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Our breath is one of the most powerful ways that you can relax and calm the nervous system. In this video, we look at an easy way to use our breath to help us relax, sleep, and calm.


Dr Craig Hazel



Making the commitment

Think Well

In 2001, I made the commitment to train for a heavy maximum one rep squat of 400 lbs. It was just one of those physical goals that was out of reach previously, and I was more curious to see if I could than anything else. I had been close in the past, but never quite got there.

I trained over the course of three months to scale my training and move myself closer to the goal. I had to make changes in how I approached my goal. In the past, I was unsuccessful and I realized that I needed a different strategy if I was going to hit it.

I’ve made so many other commitments in my life, and I bet you have too, dear reader. Marriage, kids, jobs, savings, exercise, eating healthy, climbing mountains, or cutting back on sweets. We all make commitments and when we put our full engagement into them, the sky is the limit.


Notice I didn’t say effort? My reasoning is that effort is, in my opinion, a fair bit short of engagement. Engagement is the full commitment to the process with a clear and directed process and outcome with an emotional investment in all of it. I can give my effort (defined as vigorous attempt) but if the goal isn’t clear, I can do ‘stuff’ that moves me towards it, but not directly because it lacks the emotional anchor to get me there.

What are you committing to?

After the Holiday Hangover, you’re probably looking to do more or less of something that led you to make decision to commit to something different.

Good for you!

I believe that since we all make commitments everyday in our lives (like checking facebook, emails, making dinner etc) we can and must commit to ourselves.

Here are a few things to help you make commitments

1. Overt benefit assignment. Want to exercise but can’t seem to get going? Write out 100 reasons WHY you want to. Here’s an example of a conversation I had with a practice member recently:

Me: Why do you want to get fit?
PM So I can have more energy
Me: Why?
PM: So I can play with my kids
Me: Why?
PM: So I’ll feel better as a mom
Me: Why?
PM: Because they need me
Me: Why?
PM: So that I can be there for them and raise them to be strong and confident
Me: Why?

and so on and so on.

You see, if the WHY isn’t BIG ENOUGH, the HOW doesn’t happen.

2. Write out your goals and review daily. As we wrote about last week, we discussed how you can lay out your goals and action steps for each. Next is to pick one of the categories and review a different one daily. This should only take you 3-5 minutes to review. Then pick one or two things to do that day that can move you towards your goal. For example, let’s say that you chose to review the Intellectual category and your goal is to read ten books. Maybe the action step for that day is to research and buy a book that you want to read.

3. Accountability.  Share your goals publicly. Whether with friends, or on social media, or on your fringe for all to see, there is massive benefit by getting support from others. And you just might inspire someone else too!

4. Be realistic.  I’m guilty of ‘biting off more than I can chew’. Trying to hit my goal of 400lbs two days after I made the commitment wasn’t realistic. I needed to give myself a timeline and ‘reverse engineer’ how I was going to get there.

5. Make it FUN!  Choose some cool things to commit to. A couple of years ago, I made the commitment to see 5 different waterfalls that year. I had to research where ones close to me were, and that meant, planning a day trip to get there. It got me out in nature, and I discovered some cool areas I had never been before. Choose some commitments that appeal to your adventurous side as much as your more serious side. Heck, by choosing the adventurous child side, you’ll likely get to your serious goals much faster anyways.

I would love to hear how these commitments are going for you!

Dr C

PS – I did hit my squatting goal – 405lbs on September 23, 2001.  👊 😊

Dr. Craig Hazel’s mission is to help families THRIVE. After graduating from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, he went on to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas Texas. He is passionate about seeing children and families in his private practice at Synergy Chiropractic in Kanata Ontario. A sought after speaker, he has been featured regularly on TSN Team 1200, CTV and Rogers TV. He is also the Chairman of the Alliance for Chiropractic of Ontario.

Nursing a “Holiday Hangover”?

Think Well

Oops you did it again. Way too much food, drink and don’t forget the crazy stress, travel, family drama, and maybe just one too many fruitcakes can all contribute to the dreaded holiday hangover.

The truth of the matter is that the STRESS of the holiday season is nothing to dismiss. It is the time of year when heart attacks reach a peak level. For 46% of people, their first sign of heart disease is a fatal heart attack.

For others – the holidays bring cold/flu, exhaustion, poor digestion, sleep disturbances, irritability, and depression, and

Holiday stress

Stress manifests as symptoms in our bodies.


Symptoms are signals that our body tells us to let us know that something is wrong or that our body is trying to adapt to something. Body signals are the tip of the iceberg because they only represent the point at which our brains become aware that a problem is happening or has been happening for a while. Learning how to “speak body” is critical to our health outcomes.

The way in which we think about our symptoms drives our choices and it’s our choices drive our outcomes.

Sources of Stress

Stress around the holiday season can bring on a multitude of body signals.  Stress can most definitely come in the form of excessive food and alcohol intake, or sweet and calorie-rich foods.

There may also be stress from late nights, long travel days, high states of family distress and emotional turmoil, poor sleep in different beds and let’s not forget the financial stress that the holidays can bring on with over-spending.

We can even have physical stress from long drives, poor bed arrangements, or sitting too much – all of these stresses add up.  When they exceed your body’s ability to adapt, the body begins to let you know that there is a problem.

Voila!  The body signals begin and we manifest them as symptoms and thus you may experience the Holiday Hangover.

If we aren’t careful and manage our stress, we can start the year off on the wrong foot.  We don’t want to drug away our symptoms because, well, that only masks the problem and doesn’t solve anything.

So let’s end the Holiday Hangover and get back on track!

With the New Year comes a renewed sense of a fresh start.

“I’m gonna lose weight this year!”

“I’m gonna quit smoking!”

I’m gonna be nicer to people!”

If you made a New Year’s resolution (and even if you refuse to make one each year) and have quit already, then listen up! Most people have fizzled out by week three in January.


How we eat plays a huge role in our weight and our energy levels. When you have a low energy level, it’s difficult to get the motivation to stay active and exercise. However, when you give your body the proper nutrition, you can have more energy, lose more weight, and stay more active.

Here are MUST-DO’s:

  • Never Go Hungry – eat lots of smaller portions and meals.  Starving yourself doesn’t work
  • The Battle is Won at the Register – if you don’t buy the bad foods, you won’t eat them
  • Don’t Drink Your Calories
  • Avoid the White Stuff (bread, pasta, white flour etc)
  • No Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar
  • Fill Yourself With Healthy Foods*

*Instead of focusing on the foods, you shouldn’t eat, let’s highlight a few foods and supplements that can help you stay active, energize, and get ready to shed those pounds.

Subtraction by Addition

Eating well is critical to getting rid of the holiday hangover.  Here are a few high energy foods (without that sugar crash): blueberries, strawberries, salmon, lean meats, nuts, whole grains, vegetables.

Supplements such as fish oil and probiotics can help you reduce inflammation and keep your gut healthy and happy.
Focus on having protein at every meal.

Stop mixing fats and carbs or protein and carbs.  Fats and proteins.  Carbs on their own.

Eat a handful of nuts once a day.  Raw is best.

Some other tips:

  • Unlimited Vegetables
  • Plenty of Lean Cuts of Natural Meats, Fish, and Eggs
  • Some Fruit, Nuts, and Seeds

For healthy foods to give you an energy boost, it’s all about eating the right ones at the right time. Eating small meals and snacking throughout the day is a great way to keep your body fueled and your energy levels high.

Start by eating a few small meals per day and snacking every few hours in-between. This will help keep your energy up throughout the day. You’ll feel better, think better, and be more motivated to stick with your exercise routine.

Slow it Down

“IT’ is your brain.  Your nervous system takes on all of the stress.  Since we live our lives through our nervous systems, we experience all of our stress through it.  We want to calm it down after the holidays.

Exercise is a great way to burn off steam.  Take a walk.  Hit the gym.  Do a yoga class.  Punch a heavy bag.  Whatever you want.  If you’ve been sitting for the majority of the holidays, then its time to get active.  Pick something that you enjoy doing and get to it.

Another fantastic way to calm your nervous system is simply through breathing.

Try this out!

While laying on your back in bed, place both your hands on your heart.  In this position take ten deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.  You want to feel your breaths lifting and dropping your hands up as your chest rises and falls.  After ten, move your hands to the top of your abdomen but below your ribcage.  Take ten more breaths here.  Finally, move your hands to your lower abdomen over your belly button.  Perform another ten breaths.  Then move your hands back to your upper abdomen for another ten breaths and finally back to your heart for the final ten.


This is a great exercise for when you are having trouble sleeping.  The key is to concentrate solely on the rise and fall of your breaths and the action of taking the breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Nobody likes a hangover.  They are terrible.


The New Year is a great time to improve your health, get a little extra motivation and even lose a few pounds in the process!  Now it’s time to recover.

Are you a GOAL-digger? Your 7 Day Quick Start Guide

Think Well

When astronauts return from space, the most common comment they all have is how vast the galaxy is. When they look down on the earth below, they don’t see troubles. They don’t see races, countries, poverty or wealth. They all realize how small we are on this spinning speck of dust amongst the larger universe and

Overview Effect

The Overview Effect helps us look at our lives objectively.


They call this the Overview Effect.

So let’s apply this to our objective look at our lives for a moment look at the answers to these questions from an objective viewpoint. Let’s do so WITHOUT judgement of ourselves or our situation.

Do you love your job?
Do you have an amazing relationship with your kids?
Do you have an epic love affair with your partner?
Do you friends share your values?
Do you know what you want in life?
Do you do things/behave to appease others?
Do you know your gifts, talents and strengths?
Are you happy?
Do you love your life?

11% of men and 16% of women are depressed.

The number of unhappy employees outweighs the happy ones 2:1.

Are you happy

Look at your life without judgement

Truth is – we are all EXTRAORDINARY. We each have the potential to achieve more than we have. If you already have everything that you want to experience, then FANTASTIC! Keep on keeping on. If not, then keep reading.

The “PETER” principle helps us to look at what we are doing and evaluating our performance. The formula is: P + E + T = ER

P = our foundational premise – what do we understand and our belief system of it.

E = Effort

T = Time

ER = Extraordinary results

If our effort is fantastic and we’ve been at it for an appropriate length of time but our actions (premise) is incomplete, then our results will be limited.

Perhaps our actions are perfect but our effort isn’t there, then similarly, we won’t achieve our full potential.

For instance – we want to save money. We create a savings account, we deposit money into it, but it’s only been two months of saving, then we won’t have the result we are likely looking for.

What about our health?

We start an exercise regime, we’re putting in outstanding effort and we’ve been at it for months and our results are there! WOO HOO! Exactly what we wanted.

Applying the PETER principle in our lives is a fantastic way to look at our goals and set pace and consistency towards achieving them.

So here are the steps to building your EXTRAORDINARY LIFE:

1. Develop a conscious philosophy. Look at what you believe about the different categories of life (health, intellect, financial, relationships, social wellbeing, or vocation). Does a lack of symptoms mean you are healthy? Is it normal for everyone to get sick? Does having no debt mean you are wealthy? Does not being dumb mean you are intelligent? What does it mean to you to be healthy, wealthy and intelligent? Consciously look at all categories and define it.

2. Build a healthy self esteem. Live consciously, develop self-acceptance, self responsibility, live purposefully, have personal integrity. Nathaniel Branden’s book “The 6 pillars of self esteem” is a great place to start.

3. Develop a crystal clear vision. See step 1. By defining your premises, you will be able to make better and more conscious choices about what to think, eat and how to move your body in ways that set clear parameters to achieve your goals.

4. Identify your purpose. Are you purpose driven or pain and pleasure driven. When we aren’t clear, we work really hard to avoid what we don’t want instead of chasing what we do want and what ignites our spirits.

5. Craft your action plan. Ideation without action is delusion. Set a clear plan to achieve your actions. Book your time to workout and hold it at a high value…just as important as any other appointment. Trust me – one thing I’ve learned the hard way is that committing to yourself is the fastest and best way to build your self esteem. Try it. You’ll realize quickly that it works amazingly well.

Here’s your 7 day Get Started Plan:

Craft your best life

Craft your best life

Today: Schedule your Power Hour – spend 30-60 mins each day journaling and writing out your thoughts in each of the categories of life: My Health and Fitness, My Character , My Social Life , My Love Relationship, My Parenting, My Finances , My Intellect, My Career, My Spiritual Life, My Legacy.

For each category – Ask yourself:
– What do you know to be true about (category)?
– What is your vision for your (category)?
– Why do you want it?
– What action steps must you take to make it happen?

Day 1 –- “6 Pillars” Book
Day 2-4 – Answer 4 questions for 3 categories
Day 5-7 – Other 8 Categories

Dr. Craig Hazel’s mission is to help families THRIVE.  After graduating from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, he went on to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas Texas.  He is passionate about seeing children and families in his private practice at Synergy Chiropractic in Kanata Ontario.  A sought after speaker, he has been featured regularly on TSN Team 1200, CTV and Rogers TV. He is also the Chairman of the Alliance for Chiropractic of Ontario.