My work is mostly helping people identify and modify these unhealthy behaviors and habits early. Ongoing stress is an example of this abuse to our bodies. Stress comes from our reaction to our environment or life situation. There is no need to be as reactive to our environment (life situation) in the absence of immediate danger however we live daily in a stressful state, which is unhealthy.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ese Magege.
Ese Magege is a board certified physician Assistant and a Duke Certified integrative health coach with over a decade of blended health experience. She is focused on providing integrative care one that explores emotional, mental, and physical health- the totality of being. She is a sought-after international speaker, health coach, and author of the upcoming book “Happiness for no reason simplified.” Learn more at https://www.alchemicalcenter.com/)
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Iwas born in the United States, and at the age of 3, I traveled with my parents to Warri, a town in Nigeria, to study the Urhobo tradition (a native dialect in Nigeria). I spend most of my youth schooling in Nigeria and learning the diverse Urhobo culture. I later returned to the US in my teens to do my advanced studies.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I learned from this experience that things are not always as they seem. A few years ago, I was asked to take up a volunteer position that several people had turned down due to the nature of the job. After speaking to a few friends who discouraged me from taking the position, I decided to give the job a try. It was challenging at first; however, it opened the doors to greater things. I went from being shy and timid to finding my voice, and today you are able to read this as a result of the personal transformation that occurred. The job was challenging as I was told, but I was glad I didn’t let the experiences of others deprive me of getting my experience. It gave me the push I needed to move forward. So my point is that in making an important life decision, seek guidance from within you because the circumstances that others found challenging might be what you need to bring about the fulfillment of your dreams. Avoid making important life decisions from fear & worry. These emotions drain your energy. You will need to conserve your energy to accomplish big things.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I hardly see anything as a mistake because what we call mistakes gifts us with life lessons. So, in the end, if you got a gift from this so-called mistake, it is hard to see it as a mistake. I remember an incident where I thought I made a mistake only to hear the cab driver thanking God the incident occurred as it allowed us to meet. There is good in everything, even when it might not be so obvious. I gave up seeing things as mistakes; instead, I see them as opportunities for improvement.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I was fortunate to have great teachers from early childhood, and I appreciate them all. It is hard to mention just one as they all made a positive impact on my life. One of them is the late Karen Berg. She was such an amazing person who impacted the lives of so many people. She motivated me to follow my passion, and with the help of the others, I opened my first company a few months later.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
My work is mostly assisting people with controlling their reactive behaviors to life events and optimizing their outcome. One of the main causes of illnesses is continuous and repetitive abuse of the body, and because the body has a repair system we often get away with repeating these damaging acts for long periods of time before we start to see a physical breakdown in the body. There are reasons why we act this way. My work is mostly helping people identify and modify these unhealthy behaviors and habits early. Ongoing stress is an example of this abuse to our bodies. Stress comes from our reaction to our environment or life situation. There is no need to be as reactive to our environment life situation in the absence of immediate danger however we live daily in a stressful state, which is unhealthy. Our reactive habits and behaviors can cause health problems over time. Reactive habits include emotional eating, addictions, neglects, violence, excessive worry, shame, self-sabotage, and so forth. Our programs help our clients gain emotional mastery and have stress free lives.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Develop an awareness of and an interest in your emotional triggers
To be able to resolve an issue, you have first to recognize it. Develop an interest in your emotions and be aware of the emotions that arise when you are triggered or upset. Do not take any of your emotions for granted. Notice how you respond when you are triggered. By just simply becoming aware of your responses when you are triggered reduces the emotional grip on you. For example, a client I worked with used to get into intense arguments with her loved one that it started to affect her health. She was able to change her typical reaction by simply being aware of her emotions.
Steer lower emotions to higher forms
We train for the marathon. We prep for exams. We rehearse for shows & major events. In general, we train and prep before an event so we can get better results. Similarly, we can train ourselves to control our reactivity, so we get better results. One way of doing this is to replace lower emotion with its higher form. For example, replace fear and worry with trust and confidence. Replace hate with love. Whenever you are afraid or worried, question the need for this and substitute it with trust and confidence. With time, you will find that this simple practice of changing lower emotions to its higher form will bring you happiness.
Refrain from indulging in lower emotions
Lower emotions such as anger, hatred & shame can cause stress and limit our productivity at work and our personal lives. Do not sit in these emotions for too long, whether they are generated by you or by others. When you feel these emotions, try to isolate the thought just before you felt the emotion. If you can separate the thought, you will be well on your way to resolving the emotion.
Manage your thoughts
This is easier to do when you train your mind. Chaotic thoughts can lead to poor outcomes. I agree with Joseph Weed, “Achievement is impeded primarily not so much by doubt as by inchoate thoughts generated by old habits.” We can develop one-pointedness by following a pure line of thought and by replacing aimless thoughts with precise ones. Regular practice of concentration, focus & observation develops our mental faculties. In addition, refrain from harboring harmful thoughts. As soon as you are aware of a negative thought, replace it with your ideal vision. This practice of replacing lower thoughts with higher thoughts results in happiness over time. I recommend Emmet Fox 7 day mental diet for clearing negative thoughts.
Do Deep Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are energization exercises that supply our bodies with vital life force. There are different types of breathing exercises such as box breathing and yoga breathing exercises. Choose the one that works best for you and make it part of your routine. It is best to do breathing exercises in the open where there is fresh air.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If I were to start a movement, it would be to manage thoughts as this is the cause of the problems we face today. Our thoughts and perceptions shade our view of the world. It is from this shaded place that we make important decisions that ultimately affect our lives. I agree with Emmet Fox when he states, “you choose your life, that is to say, you choose all the conditions of your life, when you choose the thoughts upon which you allow your mind to dwell. Thought is the real causative force in life, and there is no other. You cannot have one kind of mind and another kind of environment. This means that you cannot change your environment while leaving your mind unchanged.” To change our environment we must first change our minds. I also love Will Bowen’s 21-day complaint free world practice. I highly recommend it.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I wish someone told me earlier about the process of thought formation, the creative and destructive nature of thoughts, and how to manage thoughts. The sooner we train our minds to do this, the sooner we will find unconditional happiness.
I wish someone told me earlier that there is no job more fulfilling than following your passion even if it didn’t pay the bill. We have passions that perhaps might not seem financially promising at first. Just take the first step towards developing it. You might just be surprised by where you end up.
I wish someone told me earlier that I am already fully equipped with all the tools I need in life. If you are waiting to have a certain amount of money before pursuing your passion, I urge you to be open to possibilities. You are fully equipped with all the tools you need to fulfill your desire. Just get started, and the rest will fall into place.
I wish someone told me earlier that we do ourselves more harm than good when we harbor negative thoughts about people. It is like throwing stones at them. You have heard the saying, “when you point a finger at someone, three points back at you.” It is not worth the mishaps! See people through the eyes of love.
I wish someone told me earlier that we are happy until we make ourselves unhappy with our thoughts. Having a process for clearing negative thoughts is beneficial for our mental health.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is dearest to me. I have always been fascinated by the mind since I was a child, but besides my interest, I love mental health because it is crucial for our survival here on earth. It accounts for the way we think, feel, and act. All of which determine the quality of our lives. I will conclude with this quote by Emmet Fox, “ It is the thoughts you allow yourself to think, the subjects that you allow your mind to dwell upon, which make you and your surroundings what they are. Everything in your life today the state of your body, whether healthy or sick, the state of your fortune, whether prosperous or impoverished, the state of your home, whether happy or the reverse, the present condition of every phase of your life in fact-is entirely conditioned by the thoughts and feelings which you have entertained in the past, by the habitual tone of your past thinking. And the condition of your life tomorrow, and next week, and next year, will be entirely conditioned by the thoughts and feelings which you choose to entertain from now onwards”.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights!