As the first long weekend in May rolls around, I thought it was a good time to offer you three simple steps for foundational daily wellness.
But before we start, I want to mention James Clear’s book called “Atomic Habits”, which I read at the beginning of 2021, and I would like to front this blog with my advice for you to read it. Although it came to me quite a while after I had started my mini-dosing journey, it is the perfect read-a-long to this way of thinking and acting.
It’s a fact that I have a few clients who have micro-dosed many things in the past, and the concept of microdosing has always interested me, although I have had no need to try it for myself. Microdosing is, according to The Cambridge Dictionary “the practice of taking a very small dose (= measured amount) of a psychedelic drug (= one that affects the mind) in order to become better at solving problems or at thinking of new ideas, or to treat medical problems such as anxiety, depression, or headaches:” Three things that I treat every day at the studio and am passionate about helping.
I am not here to get into the legalisation issues around microdosing, but I am here to let you know how the title of the practice has helped me because quite simply, I like the word and its meaning. Microdosing sounds like something that isn’t too arduous, I can safely say I am up for anything that gets me to the point where I am building knowledge-based practices to enhance my life. Also, the definition, if the psychedelic drug part is taken out, is to add a therapeutic dose of things that will make your mind more efficient, creative and help with your personalised wellbeing.
I started mini-dosing research, and that has led to Cornerstone Therapies becoming an evidence-based practice. Today we are going to look at three simple aspects of mini-dosing research which, I personally believe, will help you at home to reach a healthy point within your wellbeing journey.
Step One - Choose Your Media.
The first is easy, and it is something you are already doing, and that is finding a media format that you enjoy engaging with. A lot of my clients seem to listen to Therapy Unwound, our podcast, and others that they trust, in the car. Although not actively going on PubMed to look up journal papers to tell you how hydration helps your sleep, your chosen media has been filtered to tailor around the fact that you would like to know about wellness and health; you have chosen to engage with a little bit of mini-dosing with evidence-based research.
The changes that you take on from that new knowledge is the foundation of new practices that enable you to lead a healthier, more holistic life.
We looked at sleep and anxiety in our podcast at Therapy Unwound a few weeks ago, and clients have come to the studio to say that they have taken one or two things from that episode and they have formed new mini-doses that have helped them. A couple started writing down their anxiety on a notepad in the middle of the night; this has helped them see patterns in their thought looping, but also, they have realised that the problems can be solved. Just writing them down has helped calm their minds and they are going back to sleep quicker. Others have ditched the phones in the bedroom, and that can only be a great thing!
The fact that you are allowing a mini-dose of research into your life has just enhanced it ten-fold. Somehow this makes research seem so much more exciting and far less boring.
Step Two - Critically Think.
Part of the 2005 Sicily Statement on Evidence-Based Practice, (which we looked at in last week’s podcast) says that step three is the “Critical appraisal of evidence for validity, clinical relevance, and applicability” It’s a mouthful, and we need to simply take a mini-dose of the essence to allow us to get a daily benefit of applicability.
Let’s take a look at blood pressure as an example. Do you know your blood pressure? It’s not your heart rate, it’s the systolic and diastolic pressure that your heart pumps at. Mine was 112/67 this morning, and I would expect that bigger number to go up during my workouts; the lower number shouldn’t change that much. After two years of training and through mini-dosing my daily research, (AKA taking my blood pressure regularly), I know that my heart is fine.
If you are starting to get fit after lockdown and want to shed the weight that Netflix has enforced on you, then you need to go through step three of the Sicily Statement. Read some articles about blood pressure and find out the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure, (I shall give you a hint, it’s about pressure on the walls of the artery when heartbeats and the following contraction). Visit your doctor and find out what your pressure is now and work with them to hatch a plan about how to get it down if need be; this is the part where you get your own personalised clinical relevance. All of these are the mini-doses that allow you to step into better heart health, and that, my dear friends, is the thing that makes life comfortable!
Empowered with your personal blood pressure knowledge, and your personalized plan, based on your own research whilst working with health care professionals, will make lifting the kettlebell a breeze. Your mini-doses have built you a healthy lifestyle and have led you to the application of the results in practice, (which sneakily means you have fulfilled the fourth step of the EBP statement by default).
Step Three - Evaluate Your Performance
Although it is not therapy-related, I think this example is an easy way to look at stats and tracks. At the beginning of last summer, I wanted to be a writer. Not a published one, but I wanted to orientate my life towards being someone who writes each day and has a grasp of the English vocabulary. I see words in a funky way through the lens of dyslexia, this was, and is, a lifelong relationship with my brain. But I am up for most challenges and I didn’t see why I couldn’t do it. I made my mini-dose statistics based, which meant that I plugged into the Grammarly App reports.
Grammarly is the app that tells me when I am being an idiot with my ds bs and ps. Each week they send me an email to let me know about my productivity, (I punch at around 96% of users), and my accuracy, which started at 2% of users. I have to confess I was shamed by that number but decided to use it as a good thing, and today I am at 28% of users for accuracy. This may sound totally daft, but during the past nine or ten months, those statistics have encouraged me to keep in the top 10% of users productivity, which has allowed me to write a dissertation, weekly podcast scripts, and now bi-weekly blog posts for Cornerstone Therapies. My appalling accuracy stats led me to read articles on how to work through dyslexia, rather than think it’s something that either won’t go away or can never be solved. It will always be with me, but I needed to change my focus and learn our beautiful language in other ways to the standard. (No surprises there!)
Tracking my writing and mini-dosing the results has helped my thought processes. But this tracking of results means that I can see that in another year, I will be an even better writer and communicator. The mini-dose of results allows me to have that passion and excitement about writing consistently.
You could take this to all areas of life; kettlebell squats, running distance, breathwork… you name it, you can mini-dose it.
So there you have it; three ways to mini-dose research that are easy to achieve and build on.