Next Level Human

Navigating Mental Health and Identity with Heather Heynen- Ep. 261

April 12, 2024 Jade Teta Episode 261
Navigating Mental Health and Identity with Heather Heynen- Ep. 261
Next Level Human
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Next Level Human
Navigating Mental Health and Identity with Heather Heynen- Ep. 261
Apr 12, 2024 Episode 261
Jade Teta

Embark on a transformative journey with Heather Heynen, a mental health maven and life coach, as she lays bare the intricacies of our inner world and its impact on our outer realities. With Heather's guidance, we navigate the delicate interplay of mental health and physical fitness, examining how our beliefs and identity shape our habits. Her candid revelations about overcoming anxiety and eating disorders illuminate the path toward a more integrated and purposeful way of living.

Uncover the 'MUD' in your life—the misguided unconscious decisions—and learn how rewriting your internal story can revolutionize your daily existence. Heather's insights on the power of self-awareness and the ability to transmute pain into purpose serve as a beacon for those seeking to rewrite their life's narrative. This episode is a masterclass in personal growth, offering practical strategies for those ready to challenge their limiting beliefs and emerge with a renewed sense of self.

Heather's holistic approach melds clinical expertise with actionable coaching, providing a unique perspective on building resilience through skills like journaling and meditation. For anyone trapped in the cycle of anxiety or searching for control in the chaos, Heather's methods showcase a gateway to transformation that doesn't require years on the therapist's couch, but rather a willingness to confront the deeper layers of one's psyche. Join us for a profound exploration of self-discovery, and start your journey toward a more joyful and aligned future.

Connect with Next Level Human
Website: www.nextlevelhuman.com
support@nextlevelhuman.com

Connect with Dr. Jade Teta
Website: www.jadeteta.com
Instagram: @jadeteta

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a transformative journey with Heather Heynen, a mental health maven and life coach, as she lays bare the intricacies of our inner world and its impact on our outer realities. With Heather's guidance, we navigate the delicate interplay of mental health and physical fitness, examining how our beliefs and identity shape our habits. Her candid revelations about overcoming anxiety and eating disorders illuminate the path toward a more integrated and purposeful way of living.

Uncover the 'MUD' in your life—the misguided unconscious decisions—and learn how rewriting your internal story can revolutionize your daily existence. Heather's insights on the power of self-awareness and the ability to transmute pain into purpose serve as a beacon for those seeking to rewrite their life's narrative. This episode is a masterclass in personal growth, offering practical strategies for those ready to challenge their limiting beliefs and emerge with a renewed sense of self.

Heather's holistic approach melds clinical expertise with actionable coaching, providing a unique perspective on building resilience through skills like journaling and meditation. For anyone trapped in the cycle of anxiety or searching for control in the chaos, Heather's methods showcase a gateway to transformation that doesn't require years on the therapist's couch, but rather a willingness to confront the deeper layers of one's psyche. Join us for a profound exploration of self-discovery, and start your journey toward a more joyful and aligned future.

Connect with Next Level Human
Website: www.nextlevelhuman.com
support@nextlevelhuman.com

Connect with Dr. Jade Teta
Website: www.jadeteta.com
Instagram: @jadeteta

Speaker 1:

What's going on everybody? Welcome to the Next Level Human podcast. My guest today is Heather Heinen, and I'm very excited to have you, heather, because Heather and I have just recently got to know each other. Actually, I was on her podcast, so now she's coming on my podcast and one of the interesting things about you and her for you listeners is she is very similar to me in a way, right.

Speaker 1:

So she has this very in-depth mental health background. For 20 years she's been basically in the mental health world, but she's also a life coach. She's also into fitness and training and has certifications in that. And, yeah, she is very much like me in that she kind of spans this world of mindset and muscle and metabolism, just like I do. And that's why I'm excited to have you, because we can kind of talk about our different sort of approaches to things. So why don't you get us started, heather, with how you got into this work and your approach, and then let's just have a really cool conversation for everyone around this practice of sort of mental health and metabolism and muscle.

Speaker 2:

Sounds great. First of all, thanks so much for having me. I'm honored to be on your show, so I appreciate the invite. Yeah, so, like you said, I've been in private practice as a licensed mental health therapist. It's actually been a little over 20 years, maybe even closer to 25. That always ages me, though. So it's like, yeah, around 20 years, and I started out as a school counselor actually for a few years and then moved directly into private practice. So, yep, I've got a long history, kind of from a clinical standpoint, in working with clients, started working with adolescents, but quickly moved into working with mostly women I do see some men, but mostly women.

Speaker 2:

In regards to anxiety, that kind of just became the niche that I went into, and as a practitioner, I'm sure you know this we usually end up doing what maybe we deal with ourselves, and I definitely was someone who suffered with a lot of anxiety since I was a kid. I didn't know that's what was going on. Figured that out later, but yeah, so kind of gravitated towards or those clients gravitated towards me and so did a lot with anxiety. And then I went through a divorce and I had a child, and there were just a lot of life changes and it was like, oh man, this job, I don't think I can do this job anymore. It was just very, very heavy. It was like, oh man, this job, I don't think I can do this job anymore. It was just very, very heavy, obviously financial reasons, did not want to give up the job but needed a shift. So I shifted, I got into personal training and so I would do my stuff in the office and then two days a week I would do personal training. And it just gave a shift into this world of where there was a lot of immediate feedback and I think I was missing seeing results right away in people.

Speaker 2:

So that personal training piece kind of gave me that. And I had always been into health and fitness. I dealt with a binge eating disorder and heavy, heavy restriction for many, many years and that's a whole other story and we can get into that if you want. But that kind of led me into really getting into that health and fitness world. And then I would say maybe about seven years ago I was like, okay, I'm done with the personal training one-on-one and went back into the clinic. I'm going to say full-time, but I actually don't work full-time, I work three days a week. And then I started this online sort of weight loss coaching, life coaching, sort of this other part of my business is what I would call it Started the podcast, that kind of thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know it's funny I don't know if you. Brendan Burchard has an interesting model that he uses for experts that I really like that. He says you know there's three types of experts there's the researcher, there's the results getter and there's the role model, right? So the researcher is someone who's got the education, all that kind of stuff. The role model is someone who's sort of gone through the stuff themselves, and the results getter is the one who helps people get through and gets results. And so whenever I'm listening to an expert speak, I'm listening for those things, to see which one they are. And you happen to be all three of these and we're similar in that I was going to say I think that's you too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah, it's really interesting, right. It's like you don't always get that. Usually you get a researcher, but not a results getter, maybe not a role model. It's rare to have all three, and so it's really exciting to have you here. One of the major things that I want to talk to you about, heather, is from my perspective, and I want to see what you think about this. I know that you're going to agree just based on your thing, but I want to see how you approach it. What we have in my mind, the hook would go something like this you think it's habits and behaviors, it's really identity and beliefs, right, and people think that it's habits, behaviors, they think it's motivation, they think it's willpower, and certainly that stuff plays a role, but there's something that goes deeper than that in the identity and the beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves about the world, and at least this is my perspective, and I just want to hear your thoughts on this and what you think about this idea and how you address it, perhaps in your clientele.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, for sure, we are very, very similar in our beliefs around that and how to make. I mean, I am all about, you know, I always think about. There's so much what out there we can tell everybody. Everyone knows what to do. I mean, there is so much information. So, whatever our goal is, we know the what to do it's all about okay, but why, why would we want to do that? And then the how, like how do we do it? And so, to your point, there's a lot of info out there on, well, let's build these habits, let's. You know, that's how we create behavior change and that sort of thing. And it's like, okay, yeah, and there's something much deeper that also needs to change.

Speaker 2:

And that idea that how I kind of look at it, as we have this belief, this deep seated belief system that creates our identity, you know how we think about who we are, who we are, all that kind of thing. And from that identity our thoughts populate, from that, our thoughts about ourselves, our thoughts create our feelings. Our feelings come along with little packages of sensations, little chemical cocktails. So we have a feeling, we have these sensations in our body, and that is how I see. I believe that's how behavior is motivated. So you can think about it like if you're having a feeling, if you're feeling motivated, well yeah, you're going to behave in a specific way. If I'm feeling the motivation to go for a walk or a run, I'm probably going to go do it, but if I'm feeling defeated, for whatever reason, I'm not going to engage in that behavior. That defeat creates a behavior of maybe sitting or maybe not wanting to leave the home or something along those lines. And then our actions create our behaviors, create our results, and our results feed into the identity piece again. So I kind of think of it as this circular. What do you want to call it like system, you know, and how do we create behavior change?

Speaker 2:

So I do think about it in a couple ways. We could call it state before story. That's how I like to term it. So state before story would be what is our state of being?

Speaker 2:

So if I'm in a highly nourished state, I'm in a relaxed state, then the story about me and my world and my identity is probably going to be positive in nature. It's going to be easier for me to make behavior change. But there is and this is to your point the other side of it, which is story before state. And story before state is when we on purpose populate thoughts about ourselves and our world, or we're conscious of the way we are filtering how we see our world, how we see ourselves, and so what we're telling ourselves, that story is going to create our state of being as well, and so we can kind of, if we have a really great narrative, a clear and concise story going on, we can really get into a state that helps us create that long lasting behavior change, that sustainable. So so I do kind of see it from both sides that you can kind of hit that cycle at two different places, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it reminds me of some of the research on the as if principle and how that kind of confronts the law of attraction, which to me, the law of attraction essentially says think a particular way, get a particular outcome, and then the as if principle says act a particular way and you'll automatically think a particular way. And I agree. I think the research actually shows that both it's in both directions. You can get there through both directions, although I am one of these people that tends to think that it's much easier when you take an action to feel, think and choose in alignment, and to me that's the definition of being right. Are we thinking, feeling, choosing and acting in alignment? But it really is interesting that these things work together, the way you think and the way you act, and you can make change through either direction. But it sounds like you're saying something a little different as well, in that there's something beneath all of this that starts the process.

Speaker 2:

Yes, exactly, and you and you know you and I would well we could talk. I was gonna say we'd probably agree. I don't know if you'd agree, but you know, I think I do really believe and this is from years of working with so many people over and over that really we do have those childhood experiences, those deep-seated sort of if you want to call it pre-programming when we are kiddos that really lead to the thoughts and feelings about ourselves that create our identity into adulthood. And now there can be things that come up in adulthood that shift our identity and shift our thoughts about ourselves. But I think overall there is this sort of programming that goes on, you know, when we are children, that sort of create I call them like these core self beliefs about ourselves that then create our identity into the future.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, Let me run this by you and see what you think about this. So I think I call these mud right, Like these deep-seated let's call them deep-seated seed stories that we plant in our unconscious and they grow into affecting everything else. And I call them mud because it's an acronym for misguided, because we make these decisions about ourselves and the world at times when we don't have the wisdom, we don't have the know-how, we don't have the maturity, we don't have the resources to understand what has happened. And it doesn't have to be a capital T trauma. It can just be a struggle or a striving that happened during our developmental years child, adolescent, young adult and then you get stuck in the mud. So in a sense, these really are, in my mind, decisions that we made about the world and ourselves. They're just unconscious and we don't know they're there. It's like Carl Jung has a beautiful saying on this. He says that if you don't make the unconscious conscious, it will follow you around and you will call it fate. And I think this is what you're speaking to.

Speaker 2:

Oh, for sure, yes, exactly, and that's a beautiful way to put it. And yeah, I was saying you have the best acronyms. You have so many of them, it's great.

Speaker 1:

That's the problem with acronyms, heather and the acronyms and frameworks you forget them. You're like what does that one stand for?

Speaker 2:

Well, you did a good job there, did a good job remembering, yeah, and you know, I think this is the piece that gets missed in our space and really what I'm kind of shouting from the rooftops and you are as well where it's like we are missing this deeper part of the human experience within behavior change and and and hitting goals and creating a new lifestyle All those things are great, but it's like we I really we are really really missing that piece of it and, um, I do think it's so important.

Speaker 2:

I mean, jay, there's an education piece in this too, right, like like just educating people on what happens. I mean, you and I are in this space, so it seems really normal, like, yes, of course, our childhood experiences, developmentally, that affects us and that creates who we are, you know, and our belief system about the world. That may or may not be correct, but, you know, not everybody is into psychology and counseling. So there's this education piece, too, of letting people just know that there is this deeper yeah, I call it deeper this deeper place that change needs to come from, needs to be explored, needs to the subconscious, or the unconscious, as Jung would say, brought into the light, so that we need to make those things clear and have clarity around them so that we can start to acknowledge is this the story and the narrative that I want to continue on with, or do I need to shift and change the story and narrative in order to live the meaningful and purposeful life that I want to be living?

Speaker 1:

Man, heather, I love that and it does bring up I agree completely with that. But it does bring up something that and I hope you don't mind getting into this, and I hope you listeners don't mind getting into this too, because this is going to be something that can be triggering. And so let me set it up for you, heather, and for the listeners. And so if we're listening to what Heather just told us, she's telling us to some degree that there's a choice here. Now, of course, if it's unconscious, we're not always aware of this choice, but there is a choice of the way you see the world. I oftentimes think if you want to feel different and think different, you first have to see the world different, and that is what we're going to talk about now.

Speaker 1:

And this is this idea of victim.

Speaker 1:

And so I know that the term victim can be very triggering for a lot of people.

Speaker 1:

So let me just say to me, from my perspective, as a next level human, if someone is hurt, they not only should be a victim, they have to be a victim for a time, because that is a required first step of healing.

Speaker 1:

We must be a victim, we must feel and we must allow ourselves to be in a victim state state. However and this is the triggering part at some point and I want to see your perspective on this, heather at some point we must make a choice and I know that is an infuriating thing to hear for a lot of people who have been victimized or hurt, but at some point we must choose to leave the victim state and if we don't do that, then it's self-imposed suffering in my mind. So I said that as a statement, but I really made it as a question for you, because when we hear choice in this, a lot of people don't think they have a choice and they are stuck in this sort of victim place. And I'm wondering what you think about this, because you brought up childhood development and what I'm thinking about trials, tribulations and even capital T traumas that people went through that have caused their psyche to be stuck, and we have the research to say this is what happens.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely At what point do we choose differently and how do we choose differently? Maybe this is something you and I can unpack together.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that'd be great. Well, first of all, I do agree with you and I appreciate your softness around. You know talking about how that can be triggering. You know, I think as practitioners we're always working to be understanding and empathetic and to be with our clients who are in that space. I guess, in a way, that's part of the work as a therapist is, if you're sitting with someone in that space, you're sitting with them, but you're also looking for opportunities to move them, to work alongside them, to move into a space of where they can start to come out of that victim role, if you will, and, I think, to offer people the idea that it is more of an empowering place to be when you move out of that space.

Speaker 2:

One other thing I want to touch back on what you said. What I loved was you did make mention of how important it is you do have to be in that victim place for a bit. You do have to feel those feelings. That is reality, that is truth, and then eventually to be able to move into a different story about it.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes, too, I don't know what you think about this, not to go off on a tangent, but I think a lot of times people misunderstand. When we're talking about changing the story or the narrative to a perspective that works better in life, it's not like you pretend the trauma didn't happen. It's not like we're making up lies about it. When we talk about changing the story, it's using the reality of what happened, but we're transmuting or transforming the energy of that into this new way of moving into the world, of seeing the world, of having that perspective within the world, in order to what do we want to say? Move forward or live a more meaningful, purposeful, free life? I think when we're stuck, when we're in victim mode, that's fine, but if we get stuck there, we are so confined.

Speaker 1:

We are so imprisoned. I just want to empower people to break free of that. I think I missed questions in there. You know, we humans are meaning making machines. In a sense, that might be our superpower or one of our superpowers. Like in the next level human curriculum, the first power to master is perception, which is really our ability to make meaning out of things.

Speaker 1:

And so if we're in victim state which we must be for a time and we want to we have to eventually get out of it, Otherwise we're trapped forever. We have to make a different meaning, which is what you're saying and it's critical. And to me, it's about seeing the frustrations as initiations, the hurts as opportunities, which is what you know, and that is a perception shift right. And I'll give an example of this. You and I, we talked about this before. We're the same age, so you'll get this and hopefully the listeners will as well.

Speaker 1:

But when I was a kid, and probably when Heather was too, we'd be sitting there having our breakfast cereal and we would have our milk cartons in front of us, and on those milk cartons were pictures of missing children. Now, if you go back and look at what happened, this was someone who lost their child. That child was murdered, raped after coming home from school One of the worst things that could possibly happen. And what they did to transcend the victim state which I think you said beautifully, Heather it's not to change the reality of what happened, it's to use it to do good. And what they did was they went and said we're not going to allow this to happen to any other children. We're going to do everything we can to use our hurt as a way to help, and that's how they transcended this, and I think we all have this opportunity.

Speaker 1:

It's kind of something you mentioned last time we talked, and we were talking about this idea of the authentic telling of your story of struggle is the way to turn pain into purpose, and that's the first step. That's what they did there. So I love what you're saying there, because I do think this is how we begin to move past this. I don't know if you remember those milk cartons and missing children, and do they still do that?

Speaker 2:

I don't know, no, I haven't seen any of that. No, no, no, yeah, that was back in our day. But a great example of how pain can be transmuted or transformed into something. And you know I I have, you know, personal story on that too, I think about you know I kind of mentioned in the introduction. You know I had a disordered eating pattern forever, tons of heavy restriction like really, really, and that for anybody who's gone through that, you really feel like you're in prison, like it was.

Speaker 2:

It was a good eight to 10 years of feeling very much imprisoned and some of the most miserable times in my life, I mean truly depressed and then swing into high anxiety. It was just this very, not a great time and being able I believe I was able to take that after my own healing and I'm really able to use that now to help other people, which has become one of the most amazing parts of my life, like being able to be in this space and help people move through those same struggles that I was in. But I think I can only do that in the way I do it because I experienced it myself right? So at this point I mean when I was in it, I would have done anything to get out of it and at this point I'm like, oh, I would not give up those years for anything. So it's a way of transmuting that, of transforming that horrible time in my life into something meaningful and I would even say moments of joy, you know.

Speaker 1:

I would even say moments of joy. You know, yeah, I love this. If we can, let's me and you unpack this for the listener, both of ourselves, because to me I go. We tend to think right, if someone's listening to this right now, and I think this is a good thing, but right now in mind, in your world and out in the health space where there's a lot about trauma, capital T trauma right Rape, physical assaults, all of that kind of stuff, and people like Gabor, mate and others are doing amazing work to illuminate this for all of us.

Speaker 1:

The Body Keeps the Score Vessel Mandacle so much going on in this particular space. What I'm curious about is people don't always respond to the idea of trauma, and so I'm wondering in your world and then I'll go through mine but I'm wondering do you see that some of these things that you had to struggle with, did they come out of trauma or did they just come out of struggle? Did they just come out of difficulties, you know? Uh, I'm curious. And then I'm curious of how you spotted the stories and the patterns around these things and transcended them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, um, okay, so do I feel like came from trauma? You know, I could just speak to this. When I think about traumatic that word and some of this is semantics in a way. But if I think of the word traumatic, and personally in my life, I can think of my parents divorced when I was 13. I believe that was a traumatic event in my life. I mean, I would use that word. My divorce was pretty traumatic, I would use that word for that. Other things I would say were probably struggles, um, adverse life events and I don't know, jade.

Speaker 2:

It's like, do we have to define those things? That's why I'm saying it it's. Some of this is so much semantics and when I'm working with clients, I let them language it. I don't say to them that was trauma or that. You know, I'm very careful about letting each individual, just like you, let me language it and put my own take on it, cause that's my reality, my authentic where I'm at. I don't want anyone telling me any difference, you know, and so maybe that's part of it too Like, how do we I don't know if that's what you're asking, but how do we decide if it's okay, yeah, if it's traumatic?

Speaker 2:

Is it big T trauma. Is it low? And we use these big T trauma, little T trauma, because we're trying to get this, these semantics, right, you know, which is fine, that's fine. We need language to try to define some of these things, but language can be tricky too. I, you know. I mean, that's a whole other thing, but that can our language really, how we choose our words, can create our own stories as well, you know so. So, yeah, so I would say those were two what I would label traumatic events in my life, the rest of it being like even the disordered eating and things like that. Me personally, I would say that was a big struggle. I don't see that as traumatic. I don't know yet.

Speaker 1:

And maybe there was something traumatic or struggle behind it that caused the stories that led to that behavior.

Speaker 2:

For sure that I would just whatever Trust me. I've done all this work. That definitely was my parents' divorce. So, yes, yes, I know how, how that all worked. What was the second part of your question?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it was. It was just more about you know. So the the languaging is important and the reason I brought it up is just because I think people go. Well, I don't have trauma, so I don't have to worry about this discussion between Jade and. Heather Right.

Speaker 1:

And so if we're listening to what Heather's saying, it's like it really is individual. But some of us, you know, even don't define like I might define something traumatic. Heather may not, you all may or may not. What matters is how the reaction was in ourselves. So that was the first question. So I'm so glad you unpacked that for us. Then the other thing is is then, how did you begin to, or was it a avenue of spotting some of these struggles, traumas, whatever you called it for yourself, spotting the patterns and it sounds like you were with your parents, divorced and then being able to unpack some of that around issues around safety and security, acceptance and belonging, freedom and autonomy that then led to some of the dysfunctional, symptomatic behavior. I think people go, oh, there's an eating disorder here, that's the thing. But what?

Speaker 1:

I'm suggesting is there's something beneath that for which the eating disorder is a symptom, and I'm wondering if you don't mind unpacking that for us so people can actually see the way it works from someone who's an expert.

Speaker 2:

You bet Absolutely yeah, you are spot on. So, yes, the disordered eating or eating disorder, that is always going to be a symptom of something else. And so if we go back to my parents' divorce, what my experience of that and also people should understand, when certain things happen to us, the ages that we are at, is going to matter and how that psychological block or that trauma hits us. So I was 13 years old when that happened. So I was this sort of preteen teenager when all that went on. So during that developmental stage I am forming my identity. I'm looking about relationship is going to be big there. So I'm watching my parents divorce, which means I'm forming ideas then about men, about safety and security within relationships and all that sort of thing.

Speaker 2:

So that got into for me, feeling this sense of I'm not good enough, and so that's a core negative belief that I really had hit deep, I'm not good enough which then led into okay, if I'm not good enough, I need to be good enough somewhere. So I got into sports and rock climbing and all these things that then had to do with my body and weight right, because rock climbing in particular is a very strength to weight ratio. So then I wanted to get better at rock, I wanted to be seen, I wanted to be enough. It's like you desire all these things, and so that was the avenue I took. Some people do it in other ways. I have to be the best at my profession, or I have to get straight A's or whatever it all comes down to. I need to be perfect. I'm not enough, so I need to be perfect. So then I'm holding on to this subconscious thing of I have to be perfect or I'm not safe and secure. I don't feel safety in my body unless I'm perfect, unless I'm performing in this really amazing way.

Speaker 2:

So that led to this over-exercising, over-training, because I wanted to be the best at my sport. Over-exercising, over-training because I wanted to be the best at my sport and I was running at the time and mountain biking too, and I wanted to be amazing at all these things. And so that led into over-training. Over-exercising, that led into binging because I was starving my body and that's a whole other thing. But with binging you eventually get to a place where your body just kind of almost takes over. So I would start binging and then you binge, and then, oh my goodness, now I got to restrict and run 20 miles tomorrow and so basically just really wrecking my body. But yes, to your point, it starts with that one and it can be multiple things too, but that messaging of you're not enough, you're not enough.

Speaker 1:

And I love what you're educating us on here the way. I usually say it just for you listeners. And, Heather, you can correct me on this if you think I get this wrong, but to me I go between zero and 10 years old, right, Children. That's primarily safety and security years. Right and then you start going and, of course, you're always looking at safety and security throughout your development.

Speaker 1:

But then 10 to 20 is really about acceptance and belonging. You're right at this cusp as you move from safety, security to acceptance and belonging, and those are the stories that you then begin to look at. So the symptom of the binge eating and the over-stri striving physically has its roots in stories around safety and security and acceptance and belonging. And so then, if we want to stop this, we have to go back and look at these misguided, unconscious decisions that we made about the world during these childhood development phases. And of course we might go. You know this is the important thing I think all of us need to kind of worry about. And of course we might go. You know this is the important thing, I think all of us need to kind of worry.

Speaker 1:

But some of you went through divorces, and it wasn't traumatic. Heather went through a parent divorce. It was traumatic. It imprinted on her in a particular way that caused patterns that followed her around into adulthood that she had to become aware of and clear to begin to heal completely. And one thing I'll say here that I think is really interesting is that some of these things that we do, by the way, right, you know, in the landmark form, education, which I did way back. Some of you may know that, but they talk about rackets and the racket is this idea. It's a strong suit and it has some benefits, but it also has a downside. It's what we do. So in a sense, heather's racket was over-exercise, strive and it has some benefits, right Like it did have some benefits in terms of probably got a lot done, a striving personality, probably really good in a lot of ways. But then it had a downside too.

Speaker 2:

That's right. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I think too, when you're talking about when we have to go back and look at those stories and get clear and find clarity in order to start to shift them, to transmute them, to transform them into where we want to go, just as you were talking, I was like, oh, that's interesting, because usually so, I was really unconscious in a way. I mean, I was still doing my job and helping people and people were dealing with things I was dealing with and I wasn't even seeing it in myself, right, which I always think is awesome, because it's like people think experts in the mental health field or whatever they've got it all together and it's like, okay, no, but it was like, yeah, you know, it took, I got pregnant and that. So that is what shit.

Speaker 2:

That is what made me look at myself, because now I was carrying this other human being and all of a sudden it was like I wasn't enough, but I sure as heck was going to take care of this other little person growing inside me. And that is what made me look at whoa, what are you doing? Like you can't restrict when you're having a baby. You can't run 20 miles when you're preggers, you know. So my point in that is just that I think sometimes it does take something else sort of hitting us over the head, if you will to take a peek at what's going on, although I think the easier way is to get educated on some of this stuff so that you don't need something hitting and I loved being pregnant, don't get me wrong but like something that major happening and wasting all that time and years. Like if I had known if I could have plugged in, if someone had been talking to me about some of this stuff, I maybe would have made some of those changes earlier. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's really interesting because I oftentimes think that life, you know, it's like, it's almost like we're playing the game of human and in this game, you know the goal is to up level and, of course, our repeated patterns, recurrent obstacles and stuck emotions tell us an awful lot about how we're progressing in the game.

Speaker 1:

And then we have these things happen to us that you know, people have this saying everything happens for a reason and you know, part of me likes that saying, part of me doesn't, because I also go. Well, I think a lot of times two things happen and we have to make a reason.

Speaker 2:

We have to choose a reason. That is my belief, you know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

So to me I go. I'm not sure things happen for a reason. I think it's. Things happen and we make a reason. In other words, opportunities in everything, even if they are horrible, as we saw with the milk carton example and we humans to become a victor instead of a villain right or a victim. Villain is the one that's a hurt person who's hurting people. A victim is the one who's a hurt person who's over-identifying with that hurt, and a victor is a hurt person who helps people. And as we make that transition into victor, we begin to transmute, transcend, integrate our wounds in a way that takes us to whole other levels and the things that happen to us, no matter how difficult they seem, there's always that opportunity to go from villain or victim into Victor in my mind, and a lot of people don't see it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, again, that gets into the. I mean, that's part of the reason I love having these discussions and hitting you know more and more people and really that that use the word education, but that education piece on that, yeah, these things absolutely can be looked at, they can be clarified. You can find clarity with your story and you can really. There are the hows, there are skills to be able to change some of that, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so sorry. I lost you just for a minute there, heather. But one of the things I want to do if you don't mind, heather, you can kind of coach me along with this too but I do want to do if you don't mind, heather, you can kind of coach me along with this too but I do want to share a little bit of my story with my story of struggle, trauma, also to illustrate for the listener you know, the different ways these can look. So we saw Heather's sort of story of struggle and my story is, you know, very different. My parents, you know, are still together. They had a really great marriage. There was some arguing and stuff like that and I was loved. I was very much cuddled a lot and never really coddled.

Speaker 1:

But I did have a mother who was dealing with her own childhood traumas and she was incredibly volatile emotionally. I would find her crying in the bedroom at times and find her weeping in the living room. One minute she would be happy with me running through the house with mud all over me, and the next minute I would be being screamed at because there were some socks on the floor and this made me distrust. Of course I figured this out way later, after an affair and a divorce, but it made me mistrust female emotions. I became a people pleaser for women and I also did not trust female emotions or that a woman could actually hold it down for me, and this followed me into all of my romantic relationships shifts.

Speaker 1:

And so the point that I think we're making here is look at Heather's right. Her not dealing with those underlying things led to binge eating, striving in a particular way With me. It led to romantic dysfunction, and it didn't have to be some, you know, huge, you know event. I was never raped. I was never physically abused. I was.

Speaker 1:

You know, I didn't have those kinds of things. I just had a mother who was a loving mother but incredibly emotionally volatile and as simple as that is for some of you listening, it might not have hit you the way it hit me, but it did hit me that way, for whatever reason, and that then created dysfunctions. And so if we look at our dysfunctions and you made an interesting point, heather, about us humans we often can see everyone else's dysfunction and are blind to ourselves. It's almost like we have bad breath and you just don't know it. People with bad breath really don't know. They know only because people won't give them gum, they haven't been kissed in forever and people are keeping their distance. Then they know. So we have to look at our patterns.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I have a little saying for that that I always share no-transcript.

Speaker 1:

Heather and I have done this, We've coached on all this. But exercise, diet, all the things, the biohacking, all of that. It's time to biohack our psychology as well as our physiology, and if you can do that, a lot of things begin to figure themselves out.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. I love that when you work with clients. So now I'm thinking about we've kind of talked about the why and I'm thinking about, okay, the how is also a really important piece, I think, for people to understand. I kind of mentioned it earlier. I really like people to hear that these are things like skills, and skills can be learned and practiced and mastered, and so this is not I like people to understand. This can be really practical.

Speaker 2:

This doesn't have to be necessarily that you go work with a therapist and you do all this psychoanalyzing stuff. It doesn't have to be that way. I'm not sure I was going to ask you how go work with a therapist and you know you do all this psychoanalyzing stuff. It doesn't have to be that way. I'm not sure you know. I was going to ask you how you work with the clients in that how part. I know for me, you know it's a lot of things. I mean I do a lot of like writing exercises with clients and journal prompting and I mean obviously in clinic it's a lot.

Speaker 2:

You're doing that verbally or whatever, but talking a lot about it's a lot. You're doing that verbally or whatever, but talking a lot about even worksheets on. You know, sit for five minutes and what are the thoughts coming up? And what those thoughts, what feelings then come up, and teaching people feeling words and the thousands of feeling words that there are, so they can get nuanced with naming their emotions. Things like that that are practical and that can help you uncover or figure out what these actual narratives and subconscious, unconscious stories are that may be not helpful for you anymore.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, it's not surprising to me, as you and I get to know each other better and I'm so grateful that we're developing this dialogue and this friendship and this, you know, sort of because we see each other things a lot the same way and we have enough differences to make it interesting to learn from each other.

Speaker 1:

But a hundred percent. And actually I use a form of my own form of written exposure therapy, which is a journaling technique that essentially brings people through. This is a technique that developed for PTSD, but I use it for all struggles and strivings and trials and tribulations, as a way to feel, deal and heal around our old stories. And so I use a ton of journaling and in fact, I think it perhaps is I say this tentatively but confidently that it is perhaps the most important of the things that I use to help people rewrite their stories. There's something about and, by the way, research even shows there's something about putting pen to paper or pencil to paper. That's different than typing, Although that works too, but I actually have people physically write yeah, that's what I do too, Jay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I'll sometimes even try to show them some of that research. Like your handwriting, like you writing in your hand matters To your point. You can type, and that's fine too, but there is a different part of the brain that's activated when. I believe it's within the limbic system, which is our emotional part of the brain when we're using penmanship, which I could go on a tangent about that, because they don't teach handwriting in school anymore.

Speaker 1:

Anyway, that's a whole other thing, actually funnily enough, my mom's a professional calligrapher, so she's always railing about that, but yeah, so written exposure therapy or journaling techniques I do honor code work.

Speaker 1:

I do a lot with journaling. The next how is? I do a lot with meditation, not the mindfulness meditation that most people are familiar with, but more feeling-based, visualization-based, dropping people into the feeling so their nervous system can learn a different feeling than what they are experiencing day to day. So I'm wondering about that. And then the final one I'll throw out is I do a lot with a form of exposure therapy that I call fear, pr-based stuff, and by you know so, research.

Speaker 1:

This is an interesting research study that came out recently where they took arachnophobes and then also people who were afraid of heights, acrophobia. I think they're similar in name, but arachnophobia is fear of spiders, acrophobia is a fear of heights, and they basically said let's dissolve, through exposure therapy, fear of spiders, and what they found is the acrophobia, the fear of heights, also dissipated. So there's something about when we extinguish one fear through, uh, we actually start to become less fearful overall, and so I use a lot of exposure therapies with fear-based, uh, what I would call PRs personal records from our world of personal training, right, it's like what's like?

Speaker 1:

what's your PR, what's your personal record on a lift? What I do is what's your personal record on a fear, and so that really is. There's other tools but my, how are those three things written, exposure therapy, feeling-based meditations and then exposure therapies, so that you're you know, it's that whole idea of being that you brought up Heather right Thinking, feeling, choosing, acting. So I'm trying to hit all three of those with that three-step process.

Speaker 2:

I'm curious how your process looks. Yeah, really really similar. Of course, you know the piece I do a lot of with. So obviously I do a lot of cognitive behavioral that's kind of where the journaling piece fits in a little bit. But I also use a lot of cognitive behavioral that's kind of where the journaling piece fits in a little bit but I also use a lot of tactics from somatic therapy, which would be the feeling-based part where I'm working not just with cognitions and behavior, but where we're working with the sensations in the body and more feelings in the body.

Speaker 2:

I find, you know I think I well, I did share at the beginning I have a lot of anxiety clients. Typically, people with high anxiety are also pretty high functioning, so pretty high functioning anxiety clients, and they typically have a lot. They're overthinkers, they have a lot of ruminating thoughts. You know all all these kinds of things. So if you're in your head a lot, typically that person this was me forever very difficult time feeling our feelings, actually feeling our feelings, and so you know, if your listeners kind of think about this, I have this theory that as humans, one of Our biggest fears are actually feeling our feelings, if you think about it. So we talk about being afraid of spiders or being afraid of heights or you know, whatever the fear may be, but the truth is it's not actually. This is my theory, like not, so I may be wrong and you can intervene here, but it's not actually the spider. It's sort of like I don't want to feel the sensations in my body that come up when I see that spider. So it's not the little thing, it's not the heights, it's like the sensations I'm going to have, it's the body.

Speaker 2:

The nervous system goes into this place of thinking it's going to die, right. So it gets real panicky and the feelings like the tight chest, I can't breathe, those sort of things in heightened anxiety are actually what we're afraid of. So I do a lot of work getting people to sit in their feelings and I do things with timers and it is just exposure theory, but it's exposure to the feeling and the sensations themselves. If I can get someone who is on the verge of a panic attack or even afraid of having another panic attack, and if anyone out there has ever had them I've had them they're horrible you do think you're going to die.

Speaker 2:

A lot of people go to the ER thinking they're having heart attacks. They can't breathe. It's super, super scary, but you can teach people to sit in that and over time the nervous system, the brain, learns okay, we're not dying here, we're not dying. And so eventually that whole sensation package that goes along with the feeling of anxiety comes down a notch. It's not like it always disappears I mean, for some people it does but it comes down enough to where we don't have this immediate visceral reaction anymore. So now I'm not afraid of having a panic attack, I'm not afraid. So it's a different way of approaching sort of this exposure therapy in regards to actually learning and teaching the nervous system to feel our feelings.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that so much and I use a lot of the same things, and so we're we're in agreement here as well, which is really interesting that we have not, I don't think, had one one disagreement on this.

Speaker 2:

We need to find one, yeah, we have to.

Speaker 1:

We have to find one for sure, but you know what you know. One of the things about anxiety that is really interesting is exactly that is that if you can learn to sit like we hear a lot with emotions, where people go express your emotions- right and to me.

Speaker 1:

I go. You can have emotional integrity, you can name the emotion, you can feel the emotion without needing to express it and feel like it controls you, and you do that by going within it and sitting with the experience, and so oftentimes, exactly what you're doing is the idea of teaching people to be with the experience. I also I'll throw something out that we might disagree with or at least we can have some dialogue about. So when I think of some of the core emotions you know let's say anger, frustration, resistance, anxiety, insecurity, depression I tend to think of these as being bumbled with stories in our childhood and our adolescence. And anxiety to me is an interesting one because to me I always go.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes there's a feeling and then we create the story as you alluded to, but sometimes there's the story that then elicits the feeling, and part of the story that I think comes along with anxiety is the inability to choose or to own a choice once it's made, and especially if we feel out of control. Out of control means that we don't feel like we have choice, and it harkens back again to, of course, safety and security. As a child, you know childhood. But then how do we deal with safety and security issues, You'll see people's coping mechanisms be power plays and control controlling. And then those power plays and controlling to get us to feel safe and secure can get stuck in the body, and then what begins to happen is this anxiety comes and what it feels like is I've got no control, which is another way of saying I've got no choice and I love.

Speaker 2:

I think it was no agency, exactly.

Speaker 1:

And I think who was the African-American woman who refused to get off the bus. What was her name?

Speaker 2:

Oh, Rosa Parks.

Speaker 1:

Rosa Parks. She has a great saying. She said you know, the cure for fear is definitive action. Right, and so that partly is. I love that quote coming from you know, sort of Rosa Parks, but I think that's that's what it is right. The anxiety and the definitive action Heather's actually educating us on is one is to sit in it and also go. Where is it that I'm feeling out of control in my life, perhaps? And what story am I telling about control? And where is it that I'm not choosing? You know what I think needs to be chosen? Almost always. I've seen it again. I work with a lot of women too and it's like relationship stuff, getting out of a marriage, or you know like that can create a ton of anxiety. Jobs you know, being stuck in a job, a ton of anxiety, not knowing how you're going to handle your kids, ton of anxiety. But it's all about agency and choice. I'm wondering what you think about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I definitely agree. Yeah, I wouldn't argue anything there, I do. You know, when you talk about control, I definitely went working with people with anxiety, and I know I mean anxiety still comes up for me. I've learned ways, tools to manage that different stories, you know still comes up for me. I've learned ways, tools to manage that, different stories, you know, all that kind of thing.

Speaker 2:

But when a person's in anxiety, that is precisely it, and then our actions we will do anything for control in the moment, right?

Speaker 2:

So, absolutely, anxiety is about lack of control, lack of agency, lack of the ability to make a decision, and then what happens, though, is then we move into this space of behaving in ways of trying to get control any way we possibly can. So I'm thinking you know, these are just things popping in my head, but it might be when I'm in heightened anxiety, that's when I get really. I'm even thinking about the example you gave of your mom, of where it's like, that's when I'm very much like you know, pick up your like. All of a sudden, I'm angry at my child, I'm like the tiniest little things because those shoes on the ground. I'm in such heightening I can't handle that today, you know. And so we will have outbursts like that to try to gain a sense of control, because the second we have control, the anxiety comes down for a moment. I mean it's not lasting for a moment. So, yeah, those things absolutely go together for sure.

Speaker 1:

And I think, to begin to wrap this up, I think what you know for you all listeners, that we're talking about, right, that these deep-seated stories, these emotions that recur again and again, even the obstacles in our lives, they are pointing to the patterns and the ways of thinking that are stuck in our unconscious through our struggles, through our trials, through our tribulations, through our traumas that then follow us around. And so if you're trying to make transformational change in wealth, in health, in personal relationships, it's virtually impossible just by budgeting more or running more on the treadmill or reading a communication, book, communication book, right, it's not that those things don't matter, it's just that there's things deeper that you have never been educated on that people like Heather and I have seen Now. Heather was early to this, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, but it's interesting that we sort of came to this yeah, lucky, yeah, and lucky me too that I finally kind of figured it out.

Speaker 1:

So, heather, I just think you're absolutely brilliant. I love the conversations with you. How about just final thoughts from you and then telling everyone where they can find you, because I'm sure they're going to want more of your education and more of your brain?

Speaker 2:

Oh, thanks so much, jade. I really appreciate that. Final thoughts Well, there's a lot that could come from that conversation. I guess I would just say I mean you kind of succinctly, just wrap that all up, but I would just reiterate the importance of understanding there is this deeper layer to hit at when we want to make change, when we want to make transformation, and that it is not so far out there. I mean, anybody can do this. Anybody can do this. Like I said, there are skills around this, there are practices, there are very clear-cut hows and strategies and really ways to do this that doesn't have to involve a, like I said, I think people get this idea.

Speaker 2:

You have to go sit on a couch and be psychoanalyzed for years and years, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. I've done some of that. It's awesome stuff, but I'm just saying that's not necessarily what needs to happen in order to break free from some of your old stories and move into ones that are a lot more helpful in life. Yeah, thank you so much. So where can people find you real quick? On social, you bet. Yeah, instagram is probably the biggie.

Speaker 2:

That is Heinen Counseling and Coaching. I don't know why I had to make that so difficult, but Heinen is spelled H-E-Y-N-E-N. I have a couple of online courses more directed at ending binge eating and overeating and emotional eating. You can get to those from my website at heatherheinencom. You can get to my podcast from there, my podcast called Weight Loss and Wellness for Real Weight loss, yes, is a part of it, but it's very much more of these deeper things that you and I are talking about. In order to get there. Yeah, I think that's it. And yeah, I'm on YouTube. I just started YouTube. So, heather Heinen Wellness, I think that's it. Jade, I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Heather Heinen, thank you so much for being on. Hang on real quick. I'm going to end right now, but for all of you, we will see you at the next podcast.

Mental Health and Metabolism Discussion
Creating Behavior Change Through Self-Awareness
Transmuting Pain Into Purpose
Unpacking Trauma and Behavioral Patterns
Discovering and Overcoming Personal Dysfunction
Biohacking Psychology Through Skills and Therapies
Overcoming Anxiety and Finding Control