A more comfortable lifestyle = a health adverse lifestyle

Human vs. Transhuman

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) said it would increase and 47% of respondents answered that it would increase a lot.

We are now 2017, 5 years later and people suffering from job-stress did increase. It is estimated that the cost to European businesses and social security systems adds up to €600 billion a year. With this number in mind it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed stress has the Health epidemic of the 21 century.

In my article “Stress: A conflict between biology and culture” which was published in Executive Secretary magazine earlier this year, I depicted an evolutionary perspective of why stress has become such a nuisance to our health and wellbeing.

In brief I wrote that since we’ve been able to manipulate fire we’ve started to make changes into our environment, to make life easier. The agricultural, industrial and technological revolution followed each other up with increasing speed, radically changing within an extremely short time the fundamental ways we life and work.

While society was focused on modernisation – to make life easier – to get more leisure time by creating ever more sophisticated tools so that things could get done quicker, the contrary has happened. Modernisation has enslaved us, we work harder and longer, the boundaries between work and play have become increasingly blurred, and it has made individualism the dominant mode of thinking. All leading to more stress.

In other words a ‘more comfortable lifestyle’ has created a ‘health adverse lifestyle’ that is making us sicker by the day. Here are a few examples of these comfortable – adverse lifestyle changes:

  • Access to a car reduced physical activity and most people have jobs where they sit all day  and watch tv in the evening reducing physical activity for some to nearly nil.
  • While physical active has significantly decreased we eat more, especially more fatty and processed food.
  • Modernisation also came with the idea that for example smoking was good for you… and although everyone knows now that it isn’t, that 80% of all lung cancers are related to it is still promoted.

The rise in technological and economic progress has made life easier but what we didn’t see coming were the adverse effects on our health and wellbeing. While ‘modernisation’ was supposed to increase our quality of life it is instead reducing it. The number of chronic degenerative diseases and mental disorders, especially, coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, accidents, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, depression and dementia will keep rising if we continue like this.

Another alarming aspect of modernisation is that on the size of our brain. John Hawks a 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.”

http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking

… and chronic stress and anxiety – if not attended too – will increase that shrinking rate as stress shrinks your brain…  (Ensell, et al. 2012)

As an osteopath and stress-coach, I’m very concerned about the detrimental effect of stress on our health and wellbeing, and the influence of the fundamental ways our life and work has changed.

I’ve also started to notice that a new and even more dramatic health problem is arising. While until recently diseases of affluence were effecting people essentially on a physical and mental level, the information revolution and the rise of artificial intelligent devises is causing a rise in problems of a more existential and spiritual nature.

When more and more elements of life are taken over by tools, the very foundations of life, its meaning, purpose and our values are being questioned. I hear and see it every day in my practice that people are struggling with this. Struggling with the pace of life, with just being a number, a link in a chain in which they don’t see or know the end product. There is a deep longing for purpose and meaningfulness in a world were exactly that is taken away and outsourced to technology. It outs itself in a body-mind disconnection, feelings of hopelessness and numbness.

I refer to this as spiritual stress, a stress that arises from a disconnection within oneself as a result of the increase in automation. Spiritual stress and its effects on our health and wellbeing is here and together with the physical and mental health problems it will only rise further if we don’t start to learn from our past mistakes.

It frightens me to think that the current trend for solving the stress epidemic is based on the idea that “if work-related stress is due to the demands on employees being greater then their resources” we need to “increase automation so that the demands on the employees becomes less.”

On first glance this is a very logical solution to the current problem but we’ve just seen that a more comfortable lifestyle has an adverse effect on our health… and brain size!? This will only increase the current problems. We need to start to think differently…

Automation can not be stopped, robots and artificial intelligence is here and are here to stay and that is the way it is. However we have to start to think and find solutions to how to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit in this a more automated world.

Question like: How do we stimulate human evolution? What does my body, mind and spirit need to evolve? What do I really need to be happy and thrive?

If we don’t ask these questions the human race as we know it will go extinct, it will be replaced by transhumans and cyborgs…. is this what we want? Really?????

When I talk to patients about this or raise the question during or after my keynote presentations none have said they are ok with this… all choose the return of a ‘HUMAN’ solution and evolution.

What are your thoughts?

Do you choose humanity, with life as the centre of our Universe or technology?


Tom Meyers is an osteopath, stress coach and visionary in the field of health and wellbeing. He runs a private health practice in Brussels. He’s an inspiring international keynote speaker 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 self-help and help-others book in which he interlaces soul-purpose, personal development, health and healing into a compelling guide to thrive.

Want to book Tom as a keynote speaker for your upcoming event then fill in the contact form below or get in touch with him through his website reaset.me

References:

Here is a short film by Futurist Speaker Gerd Leonhard, produced in association with Accenture on digital transformation that is worth watching.

Let’s talk about stress

Stress: A conflict between biology and culture

Article Published in Executive Secretary Magazine: 25 January 2017

Tom Meyers explains why stress has become a nuisance and what we can do about it

Over the last few years many words have been spoken and written about stress and numerous actions undertaken to do something about it. However, stress is still on the rise. It is estimated that  % to 90%  of all visits to primary care physicians are now directly or indirectly related to stress. And stress after musculoskeletal pain has become the second most frequently reported work-related health problem in the EU. These are alarming facts and figures.

But what is stress:  why has it become a nuisance and what, if anything, can  we do about it?

As an osteopath and stress-coach I’ve been contemplating these three questions for many years and have started to share through presentations and workshops, my insights and professional experience.

Stress as you might have realised by now is  something very elusive. Hans Selye, the “father of stress” once  said, “Everyone knows what stress is, but nobody really knows.” With this statement, he meant that stress has a different meaning for different people under different conditions. For example,  when someone says, “I have a lot of stress” they can mean that they have a lot to do or express a feeling of nervousness or being jittery. Which makes talking  about stress very complicated.

Even scientists can’t seem to make up their mind about what stress is. There are ten or more definitions depending on the viewpoint of the scienti fic field: biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, …

Consequently, I like to clarify some words first.  When I speak of a ‘stressor’ I mean the elements that cause the stress response to be activated. When I use the word ‘stress’ I use it to refer to  the biological response of the body to any demand (stressor) mediated by physiological adaptations and bringing  about the physical, psychological and social/behavioural (biopsychosocial) changes.

So, what is stress? 

Stress, together with ease, are part  of the human bimodal adaptation response. Stress or the fight-flight response is that part of our adaptation response that is activated when an action is needed or danger is perceived. Physiologically this means that when the brain perceives a stressor it immediately activates  the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which stimulates adrenaline and noradrenaline to be released . These hormones in turn increase  heart rate, blood pressure, redirect blood from the skin and intestinal tract to skeletal muscles and release glucose from the liver into the blood stream. After this initial reaction, the brain sends  a message to the adrenal gland to produce cortisol which prevents  insulin to store energy, it also shunts  blood and glucose distribution away from the neocortex to the more primitive parts of the brain. In addition, cortisol  inhibits the immune system and decreases libido.

Just imagine this: you’re crossing a street and a car is coming your way at high speed (stressor). What  do you expect your body to do and what not? Exactly, you must flee, get out of the way instantaneously and not think what to do first, nor contemplate, your intelligence, creativity or charisma, or have thoughts about sex. No, everything is directed towards getting  your body, the vehicle of your soul out of danger.

When the stressor is over, in the example given meaning you’re safe on the pavement again, ease or also referred to as the relaxation-recuperation-regeneration response sets  in. Physiologically this means activation of the parasympathetic branch of the ANS to stimulate the release of serotonin and muscle relaxation, which reduce s heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, vasodilation in the skin and intestinal tract is promoted which stimulate s digestion. As cortisol levels drop, the  inhibitory effect on immunity and healing is lifted and normal blood and glucose distribution is  re-established in the brain. However, the drop of cortisol only starts to be effective 20 minutes or so after the stressor is over.

In other words, the stress-ease response is an operating system where you have the stress response which is all about survival and protection at one end of the spectrum … and which uses energy, causes wear and tear and on the other end you find ease, a response where you unwind, store energy, recuperate and regenerate… to be ready for the next challenge.

All of this is being regulated by the brain and is a very individual process.

So why has stress become a nuisance?

The explanation takes us back in time as stress per se is not really the problem. Stress is part of the adaptation response that evolved to protect ourselves from acute physical stressors but which hasn’t had an update since prehistoric times. Biological evolution is notoriously slow and requires certain stimuli to effectuate genetic adaptation covering several generations.

And here lies the crunch. Some researcher say that genetic evolution in humans is actually no longer relevant. Why? Because  as a species we now depend on technology and culture for our survival rather than random mechanisms of variation and selection.

What that means is that when humankind first walked this earth it adapted itself to the environment until it saw the light and started to adapt its environment to its needs.

However, in recent years technology has allowed us to modify our environment so effectively that our environment and culture has changed at a higher rate than  we can cope with biologically. Technology has removed our species from nature and from ourselves. This conflict between biology and culture or in other words the unhealthy relationship between human adaptation an d the environment is why stress has become a nuisance.

While technological progress and the many tools that have been developed (computer, smart phone…) were supposed to give us more leisure time they’ve created an environment that makes us work harder and longer, and where the boundaries between work and play have become increasingly blurred. Thus, increasing our time in the fight-flight  response (see above). On top of that the same fight-flight  response which is ideal for jumping away from that car is also being triggered for stressors like psychosocial risk: information-overload, job insecurity, non-ethical management decisions, etc.

As a result, the body gets less and less time to recuperate and regenerate. On a physiological level, we’re depleting our energy reserves, and becom ing more prone to infections, cancer and other life threatening diseases  as our bodies ’ immune response among other systems is being inhibited chronically. That being said  the structure and function of our brain is changing too. Yes, chronic stress reduces the size of parts of your brain including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex which are related with memory and cognition. While on the other hand  stress it increases the volume of the amygdala, a part of the brain that is related to fear. In the brain,  size does matter and thus with the amygdala making more neural connections fear and anxiety increase  while neurons in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex atrophy and with it rational thinking, creativity, etc. are becom ing more and more of a challenge. All of this is due to the effect of cortisol on vascularisation and glucose distribution in the brain.

So the more we rely and lead our life to the rhythm of technology the less resilient we become. Recent ly published health statistics on burnout and long term sickness (in Belgium) corroborate this. Neuropsychiatrist Theo Compernolle MD., Phd. Explained that young people between 25 and 35 have become the most important group experiencing burnout. According to him, people in this are continuously connected, while connected multitask and thus increasing the time spent in the stress response . More time they spend  ‘in stress’ the more inefficient they become and end up in a downward spiral where burnout is just the inevitable outcome.

With all of that in mind, is there anything we can do to manage stress more effectively? Yes, but it asks for your personal contribution and investment. Technology is still progressing, and with virtual reality and robotics becoming more integrated in our lives it will continue to change our environment, culture and society.

They key to effective stress management is to understand that stress becomes a nuisance when the demands on you as an individual outweigh s your resources. With the increase in stressors eliciting  the stress response it is thus an imperative that you return to ease or the word I created for it : “reaset” on a regular basis in counterbalance.  Spend enough time to physically and psychologically recuperate and regenerate your resources. This “reaset” time is essential to increase your resilience (measure for health).

The essence of a reaset is an activity you choose to do that stimulates parasympathetic activity, lowers your heart rate, breath rate, blood pressure, relaxes muscles, reduces adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, and increase s serotonin levels. I do say activity and not sitting in the sofa. I noticed in a clinical study I conducted in 2015 that some people (whose  adaptation response is incapable of returning to ease) actually were more stressed doing nothing. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that subconsciously a stressed person is always on the lookout for danger. When that sabre toothed tiger is upon you, when your survival is at stake would you sit down and relax?

For your information, running is also a no go when you’re in the grip of stress. For those whose adaptation response is not functioning properly going for a run  will lead to more stress. More stress that will more likely than  not get them into an early grave from a cardiac aneurysm or stroke. This is more common than  you think and it usually happens at an untimely moment like in a park or the woods where no doctor can come to a timely.

To sum up, stress is a part of our biological adaptation response. However,  stress has become a nuisance due to a rising conflict between biology and culture. While biology is notoriously slow to evolve our environment and culture, due to influence of technology, has changed with a faster pace than that our biology can cope with.

The only way you can curb the trend is to become mindful of your body’s  needs and by including enough time to “reaset” in your day. Your biology is genetically primed for danger and as our society is ruled by bigger, better, faster, stress has become the rule rather than the exception.

You must start to take time to consciously stimulate the ease response. This can be done through breathing exercises, mediation, mindfulness, relaxing walks… by whatever that gives you energy instead of taking it away. Choose activities that will counterbalance the impact of stress and that will give your body recuperation and regeneration  it needs. Of course, you can  wait for society to change but then you’re only waiting for yourself as you are the society. It’s up to you. Your body is your responsibility. Reconnect with your body, with your nature, your values…

In your spare time,  do less and enjoy more. Disconnect from technology on  time. Discover who you are, spent time doing a meaningful activity.

While at work and even when your job is demanding take regular “reaset” breaks. Time invested you will recuperate through being more efficient afterwards. Become aware of your stress response being activated and reduce it consciously with a practiced regulating breathing exercise. Remember stress is a friend not a foe, a friend with special needs and only you can provide those.

Open the discussion at work with managers and staff alike. Evaluate psychosocial risks, designs plan to reduce it, implement and evaluate in time. But most importantly it is you who must be good to yourself and manage your stress as no one can do that for you.

References

Eurofound and EU-OSHA (2014), Psychosocial risks in Europe: Prevalence and strategies for prevention, (PDF) Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at work: Milczarek, M., Schneider, E., Gonzalez, E.R., (2009). OSH in figures: stress at work – fact and figures. (PDF) Luxembourg office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

Fink (2016). Stress: concepts, cognition, emotions, and behaviour. handbook of stress, volume 1. Elsevier.

Meyers (2015). The effect of the Reaset Approach on the autonomic nervous system, state trait anxiety and musculoskeletal pain in patients with world related stress: A pragmatic randomised trial.

J.T. Stock (2008). Are humans still evolving? European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) vol. 9.


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Tom Meyers is an osteopath, stress coach and visionary in the field of health and wellbeing. He runs a private health practice in Brussels. He 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 self-help and help-others book in which he interlaces soul-purpose, personal development, health and healing into a compelling guide to thrive. In January Tom, will deliver an interactive presentation to the members of EUMA (soon to be IMA) Belgium zooming in on ethical conflicts and the impact on work-related stress and burnout. For more information , visit be.euma.org. If you want to know more about Tom, or invite him to your own event, take a look at his: reaset.me.

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.

TomTom Health Navigator

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.

TomTom Health Navigator

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….

TomTom Health Navigator

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

TomTom Health Navigator

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

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

TomTom Health Navigator

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.

TomTom Health Navigator

Be the change you want to see in the world

www.schoolfordreamers.com