Habits and Your Health
Dr. Tamsin Astor blends her scientific background and awareness (PhD in cognitive neuroscience) with her Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation & Coaching training to give a unique approach to mastering your daily habits. Using tools from Health and Executive coaching, Tamsin provides a plan to help you navigate from a multi-tasking, low energy, time-deprived existence to one of abundance, nourishment and fun!
Regain your power, reduce your stress: Feeling overwhelmed, stressed and that there isn't enough time or energy to get everything done? Follow the steps in Force of Habit: Unleash Your Power Through Healthy Habits to create a life of joy and freedom by making connections in your daily habits, thereby reducing your decisions. Tamsin lays out a simple plan to master your key habits in your two key relationships: with yourself & others.
Readers will learn:
- The “Shoulds” & why they don't serve you
- Motivation – different theories to understand it
- Stress - what it's secretly doing to you and why we need a little "good" stress
- Why there isn't one definition of "healthy" and a new model for understanding health
- A new way of thinking about everyday habits and how you need to change them
- How to think about your relationship with yourself – are you falling into learned helplessness?
Free up time: And what about your relationships with others – are you cultivating enablers or supporters? This book gives you a step-by-step guide to organizing your life. How? By creating boundaries and daily rituals so you have the time for what you need to do and what you want to do! By establishing healthy habits, you can unleash your true power by freeing up your time from the thousands of microdecisions you make on a day-to-day basis.
By combining these daily habits with a bigger frame - your big why – the reasons behind why you want to create healthy habits – you will continually refocus and refine your daily habits and become a force of nature.
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About the Author
Tamsin Astor, PhD helps busy professionals organize themselves so they have time for what they need & want, and time for fun. She is your Chief Habit Scientist, wrangling your habits around sleep, exercise & eating through a lens of mindfulness & relationship management.
We make tens of thousands of decisions every day, so if we can create connections between the habits that serve us well, thus reducing the number of choices we make, we free up lots of time. This ironycreating routines to create freedomis what Tamsin loves to help people activate in their lives!
Tamsin utilizes a broad array of both Eastern and Western skills from her extensive training (PhD, Advanced Registered Yoga Teacher - RYT500, Certified Living Ayurveda, Certified Executive Coach and Certified Yoga Health Coach) and background (Neuroscience, Psychology & Education research, teaching, 10+ years meditation-practioner, parenting a child with cancer, a child with ADHD, coaching) to guide clients through change related to their careers, relationships, physical and emotional health.
Read an Excerpt
Your Evolutionary Journey and the Supporter
Some people in your life will notice the changesabundance, radiant energy, shining eyes, clear skin, positivity, a healthy mind-body relationship and think, “I’ll have what she’s having.” (That’s a When Harry Met Sally reference, in case you didn’t catch it!) If you create the time and space for connection and deep conversation around your evolutionary shifts, then your friends, family, and partner might start to join you on the pathparticularly if you look happier, shine forth an energy that is strong and clear, and demonstrate clear benefits from these changes that you’ve made.
One of the most important aspects of these shifts is creating the time to have the right kind of conversation, so you can see how the people in your life can support you as you evolve. Understanding conversational intelligencethe different kinds of conversation and then how to create the space for the right kind of conversationcan be really helpful.
When you talk to other people, pay attention to how you talk. Author and organizational anthropologist, Judith Glaser studies Conversational Intelligence and talks about three different levels of conversations.
The first is transactionalwe exchange information. The second is promotionalwe promote a certain idea and work on convincing the other party on its validity. The third is transformationalwe create a nonjudgmental space of comfort and we co-create. When we talk, we are navigating back and forth between trust and distrust, between the more-evolved frontal cortex (where we are cultivating empathy and connection) and the limbic system, and the cortisol-producing and fear part of the brain. This is where the magic happens: when we can keep ourselves in the empathic trust part of the brain!
But, as a busy mom of three, I often find that I am more focused on the first and second types when I am parenting, and on the third when I am coaching or in a deep and meaningful discussion with a friend. I think what was difficult for my ex-husband and me was that we struggled to find the time to have the pure transformational conversation that we needed. We got bogged down in the transactional and promotional conversations instead.
But, the transformational level is where the deep connection happens. In fact, you could say that the transformational level is simply a different kind of conversationit’s a conversation where we are listening to connect, not to judge or evaluate. That can be SO much harder in some settings and requires a real commitment to NOT let the other kinds of conversations become interlopers!
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus
How to Improve Your Chances of Cultivating a Supporter
Schedule it and do it regularly. Check in, describe why you are making these changes, and describe the positive effects they are bringing to your life. Make sure you check in once a month or so.
Timing is everything. Having a discussion with someone at 10:00 p.m. about the fact that they denigrate your life choices will not result in good sleep. Schedule a walk on Sunday afternoon or tea on Monday morning to have this conversation.
Reactive vs. intentional. Try not to have this conversation in response to an argument. I had to work on thisquite a few people in my life are avid meat and dairy consumers and will repeatedly make comments about how I am not normal, I am weird, etc., for basing my meals around plants. When I react and get angry in that moment, it doesn’t resolve the issue. Having intentional conversations, when everyone is calm, works much better!
Explain your big why: Telling people why this is important to you, why you care about it, and what results you are finding as you make these shifts will help to frame the evolution.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Shoulds and the Oughts: Why They Don't Serve You 11
What Do I Mean by the "Shoulds"? 13
Chapter 1 Motivation 16
Why Are You Reading This Book and Why Do You Care? 16
The Stick or the Carrot? 20
Your Big Why: The Purushartas 20
Acting for Others 21
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 22
The Role of the Environment 24
Motivation: Self-Determination Theory 25
Why All the Theories? 26
How to Use This Book 27
Chapter 2 Stress 29
I Stress, Eustress, We Stress: We All Need Some Stress 29
Our Stress: The Stressed Nation 32
Evolution and Stress: Nature at Work 34
Epigenetics: Nurture at Work 34
How Do You Handle Stress? 35
A Better Model for Understanding and Handling Stress 37
Doshas: Organizing Energetic Principles 37
What Do You Need to Unleash Your Power? 40
Time Out 40
Chapter 3 Unleash Your Power: Develop Healthy Sleeping, Eating, and Exercise Habits 41
Working on YOU Includes Caring for Self: Fill Your Cup 44
The Science of Habit-in Brief! 45
Habit Cultivation Is Tough as Shit! 48
Things to Know Before You Start 50
What Do You Need to Unleash Your Power? 50
Time Out 51
Chapter 4 Sleep 52
We Are Seriously Sleep-Disturbed, My Darlings 52
Why Do We Need Nourishing Sleep? 54
How to Sleep Well 55
Soothe Your Senses 57
To Nap or Not to Nap? 60
What Do You Need to Unleash Your Power? 61
The Main Message 62
Time Out 63
Chapter 5 Eating 65
Scarcity and Nourishment 65
How to Be Mindful About Food and Eating 66
Some of the Science Behind the Standard American Diet (SAD) 66
The Standard American Diet (SAD) Will Literally Make You Sad 69
Read Ingredients Labels! 70
What's Happened to Our Diet? 70
Say NO to Processed Food and Artificial Sweeteners 72
Food Is Not Rational 73
When to Eat and What? 76
To Snack or Not? 77
What Do You Need to Unleash Your Power? 79
The Main Message 80
Time Out 81
Chapter 6 Exercise 83
Why Exercise? 83
Again, Why Exercise? 84
Exercise Doesn't Have to Be a Massive Hollywood Production 85
The Main Message 89
Time Out 90
Chapter 7 Relationships with Yourself and Others 92
Relationships: The Shifts that Occur as a Result of Your Habit Evolution 98
Your Evolutionary Journey and the Enabler 99
Your Evolutionary Journey and the Supporter 100
Conversational Intelligence 101
How to Improve Your Chances of Cultivating a Supporter 102
Avoiding Toxic People 102
Creating Boundaries 103
Mindset: Fixed or Growth? 104
Learned Helplessness or Learned Optimism? 106
What Do You Need to Unleash Your Power? 112
Time Out 112
Chapter 8 The End-or Maybe Just the Beginning! 113
Why Did I Write This Book? 113
This Is What This Book Says 114
How to Create Your Own Habit Circles 116
Create Your Own Habit Circle 117
Tamsin's Recipes 119
Journal Questions to Help You Dive Deeper 150
About the Author 192
What People are Saying About This
“Tamsin really gets into the limiting beliefs behind our habits. Now I have a great resource to share with my patients!”
• Jessica Hutchins, MD