Find what lights you up and give yourself permission to do more of that. If fun and enjoyment were the priorities in everything we did, I believe that we’d all be leading more fulfilling lives. While I understand that life comes with demands, challenges, and duties to fulfill, we are also the ones in control of how we get to experience our daily lives. If you love to dance, create art, read, teach others, cook, etc… do not postpone the day you can get started or you may never do it.
Many ancient traditions around the world believe ‘wellbeing’ or ‘bienestar’ is a state of harmony within ourselves and our world, where we are in balance mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chrissy Papetti.
Chrissy is a Self-Mastery Mentor, Success Coach, Entrepreneur, and Speaker who teaches leaders and high-achievers to override the limiting patterns in their mind and body that may be holding them back from their potential. She focuses on Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing practices with science-backed and spiritually-informed theories, such as experience-dependent neuroplasticity, subconscious reprogramming, nervous system and emotional regulation, behavioral flexibility and resilience, epigenetics, and the neuroscience of purpose. Since 2018, she’s helped 30+ clients 20x their monthly income and transition their career-paths to start their own businesses, reduce reported levels of anxiety, depression, physical pain, as well as significantly improved their physical health, mental well-being, and quality of life.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in a traditional, loud Italian family in the suburbs of New Jersey and was dancing from the moment I could walk. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at 8 years old, with aching pain daily in my ankles and wrists, monthly blood work, never-ending medical tests, and ingesting 8 pills a day. I share this because I’d cry daily and was utterly exhausted from the pain, but I refused to stop dancing. Expressing myself through dance became the medicine that got me through the hardest of times, shaped my identity from childhood on, and plays a huge role in why I do what I do today.
What or who inspired you to pursue a career in helping others? We’d love to hear the story.
Dance led me to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in college, at the University of Michigan and join the Michigan Dance Team. Halfway through my collegiate dance career, I tore my labrum in my right hip. Not knowing the diagnosis for another two years, I just kept dancing on it and pushing my body to its limits while injured. When I graduated, got the labral tear diagnosis, and underwent arthroscopic surgery, I had total faith everything would go back to normal and I could dance again once I healed. A few months turned into a few years, and the chronic hip pain would not go away and turned into chronic back pain and other mental health challenges. I postponed my life day after day, seeking answers to what I was going through with no luck.
I’ll never forget the day, six years into my chronic pain recovery journey, when I was crying to my mom, feeling completely defeated and not sure where to turn. My mom turns to me and says, “Chrissy, what if this is all in your head?” And while I’m pretty sure you could see the steam blowing from my ears as my teeth clenched and my face turned bright red with fury, it turns out that she wasn’t too far off. I decided to stop seeking answers outside of me and take time to process what was going on inside of me. My entire world flipped upside down when I learned, through therapy and my own study pursuing a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, just how much influence we have on the mind-body connection. I learned just how much the state of our mind and body impacts our quality of life and the powerful role that we play in that dynamic. Within a year of learning, transforming, and taking new action, I self-healed my chronic pain, overcame my anxiety and depressive states, got engaged to my soulmate, and launched my own business. My own journey fueled my mission from that point forward to help other high-achievers to overcome the mind-body disconnection that holds them back from living the life they know they’re capable of.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve been fortunate to have family and friends that supported and encouraged me throughout all of the highs and lows of my life. I’m an extremely self-driven person who doesn’t give up on something I set my mind to, but I can’t undervalue the impact of feeling seen and understood by loved ones along the way. My husband, Julian De Martinis, walked into my life in the lowest part of my chronic pain journey. We started as really close friends and the lens that he saw me through helped me to rediscover parts of me that I didn’t see, acknowledge, or honor when the “dancer” part of me was sidelined. He saw my worth, my value, my gifts beyond being a dancer, and that mirroring helped me to see my potential within myself. While I firmly believe you have what you need within you to transform your life, I have discovered in my life and in research that supportive relationships of any kind are a catalyst that accelerates your self-transformation.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of pursuing your passion? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
This wasn’t quite a “mistake”, but rather an interesting pivot that I wasn’t expecting on the course of pursuing my passion. When I was younger, I had this strong gut feeling that I was meant to serve others by becoming a teacher, and had the overhead projector in my basement growing up to prove it! As I got older and found a passion for understanding the human body and how our mind-body connection works, I pivoted to the medical field and stumbled upon occupational therapy. Through pursuing my Master’s in OT and working in the field, I discovered my passion for coaching and educating individuals on how to maximize their health and well-being proactively, rather than resolving issues that arise from decreased health and well-being reactively. I never imagined that my somewhat spontaneous pursuit of OT would ultimately lead me out of the traditional OT industry, and yet prepare me to channel that expertise through my original love of teaching as a mentor and speaker today. The lesson here is that it’s not your job to know “how” things are going to work out for you in our life, but to follow the breadcrumbs and trust that you’re being led where you’re meant to be, even when you can’t see it clearly.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“You can only connect the dots backwards” is a quote from Steve Jobs that is always in the back of my mind. As a high-achieving woman, I have this relentless drive always propelling me forward and it can become all too easy to obsess with next steps, specific goals, and high expectations for the future. This has proven to be a recipe for anxiety and dissatisfaction, as it pulls me out of the present moment and life hardly works out in the way that’s planned. I’ve learned that timing is not in my control, but my passion and persistence is. As I mentioned before, it’s not our job to know “how” or “when” something will happen, but rather be focused on the “what” and “why” that’s fueling what I’m doing in the present moment while trusting it’ll align as it’s meant to.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
My mission is to empower as many high-achievers and leaders as I can with the knowledge and tools to master themselves so they can master their lives. When you have that high-achieving bone in your body, you’re naturally driven to seek, do, and be more. And I want to help people do just that, with nothing holding them back. I’m launching a YouTube Channel this year to create the educational and transformational platform that I wish that I had, where high-achievers looking to uplevel their lives can come and expand into who they’re capable of being. Knowledge alone can have the power to completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, which I’ve experienced firsthand. The content is rooted in my evidence-based Multidimensional Mastery method: my proprietary process of mastering four key dimensions within you that will unlock your capacity to rise to your potential.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In my writing, I talk about cultivating wellbeing habits in our lives, in order to be strong, vibrant and powerful co-creators of a better society. What we create is a reflection of how we think and feel. When we get back to a state of wellbeing and begin to create from that place, the outside world will reflect this state of wellbeing. Let’s dive deeper into this together. Based on your experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
First, I want to give a disclaimer that I’m an advocate for discovering more about your identity and natural patterns so you can then build habits around how you authentically work. Here are some more general, yet powerful habits that can lead to optimal mental well-being:
- Intentionally learn something new every quarter or year. It not only diversifies your skillset and keeps your mind sharp, but also empowers you to expand your growth to new levels. For a long time, I was very narrow-focused on what I was reading, learning, and surrounding myself with, which exhausted those topics and areas of my life. I’ve learned that there’s so much value to the mind and soul to make time for something unrelated to work, your relationships, or daily demands. For example, I’m planning to learn conversational Italian this year and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
- Find what lights you up and give yourself permission to do more of that. If fun and enjoyment were the priorities in everything we did, I believe that we’d all be leading more fulfilling lives. While I understand that life comes with demands, challenges, and duties to fulfill, we are also the ones in control of how we get to experience our daily lives. If you love to dance, create art, read, teach others, cook, etc… do not postpone the day you can get started or you may never do it.
- Surround yourself and regularly gather with individuals who expand what you believe is possible for your life. You don’t have to settle or resign your life to a mediocre existence, whatever that means to you. If you’re feeling dissatisfied or mentally blocked in your life, take a look around you and see if the people you spend your time with or consult for advice have the kind of life you want. Social media has many cons, but I have to say that connecting with like-minded people and building expansive relationships has been one of my favorite outcomes of this modern technology era.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
I’ve created my own meditation practice for myself that I use with all of my clients. This method is designed to guide the listener through a process of identifying the root cause of a current fear, unwanted behavior, disempowering story/pattern, limiting belief, unwanted emotion, and undesired result in a specific area of life. The meditation supports the listener in calming the mind and body to enter into an alpha or theta brain wave state, where the subconscious mind is more receptive to neuroplasticity and can change. Therefore, once the listener allows their mind to reveal the past root cause of what’s limiting them, they’re guided to reprogram the memory and realign their beliefs, emotions, stories, and behaviors around this situation. I’ve found that this intuitive, active meditation helps my clients and I emerge from the experience having released energetic tension and a mind-body pattern that was holding us back from the results we want to see in one or more areas of life.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
- Movement is essential to who we are as human beings, and it doesn’t have to be correlated with dreaded exercise. I recommend releasing what you think or are told you “should” do and taking a whole month or more to explore different forms of movement that are motivating to you. To this day, I despite going to a gym. It’s not natural or motivating to me whatsoever. I’ve leaned into my love for fluid movement and self-expression, which is why I build my daily movement practice around dance, KINRGY, yoga/pilates, and nature walks/hiking.
- Your physical wellbeing is directly linked to your emotional and mental wellbeing. Seeing all of these as linked is a powerful way to live, as you can fuse and integrate practices that support all or a couple of these realms to create holistic wellbeing. For example, I like to listen to podcasts while I do physical activity like strength-training, pilates, or nature walks while activating my physical and mental wellbeing. I like to practice meditation and breathwork in the same sitting which regulates my emotions and connects me to a spiritual power.
- If you’re a woman, I highly recommend exploring what movement or exercise is best suited for which part of your monthly cycle you’re in. For example, when you’re in your ovulation phase, that is a great time for HIIT workouts and cardio. However, when you’re in your menstrual phase, cardio can have the opposite effect you’re looking for by triggering fat storing processes in the body. Therefore, yoga or walking in nature is recommended during your menstrual phase. If you’re moving daily in a way that honors your hormones and physical functioning, your physical health and wellbeing will naturally thrive.
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are some great ways to begin to integrate it into our lives?
When it comes to healthy eating, I believe that our genetic makeup, biological factors, environment, and lifestyle factors all play a role in how food is processed as fuel for the body. Naturally, there’s no one size fits all. After having battled with obsessive monitoring, restrictive eating, and calorie-counting habits in my early twenties as a dancer, I’ve found peace and wellness in intuitive eating. Intuitive eating allows me to take personal responsibility for what I eat as “fuel”, without restricting me from eating culturally. In other words, I’m all about my green smoothies and my weekly pizza. As we know through an ever-growing arsenal of research, your mental and emotional well-being plays a critical role in the state of your physical health. Therefore, whatever way that you integrate healthy eating in your life must not add unnecessary stress and demand on the body, or you’re counteracting the very health-promoting habits you’re trying to create.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
- Read and learn about how emotions work in your mind and body. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to educate yourself on what’s going on within you so that you can reclaim your power over it. Master your emotions, so they don’t master you. Have you ever felt so stressed that you lashed out at a loved one or made an impulse decision that had not-so-great consequences? I’m pretty sure we all have! It can feel like we can’t control these emotions when they rise up, however, we have way more power in regulating our emotional state than we’re led to believe.
- Noticing and naming your emotions. Most of us don’t grow up with education or guidance on how to get in touch with our emotions; and yet, they run the show in our lives. The more we can notice what we feel and then name it, the more control we have over releasing or activating emotions within us. I’ve found it helpful to do this as emotions arise, and also practicing activating desired emotions during a morning meditation so my body becomes more familiar with them. Because we have a survival-oriented nervous system, our negative emotions will usually be stronger and more readily activated. We must cultivate positive emotions intentionally to balance out our emotional system.
- Create and implement a Somatic Diet™ in your life. A Somatic Diet™ is my proprietary tool for regulating your emotional or energetic state on demand. By understanding the 3 zones of your nervous system, you can discover what to do in order to shift your emotions to an optimal state. Whether I’m the Green Zone (connected & regulated), the Yellow Zone (stressed & mobilized), or the Red Zone (shutdown & disconnected), my Somatic Diet™ gives me an action plan to stay or return to the Green Zone so that I can function in my day at my highest potential and have nothing holding me back.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellbeing? We’d love to hear it.
Our emotional state is the fuel for our thoughts, decisions, actions, and results in life. It’s essential we learn to master our emotions, so we can influence how we experience our life for the better. In order to experience positive or empowering emotions, we must override the survival response in our body that’s activated with daily stress and anxiety. When stressed, we may not even realize that our body is positioned as though it’s on high-alert and detecting a threat in the environment. As humans, body language and behavior represents and influences the emotional state that’s triggered within us. We can use the act of smiling or laughing to send signals throughout your mind and body that we are safe and there is no threat, which releases emotion-boosting hormones in the body and shifts your emotional state.
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
- Explore different philosophies and ancient wisdom to expand your connection with spirituality. The more you broaden your horizons and deepen what you know, the more you’ll be able to connect with what authentically speaks to you. Growing up in a Christian household, I blindly accepted my faith until I sensed that something didn’t feel right. It took a long time for me to accept and embrace that the traditional Christian religion didn’t reflect my beliefs because I didn’t have an outlet for self-discovery and ideological exploration.
- Invest time and energy into self-discovery. There are many self-discovery systems that exist today, some of them rooted in human behavior research and others in quantum information science and ancient wisdom. By exploring archetypes in systems like Human Design, The Gene Keys, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, or StrengthsFinder, we can more easily identify elements of ourselves that we may be hiding, repressing, or rejecting that could lead us toward greater self-acceptance, self-empowerment, and self-growth. Human Design and The Gene Keys have fundamentally changed the way that I look at myself and operate in my business, relationships, and lifestyle.
- Create time in your daily and/or weekly rituals for spirituality. Learn how you best connect to a higher power, whoever or whatever that is for you, and incorporate it into your life. This may be accessed through daily meditation, reading a specific text or books, gathering with a community of people, prayer, or a gratitude practice. Dedicating this time is a powerful practice for cultivating presence, so you may detach from the hustle and live more of your life.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate overall wellbeing?
Being in nature is a centering and grounding practice for every human. Everything in nature is made up of the five elements: air, fire, water, earth, ether/space, and connecting to the elements can connect us back to ourselves in a powerful way. The foundation of my “Multidimensional Mastery” framework is that we can master different dimensions within ourselves that mirror the elements that surround us in nature. Our mindset (represented by air), identity (represented by fire), energy (represented by water), and purpose (represented by earth) are the four dimensions that connect our inner mastery to our outer manifestations of what we want in life. Our synergy of these four dimensions within us activates the total, highest expression of you (represented by ether). Becoming aware of how the elements mirror your human experience can help you reach greater health and fulfillment in your life.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’m currently inspiring and will continue to inspire the movement of reimagining education, with a central focus on deeply understanding ourselves and others. It’s mind-blowing to me that we don’t grow up learning how our mind and body works, integrating the principles for effective relationship building, or exploring who we are. Collectively, we don’t know how to connect to ourselves or others, which I believe influences much of the disconnection, destruction, and dissatisfaction we see in the world today. If we understood the human condition and experience within ourselves and others, we’d be operating from a place of greater empathy and collective unity.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Being a born and raised Italian in New Jersey with a mission for impact myself, Marie Forleo is a true kindred spirit. On my personal and business growth journey, she has expanded me in ways that I would be honored to share with her privately. Through her example and teachings, she’s taught me to own my multi-passionate spirit and follow my unique gifts to create something that impacts others in the way that only I can, which has inspired me to think innovatively and authentically when it comes to serving others. And I adore the fact that Marie has a background in dance too, and had a full blown dance production/concert party in NYC for her “Everything is Figureoutable” book launch… I mean, c’mon, #goals on every level!
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Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.