We discuss in this interview:

  • The immediate improvements Anaya achieved with the Paddison Program, taking her CRP from 69 to 1 in one month
  • Six fundamental things to attend to when dealing with a chronic illness
  • Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and how they influence stress
  • Imagination, remembering and their negative bias
  • Neuroplasticity and rewiring our brain
  • Meditation and its benefits
  • Breathing techniques
  • The power of laughing
  • Choosing our experience every moment
  • Using posture and language to influence habits and perceptions
  • Symptom scanning
  • Illness habits

Clint – Hello, my friends all around the world, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. We have a great session for you today. We have Anaya with us, and she is a member of our Rheumatoid Support Forum and she’s enormously helpful and supportive of other members inside our group. She hosts Laughter Yoga Sessions and really gets behind everyone with such enthusiasm and just has a real zest and positivity in life. She was going to put on this session for our members that we’re going to cover today. And I said, And now why don’t we record it as a podcast? Because you need to have a bigger audience, you have so much positivity and you have so many great ideas around these things that why don’t we record this tips and tricks session and share it with everyone. So why don’t you introduce yourself? Give us a bit more of a background about your personal journey so far with rheumatoid, and then we’ll get into your session and we’ll talk about these ideas you have around mindset that have really helped you.

Anaya – Right. Thank you, Clint. Lovely to be here. Yes, I guess my story, I was diagnosed last year, in June or July, with rheumatoid arthritis. When I was diagnosed, it took a bit of time. I was unable to walk, sit on the toilet, those things that you like to be able to do yourself, pick up a cup of tea, really move much. I couldn’t go to the bathroom on my own. I had a seat in the shower and things like that. So it was pretty challenging time and differently took me to probably the depths of my human experience thus far. And so since then I did the let’s not have any drugs for 5 weeks as long as I managed, and then I got on methotrexate. I started taking it really only 3 weeks before I found the Paddison Program. It was funny, I was just online googling programs with RA and Clint popped up and it said that he had a seminar setting and 10 minutes, a live seminar. So I was like, Oh my goodness, this is it, this has got to be it. And then I was listening to everything he had to say and going, Oh, my goodness, I’m not going to get to afford this, this is crazy. And what do you know? I can, and obviously it’s worth it anyway. So I started on that and pretty much I started that very end of October.

Anaya – Within a month my CRP had gone from, I think it was 69 at its highest down to 1. I could walk, I could progressively start doing more and more things and build my strength back, and my resilience back. I haven’t had any problems with food, food’s been great. I just followed the program to a tee, and I’m in a place right now where I feel really strong on my body, I don’t have any inflammation. My rheumatologist said that I was in remission and I had been to 6 months. And then that’s been about a month ago now, I bumped my knee quite well on the chair, which caused localized inflammation and one knee, so it didn’t go anywhere else. And I was determined that it wasn’t going to go anywhere else and that was starting to get better, which was really, really great. The inflammation was going down and then I went to a physio and it didn’t work out very well for me. So then I made the decision to, to get a steroid injection and my knee, which I hadn’t had before because I wanted to get rid of any residual inflammation. I want to be able to run again, I mean, I am running again, but I’d like to be able to run the way that I was running, which was for a few hours at a time, and that’s been great. So yeah, I feel fantastic, really great in my body, really expand my life again, make it bigger and just do all the things that I’ve been imagining doing for about a year.

Clint – Putting the couple of mishaps aside of the knee. I mean, your progress is nothing short of remarkable. I mean, what’s it feel like compared to where you were?

Anaya – Well, I’ve had a bit of practice in dealing with chronic illness. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome a few years ago, and I recovered fully from that. So I know a lot of these mindset skills and tips and tricks that I have are hard one and things that have worked for me. I had all that stuff going in for the arthritis. And I think the other thing is I just have a really low threshold for pain of any kind that’s very motivating for me. So I was determined to do absolutely everything I could to heal and get well. And yeah, it does it just feels amazing, I just feel so much gratitude for the program and for everybody that supported me and helped me out. Just really for life, and for what I’ve learned through the experience. Because, there’s always good things that come out of hard times. Diamonds are found in the dark. So. Yeah, pretty awesome.

Clint – Yes. You’re both a very good teacher, but also a great student. Every single nuance that I’ve told you have implemented. So if I’ve said no, you need to do this slight modification of this exercise, you’ve done it all. Try this, you’ve done it. And so I think your malleability, your flexibility, these things enable you to find results. And like you say, find these diamonds and whatever because you’re willing to explore, test new things and so on. So congratulations on all that you’ve achieved so far. I’m going to let you do all the talking. I’m a little stuffy. I’ve been brought down by something the kids had at school last week, and I’m on the recovery, but people don’t want to hear me in this episode. Let’s hear your tips and tricks around mindset to help when we have this condition.

Anaya – Thank you, thank you very much. So I guess when I think of when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I really thought to myself, what’s this about? What does it represent? What does it mean? Rheumatoid arthritis is essentially an inflammatory condition and an over reactivity in your body. It’s when your body is over responding, overcompensating and irritated with something. And so for me, the question I really ask myself is, where am I ever responding? Where am I irritated? Where am I doing too much? Where am I going just being overreactive, really? For me, it also seems that it’s fundamentally a condition where your nervous system and your immune system are really overreactive. So the place that I really started was with the immune system, and the nervous system. And it seems to me as well that when you have a chronic illness, there are a few traps. It doesn’t matter what it is or how or what body system is impacting. There are 6 things I think that are really fundamental that you need to attend to. One of those is stress, and I’ll go into a bit more depth about these things, but one of them is stress and we know that with rheumatoid arthritis, Another is bad habits, our beliefs, I know that Elissa is doing quite a lot of work on beliefs. Past trauma, the lifestyle factors and Paddison Program addresses and so a lot of those. And then also forgetting to re-engage with joy and with your patience because when you are stuck in chronic illness, you sort of get into survival mode some of the time and very narrow blinkers and your attentional focus is really just consumed with a few things and the rest of life just kind of passes you by. So these are things that I’m going to be talking about, just little things that we can do to have a look at those areas of our lives.

Anaya – I don’t know what who knows too much about the nervous system, but we have, generally speaking, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is our fight or flight aspect of our nervous system. It’s the bit of us that gets activated when we feel like our survival is threatened, where, you know, the lion is going to eat us. So it takes all the blood away from a lot of some of the organs and it redirects it to whatever you need to do to get away. So you need to activate your leg muscles, you need to have your respiratory system functioning and all that kind of stuff. And it takes it away from things that you don’t really need to do at that moment, like complex medical processing or anything really involved and a lot of creative thought or anything like that. Your in survival mode so it’s let’s get out of there. And in contrast, the parasympathetic nervous system is the system that when it’s activated, it’s our healing, our resting, our digesting system. Back in the caveman days and you can see this when you look at wildlife videos of animals if their life is threatened, they high alert, they run away. And then really, really quickly, the animals just settle back down to graze and chilling out, eating, digesting, going about life. But humans don’t tend to do that, we tend to get stuck in the sympathetic activation, and this is essentially what chronic stress is. We get chronically stuck and being over activated and that takes a lot of the blood and nutrients away from the organs, which means they aren’t functioning properly and redirects it to places that we think that we need to save our own life. And the reason that this seems to happen in humans is because we have such incredible brains, we have an incredible imagination and we can think of something.

Anaya – So, for example, if you close your eyes and you bring your hand up to your mouth and you imagine biting into a lemon. Every single one of you can sense that, you can feel it viscerally in your body you know what that’s like. You can feel it, it can feel very real. And our brains actually don’t know the difference between a lot of the stimulus that we imagine and reality. For the brain, it is reality so it has the same physiological response. So what that means is something happens to us and I don’t know, you get hit by a car when you’re three years old or something and you remember it. Every time you remember it, it’s kind of like your brain is remembering it and your body can have that same visceral stress response. And then that can become hardwired in your brain, and it might be stored as a traumatic memory which elicits certain emotional, spiritual, physiological responses whenever you recall it. The other thing that humans tend to do is, it has in terms of evolution, it was really important that we remembered the things that could threaten our lives, like the lions or the poisonous berries or whatever. We had to remember that because if we didn’t and we went to pet the kitty cat or eat the berries, we could literally die. So we had to remember those things.

Anaya – So those negative experiences get hardwired very quickly and very, very effectively. So that’s that’s a really important thing to remove. But then the other thing is too and modern humans fast forward. Most of the stressors that we experience are imagined. The ones that activate our sympathetic nervous systems, they are not ones that are going to kill us. They are not ones that threaten our survival. They are things that we are imagining and catastrophizing quite often. And, you know, you say something stupid, right? I mean, if you’re anything like me, I’d say something stupid. Be like, oh, my God, I nag you, you idiot. Oh, what did you say there? What a plonker. You know, I’ve done it again and I might relive that experience for minutes. I might relive it hours later, weeks later, months later, over and over and over again. Maybe I think about it a hundred times, maybe I think of it 500 times. But every single time I do that, I strengthen that neural network in my brain and it becomes hard wired. Now, here’s a question for you, think about the last awesome thing that happened to you. I don’t know, maybe you had a really delicious Papaya or something. Maybe you were watching your child laugh. Maybe you got this amazing gift that was right on the spot. How long did you spend thinking about how fantastic it was? How many times did you revisit that memory? When was the last time that you did something that was really incredible or you achieved something really fantastic? How many of you sat there and really dive and really thought about it and really loved it? Or did you just go? Yeah, that’s great. Pat on the back moving along. You know, I mean, part of this is a bit more of a cultural thing, but how often do we really revisit the good things that happened to us? You know, not very often. So our brain is kind of geared to really wire meta things, but not positive things. And as humans, we just don’t tend to focus on the great things, the good things enough. So whenever we make those choices not to do that or to do that, know that you are having an impact on your brain. So it’s really important to choose your reality and to choose how you experience your life. Because literally by making those choices, you are rewiring your brain for health and happiness or rewiring your brain for sadness, despair or things that you don’t really necessarily want to become your world.

Clint – A question that comes to my mind, is what’s the intervention if we have this pattern that we’re running? There’s a lot of different things that that could be done. You can simply just attempt to think about something else and to stop that replay or whatever. But is there a sort of a professional approach, if you like?

Anaya – Yeah, well, there are lots of different approaches. And the thing is, I mean, basically you’ve got a conditioned mind and you want to recondition it. This is neuroplasticity, which is funny because I mean, everybody’s talking about it like it’s the buzz thing. And the first paper in Neuroplasticity was published, I think, in 1981. So it’s been around a long time, but it’s not a big mystery, it’s not hard. It really is about being aware and making choices. I’m going to talk about different things that we can do to rewire our brain and also the things that without maybe our awareness, are actually conditioning our brain for things that don’t really support us and our and the lives leading the lives that we really, really want to lead. So the first thing I was going to talk about is stress. So we just talked about the sympathetic nervous system and that whole stress response. So really important to remember that the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and perceived stimulus. So there are a few things that we can do to calm down our sympathetic nervous system. And one of the things that you definitely recommend is meditation, and that comes with the system. And when you combine meditation with the different kinds of breath that activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings us into a state of healing, healing, and digestion and all the things that we really want to optimize for our recovery. It also increases the size of the amygdala. So being in constant stress reduces the size of some of the parts of the limbic system, which are part of our old brain, which is really the part of the brain that’s involved in this fight or flight response. So meditation actually changes your gray matter as well, it increases the amount in your prefrontal cortex, I think, and stuff. So meditation is like something that we do out of love for ourselves. So it’s also choosing your perspective. Oh, I don’t have to do meditation or it’s I’m choosing to do this for my health and healing, to lay a really good foundation to support my recovery. And so that calms the body, which is really important because arthritis being reactive, I think it’s absolutely essential that there is a really good focus on doing everything in anything that you can, whatever that looks like for you to calm the body.

Anaya – The other thing that are calming for the body is the breath. So when you want to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, we really want to focus on increasing the length of the exhale. Now, remembering, too, that breathing is like anything else it requires practice. So don’t anticipate that you can suddenly breathe in for 12, you go to a yoga class and they’re like, Oh, you’re breathing for 12 and you’re like, And then breathe out for 12. It’s not possible, you know? It’s like running a race. If you’ve just started to run, you’re not going to go into a marathon, maybe just do a training run first? I don’t know. You’d do something else. So these are breaths for the 6 6 breath, which balances the nervous system, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. And it’s 6 in the nose, and 6 out the mouth. So this is your own 6 count, that’s one example of a breath. One of the ones I really like to do, I call smell the roses. So I inhale through the nose with a smile, like I’m smelling a rose, and then I exhale through the mouth like I’m blowing out a candle. So inhale through the nose with a smile, and then exhale through a candle. When you smile, you’re releasing a little bit of dopamine and serotonin, which helps support you rewire your brain. So we’re rewiring our brain right now for calm. So that’s my smell the roses breath.

Clint – What a perfect illustration of the way to do the breath by thinking of smelling the rose. Because, it’s almost like nature’s, perfect enticement to do this. Because when you’re smelling that rose, you do smile, you do breathe in through your nose, you do tend to look up when you’re doing it. And then you do sort of breathe out through your mouth because you don’t want to lose the smell. like the whole thing. It’s almost like the ultimate reset for your nervous system is nature and smelling flowers.

Anaya – So actually, that’s such a great idea for meditation. You’re just going to smell the flowers meditation where you walk around the garden and you just stop in front of one and like, just revel in it. That’s great. I love that because sitting down and meditation is challenging, can be challenging with joint stuff going on and it doesn’t work for everybody. So if you need to do a walking one, these are fabulous ideas right there. Awesome. Another one I do is inhale with a smile and I say peace as I exhale. So inhaling through the noise with the smile and then exhale. Now you can do this without actually verbalizing it as well. You can do it with your mouth closed and say peace in your mind. And what you’ll find when you do it is you feel a texture in the tone, sort of in your throat to the back of your throat. And what this is is working on vagal tone. So your vagus nerve, as the main nerve, used to activate the sympathetic nervous system. Any breathing and breaths that we can do that you really feel with a texture and it’s a vibration. It’s a feeling in the back of your throat that is also super soothing for that nerve, which is a really good thing. So that’s another one. Another one for vagal tone is what I call pirate breath, which is inhaling. Now I habitually inhale the smile because I want to get everything out of what I’m doing, I’m multitasking. So I want those beautiful feel good cocktails of hormones and things being released.

Anaya – So pirate breath is inhaling again through the nose. And this one you lit out with an Argh, as long as you can. And that’s also supporting some vagal tone there. And I mean, that’s a cool one for kids too, if you’ve got kids, you can get them involved and do your pirate breath. There’s just a few others that are named, but not necessarily going to Ujjayi Breath or Ocean Breath, which is a yogurt breath, which again is super soothing. This one is excellent to do just before bedtime, it is very effective at calming the body down and this sighing when you saw you sigh for a reason, also super soothing. Humming is really great as well. And then if you’re in a place when you’re feeling really, really stressed, and you feel like you can’t meditate your way out of it and you’ve tried the deep breathing and that’s not working. My go-to is laughing and this is something that I have. I do laughter yoga every day, but I’ve also found the benefit and laughing when you have an acute response to something, whether you feel a sudden rush of stress or you crash into a chair or something like that, like chills. When I fell over, I slept. I slept on the ice the other day.

Anaya – So laughing reduces the amount of serum cortisol in the blood. It releases dopamine and serotonin, which we’ve talked about, reduces depression and anxiety. It actually makes you feel happy, according to research it makes you sexier and more attractive. There’s a whole host of research, really good solid research on the benefits of laughing. Okay, now the other thing about laughing is, and this is a beautiful thing when you laugh, your body thinks everything is okay, right? Yeah. It makes everything. it makes your body think everything’s okay. Your body’s like, hang on a minute, they’re releasing serotonin, dopamine, everything must be okay. Our life can’t be threatened if they’re laughing that’s weird, so it kind of confuses the body. Then if you keep laughing through it, your body will settle down because it’ll be like nothing to worry about, nothing happening here. So the other week, I went for a walk and we’ve had a lot of snow here lately and there’s quite a lot of ice now. And I slept over on my bum and the ice and then you have that pause and I’m like, Oh, yeah, that really hurt. And so I started laughing and I didn’t stop for about three or 4 minutes. So any sympathetic response, any fight or flight response, just calm down and went away. I woke up the next morning no problem, no bruise, no soreness, no nothing, completely nothing. And I think that is hugely profound and hugely powerful.

Clint – You don’t have to twist my arm to think about the benefits of laughter. As you know, my background been doing a lot of stand up comedy over now 21 years. And I actually got a phone call the other day and got asked to go and fill in at a comedy night and do stand-up. I hadn’t performed live for two years and I had a three-hour notice and I agreed because the guy’s a nice guy. I haven’t spoken to him for a long time. He’s like a comedy club guy and it’s sort of a private event and I sort of specialise in being able to comedy that’s clean, but also edgy enough to be funny. I just had an absolute blast. And so, yeah, got a couple of things rebooked on the horizon and it just made me reconnect with that. We get so we’re so serious all the time, especially with the stuff that we deal with, with our health and but further from that, we can take everything too seriously. And just to be able to think and behave like a kid again and just say ridiculous things. Saying ridiculous things like that are shocking, when I mean shocking like surprising, right? Comedy based, that’s so liberating. I couldn’t agree more, and I think that that helped me a lot throughout the really challenging years to also have a release and have something to do that was so, whilst it was a career and still is a career for me it was also it was just so frivolous. We need some ridiculous, frivolousness, something that just doesn’t have any real meaning, but just that spontaneous ness and stupid stupidity and fun. These things make life exciting.

Anaya – Well, yeah. I love that you described it as liberating because that’s exactly what it is. And feel people feel really nervous about laughing. If you’re a person that doesn’t laugh, it finds it really hard to laugh at yourself. It will be one of the most liberating things you can ever do. And the thing about that, too, is I remember I said that the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and perceived stimulus. The brain doesn’t know the difference between fake and real laughter. You have the same physiological response. It doesn’t have to be funny, you don’t have to be laughing for any reason at all. If you just choose to laugh, your body will dump all these awesome hormones on you and make you feel amazing. Release these fantastic neurotransmitters, set off all these happiness things and your body, relax your body, least reduce the amount of cortisol soaking around. Absolutely amazing. And I remember the first time I went to laughter yoga. I mean, I felt like I had an absolute wally for about a minute and I was like, okay, you know what? I can choose to keep feeling like a wally or I can choose to start being, you know, childlike and silly and ridiculous with a bunch of other grown adults who are jumping around the room and going very, very good. Yay! And doing all sorts of silly things. It is so liberating and so good for you. There is a quote that says, I don’t laugh because I’m happy, I have I’m happy because I laugh. So it’s a choice, it’s a simple choice, it’s a really easy choice. It’s not one you need to over think about so much. You can just choose to do it right now and improve your life. And Eckhart Tolle talks about the power of now. This is what the power of now is, and every single now we have a choice. We have a choice, how are we going to be in this world? We have a choice about what we’re going to choose to have in our world. And every single now that you choose something that you really want that makes you feel good, it’s up to maybe 5 now, which maybe that’s 2 seconds. And then if you keep choosing that, that’s 10 seconds and then it’s 15, and then it’s 2 minutes and that’s an hour. Then it’s a week, then it’s a month, then it’s a day, then it’s a decade. The power of choice and right now and I really feel like I understand that now on a much deeper level than I did before it. It’s everything, it’s your entire experience. And it can change like that.

Clint – Love it. Once you get into and enjoy laughing a lot more, it’s very addictive and it’s hard to actually, stop thinking about that as your sort of pastime. But let’s move on to more things as we as you may have other things to teach us.

Anaya – Yes. Oh, right. So the other thing I’m going to talk about is bad habits. So again, this gets back to consciously choosing what you’re attending to. Body language is really important. So not only does your brain inform your body of an experience, your body informs your brain of your experience, it’s a two-way street. So we can have posture like this, which is kind of like said, I’m feeling depressed. I don’t feel very good. And that’s my reality. Or I can actually you can actually change your mood by opening up your posture, adopting a position of power, of openness, of calmness, of whatever you want. So it’s really important to be aware of your posture. Massively important because that can change your mood, absolutely. And then the other thing is the power of language. How do we talk about the stuff? And this took a lot of musing around for me because saying things like, I am in pain, I have a bum hip, I have arthritis, and I can’t walk. None of these things feel good, none of these things are empowering, none of these things leave any room for a different experience. And also, you’re taking it on as part of your identity in who you are. You are not your illness, you are not what’s happening to you. None of us is who you are, who you truly are. So it’s finding a way to talk about these things that feels more powerful, more self-determining.

Anaya – I’ve kind of got two ways that I talk about things. For example, I say I’m having the experience of arthritis, I’m having the experience of pain, I’m having the experience of weakness or something. Because when I say I’m having the experience, for me it leaves a gap between who I am and the experience or how I am right now between who I am and how things are right now. And in that gap these just enough wiggle room for possibility and potential and power. There’s power and that gap, there’s power and that gap for me to create a new reality and to redefine myself. And so I feel that’s really important. Another way of talking about it is I’m doing arthritis or I’m doing pain or I’m doing a headache or I’m doing sadness or I’m doing depression. There’s no judgment on it, but it’s really important that we come from a perspective. We have the power to influence our own lives. So making your body language and the way you talk about things reflect that I think is super important.

Clint – That’s one of the best ways I’ve heard that described this, leaving a gap between, the way you were describing your situation and who you are. I love that gap. Anything that follows I am ought to be very, very, very supportive because I set you up for programming your entire mind and body to to your into your future self. So I can’t remember where I gained this information in the past, whether it was at like a seminar or a book that I read. But when we start a sentence with I am, whether it be a thought or out loud, it’s programming. That’s who you’re going to be in the future. So you know what you just said, I was just really, really taken in. And yet so everyone, be cautious with I am and watch your kids who say I am and listen to people around you when they say I am this, I am that, you get an insight into who they are as a person when you listen enough and gather the phrases that they say, because that’s the programming eventually of that person, because I am blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is the most powerful way to start a sentence.

Anaya – Let’s just say for the most part, we repetition. 90 or 95% of our behaviors are not within our awareness, are not conscious. So it’s making the things that aren’t conscious. Conscious in developing an awareness of how we are in the world.

Clint – Exactly. Because when you hear someone say, I’m so cold today, say, that’s not the first time they’ve said that. It’s probably that they say that all the time. Well, it’s not a great example, but the phrases that we say, the thoughts we have, they’re often the same things as what we’ve said the day before and the same time at that year, the year before and the same decade before. So these little snippets are very indicative of a bigger picture.

Anaya – And to quote an experience I had in Texas, this is what somebody said to me. Yo, y’all not y’all know y’all, y’all. And then they looked at me like I just suddenly appeared. Yeah, enough’s enough. The other thing that we do, symptom scanning. So when we start out on the Paddison Program, it’s really important for us to write down where we have pain and things and how it’s improving and all that. But when you’re in that real sort of, you really are still and a little bit of survival mode. We’re often looking for the problems. The things that are hurting, the things that don’t feel great. So turn it around and I call it nit. So it’s notice, imagine, and trust. Rather than depending where you are in the program, you may still need to do that. That may still be something that’s really supportive for your recovery and your health and well-being to keep doing. But alongside there, why don’t you write down what’s feeling really great? Why don’t you write down everything that’s feeling amazing? And then imagine how great it’s going to feel tomorrow, next week, next month, and then trust, trust your body to do this. Your body is amazing, your body is working for you. Your body wants to return its natural state, its natural greatest desire is to be in healthy homeostasis. And it’s doing everything it can to get back to that state. So acknowledge that, acknowledge the parts of your body that feel amazing, that feel great, revel in it. Look at these hands, wow, they are really cool. Just dive into it, spend time noticing that and letting that loop around in your brain. Wow, this feels good, I feel so good. Next week, I might be able to, lift whatever this. And then a month later, I can imagine myself doing this. Yeah. So really focus on the things that are feeling good.

Clint – The nit is great, I love knit. I might borrow that.

Anaya – And keep scratching it. Yeah.

Clint – That’s fantastic. I love that. I’m making a note of that and may may borrow that one in the future. Thank you.

Anaya – We can all have nits. The next thing I’m going to talk about, and this is a really important one, is illness habits. So these are things that the thoughts, patterns, behaviors, whatever that slip into your life, that become part of your identity. If you’ve formed your identity around being unwell, that formed part of your identity and serve to reinforce that you aren’t well and that you have problems with this and that this isn’t going well. So we all have them, we all have them. It’s about identifying what they are. Now, some things may start off as being things that support your health and recovery. And then they might turn into after you get a whole lot better, they might turn into something that is an illness here. For me personally, I’ve stopped writing down everything that I’m eating. Because it became something it was an illness habbit. If I write, eat something. I haven’t eaten for a while, I will note that. But I don’t write down every single thing that I don’t eat. I don’t weigh myself very often anymore because it became part of what I did when I was really, really ill and just trying to survive. I don’t measure my joints anymore. I can feel the difference. I know. I know how it feels. And there are things that I will do, like child’s pose, trying to get into the child’s pose. And I’ll imagine myself doing jobs that I do. So I know exactly where I’m at, but I don’t need to write that down anymore, and I don’t need to think about it as much as I did. So it’s thinking about these things that you’ve been doing that are no longer supporting your recovery and your healing. Just becoming aware of them and then making an intelligent, conscious choice around them. Yeah.

Anaya – Another great one. I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s done this one, is getting your body before you move and get out of bed in the morning. Yeah, like that’s an illness here, but. And that’s one that everybody can change. There is no good reason to do that really. So how about you doing that? You scan your body for what feels really, really good, and just roll around on the bed, do a bit of bed yoga and get yourself in a really good frame of mind before you get out of bed. And also recognizing that getting out of bed can be a real trigger for a lot of us when we’re not feeling great. So before you get out of bed, scan the things that feel really, really good and make a choice. I’m going to get out of bed, and no matter what I’m experiencing in my body, I’m choosing to feel really good, positive and optimistic about life just making a choice.

Clint – I think that that choice at first is going to be met with so much resistance if it’s our first time to do that. I remember sometimes trying to even move my leg a millimeter towards the edge of the bed. To be able to then shift my upper body enough so that my two elbows could take enough weight to be able to lift my head off the bed. I mean, the fact that we then and I and I know I’m just playing devil’s advocate here then have to say, oh, but I’m going to be in a positive mindset here. It can be one heck of a challenge.

Anaya – It’s massive and it can feel insurmountable and absolutely acknowledging that. But every single moment that you choose to feel good as a moment that you weren’t before, it all represents progress. It’s like that increasing by 1% thing, and you will feel like that. But every single thing that you do, every single tiny step that you make makes a difference. Trust that and really know that. One thing I did I actually would meditate and bed before I got up. So I’d do a like a feeling good and my body meditation before I got up and a little laugh. And actually what I would do is I would laugh as I was sitting up. So it serves also to distract you from what’s going on. If you’re distracted from this other stuff, then this other stuff is not being hardwired, it’s not completing their neural loop. So you are making a difference and how in terms of how your brain is wired. So yeah, the laughing as you get up, I don’t know how you give that a nice name, but laugh as you get out of bed. Give it a go. I’d love to hear how that is. Tell me about it.

Clint – Yes. We’ll have to ask people to let us know how that goes. We’re getting some nice comments in the chat here about how helpful this is. Linda says that she’s actually stuck at home because she has an injured dog and so she’s housebound and she’s finding joy and a healthy perspective is everything. So she says thanks. And then we we also have another comment and Linda’s wasting 20 minutes trying to talk herself into trying to get up each morning. I anticipate the pain, which can be significant at times, like I mentioned as well. This is why we have you on today to talk about these things. I mean, the mindset side of it, the challenges that are accompanying this disease are just phenomenal.

Anaya – Yeah, they actually make chronic fatigue look like a walk in the park for me, I have to say. Yeah, this is the big kahuna, definitely. And Linda, I would love to know how laughing as you get up helps. And, you know, like everything. Practice, practice, practice. You do it over and over and over again. I’d love to hear about that. I’d love to hear about that. I mean, it’s certainly helped me and, you know, be calm and compassionate with yourself. It’s okay, and don’t expect to go from zero to hero and a day, a week, a year or even a lifetime. Just loving kindness.

Clint – I did a podcast for those people who are interested more in the science around laughter and its physiological impact on the body, with Mark McConville, a fellow stand up comic who I’ve known for a very long time. And I don’t remember the month that I released that podcast, but if you type in Mark into the podcast history, people will be able to go and watch. He did a PhD on the benefits of laughter and its effect on the human body as a psychological and physiological therapy. So what else have you got for us?

Anaya – Then let’s wake up now laugh and wake up the vision board and goals. Pictures of things that you want for your life. Put it somewhere really obvious on the fridge, back at the toilet door. Every time you see it, imagine yourself doing it. So this is stuff that Elissa talked about as well, viscerally, with every sense in your body, engage every sense that you possibly can imagine yourself doing it. So this is about creating new habits. If you want to create a new thought habit or you have an affirmation or something that you use, anchor it to something that you do often during the day. So every time you take a sip of your drink, I am happy, healthy and healing. Every time you go to the toilet, you anchor your new habit. That’s when you do your ten squats and then you say whatever you want to say. Every time you start your car, laugh if you want to bring more laughter in your day. Anchor your habits to things that you do often and regularly throughout the day. Really important. Celebrate the small ones. Now, we’re not just talking about, Oh, yeah, today I walked 100 meters. It’s like, yeah, today I walked 100 metres, dive into it, feel good about it, make that sensation, make that feeling last as long as you can and revisit it again and again and again and again.

Anaya – Think about that idea that we use that when I say as something silly, revisit how many times they revisited that. Will you want to revisit this positive thing that happened more times than that. You want to do it as much as possible. And this is such a powerful lesson for your children and things as well to learn to really revel in the goodness and the good things that happen. I have positive jar, I haven’t written positive on it. I’ve just put green for go and some kind of lintel put it somewhere obvious. Do this with your family. Every time you say something nice to yourself or to someone else, in goes a bean right. Once you get to however many beans, reward yourself. But how often do you reward yourself? You reward children and you reward other people. But how often do you reward yourself? Give yourself credit where credit’s due. You know, you’re working really hard to get well. So, celebrate it, celebrate your efforts, celebrate everything you’re doing out of self-love to make your life better and your family’s life better. Feel good about it. So that’s the positive.

Anaya – Gratitude on the fly. So not just gratitude in the evenings, but as you’re out and about in the world. I’m so grateful for that butterfly, it’s so beautiful. I’m so grateful for the blue sky and the sunshine today. I’m so grateful for these sheets on my bed. I’m so grateful for the warmth from the fire. I’m so grateful for this delicious food. Anything, everything. I mean, you know, if you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel and be thankful for an hour, first world lives having water from a tap, then that’s what you do. There is always something to feel grateful for, even in the depths of despair. Make it again habitual, something that you do all the time rather than just resolve to writing it down. But it’s also good to review those before you go to sleep at night because gratitude helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system and the healing state that we need to be in. So you supercharge your sleep for healing, which is a really good thing to.

Clint – If people don’t sort of feel connected with the word gratitude, it’s just a word that just sort of just doesn’t really sort of flow easy. Anything that reflects gratitude can substitute. For example, you can say, how good is that? Or How good is this? Or How awesome is that? Or This is brilliant. All of these things are kind of acknowledging beauty and acknowledging goodness, which is appreciation. And so we can just develop a phrase, how good is that? How good is that?

Anaya – I love this. I love that.

Clint – Yeah. It can be a different sort of piece of language with the same impact. So we don’t actually have to use the word gratitude if people it does doesn’t flow off the tongue. Think of something else.

Anaya – Yeah, absolutely. And then the other couple of things I just wanted to say, too, was beliefs in a lot of wind a lot into this, but. If you don’t believe in miracles, they won’t happen. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t believe you can heal, you won’t heal. So I think Henry Ford said it when he said whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. So what does it cost you to believe in miracles? What does it cost you to believe in something greater and to something better and something more for yourself? Your beliefs are so important. So notice the way you talk about things and get curious and go, what do I believe? Well, that sounds like I believe this and just notice it. You’re an adult, you can you can make a different decision. You can change your story. You don’t have to believe the things that your parents did, or you might have a whole lot of beliefs that you’re not even aren’t even aware that you have because you’ve just sort of adopted them without knowing, without your own knowledge. It’s just something that sort of happened and you’re like, Oh, I’m acting like I believe this. But in actual fact, I don’t, I prefer this belief over here. You can pick them and choose them, you can throw them out. That’s up to you. Get rid of some of the ones that aren’t soothing you, that aren’t aren’t working for you. Definitely. And then the last thing is re-engaging with your patience in the things that you love and the things that you enjoy. Reading inspirational books, watching funny movies or TV shows or, getting outside, just anything that you love. Wtever you love and find a way of doing it. Okay. You might not be able to do it the way that you want to do right now, but there certainly is some way that you can enjoy it and reconnect with it and get those feelings of that you get when you when you’re doing it.

Clint – A beautiful session and thanks for uplifting us and bringing your energy and passion. I’m going to let you summarize this because you’ve been so well spoken. I just want you to wrap all this up for us and do my usual conclusion, in your words, please.

Anaya – I guess, really it just gets down to doing what you can to develop your awareness of the conscious choices that you’re making and the things that you’re choosing in your life. And really prioritizing and focusing, calming your body, and filling your life up with things that you love and enjoy and just trying a whole lot of different things. Seeing what works for you, pick and choosing. If something that works great, keep it going. If this isn’t so great, move on find something else. There’s always something there. And every single thing that you do, every single positive step that you make is supporting you and your healing and recovery and trust that because you’re amazing and your body is amazing.


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  1. Really value this community and all the insights and shares. Really interesting about laughing as I heard this before and about a man who said he healed cancer by laughter. And as you state it isn't my RA. I told the medics when I was diagnosed that I may have been diagnosed with it but I don't regard myself as suffering from it. And I never use the 'my' description. Another wonderful podcast Clint. Thank you!

  2. What a wonderful wonderful interview Something every one .should follow whether they have an illness or not It is a Life changing attitude
    Very important……As a young girl I remember reading IF YOU ALWAYS SMILE AT LIFE LIFE WILL ALWAYS SMILE AT YOU 😊

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