Episode 56: Make Behaviour Change Possible with Elisabeth Kristof
In this weeks episode, I wanted to share the inspiring conversation I had last week with Elisabeth Kristof, an applied neurology practitioner and founder of Brain-Based Wellness. Elisabeth has a revolutionary online platform that trains the nervous system and body to resolve old patterns, improve performance and increase well-being. Elisabeth works with entrepreneurs, athletes, leaders and creatives to improve resilience, manage stress and regulate emotions through intentional, science-based brain training.
I love learning and sharing different methods of making healthy life changes to increase wellbeing and manage stress, so the first question I was really intrigued to know is- what is brain based training?
Elisabeth outlined that applied neurology is all about carrying out intentional, practical, daily exercises working with the nervous system to train the muscles and break negative patterns or cycles. Working with the nervous system to make it more resilient, stronger and able to handle stress in healthier ways. We all have behaviours and habits we love and that serve us well and then there are other behaviours we may wish to change (but really struggle to do so)!
Elisabeth goes on to share the huge life changes that she experienced impacting on her life physically, mentally and financially. Bringing up old childhood traumas she was not aware that she had not dealt with previously including unhealthy eating patterns, migraines, extreme fatigue and behavioral changes. This journey led Elisabeth to delve deeper into learning more about the nervous system, the signs of imbalance and the broader use of applied neurology other than just for athletes.
Common signals that Elisabeth, and many others may experience when the nervous system is imbalanced may include a racing or increased heart-rate, sweaty palms, a dry mouth, pain in the neck and shoulders or pain in an area that had been injured years previously. Elisabeth started to connect that she would experience these feelings just before she suffered with a migraine, or had an episode of binge eating. The more Elisabeth became aware of these signals and warning feelings her body was giving her, she was able to start looking at what her body needs and what changes she can make to stop the cycle and regulate her nervous system. Being aware of your body and shifting your mindset to enable you to notice how you are feeling in that moment can help you can stop the escalation.
'With a different input, you can achieve a new output'
Everything our brain is doing is to keep us safe, our nervous system is then creating an output response based on the brains decision. A lot of the time, pain we may experience comes as a result of the brain sending messages to reduce the stimulus or to regulate our body and keep us safe. Protective responses are produced to keep us safe, including pain, which may force us to take smaller steps, to stop exercising as vigorously, or to rest and lay down which is what our brain and nervous system perceive as us being safe. We can train our brain and nervous system to move away from these outputs overtime, but we need to make small daily changes to function differently.
Elisabeth was able to actively change her unhealthy relationship towards food and stop her binge eating habits over time. Stopping these behaviours and the predictable automatic responses our brain sends out when we find ourselves in high-stressed stages can be hard to break. Being compassionate and patient with ourselves is so important. When our body and our nervous systems experience high levels of stress on a regular basis it's important we learn how to work with our bodies to change these behaviours and begin to learn new healthier habits. Starting with small exercises each day, and building up gradually to reach the goals we set for ourselves, without causing ourselves any pain.
Many of us experience or know people who have experienced mental health challenges at some stage of their lives. Everyone's experience of these will be unique and different. Brain-training can also be used to combat these feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. There are many physical techniques including yoga, Pilate's and mindful movement dance methods to help to release stress hormones and regulate the body. As well as sensory training and methods such as EFT tapping, or focusing on our breathing to allow us to release negative or stressful feelings in a positive way and teaching our body effective and practical tools.
At Beautifully Balanced, I aim to empower people to find more balance in todays hectic world. I have spoken before about the power of the breath, which you can find here. Elisabeth also highlighted the power of breathwork and the positive changes this can have on our nervous system and our brain as we send less stress signals when we learn to control our breathing and use it to our advantage. Having more awareness, trying new habits and being curious about how we can work with our body to create more balance is a long process of trial and error of finding what we enjoy.
I hope you have found this conversation as eye-opening as I have. I would love to hear your feedback- as you think about your own wellbeing, what helps you to stay balanced in todays ever busy world?
If you would like to listen to the full podcast, click here.
P.S- You can watch Elisabeth's exclusive Free Video Training - her proven step-by-step system to ZAP stress, RESOLVE anxiety, STOP pain, DROP unwanted behaviors and MAGNIFY clarity and focus. It’s easier than you think. If you can watch a video, you can heal your nervous system. Click here for more.
You can also find Elisabeth on Instagram here.