Reflections Video Series: Mastering Behavioral Changes
From exercising to meditation and tracking behaviors to learning how to go with the flow, our experts share tips for living a balanced life.
This month, we introduce a new video series called Reflections, where we turn the question we ask guests coming to Canyon Ranch—What leads you here?—on our experts. In this series, you'll hear their wellness journeys and insights to help you navigate some of today's most pressing wellness concerns.
In the second of our Reflections Video Series, we sat down with four Canyon Ranch experts: Mary Cahilly, MA, LMHC, LPC, CCTP, Mental Health & Wellness Therapist at Lenox; Laura Chevalier, Fitness Director; Kevin Murray, ND, LaC, Naturopathic Doctor, Acupuncturist at Lenox; and Dustin Nabhan, DC, PhD, DACBSP, FACSM, CSCS, RMSK, Vice President of Health & Performance at Canyon Ranch to discuss what behavioral change they realized was needed to improve their well-being.
For Mary, meditation was her salve for a sound mind. For Kevin, daily exercise before work released his endorphins and set the day; for Laura, she learned to loosen up and go a little bit more with the flow; and for Dustin, making change as intrinsically tied to tools that measured his actions.
Watch the video above to hear their candid responses about the unconscious behaviors they recognized, and the steps they took that improved performance, clarity, and sense of calm.
Or, read the transcript below.
Canyon Ranch: What behavioral change positively impacted your well-being?
Kevin Murray, ND, LaC: I was like a lot of people in their early 30s: A little bit immature in the way I went about the world. I used to be someone who loved to sleep in—and I still do occasionally—but I found that getting up at the same time every day allowed me to do things like start exercising before work. I'd never been someone to do that. I thought that was something I would never because that just sounded horrible. And then I started doing it because I was getting up consistently at the same time. I thought I could fit 20 minutes of the rowing machine in before I showered and went to work. And it's amazing the snowball effect that that can have on the rest of your day—the elevation in mood, the clarity in thought, the increase in energy. The elevation in mood, the clarity in thought, the increase in energy. You'd think something like that would make you drained by the (laughs) early or late morning. I found just the opposite. [I found] that doing something like that helped to maintain my energy throughout the whole day. But not just my energy, but my attitude. I felt more animated. I felt more positive. It's just a way of maintaining something positive that helps you bring on more positive things.
Laura Chevalier, Fitness Director: I'm pretty much a perfectionist, and I like things to really be succinct and, kind of, on point and really pre-planned, but I've recognized, of course, with working with people that doesn't always work. So really having to soften around the edges a little bit, be able to roll with things, and go with the flow.
Mary Cahilly, MA, LMHC, LPC, CCTP: The biggest change I've made in my life over the years is meditation. I would have to say that meditation and mindfulness, in so many ways, not only saved my life but made it richer and deeper because I began to realize that there were thought patterns and behavior patterns I had been caught in that were part of conditioning, part of the way that I viewed the world, but weren't serving me. And meditation has helped me to unlock that, unravel that and begin to focus on thoughts and practices that actually feed my spirit and feed my sense of well-being. And so daily meditation is critical for me.
Dustin Nabhan, DC, PhD, DACBSP, FACSM, CSCS, RMSK: You have to track things—whether that's journaling or using wearables, or tracking your medical record over time. You can't change something unless you're measuring it, so I really believe in being objective with biomarkers. I learned how to manage my energy levels a little bit better later in life when I used to have peaks and valleys. I'd go really hard, and then I'd be exhausted from that. It would take me a little bit to recover, but I realized I'm actually more productive, more creative, and more efficient with my time if I balance my energy throughout the week. Maybe cut work off at 10 o'clock instead of two in the morning. Maybe not stay out as late socializing as I used to do when I was younger—and maybe balance my exercise more than going very extreme in one thing. And through that, I've been able to, I think, improve my overall life satisfaction. And then how I perform as both a business person and an athlete, has improved.