739: You Are Your Own Healer With HopeGuide Founder Corban David Jenai

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You Are Your Own Healer with HopeGuide Founder Corban David Jenai
Wellness Mama » Episode » 739: You Are Your Own Healer With HopeGuide Founder Corban David Jenai
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The Wellness Mama Podcast
739: You Are Your Own Healer With HopeGuide Founder Corban David Jenai
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Many of you have asked me exactly what I did to overcome my trauma and bring about physical healing (as well as emotional healing). Today’s episode touches on this and how we can all begin our healing journey. I’m talking today with my good friend Corban David Jenau, who like me is a survivor.

Corban faced some hard things and along the way started 6 businesses and traveled to 85 different countries. He and his wonderful wife also have 6 children. And he was able to take his past trauma and turn it into something that not only brought healing to himself but to others through his work as the founder of Hope Guide.

Like myself, Corban truly believes that we are our own best healers and advocates. His Hope Guide is a company that helps people overcome their trauma, grief, depression, and anxiety the smart way. We also discuss why some of the most profound changes we can make often start with the simple (and free!) things. Please join us as we chat about being your own healer!

Episode Highlights With Corban David Jenai

  • We are each our own healer, and how to even begin the journey
  • How he started his own healing journey and why some things like talk therapy actually seemed to make things worse at certain points
  • No one can know us as well as we can know ourselves and why we are the experts on ourselves
  • Therapy is a major intervention often made necessary by lack of a thousand smaller interventions along the way
  • Healing hinges on connection with our bodies, with each other, and with the ineffable
  • What somatic experiencing therapy is and how it can help with reconnection to our bodies
  • Dissociation is not a malady; it’s a remedy and is there to tell us something
  • How spending over $300k helped him learn that it’s often the simple and inexpensive things that can make the most difference over time
  • His core, sleep, diet, and exercise strategies that helped his mental health
  • Resting is investing!
  • How sleep and a healthy diet directly influence the brain and mental health
  • Emotions happen within our bodies, and our bodies can give us a clue to healing
  • How lack of connection with others (true, deep connection) connects to mental health struggles
  • Why are we more lonely now than we ever have been and what to do about it

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

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Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com, and this episode is all about how we heal and how we are our, we are our own healers. And this I was so excited to share as a follow-up to sharing my own story of trauma recovery and how drastically that impact, impacted my whole life including my physical health, and since then I have received so many questions about resources for that and methodologies that will work, and I feel like this episode helps to answer some of those questions. And I’m here with a dear personal friend who I’ve known for almost a decade, Corban David Janai, who, like me, is a survivor. And like many of us, he’s faced some hard things, and he has come out the other side swinging. And along the way, he started six businesses, sold four of them, had six children with his amazing wife, and traveled to 85 countries. And like I said, he is a personal friend of mine, and his own experience in incredible trauma recovery bore the fruit of that work as the founder of HopeGuide, which is a company devoted to helping people like you and I overcome trauma, grief, depression, and anxiety the smart way. And so he’s the host also of the How We Heal podcast. He gives speeches about healing and resilience, and you can find him at hopeguide.com and corbanspeaks.com. So let’s jump into this very wide-ranging conversation about how we heal. Corban, welcome. Thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited we finally get to have this conversation.

Corban: Thank you. Me too, Katie. Thanks for having me.

Katie: Well, I think this is such an important topic and one that I’m getting an increasing number of questions about, especially since sharing my own story with trauma and healing. And people are probably tired of hearing me say on here by now that we are each our own primary healthcare provider. And you and I have had this conversation offline. At the end of the day, we’re also our own healer. I also know from having been in that situation myself, how overwhelming and sometimes impossible that can feel when you’re in it to not even know the first step sometimes. And so, for our conversation today, I would love to start with that as context and talk about the concept of us being our own healer and being able to work with guides and how that little bit of shift in paradigm can often be really helpful, even in just identifying that first step.

Corban: Yeah, yeah, great, Katie. This is a topic that I care a lot about because, you know, going through my own mental health journey and some of the struggles that I had, I was diagnosed with PTSD. And, it’s been a lot of years, I’m feeling, you know, a lot of things that people with PTSD feel, including perpetual suicidality. And not really knowing where to look. But the answer typically is, when you’re not feeling well, is I’ll go to therapy.

So I went and found a therapist and I made a commitment to myself. I was going to go every day, every, every day, every week for a year. And throughout, over the course of the year. Even though there would be some sort of release during the session themselves, I would feel more and more, well, I felt worse over the course of the year. These are the experts. How is it that I’m feeling worse? And so that kind of prompted this initial thought for me, like, maybe not everybody is created equal. Maybe not every therapist is created equal. But also, like, if they don’t know what to do when I’m in this situation like, how am I supposed to know what to do? Because they’re supposed to be the professionals on how to fix the problem that I’m experiencing.

And that sent me down a journey to ultimately realizing that there was nobody else that could know me as well as I can know me. And that ultimately it was my job to figure out how am I going to address this problem and fix it. And so, when I talk to a lot of people, it’s a very common theme, what I experience, people going to mental health professionals. And I actually work in the field of mental health, so I’m actually quite a fan. They’re outsourcing the responsibility to the mental health professionals rather than taking the responsibility themselves.

Katie: Yeah, I think that’s a tremendous key, both in the mental health world and the physical health world, as I talk about often on here, is that while we can work with people who can, whether it be practitioners, therapists, whoever, who can be amazing guides, like you said, at the end of the day, they can never have more data about our inner experience or our bodies than we do, no matter how good they are. And that responsibility lies within us, but it also can be tremendously helpful to have a guide as well. It’s not either/or, it’s a both/and, but I think the context of stepping into that while taking responsibility ourselves is a huge first step.

Corban: Right, Katie, and I realize I didn’t actually answer your question. I apologize. I view the role of therapists, if we were to engage them for mental health reasons, although I don’t think that’s the only way to address those problems, I would view them then as not being healers. So a lot of people in that profession, and other professions that help people to get well, they will sort of proudly say, hey, I’m a healer. That’s part of their identity. And I really chafe against that description because it takes the agency away from the person that actually needs the healing and says, hey, I’m the one holding the key for you to get better. And not only is that not helpful for the person who needs the healing, it’s just not true. We are always the ones that hold the keys to our own healing. And so, I view the role of those people who might consider themselves healers for other people. And I don’t think it’s said with any malice. I think it’s taken with pride for the work that they do. But I take their role as more being one of a guide, like what you said. Somebody says, hey, I’ve been over this mountain before, and I’ve helped other people go over this mountain before and I know what’s on the other side. Let’s go there together and kind of explore what can be done and how you can find healing, but ultimately, you’re the one on the journey. I’m just coming alongside you.

Katie: Yeah. And it feels like a much more empowering place to start because then we can say, I’m taking the responsibility and also you can hold my hand, and that’s really actually helpful when we keep those sort of in alignment. And I also know you talk a lot about how we have much more within our ability to control when it comes to mental health often than we think we do. And I know in the physical health world, this is true as well. And it’s such an empowering thing to realize is that, like I say, in the physical health world, we’re so made up by our daily habits and the small, simple things that we often overlook. And I think you have a really amazing and unique perspective on this when it comes to mental health. So I would love to dive into some of the things that we have within our power that are not exorbitantly expensive, that we can begin doing that can move that needle in a more positive direction.

Corban: Yeah, thank you, Katie. I think the thing that helped me to get to this place was, if I can take just a very brief backup, would be that as I was looking to heal from some of the hard things that happened in my past, which resulted in PTSD, I ended up spending several hundred thousand dollars to try and recover from that. And I realized that is not feasible for everybody. And fortunately, I’d sold some companies, and I had some resources to be able to do that. But it really weighed on my heart. What about the people who, who don’t have those resources, which are most people actually. And then I got to thinking about like, my gosh, like what did we do before we had all these expensive therapies? Like, have we just been mired in poor mental health for all of human history and just now we’re starting to figure it out. That doesn’t sound quite right.

And so that led me on a path of exploration. I’m just sort of like the human condition and what are the things that we did to recover. And it turns out like, and again, I’m a big fan of therapy, but my view, and I say this all the time, is that therapy is a major intervention that’s often made necessary by the lack of a thousand smaller interventions along the way. What are those? And that’s what you’re referencing. What are those little things that we can do, sometimes they’re habits. Sometimes it’s something we can do one time. What are the things that we can do in our own lives to find healing from the hard things?

And so, the way I look at it is that healing from whatever is going on for us, I call them the hard things in our past, but that can result in depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a lot of different presentations. Healing is just a way of finding our, it’s just a way of finding our way back into alignment with ourselves. And it’s a way of connecting with ourselves. And there’s so much research to show that it’s connection with our bodies. It’s a connection with other people. And its connection with, you know, I like to say the ineffable or the great mystery. It’s that sense of awe that we connect to religion, but it’s also found in great philosophies and other kinds of experiences. And so, so much of those thousands interventions are found in those three different categories. And I would even go so far as to say that maybe, except for when there is actually something physiologically just wrong, in that case, I can’t speak to that. But when it’s many times it’s because of things that have happened in our past. The connection to one of those three things is the only, and I can speak to some of the specifics you want, but I also don’t want to keep going.

Katie: Yeah, I love that you break it down like that. And I would love to go into some of the specifics, maybe starting with the connection to our own bodies, because from knowing you, I know we have some similarities in our history of feeling very dissociated or disconnected from our bodies. And I know for me, this was an extreme degree, and I think for you as well. And I think often if someone is in that response, they may not even fully realize the extent to which they are in that moment, and also may have trouble even feeling enough to know what might help them to learn to reconnect with their body.

Corban: I mean, you’re right I mean, the nature of dissociation is to be dissociated from the sensation of being in your body. So how do you know what you’re missing if you’ve been missing it? I didn’t know. I remember the first time I went to a therapy called Somatic Experiencing. And it’s a very effective type of therapy for helping people to reconnect with their bodies and to get out of a state of dissociation. And the therapist said to me, okay, where are you feeling this? We’re talking and they said, where are you feeling this in your body? And I was like, what kind of stupid question is that? I’m not feeling anything. This is the norm. Nobody feels things in their body. Like, I mean, if you punched me in the arm, I could say you punched me in the arm. It wasn’t. You know, but it was like, certain kinds of emotions and sensations that I wasn’t aware that I had, because I had blocked them out for so long.

And so when it comes to connecting with our bodies, the first thing is learning to become aware of the experience of being in our bodies. And that, for somebody who’s experienced trauma, who has a significant association, is, can be an extremely difficult thing. But there are also very simple things that we can do to start to connect. It’s not about how can I go from zero percent, well, I don’t think anybody’s at zero percent, but let’s say 10% to 100% in a moment, of course, that’s not effective. That just leads to overwhelm because we have to acknowledge the body is doing something for our benefit. Like, dissociation is not a malady. It’s a remedy. It’s a remedy for the pain that we experienced, right?

And so, however, at some point, it becomes not appropriate for the goals that we have in a particular moment. And we get to decide, we get to say, oh, this strategy worked really well. I’m so grateful for this. But like, I would like to feel things in my body. I’d like to be able to heal from some of the hard things. And I know that the path is to start experiencing my body again. So it can be as simple as just sort of being aware of a very, very light sensation. You know, something like, I wonder what my fingers are feeling like right now. And for me, I had to start with, what does it feel like to be six inches outside of my fingers, which sounds weird because, like, clearly my fingers are right in front of me. But that is as close as I get to experiencing my body. I had to imagine being outside of it just a little bit in order to start experiencing it. But even that, even that little, that cracks the door open a little bit. Now that alone is not going to be enough. But if you do that experience, if you do that over a period of time and then you start saying fingers are feeling, I mean, this is, we do this with different kinds of meditation, right? Its like starting to be awareness, mindfulness meditation, being aware of what’s happening in your body.

And then you can move that throughout your body. And over time, you start to be able to hear the signals of your body. What is my body communicating? I don’t know if this is true for you, Katie, but for me, I took pride in the fact that I never felt hungry. I took pride in the fact that I never really felt tired. I mean, I would, but it took a lot for me to feel tired. I mean, those are the main things, but I thought that was a superpower. I didn’t realize that I had been turning those signals off for so long. So as you start to come into the experience of your body, you start to be able to hear those signals. Now, I take pride in the fact that I ate before our call today because I was hungry. I went to sleep last night because I was tired. So that’s a really wonderful thing to be able to move into. Which is to say nothing of the emotions that we can experience in our body, which we can get into. That’s a whole other thing.

Katie: Yeah, I had that same experience as well. And I know on my side, the ability to sort of not feel hunger and exist without food coupled with trying to lose weight chronically for 10 years, I entered a state where I had drastically undernourished myself for many, many years, sometimes eating well under 800 calories a day because I did not feel those hunger signals. And I was programming myself to lose weight by deprivation, which is its own conversation and not ideal for the body either. But it was so profound to start to reawaken that. And like you said, it was a journey. It didn’t happen overnight, though, I would say there were moments where there were a little burst of kind of an increase that seemed to stick, but it was, so it wasn’t a linear process, but it was a step-by-step incremental process slowly over time. And it was incredible to learn sort of to feel safe and at home and actually just feel my body again.

Corban: Yeah. Yeah. At first for you, was that scary at first? I mean, did you feel any kind of fear around that?

Katie: It was. And I think for me, I connected that over time, some of the excess weight was a physical shield that I had built to protect myself. And as I let go of the mental and inner experience and emotions of that, my body reflected that, but it wasn’t by trying to punish my body into looking a certain way that it did that. Because like you said, the body keeps the score. It was there actually to keep me safe. And it was actually much more a process of learning to accept it, understand it and thank it. And it was able to let go. And you mentioned somatic therapy. I would love to expound on this one a little bit because I get so many questions about this from people after mentioning that I had done it as well. And I think like you said, the body, since the body keeps the score that can store in our body or we can dissociate from our body, but that means the body is also a really helpful tool and guide in the healing experience.

Corban: Oh, very much. And I’ll put a disclaimer here to say that I’m well-read on the subject, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on Somatic Experiencing, but I can speak to my experience. And I’ve worked with a lot of therapists, both personally and professionally, who are. And so, you talk about the body keeping the score. When we experience a traumatic event, what will very often happen is we will experience an event and it doesn’t feel safe to us to process the emotions of that event in that particular moment. And maybe it doesn’t feel safe to respond in the way that would, would provide us with the necessary release in many cases, in the case of like violent things that can happen. There’s a sense of agency that’s lost, and we don’t know quite when we’re allowed to have that back.

And so if we’re not able to process the emotions of the moment, the fear, the anger, that biological response of wanting to push away or run, that actually gets stored first in our nervous system. And then when it’s not able to be processed in our nervous system, eventually just goes into our body and can actually get stored in the musculature of our bodies. And you can actually have certain things in your body, I mean what you described, is actually something like that. But it’s not uncommon for people to have a certain kind of pain in their back or in their arm or their leg or somewhere in their body that once they do this kind of work, all of a sudden, this thing they thought was just a physical problem, is the fact that trauma was stored in a particular area and it was released first in the musculature, then through the nervous system, and then it was gone. And so that’s a really common experience for people who do somatic experiencing. And I also think I lost the actual question that you asked in my answer. So I don’t know if I answered that.

Katie: You did. And I would love to delve into other things that you found helpful from the physical health and connecting to your body side in your own process of healing. Because I’ve often said how we often overlook the simple things that can compound and have the most profound effect over time, sometimes because of their simplicity. And I think that we do ourselves a disservice when we overlook the simple or want to just turn to the fancy treatment or the expensive supplement or the new device or whatever the thing is, because it’s those foundational core things that really can compound over time. And I know for you, there were some things you did in both like diet, lifestyle, physical health that actually had a noticeable effect on your mental health as well.

Corban: Oh, yeah, for sure. So it’s funny, it took me spending all of that money to realize that probably a significant chunk of my healing could have been done through the things that we are biologically created since the beginning of our evolution, I suppose, certainly we’ve developed over all that time, to be able to do and it’s available to me without cost. So those few things.

Number 1, I actually learned to listen. Once I started to learn to listen to my body and had those, I was able to listen to those physical needs, I started to focus on sleeping, and I know this, I don’t want to be too simplistic, but we very often overlook these, there’s three core areas that have a massive impact on our mental health and our ability to process and move through trauma even. And they’re talked about all the time in different contexts, but we don’t realize how much it can affect our mental health. So three things. And if there’s other things that I’ve done, I’ll answer your question, but sleep, diet, and exercise. Those three things. And there’s actually a fourth, which is connection with other people but that’s sort of another one of those points. But those four things and these three in particular in regards to our body, sleep, diet, and exercise.

When we can do those well, and there’s tons of studies, tons, like tons and tons of studies that show. So for example, sleep for me, because you’re asking for specifics, going to sleep at the same time, waking up at the same time. Figuring out over time, what is my ideal number, sort of time for sleep? For me, it’s, it’s about seven hours. Eight sometimes feels a little bit too much for me. I know that there’s some disagreement amongst some people say everybody needs eight. I don’t know. For me, it seems to be seven. But just sort of like listening to that. So sleeping had a major impact. And I’m sure you’ve talked about this before, Katie, you’re probably a lot more educated on this than I am, but, I mean, sleep. I have a friend who says resting is investing, which I think is a great term. And the thing that happens when you’re sleeping is not just that you’re, you’re clocking out for the night and then you’re coming back and your body is kind of I don’t know, I don’t know what I thought it was before. I just thought it was a necessary evil, you know? But like we have things like memory consolidation, like how do we process not just the events of the day, but the events of the week, even the events of our entire lifetime, that happens at night. And we’re starting, we’re, we’re, we’re going through this sort of like this cross-hemispheric connections between our right and our left brain. That’s saying, ah, is this a logic? Do I process this with logic? Do I process with creativity? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Going back and forth, and we’re figuring out what to do with the hard things. Not just the hard things, even the things that are not hard. We’re saying, okay, now I found a place to put that, and I know it’s safe.

Emotional processing happens at night as well. We experience a lot of emotions in our sleep. Sometimes you wake up afraid of something, right? That’s you processing emotion. But there’s also like clearing toxins, which affects your memory. You, again, probably know a lot more about this than I do but I know that the less sleep you have, the more the toxins clean, clog up your brain and make it difficult for you to do things like process. And so, so that was the first thing sleep, actually getting my sleep consistent and doing it well was one of the big things.

And also, surprise, surprise, maybe eating good food and eating it regularly. For me, it wasn’t so much about eating poor food because my wife, you know her, she feeds us well. And so, so we’ve always eaten pretty healthy food, but I just wasn’t having enough of it. So for me being consistent with food and eating things like I don’t know what your feeling is on the Mediterranean diet, but essentially having really good fats and lots of good vegetables and lots of good fruits and whole grains. It’s like those things. It’s like, and it turns out we’ve been eating this kinds of things for a really, really long time so it makes sense their bodies would be adapted to it. But once you do that, guess what happens? You get better sleep, which is like, oh yeah, we need sleep, right? But it also, 90 to 95% of the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gut. So if we can actually like focus on our gut health and help that to be better, it’s amazing what can improve in your mental health just by having good gut health. We think the neurotransmitter is only in our brain. That’s where we think happens. But actually, and it was surprising to me when I found out it was created, most of it’s created in the gut.

And then the third thing is exercise. Exercise also produces surprise, surprise serotonin. We feel a lot less depressed, a lot happier when we have serotonin. It also makes us, gives us energy and makes us more tired so we can sleep better. And so I think a lot of it comes back to sleep. But if you’re looking, people are saying, I don’t know how to get good sleep because that’s so critical. Well, how about let’s focus on your diet, get some really good fats, and Katie, you can speak, have more knowledge about this than I do, but I just eat basic, you know. And we get good exercise that helps with your sleep.

And then the last thing. I would say is learning to, it was critical for me to learn and start listening to, to sit and start learning to listen to my body. Not just what it said about the physical needs but the emotions that I was experiencing because I didn’t realize that emotions happened in our bodies. I thought it happened in our minds, which is some sort of spiritual entity out there in the sky somewhere. Like I didn’t realize that when we have an emotion, it’s actually happening physiologically in our own bodies. And so once you learn to listen to those emotions, it can give you a lot of clues about what you need and also, you can allow it to be processed. And it also gives you more awareness of other people as well. It gives you access to your intuition.

Katie: Yeah, you just said so many things that are absolutely, I think, gold tips for this. And again, I think they can often be overlooked because they seem so simple. And I also know just how drastically something as simple as improving our sleep, even if it’s baby steps, can be for every single aspect of health. Like you mentioned, the body is flushing cerebral spinal fluid while we are sleeping. There is a huge statistical amount of data around the importance of not just sleep, but quality sleep for every metric of health, for longevity, for mental health. I know there are studies that link it to depression, anxiety. And we’ve all felt that even one night of poor sleep, you feel less resilient. You feel a little more down than you normally would. And I think of it in my head, I think of deep sleep is that phase where the body repairs and REM sleep is the phase where the brain repairs. And so we need enough of each of those.

I think you might have had this experience as well during the intense healing phase, which for me was about a year, I found that I had to learn to be very gentle with myself and really make sleep a non-negotiable priority and also not push myself. I was trying to learn to downshift from sympathetic to parasympathetic. So I did not do high-intensity workouts. I was not sprinting. I was not lifting weights. I was walking. I was resting. I was napping and I was sleeping at night. And that had such a tremendous effect. And so I just want to echo everything that you just said. Same thing with the food. You’re right. The Mediterranean diet is the most supported in data for physical and mental health. And so I think those two are absolutely key. And then I know you also talk a lot about, so we talked about body connection, but connection with others. And then I love that you call it connection with the ineffable. And I want to make sure we get to touch on both of those as well because I think these are also not brought into the conversation enough.

Corban: Yeah. Well. Gosh, I don’t even know which one is the most important. I have a personal bias probably towards the connection with one another. And when you look at the way that we have, there’s a certain amount of pride, certainly in the male population, in our culture of sort of being independent. And I think that can be true of some women as well. But it’s more common in men. Like, I don’t need nobody, you know? And, but when you look at the way that we’ve organized ourselves for all of human history, it’s always in groups. It’s in families, it’s in tribes, it’s in cultures, it’s in countries, it’s around interests. You know, like in this modern world where we can have access to people based around interest instead of proximity. You know, we’re always organizing ourselves around other people. But why is that? It’s not just convenience. I mean, there was a period of time when there was so much Earth around us we didn’t need to be around somebody else. We could go off into the woods by ourselves. And there’s something about that that speaks to this higher need of ours to be connected with other people.

And there’s, again, a lot of studies around our need as babies to be connected, particularly with our mothers, although you know, there. Perhaps a father would do just as well in a situation where a mother wasn’t there. I don’t know if there’s studies on that. Usually the studies are around connection with their mothers. And what happens to babies when they don’t have that physical connection? It’s not just that are their physical needs being met? Are they being provided food and are their diapers being changed? But like, are they being held? It’s actually when we are being held that we learn directly from the neurobiology of our mothers. How, like, the template that we need in order to live our lives amongst other humans. It actually teaches us to regulate our own nervous system, which affects our health, which affects our sleep, which also affects our health. It affects our connections with other people, which affects our health in some situations, you know.

But, you know, I think it’s for the first, is it for the first seven or eight years? Certainly it’s for the first few anyways. I don’t, I can’t recall off the top of my head, but we’re not even capable, I think you know the answer to this. We’re not even capable of regulating our own nervous system. We actually need co-regulation from our parents. We need the nervous system typically of our mother to be right there with us and communicating to our nervous system, what are we supposed to do? So if that’s true of us as babies, why do we think that that becomes no longer necessary when we’re adults. And when you look at, again, studies around mental health and let’s just say happiness.

Why is it that we feel like, and I don’t think that everybody feels like this, but, why is it that many of us feel that connection with other people is not as important as perhaps satisfaction in our jobs or something like that. It’s like, of course we need other people in order to be happy. And it’s not, I would say even, well, you could make an argument against this, Katie, which is to say, well, goodness, in our culture, in our world, we’re at, I don’t know what the number is it seems like every year it goes up. Eight billion people? Is that where we’re at now? There’s more people in the world than there ever has been, number 1. Number two, we have more people around us because we know how to build skyscrapers so we can make the cities more dense. Number 3, we’re more connected by all of these, all of these networks, particularly the internet in the last 30 years, so we have access to more people. Why are we lonelier, more depressed, more anxious? Have more PTSD? Why do we have all of these mental health symptoms? In the last 50, 150 years, but then, 50 years, then 40, 30, 20, up to like even the last 10 years, seeing a decline in all those areas.

But the one of the most interesting is why are we the most, why are we more lonely? When we’re more connected to other people. And my view on this and I wrote a speech on this called Sometimes All We Need is a Witness. My view on this is that we have traded depth of connection for breadth of connection. Meaning that we connect with more people but less deeply. We’ve traded meaningful connection for the illusion of connection through our networks, through our social media networks. I’m not a huge fan of social media for that reason. And the result is we’ve ended up with, are you familiar with Dunbar’s number? Which is the sort of the number of people that we are, that we are said to be able to connect with and maintain those relationships with stability. That’s roughly between 150 and 200. I think the number of actual numbers has been updated to like 172. So that’s the number that we’re kind of like designed to be able to handle with relationships. Well, the average now is over 600. Well, what is going to be the compromise in that number? We only have so much limited time. So we’re going to say, okay, well, I’m going to have to spread the time available that I have amongst more people, which means that more people know very little about me and I don’t actually, I get to hide. Actually is what happens. I get to hide. And so I end up having connections that are not as deep, and I feel lonely, even though I have more connections with more people. I could go on about this, Katie, but I know we have to get on to the topic as well. So that’s, yeah, it’s an overview.

Katie: Yeah, I feel like you’re right. This could be a whole series of podcasts, but I had a neuroscientist recently who people have perhaps seen that quote circling around social media that we need eight hugs a day for basic maintenance and more like 12 or more for growth. And he said, it’s actually, we need eight minutes of hugs per day for basic maintenance. Thinking back to, you know, babies, we do that all day long without even thinking about it. But as adults, many of us are just not getting that in-person human connection in the same way. And he said, humans are nutrients, and we need that connection. It’s actually vital for our nervous systems and for our brains. So I think that’s another, again, very overlooked aspect that is tremendous. And I also know we can touch on briefly the connection with the ineffable because I think this has also changed in the modern world quite a bit. And you and I have had offline conversations about simplicity of even just being overwhelmed with the beauty of the simple things in life and, and the connection with the ineffable and how that helps shape our human experience in such a profound way.

Corban: Oh, man. Yeah, you’re right. We could have episodes on each of these topics and probably series on each of these topics. I would start by saying, I would start by saying, why is it that we have since the beginning of recorded time looked for something greater than ourselves to be connected to. You know, we, that great religions have been formed around this idea of there being a God, who, who is beyond our comprehension, which inspires in us a great sense of awe. And then we build cathedrals which inspire within us a great sense of awe.

But even without the great religions, we seem to be moving towards, and that’s how I would describe the ineffable, as being, as being connected to that great sense of awe, this great sense of like, oh my God, what is happening right now? And how can I, how can I even come anywhere close to understanding this, this universe that I’m a part of. You look at the great philosophers, you know, you look at the Stoics, the Buddhists, the Taoists, like there’s an emphasis on the vastness of the universe. Again, instilling in it the sense of awe. And then also our insignificance within it. There’s lots of studies that show correlation between religious adherence and happiness. They’re almost never neutral. They often show at least a little bit of a, of an increase from religious appearance. Some of them are a lot more. I’m not a scientist enough to know which studies are, you know, great or not. But, but you also look at how we can access that just from looking up at the stars, you know, the ancient practice of staring at the stars and you and you look up and you’re like, man, I am insignificant. There’s like an endlessness to all of it. The sense of like this infinite insignificance in our lives in contrast, contrast to the infinite machinations of the universe. There’s something that fills us with a sense of well, a sense of awe. I don’t know how else to say that.

And then lastly, if you were to look at the conversation around psychedelics right now, one of the most common things that I hear from people who’ve experienced psychedelic journeys is they say, they will attribute the healing that they’re feeling in their life to the sense of connecting to the divine, this great sense of mystery, this great sense of awe. And I don’t know as much scientific research about this as there probably is, but I don’t think I personally don’t need it because I hear it enough in the experiences of those around me, in my own experience. You see, like, yeah, obviously there’s something valuable about that. And it also instills in us a sense of humility. Humility is like a really beautiful, underrated sensation. Because it’s like, oh, I am not the center of everything. I am part of it. A community of humans that live around the globe. And, I don’t know, there’s something really beautiful about that that helps us see our place in the world. So, yeah.

Katie: Well, in our last couple minutes, I would love for you to also talk about HopeGuide because first of all, I love the name and it ties in so much to all the things you’ve shared in this conversation. But I wished this tool had existed for me when I didn’t know how to find answers. And like you, I tried many things and some of them worked and some of them seem to be very counterproductive, actually. And I’ve joked, but it’s not really a joke, that I learned how to sort of game talk therapy. And I knew, like, talk to my inner child. And I knew how to play all the games without actually getting vulnerable because I was, again, protecting myself from having to do that. And so you, from this place of healing in yourself and seeing the need for it, have now created a resource that I think is so invaluable. So can you just share what HopeGuide is and where people can find it?

Corban: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, they can go to hopeguide.com. And I hope I really came out of, of my experience of spending all of that time and that money to heal. And, and realizing, I mean, I just felt this weight in my soul like I was able to go from having a pretty significant experience of PTSD to having no, having no diagnosis. And, and as I started to look at like, well, certainly it cannot only be available to the people who have those kinds of resources. And what were the problems with what I was experiencing? Well, it was pretty much throwing darts at a dartboard. It was like, well, let me try this. Well, fortunately, if you have the money, you can try this and then you can try that and then you can try that and you can try that.

But I realized that one of the major things that was missing for me as I started to find things that work was somebody that could guide me to some of the things that would work. Somebody who could be a bridge between the modern research on all the new kind of modalities because they can be very effective. They’re just not always necessary. You know, there’s other things that can be done, but can provide a bridge between the modern research and the modern modalities. And my experience and say, hey, again, we’re not your healer, but maybe we can help you be, we can help be a guide.

And so the job at HopeGuide is to be a bridge for people who are looking for a way to heal from the hard things in their past and to build resilience for the future, actually, both of those things through a number of ways. Number 1, it’s actually connecting them to specific modalities that are helpful for their healing. But it’s, but it’s not, we’re not taking a dartboard approach or a dart, you know, a dart, just throwing a dart and hoping it hits something. We’re saying, these are the things that are very effective for the kinds of things that you’re experiencing. Because then, instead of spending years and years and years doing therapy, like maybe if you’re doing the right thing you can start to experience that transformation more quickly.

But part of the burden that I feel in my heart is, is even still, if you’re doing a little bit of therapy, it’s expensive for a lot of people. So like, the thing that drives me is wanting to reduce the barrier of entry for people to, to find healing. And so, part of that is by looking at the other kinds of things that can help them with their healing that are not therapy. And so we’ve got a series of courses that are intended to help people sort of, so there’s a there’s an intake process where we where we sort of identify the things that are going on in their lives and say, okay these are the resources that you can use for yourself without, without having to pay hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. These are the things that can help you at least kind of catch your breath and maybe even find your own healing without going through that whole process. And if you need, did the therapy then we can provide that for you as well. But we’re going to do it in a targeted approach. It’s not like, hey, come in and we’re going to give you the first available person for the thing that you’re asking about. We do a full assessment and our job is to be a guide. We know the terrain. We know what the experience is like. Let’s actually help guide you to the thing that’s most likely to be effective and hopefully even efficient. I mean, I’m an entrepreneur, like efficiency matters to me. In therapy, that’s a bad word, but I actually think that when you’re suffering, efficiency is a really nice thing. It means that it doesn’t take me three years. It takes me one year or it doesn’t take me one year, it takes me two months or whatever, you know? I would rather suffer for less time. So anyways, that’s what we do at HopeGuide, and I appreciate you bringing that up, Katie. Thank you.

Katie: I’m so grateful that this exists as a resource because I’ve talked often about how, whether it’s physical health or mental health, that journey is so personal for each of us. And so I’ve been hesitant to even share when people ask, what exactly did you do? What exact therapies in what exact order? Because I’ve always said it may not work the same for everybody. And it might be discouraging if they just try my path and they don’t get the exact same results. So I love that you’re bridging the gap between what works for one person, helping each person find that versus assuming the same approach is going to work like a cookie cutter for each person. And I think this is so needed. And I also so much appreciate that you are working to make that barrier entry low so that this becomes accessible to all of us. And there’s so much more I could talk to you about. I know we’re going to get to have more conversations, but, Corban, this has been an absolute joy. Thank you so much for sharing today. This has been wonderful.

Corban: Thank you, Katie. It’s wonderful for me as well. Thanks for having me.

Katie: And thanks to you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us both. We’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of The Wellness Mama Podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

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