You may recall that I went to Jamaica last month for a wellness retreat with Synchronicity Wellness and ePhysiologix. I was fortunate to have won the retreat, which was truly meant to be. The retreat was called, “Optimizing Your Awesomeness,” and took place at an all-inclusive resort called, the Grand Lido in Negril, Jamaica for 4 nights and 5 days. I felt very blessed to be given this opportunity and it still blows my mind when I think about it. I was able to take Jesse with me as well and we both had a wonderful time. We met a group of amazing like-minded people, learned some valuable things, got plenty of R&R and enjoyed visiting a new place. It was transformative, introspective and an experience to remember. The retreat was led by Dr. Dan Stickler, Dr. Mickra Hamilton, Dr. Warren Walsh and Kim Smith. Below is a group shot of all of us striking our, “power pose.”
Some of the topics covered during presentations and discussions included stress, sleep, heart rate variability (HRV), strategic eating, nutrition and food intolerances, breathing and meditation, fitness, living optimally and more. Each morning started with yoga and meditation outdoors, which was led by the lovely, Kim of the PaleoYogaMom. After yoga, some of us weight trained in the resort gym and then, we normally ate breakfast together. Lectures started shortly after and lasted a few hours. The rest of the day was ours to do as we pleased, but most of us all hung out together on the beach during the day.
Oh, one day it started pouring in the afternoon (literally buckets of rain!), so we had a dance party and played a classic Jamaican game (see next two pics):
If you’re curious, it was not hard to eat paleo on this trip at all. Breakfast and lunch was always a huge buffet, and dinner was at our choice of on-site resort restaurants (they were very accommodating with substitutions and dietary needs). One of the nights, there was a giant dinner buffet though, which had so many great foods to choose from (fresh fish steamed in coconut milk was my favorite that night). My breakfast of choice was always bacon, eggs made to order (which they’d cook in butter for me), steamed greens (which I’d put butter on) and black coffee. Lunch was usually more steamed veggies, curry or stew of some sort (one day was even goat, which I tried for the first time and enjoyed), fresh fish and maybe a little salad with olive oil. Most of my dinners were fresh fish (often snapper) with veggies, but I did have a delicious beef filet one night as well.
Anyway, here are some interesting points or things to think about that I took away from the retreat:
- Humans are the only beings that can think themselves into stress.
- About 90 percent of physician visits are stress related.
- With stress, you have to treat the brain, not the adrenals (the brain sends the signals).
- Constant chronic stress has you constantly on guard, ready to jump.
- 20 minutes of meditation is equal to 2 hours of sleep on the body.
- The time of your sleep is crucial. Going to bed from 12-8 is not the same (quality-wise) as 10-6. This is because our circadian rhythm is most active from sunset to sunrise.
- You need 8 REM cycles for adequate sleep each night. To get all 8 REM cycles every night, you need 7.5 hours of sleep minimum. Only about 1 percent of the population is efficient and needs less.
- Memories make life epic, not material things!
- Happiness is a choice; only YOU can make YOU happy.
- Lucky people will pick up on opportunities or details that other people miss or overlook.
- Practice more autotelic living. In other words, do something solely for the purpose of doing it and not for its goals or consequences. Pay attention to an activity for its own sake. This is the idea of getting into a flow state.
- Keys to balance are: 1. Sleep, 2. Stress management, 3. Sound nutrition and 4. Smart exercise. It is imperative to keep it in this order!
- Nutrigenomics is the combination of food, environment, genetics and epigenetics.
- 95 percent of us is subconscious. We use only 5 percent of our brain.
- We are conditioned by our experiences. We have a love lens and a fear lens.
- You can un-pattern your conditioned responses via breath-work and meditation.
- To change our lives, we must change the way we think, feel and behave. Break up your habits, take another route, do things differently. You can’t change anything by fighting what exists.
- Use your breath to get out of an unhealthy reaction or situation (excuse yourself for a few minutes if you need to). In doing so, you’ll realize there’s never really a need for conflict.
- 70 percent of people live in the past. Come back to the present! There’s also no need to stew about the future. The present is all you have and there is no stress if you’re in the present moment.
- Ask fear why it’s there. Move from illusion to truth.
The ePhysiologix and Synchronicity Wellness team is leading another retreat in May 2015, which will take place in Sedona, Arizona. Jesse and I are hoping to go, but can’t commit financially at this point. If you’re interested in attending, please check out this link for more details. I guarantee it will be epic! Plus, I’ve heard Sedona is pretty magical.