I had always looked around at those trendy yoga and meditation places in Fitzroy, where you see those people laying down with eye masks and blankets on, and thought; “What are those people doing? It looks amazing, but what are they actually doing?”
So, when I started looking into the theory of Conscious Rest it became something that I thought, “That is just an amazing program opportunity, potentially, that I could bring it to Infinity.” And I’m going to explain why….
So, obviously, the whole reason why I have yoga services and meditation functioning from Infinity Wellness is to really provide an opportunity for people to come and work on their emotional regulation from different aspects. It is not just about the medical model and psychology, it’s about what providing all of the offerings that we have available to us in modern contemporary society that we know…. actually make a difference as far as enhancing wellbeing, impacting on people’s mood stability, making people feel really good about themselves and motivating people to live the lifestyle that they are after!
So what I find these days, and obviously I have a lot of people coming through private practice, I did a lot of treatment in the correctional space in group facilitation, now, I do a lot of work in the business world, is that people CANNOT REST, and I’ll call it ‘Overstimulation’. So, for whatever reason, they cannot wind down, they cannot create a space for themselves where they’re actually getting rest, and there’s a lot of different reasons for that…..
I sat down before the creating the Conscious Rest Workshop at Infinity and I thought, “What are all the different things that people present to me as far as factors factors that affect people’s capacity for getting into a restful state?”…
One of the most significant things is I just think life these days is just ‘crazy’. So the level of stimulation we have from screens, whether it be laptops, mobile phones, televisions, the amount of blue light that we’ve got radiating from these devices into our brain and into our neural receptors is creating all kinds of havoc.
We never used to have, “back in the day” before iPhones and all of that screen technology, we never used to have that level of blue light entering into our brain space and impacting upon the way that we engage our cognitive processes. Blue light really is getting in there and pressing on a whole range of things that never used to be stimulated, or used to be stimulated before, but not to that degree or in that manner.
So we’ve got all of this stimulation coming in from, not only screen technology, but then now we actually live lifestyles that are so full to the max of tasks and things to do, and high pressure work environments, and demands in relationships, and we’re just living a much more busier and chaotic lifestyle. So that’s some of the … I suppose those two factors are probably some of the most prominent reasons that people will come to me in private practice and have these ongoing difficulties with not being able to wind down or shut off.
What else do I see? ……Diet! Diet is having a massive impact on our ability to get into a restful state. The amount of sugar and the amount of caffeine and the preservatives that we consume these days really does have a significant physiological effect on our bodies. It’s generating all kinds of different hormonal reactions that are speeding everything up and impacting on our bodies in lots of different ways, and physiologically our ability to bring ourselves down into a calm and restful state is affected.
Our food is different these days. Despite being a lot of movement, ‘wellness movement’ and organic movement trying to push everybody back into a different framework, but, unfortunately, we’ve got lots available in the dietary scope, lots of goodies, lots of temptations out there, but a lot of the time it’s full of nasties and things that stimulate our bodies in really unhelpful ways.
What else have we got? Stress and overwhelm, I think, is an at an absolute high for a lot of different reasons. Society these days has significant expectations on different roles that we undertake, whether it be parenting, whether it be intimate relationships, whether it be workplace, whether it be trying to be everything to everybody.
We never had that back in the ’60s, like we never had those cultures, so, unfortunately, now, and with the emergence of social media, there’s an expectation of people being able to live these really altruistic lifestyles, and you can play all of these roles and there’s lots of unrealistic expectations out there that is forcing us into a state of stress and overwhelm in trying to achieve these things that are just simply not achievable. We spend our day replaying those expectations and getting the task done and trying to do things consistent with how we think the world wants us to live at the moment.
So those some of the common patterns that I see presenting issues with people that I find that are in burnout, stress and overwhelm, which prevents capacity for a restful state.
Heres what I actually look for in terms of symptoms of not being able to achieve a ‘restful state’ or being overstimulated;
- So, in psychology land, ‘overthinking’ or rumination, being that constant stream of going over, and over, and over things, and not being able to shut that off, and feeling quite overwhelmed is a symptom of overstimulation. Not being able to manage mood, so feeling like you go from zero to 10 in two seconds flat, or, for whatever reason, you just can’t lift. You become quite unmotivated. These are particular symptoms of mood disorder or mood instability, and that can come if you’re not resting your mind and you’re not able to rest your body. It’s almost in overdrive, and what we know about people’s capacity to regulate mood is that you have to be functioning in an optimal way. You’ve got to have your rest, you’ve got to be able to regulate your mood to be able to cope with life stresses and situations that are going on.
- Feeling on edge all of the time, so hyper-vigilance, worrying a lot, feeling jittery… I know sometimes in the morning I drink too much pre-workout, and literally I’m in the gym and I’m like, “Man, this is what anxiety feels like. This is intense.” I mean, I do have unrelenting standards and I do know I am a bit of a stress head, but I don’t get to that level of physiological stimulation day to day, so I always think about my anxiety clients when I’m in that state and I’m like, “Jeez, this is uncomfortable,”. Potentially, people have also got unresolved issues in their life that are just sort of accumulating, and it’s creating that fight or flight response and you get stuck in it, and it’s not related to pre-workout consumption, it’s just there all the time.
- Poor problem solving ability. So just that inability to work things out, or what I would also call a lack of productivity, so buzzing around doing a “whole lot of nothing”. You’re just kind of going over here, and then you’re over there, and then you’re over here, and then you’re stressed out and you’re never getting anything done. It’s that inability to focus and maintain attention, get a task done, move onto the next task. I mean, we all have that. I probably have that every day, but it’s when it builds up to a level where you’re just like, “This is just really starting to affect me now. I’m just not able to do things that I need to do day to day.”
- I deem procrastination to be a level of dysfunction. So just that ability to get enough drive when you become so distracted that you just can’t be goal directed in your behavior can sometimes be indicative that you’re overdoing it, because attention and focus and productivity really comes from a space of a degree of psychological competence. So, when we’re compromised in that way, we see these functions that, previously we are likely to have completed in quite an easy way or we didn’t really think about it, we were kind of just getting things done. Then, as we experience more stress overwhelm dysfunction, we’re not able to get rest, and those functions start to break down. People can become very distressed about that, because what they were used to be able to do or what they were capable of, slowly, over time, they can see that deteriorate.
- Not coping or finding that things are happening day to day, and, for whatever reason, you’re becoming hypersensitive and overreactive and experiencing reactions that do not necessarily match what the situation is. This is definitely an indicator that you’re just not getting enough rest or you’re not being able to shut down that sort of mind to get the restoration that you need to be able to function effectively.
So what the heck happens when we dont rest……?
So what happens when we consistently engage in this non-restful state and we just don’t get to where we need to go, as far as deescalating our mind and our body and getting ourselves into a restful state? One of the most common things that I see is mood disorder… So Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress, Major Depression. The inability to rest is probably nestled in amongst all of the mood related problems. I also believe that from this we see relationship disturbances and dysfunction, increased conflict and social issues. When you’re not rested and you’ve got all of the aforementioned symptoms, you’re probably not engaging well in your relationships, it’s probably having significant impacts on a whole range of different facets of your life, whether it be your capacity to work, your capacity to engage in a work place harmoniously or productively and even socially. If you’re not rested, potentially that’s going to have impacts on your friendships, or even your desire to engage socially with others can be impacted as well.
Unfortunately, these days we are likely to have a whole community out there that are getting effective rest. This means that heaps of people are unable to get their physiology, (so their body), and their cognitive, (mind state), down to the baseline where they can function more productively.
Wanna learn to be more restful? Infinity Wellness will SOON release our Conscious Rest Classes… CLICK HERE to pre-register
Lets all get rested Mo Fos!!