Understanding How to be Comfortable In Your Own Body


Clint Murphy Brent Stevenson


Brent Stevenson, Clint Murphy

Clint Murphy  00:00

Brent, welcome to the show, where we’re going to start today with your book, why things hurt is with this paragraph, and then I’m going to hand it over to you and let you color things in. For the listeners, your posture is collectively how you sit, stand, walk and move. It is how other people see you, but reflects your own genetics experiences, traumas and personality. It is how you’re holding it all together. Can you take us through that?

Brent Stevenson  00:30

Sure. I believe that from the one the first sections I put in there, a lady named Joyce, who was that counselor I was treating. And I like to tell people that just because you can stand, sit, walk and breathe doesn’t mean you do any of them very well. There’s a lot of things that people take for granted, we learn to use our bodies at a really young age when we’re just growing and developing, we have no real context for that anything could be any differently. And people I just as a physiotherapist people come in to see me and they’re coming in. It’s physical therapy, people are coming in for an injury or pain and don’t necessarily know why or what’s happening to them. And so it’s my job to help them understand why things hurt. And a lot of that comes back into Sure, maybe they fell and sprained their ankle, but a lot of times it’s the little insidious things throughout life that they’ve done in terms of how they’re sitting at their desk all day, how they’re standing at a counter all day, some of the stresses in their life, whether they had some traumas earlier in life. So it’s more of a all the collectively how everything holds together, is what people need to start to start to appreciate about their body. And that makes sense. 

Clint Murphy  01:56

Yeah, and let’s expand on that with let’s stay with joy. So you wrote that, for the first time, she came to recognize her thoughts and her physical body were somehow related. And her seemed to be strangely conflicting. It was an aha moment, she had to work out for herself. I couldn’t tell her. So what was that realization she had? And how might that impact the listener who’s listening with this idea? That it may be our thoughts or the stress that we’re carrying that is manifesting in physical ailments?

Brent Stevenson  02:34

Yeah, so she was a very generally, I would say, pessimistic person, she wasn’t sure she would. Very didn’t think she could change anything about her physicality. She was a long, lanky person or her arms just sort of had hung off of her body. She didn’t really she never really exercised or play sports and didn’t really have much of an actual physical relationship with her body. And she had spent all her day trying to go through and work with other pupils sort of psychological issues and problems and trying to prop them up, but never really sort of considered her own. And she had a lot of trouble just sitting at a desk all day because her back was slowly getting Stokes getting sore. And she didn’t say in terms of it comes back to her posture and how she was holding it all together, she really did not do a very good job of actually figuring out how to stack up the bones in her body and, and she’d sit and just hang from her ligaments when she moved her body was just this sort of collection of bones. And I slowly over time taught her how to move more efficiently in space, which involved her stalking her skeleton up and moving it put her eventually into a much more assertive looking posture and condition where her the way she conveyed herself to the world was a little bit more kind of apathetic and down and, and she was much more of an introvert and I taught her how to efficiently stack things together, and move around and that slowly over time, equated to her pain going away. But then she was physically holding herself in a way that didn’t necessarily match up with her with her more passive nature. And she started to she’s the aha moment was when she started to realize how she could start to take control of that and she started getting into Pilates and learning about just being more assertive in her own health. 

Clint Murphy  04:30

So then her behaviors and her mindset and the way she portrayed herself more assertively started to tie to the posture that she was now carrying around. 

Brent Stevenson  04:40

Yeah, yeah. So she, if you could, you could see it and how she held herself that she was more assertive with it. And it also like, part of it, a lot of her pain was and I say through my books, how people tend to hold their day to day tensions in and around their muscular systems and some of their deeper see uses anxieties or stresses or fears, in around their in around their organs and your namely, your heart and lungs are a big place in your chest where your body will hold on to tension and the muscles into your upper traps. And some of the deep muscles in your bomber are areas where your body will just start to create a bit of a bracing tone. And so I helped her start to realize how some of the that sitting talking with people all day was certain to be a bit triggering for her both physically and biomechanically. And Emotionally, I went through and released some of the muscles in your body. And it could make her feel better. But she kept coming back being this regenerating source of tension. And over time, teaching her how to be biomechanically more efficient and realize what some of her stress triggers were, she started to tune into why and how she was feeling uncomfortable.

Clint Murphy  05:58

So let’s check in on that brain interface. Because there was something you wrote that I hadn’t heard before that I want to explore a little with you is this idea that when we have an acute injury, which often is what ultimately brings us in for physiotherapy, one of the things that you point out is we continue to blame the acute trauma. But you point out that nerves spend two to six weeks relaying messages to our brain that something isn’t quite right. But even after the tissues have healed, because we’ve been sending those signals, the brain continues to tell us that something’s hurt when the healing may have already occurred. So how does that work? And how do we how do we overcome that that glitch in our brain muscle healing interface?

Brent Stevenson  06:51

Sure, yeah, that that’s a really a fundamental part of just the process of Physiotherapy is helping people understand that we’re really just this big collection of sensory feedback loops, we have nerves that help go to our skin that help us sense hot and cold and sharp and dull, and there’s paint nerve fibers that are specifically for pain. So if you roll your ankle and sprain it in the actually tear some of the tissues in the fiber that those some of those nerve roots are going to get up to your brain saying, hey, worry about me worry about me. And first, for good reason, because you do have some structural damage or some injury in there, and over about four to six weeks, your body will sort of knit those back together and remodel it. But over time, that then the, the need for your body to worry about that gets progressively less and less, but we start to get where they’re gonna say, our nervous system will start misinterpreting some of these sort of McCanna receptors and all that other muscles and tendons and joints around that area as a noxious stimulus when they don’t necessarily need to be. And it starts just to create a hypersensitivity of it. So your body will start to where there’s not necessarily a structural injury, the muscles in that area can start to create an increased tension or an increased tone, which will make them act functionally weak, they’ll start to restrict a joint, and then that can start to have a biomechanical effect on other parts of your body when something’s not moving very well. And depending on how you actually emotionally related to that initial injury, sometimes hurting yourself just back can be a scary, scary thing, pain can create fear. And you see your body subconsciously gets scared of it and gets overly protective of it. That over time, our nervous system is a plastic system that does change and alter and adapt to the forces we put on it both physically and emotionally. So once something has actually structurally healed, you have to start getting to use something and move it again. And that’s where some of the exercises and physio go that helps your body habituate to that hypersensitivity and start to learn like where it can start to ignore some of those sensations as opposed to subconsciously sort of double down on that protectionism. 

Clint Murphy  09:22

So working with your, your medical practitioner or physiotherapist, you want to you want to get back to action as quickly as you can in a safe way versus letting that mental Hey, it’s injured. You can’t use it. Like actually overcome that by using it and getting back on the field or back in the game of play. 

Brent Stevenson  09:45

Yeah, and there’s a lot of those things pains relative so as a lot of times people they might actually acutely hurt themselves and it really hurts to start with and then they’ll get like get past three, four or five weeks. It doesn’t necessarily hurt in the in there anymore, but it does Is does still doesn’t move very well. But your body will slowly compensate around, say an ankle, it doesn’t move very well by adjusting maybe your posture or moving in your hip differently. And that subtle restriction that might not hurt actually, that limitation of movement can have this trickle down effect that keeps affecting you mechanically and down the line, which is where I, one of the main sort of interventions I do use with people is called IMS or Intramuscular Stimulation, which does say like an anatomy specific form of acupuncture, if it does use an acupuncture needle to go into a stiff, tight chronic muscle, it can help your nervous system start to let that go. And sort of go back to a normal resting state which can really help you get a really reflexive relaxation of muscles and help people feel more normal supposed to feel it.  

Clint Murphy  10:57

The something you talked about in there with hips and flexibility, you wrote about something that was interesting to me because it was the first time I’d heard it. And I think similar to you, I tend to be very stiff, very sore after I play sports, but oddly relative to the average person and much more flexible than they are. And so you talked about this idea of hyper mobility, and the range, if you will, or spectrum of mobility and the implications that has on how we carry ourselves in I guess how our body relates during physical activities and the implications on injuries or physio implications. Can you talk about that spectrum of mobility and how that interplays with the conversation we’re having today?

Brent Stevenson  11:46

Sure, like I’m, I didn’t realize until I was already into my mid 20s and been a physio for a few years and had the opportunity to actually poke and prod and move other people’s bodies around that I was actually really quite loose jointed myself and or what he called being hyper mobile, wrote an article in my first book and on my blog, why things hurt.com years ago called being hyper mobile, a gift and a curse wrapped into one, rich and everybody sort of sits on a spectrum of how much of a protein called elastin that we have in our tissues, which and it really will dictate the overall extensibility of your soft tissues like your tendons, muscles, and ligaments, which the more elastin you have, the more effectively loosey goosey you are, the more loosely are held together and the less of it the more relatively stiffer your joints are being hypermobile does inherently make you a bit more flexible, but it might sound like a good thing to be relatively more flexible, but there are definitely pros and cons to it. Because you have 200 different bones and joints and in your body. And when everything’s more loosely held together, it’s a much more challenging biomechanical task to actually physically hold it all together. Over time when everything’s really loose, jointed people tend to develop bracing strategies to just help hold and stack things up together. So they get people that have done a lot of like dance or ballet or gymnastics. Usually the more loose jointed people start to gravitate towards movement based sports and things that do require flexibility, but they tend to develop these real postural imbalances and strategies will have developed sway backs and really tight muscles in their hips. So even though they are way more flexible than people because they’ve got developed these bracing habits, they actually end up feeling more stiff all the time than their non hyper mobile or hyper mobile counterparts. Because our muscles are supposed to have a certain amount of resting tone to them. They shouldn’t be these limp, flaccid things and they shouldn’t be sitting there overly contracted, both due to postural strategies, and due to emotional stress and tension, our muscles will hold on to and create a certain level of resting tone. And when that tone gets too high, it gets very compressive on your joints and which gets very uncomfortable it can stand it can start to translate into pain and stiffness, or certain joints don’t move very well starts getting uncomfortable. So it ends up being one of the first things I’m screening for when I’m going through an assessment of someone is looking how loosey goosey they are because the stiff people you can kind of just loosen them up and they feel better. The more hypermobile people are, you can loosen them up, they feel better, but then you really genuinely have to teach them how to move and how to hold it all together properly because the Otherwise they’re just how they go through their day. And they’re just have very inefficient movement strategies and they just keep getting these little re injuries and pains that makes them uncomfortable.

Clint Murphy  14:49

And so if you’re someone who falls into that category, should you be looking at even just a physio assessment to say hey, like how am I bracing all the time? How am I holding my tightness? So, if you’re someone who does feel like all the time, like, Oh, I am tired, I’m carrying a lot of stress or tightness in my shoulders, or my legs and getting headaches, like, are you? Is that something you should be getting an assessment for? 

Brent Stevenson  15:14

Yeah, yeah, no, it’s people really don’t like people are more prone to seek out help. If they did sort of mechanically do something like they bent over and they hurt their back, and then it’s just not going away. And then they’ll come in to try to problem solve it. But life is inherently stressful physically and emotional on people and we are actually recently wrote an article on my blog called You Are regenerating source of tension, learn why. And that comes back both to the posture, how we’re sitting and standing, but also, the role of having a bad boss at work or getting in a fight with your wife, or dealing with teenage kids. All of those things are inherently stressful, and your body will start to hold tension and tone into muscles into particularly in your upper traps and the deep muscles in your bum. And you can just be this sort of slow pressure cooker, that starts getting uncomfortable, and I tell people that you kind of need a bit of a steam release valve every so often. So it could be come into physio, or go to a chiropractor or see a massage therapist, and that can help let some of the tension go, that when you’re ready, you really should learn some of the things you’re doing that are actually creating those regenerating sources of attention, some of them are physical, and some of them are more physical and emotional. So yes, having an assessment is really helpful. 

Clint Murphy  16:39

I want to zone in on that on that emotional side, and specifically stress and anxiety. So I’m going to read you a large passage that you wrote, and then pass the torch over to you to explain to the listeners what we’re talking about here, because a lot of what I picked up in reading your book is this emotional impact of stress and anxiety on our bodies. And so the passage was, I’ve noticed an ever growing problem of stress and anxiety in people as they tried to figure out how to navigate their healthcare system while listening to the thoughts and stories of millions of other individuals. We’ve become overly connected, impatient, overwhelmed, greedy, and tolerant and less happy in a time when everything is awesome. All because we think too much. Take that one away. What like, what what are we getting at here and the implication for people?

Brent Stevenson  17:36

Yeah, I mean, that’s where I think part of the everything is awesome when I put a quote in there from Louie CK, I remember years ago being on I think Conan O’Brien saying like, everyone’s EQ, everything is awesome, and no one’s happy. But it really put every I’ve been a physio for 20 years now. And every year that goes by particularly more in the last three, four or five years since the COVID times we’ve seen the real driving force when you get to know somebody, I’ve seen somebody enough times and start to see what it is that’s driving people to come in for physiotherapy is the role that stress anxiety, fear and loneliness are playing in their lives. And it’s they’re not necessarily appreciating that particularly I’m, I’m a good example of it, people that sort of, particularly people that come off as overtly laid back and casual and don’t necessarily perceive anxiety, cognitively, they can even get through your day and feel comfortable and confident that you’re doing everything. Sometimes your body can just be screaming at you otherwise, like you don’t necessarily like see lots of people don’t identify as an anxious person, because they don’t feel or they don’t necessarily think they’re anxious, but they hold they’re holding all sorts of tension in and around their bodies. And it’s, that’s where when I connected with the gab or Matt Tay on his recent book on called the myth of normal, which gets into how sort of our current society you know, life is not necessarily normal. Our body’s responses to all the stresses we’ve put on them is normal that some of the situations we find ourselves in whether it’s sort of doom scrolling on social media, or, or just being particularly people sort of my age where they find themselves I’ve got, I’ve got three teenage kids, I’ve got aging parents on one side, I’m running two multidisciplinary health care clinics, I’m working clinically full time. I’m sort of burning it at both ends. I feel like I can do it because I have the cognitive capacity but I started realizing that I was getting getting really rundown feeling kind of sick for no particular feeling kind of just ill but not being sick. I was getting headaches and I had things to kind of blame that on but wasn’t necessarily realizing my body was the stress. And I’m seeing that more and more with people having a hard time said people are changing jobs due to COVID. They’ve got financial stresses and it’s their bodies are holding on to tension. And part of that is in their muscular system and a lot of that in around their heart and lungs in the loops of their small intestine and night. I’ve learned the techniques as a physio to feel that in people’s bodies, both through using needles to tap into people’s muscles and seeing how their nervous system responds. I’ve taken probably 15 courses and it’s osteopath, osteopathic manual therapy to something that’s called visceral manipulation, diff, just feel the tensions and poles with different organs in your body and how they how they’re impacting your alignment and your movement. And you get a chance to actually get to see somebody and talk to them for like a half an hour or once a week for a long period of time, while feeling their bodies, you can see these roller coasters of motion manifested. Physically, I’ve gotten more and more, I’ve gotten quite good at releasing that tension. I call that like a Steam release valve I can like I can make you feel better. But I’m part of this my more recent book, my first book was called why things hurt life lessons from an injury prone physical therapist. My current book is called Why We hurt understanding how to be comfortable in your own body. And there’s I just really noticed this disconnect and how people are having a really hard time feeling uncomfortable, not necessarily always in pain, but they’re uncomfortable or tense or anxious. And what they’re feeling is the physical manifestation of their emotions.

Clint Murphy  21:43

When you think about that, oh, even use me as an example on this one. Probably in the moment, I have the most change going on in my life I’ve ever had. We’ve had a family member, you know, my father in law just passed away selling our house buying a new one, leaving a job starting a new job, starting multiple businesses all at the same time. And during all of this, I probably had a migraine for about a month. And so you know, hearing what you say about how the tension just turns into headaches and physical anxiety and stress. When the listeners hearing that, and I’m hearing it, how do you get through to them? When they’re your clients? Hey, look like these things that are happening to you these changes these life situations, you know, hearing you say it right now, it makes sense that it would manifest itself and it’s contributing to the headaches or the issues I’m having, what would you say to the listener who’s in the same situation, on how they deal with it, you know, going into physio, that’s, that’s one way going in and seeing someone like you, Brent, who can help us release it. What about counselling? Or are there other things they can do at home, to release the steam valve?

Brent Stevenson  23:00

Yeah, and like, that’s where I, I would say, I’ve gotten better at identifying and calling people on it earlier in the process than I probably used to. And a big part of it is not everybody is immediately going to sort of identify as that’s the issue. And you that’s the big tenant of my current book is it’s, there’s layers of knowledge, you have to trans sort of sort of impart to people to help them not take it defensively and you telling them it’s all in your head. And it’s, I find that gets people are pretty aware that like they have stress but not necessarily what that experience of stress is. And so I find the book is full of just stories of how I’ve interacted with people through this, to this to let them tell their story and see where they’re at. And then a big part of it is giving them some physical treatment first to help them start to feel better, and then start layering on little bits of information to show them what helped them see what some of the things are that are the creating the regenerating source for people with headaches like yourself. There are, as I said, our emotional center really is our heart and our lungs. That’s where you’ll take on a lot of physical strain. So your heart sits in your chest and a bag called your pericardium which has ligaments that attach to the inside of the front part of your sternum, the upper or the lower base part of your neck and into your mid back just sort of above your diaphragm. And then it’s wrapped in your lungs like to show a big poster in my office that shows people how big your lungs are, they actually start above your collarbone this little space up here, wrap around your heart go all the way down into the lower part of your ribcage and your back is an area where your body will hold tension. There’s the same sort of there is tugging at your heartstrings as well. There are ligaments that attach your heart there are literal kind of heartstrings and they when you’re, if you had an a lot of like your bronchial tubes, which are where your breathing pipe sort of your trachea goes here bifurcates into two breathing pipes that goes to your lungs. It’s an area where people hold a lot of grief and loss. And it’s like someone grabbing onto and trying to pull your head into your body like a turtle. If you get used to understanding and feeling what it feels like on the different tensions as a physio, I can pull your head and try to stretch and see where things are pulling back from a lot of headaches, the tension, particularly migraines and stuff are more coming from tension into your chest and your upper back. And I can go in deeper into the anatomy of it. But that might get a little bit too much. But I will go through and explain some of that to people with anatomy and posters. And then I find the quickest acting thing from an intervention side is doing IMS dry needling, where these upper trap muscles tend to be mechanically the thing that are usually creating part of the tension based headache in the neck, but they’re tug of war buddies with the muscles in your pecs and your lats. So those muscles around your upper back are all sort of tug of war buddies, when they get really tense, like you’re wearing a little shrug sweater that’s too small and it gets very compressive on your ribs and tension into your neck. And those guys can irritate nerves in your head, going through and just actually loosening those can seem like magic for people, it really takes a lot of pressure off of it. And those muscles are and can be a regenerating source of tension that can get you uncomfortable. But you can really let that off first. And then that’s where doing some, again, with the visceral manipulation can get hands on the front in the back someone and start to push and press into around their heart and lungs and get them doing some breathing exercises. It’s not that I’m taking a lung and trying to move it from position B to position A, it’s you can access the tension that you hold. And that helps you feel it helps you breathe through it and help you start to let it go. And it helps a person feel some of their emotional tension that they’re holding and helps it let go. And the combo of those two things together can really have a lot of release on things like headaches, migraines, neck tension, upper back pain. And sometimes that’s just relief, and a person will go and move on. Look, come back. And I’ve taken people that have had migraines and headaches for years and gotten rid of them. But it doesn’t mean they’re like I’ve cured them, then they can’t come back. You can have stressful life events and it starts to come back again. And after it’s a process, it’s not like an intervention, you have to it is therapy, where you start to feel and see that you see that someone like myself has the capacity to make you feel better and take that away. And then it keeps coming back and keeps coming back. That’s where you start to get some motivation to start making some lifestyle changes that might be that might have the longer term impact. That’s your question. I kind of go off topic. 

Clint Murphy  28:01

Yeah, I think I think I’m booking in to get some needling in my shoulders and neck. So you’ll probably see a booking request.

Brent Stevenson  28:10

I’ll tell you because I probably about four or five years ago, I started getting migraines, and I never had migraines before. I had had a get into it. I talked about it a bit in my second book, my first book, The whole are deals in there, but I got I had a really bad eye injury and I got a ball hockey ball in the eye and ended up having to have seven eye surgeries and just flipped my world upside down. I still lost a lot of vision and that but product of going through all of that gave me a lot of headaches, which were not necessarily migraines, a lot of headaches. And for years, I kind of blamed all my headaches on that. And then eventually started getting ocular migraines, which I didn’t know it was happening I just wasn’t didn’t actually get that much of a headache that started getting like the jaggedy lines in my eye. All of a sudden, did not and, and I looked at words and some of the Katihar only half of the half of the words were there in a sentence of looking at a book I was like, Oh, this isn’t good. And then last for 15 minutes would slowly fade away. I get a bit nauseous and get a bit of a headache. And then I was okay I was functional. But then the next day and sometimes for two days I felt like I had a concussion like I was I was not functional I couldn’t go to work that really started to make me make me start by Okay, I got I gotta do something about this. This isn’t okay. And meanwhile I’m I’m trying to help treat other people all day and figure out what it’s like and like I’ve gone through a lot of periods with through all my eye injury stuff I’ve where I’ve definitely been in more pain or more discomfort than the people I’m trying to help. So I started trying to check in with myself and okay, I got to start doing something different. And I started noticing the recipe of what gave me a migraine and that’s when I started making little bits of life changes that started. There was usually, and I just listened this morning to your podcast about stopping drinking, which was interesting that I noticed if I had gone out with some friends and had a couple nights in a row already, or had a couple too many drinks, which equated to me not sleeping well. And then I had a lot of things at work that were I was just doing way too much and not in that day, but I’d say cumulatively over a week or two, where lots of work stress, didn’t sleep very well a few times. And then the atmospheric pressure changed, those planets colliding. If it went from high pressure to low pressure, I could have no stress that day, but the cumulative effect of those things, bang, I’d get a migraine and be out for a day or two. And I started noticing that pattern. And I started figuring out means of starting to try to address some of the things that we’re creating different stresses in my life. And I’ve gotten them to be way more few and far between. It wasn’t necessarily somebody physically treating my neck and doing things, although that’s helpful. It was me starting to make lifestyle changes that started my migraines getting under control. 

Clint Murphy  31:16

Yeah, a big one you wrote about was this idea that you felt like it was your brain telling you, I need a rest, in some assuming introducing a bit more rest into your life would have been one of those things that you introduced. And at the same time, you know, I know I know a bit about you, Brent. I know your kids, I know where they go to school, the sports they play the businesses that you run. And so I look at it and say, well, well, Brent, like, how did you how did you introduce more rest into your life? What did that look like? Like where did you slot it in?

Brent Stevenson  31:50

Yeah, that’s I mean, in principle I tried, it had to be rest couldn’t necessarily be I get to sit down and actually rest. It had to be partly my mental approach to things partly, I had to find my little, my little moments can because I do, we had three kids in three years, I have a 12 year old, a 13 year old and a 15 year old that all play multiple sports at a high level. I am running two clinics and working clinically full time. I have a dog and now two kittens. So work with and for me. So rest is not really I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily rest. It was partly my approach to life, finding little moments of peace and little bits of time. One thing that I put the articles on my website and I put it in the book, one of the biggest functional changes that’s made me more just engaged, as I’ve learned a lot to the process of it was actually starting micro dosing psilocybin. It really I learned a lot from the process of it to the point where after, after retroactivity, having done it for a while I realized that the state I think I was living in for years of going through just my head down and working to kind of get to where I’m at was putting me in a mild state of depression I think like which I didn’t I never realized and that was part of my headaches. But seeing it from another side of where I found a bit more mental calm and started to have the capacity to appreciate just moments of like putting some Mellow music calm and take my dog for a walk through the cemetery and looking at the heck yeah, either not spending every moment listening to sort of intellectual podcasts and then listening to books and just finding little times to be like, sometimes I catch myself doing that like Nope, this is like I listen to music. I got to end when I first walked in the door from work, I could have any level of family issues kind of come at me and just trying to take my first few moments of coming home and just going up to my room and trying to sort of decompress and be ready to try to change gears starting to try to as again back to your podcast trying to I haven’t stopped drinking altogether. But that picking and choosing how much or how frequently I’m drinking and little things like I listen to Tim Ferriss podcast all the time. And so the human guys are human and Joe Rogan’s they’re all constantly sort of advertising for that EEG, one sort of that Athletic Greens thing. I started taking that and after about three years of hearing that ad enough times I’m like alright, I got to try it then I found that made me feel better, so lots of little things.

Clint Murphy  34:45

It tastes like ass, doesn’t it like it just it you’re like, Sorry, AG1, I don’t know if you’ll ever be a sponsor of the podcast. It just doesn’t taste that great. Honestly, I am I mix it with something or do you just chug it?

Brent Stevenson  34:58

I find a lot of ice A lot of ice, lot of a lot of it’s kind of a Vanilly, pineapply kind of I was expected, I’ve tasted some other green drinks that really were disgusting. I found this, I found the AG1 not as bad.

Clint Murphy  35:13

Maye I’ll give it another go, I have a big bag of it in my cupboard. And I gave it a couple of days and thought, Oh, I can’t do this. The site heard the same ads. And I thought, well, I’ve gotta give it a go. I mean, I’ve been hearing this for 10 years, I gotta I gotta swell it down. So Brent, you talked about your perception of why we heard is changed over the last 20 years. And you talked a bit about it there. There’s, there’s a big paragraph, a little bit of a TED Talk paragraph that I really enjoyed. So I want to read that and have you talk us through that evolution, in what you said was to genuinely understand why things hurt, we must appreciate that how we think affects how we feel and view our bodies is the interface between the world and our consciousness. As I keep looking deeper for the root causes of the persistent discomfort in the people I help I find empathy, kindness, and meaningful explanations are the groundwork needed, before physical interventions can have lasting impact, different forms of stress, fear and anxiety, fuel, the regenerating sources of tension we unknowingly create and hold in our bodies. So physical treatments alone have a slim chance of getting to the root of the problems. And this seems like what we’ve been talking about most of the time, but do you want to expand on that a little, little bit more?

Brent Stevenson  36:38

Sure. Well, I don’t think like the concept of a mind body connection is an overly new thoughts. And that’s where like, if I’ve, I’ve read, like, the Body Keeps the Score and the way out. And when the body says no, when I resonated with a lot of them, but didn’t necessarily have hesitated necessarily recommending them to a lot of my clients, they found that they couldn’t, they, some people have the capacity to really connect with the message of them. And some really need it to be a bit more meaningful, because they’re coming in for help, because maybe their elbow hurts or because their back hurts, or because they’re getting a migraine. And so I try to wrap my explanations around what the person is experiencing. And they’re coming in with a thought of that connection to a physical part of their body. Not necessarily that they’re not coming in. Well, actually, more people now are coming in because they realize it because they know they’re stressed. And they know I’ve been referred from a friend and I’ve helped them but most people are coming in because of something meaning some physical thing is meaningfully getting in their way. So I’d say one of my biggest strengths as a physiotherapist is starting by giving the person the time to tell their story to me. And then me making helping them make sense of it anatomically first, and then making like and then making the leap to how or why our nervous system works. Both from our how our brains work a little bit and how and where we hold on to tension and why. And help them see that interface between your muscular system and your visceral system. And then actually be able to back that up by doing something to them physically, that makes them feel better. And then telling them like this might, this isn’t necessarily your fix the you might feel better now, but like this might last for five or six or seven days. And then it’s best if you come back in and about a week. And we can try to do it again. And you see you see people but like every week for three, four or five weeks, you start to get to see how their body responds to the physical things and doing, which is that that the heart is what keeps them coming back in a little bit because I can give them some relief. But it also provides me the opportunity to teach them the things that I think they need to learn about themselves. Some people are open to that you can tell them right away, some people didn’t like somebody walks in, they’re hot, they’re super stressed and are strung up and they’re not they don’t have time for you to tell them that they’re stressed. You just got to make them feel a bit better. I have literally treated people this like I’ve had clients felt the same people for 1516 years. I’ve seen them through dating, marriage, kids divorce entreated, the same, say three generations of the same family and you get to see the emotional side of and like what a person’s pattern is. I’ve known them long enough I can they come in and I can give them that steam release valve. But then teaching them about how and why the emotional side of it comes in. That’s, that’s again what I’m you have to wrap it around something that’s meaningful to them. which is tricky. And that’s where you have to start by listening have to give a person a time to tell their story, which is really unfortunately, what the medical system just does not have time for. A lot of people have at their heart anxiety, fear, stress based things that are making them uncomfortable. And they’re taking that into a medical system that is still pretty dead set on Crete looking for stunts, physically something wrong with like, Okay, you’re back, Chris, let’s start with an X ray. Let’s look inside you, here’s a CT scan or an MRI. And that’s like taking a snapshot of a moving being like it’s looking at a picture when you need a movie, you have to try to make sense of it over time. So that because you don’t have that much time in a medical appointment, usually you don’t necessarily understand the story behind it. So you focus on symptoms and like, Okay, well this hurts, the medical system tends to focus overly on thinking pain relates to inflammation, sometimes it’s inflammation, but so it’s usually the default is here’s that here’s an anti inflammatory and, and there’s an escalating level of pills and medications you can take that might make you feel better temporarily. And you can take pills for anxiety, and you can take pills for depression. And people don’t really want to take drugs usually people don’t really want to be injected with with lidocaine or be cut open and out of surgery. But a lot of people also aren’t really necessarily willing to kind of go down the mental rabbit hole of figuring out that we have busy lives like I have. So opening up the mental can of worms is, is harder. And when you have your all your busy day to day stuff going on, it’s hard to kind of figure out when you have the time for it. So I have to make a judgment call in the half an hour hour, I have somebody of what best serves this person do they just need me to to make them feel better today and give them a little snippet of information. And then over time, like give them a little bit little bit more information. And then I mean, real reason why I ended up writing this book is I rarely get the opportunity to teach one individual everything I think they need to learn. Because they either I got them feeling well enough and they stopped coming in, or, or they ran out of funding to come in and couldn’t afford it to come in or they weren’t necessarily they got it, they got the gist and then kind of moved on. So for my own sort of mental satisfaction as like, I wanted to put it all in one place that that’s how I started writing my why things hurt.com blog as like, you start it’s physiotherapy becomes pretty repetitive, you start making the same explanations over and over and over again to people the point you have to come like a comedian rehearsing his act, you start to kind of you start to see what explanation resonates with somebody a little bit better and better, better. And after a while, I wrote those, I wrote those, those explanations down. And that’s how my wife thinks her.com blog started. And then after a while, I wrote enough of them. And I’m like, Ah, this kind of needs to be a website. And then I read created all these movement based videos and trying to teach people how to physically hold it all together, and like kinda needs to be a video or video course. And then I’m like, wow, after a while, oh, I think more needs to be a book. So I eventually ended up kind of building all three. And that first book I was called, which is the why things hurt life lessons from an injury prone physical therapist. It more reads as a collection of blog articles. It’s a great reading waiting book, because you can kind of pick it up and see, well, I Well, this resonates with me, that resonates with me, it’s not necessarily have to go through it. It’s in a purposeful order. But But I put that out like eight or nine years ago, and I would say it skewed my caseload of people coming into because they found I don’t know, I self published it, it found its way into libraries and all over the place. And people read it and started and came in to see me because they’d read that and I’d say it skewed my caseload more towards people with chronic and resistant pain problems that have seen to physio as a chiropractor, massage therapist for doctors and needed a slightly different approach. So when working which inherently biases it to being more people that are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety, and so and so I started doing more and more reading of things about mindfulness and mental health and as and which I learned a lot about myself and a lot about people. And I think COVID happened and it just kind of doubled down on everybody’s stress. And so in the same way, my first book, I had started it before I had my bad eye injury and after I after I ended up having seven eye surgeries in a year. I’m like, Okay, now I’ve got the thing that pulls my book together. COVID was kind of the thing that pulled my minute work together because it, it really just put everybody in a boiler maker and send everybody coming in for physio being just super stressful. 

Clint Murphy  45:09

Yeah, and we were talking about it at dinner last night, there was a group of us and we thought to ourselves, when you look back at that two years, I mean, the problem was none of us knew better. But when you when you look back, just the way we handled it, in so many ways, was just craziness and the stress and anxiety that led to and people like shutting everything down, hunkered down in your house, you’re not allowed to how like, cancel sports, cancel activities. It’s like, everybody just became like our hermit overnight for two straight years. It was devastating on people’s mental and physical health. Like it was just madness that we, you know, one of the guys had dinner, his brother was living in Florida. And he still remembers talking to him on the phone and his his brother saying, oh, like, I’ve got COVID. And he’s like, Oh, well, where are you? And he’s like, Oh, I’m just out for dinner. It was just like a totally different, different way of handling it not say that not saying that was necessarily the right way. But when you look back in hindsight, mentally, mental health wise, it definitely had a better impact on people than the way we sort of did that shelter in place and lock everybody out.

Brent Stevenson  46:21

I had a really interesting experience through it, because I run two big multidisciplinary clinics in Vancouver, and you started seeing the writing on the wall, like I think we’re gonna have to shut this down coming here. And sure enough, we did and it was leading right into spring break. And I had a, I was supposed to take my oldest son Matt down to Vegas for artists, Phoenix or somewhere in the States for a baseball tournament. And that obviously wasn’t going to happen. And it was my other son’s birthday about four days later, like, we got it. So I had to shut the clinic down. I’m like, well, we got to do something. And I felt like we have a cabin up in the Okanagan, which is about four or five hour drive away, we told the kids like, throw some stuff in a bag or go into the cabinet. And I thought we were going for about four days and we ended up moving up and living on the side of the lake for about two months while we had to they had to shut the clinic down for for two months and ended up just having this slow pace of life right side of my bike did stuff with the family went for bike rides, the weather was nice, we’re living this orchard on the side of a lake and, and it was actually the the most period of time I’ve ever had off in my life. And I realized my headaches started getting better, I started feeling I was like, Whoa, and so it gave me a new perspective. And then when I started looking like okay, we’re gonna have to open these businesses back up, I moved back into the city and all these mandates, I had to create this whole big manual of, of all the new policies for protective equipment. And then and in part that off to all the people that were working for and with me to kind of and then trying to get all the protective equipment and this for that. And then like, Okay, I think we got it and then invite the community to start coming back in when we’re like, we’re now after people been hiding in their homes for for two months. Like, I was like the first person somebody came back to see other than maybe go into a grocery store, and they’re tiptoeing back out of isolation. And everyone you could just see, everyone had their own rules for themselves, they created their own levels of anxiety. And like some people were like wearing for masks had bottles of hand sanitizer in every pocket were like spraying the air in front of them and the knowledge that they’re in a small room with a person touching them. And so it was, I had to deal with my own approach to it, my staff’s approach to it and then just be pretty accepting to whatever the client coming in was, was willing to sort of to deal with then you could just see and literally tangibly feel the stress and people. Again, I’m giving them a bit of the steam release valve by manually or needling them or whatever. But then trying to help them understand that this is your body’s normal response, and kind of coach them through that progressively. And but it’s still there’s there’s the acute aspect of the post COVID kind of stuff, but now you’re starting to see it. People are really looking at their lives a little bit and still haven’t figured it out. It’s still this, this, there’s this these physical manifestations of stress, anxiety and fear that I’m sort of trying to help people treat and understand.

Clint Murphy  49:43

I think two things are going to happen. We’re going to continue to see the physical manifestation of that stress, anxiety and fear for years to come. That really boiled up in people and some people haven’t learned to let that go. And then the second one you mentioned is very powerful is a lot of us just use that time. to question our lives and say, What am I doing? And is it what I want to be doing? Or do I want to make a change? You know, similar to how I talked about earlier about leaving a job starting a new job, things of that nature that all ties in those were all conversations that I had with myself through COVID of Am I happy doing what I’m doing? Or do I want to be doing something else. And I mean, we’re having this podcast because we had COVID. And somewhere in there, I thought, hey, I’ll start a podcast, you thought, hey, I’ll write another book. And so some of us took that as an opportunity to reexamine life and say, Let’s make those changes in one of the things you did during that time, which is interesting, you talked about it a little already with psilocybin and microdosing is, is you started to explore altered states of consciousness. So how have you come to appreciate altered states of consciousness as they relate to our physical journeys

Brent Stevenson  50:54

bring that back to say, anxiety to start with the anxiety that people really start to create and the experience of chronic pain, it really puts blinders on people you become you start to, you start to only see a small facet of the world is the experience of being you is either sort of defined by this pain or this, this discomfort, and you can get very controlling of having to only do certain things to try to keep your brain at ease. And as part of my job, I see people very broadly different approaches to the world, I have to kind of can see the role that anxiety plays in different people’s lives. And I’ve like, I would say, I’d go back to again, just initially, starting with my eye injury, like I had had to go through a lot of physical pain injury through that, after all the surgeries are done, I was just literally left with it felt like someone had their hand on my head torquing it in this just tension based pain in there all the time. And at that phase, I found just taking cannabis would could really quickly make me feel differently. Like I was I was working I went I got back to work about three months after going through a lot in the middle of my surgeries. And I was helping other people with really bad double vision and just that and, and my kids were really little I decided I was going to get part of the motivating getting them going I decided I was going to like Coach all their sports just to keep me moving forward. 

Clint Murphy  52:33

I think you were coaching my kid in soccer at that time. I didn’t even know. So let’s take a step back because I don’t think you’ve said yet what happened to your eyes. So so let’s take people through like what was this injury because it’s something you know, you always hear could happen. And it happened to you the whole so let’s talk them through that and then go back into to where you were. 

Brent Stevenson  52:57

Sure. I think in the context of my journey it does, it does play into it. I was I used to I played ball hockey at the community center. It was once a once a week kind of thing a bunch of kind of young dads pretty much when they’re playing very few of us were wearing eye goggles or protection and that was just the guide to the backhand or Caitlyn was hard orange ball hockey balls into my right eye. And I immediately was blind in that eye. And it I had a single trickle of blood come down my nose and I just couldn’t see and one of the guys I was playing with was a doctor he’s like I think I think we got to take you the hospital it hurts It was I’ve had more painful things in my life that I couldn’t see. I won’t go into all the details of it but I pretty much the if you get a blunt force trauma in your eye, it puts a shockwave of fluid goes through a blue hole through my Macula in the back which is the center of your retina where you see detailed vision. So put a kind of a hole through that and that the impact of it pushes the eye down and I got an orbital floor fractures the bone holds my eye up broke and got triaged pretty quickly to the to the top retinal specialist and they tried. They tried the head a lot of blood behind their retina which is why I couldn’t see I went through I went through I had four surgeries in two months of trying to help fix the retina but I kept going sideways because the pressure in my eye kept going higher and higher and higher and it felt like my head was gonna explode. And to the point in my third surgery, they put a valve on my eye that regulates the pressure in my eye which literally brought me back to life I was bedridden lying on I could only lie on my side about a foot and a half away from a fan with light wind blowing my face otherwise I would feel like my head was gonna explode and I throw up for a long time I got in and out of the hospital they gave me shots and morphine until I until I passed out they had to only way they could alleviate it was I’ve had to sit my little chin on a ledge and they’d stick a needle into my eyeball and drain fluid out of it. Which was horrible. Little bit incredibly relieving in the end. So I had a lot of trauma that went just physical trauma in and out of the hospital and surgeries and not feeling well. And at this time, my kids were three, four and six. So it was it was a lot, I ended up having to realign, like have surgeries just realign my eye surgery to fixed orbital floor part of it. So it was a kind of a year of hell and of physical traumas. But, and then, after all the all the medical piece of it started to fall away, I started I mean, you, particularly in the Canadian healthcare system, like if you have an urgent issue, it’s pretty good, they help you pretty quickly enough to pay anything and it’s fantastic. But you start to notice when you don’t have the urgent E, the urgent need, you start to fall into this medical purgatory kind of thing of nobody’s got you, you’re not being seen, you don’t know what’s going to happen. And then you kind of left on your own a little bit, nobody really told me what they thought my prognosis was going to be like, had to kind of figure that out and kind of keep moving. That’s where more of the mental struggles start to start to sort of take hold, which are harder to get through than the physical side of it, like it was excruciatingly painful. But after having vitrectomy, which is where they take all the fluid out of your eyeball, and they fill up for gas. And then you have to tell you, you have to lie face down for like a week afterwards. And if the gas bubble pushes on the back of your eye, if your face down, or you’ve been through something that’s really painful, it’s then quite defeating to then just literally have to lie on your face for a week on the floor. Which I did and and it went sideways and up back in the hospital that I laid on the floor there and that that was one of my first audiobooks, I got Ryan holidays. The obstacle is the way it’s a book on stoicism. And, and that was that was when I’m like, Okay, I gotta figure out how to turn this into something, I was still right in the middle of it. And that was when I was like, okay, when I kind of had to drag my self out of bed, move back into my house, kind of reengage with my family and kind of get my business going, like my income went to nothing. Because I was running this small business, I kind of had to get that moving. And I found like, my best way to keep moving forward was just keep doing keep doing keep doing if I stopped still, that was like, you kind of avoided the getting in your head and then sort of the mental piece. So that just kept they slowly kind of grew my business and grew my business and kept coaching sports I went from coaching to usually was coaching to soccer teams, and then that soccer season ended up coach two baseball teams. I did that for about eight years, which I’ve now retired from then I did that it was and it was great. And I figured out like I knew the physio and me knew I needed to probably do some kind of exercises from my eyes to talk about the neuroplasticity of trying to figure out how to prove my vision. But I talked about earlier I don’t have time for things I’m like I gotta life has to be my exercise, I gotta I gotta do things that are going to make this train and be in the right way. So I decided to coach baseball, I was like, one of my big concerns laying on the floor is how am I going to throw a ball with my kid again, I have no depth perception. So I decided to coach a bunch of little kids that could barely catch themselves and have them all throw balls at me. And I figured out how to do it, which is probably not a great life choice. But it worked out I’ve still and I slowly, I learned to do things like every little thing in life was hard. Trying to put a key in a key hole was hard trying to pour juice and just missing the cup was hard and trying to catch a ball was hard. And I slowly figured out my brain. I went from literally if I was sitting here talking to you or a client in front of me, I’d have a sort of holographic blurry version of your second head floating over your right shoulder and trying to concentrate on the real version of you. And my over time, the neuroplasticity of my brain and just keep because I just kept moving and doing things it slowly learned how to better make my eye track and to better when to start to ignore the sort of compromised information it was getting from my right eye to the point now, which is at about eight years later, nine years later. My day to day visual experience is a lot more normal. I don’t have like in certain contexts, I still definitely have double vision. But it’s it’s a lot better. And that’s because I kept giving it the opportunity to kind of habituate and understand and be plastic and didn’t kind of just mope that I can’t see anymore. I kept pushing it and growing with it. And I and it was had a lot of mental struggle along the way and that’s where I connected with a lot of my clients. I learned from their experiences and I did lots and lots of reading. And that’s where more I understood some of the mental health side of it. It’s where I started to appreciate the some of the altered states piece, which, with me on that, as it relates to eye injury started with cannabis, it was that as uncomfortable as my eye and my head were, I come home, I came home from work every day with a really bad headache. And I’m sure I was grumpy and I had a hard time I’d find that evening I could smoke a little bit of cannabis and it didn’t make the pain go away. But it took it from front and center to this back pain. And I allowed me to tune into different parts of, of the sensations in my body. So it gave me mentally a rest from the discomfort which helped me with the start more thinking of consciousness of the experience of being you that like, we really are just this big collection of sensory feedback loops. And just in order to walk and move and breathe, we our brains have to have this default mode of ignoring most of it. And we due to different injuries or pains or stresses, we tend to overly tune in to certain areas that ache after a long time I wasn’t structurally damaged anymore. It definitely wasn’t there. But it was what it used to be. But it wasn’t an injury in there that was creating pain. It was sensitivities of different parts of my nervous system. And really quickly cannabis made me just all of a sudden feel a different way that was more comfortable. That as a, I was very relieving for me. And as an anatomy nerd and a physio I feel like this is pretty fascinating. And that it really helped get me through a tough time. And then as further time went on, and I started working with and treating a handful of clinicians that were working in the psilocybin space that were working in clinics that were helping people with sort of guided journeys for with for psilocybin. And I’ve, I’ve always been a big fan of listening to Tim Ferriss, I read his first book and our list, like really started writing his blog, and then going through all of his, all of his, his arc of pagans, just seeing the arc that that guy’s gone through and sort of has been picked on that big advocate of psychedelics. And I listened to him interview Michael Pollan and Tim and Paul Stamets and a few times and, and endless to not all of them, but a lot of them and read Michael Pollan’s book and start and read a whole bunch of different things as like, this is pretty fascinating, and particularly learning some of the history of it and how much research had gone into it in the past. And so that’s when I like, well, I, I was like, Okay, I get it, I’m going to try this. started, I had a few experiences before that were positive, but I could never done it in a purposeful way before. And they talked about the importance of set and setting like in terms of the mindset you bring towards it, and sort of a, in a goal oriented kind of way, and sort of the environment you’re creating for yourself, I just started doing it about twice a week for a while and tried to figure it out. I initially, I probably took a little bit too much. It was like that’s not really what I was looking for, and dial it right down to a pretty small amount to the point where I wasn’t really feeling a lot of anything like I feel just lightly feel a little bit more engaged. Being outside is nicer. My body was just a little freer. But it wasn’t like I was using it to try to have like a high experience it was it just kind of connected me to the moment a little bit more calm down some of the the chatter in my brain. I’ve got kind of a busy brain and that’s partly why my output of just doing doing doing it. You come back to that question. If you ask me, like, how do I get my rest? A lot of the rest I need is not necessarily lying down and stopping. It’s just stopping there. Listen to other podcasts, the person vote, the call the chatter. Yeah, the inner dialogue. And I found that I found that it helped me with that. It just allowed me to kind of look at like, oh, trees are nice, like flowers are pretty music is nice. And Rich just stopped thinking of all the things I had to do for work. And honestly, the part that got me the most was it was it was the not the day I took it. But the next day and the day after, I felt so much better. I felt like I was breathing better. I had generally had a better outlook on life. I just felt more comfortable. And I would attribute the experience of doing it for a while was but is the thing that really made me question is like, Why do I drink alcohol? Which is where it’s at. I know you’re going through it and then I haven’t necessarily stopped but I’ve like questioned and gold minimized it and sort of I think I have generally think things in moderation are good if you figure out the context for them and it’s it’s made me A question some of that and that’s one of the little lifestyle changes that’s helped me come to get have less migraines. And the most interesting one, which is this is a case study, not scientific, not any scientific research. But you know, I said when I had migraines, I always felt like I was concussed for a day or two later, I found if I have migraine, if I go in, I take a small Microcapsule of psilocybin, I go to work the next day, which none of the migraine medications that the doctor gave me came close to doing that.

Clint Murphy  1:05:33

That is powerful in you and I talked about this while we’re while we’re out the other night. And one of the big things for me is also bringing back because I don’t know about the average listener, but I found that over time, I felt as if I stopped dreaming, but with micro dosing, psilocybin, all of a sudden, those vivid dreams of childhood were back, where if I wake up, old man, you know, got to go to the bathroom to go to go pee in the middle of the night. The I would want to get back to sleep as fast as I could, because I want to get back in that dream. And I hadn’t had that experience probably for, for, gosh, 2530 years. And so that that was just joyous to be able to have those vivid, interesting dreams again, because there’s something going on in the brain with the connections, because when we’re dreaming, we’re thinking, and we’re living like it was just beautiful. I found that very, very well, totally.

Brent Stevenson  1:06:32

I thought I found my thought processes are always all over the place. I think my dreams were the same way where I’d have dreams. But I could never explain them to anybody. Like my wife asked, like, my wife has these big long dreams, she could explain this whole dialogue of story that could go through. I have like, I couldn’t come I could never start by explaining what my dreams like because they started one thing bounce to another topic bounce to another topic. But yeah, if I am in a phaser microdosing, it does. It’s like it calms that down. And actually you can Yeah, story all of a sudden it is that? Oh, I know, there was a thing that I remember from there as it has a story that makes sense that you can.

Clint Murphy  1:07:14

It’s like a movie, you’re like, Oh, that was a fun movie. Like, can I get back into that movie? Can I can I and you’re like, I don’t know if I could ever get back in. But there was that desire to. 

Brent Stevenson  1:07:25

And that’s just inherently more restful. Like, if you’re people just because you’re lying down in bed, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily your brain is resting. That’s particularly if you’re working or on social media, doing things or watch stuff, right until you go to bed. A lot of times people come in physiother, like, oh, that’s the worst. When I get up in the morning and sort of store, they look like I gotta buy a new bed. I’m like, that’s not necessarily the bed, or people like get a look, you’re talking about buying a new office chair, I’m like, Well, you can buy a $3,000 chair and still just like slop yourself down on the front corner of it. It’s more like look at yourself, what is it that you’re doing in the bed that’s making the bed, it’s making the difference. So having routines before you go to bed and having things that calm you whether it’s whether it’s something like psilocybin or just breathing practices, or meditation, or just I tell people you’re, you’re best off to have both a physical outlet for your stress and a more passive outlet for your stress like something, whether it’s like you’re going out and doing, you’re going for a walk, or you’re going for a run or you’re going to exercise class, but you might hurt yourself, and maybe that you can’t do it. And if that’s your only outlet, and you don’t have some mental way of calming yourself down, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble and you’re gonna that injury is going to really affect you. That’s where if you do have some type of meditation practice or breathing, or you do make the time to sit down and read or go out for a walk, that’s something, something that’s a little bit more on the passive side as pieza Steam release valve, if you the to your body and your brain need both of those. And a lot of times people will go all in one category or on the other. So people come in and ask me for like, what like, what, what should I be doing? What exercises should I be doing? And I usually my first question is like, what do you like to do? People have this sort of passive guilt about they’re not going to the gym, and I was like, Well, if you hate going to the gym, don’t pick going to the gym as being your as being your means of getting fit, like find, find a dance class or do something that you like, because you’re more way more likely to do it on a regular basis and then acknowledge that your body is like as much as you might not feel stressed. Everybody has stress, it’s part of your life. So finding a lot of people, the people that need to find some level of meditation the most are the people that are the least likely to do it. So they have to have to find something that resonates with them that does provide those sorts of outlets. and like, I’m not wanting to try to push, like pills or drugs or things on people, people that a lot of people will take drugs and medications and things I, I have found this looping back for a sec to the psilocybin thing. It’s the only thing I’ve ever taken that the process of taking it has made me learn about myself and me and resulted in me opting to make healthier lifestyle choice choices. And I can just stop taking it for a period of time. Well, if I’m feeling good, I’ll just stop for a while. And if I start, then I start to know what the better life started feeling better if I start noticing, life’s getting me start starting to feel uncomfortable. Again, I’m like, I’ll do this again for a while. But it’s not like something I just do all the time. But it’s a, it’s a tool you can use to help get yourself out of something, and then put yourself in a bit of a better mindset to then learn, whether it’s through a breathing exercise, go to yoga, find some meditation, read a book, or learn about yourself. 

Clint Murphy  1:11:03

So a lot of what we’re talking about are tools people can have in their toolkit and ways to think in ways to behave. One of the big things you talk about in I advocate is this idea of personal responsibility, and owning your health and your fitness and your mental or physical health journey. And so for you with that personal responsibility, what should our listeners be thinking about? And what are a few of the actions that they should be taking on that physical and mental health journey to live their best life.

Brent Stevenson  1:11:37

I would equate that one back to not necessarily being an action, but partly a way of thinking about something. And this, again, is something that I started to talk about in the book in terms of your relationship to, to start with, I’m going to say this towards the medical system, or if people have as a physio, but I don’t, it’s different in different parts of the world. But in Vancouver, in particular, and I know a lot of parts of Canada, were don’t have enough doctors, we don’t necessarily have enough nurses. And people have this mindset that, well, particularly more sort of our parents generation of a doctor knows best kind of thing of where we have to do take the recommendations of our of our physicians and the means of trying to fix the system is sort of put more money into supporting the doctors and I work with lots of doctors, I think they’re great, we need them. But there’s this resentment in the system that that that we our government needs to do more for us, our health care system needs to do more for us, our education system needs to do more for us. You can create this very elaborate healthcare system that is very enabling, but people need to take some personal responsibility in their own health and understanding how to utilize the systems that are already available to them in how they reach out for help. So that I first realized for that question is like, learn what the role of your doctor is, and what it isn’t like what they’re capable of learn some and try to build a team of people around you that you can reach out for help when you need. And a doctor is one of those, someone like a physiotherapist can be one of those. You mentioned in the earlier question, I don’t think I really answered it. But like a counselor can or should be one of those. A life coach of something where you don’t have to be seeing these people all the time. But building a network of people around you that you can choose for support or advice, whether it’s just needing a good friend, or just particularly in times when you’re feeling well, not necessarily in times when you’re really just needing some kind of treatment or a pill or something to make you feel better. And the times you’re feeling good. Think about what that feels like and look out for creating a supportive network around you and be open to seeing a counselor or talking about things and if you’re if you don’t know what you would necessarily say to them, start by reading books, like like my book, or throughout my book, I put a lot of recommendations of other books in there, whether it’s one on sort of like Gatorback, a scattered mines book or that it really interesting when it was referred to me by a counselor client of mine, he’s called adult children of emotionally immature parents that that one’s an interesting read. Both that one and scattered mind sort of are good at contextualizing some of our stress triggers and how people get into some like how EDD can be created, how some of our anxieties, no triggers are just helping identify them a bit more in a contextual basis. There’s endless amounts of information out there. Some of it can be distracting, I would say Don’t be shy about talking with your friends about the role that stress plays in your life or that you’re having health concerns and just don’t just hold it and save it and try to cram it into a 10 minute doctor’s visit, like with people that just sort of allocate their health chunk to what when they can go see their GP, like that they the GP has a great skill set. But there’s a lot of people go to them with the things that are that they just don’t have the knowledge base for, and then get kind of annoyed and disappointed that our healthcare system isn’t looking after them. But they’re just, you have to read divert people to the people that really have the most experience and the knowledge about it, which for pain things is more physiotherapist and some people, a lot of people and more. So men tend to experience their emotions, physically more than cognitively so might not have the words to explain what they’re going through. So you go and sit down in front of the counselor like, well, I like I don’t feel stressed, and don’t necessarily know where to start and talk about it. And that’s where coming to understanding that and learning and starting by reading or listening to my book are coming to someone like myself and figuring out that the that connection between the physical and emotional, might open you up to realizing how stressed you are and then start to help you identify some of the things that maybe you could talk to a counselor or a friend or something about where a lot of that happens in your own little community. That’s how I sort of get towards the end of the book is don’t necessarily and that one of the quotes you read is about how people are paying attention to a million other millions of people around the world not necessarily seeing what’s in front of us. So look at the people around you, some of them can be more helpful than they probably are. And some of them might be people that you need to step away from, like some of the good sort of friends or family members, you have to pick or choose whether they are good for you right now. And maybe take little breaks that you can have rest from the person don’t have to lie down and just rest but you can curate your your being a little bit more.

Clint Murphy  1:17:16

It’s a beautiful way to think about it and gives me some perspective, as we look at 2024. The intention I have is to live the best physical mental life I can in that’s going to involve putting together a lot of those pieces of those teams. So really appreciate that answer, Brent, I’m going to fire some rapid fire questions at you now that the way we end each show, what’s one book you’ve read that’s had the most impact on your life,

Brent Stevenson  1:17:42

I would say, I would say is probably largely because it was the timing of when I read it was would be Mindsight by Daniel Siegel, which is all about mindfulness. And I read that probably back in my in my mid 20s Right before I was a few years, I mean, three, three or four years into being a physio and as just the couple years before I started having kids. So I think just that an age timeline at that age, you start realizing there are other ways that things could happen. Or different sort of, you can sort of tune into things don’t necessarily have to be one way and I had exposure to working with lots of other different people that I was had not been exposed to before and he started to see the role of other people’s physical and mental struggles and it does a really good job of scientifically and unapproachable way start to help people understand the role of mindfulness in their sort of physical and mental selves. And I’d say that put me on a bit of a trajectory of really starting to develop more empathy for people understanding myself and understanding sort of other people’s struggles

Clint Murphy  1:18:55

And what’s on the bookshelf right now. What are you What are you enjoying taking down at the moment?

Brent Stevenson  1:18:59

Right now that’s an interesting question because part of trying to launch this new book and me not having had a lot of the time to actually sit down and read for a long time. I listened to a lot of audiobooks. And when I did listen to them, I also I bought the physical copy of them and and I have ones that I have read over the years, but they were all scattered all over my house. So I recently went through and found them all took them from probably four different shells partly because I took a bunch of pictures of them on my from my Instagram accounts on App light things hurt and found a bunch of books that I’ve read years ago and haven’t tax and they’re a part of sort of informing me as part of this book. So and I put them on a bookshelf it’s in my bit of a walk in closet and has a little bookshelf right in there and I stuck them all in there’s actually see them all as I go into get changed in the morning. Got now and sort of pulling some of them out. So I would say at the moment are not explicitly reading one, I’m kind of looking through a whole bunch of other ones, which was, actually last night, we had some friends over a lead to gather Matisse, scattered minds to a friend is looking at anti fragile, which is a search, I found that one really interesting. And that’s kind of how I opened this book, talking about being helping people be anti fragile of sort of coming out better on the other side of an obstacle and sort of learning from your challenges and your troubles. sort of flipped through that one again, the one that’s actually literally on my bedside table right now, which I haven’t really got into I bought years ago, and then ran out of time to read it was Thinking Fast and Slow. 

Clint Murphy  1:20:51

Yeah, I write about it a lot, because a lot of people recommend it. And I found some fascinating things with it. But one thing I’ve never said out loud, is I never finished the book. Three quarters of the way through and thought, Okay, I can’t keep going. It’s just not. It’s too slow for me. So yeah, but there was some juice in it that I just thought, wow, fabulous. And I always come back to and, you know, the main one I always come back to is this idea that our willpower is an energy system, and the example they give with the people applying for appeals. And if your appeals being heard right before lunch hour, or the end of the day, you’re more likely to get denied. If you’re heard first thing in the morning or right after lunch, you’re more likely to get approved, simply because the person who’s hearing your case has enough sugar still in their system. And it’s not depleted. So they’re not hangry. And so you’re getting your you’re getting your parole, denied because someone’s hangry I mean, I always come back to that is just a fascinating facet. But other than that, I never finished that one. So you’re not alone. What’s one thing that Brent’s bought in the last year for under $1,000 that you think, wow, I wish I bought this sooner?

Brent Stevenson  1:22:05

Yeah, I was, I was listening to a couple of your podcasts. And as you’re gonna ask me that, and it was an interesting question, because I realized I really, I don’t buy myself very many things. I’m not I don’t I, I do I work a lot I do a lot of things. I like doing things with people but I don’t I’m not an early adapter and technology things and I have a buddy last night he keeps giving me a hard time because I’ve got a little iPhone S II, which is looks like the old like six iPhone. But it’s actually I think an 11. But it’s got the button this little on it. He marks me for having this little old thing. So I was like, what what am I actually bought for myself? The thing that I would say it came back to is actually air pods?

Clint Murphy  1:22:51

Air pods. Yeah, they’re were a definite win. Yeah, hard to ignore.

Brent Stevenson  1:22:56

Yeah. And that was at the pushing of my I think my wife bought me an initial pair and I was like just had when he got here because whatever. And I had earphones and I but once I got that I was like, Oh, it opened up a new world of, of going out for like walking my dog and listening and either listening to podcasts or books and or music, and it helped me find some downtime for myself that I just wasn’t doing otherwise. So I would I would say it would be that that was the that was the answer I came to. 

Clint Murphy  1:23:28

Well, I’ll be wearing mine while I walked by your place with my dog in the next next hour. It’s on one of my most common routes. So that’s definitely a good answer. Because the show is about growth and personal improvement. What’s one mindset shift behavior change that you’ve had in your life that’s had an oversized impact for you?

Brent Stevenson  1:23:52

I would say honestly, it would be the active choice to start trying to make some time for myself. Like because of how busy I am and that doesn’t necessarily that comes back to the rest thing of how not necessarily needing to stop and not do anything but find the little I’ve questioned this What am I getting out of each of the things I’m doing I was like what am I we talked about this when we had we went out there and made it that like I play hockey and like what I’m getting like yes like it’s exercise but it’s also some camaraderie it’s kind of nice downtime and and I ended up because of my life is so busy with driving my kids around everywhere and work I end up missing it a lot and realize I need it more mentally than I need it physically. But I but I also want it both for both. And so really starting to get an I say sort of curate what my experiences is. I’ve had my head down trying to both feel better and just financially for To live in Vancouver with three kids, Ben sort of I’ve, I’ve left my own well being behind on that for a good part of it. So trying to make mental carve out mental time for myself and in order to make myself continue to feel well, and I get the with this finding and prioritizing the things that are important to me, not just other people. 

Clint Murphy  1:25:24

I love that answer. And Brent, we went pretty far and wide on your book today. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to make sure you get across to the listener?

Brent Stevenson  1:25:34

I would say just as the overarching theme of what you see if you read my book is that when in doubt, just be nice to people you have, you have no idea what other people are going through. And I get more exposure to that than your average person and kind of end up sort of speed dating different people every half an hour and seeing and trying to help them in their means that struggle and people from nine to nine years old, and everybody has their own little thing that either physically worries them, or a lot of particularly pain things is kind of invisible sort of struggle that people are going through. And that’s what comes back to the mental health side of things. And a lot of times what you probably need yourself and the people around you need is just a bit of kindness. So, yeah, empathy.

Clint Murphy  1:26:26

I love how Tim Ferriss always ends with until next time, just be a little kinder to to others into yourself. It’s such a wonderful message. Where can people find you?

Brent Stevenson  1:26:37

Probably the best is my website, which is whythingshurt.com That’s where most of my information goes. I do I’m not wonderful on social media. I’ve been doing it a lot more lately, just the book coming out. But I’d say I’m the most active on Instagram, which is at why things hurt. I am on Twitter or ex same thing at why things hurt. I do have the buy things for Facebook page, which is just Facebook flash why things hurt? Yeah. If you type in why things hurt, you’ll find me and actually a pain specialist in Australia called called normal Moore’s Law and mill, Laura Amir Mosley, he did a TED talk called why things hurt. So yeah, that you’ll probably find me if you look up anything to do with why things hurt. 

Clint Murphy  1:27:22

And you look so young on the cover of why things hurt. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you in real life without a beard. So that’s a very interesting look for you. In the book we talked about today why we hurt so go out. Pick that up. Thank you, Brent, for joining me. Wonderful to have a conversation and I will see you around the neighborhood shortly my friend. Sounds great. Thanks. Cheers.

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