023 – Resilience Redefined: 
Micro Practices that Transform Stress into Strength

Resilience Redefined: 
Micro Practices that Transform Stress into Strength with Monica Bodurka

Join Kelli Russell and guest Monica Bodurka, a pioneering force in wellness and resilience, in exploring powerful tools for overcoming life’s hurdles.

Discover how to turn everyday stressors into a source of power with practical, life-changing strategies for building resilience – one breath, habit, and moment at a time.

Sign up for Kelli’s Meditation Mondays Here: https://subscribepage.io/KelliMeditationMondays

Show Notes

Monica has generously gifted Radical Enlightenment listeners $200 off of her Certified Resilience Coach Program. Use code RE200 and learn more about the program and register here:


Here’s the “Change or Die” article that Monica references during our podcast https://www.fastcompany.com/52717/change-or-die

Here is a link to Monica’s book on Amazon. It’s also available at all other major retailers.

And a FREE GIFT:  The Companion Workbook to A New Way to Be https://www.leadershipwellness.ca/A-New-Way-To-Be




Welcome to our Radical Enlightenment podcast episode. I’m so excited to have our guest on today, Monica Bedurka. She is a co-founder of the Leadership Wellness Group where she provides workshops and coaching for individuals and organizations. She’s an integrative nutrition health coach, a certified international health coach, a yoga educator, a yoga therapist. She understands the fundamentals of how adults learn, the neuroscience of behavior changes and how to regulate our nervous system in a world where stress is the norm. And she just published her first book, A New Way to Be, Becoming Resilient One Breath Habit and Moment at a Time. That is a lot, I love it. So welcome. And what I was really excited to speak with you about is you have a lot of. tips for people to integrate into their lives.

Yeah, well, thank you for having me on the show. I’m excited and honored to be here. Absolutely. So first off, let’s just talk about what resilience is and why it’s so important. OK. All right. What is resilience? It’s interesting. I often answer this by starting with the Webster Dictionary. And it’s funny because the traditional definition is not wrong. But, you know, it talks and we all know this, it talks about, you know, sort of, there’s a, there’s a strength, which is true. But, you know, we often talk about bouncing back. You know, if adversity strikes, we bounce back. But in a world we live in today where stress is constant and the norm and people are bombarded with multiple stressors a day, where are you going to bounce to? There’s nowhere to bounce. So resilience is something very different, right? There’s a centeredness to it. There’s a certain composure. And when we look at the research, right, into resilient individuals, we find out resilience is something a little different. It’s almost like having shock absorbers in a car. So if you imagine the bumps in the road will be there, like imagine speed bumps, right? The bumps in those road will always be there. Often we don’t see them. But when you have the shock absorbers in your car or on your bicycle, those pumps are a little bit less bumpy.

So that’s resilience, right? In that world with multiple stressors. Another analogy that is used frequently is having charged batteries, right? So when your batteries are charged and you’re struck with all these stressors or adversity, actually you have the reserves, you have the energy, right? to be able to handle it with more ease and grace. So what we need to add to this is the American Psychological Association. And they say, based again on their research, that resilient individuals have habits and behaviors, have thoughts and take actions that make them resilient. So this is how we build those shock absorbers. This is how we charge those batteries, right? Through these habits. behaviors, thoughts are very important and congruent actions. And we can get into what some of those are. But again, in kind of a nutshell, that’s what resilience is.

I like what you said about recharging the batteries because sometimes I’ll reach the end of a busy day and it seems like the world is falling apart. Everything’s wrong that could be wrong. And then I realized I’m just exhausted. I just need some sleep. And then I go to bed and the next morning everything’s fine. So. had the batteries been charged, you have a different outlook in the way that you look at things.

Right. And how do we do that throughout the day, so we don’t hit that point? Or, you know, many people talk about, you know, the three o’clock suddenly, they’re like exhausted, they feel like they’ve got brain fog, and there’s still multiple meetings to go or whatever. So they reach for the coffee and the cookie. Yeah. Like, it’s just not there’s nothing, it’s not going to serve you. Right. And I teach that we’re like power plants, right? We don’t have energy. we have to generate it, right? So again, so like how do we generate that energy, right? Well, again, through these habits, through these behaviors, through these actions and through micro practices, right? I saw a quote that you had where you said, you can’t think your way out of stress and there’s a critical importance of the physical body in the way that we process stressors.

Can you talk a little bit about that?

Yeah, so it’s interesting. we’ve become as a society so intellectual and cerebral, right? So, and again, so many stressors, so many stressors, and we keep thinking, well, how do I reduce, you know, we think through it. Well, you won’t, right? It’s often your mind that has brought on the stress, right? Like, we can be stressed about something that doesn’t even exist. So, as you are a yoga teacher, we’re fellow yogis or aspiring yogis anyway. Yeah. Absolutely. That we can use our body, for example, to reset our nervous system much more effectively than our mind. Our mind is designed to protect us, right? So we have that reptilian brain, we have the amygdala, all these things that will put us into flight and fight or flight or freeze and actually shut off our prefrontal cortex. Right? Because, oh, you know, that’s, that’s not important when you’re really in danger. And so, you know, the blood drains away from your, your head into your hands and feet. So you can run. And so all of a sudden here’s some stressors and you, everything you need to be able to solve the issues or be creative or innovative is actually that part of your brain is shut down. If you’re already in the stress response. So when you’re in that stress response, what you do is you. your brain’s not your mind’s not even there. So you actually to turn to the body.

So things like diaphragmatic breathing, which we can talk more about things like even your own posture. Our spine is like a superhighway, right? It is the it’s a superhighway communicating between all your nerves, and your brainstem and your brain. So when you Imagine people are sitting on their computers rounded in, right? We’re signaling to our body. So now imagine if you roll your shoulders back, you lengthen that spine, you really like, so when you lengthen the spine, you roll your shoulders back, you’re actually opening that diaphragm. So you’re more likely to take a diaphragmatic breath. Even there’s research that shows that when you smile, so you there was a wonderful study that is almost comical. They had people put up or a pencil in their mouth and hold it there. And what happened is that physical, just that physical, the muscles there, the body thought it’s smiling. So it’s releasing dopamine and serotonin. So then all of a sudden you start feeling better.

Now I’m not telling everybody to put it in the stick of a pencil. That would be funny though. It’s like a new business hack. Everyone in the business just has their pen in their mouth. But the idea is these are all physical things standing up. moving around. We’ve heard people like, you know, recently, well, not recently, whatever, it’s the next last 10 years, researcher Amy Cuddy telling people to take these, you know, power, superwoman poses. But the idea is, those are, those are thousands of years old from the yoga sutras. And all of these power poses, really, they’re heart openers. And they’re sending a signal to your body to your brain, that you’re okay, you’re not in stress. You don’t need to run. There’s no proverbial bear chasing you and you’re okay.

Yeah, when we hunch over, it’s very protective. That’s usually when we are suffering grief. Being in that protective stance where the shoulders roll forward. So as we’re working, we’re in that place and it’s informing our physiology that that’s what’s going on versus that power pose is informing your system that everything is good. You’re confident, you’re self-assured, you can handle it. You’re powerful.

That’s right. That’s the that’s the warrior pose, right? And that’s it. And not only are you open and kind of your heart is open, what it is also the very importance of the diaphragm, right? Like that idea. Here’s this muscle, right? That is helping us to breathe and really take oxygen into our lungs, right? That’s a signal, right? And being able to take that deep breath, right? It releases, it reduces anxiety. It helps, again, it’s, and if you start practicing, you know, kind of deeper breaths, I mean, often people call them, you know, deep belly breaths, but it’s not really the belly, it’s kind of the upper abdomen, right? Again, we’re signaling. It’s, we’re just, we’re using our body to send signals that help us be, again, be calm. be centered and we’re telling our body it’s okay. And we’re also using our, we’re stimulating our vagus nerve, which is really huge, right? Because it crisscrosses through the diagram, right? And then of course we can get into chanting, but we won’t. That’s the one that is huge.

So even humming, humming is a big one for stress. So for example, because when you hum or sigh, just a, I don’t know. Right? What you’re doing is your vagus nerve starts kind of up here. So you’re, it actually is stimulating. That’s why chanting is so good. Singing in the shower, laughter. It actually is almost like massaging that vagus nerve. And again, the vagus nerve is called, I guess in Latin, it actually, it’s kind of called wandering nerve because it wanders around and touches all these or connects in through all these organs in our body. Right. And it’s, again, we’re using our body or physiology to send signals and chemicals to our brain to tell it, we’re okay. So then the stressor that might not even be real.

Right. Like 99% of things that we worry about don’t actually come true. They’re made up stories in our minds.

True. It’s true. And I just saw my phone. It’s so funny you said that, you know, a little meme on like Instagram that fear dance for false evidence appearing real. So and that’s what a lot of it is. So much worry, I know. So let’s talk about how to regulate our central nervous system. So if we notice stress coming on, what are some of the specific practices that we can do to bring our nervous system online? Well, I think it’s everything we just talked about. So to me, I mean, there’s two, there’s two parts of that. One is preventing the stressor coming on, right? And I almost feel like that’s another whole, like what are those habits, behaviors, thoughts, and actions of those resilient people, right? What are they and how do we do that to prevent, to make ourselves more resilient to stressors? But there’s the other piece that you just mentioned is when you notice you’re in that moment of stress, right? That’s the mindfulness, right? So you’ve noticed. Oh my God. And you know, we all notice like, look at, I just, I, my shoulders have tensed. My stomach has like, you know, I’m almost like, you know, you’re in that freeze. Right. So when you notice that right. When you notice or you’re like, you, you actually physically.

Put yourself in a different position. So you again, like we said, you don’t hunch you lengthen your spine. You take a deep breath into the diaphragm. Right. upper abdomen. What you can do is as you exhale, you can actually contract your lower abdomen, which will allow for the next breath. Inhale to be a little bit longer. You try to kind of, you know, you might first notice your breath, just that in itself, notice the cool air coming in, and the warm air coming out, right, and not even work on trying to elongate it in any way. The research has shown that a slightly longer exhale triggers your parasympathetic nervous system. Rest and restore. That’s the rest and restore and digest, right? So what you want to do is you might want to inhale, exhale. contract that lower abdomen a little bit, right? So it’s almost like sucking in your gut if your pants are a little too tight. So you’re kind of contracting so that the next inhale can be longer and you can hold after that exhale. So just even for, you know, a count of three or four or whatever it is that you’re comfortable with.

Would you guide us through a few diaphragmatic breaths so that maybe people that aren’t familiar with it or maybe they’ve never taken one in their life?

Sure, sure. Learn it together. So it’s great. So what I like to do is I like to, when I teach this is I like people to put one hand sort of on their chest, and one hand on their upper abdomen. Right? So not so again, it’s not a belly breath per se, like it’s not that balloon breath, but the upper abdomen. And again, we’re rolling back those shoulders, we’re lengthening that spine. And then you almost you inhale and you almost you imagine it’s like you’re inhaling through a straw into and you visualize it right because that’s sending the signal where that breath should go and you visualize breathing into that upper abdomen so we can and the other thing we can do which helps is slightly constrict our glottis so it becomes a slight ujjayi breath to use the you know the sort of sanskrit terminology but you’re slightly constricting that got glottis again it’s just a slight signal and helps with the diaphragmatic breath.

So again, I think that hugging the throat muscles slightly. Yeah. So that you create kind of an ocean sound or like that Darth Vader sound. Darth Vader sound, that’s what I use when my kids are little, it’s like that slight Darth Vader sound, but even without that, you can do a diaphragmatic breath. That just, I find it helps a little bit. So I would just inhale just deeply. Feeling that upper belly expand, pausing this there for a second and exhaling, contracting that lower abdomen in and almost slightly up and now pausing there for like a count of two and now letting that belly go and inhaling again into that upper abdomen almost feeling it expand east to west right. and then exhaling, contracting that lower abdomen. And again, pausing here on the hold. letting it go and in. and to exhale and contracting. Feeling that belly kind of move in. Pausing. letting it go, and now just taking a natural breath in.

That’s amazing. And about a one minute practice, what that can do. It’s like stress is gone, your body is normalized, your mind is clear.

And what you can do is you can play with, what are your ratios? What is your maximum that you can say you breathe in for, maybe it’s six for you, so you breathe in for six, you. exhale for six and maybe you hold for six or 10, 10. Now you can do a box breathing where you breathe in for six, hold for six, exhale for six and hold for six. That’s great as well. If you’re lacking energy, right? So if you’re having that dip we talked about earlier in the day, so it’s three o’clock and you want that coffee and that chocolate chip cookie, what you can do actually is you can stand up and you can even inhale your arms overhead, again that warrior pose and you can inhale for six or whatever is your number. hold for six, and then exhale for six, that’s very energizing.

What we were doing the hold after is that’s, that’s what’s really, um, again, it’s soothing. It’s, um, it’s great before sleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t sleep, that’s what I’ll do, right? If, if I wake up in the middle of the night, um, you know, I’ll, I’ll tell myself I’m going to do 12 rounds of those. And usually by the 10th, I’ll feel like asleep, right? Because it’s, you know, But again, when you can’t sleep or again, because it’s the rest digest restore, you want to hold after the exhale. Amazing. So sitting up straight, finding a power posture, using the diaphragmatic breath.

Anything else about recharging your energy that you can think of some good tips there?

Oh, my gosh. So My whole book is about that. micro practices of resilient individuals. And they’re not ones we typically think of, right? Like, again, when I originally thought of resilience, and I got involved in this research, I really thought I didn’t even like the word resilience, because it sounded to me like this gritty strength. And it wasn’t it wasn’t reflective of who I was or who I wanted to be. And again, later, I found out it’s not that at all. And it starts with these micro practices. It’s a lifestyle. It’s about self care. Again, we’re recharging. So the first thing that we do, and this is in the book, one of the first habits and the whole first pillar is physical mastery. We need to be physically well. And you know this, like if you’ve had the flu or you’re sick, I mean, and then something happens, you just don’t have the energy or the mindset. Like you just can’t handle it. You’re like, oh, I can’t really think. You’re just not your best self.

So what we do is we really try to create a physical resilience, right? And we start with sleep. So and because we all know that after a really good night of sleep, everything is better, right? You can think more, you can, well, everything you make better decisions or a better driver, like you’re happier. So sleep is very, very critical. I have a teenage daughter. I keep talking about it with her because she’s just not thinking it’s a huge priority right now. I have, you know, many of the women I work with are struggling with sleep because of the menopause years. Like it’s just, so how do we have that deep restorative sleep? And, you know, it’s about, again, setting yourself up with micro-practices. So making sure… this is off at night, right? Making light, right? The blue light at night is enhanced, it’s increasing our melatonin levels at night. So, you know, things like that, like such a small change, like in our family, what we do is all phones are downstairs, plugged in, and no one’s touching them, or any, we try, I mean, it’s hard with homework sometimes in computers, but no… blue light at night, like after 9pm.

You know, and same thing, you wanna get bright light in your eyes early in the morning, right? So you want, I mean, we’ve got a really rainy day here today, but normally what I try to do is take my dog out early, as soon as there’s sun, because I actually, and you don’t wear sunglasses. I’m not saying you need to stare at the sun, but getting that light, that bright light in your eyes. then helps create the melatonin later, right? And then again, having the rituals that help you to sleep. So of course things like caffeine, all kinds. I mean, there’s so many best practices around it. I share the blue light because that’s one of the biggest ones, right? Because, and just even having a sleep routine, right?

So, and when you had your children or I had mine, like we’d have these elaborate sleep routines for our babies and we’d… bath them and we’d massage them and we’d read them stories and we’d do all this stuff and it was lovely and they didn’t even understand the story because they were four months old right. Well we did it anyway. Meanwhile we chuck ourselves to bed right. We’ll work and we’ll watch the news like don’t watch the news ever. Like we’re saying like talk about like the fear like it’s just so it’s going to set off your nervous system and you’re not going to sleep. So favorite blue light Having that sleep routine, I believe, not I believe, I mean, it’s based on research, but like especially I deal with a lot of busy people, bookending our self-care practices. So in the evening, having a really nice routine. And when you’re not occupied, and we’re all addicted to our devices, but when you’ve said that as a rule, I’m not going to do that, suddenly you rediscover reading. You rediscover like, oh, maybe I will have a bath with Epson salts, which is so good.

And that magnesium, you know. you know, maybe I’ll do that gentle restorative yoga practice. And if you don’t know how to lead yourself through it, there’s like a million, you know, little videos. Some of them are short as five or 10 minutes and doing that. What’s that on YouTube? It’s free. Right. Yes, it’s a blue light, but you can just listen. Good point. You know, just that kind of some just slowing down. I actually wear blue blocking glasses. In the evening, I have several pairs. I actually have one that is really orange, but I put them on in 20 minutes later. I’m ready for it. Like I’m exhausted. So I almost wouldn’t put them on until about 20 minutes before I want to go to sleep because it blocks out all light. So all our lights around us like our kitchen lights, you know, like they still have some light that isn’t ideal for sleep.

So I do things like that. But anyways, we have, so that’s, we start with sleep, but there’s so many other different habits and behaviors, but I share that one because I find with my clients and the people I work with, that one has such a huge impact immediately. And everything. Yeah. And it’s so simple. So I teach in our program, you know, all these habits and behaviors of resilient individuals, I mean, their wellness habits, but their common sense. They’re common sense, but they’re not common practice. Right? So the key for us is how do we make them common practice? Right? How do we wire them into our brains? Right?

So this is why my book, and I don’t know if this is going to be recorded, is called A New Way to Be. This is about a new way to be. It’s rewiring our neural pathways to be different. So we actually have different, we’re changing our identities. we’re behaving differently, we have a different lifestyle, right? So that, yeah, we become a new person, someone who is happier, who is healthier and stronger. So what do you say to the person where it’s like, they know they should be doing all of these things. They intellectually know all the things. Yes. And they know it would be healthy and good, but they just don’t do it. And they would say maybe lack of motivation.

So how do I get the motivation? to do the things I know that I should be doing, but I’m not. What do you say to that?

Oh, this is such a good question. So we have in my certified resilience coach program, our second live session, so we have a bunch of programs, a bunch of lessons online, but our second live session is all about this topic. And really we have to turn to the neuroscience of sustainable behavior change to understand why we are self- sabotaging ourselves. Like we know we have to do this. We understand this, but we’re not doing it. And it’s actually there’s really a great article which I’m happy to share with your audience and it’s by a doctor. I think his name was Miller and I will send it. I will send it to you. So we’ll put it in the show notes. He is a heart surgeon and they did a study on these patients And two years later, and they were also told, they were told that the surgery was going to temporarily resolve the issue, but it wasn’t, you know, they had to make lifestyle choices. Otherwise they’d end up there again or dying.

So actually the name of the article is change or die. So the threat of death, like threat of death, and two years later, 90% of the people would come back and not make the changes. No. So he was like, what is going on? What is how could even death not have people change? So now this is where we have to look at neuroscience. So we have neural pathways built and we have those habits and behaviors that are wired into our limbic brain that fire automatically. and embedding a new habit or behavior actually takes a lot of willpower, right? It actually requires our prefrontal cortex to engage, needs a lot of focus, it needs a lot of energy to be able to, you know, to sort of override those habits and behaviors.

So how do we actually do this?

So the first of all, there is actually a four-step process. One of them is having a very powerful, emotional why statement. And the reason for that is because emotion also lives in the limbic brain, right? So it’s not just, oh, it’s really motivating. It actually triggers the same part of the brain as the habit. And when I say emotional, I mean, your why, and I’ve heard this in a couple of places, so I don’t take credit for it, but your why should make you cry.

Oh, my friend Jerry, he’s a fitness professional. He helps people and he does this with his clients. So we had this older gentleman who wanted to learn how to stretch. So we got him to the why the why is because I want to be able to bend over and play with my grandchildren.

So you know, that’s a perfect example of that. It is it’s a perfect example. And I’ve dealt with people, I’ve coached people, I’ve been in yoga therapy sessions where I’ve worked with people like that. There was a mother who had two little girls and she was told, again, changes she had to make and she wasn’t making them. And we went through and I was like a two year old. So I kept saying, but why? Like she would say, I want to be healthier, but why do you want to be healthier? Well, I want to have more energy, but why do you want to have more energy? Um, because I want to, you know, and I kept like, again, but why, why? And finally, you know what she said? She’s like, I don’t want my girls to be orphans. And she’s the next time we met, that woman was different. Like she was like, I because now she had this. She’s like, I’m doing this. So my kids don’t go to my funeral. And I just got goosebumps saying that, right? Like, so that’s an emotional why, like, why do I want this? Why do I?

And, you know, it’s maybe tapping into your 17 year old self, who, and the vision of the best self you were. But anyways, you start there, you start with that really emotional law, and you write it on sticky notes, you put it on your fridge, you put it beside your bed, you put it everywhere. And in my situation, I was really forced to implement this stuff because I had a very traumatic brain injury four years ago. So anytime I was not true to the practices, I would actually get slapped, right? So I in some ways, that was I always said my concussion was my, my teacher, because again, the moment I veered off the path, I would feel it. But you know, people don’t have that thing. Most people don’t, so thankfully, right, or they have something else. But the point is, if you’re not feeling the pain, you need the reminder, right? So sticky notes, having it written, having, you know, beside your bedside table in the bathroom everywhere really helps. Other things is, you know, having obviously the vision of what you want. And then with neural pathways creating what you want to do, it’s repetition. repeating that and you start with micro practices, right?

So you don’t overwhelm the nervous system. Often we like want to reinvent like, okay, we’re going to do everything and then we don’t do anything. So micro, you know, micro practices. And other thing I can. What are some examples of those? Like what would be a micro practice? Well, micro practice is what we just did with the breath. Right? We took three breaths. Yeah. Three, right? Very, very small. So I share with my clients, we look for triggers.

So for example, the phone is a great trigger. You can, when the phone rings, you don’t answer it right away, you take three breaths. When you’re walking into a meeting, especially if you know that meeting’s going to be a little bit precarious or tense, as you’re holding that door handle, you take a deep breath or you take three. As you’re waiting for your water to boil, when you’re making a tea, as you wait for your shower, we wait for our shower to warm up. That’s a good minute right there to do. breathing to do some yoga, to do some stretching. So these are micro practices that are resetting our nervous system.

But others like, you know, there’s so many different habits and behavior that we can go through, right? We were filling up gas yesterday. And there was, I think it was actually the gas tanker that fills up the gas at the gas station. and the driver had put on like this TRS band system on the back of his tanker, and he was doing his band exercises with his arms while he was waiting. But all of us saw that, we’re like, that’s so awesome. He was doing it. Exactly. And there’s so many, right? So we teach in our programs, do one thing, one thing even, right? Again, we don’t wanna put our nervous system in this stress. So it’s small, small things. repeated daily over time have huge impact. And again, it’s the repetition daily because that’s when you’re creating a neuro pathway, right?

And we have to remember the whole saying of you can’t teach an old dog new tricks has actually been proven wrong by neuroplasticity, right? By scientists, that’s not true. You know, you could be 120 and still be learning new things and creating new neuro pathways. Uncomfortable in the beginning, it’s like bushwhacking, you know, in the forest where bushwhacking a new path. So that’s why it feels uncomfortable. But the more you travel that pathway, the more it becomes easier until it fires on its own. And that’s what we want to do. And that’s why we want to have the repetition.

And then another key thing, and most of us, for most of us is we need accountability. So that’s why when we, it’s easier to go for a walk when you have a dog or when you go to a gym, when you’re going with a friend or you’ve paid for a class as opposed to a trainer, right? There’s that accountability. or whatever it is, right? What is the, until you build that neuro pathway, having a coach is an amazing thing. Having, you know, whatever, someone or your partner to that you say, I’m going to do this. And then, because it’s in her book, Gretchen Rubin in her book, what is it better than before? One of her books, she talks about how something like 80 or 90% of us are obligers, which means we won’t do something for ourselves. But once we’ve committed to someone else and we’ve learned this through school, right? We do the assignment because the teacher assigned it and there’s a deadline and there’s a punishment if we don’t get it. So we’ve been trained that way, right? So often we won’t do it for ourselves but we’ll do it for someone else, right? So having some sort of external accountability or an accountability partner or a mastermind group or a group of people you’re doing this with makes it much easier.

And yeah. Definitely, I know in the household, like when we’ve decided we’re gonna eat healthier, it’s so much easier when you have a partner who’s buying in with that and you’re supporting each other and not buying the junk food or taking out the snacks late at night and things like that.

Oh, absolutely, yeah, it’s very hard when people aren’t aligned, right? Because then it takes, again, it’s the brain, right? And so many of those things are wired in our limbic brain, so we’re overriding that. And that’s why it’s difficult. But yeah.

You mentioned to the critical importance of faith and the practice of surrender, helping us through times of adversity. Could you speak on that?

Sure. So it’s interesting. Gosh, where do I start? So I think what happens, so we’ve been talking so far about how to charge our batteries, how to help us handle stressors. And there’s so many of them in our volatile chaotic world, right? And everything’s changing and ambiguous. And now we have AI, like there’s so much and we had a pandemic, right? So that’s where we talked about how do we charge our batteries? How do we build those shock absorbers? Wonderful. But now what happens? when adversity really strikes. That’s when everything, all those practices go out the window usually. Right. Or hopefully they have built you up in such a way that you can handle it. But an ultimate practice is actually one of surrender where you realize, and this is, I actually in my book, I use the term, which I’m sure I saying correctly, because it’s in Sanskrit, Ishvara Pranidhana. I need down that my teachers say beautifully I do not but the idea is it’s surrender to the highest whatever you want to call it if you want to call it God you want to call it source you want to whatever it is for you but the idea is you actually realize in some things you just don’t have the control so you again and I will use the term God but you let go and you let God right and there’s a Again, there’s a surrendering process.

So, you know, a good question, and I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, and it helps us to reframe things is, you know, how is this happening for me, not so we become the owner, as opposed to a victim, because when we’re a victim, we can’t do anything, right? We’re just we’re a victim of it and I’ll pour me The moment we own it, the moment we, you know, and I’m talking about difficult situations. And I actually saw a beautiful example in my yoga teachers who are a couple and I’ve studied with them for close to 10 years. And I saw them apply this so beautifully. They were adopting a child from another country and then the pandemic hit and they were supposed to get this child. And I’ll never, they weren’t angry. They weren’t, but I knew their heart was broken. Their heart was broken, right? But they did all their practices and everything ultimately aligned, right? But what could you do at that moment? You can’t like, you can’t, the planes were not flying, but you couldn’t get on it, like there was nothing, right? It was just like, there’s no way you can get in or get out. So what, at that point, you know, what can you do?

Well, you can, you surrender, you let go, you let God, and you look inwards, you… you meditate, you pray, whatever it is that works for you, you breathe deeply and you keep your nervous system calm. But the surrendering is so counter our culture right now. And that’s why I think it’s such a big practice because we think we can again, fix everything with our mind and we’re gonna solve it and well, but there’s some things that aren’t. So, and there’s research that shows, right? That having a spiritual practice of some sort is highly resilience enhancing, right? So again, and we didn’t get into all those different habits and behaviors, but that is one of them, you know, as is having real authentic connections, right? Being to really like a real ones, not the thousand friends on wherever, not all the followers, but actually someone real that you can be completely authentic with. you know, that’s another, and again, when that crisis happens, that’s what’s gonna help you get through, right? That surrender and heartful connections.

Yeah, it’s almost like a radical acceptance of the is-ness when you can’t change something. And then there’s that recognition that most times when we look back at our lives in hindsight, it makes perfect sense the way that things happened. But while we’re in it, sometimes it’s hard to experience that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And again, how do you, how do you know that that’s, that’s the, that’s the practice. Yeah, letting go, being in it. Feeling it. So how do we strike the correct balance? Because what I see, especially in a lot of spiritual circles, is the total surrender, but it’s almost like it could just keep you sitting on your couch where you say, I’m just gonna let universe guide me and universe will bring me everything that it needs to bring me and it’ll tell me what to do. But then there’s no action with it. And you’re just kind of waiting.

No, I think it’s, yeah. And I think that’s such a fabulous question. I think it’s you do your work and then you step back. Right? So one of my chapters or actually one of the pillars. in my programs in my book is all about this idea of intentional living. So that starts with kind of having a clear idea of, you know, what is important to you. And then, you know, having, you know, a vision, a purpose, congruent values, right? And then taking congruent action. Yeah, we might call that inspired action, inspired action, right? But what it is, is if something happens to intersect with that, this is where you need the surrender or it maybe takes you on another path, but you’re not sitting around waiting for, you know, some spiritual master to descend and say, okay, now, now this is what you do. The idea is you’re taking inspired action.

I love that. Again, it’s almost like, and I actually heard this, oh my God, like 30 years ago, I think it was like, maybe it was like on something like The Secret, I don’t know. And it was Jack Anfield talking about, you know, kind of like a GPS and driving in the dark, maybe on a rainy evening. And you, you have the idea of where you want to go. But you don’t see necessarily the way you’re going to get there, right? You see the next little step you have to take. So you do have to take a step and then You surrender because you don’t see three steps ahead, right? You know ultimately where you wanna be and that doesn’t mean, that’s a feeling a lot of the time. Right, that’s the difference, right? It’s not necessarily, oh, I want to have X title. It’s I want to be able to impact people in this way, which is different if that makes sense, right? speak a little bit more about that. So, or people might say, well, I just wanna be happy, or I wanna have success, but are you talking about really defining what that means for an individual or something different?

Yeah, I think the more we can get, so again, like I said, the more you have a vision of how you wanna live and who you wanna be. Your values. Values, right, so I take people through a process, which includes, because a lot of the time, it was Jack, What’s the thing? I’m blanking right now. You know, you hear it. Follow your bliss. Follow your bliss. But what’s my bliss? Yeah. A lot of my clients don’t know what it is. You know, because we have been taught to stop daydreaming, right? We’ve been taught to focus and we’ve been, we’ve been taught to just go up the ladder and, you know, you go, you start in grade one and you go to grade 12 and then you go on to post, you know, post-secondary and then you get a job. Like we, we stop. dreaming and playing and, you know, having that. So often where I start with people is thinking about what’s important to them. Right. So things that Elizabeth Gilbert says in one of her books, the, you pray love author, it says, you know, and I’m sorry. And I, it’s just like, what are you willing to eat a sandwich for?

Right. Like, what are you willing to like, even when things get tough? you are willing to take it or you know set another way like what would you be so these are things you’re passionate about what would you be um what would you stand on a corner with a megaphone and scream about like or what would you when you walk into a bookstore where are you kind of leaning right like what’s what are areas of it so it’s kind of discovery discovering you know what are things that you love right so you start thinking about that And then you start engaging, you know, you can think about your values, right? And there’s all kinds of beautiful values exercises you can do online. I’ve got one in the book as well, like how you sort of identify what your values are. And now you can go into a process and I take people through it. And again, it’s not something I came up with, but it’s called the painted picture. And the idea is, is you can paint a picture, but you can also use words, you can, you know, and you start creating a vision of where you want to be in three years. And then you take congruent action, right? So you actually define what are my goals to get you there.

Now, coming back to the previous point, sometimes life gets in the way and you’re stopped from that. And that’s when you surrender and you say, okay, maybe there’s another way for me to get there, right? It’s not forcing. I think that’s what I was saying. And I don’t even know if I answered your question. I’m just- And then at that point, what would be a good question if you notice a roadblock or there’s you know, when the pandemic hit, people couldn’t do things. That was a major roadblock. But even if you find yourself going down a path and it feels like doors are closing or you keep hitting your head against a wall, there’s nothing happening.

What would be a good question to ask God/Source/Universe? You know, please show me the path or what would be a good way to invite the surrender in?

So what I personally, and it’s not even asking Source, because we can, you know, guide me, please guide me, show me the way. But to me, it’s also about looking at how is this happening for me? What is the right to that question? What am I to learn from this? What’s going on here? What am I? What is my, maybe I’m not ready for this. Maybe I’m not, you know, do I really like, so it’s, it’s just exploring, you know, exploring the feeling and not necessarily getting angry, but just, okay, why, why is this, you know, why, you know, even with things we put out there, right? Like, why is this not happening? Like, let’s say I’m thinking, you know, I myself, I’m an entrepreneur, right? Like, so some things don’t work. And I put so much attention and effort into it. Why? Right? Well, not why not? But like, hmm, okay, what? what’s going on here, not like, oh my God, I’m a failure. I need to go and just get a full time, right? Like that’s the, you don’t want to go.

Curious, you’re getting curious. Curious, curious. And that takes you to, you know, and then often what you realize is like, oh, maybe I didn’t want that at all. I had something like that, yeah. Maybe that really, I thought I wanted that for, you know, reasons of the ego, right? Right. But, but actually, when I really sit with it, I think I want to play here, right, or, and then somebody calls you like it’s the beautiful serendipity, right, and then someone calls you and you’re like, Oh, my God, if I had done that, I wouldn’t be able to say yes to this right, but you don’t know it in that moment. And that’s why you have to surrender.

Yeah, and the quicker we can get to that place of accepting all of it, the more enjoyment will get out of this life. This, the quote that I love is like life is happening, not only for you. but through you and as you. So it’s an expression. So letting it flow when you get to those points where you don’t understand, is just shifting to the idea that I know ultimately there’s a benefit that’s going to be equal to or greater than whatever adversity I’m facing. So if I can shift to that quicker, I’m going to enjoy my life a whole lot more. I

t’s beautiful, beautiful. I’m gonna write that one down. Thanks. So. I would love for you to tell our listeners about your certified resilience coach program. And you have a beautiful offer for us as well. So we are going into oh my gosh, I’ve had my I’ve had a little friend join me here. I’m so sorry. This is what kind of little friend. Oh, this little dog with a toy in his mouth.

So our certified resilience coach program is now going into its 14th offering. We were the certified resilience coaching program were designated by the International Coach Federation. And we were actually named by Life Coach Magazine as the number one resilience coaching program in the world, which was a great honor. And what it is, is it’s not just for coaches, it’s for people, anybody who is… coaching people in the sense of like, we’ve had a police sergeant go through it because she was coaching her staff. We’ve had doctors, we’ve had lots of nurses, we’ve had a lot of people managers, people who have staff, HR people from various industries. We’ve had therapists, plus we have coaches, like life coaches and executive coaches who take the program.

And the idea is, is it’s a 12 week program and each week you learn and you… So embody or you implement a micro practice of a resilient individual, right? And you are then, you wear two hats. So one, you are coaching someone. So you are paired up with one or two people and you’re coaching them through that micro practice and they’re coaching you, right? So we talked about the importance of that accountability. We’re implementing those habits and behaviors. I’ve also heard when you teach something, that’s one of the best ways to integrate it yourself. So that’s… an added bonus. Yeah, it is.

And it’s so funny you say that because I always say, you know, we teach what we need to learn ourselves, right? So like, okay. So that’s a weekly thing. And then we have three live sessions where we really go deep into the topics of what is resilience? What does coaching resilience really mean?

What does it look like? And then we give you all the tools, you know, in terms of curated articles, videos, different tools that you can use with your clients all kinds of information. Then we have that second session, which I was telling you about, which is all about change in the brain and the neuroscience change and how to set people up for success in creating these new habits and behaviors and becoming this new person. And then our third live session is actually about, how do you really do this? Like how do you set up a program for somebody, whether it’s an organization or an individual? And if you are a coach, how do you build a business doing this? So. That’s our program. And like I said, we’re going into our 14th, we’re running our 13th right now. We’re going into our 14th offering in January.

Most of our students are actually from the US and Canada, but we’ve had people from, we’ve had several people from Europe and even Australia, which is tricky with the timing for the live sessions. But yeah, it’s really amazing. So we are very honored to give any of your listeners discount of $200. The fee is actually in Canadian dollars. So it’s $14.99 Canadian in the US, I think it works out to being like $1,200. So it’s, but we also will offer you a $200 discount. That’s wonderful. And we’ll put it, it’ll be in our show notes, we’ll put a link to the program, as well as the discount code. That’s so generous. Thank you so much. And then you also, can you share the name of your book and you wanted to offer a companion workbook? that our listeners can download for free on this webpage and we’ll put that in the show notes as well. Perfect, yeah, so the book is all about, we build wellbeing through well-doing, right? So we actually have to do this stuff, right?

This all comes back to those micro-practices, right? So the idea of the workbook companion to the book is, you know, I mean, most people, although you can fill it out, you know, it’s a… PDF that you can fill out online. I find a lot of people what they’re doing is actually printing it and physically writing in it. So, and it’s just additional exercises. Every chapter of the book has a mini, you know, you choose the one thing you’re going to do and you write it down for yourself, but this just goes deeper, right? So it’s really, again, if you want to do this for yourself and really create that new way to be, you know, really, I mean, the stressors are going away. Like they’re not. I feel like they’re exponential, right? So we can’t change the outside world. We can change ourselves. And that’s the whole message, right? So, and you do it again, that one habit, one moment and one breath at a time.

And it’s possible, right? It’s really possible. What I love so much about the workbook and just everything you shared today is how the specifics, you know? because a lot of times people talk about the concepts, but it’s like, but how, how do I do that? What are practices that I can do to start implementing that?

And it sounds like the workbook helps give you those little exercises so that you are retraining the brain, you are retraining your physiology, and you’re actually doing the thing to get you there instead of just talking about it ad nauseam and nothing ever changes. So I really appreciate that so much.

Good, good. I know there’s so many little gems and… so many different micro practices we talked about. So, you know, people might have to listen to it a couple of times and write them all down.

Or just get your book, A New Way to Be, Becoming Resilient One Breath, Habit and Moment at a Time.

Yeah, and it’s available on Amazon, it’s on Tarkin, Barnes and Noble, wherever, like it’s there. So, yeah. And so, and what’s the website where your program is found? So it’s leadershipwellnessgroup.ca. Okay. So yeah, leadershipwellnessgroup.ca. Wonderful. Be it there, it’s certified resilience coach program.

That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for being a guest today. It was fantastic talking to you. Thanks for sharing so much with everybody.

Well, thank you, Kelli. It’s so nice to speak to someone who’s so aligned. It’s an honor.

Absolutely. I can’t wait to hear about when your book’s coming out. Awesome. It’s coming soon. All right, everybody. Thank you so much for listening. Have a great day. Practice some of those micro practices before you go to bed tonight : )

Kelli Russell

Kelli Russell is a psychological kinesiologist who helps people shift out of stress and anxiety into a state of inner balance and freedom through subconscious change facilitation, positive mindset training, and emotional energy healing.