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Develop Your EQ While You Exercise

The ability to alter one’s emotional responses is central to overall well-being and to effectively meeting the demands of life. One of the more popular terms that defines this ability is “resilience.”

To be resilient defines how well we can adapt and recover quickly from demanding situations. Resilience is the strategy around improving our emotional intelligence.

So, how does this relate to exercise and personal training? When I first entered the field of performance coaching, terms like

  1. building resilience,

  2. develop focused attention,

  3. manage sustainable energy levels and

  4. strengthen our emotional intelligence

were sought after areas of development in elite athletic training. Athletes and coaches understand the two obstacles that interfere with winning are overtraining (stress to the body) and cognitive training (how am I perceiving my obstacles).

As the demands of life rise for our clients, they recognize life/work have become an endurance event. It's not a sprint. However, much like the athlete, it's not their education (or skill training) that's their greatest obstacle. It's the demands of the environment and how we're mentally and emotionally processing these demands that becomes the obstacle. When they come to work out, we should be designing routines that enhance brain function, reduce stress, build resilience, increase energy levels and strengthen their cognitive and emotional abilities; not depleting them even more.

"The mind is myriad of experiences and belief systems all based on learned behaviors that's always operating in "replay" mode. The truth lies in the body."

Yours and my clients are seeking our expertise on how to “feel” better physically, mentally and emotionally. What I've learned over all these years is we cannot fix the mind with the mind. The mind is myriad of experiences and belief systems all based on learned behaviors that's always operating in "replay" mode. The truth lies in the body. The body cannot lie. It’s operating from a place of truth at all times. So, let’s show them how the body can be used as a tool for transformation when used properly.“Do you have a design in mind for your blog? Whether you prefer a trendy postcard look or you’re going for a more editorial style blog - there’s a stunning layout for everyone.”

Breathwork Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the perspective that one’s ability to self-regulate the quality of feeling and emotion is intimately tied to our physiology.

  • Discuss the role of breathing patterns, heart rate variability and the vagus nerve as it relates to emotional self-regulation.

  • How moderate levels of exercise can be used to strengthen vagal tone.

The Ability To Self-Regulate With Breath

Our discussion begins with the communication between the heart and brain, as well as how these are related to cognitive and emotional function as well as self-regulation. Heart rates play an important role in facilitating higher cognitive functions, creating emotional stability and facilitating states of calm. The lower our heart rate and higher our heart rate variability, the stronger our ability to self-regulate (Appelhans, & Luecken, 2006).

When heart rates are high, we are in the “fight or flight response.” We process thoughts in a hyper-vigilant state of being in the amygdala and they get stuck in "distress" thinking patterns. We "perceive" threat in this system and are designed to take action against this perceived threat. Chronic use of this system actually damages parts of the brain used to self-regulate emotions and well as think critically and rationally (Gross, 2013).

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