What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? SAD vs Depression

It’s the middle of winter, green grass and +20 C weather seem like a distant memory. With the less daylight outside paired with blistering winds, you notice yourself becoming more tired than in the summer months. Perhaps you find yourself indulging in high sugar/high fat comfort foods, maybe you find yourself quick to anger or tears these days. The mere thought of exercise or eating salad sends you hiding under your covers. Going out and socializing seems like a chore particularly when you feel … [Read more...]

Are you doing TOO Much?

It doesn't matter if you are new to fitness, or have been active your whole life - everybody needs to consider over-training, and make sure to incorporate rest into their routine. I am a prime example of this - I've been physically active since I began walking. My parents kept me pretty busy with registered programs and activities my whole life, so as an adult I have a hard time sitting down and being idle. Over a year ago I was so overzealous with teaching group fitness classes and running … [Read more...]

6 Tips to Achieving Simplicity in Life.

I make life complicated out of habit; I'm the type of person who loads my schedule with numerous ideas and projects, absolutely determined to complete all of them. The tasks I take on are all things I'm passionate about and I look forward to the grand finale of each one. It's not a bad thing that I live my life this way, with plenty of things on the go, but there is something to said about having a little simplicity in life. While I won't stop living my life with an intense passion and … [Read more...]

Moving your body goes far beyond calorie burning in EBT

If you’ve been following our Emotional Brain Training posts here, you’ll have learned a lot about EBT as a brain-based solution to stress. But, we want to highlight that EBT also incorporates principles of healthy eating, activity, adequate sleep and time for daily rejuvenation. All these factors play a role in brain health. Finding ways to move your body goes far beyond calorie burning in EBT. Daily activity, for example, produces a chemical in the brain (BDNF-brain derived neurotropic … [Read more...]

What are you wired at?

Over the past few weeks we've introduced some of the Emotional Brain Training concepts (see this post and this post). Today we'll discuss the foundation of EBT- brain states. Laurel Mellin, the founder of EBT outlines 5 different brain states. (The following is just a summary; for more detail please see our EBT page or pick up Laurel's book Wired for Joy.) Brain State 1: My brain is balanced. I am in the present moment, feeling happy, satisfied and rewarded. My thoughts are focused and … [Read more...]

Don’t Improve, Exist.

We've all seen them; the magazine racks at the grocery store splashed with big, bold, bright captions: "10 steps to improve...", "Quick fixes for...", "The best, easy way to...", etc. I'll be unloading my groceries at the till and in a moment of self-depreciation/inner turmoil, I almost reach for one of those magazines in hope that those glossy pages hold the magic cures to my lack of existence. Luckily, my morals kicks in and before I can grab the magazine, I remember: I'm fine, I do NOT need … [Read more...]

Who’s in charge here?

Last week I introduced you to the different parts of the brain. Today let’s look at how they affect our decisions. 1. The Neocortex which is your ‘adult’ brain operates our executive or higher functions. It allows us to think outside the box, problem solve, multi-task, learn and grow. When your neocortex is in charge you are more likely make good decisions. It is like the ‘angel’ on your shoulder bringing your attention to the big picture and considering both the short and long … [Read more...]

So what is Emotional Brain Training?

You might be wondering what is this brain training that helped me avoid eating cookies last week (and where the heck can you sign up?!) Emotional Brain Training is a program developed at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) that is based on research from neuroscience, stress science and psychology. It teaches a set of skills that targets our emotional brain.  photo source: Mellin, Laurel: Wired for Joy, 2010.   The emotional brain is made up of the lower two … [Read more...]

4 Reasons Why Exercise & Mental Health are so Important

I've had the privilege of lecturing on the benefits of exercise and mental health twice in the past year and I thought I'd share some of the information with all of you.  Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety have been something that was swept under the rug for the longest time in our society. It's shocking that about 25% of the Canadian population will have had a mental illness at one point in time during their lives.  Mental illness affects people off all economic levels either … [Read more...]

Mindful Exercise: changing your approach to exercise and results!

Mindfulness is the practise where the person is intentional and aware of their actions. There has been a lot of success in psychology by training people to be less compulsive and automatic in their thoughts and actions; this has led to a decrease in mood disturbance and stress. How do we apply Mindfulness to Exercise? 1) Start off by clearing your mind before you exercise! Distractions and stresses in your life affect your physiology, weight retention, and performance. The moment you feel as if … [Read more...]