As regards to this observation he questions if human beings have the emotional stamina for a life of such continuous upheaval? On the other hand, he speculates that by 2050 a ‘useless’ class might emerge, not because of the lack of jobs but because of insufficient mental stamina.

His arguments are entirely in line with what I’ve been addressing in my presentation and workshops over the past couple of years.

In other words, emerging technologies like AI, IoT, robotics and automation will make life easier, but as human beings, we will need to find ways to compensate the lack of stimuli and physical, mental and spiritual challenges. Body-centred stress management will become even more important than it already is. Why body-centred because stress is foremost a physical adaptation response with at its basis neurological and hormonal changes that influence: blood flow, muscles, digestion, immunity but also psychological and social behaviour.

But stress management only will not suffice, and I will address my thoughts on this in  “Digital Transformation without Stress: Part 3

To be continued…

 


cropped-tom_meyers_p2Tom Meyers is a Belgian osteopath (BSc, D.O. OSD), Body-centred stress coach (M.ISMA) and founder of the Reaset Approach. As a speaker Tom’s talks centre around the topic of stress, viewed from a perspective of the future. A future in which technology has changed the world with a speed never seen before and has seen more changes in 20 years than over the last 300 years. In his first book “Futurize Yourself – Design your life on purpose” Tom recounts his personal how three questions saved his life, gave him a sense of purpose and why having a sense of purpose matters in a digital transformed and more automated future.


 

Digital Transformation without Stress

Digital Transformation without Stress: Part 1

099New technologies are changing the way we live and work with a speed and scope unlike anything humanity has experienced before.

For example:

  • Soon you will not be driving to work but being driven as cars will increase being automated, less pollutive as they are electric and traffic jams something of the past.
  • Advances in speech technology will have us talk more and more to our digital devices and replace typing commands. Your personal AI will become your best friend, your therapist, your personal secretary and personal shopper and style consultant.
  • With the Internet of Things (IoT) that will connect everything and anything, lights will switch on automatically wherever you go and off when you leave. You won’t need an employee ID card anymore to walk into your office, and at every moment of the day your location and activity, that of your partner and kids and anything connected can be monitored in real time.

So in many ways, we’re experiencing an amazing time in human history. A time where emerging technologies will provide us with new means to make life easier and contribute to making the way we work and produce anything more sustainable and cost-effective.

Like the bodies autonomous nervous system – our control system that acts mostly unconsciously and regulates essential bodily functions – technology has the potential, when it continues to become more performant, to be our control system that will help us to adapt (1) with more ease to our environment and over time even anticipate our needs (2).

With adaptability being a key component of evolution we can thus take in consideration that technology might be just part of a natural process. An evolutionary process comparable to when single-celled organisms started to collaborate and evolved into multi-cellular life forms because cells who were working together benefited more from doing so than they did from living alone (3).

On the other hand, while technology is and will continue to contribute to our adaptability and evolution, there are however some adverse effects that need to be taken into account and acted upon. Here are three that are at the forefront of my mind and which will cause additional stress when not addressed during the digital transformation:

The adverse effect on jobs:

When work processes and production of goods are increasingly being optimised and become more efficient, fewer people are needed to perform the same task. So some people will lose their job and require to learn new skills which in itself isn’t without its challenges.

Stressors are the loss of your job, financial insecurity, having to learn new skills, losing colleagues, more responsibility, increase in demands with less resources…

The effect on security:

There are many ethical aspects to be considered regarding what is done with the data that is collected as it can be used for other purposes than for our benefit.

Stressors are the misuse of your data, being manipulated, over-consumption…

The effect on health and well-being:

When more and more parts of our life are automated, we may not forget to keep stimulating the brain. The brain is just like a muscle – use it or lose it – and losing brain mass means it becomes less resilient, it has an effect on memory, creativity, productivity and behavior.

Stressors are increased stress, being more prone for illnesses or accidents, depression, burnout, losing your job because of under-performance or chronic illness…

>>> continue reading part 2


cropped-tom_meyers_p2Tom Meyers is a Belgian osteopath (BSc, D.O. OSD), Body-centred stress coach (M.ISMA) and founder of the Reaset Approach. As a speaker Tom’s talks centre around the topic of stress, viewed from a perspective of the future. A future in which technology has changed the world with a speed never seen before and has seen more changes in 20 years than over the last 300 years. In his first book “Futurize Yourself – Design your life on purpose” Tom recounts his personal how three questions saved his life, gave him a sense of purpose and why having a sense of purpose matters in a digital transformed and more automated future.


References:

1) Humanification by Christian Kromme: http://www.christiankromme.com

2) Thinking Like a Human: What It Means to Give AI a Theory of Mind: https://goo.gl/EapcNg

3) How did multicellular life evolve: https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/news/how-did-multicellular-life-evolve/

Osteopathy Brussels, Stress-Less

Osteopathy is not just about bones

A misconception that people often have about osteopathy is that it is all about bones and ‘cracking’.

While “osteo” indeed means bone in Latin the founder of osteopathy Dr Andrew Taylor Still believed that by correcting problems in the body’s structure and aligning the musculoskeletal system and by doing so freeing the vascular system, through the use of manual techniques, the body’s ability to function and to heal itself could be significantly improved and lead to good health, while an out-of-alignment system would result in poor health.

But osteopathy is more than that. Osteopath’s focus on treating the whole patient, rather than just the disease. Their fine-tuned touch is the only tool to diagnose and treat and treatment can be a spinal alignment but also includes freeing articulations, muscles, mobilising organs and many more other techniques.

The purpose of osteopathy is to help the body’s ability to function and to heal itself by freeing restrictions and optimising vascular flow.

In my practice, I always start with the Reaset Approach a novel body mind and educational approach that I developed and researched over the last 11 years and which I’ve been able to prove it’s effectiveness on lowering pain and perceived stress but also anxiety.

Practically this means that after a short talk about why the patient comes to seek help for (common are: neck, shoulder and back pain, stress, general malaise and health issues without clear diagnosis) the patient goes and lays down on the treatment table (fully clothed), and I start by holding the persons head lightly.

Osteo_and_co_Osteopath and Stress Coach Tom Meyers Practice Reaset 1.jpg

In very stressed people the head feels hard, tense, heavy a bit like a dried up sponge (am not kidding). But after several minutes of gently following the strains and releasing the tensions, the head starts to feel lighter and more fluid like a sponge that has been dipped into a bucket of water.

Patients experience this ‘Reaset’ – or return to ease – too and often say that it’s like a blanket of peace and calm that comes over and into them. Some even experience a sensation of being reborn.

After the ‘Reaset’ I continue with releasing tensions in neck, shoulders, arms, legs, lower back and check if the diaphragm (which can build up tension after strong emotions) and bio-field energy work.

The objective of an osteopathy consultation including the Reaset approach is:

  • Bringing calm and clarity of mind
  • Balance the stress response by increasing parasympathetic activity
  • Increasing the mobility of joints
  • Relieving build-up muscular tensions
  • Enhancing blood supply to tissues
  • Helping the body to heal
  • Pain relief
  • Return optimal functioning in body, mind and spirit
  • Insights into stress management and resilience techniques you can apply

 

Tom Meyers Osteopath Brussels book onlinewww.osteopathbrussels.com

 

 

Stress-Less

Stress Resilience: How to thrive in a fast changing world?

Keynote presentation by Tom Meyers, Osteopath (BSc. D.O. OSD), Stress Expert (M.ISMA) Forward Thinker and Author of ‘Futurize Yourself’

We are living at a critical time in human history. A time where new emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning are reshaping our world with a speed, scope and complexity unlike anything humankind has experienced before.

How will we cope and stay healthy knowing, that in this fast changing world we will face challenges we can’t even imagine today. For example, how will we feel when machines are more intelligent than we are? What will we do when our job becomes obsolete or meaningless? How will that impact humanity, that is you and if not you, what will all this change mean for your family, your children?

The challenge is not that the world is changing? Change has always been part of life. The difference compared to previous revolutions in human history is the speed, scope and complexity these new technologies are being developed and are changing all aspect of life: the way we work, live, communicate, travel, eat… is way beyond and in conflict with our biological evolution which is notoriously slow.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive thrive but those who can best manage change.” 

(Charles Darwin, adapted by Tom Meyers)

However, you are not powerless on the contrary you can futurize yourself and start acting purposefully in the present to increase your capacity to adapt and manage how you react to change.

 “It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.“

(Epictetus) 

You can train yourself to become resilient and flexible, no matter what challenges the future will bring.

Resilience being the successful adaptation of the body’s adaptive stress response to maintain a status quo. Or in other words, your ability to bounce back from a stress event, change (being an increasingly more important stress factor) or trauma. A process that involves neurologic, hormonal and many other modulators within the brain.

How to build resilience for all forms of stress, physical, psychosocial… or existential.

The only sustainable solution is to work on yourself… and is something you have to do on purpose. Don’t leave it to chance as that will lead to stress.

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

(William Jennings Bryan)

 

For more information about this presentation or other keynote presentations by international speaker Tom Meyers please visit his speaker page or contact Tom directly with the form below.

INSAD2017, Stress-Less

FREE Online Stress Summit


Please SIGN-UP and share…

For those who know me, I’m a man with a mission to “Speak Up and Speak Out about Stress,” and this is also the topic of this years’ International Stress Awareness Day that takes place on November 1..

Stress has become one of the most important health problems in our society with a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing, quality of life and longevity.

Together with my dear colleague Danielle, I’ve set up a FREE Online Stress Summit with international experts that speak authentically how they got interested in the topic of stress and share their unique view and ideas how to deal with it and to which we want you to SIGN-UP and share to help us spread a very important message.

Did you know that the cost of stress in EU alone adds up to 600.000.000.000€ that is a lot of people, adults and children alike that are affected by it.

Signing up shows your support in our cause to help the world to be a better place for all one share and like at the time.

Our international experts like Prof. Stephen Palmer here in this video below, have given us a moment of their time to share their authentic story for which I hope you take the time to listen.

SIGN-UP today on http://www.INSAD2017.com

By signing-up

  • You will be kept informed where you can access these interviews on November 1st
  • You will get weekly updates and previews
  • You will get each week running up to INSAD2017 a FREE eGuide or eBook
  • You will help our mission to “Speak Up and Speak Out about Stress​”
  • Yes, you will be able to watch the video’s in the days thereafter

Your INSAD 2017 host

Tom

Osteopath, Stress Coach and International Speaker

tommeyers.eu

Executive Secretary Magazine

Stress: the health epidemic of the 21st century

Article Published in Executive Secretary Magazine: 25 May 2017

Tomorrow belongs to those that hear it coming – David Bowie 

In 2012, a pan-European poll on occupational safety and health asked the question: “Do you think that the number of people suffering from job stress (in your country) will increase, decrease or stay the same over the next 5 years?” The result was that 77% (8 out of 10 respondents) said it would increase and 47% answered that it would increase a lot.

We are now in 2017, 5 years on and the number of people suffering from job-related stress did indeed increase. It is estimated that the cost to European businesses and social security systems adds up to €600 billion a year. With this figure in mind, it should come as no surprise that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed stress the health epidemic of the 21st century.

In my article “Stress: A conflict between biology and culture” (published in the January edition of Executive Secretary Magazine), I offered an evolutionary perspective on why stress has become such a nuisance to our health and wellbeing.

In brief, I explained that since we’ve been able to manipulate fire we’ve started to change our environment, to make life easier. The agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions followed on from each other with increasing speed, radically changing within an extremely short time every aspect of how we live and work.

Yes, modernisation and the rise in technological and economic progress has made life easier and has increased life expectancy. However, the unexpected drawback of this progress, especially over the last 10-15 years, is its detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing. Technological and economic progress has encouraged the rise of unhealthy lifestyles and increased stress levels, which in turn have contributed to the spread of chronic degenerative diseases and mental disorders: coronary heart disease, cancer, strokes, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, depression, dementia, burnout…

Another unexpected drawback is the impact on the size of our brains. Contrary to what you might have heard, our brain has shrunk over the past 20,000 years. John Hawks, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, explains:

“Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimetres to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eye-blink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.” If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo Erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.” (Discover Magazine)

On top of the gradual effects of modernisation on our brain size, chronic stress and anxiety will, if not attended to, shrink your brain further and far more rapidly than you might imagine, with huge ramifications: increased anxiety and memory loss, to name but a few. (Ensell, et al. 2012).

But what about tomorrow? To quote David Bowie: “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it” So what will tomorrow bring? Will the number of people suffering from work stress increase, decrease or stay the same? Statistics for this aren’t available yet but what do you think? I think it will increase and I’m very concerned about this. I’m concerned because I’m starting to see the effects of this fourth industrial revolution, as it is called, in some of my patients already.

The way we live and work has changed exponentially over the last 10 years, but this is nothing compared to what is to come, when ever more tasks, and even whole jobs are outsourced to robots and intelligent appliances. What was once science fiction will become science fact and less and less will be impossible.

Did you know that according to an Oxford study, around 50% of all jobs could be replaced by robots in the next 20 years?  According to that study, there is an 86% likelihood that administrative professionals, including assistants, will be replaced by robots or AI. That said, even if not replaced, the work of assistants surely will change significantly over the next 5-10 years, as more and more tasks are automated. Indeed, everything that is routine in a job will be automated, according to futurist Gerd Leonhard.

From an economic and evolutionary perspective, this increased automation is very logical, but it also offers a solution to one of the biggest work-related health problems: stress. Work-related stress is experienced when the demand on an employee is greater than their resources. At first sight, then, the reasoning that automating more will reduce those demands seems sound.

However, will it actually reduce stress levels? I don’t think so. Rather, I envisage the appearance of a new form of stress: spiritual stress, referred to in medical terms as existential anxiety. It’s already here if the new questions and health problems my patients come to my practice with are any indicator (body-mind disconnection, feelings of hopelessness and numbness).

While until recently our modern lifestyle affected people essentially on a physical and mental level, the fourth industrial revolution, with the rise of artificially intelligent devices, will cause problems of a more existential nature as the very foundations of life and its meaning are called into question. Personal fulfilment and meaning are essential human drives, and for the moment the main contributor of meaning for many people lies in their job. When work falls away or becomes menial, what then?

Not only is there the question of meaning and fulfilment, but that more comfortable lifestyle will have an adverse effect on our health, wellbeing… and brain size! There is thus a very real risk that automation will only increase our current problems.

Automation cannot be stopped; robots and artificial intelligence are here to stay and that is the way it is. However, we must to start thinking and finding ways to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit in this more automated world.

In the article ‘Will robots replace assistants?’ (published in the January edition of Executive Secretary Magazine) Craig Allen proposed that it is important for assistants to invest in training and acquire new skills to assure their future in a changing world.  In the article “Will life be worth living in a world without work? Technological unemployment and the meaning of Life”, Dr. John Danaher argues that adopting an integrative approach to our relationship with technology is a possible option. This is the option where technology is directly integrated into biological systems and we become cyborgs.

This view is in complete opposition to the thoughts of futurist Gerd Leonhard, who explains in his book “Technology vs. Humanity” that we need to focus on what cannot be automated, going beyond technology and data. For him, the new way to work is to embrace technology but not to become it.

So, how do you prepare for what is emerging? Stay informed about the changes in your workplace, start the dialogue with your colleagues and prepare. Prepare yourself by finding out what the non-routine parts are or what cannot be digitalised in your job. Those parts will become the most valuable in the future. Also start doing things you find meaningful, that give you energy and fulfilment outside your work. Start with these today and you’ll be ahead of the game, becoming more resilient in changing times.

References:

Tom Meyers is an osteopath D.O., stress coach and visionary in the field of health and wellbeing. He runs a private health practice in Brussels and gives regular inspiring presentations in Belgium and abroad on the topic of ‘Understanding & Managing Stress’. Tom also runs workshops on the ‘Reaset Approach’ a novel manual body-mind and educational health approach he developed. In 2017 he will publish his first book ‘Futurize Yourself’ in which he interlaces soul-purpose, personal development, health and healing into a compelling guide to thrive. If you want to know more about Tom, or invite him to your own event, take a look at his website: www.tommeyers.be

Stress-Less

Benefits of body-treatment in stress management


On 16/6/2017 I took part in the morning panel of the International Stress Management Association’s (ISMA) annual conference. The question Jeremy Nicholas, the MC for the day, asked me was: As an osteopath, can you give us the benefit of body-treatment in stress management? My succinct answer (or at least trying to) was…

It was at first my patients who pointed this out to me.

Patients mainly go to an osteopath for neck, shoulder or back pain and that wasn’t any different for me 10 years ago when I started my practice.

However, the feedback I received on a second visit weeks or sometimes months later astounded me. Not only did they experience the expected pain relief but also reported to be able to concentrate better, saw things clearer when decision had to be made, some said that they had the same amount of stress but that they were able to handle it much better, like stress didn’t bother them anymore. Some even reported to have more time.

When more and more patients started to report behavioural and mental benefits after a single treatment I started to be intrigued and went searching for an explanation.

We all know that from a biological perspective the stress-response is regulated by the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis.

A gentle touch like in certain massages is proven to increase vagal tone and thus can influence indirectly adrenaline, noradrenalin levels and decrease heart rate, blood pressure and muscular tension.

Certain forms of osteopathy that include craniosacral therapy and fascia therapy have proven to improve ANS balance greatly and influence HPA-axis.

I eventually created the Reaset Approach a novel body-mind and educational stress-management approach and did some research where I used Heart Rate variability measurements, State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) on top of a pain questionnaire I was able to prove that it has an significant influence on all of these.

Question is still, how? As I said before touch plays an important role but also specific body centres like the occiput, frontal bone, and neck are structurally related to the ANS and the temples with the amygdala and pituitary gland.

In stress management and psychotherapy I think osteopathy that includes ANS balancing can make a real sustaining  difference.

 


Patient feedback after a single Osteopathy with Reaset Approach consultation:

Where to begin… First of all I’m feeling much better today than some months ago. I experienced a very difficult period after a death of a loved one. I completely isolated myself from the outside world (family, friends & colleagues…). I went through constant cerebration, throat tightness, anxiety, depressed, black thoughts and loneliness. Those feelings didn’t go away even while close people tried to help me much as they could.

A friend of me advised me to follow a session at an osteopath and got me an appointment.

The first intake was very stressful for me as I didn’t knew what to expect. Tom asked me some questions about my complaints (physically & mental). When Tom started the session I didn’t feel physically & mentally relaxed but when it was finished I really felt a BIG difference. I felt physically relaxed and free in my mind (constant cerebration stopped) and this was the first time I got this feeling after months 

Tom is very a GOOD Osteopath, friendly and knows what he is doing and takes the time for it. I’m definitely going back 

Once again Tom a BIG THANK YOU for the help during this difficult process I went through, which got my life be back on track 

Kindly regards

SH

 

For more info visit my website www.tommeyers.be

 

Stress-Less

The architect of Life

Audio of the presentation I gave on 31/5/2017 for the Fear & Fail conference in Brussels

I’m an osteopath, Stress-Coach and keynote speaker who has been running my own health practice in Brussels for more than 10 years. I have spent many years abroad working as a waiter in various hotels in England and as sommelier on board the cruise ship Queen Elisabeth II, and backpacking around the world. I only became interested in health matters at the age of 30. This was as my first business – a deli (gourmet food store), failed. My story is a genuine process of reinventing myself, allowing failures and fears to surface and understanding what it takes to diversify a career and start climbing to the next level in my professional life.

Info:
Tom: http://www.tommeyers.be
F&F: http://tumblr.fearandfail.com
GWN: http://generationwn.org

Articles

How stress and terrorism affect election behaviour

The original article that I contributed to was published online in the APA Science section, the  Austrian magazine Profil and in the Tiroler Tageszeiting under the title: Wie sich Stress und Terrorängste auf das Wahlverhalten auswirken. (From APA: 22. 4. 2017)

Several studies provide evidence of benefits for right-wing populists.

The final round of the French presidential election campaign is being overshadowed by a terrorist attack. Scientific research over the last few years provides several indications that right-wing populists and politicians who rely on anxiety gaps can benefit from such a climate.

“It is obvious that psychological stress plays an important role in political decision-making” 

US psychologists found from a study during the Al-Aqsa intifada in Israel that individuals who are personally exposed to political violence react with fear and also adjust their political views accordingly. The results of their research provide “solid indications” for the assumption that “terrorism leads to non-democratic attitudes that threaten minority rights.” According to the study by Daphna Canetti-Nisim (1) and her colleagues it is obvious that psychological stress plays an important role in political decision-making

However, Anna Getmansky (2) from the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University and Thomas Zeitzoff from the Department of Politics at New York University suggest that the mere threat of terrorism has already an impact on election behaviour. They investigated the impact of Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on four Israeli elections from 2001 to 2009. “Our results show that the right-wing share of votes were two to six percentage points higher in those areas within the range of missiles.”

“We have found that greater liberalism is associated with increased volume of grey matter in the anterior cingulate cortex“

It seems that anxiety tends to benefit right-wing conservative and authoritarian political forces. In 2011, a researcher from the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience found out that the political attitude also manifests itself in our brain structures: “We have found that greater liberalism is associated with increased grey matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, while conservatism with a increased volume of the right amygdala “, writes study author Ryota Kanai (3).

The researchers also assume that political orientation also expresses how people deal with anxiety and insecurity. Persons with a larger amygdala are considered to be more sensitive to fear and therefore would rather integrate conservative views into their belief system. On the other hand, the increased importance of the anterior cingulate cortex could be associated with greater tolerance against uncertainty and conflict. Although their data could not determine a causal link, they do reveal a link between brain structures and psychological mechanisms that are expressed in political attitudes.

A connection between conspiracy theories and stress has also been scientifically researched. Psychologists (4) from the University of Cambridge found out in 2016: The more people are under psychological pressure, the more vulnerable they are to conspiracy theories. Authoritarian attitudes are also associated with perceived social threats: those who feel latently threatened are more willing to limit the basic freedoms of others.

At the same time, stressed voters seem to be the ones who are most likely to stay away from the elections – a finding that is particularly relevant to the US and its low electoral participation. A researcher of psychologists and political scientists around Jeffrey A. French (5) from the University of Nebraska-Omaha discovered in 2011 that people who had the highest level of stress hormone cortisol most likely did not vote.

“Populists talk with the people on the level of fear, with their words, their gestures, with everything they have” 

The Brussels Osteopath and anti-stress expert Tom Meyers has looked at all these research results. Tom got interested in the reasons for this rise in right-wing populism, especially after the election of the right-wing populist and republican Donald Trump to US president and seeing the rise of populist parties in his own home country Belgium, in the Netherlands, but also in Austria.

”Populists talk to people on the level of fear, with their words, their gestures, with everything they have,” says Meyers. Stress is always limiting people. “In stress one thinks only of oneself. Everything outside becomes dangerous.” This is a normal protective function of the body (instinct) that is out to survive: Because for example if a car is approaching and you’re in the middle of the road (stress), one should not think too long about others.

Stress is an adaptive response to protect the body (no body no mind). People believe that they always act rationally. In fact, biological processes such as stress changes the way you think and behave: “We underestimate how strongly the body, neuro-hormonal systems affect our behaviour and our way of thinking,” (matter over mind) says Meyers.

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References

(1) D. Canetti-Nisim, et al. (2009). A New Stress-Based Model of Political Extremism: Personal Exposure to Terrorism, Psychological Distress, and Exclusionist Political Attitudes. J Conflict Resolut. 2009 Jun; 53(2): 363–389. doi:  10.1177/0022002709333296

(2) A. Getmansky and T. Zeitzoff (2014). Terrorism and Voting: The Effect of Exposure to Rockets on Voting in Israeli Elections. American Political Science Association 108(03):588-604. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055414000288

(3) R. Kanai, et al. (2011). Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults. Current  Biology. 2011 Apr 26; 21(8): 677–680. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.017

(4) V. Swami, et al. (2016). Putting the stress on conspiracy theories: Examining associations between psychological stress, anxiety, and belief in conspiracy theories. Personality and Individual Differences vol. 99 , Pages 72–76. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.084

(5) J. A. French, et al. (2014). Cortisol and politics: Variance in voting behaviour is predicted by baseline cortisol levels. Physiology & Behaviour vol 133, 61–67 DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.05.004

The original German article:

https://science.apa.at/rubrik/politik_und_wirtschaft/Wie_sich_Stress_und_Terroraengste_auf_das_Wahlverhalten_auswirken/SCI_20170421_SCI40111351035624716

https://www.profil.at/shortlist/wissenschaft/stress-terror-aengste-wahlverhalten-studie-8090749

http://www.tt.com/home/12887585-91/wie-sich-stress-und-terrorängste-auf-das-wahlverhalten-auswirken.csp

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