ADAPTing: Creating Health and Joy in the Face of Uncertainty and Challenge
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ADAPTing: Creating Health and Joy in the Face of Uncertainty and Challenge

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The ability to cultivate joy and be resilient are important life skills at any time, but they are vitally important during times of crisis. I held a live webinar on March 24, 2020, to focus on tools and resources we all can use to build these skills and manage stress in difficult times. Join me as we focus on mindfulness, exercise, pleasure, connection, and being of service to others.

iStock/Geber86

In this webinar, we discuss:

  • Developing a mindfulness/meditation practice
  • Cultivating “realistic optimism” and hope
  • Elevating your mood
  • Connecting with loved ones and getting support
  • Being of service
  • Webinar Q&A session

Show notes:

Chris Kresser: Okay, so I want to welcome you all here. I’m really glad that you took the time to join us. These are crazy times, of course, that we’re living in. And it’s, as I said, it’s so important for us to come together as a community to support each other and share resources and ideas. And I wanted to really focus today on this webinar, not so much on information and updates about COVID and transmission and how to protect yourselves from acquiring the illness, and all the things that I have been talking about and are very important.

But I wanted to spend more time today talking about how we can adapt to living with this reality. Because without a doubt, all of our realities have changed, perhaps some more than others. But there’s no doubt that life is going to look very different in the coming months. And while no one has a crystal ball, and we don’t know exactly how things are going to unfold, it’s pretty safe to say that we’re all going to have to make changes and we’re all going to have to learn to live with circumstances that are not of our choosing, and maybe challenging in many different ways.

Intensity, confusion, and uncertainty are really characterizing life right now and seem to be growing every day. And we’re starting to feel the impacts of this more directly in terms of the impacts on healthcare, on our economy, and on our social systems. This is a deep and widespread crisis. It’s unlike anything that most of us face on a day-to-day basis and probably unlike anything that most people face in a lifetime. So we’re being called forth to rise to this challenge, and the good news is that I believe we are all equal to it. I believe that we can meet this challenge and overcome it. And we can actually even learn to make positive changes as a result of the challenges that we’re facing with COVID.

So there’s a great quote from Andy Grove, who is the CEO of Intel. And it applied, he was talking about it in the context of companies. He said, “Bad companies are destroyed by crises. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.” So I think that’s very relevant today. If we apply that to us as individuals and as local communities, as nations and even as a global community at large, we have the opportunity to allow ourselves to be improved by this crisis. And I’m not just talking about ways that our own lives can improve, but things that, ways that we can transform society and address some of the issues that have been very thorny and difficult for us to make progress on. I think COVID is going to provide cover, shall we say, for us to actually start making some real progress with these issues. Because people, we’re going to have a chance to approach things with a much more open mind and a different perspective than we ever have.

But if we want to do this, we have to adapt. And many years ago, when I first launched the ADAPT Practitioner Training Program and chose the name ADAPT, it was clear to me, even then, that modern life was not, let’s say, not very conducive to optimal health. And that we were going to have to increasingly learn how to adapt to this modern world that we’re living in, in order to cultivate more resilience, optimize our health, and create more joy in our lives. And COVID-19 is certainly the most pressing and glaring recent example of that. But there are many other examples just in our day-to-day lives of how we need to adapt and grow and evolve. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.

To do this, we have to consciously develop both internal and external resources. And there’s a concept in the positive psychology literature called psychological capital or PsyCap. I don’t love that term. It’s a little bit too far into the realm of neoliberalism and [has] too much focus on capital, I think, but let’s just call it, let’s use it for now. And it consists of four capacities that are encapsulated by the acronym HERO.

H = Hope

E = Efficacy

R = Resilience

O = Optimism

So these are the capacities that we really need to develop in order to make it through a crisis like this. And I’m going to share today a five-point plan for developing HERO or psychological capital or capacity. And I brought in faculty members from ADAPT and also some ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coaches to share their insight and experience. And I’m going to talk for maybe about 45 minutes or an hour, and then we’ll have time for questions at the end.

#1: Developing a Mindfulness/Meditation Practice

So let’s just dive in. The first practice or capacity that’s absolutely critical for developing HERO is a mindfulness or meditation practice. So this can help us stay present and not be consumed by our thoughts and feelings, which can really get out of control in situations like this. It helps us develop the capacity to witness our habitual responses, and to choose new ones that might be more appropriate and more effective. It helps us to reduce stress and overwhelm, it improves our efficacy, which is the E in HERO, and it is what allows for more effective action. And there are many different ways to dive into meditation and mindfulness, if you haven’t already. There are apps like Calm and Headspace, and Ten Percent Happier, and they’re all useful. That said, I have always believed that the best way to learn anything is to have guided instruction, and that’s as true of meditation and mindfulness as it is of any other new skill or capacity.

So we have that for you today with Forest Fein, who is a faculty member in the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program, and I’ll introduce him shortly. But first, I want to turn it over to Leeny Hoffmann, who’s an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach, to talk a little bit about how developing a mindfulness practice was transformative for her. So Leeny, welcome.

Leeny Hoffman:  Hi, thank you. First of all, I do want to say that I am so grateful for Forest Fein and his instruction. I always wanted a mindfulness practice and I had always heard about the benefits of having one, but I never really made it a priority because I was too busy or I wasn’t quite sure if it was worth the effort to put into it or I wasn’t quite sure even how to do it. And because it was part of our ADAPT Health Coaching Program, I had a wonderful opportunity to learn all about mindfulness.

But I also realized that I did actually have the time and that it was worth the effort. And you don’t have to know everything about mindfulness to practice it. And you kind of learn as you go. And I also like to say that you learn as you grow. And growth is the operative word here, because I feel like I’ve grown in my capacity just to pay attention to the normal everyday things that happen in life. And for me, meditation is just about exploring and getting really curious about what you are experiencing in the present moment without judgment. And there are different things that we can explore. We can explore our sensation, like me just sitting in this chair, or hearing a dog barking in the background. I can experience my emotions. Am I scared right now? Am I nervous? Am I worried? And I can feel what those feelings feel like in my body. I can experience happiness.

And then you can also explore your thoughts. We often have this thought loop that’s on just consistently playing. How long is this situation going to last? What am I going to make for dinner? I’ve got to throw in a load of laundry. Just that perpetual thought loop. And this mindfulness practice has allowed me to notice how I react and relate to things like discomfort or pleasure or thought patterns. These habitual behaviors. So I feel like it’s paying attention on purpose. And when we’re not paying attention, I feel like we train ourselves to react habitually to what’s happening moment by moment, and we just go on autopilot. And an example of that would be after listening to a 24-hour news cycle, just kind of mindlessly walking to the cabinet and grabbing the cookies, or lashing out at my husband when deep inside I’m really just scared. Stocking up on toilet paper because that’s your way of [feeling in] control.

And I feel like without mindfulness, you miss out on really beautiful opportunities because you’re on autopilot. Maybe a conversation with my daughter in the kitchen, because I might miss out on that, because I’m doing five other things. With mindfulness, I feel like we can respond rather than react. And what I’ve noticed personally about starting my mindfulness practice, and being consistent with it, is that I know that when I stop, focus on my breath, that I’m going to experience this sensation of just relax and almost relief sometimes. I start to get more in tune with sensations in my body. And I can ask myself, what do I need in this moment? I’m a better listener. I’m able to disengage from some of those perpetual worrisome thoughts, and I feel good that I have a say in how I respond instead of reacting.

And especially in our situation today, I can be mindful of my current health. That right now, I can breathe in and feel that breath and feel okay with it. And I can experience and acknowledge fear and how it pertains to what’s going on right now. And what is, get curious about what my relationship is to that fear and sit with it and be okay with it. And then I can also notice the little spring flowers that are popping up right outside my front door. I like to compare it to almost like The Wizard of Oz. So, in the beginning, Dorothy was in Kansas, and it was black and white. And then she landed in Munchkinland and it was Technicolor. I feel like that’s how, with cultivating this mindfulness practice, I’m able to see things in Technicolor when Technicolor has been here all along.

I feel like I’m relating better to what’s happening, as it is with less resistance. And I don’t have to wait for things to be perfect. We can experience life as it is in this set of circumstances. And it just allows us to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Chris Kresser:  Thank you so much, Leeny. It was really interesting to hear about your process with this and how it has changed you and your relationships. And really, it sounds like your entire perspective and experience of life, which has been my experience, as well.

Leeny Hoffman:  Yeah.

Chris Kresser:  I wanted to let everybody know, I forgot to mention this. Our team has developed a COVID-19 ADAPTing Resource Guide with lots of resources and links that are related to a lot of the things we’re going to be talking about today. So if you miss any resource or anything that anybody mentions, don’t worry; we’re going to send out that full guide tomorrow, and we’ll be updating it as we go. So just feel free to kind of sit back and relax and watch. You don’t need to worry too much about writing anything down. So I want to turn it over to Forest next. And before I do that, I just want to mention that it’s always been a core part of our training and education philosophy that information is not enough to change behavior. And to really learn something new, you have to practice it and experience it firsthand. And so, telling you that meditation and mindfulness is helpful is one thing, but actually providing resources and support, and even allowing you to experience it firsthand, is another. And that’s what we’re going to do a little bit of today.

It might seem strange to do that on a webinar with almost 1,000 people on it, and not being in the same room. But I think it’s really important just to give yourself the opportunity. I would invite you to, even if this is foreign and strange, and something you’ve never done before, just to allow a few minutes to try something new. And just keep an open mind and see how it feels. So I’m going to turn it over to Forest Fein, who’s a faculty member in the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program. He leads the mindfulness track in the Health Coach Training Program and he’s going to share a little bit about meditation and take us through a guided practice.

Forest Fein:  Okay. All right, so hello, everyone. And I want to begin by just acknowledging that a regular mindfulness practice allows us to develop and train the mind so that regardless of our outer circumstances, regardless of if we’re facing challenges, or if life is feeling chaotic, that we can experience a sense of inner peace, a sense of inner well-being, a kind of inner spaciousness, regardless of our outer circumstances. So as Chris was saying, if you’re new to this practice, keep an open mind. One thing that’s important to know right out of the gate is you cannot do this practice wrong. Okay? This is just a willingness to be with your moment-to-moment experience, regardless of what it is that you’re experiencing, and I’ll be guiding you through it. So this will be about a seven- or eight-minute, embodied mindfulness practice.

All right. So, to begin, I want to invite you to find a comfortable position, okay? I imagine most people will be doing this practice seated, but you’re also welcome to do this practice standing or lying down. If you’re seated, I invite you to bring your hands to your thighs or in your lap. And if it’s comfortable, having the feet flat on the floor. The eyes can be open or closed. If the eyes are open, I invite you to have a soft gaze, maybe looking down at your hands. This can help to ground you. And to begin, just inviting everyone to start by taking a couple of slow, smooth deep breaths. So in through the nose, slow, smooth, deep. Filling your belly, filling your chest. And then out through the mouth. Let’s do a couple more. Slow, smooth, deep inhale through the nose, and a slow, smooth, deep exhale through the mouth. And one more deep inhale and a smooth exhale.

All right. And as you come back to your natural breathing, I just invite you to take a moment and notice where you may be holding any unnecessary tension in the body, in the face. And just allowing the face to soften, your jaw to soften, your shoulders, your belly, your lower back. And now taking a moment and tuning in to the sounds around you and noticing what you hear. So the sound of my voice, [you] can notice sound and the space in between the sounds. And as you sit here breathing in and breathing out, just notice how you can listen not only with your ears, but with your whole body. So there’s no need [for] effort or strain. Just allowing the sounds to come to you.

And as you sit here, breathing in and breathing out, sensing the space in the room around you. The space above you and the vast sky beyond that. Vast spacious sky. And as you sit here breathing in and breathing out, I just invite you to drop your attention down into your body and feel the support of the ground beneath you. The support of the ground beneath you. Feeling gravity. Feeling the feet making contact with the ground, the body making contact with the chair if you’re seated. As you sit here breathing in and breathing out, the sensation of your clothing touching your skin. Sensation of your clothing touching your skin.

So now, I want to invite you to become aware of the movement of the breath in the body. The movement of the breath in the body. Notice how the belly and chest rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. The belly and chest rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. And if at any point you get distracted, you get pulled into thought, just know that’s not a problem. It’s part of the practice. You’re doing it right. And you just simply come back to the breath and the feelings and sensations in the body. Maybe noticing the feeling of your heart beating in your chest, pumping blood throughout your body. The feelings and sensations in the arms and the hands, your fingers, your thumbs, and noticing if the hands feel warm or cool.

And then, as we come into the end of this embodied mindfulness practice, I invite you to become aware of the feeling of your tongue in your mouth. The sensation of the lips touching. The tingling sensation of the breath inside the nostrils as you sit here breathing in and breathing out. And then, finally, the feelings and sensations from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Your whole body sitting here breathing.

Okay, we’ll close with a very short kindness practice. So, the invitation is I’ll offer you some simple phrases and just repeat these phrases silently to yourself. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be peaceful and at ease. May my friends and family be peaceful and at ease. My friends and family be peaceful and at ease. And finally, may everyone everywhere, may everyone everywhere be peaceful and at ease. May everyone everywhere be peaceful and at ease. And remember to breathe, and then these last moments, just allow yourself to breathe and feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, as we share this human experience together of being alive on this planet at this time. Knowing and trusting that we have everything that it takes to make it through this time and emerge stronger, healthier, happier, compassionate, and wise human beings.

Okay, as you’re ready if the eyes are closed, just inviting you to open the eyes and staying connected with the breath in the body. Okay. Thank you.

Chris Kresser:  Thank you, Forest. And I just want to take a moment to invite all of you who participated, especially those of you who are totally new to mindfulness and meditation, to just appreciate yourselves for taking the risk of doing that. It’s sometimes threatening and challenging to try something new like that. And so I hope you were able to do it and get a sense of how important it is to cultivate this witness perspective, this capacity to witness what’s happening in our bodies and our minds and around us. And that gives us a chance of escaping this cycle of reactivity that we can also easily get stuck in. And that’s, I think, a critical skill to develop in times like this and any time, frankly. But in times like this, it’s even more obvious.

#2: Cultivate “realistic optimism” and hope

Okay, so we’re going to move on to the next capacity or skill that we need to develop in order to build this psychological capacity. And this is what we can call cultivating realistic optimism and hope. So what is realistic optimism? Well, in a crisis like this, I do think that it’s important for us to explore and prepare for worst-case scenarios. That’s just being clearheaded about where we are at this moment in time. I think putting your head in the sand and pretending that everything’s just going to be fine is maybe a bit of denial. I think things will be fine. That things will turn out. We’re going to make it through this and we’ll probably make it through this stronger than before. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be significant impacts socially, economically, and to our health and well-being.

And so I think it makes sense to prepare for those and explore what those might be. That’s just wise and effective action. At the same time, if we spend all of our waking moments thinking about worst-case scenarios, we are going to become paralyzed and overwhelmed. And that will actually decrease our ability to respond in an appropriate way. So we have to balance the realistic preparation and exploration of worst-case scenarios with exploration of bright spots, upsides, opportunities, blessings, and other positive things that could come out of the experience of living with COVID. So, if you have pen and paper nearby, or you’re by a computer where you can write a few things down, take out some paper and a pen or just jot down some answers to these questions about living through COVID:

1) What new learning and/or skills could you develop in the next few months or might COVID spur you to develop? And you can finish these later; I’ll just give you a moment or two for each question.

2) What shifts in mindset and behaviors might come from this experience? Many of you maybe had your first actual experience with mindfulness and meditation right now. So that could be one. But what other shifts in mindset and new behaviors that could support you might come out of this experience?

3) What changes that you haven’t been able to make so far because life has gotten in the way, might you actually be able to make now because of COVID? Either because you’re sheltering in place or because you’re thinking about things in a different way or you’re getting a certain kind of support that you weren’t getting before?

I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that when things happen, we have a choice in how we respond. And my own personal experience, dealing with a very severe complex chronic illness for many, many years, has taught me that in every crisis, including ones that seem like there couldn’t possibly be anything that would be good that could come out of it, there are opportunities for growth and evolution. And I think that’s where we are today.

So I want to turn it over now to Eric Ho, who is a graduate of the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program and an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach. And he’s going to share some of his strategies for cultivating realistic optimism and hope.

Eric Ho:  Thanks, Chris. I need to say it’s important to make time for those bright spots. So what I want to share with everyone today are two effective strategies for bringing optimism and hope into your life at a time when it feels almost impossible to envision it. And I’ve used these with good success with clients and friends and family. And I’ll be honest here, I didn’t think these worked before I tried them. I’m very much a rational person and I was a skeptic, but I’d encourage people listening and watching to experiment and have faith and try, because you never know how you might surprise yourself.

What I know that doesn’t work is I’ve heard people say keep calm and carry on. And you don’t have the time to worry. It’ll all work out eventually, or we’ve experienced worse before. In fact, these don’t shift your mind from a place of optimism and hope. They come from a good place of kindness and care, but in reality, they aren’t very helpful. And so, in times of stress and anxiety, these are the key moments to focus on you and your self-care, like the wonderful examples Leeny and Forest have shared with us from a mindfulness perspective.

So I want to share this concept with you today of crowding out your anxiety and worry. And what do I mean by that? Well, our ancient brains, our limbic brains that keep us in survival mode, are really good at keeping our minds thinking about dire circumstances, keeping our attention tuned to the newsfeeds that are filled with bad news. But as human beings, as Chris mentioned, we have the capacity to choose how to respond to those feelings of anxiety and worry. And we can actually take steps to activate our rest/relax/digest part of our nervous system, the one that allows us to be calm and focused. And we can do that by focusing on what is positive and what is good among all this bad news. And the more we focus on the positive and good around us, however small, however seemingly insignificant, the less our survival-mode brains have time to think about that doom and gloom. And so we end up crowding out our anxieties and worries.

So it’s important to be realistic here. I’m not advocating for sugarcoating the situation we find ourselves in. Crowding out isn’t about [avoiding] these negative feelings and calling everything positive. That would be unrealistic. And I’m not also saying that we ignore or suppress the emotions of anxiety or worry, because those feelings will bubble away because we’re human beings. The point is how we choose to respond to them. So let’s talk about these two strategies.

The first I’m going to share with you is gratitude journaling. So you can crowd out your negative thoughts by writing down what you’re grateful for. And there are plenty of resources available. Apps like Reflectly, Happier, ThinkUp. And if you’re a pen and paper person, there’s the Five-Minute Journal, which is a good resource. Or you might use your diary or simply a scrap of paper. And what you can be grateful for can be really simple.

So here’s what you do: start your day or end it by writing down in your chosen journal, what you are grateful for. And I caught myself looking at some videos online showing the plight of individuals in intensive care initially and some medical professionals who are battling to save those people. And rather than worry about those emotionally challenging moments, I actually wrote down what I was grateful for. And I wrote that I was grateful for being alive and breathing air.

So I said I was a skeptic before, and the science shows this works. And as Chris will know, in 2016, there was a pilot study of patients who had heart failure. And the patient group who did gratitude journaling saw a decrease in their inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, and an increase in their heart rate variability that corresponds to a decrease in the stress response. So I invite our audience to ask themselves, what am I grateful for today, and write it down.

The other one is to express appreciation to crowd out your anxieties and worries and tell someone why you value them, why you appreciate them. So you might call out their strengths, their positive qualities, their achievements. And to someone who’s looking out for you, looking after you, you might say, you’ve been really kind to me. And perhaps to our medics, you might say, you’ve been really brave in doing your job in ordinary circumstances and putting your own health at risk. If you’re not used to expressing your appreciation, it might feel awkward. And having grown up on this side of the pond, we’re a little more reserved than you folks in the [United States]. But it certainly wasn’t something that came to me naturally. But the wonderful thing I find about giving appreciation is that not only does the recipient feel good, but you feel good, too. And that instant feedback you get, the smile on someone’s face, is magical. And giving appreciation is as good as getting it. So I’ve got a section in my digital notebook where I’ve collected all the instances that someone’s given me some appreciation for what I do for them.

And why do I do that? Well, it’s a place for me to gather those thoughts, and to reflect and appreciate my own strengths and qualities and achievements. And so, when I’m in the midst of ruminating about this world coming to an end, even when it isn’t, it’s really difficult to shift your attention away from bad news and events. So I pick up my appreciation journal in these moments and it’s another tool to allow me to reframe, reduce my worry, and crowd out that anxiety and negativity. So again, to our audience, I encourage you, whenever you receive an appreciation, some recognition or some positive feedback that feels meaningful to you, to take a moment to jot it down, and come back to it to crowd out your anxiety and worry.

Chris Kresser:  Thank you so much, Eric, for that sharing. I’m a big believer in gratitude journaling. Like you, Eric, I tend to be a bit of a rationalist, in some cases, at least. And although I could see the value of gratitude journaling, it took reading the scientific literature, and seeing the massive impact that it can have not just on our mental health and well-being, but as Eric pointed out, actually on real physiological conditions like heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, and all kinds of different chronic illnesses. And it’s a critical part of building realistic optimism. And I think it’s a really important part of the next strategy that I’m going to talk about, which is elevating your mood.

#3: Elevating Your Mood

So many of us are probably stuck for a large part of the day and maybe even during the night in a fight-or-flight response. As many of you know, that’s the default reaction that human beings have to stressful events, whether they’re life-threatening or not. And when we’re in that fight-or-flight response, our bodies are prioritizing only what’s needed for short-term survival. Our heart starts pumping more rapidly, we’re breathing more rapidly, and blood flow is going to our skeletal muscles. But it’s going away from the systems that are really critical for longer-term health, like our digestive system, our endocrine system, and reproductive hormones. And we feel the impacts of that in so many different ways, both in terms of our mental health and just our physical well-being. It affects everything from our sleep to our immune function, which is, of course, critical right now, to our digestion, to our mood and mental health.

So we need to take conscious and intentional action, to turn off the fight-or-flight response and get into what scientists call the “rest and digest” response. This is of course, the other side of the nervous system coin, if you will, from the fight-or-flight response. And it’s the parasympathetic response where we settle into that kind of default relaxed place. In times of crisis, it’s difficult to get there and to stay there without taking really intentional action and doing things that we know will shift us out of the fight-or-flight response and get us into that rest and digest response.

So some of the easiest ways to do that, I mean, mindfulness will do that. We’ve already talked about that. I think gratitude does that and appreciation. But I want to talk more specifically in this third strategy about pleasure, joy, laughter, and fun. These are all the antidotes to the stress response. And in fact, when you’re in states of pleasure or joy, you’re having fun and you’re laughing; chemicals are being released in your body that are antithetical to that fight-or-flight response. They literally turn off the stress response. They lower cortisol levels. These endorphins that we produce have the opposite impact that cortisol and other stress hormones have. And so they can, in a very real way, take us out of that stress response.

So again, there’s an irony to all these practices that we’re talking about, which is the times when we need them most are also the times when we’re least likely to engage in them consistently. So it requires a commitment, and like I’ve said, an intentional act to bring these practices into our life. I actually recommend scheduling them into your calendar, like you would any other important appointment or event, so that you make sure you have time for that and don’t just let any free time that you might have get sucked up by reading the news, or just doing something on the internet that’s not supporting you in that same way.

So, with this in mind, if you have that same piece of paper or document you’re working on [on] the computer, you don’t have to finish this now, but I recommend making a list of all the things that bring you joy or pleasure, or things that make you laugh or things that are fun for you. It might sound silly to do this. We think, of course, we know what those things are. But when we’re stuck in the fight-or-flight response, it can be very difficult to access that part of our brain that knows how to laugh and how to seek pleasure or joy. So having a list and putting it somewhere prominent in your office or on your refrigerator, [where] you can look at it on a regular basis and just pick one or two things from that list to do on a daily basis, can be a really powerful intervention. So, of course, this will vary from person to person.

Some examples could include listening to music that you love that’s really uplifting and joyful. Singing. Using our voice is a really powerful way of connecting with that part of ourselves. Watching funny movies or TV. Engaging in a hobby that you love already or learning a new hobby or skill. Playing with your kids or a pet. Spending time in nature. Taking a hot bath. Giving or receiving a massage with people that you’re sheltering in place with. (Of course, not going out to get a massage right now. But practicing social distancing. But if you’re already sheltering in place with someone that you can do that with, it’s great.) And then playing games, again, either with people that you’re sheltering in place with, or there are online games that you can play, board games that you can play with other people that you don’t know. You can also set up Zoom calls like this and play with friends and family members.

I’ve heard of some great online karaoke stuff happening. We’re going to have a whole bunch of links and resources in the guide that we send out with ideas for how to do this. Any of the panelists, anything else that I haven’t mentioned that satisfies this for you that’s fun, joy, laughter that helps you get up and get out of fight-or-flight and get into that rest and digest state? Okay, so dancing. I’m seeing one of the, that’s one of my favorites. I can’t believe I left that off the list. And there are actually some dance studios around the country in the [United States] that are offering free dance classes. YouTube, of course, is your friend. There’s tons and tons of free dance stuff that’s happening on YouTube. There’s great kids’ exercise and dance stuff that you can do with your kids, which is really fun. So yes, Erica.

Erica Evans:  One thing that I know has been helpful for me during this time, is there are a lot of, sure there are a lot of parts of the internet that are not helpful with keeping our stress down, but engaging with the parts of the internet that make us laugh has been important to me. So this is the time for all those funny animal videos to shine to keep us just feeling good and giggling along the way. There’s a video of a dog running into a pile of leaves over and over again, and pure, uninhibited joy of the dog, it’s just translating into me every time I watch it. So this is a good time for just sharing even those kinds of little joyful videos and funny memes.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely. Thank you. And keep an eye on the chat box. A lot of folks around the world are sharing their ideas and what works for them, and [I’m] seeing some great ones. So yeah, there’s a lot that we can do. And I think the main point is just to keep in mind that our tendency when we get into the fight-or-flight response is not to do these other things. We think, “How can we do that at a time like this when there’s so much suffering in the world? And I need to be constantly vigilant and constantly checking the news so I’m informed and I can stay ahead of this.” And again, when I talked about realistic optimism, I do think it’s important to be informed and prepared. But we have to spend at least half of our time, I would say, cultivating joy, and laughing and cultivating hope and optimism, because that’s not only going to make life bearable, it’s going to make our response so much more effective.

#4: Connecting with loved ones and getting support

So the next strategy that I want to talk about, number four, is connecting with loved ones and getting support. Human beings are tribal, social creatures, and I think, clearly, one of the most challenging aspects of COVID is going to be sheltering in place. And the reality is that that is likely going to happen for months and not weeks. So we need to be prepared for that and find other creative ways of satisfying that need for social connection, even if you’re sheltering in place, or if you’re completely isolated, for example, if you have acquired COVID, or think you may have and you’re taking even stricter measures.

So here are a few ideas, and then I’m going to turn it over to Erica Evans, who’s also an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach and graduate of the program, to share some of her perspective on this and some resources. So you can FaceTime or Skype video chat with a friend or a family member. With my family, we’re actually setting up the group Zoom calls like this so we can get the entire family together for a bit of a virtual family reunion. And that’s really fun. Zoom is really easy to use, as you can see, and I think they have either free offerings or certainly very low-cost offerings that you can use to connect. You can write emails or text to people reminding them that you love them and care about them and are thinking of them. Just a short message can go a really long way to help people feel like they’re not alone.

You can join local community organizations that are gathering online. So Nextdoor is a good resource for that, if that’s available in your community. Here where I live, our local neighborhood is organizing to help more vulnerable and at-risk people in our neighborhood. And I see a lot of phenomenal examples of communities coming together. Crisis can really bring out the best of humanity. And so this is an opportunity to connect with other people, not just your friends and family, but in your local community and your neighborhood.

You can have a virtual happy hour with friends. It doesn’t have to include alcohol. It could be a kombucha party or whatever works for you. But just getting together and having some social time where maybe you even try not to talk too much about COVID. It’s hard to avoid it entirely, but just have some opportunity to connect and enjoy each other’s company. Playing games online with friends and family. There are some services like Tabletopia, Pogo, and MindGames.com. I mentioned Quarantine Karaoke in the last point. Taking a walk outdoors with friends and family members, practicing adequate social distancing and following the right precautions there, of course.

And then reaching out to ask for help when you need it. That’s another really critical aspect of this, is that we can’t make it through this without each other and without really coming together and supporting each other, whether we’re talking about our friends, our family, and our local communities. We really need to be willing to reach out and ask for help when we’re struggling and we need it. And that’s hard for a lot of us, and it doesn’t come easily. But I want to turn it over to Erica now to talk about some resources for this and why this is so important.

Erica Evans:  Thanks, Chris. So, like a lot of folks who are probably listening, I began to get wrapped up in a bit of the news cycle and infinite scroll on media surrounding COVID-19. And while experiencing what that was doing to me, thinking about a few things, one, that humans are hardwired for connection. This is how we’ve evolved as a social species. And the other two things that have been sticking out in my mind is service is the rent we pay to live on this planet. And what can I do right now to help support anyone who needs it? As ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coaches, I and my other colleagues on this call, we have a set of skills that can be very valuable in working through these challenging times for folks whose lives have been disrupted. And so the phrase “time, talent, and treasure” came up for me. And I have time and I have talent right now. And while I was thinking about all this, a colleague of mine, another health coach from the ADAPT program, Sybil Sanchez, asked a group of us a question. Is anyone else thinking about how great it would be to be able to provide support to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? A network of volunteer health coaches, who could respond to anyone needing some support.

And this planted a seed for us and inspired our first meeting about a week ago today, and soon after, we flew out the ADAPT bat signal and quickly assembled a fantastic group of coach colleagues who are also interested in a project like this. We’ve been sort of working tirelessly together to bring what we’re calling Health Coaches Without Borders to life. And so this network of ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coaches, we have been organizing primarily because we saw in our own practices with clients we’re working with now how health coaching could make a real impact during these times of social distancing, isolation, heightened fear, and stress, where people have real concerns about their health and safety. And they’re trying to manage these uprooted routines and lifestyles. And what’s great about health coaching as a way to support people in need is, yes, we have health information. And most importantly, we are change agents. We sit at that intersection of healthy lifestyles and how to do it, that transformative piece.

So, in what we’re putting together in Health Coaches Without Borders, we’re looking at what health coaching can provide for people who need it right now during this challenging time, and part of that are seven cycle social benefits through social connection, visioning, empowered support through talking with a coach, or even through meeting in a group coaching setting with your peers. It’s also a way to provide reliable information from valid sources. There are a lot of rumors and maybe inaccurate information flying around the internet right now and in the past few weeks about COVID. So we want to be able to provide some information when necessary from valid sources.

Health coaching can also provide folks during this time with visioning and re-envisioning. So we help our clients to adapt to this new normal and find out how they can be most empowered about their [situations] and their family situations. For many, we’re experiencing, if we’ve never worked from home before and now we’re working from home, how does anybody do that if you’re not used to it? There [are] no boundaries around work and home and all these things. Or if you’ve got three kids who are home now and you’re trying to figure out how to homeschool them and keep the three times the amount of dishes clean and still do your own job, there are all these disruptions that we have to grapple with at the moment and find ways to adapt to. And then also, with health coaching, we can help provide strategizing with you and implementing different ways to proactively adapt to this new normal, whether it’s with creating new habits, or finding ways to maintain existing habits.

I know I have clients who are like, “Erica, I just got my exercise routine down. And now I can’t go to the gym or go swimming at the pool.” So part of all this Health Coaches Without Borders, we’ve come together to provide a coaching program that is tailored specifically to addressing the needs of people affected during this time. And we’re working with a team of volunteer ADAPT Certified Health Coaches who will provide this in both individual and group coaching settings. This initial offering does have limited availability and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis in the near future as we figure out the best way to deliver this program. And I’m happy to say that Eric and Leeny on our call today are part of the coaches who are involved in this project.

So creating health, and I think Chris and any other guests on this call have made such great, have emphasized this so well, creating health and cultivating resilience and joy are perhaps even more necessary now than they ever have been before. And we want to make ourselves available to help. So if you would like to be notified about when additional details are available for Health Coaches Without Borders, and this first offering launches, you can check out, and I’m sure someone, you can put this in the chat, the Health Coaches Without Borders website and sign up for the email list to be notified. It’s HealthCoachesWithoutBorders.org. And yeah, I would just like to say, I guess to end that with something Eric mentioned is in crowding out the anxiety and worry. This has been my way of dealing with crowding out the anxiety and worry. [With] all the news media that was wrapping me in, I thought, how can I be of service? How can I use my time, talent, and treasure right now and come together with others in this like-minded moment? And since we have worked on this project, yes, this is all still here, and it’s serious. But there’s so much more hope and optimism for me personally, because I can see this amazing group of people who’ve come together to offer what they have to help anyone who needs it.

Chris Kresser:  Thank you, Erica for putting this together and offering the service. I think it’s amazing and going to be such a big help for people who need that kind of support.

#5: Being of Service

So the last capacity or practice that I want to talk about today is being of service. So as I’ve said throughout the webinar, we’re in this together, and taking care of each other is the only way we’re going to make it through. And there are lots of different ways to do this. I’ll just mention a few and folks can chime in, in the chat, and also I’ll give guests a chance to do that, as well. I talked about joining a neighborhood organization. Here in our neighborhood, we have people mobilizing to do shopping and errands for the vulnerable and high-risk populations that are not able to leave their house. We have people that are sewing masks, for those people who don’t have masks, because even fabric masks can slow the transmission and make it less likely that you will acquire the virus.

I saw an article about being a pen pal with seniors who are in nursing homes who maybe don’t have family or friends that they can connect with. You can donate to your local food bank. You can figure out how to help kids who depend on school lunches and are not able to go to school, make sure that they get that necessary sustenance. Anything else from panelists who are on the call that they have been doing themselves or hearing about in terms of ways to serve others? Erica, of course, mentioned if you are a health coach, an ADAPT Certified Health Coach, that’s one way. Joining Erica’s group is one way that you could help. But if anything else comes to mind or anybody on the call, just go ahead and type into the chat.

Erica Evans:  Chris, I heard of a, I think Michelle Obama posted it, some different ideas. And one of them was doing a Zoom story hour. So maybe you take some time and have a Zoom link and read to your friends’ kids for a little while, something interesting like that.

Chris Kresser:  Love that. So we’ll include a roundup of resources and ideas for this. But this is true in even normal times, that being of service and having a sense of purpose is like with gratitude, it may seem like it’s something hard to quantify, but there actually is good research showing that people who are of service and have that sense of purpose live much longer lifespans than people who don’t. And they enjoy better health and better protection for disease. So not only is this just something that’s good to do for humanity, and for our fellow beings in times like this, it will also help you and make you more resilient and build that psychological capital or capacity.

Okay, so that’s it for the presentation. I hope you found that to be helpful. Again, we’re going to send out a recording tomorrow, as well as the links in the adapting to COVID guide, and then we’re going to send out a full transcript of this webinar over the weekend. So I see we have some questions already in the Q&A box. And I’ll just dive into some of those. And if you have a question and haven’t yet typed it into the Q&A box, go ahead and do that now.

Webinar Q&A Session

Roxanne asks, “If cooking is going to destroy, will it destroy the virus?

What I’ve seen is that temperatures of 70 C, which is about 160 Fahrenheit, for about 30 minutes will definitely destroy the virus. That’s actually one way that healthcare professionals and others who are using masks are being instructed to sterilize the masks without decreasing their filtration capacity. So if you have a mask, like an N95, and you want to reuse it, you could actually put it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 160 degrees and that should sterilize it. I know that this question was related to food and cooking. But I think the same is true that any application of temperature above that range for 30 minutes would destroy the virus.

So far, there has not been a confirmed case of COVID being transmitted by food or food packaging. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been. It’s probably likely that it has been, but most experts that I’m seeing [say] the risk is fairly slow, or fairly low. Also, if you’re familiar with the blog, Serious Eats, which you may be if you’re a foodie and you like to cook, Kenji [López-Alt], but he is one of the most meticulous deep thinkers and researchers that I know of in the world of food and food science. And he’s done an extensive report on food safety with coronavirus that I highly recommend checking out. It looks like Mary has, thanks Mary for putting that link in, because it’s really, really helpful.

Next question is from [Carol]. We have more questions [than] we’re going to be able to answer, so I’m going to try to choose questions that will be of the greatest interest to the largest number of people. Carol mentions that, “I have said that we want to avoid upregulating ACE2 receptors because that’s the, kind of the doorway for the virus into cells, and we may want to avoid high doses of vitamin A and D as a result of that.” She’s wondering about “other nutritional strategies that might be beneficial while not upregulating ACE2, like melatonin, (CDP? 63:03), choline, probiotics, enzymes, silver, immunoglobulins, essential oils, and beta-glucans.”

So the reality is we just don’t know that much about what works and doesn’t work. There was a study that came out over the weekend, and I talked about it in a recent Instagram video update and an email that showed that some nutritional compounds like curcumin, quercetin, EGCG [epigallocatechin gallate], and a few others may inhibit COVID by interfering with viral replication; they’re protease inhibitors. But that was only a cell culture study, and it hasn’t been shown in humans. And so we don’t know for sure.

I think getting those nutrients from food is probably the safest bet because we don’t want to find out that very high doses of those things actually have a different impact than getting them from food. And there are lots of foods that contain those nutrients. So that’s what I’m suggesting at this point.

I also want to put in a plug for the basics. There’s a lot of attention on supplements and herbs and things that can boost immunity, which is appropriate. But I think it’s also true that sleep, stress management, the things we’ve been talking about today, adequate physical activity, not too little and not too much, which can also be a stressor, and a nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory diet is by far and away going to have a bigger impact on your immune function. And my concern is that I see, I think there’s a number of people who are really focusing a lot on supplements and herbs and not just doing those basics. So please make sure you do get those basics sorted before you worry too much about the additional supports.

Greg asked, “Please discuss the topic of those of us who believe we’ve already had it and recovered before it was widely known.

I think a number of people are probably in that situation. The problem is we just don’t know because we don’t have adequate testing, didn’t have adequate testing available; [and] we don’t have adequate serological testing now that can show antibody response to SARS-CoV-2. And without really knowing or being certain, it’s impossible to say whether it was just an influenza virus, a different kind of virus like a rhinovirus or a cold, or whether it was SARS-CoV-2. So this is, hopefully, an area that will shift as more testing becomes available.

Andrea asked, “Do devices like Muse 2 work well for mindfulness meditation, especially [for] people like me who’ve never done this?”

I prefer, some of those devices could be helpful, but I prefer simpler approaches. If you don’t have access to a teacher or you’re not going to watch videos or learn in that way, apps like Headspace and Calm and Ten Percent Happier, I think, are a better approach. The brain wave devices, I think they can be useful in certain ways. But I prefer the more traditional learning approach.

Let’s see here, just scrolling down. Dwight asked, “What are my thoughts on the David Katz article about [the] more focused, strided approach to risk demographics, which seems to have the attention of Washington leadership?”

There is a growing minority, contrarian view that believes that the measures that we’re taking now are worse, potentially worse than the effects of the virus itself. I think they raise several interesting points, and I don’t disagree that the impacts of the isolation and quarantine are going to be significant. Having said that, I think the cost of inaction and not doing this aggressive early action is likely to be, or at least could potentially be, much higher than the cost of action. And in the face of uncertainty around that, I don’t think we can afford not to act.

So I am, at least for now, more persuaded by the arguments of epidemiologists and virologists, and people who really deeply understand the nature of viral pandemics and other pandemics, and their impacts. Because I think the human brain is not really good at understanding the exponential function. It’s kind of foreign to us. And we’re way more likely to underestimate the impact of something like this than we are to overestimate it, in most cases.

Mark asks, “How can we Americans face the reality of death? It seems there has to be some adapt[ing] in accepting or facing death from a spiritual perspective.”

I could not agree more. Forest, would you like to speak to that a little bit?

Forest Fein:  Yeah, I mean, for me, the contemplation of death has actually been a really powerful practice in my life for helping me to live in a way where I feel more awake and more grateful for all the breaths that I’m taking, all the moments that I have. I don’t usually share poetry, but I have a very short poem I’d love to share, Chris, if that’s okay.

Chris Kresser:  Please.

Forest Fein:  And it’s really on point. It’s about how death can really help us to wake up and live life more fully. So this is a poem called, “Of What’s Left to Come.” It’s a poem that I wrote, okay?

What’s Left to Come
by Forest Fein

Contemplate the days,
Not the ones past,
But those yet to come.

How many remain?
On this earth
In this body
Underneath this sky?

What we deny
Diminishes us

As Death will come
Why not
Embrace death now
As a wise old friend

Let Death
Strip you of your pretense
Awaken your humanity
Humble you in its mystery

Why wait?
Allow Death’s inevitability
To arouse your secret longing for life
And move you to courageous acts of living

What do you have to lose?
But the partial death
you call life

Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate
All that we love will die

Dear Friend,
Please
Come closer
Help me to love this life
While I still can

Chris Kresser:  Thank you.

Forest Fein:  And so, yeah, just, we really, we live in a death-denying culture. And I think that there’s a way that it actually can negatively impact our experience of really being alive. And an opportunity I’m feeling, and I don’t know if other people are experiencing this, but in the intensity of these times, I’m also experiencing a greater sense of vividness and aliveness and connection and belonging in the preciousness of life. And so really seeing this as an opportunity to embrace death, but in a way that allows us to be more awake and enjoying and appreciating all our moments.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely, Forest. I feel the same way. And I think we hear this from people who’ve had near-death experiences, people who’ve suffered from severe chronic illness or had a heart attack, where they weren’t sure they were going to make it. Any of these kinds of experiences often gives us a new lease on life. Because, as you said, we start to pay more attention to the mundane moments of life. And if you think about it, life really just is a series of mostly mundane moments. We have our extraordinary experiences, things that stand out in our minds, but mostly, most, 99 percent, probably, of life is one mundane moment to the next.

So how we choose to spend those mundane moments really defines and characterizes our experience of life. And I think we’re all having, being invited to revisit how we spend these mundane moments in this experience of COVID.

So, let’s see here. Next question. I’m just going to mark a couple of these off. And we’re going to go for about 15 more minutes. Apologies that we won’t be able to get to anywhere near the questions that have been asked. But I’m just going to scroll through here and pick some that [are] a good representation.

Forest, here’s a couple for you that I’ll put together. One is related to, “Whether mindfulness is necessarily a Buddhist tradition. Can Christians or people of other faiths practice mindfulness?” Another is a breathing question. “Is it okay to breathe in and out of the nose during meditation practice, or do you have to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth?”

Forest Fein:  Okay. Yeah, yeah. Great, great questions. So yeah, thank you for the question. Mindfulness, as I teach it, and mindfulness, I think a lot of the mindfulness apps out there and the mindfulness that’s being taught these days is secular practice. Which [means] no matter what your religious or spiritual orientation is, or if you don’t have any religious or spiritual orientation, these are practices that are backed by science. There [are] thousands of research studies at this point [backing] the efficacy of a regular mindfulness practice. So please know this is not in conflict with, for example, if you’re Christian. This is not in conflict with being a Christian. And this is something that, from what I’ve experienced and what feedback [I’ve received] from students, can actually contribute to deepening whatever your religious orientation is, if you have one.

The question about breathing [is] really important. I highly recommend breathing practices. I think a little bit of movement before sitting down to meditate, especially if you’re feeling some anxiety in the nervous system, is a really beautiful way to begin to calm the nervous system in preparation for a meditation practice. Similarly, breathing can be very, very helpful, simple breathing practice. As simple as breathing in for a count of five, there’s a gentle pause, and then breathing out for a count of five, and just doing a round of five or 10. And then that just really helps to calm the nervous system, begin to calm and quiet the mind, relaxing some of the tension in the body and prepares us for the deeper meditation practice.

But yeah, you can breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, or you’re welcome to breathe in through the nose and out through the nose. But what I do recommend is when you start your breathing practice, come back to just a natural breathing where you’re not controlling the breath in any way.

Chris Kresser:  Thank you, Forest.

So Louise asked a question. “Amidst all these ideas about self-improvement, gratitude, and mindfulness that we can be focusing on right now, many clients are speaking to me about,” Louise is an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach, so many of her clients are speaking to her about, “being okay with doing nothing sometimes and how to let themselves have that space without guilt. How do we give ourselves permission to strike a balance between growth, personal growth, giving ourselves some grace?”

That’s a fantastic question. I think we have a bit of a cultural disease in the West, where our self-worth is tied to our level of productivity and what we can visibly show for ourselves in the world. There’s nothing wrong with being productive and doing things that are, doing stuff, let’s say. That’s obviously important. But there’s also a place for rest and leisure and doing nothing. And it’s increasingly difficult to do that in today’s world with all the distractions, the technology, social media, smartphones, the internet, and just the demands of day-to-day life. I think it’s critical that we give ourselves that time for reverie, contemplation, stillness, solitude, and just doing nothing without any goal orientation. That’s a really important part of our heritage as human beings, that we have time like that.

A book that I actually really like that gets right at this is called, Rest. It’s more specific to, the subtitle is, “[why] you get more done when you work less.” So you could argue that there’s still a little subtle undercurrent of rest being a strategy for getting more work done. But the reason I like it is it’s a good collection of all the research on rest, and many famous people throughout history, for example, who made the most creative discoveries in science and made some of the biggest contributions to the world, were people who knew how to turn off their frontal cortex and spend time in nature or just in play or in reverie or contemplation. So, I found that book as useful because it’s a good doorway for people who are still oriented in that direction. It, I think, gives many people some permission to rest and take it easy.

All right. Let’s see here. Jen asked, “Can you share some tips and perspectives on staying abreast of the news while protecting our own mental and emotional state?”

I’ll share what works for me and then I’d love for any of the panelists to chime in. I’m a big believer in batching use of email and social media and smartphones and technology. So I will just create a couple of distinct periods during the day where I check in on the news and my email and RSS feed and all the places that I get information and keep myself informed and up-to-date. And outside of those times, I try not to engage in those things, which creates more space in my routine for focusing on the things that I really want to be focusing on.

And then I take a tech Sabbath, one day a week, sometimes two. Right now, it’s been one because of what’s going on for me professionally, everything that’s happened. And during that tech Sabbath, I don’t really interact with technology at all. I put my phone away, iPad, [I] don’t use a computer, and I just spend time with family in nature, and just enjoy my experience unmediated by technology. So those are the two things that really work well for me. Anybody else?

Forest Fein:  Can I jump in?

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, please.

Forest Fein:  Okay. I think that it’s really important at this time to stay informed. And that’s really important and helpful. I think it’s really unhelpful to be overwhelmed. So one of the, I think, essential practices during this time, whether it’s our relationship with the media or anything else in our life, is being able to be in tune and notice the early warning signs of when we’re becoming stressed and overwhelmed and dysregulated. And when you notice that, for me, one of my core daily practices is when I begin to notice that I’m feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, too, my number one priority is to bring myself back to a centered place. And we’ve taught many different strategies on this call today on how to do that. But I just want to really reinforce getting in touch with what your early warning signs are. And if you’re watching the news, too, if you can, just hit pause and prioritize bringing yourself back to a more centered and grounded place before taking in any more media.

Chris Kresser:  Great, anybody else want to jump in? Erica?

Erica Evans:  Yeah. This has been something I’ve been talking a lot with my clients about right now in particular. And some of the strategies that have come up, that they’ve found helpful and that I found helpful for myself, are, like Chris, I try to batch my consumption of news media when I can, especially lately. And I always try to ask myself before I enter into that hour I give myself to get up-to-date, what is my purpose here? Sort of, what am I doing? What do I want to be informed about? So media consumption with a purpose. And like Forest is saying, using the mindfulness to notice if or when it starts to become overwhelming. Because I want to be smart about not just what I’m fueling my body with, but what I’m fueling my mind and my heart with. And sometimes, the physiological effects of the way our devices have been consuming us or using us, it’s hard to stay away from. So a lot of my clients have been using an app called Freedom to, it actually, you can create block lists of certain types of websites and it syncs across your devices, and you can set a time 20 minutes, an hour between these hours. So if you really can’t keep yourself away, you can start one of those block sessions and you cannot turn it off while it’s on. It’s impossible to do. So that has been a very useful app to change my relationship with apps and news, which I know sounds a little backwards, but it works. I just wanted to share that with others, as well.

Chris Kresser:  Thank you, Erica. Yes, I’m a big proponent of any strategies that can help us and support us in our commitment to create technology-free moments. And I think if I reflect on the past 10 years of my life with everything that I’ve had going on [with] writing books and launching the ADAPT training programs and running several companies and seeing patients and having a family and all of it, I could not have done any of that and maintained my physical and emotional health without having these technology-free periods and discipline around how I interact with technology. It’s the thing that has kept me sane and allowed me to continue to enjoy my life and allowed me to accomplish what I have. I couldn’t have lived without that, frankly. So, it’s worth the effort that it takes to break some habits and get this in place in your life.

So I’m seeing a lot of questions on various treatments and things of that nature. I’m not going to address those on today’s call, because I just really wanted to dedicate this to adaptation strategies. We had a webinar that was more focused on the virus and protection and prevention. And we don’t know very much about treatment yet, but I will continue to address those things as we go forward in my Instagram videos, emails, and other social media, and we’ll probably have additional webinars, as well, that are more focused on that.

So just time for a couple more questions. (83:59) Joe asked, “What are my thoughts on laughter therapy, laughter yoga? Would love some resources.”

I haven’t seen a ton. We know that there’s a lot of evidence behind laughter and the powerful healing effects of laughter. And laughter yoga is actually, or laughter therapy, as it’s sometimes called, is one way of bringing more laughter into your life. It can be really hard for some people to do at first. It was for me, and you have to kind of fake it until you make it sometimes. But once you start, it can become really, really fun and infectious, especially if you’re doing it with other people. So that’s another idea for a group Zoom call would be laughter yoga. Because when you see other people laughing, it triggers our mirror neurons and it makes us laugh. So having laughter yoga sessions with other people is really fun.

And Robert Rivest is one of the more popular laughter yoga folks. He has a lot of free videos on YouTube and on his website. There are a couple others. If you just go onto YouTube and search for laughter yoga, you’ll find a lot of great free resources.

Lastly, I’m seeing a lot of questions about ADAPT health coaches, like how people can find out more about the coaching program or work with a health coach, where can they find a directory of health coaches, what is health coaching about, all that stuff. So if you go to KresserInstitute.com, which is our main training website, and you click on “Find a Provider,” a new tab will open and then you click on “Find ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coaches.” You can also find ADAPT Trained Functional Medicine Practitioners there, too.

So click on that and you’ll find a number of coaches that are listed in the directory. [The] coach need not live next to you. Most health coaching is actually done by a video or phone, so that’s something important to know. If you see that there isn’t anyone in your local town, that shouldn’t be an obstacle or a stumbling block. Especially because you’re not going to be doing in-person coaching even if it is available probably right now. And if you want to learn more about the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program, if you just click on that link on the top of the page, you can learn more about it. We have graduates from the program that you can speak to and get some more detail about the program.

We’re actually in an enrollment right now for the spring cohort, which is starting in late April or May. I should know the date, but I don’t. It’s late April or May, sometime soon this spring. And the advisors can answer all your questions about coaching and what it’s like to become a coach and work with a coach and what the program is like. And then Erica, can you share again, your [Health] Coaches Without Borders information? So I’ve seen some people in the comments who are ADAPT coaches who want to participate, but maybe didn’t get your email, or other coaches.

Erica Evans:  Sure, so if you’re interested in learning more about the program and want to receive coaching, you can go to HealthCoachesWithoutBorders.org to enter your information into our mailing list. And while we’ve been on this call, I think someone has just added at the bottom of that page; if you’re a coach interested in becoming involved as a coach, there’s an email address there. And I’ll say it in a second. But you can email to get in touch with us. And it’s [email protected]

Chris Kresser:  Great. So I want to thank all of the panelists for joining us today and sharing your insight and perspective. It was really valuable. I know from the comments that everybody got a lot out of your participation. So thank you for being here, Eric, Erica, Forest, and Leeny. I want to thank everyone who joined us today, for participating. I really feel like what we talked about today is just as important, if not more so, than all the nuts and bolts about the virus and prevention and protection. Of course, we need to keep our focus trained there, as well. But as I’ve argued throughout the webinar, we need to balance that out with cultivating more joy and pleasure, laughter, building the HERO (hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism), and using the five strategies that we talked about in the call to do this.

So I’m sending you all my love and gratitude for being here and for being part of this community, this tribe, and I hope that you and your family stay healthy and well, and that you’re able to move through this period with grace and equanimity. And please, reach out and let us know how we can support you and help you. That’s what we’re here for. And yeah, [I’m] just feeling really grateful right now to be part of this community and to have these resources and the support, and to be able to connect with you in this way. So take care, everybody. Be well.