Living our life from a place of emotional calm and balance with less emotional reactivity helps us create powerful connections and bonds with others where we develop deep empathy and understanding.
As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacqui Olliver.
Psychosexual Relationship Specialist at End the Problem, Jacqui Olliver is a published author who renews relationships by solving people’s emotional and sexual problems. Co-creator of Mind Renaissance and the Emotional Reset Technique; and Co-founder of the Life Education Initiative and MATES Cafe ConnectUp, Jacqui is passionate about helping people develop new mindsets and strategies to overcome life challenges.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Myfather’s death seemed to be a morbid ending to my teenage years of isolation, loneliness, and not feeling wanted.
Like many of us, my life started out as a troubled teenager, working through mental contamination associated with sexual abuse, low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression. I spent the early years of my life trying to get attention from my father who I idolized and yet was emotionally unavailable. Upon turning 20, I experienced what seemed at the time the ultimate betrayal when my father took his own life.
I had stumbled into a relationship with a man who became my best friend even though he had many issues such as gambling, alcohol and sexual dysfunction. I persisted, as a loyal companion until the morning of our 15th anniversary when I awoke to find him passed away on our sofa. I remember shaking his shoulders and while his head was rolling loosely, telling him that this was not part of the plan!
All of a sudden I felt like an outsider in a world where I just didn’t belong. It seemed like the world was full of couples, friends and families who had each other, while it felt like I had no one.
Looking back, I can see, not unlike many people that I have spoken to over the years, this was my awakening. I had been hiding. This was a hard thing to admit to until many years of searching to help restore my emotional balance and realize my unique talents and abilities so that I could fully express myself in the world. A key to this was my relentless passion to overcome the limitations I had somehow placed on myself around sex and relationships.
After dealing with the death of my partner, the grief, loneliness and despair through counselling and working in the health and wellness industry, I realized the answers I was looking for were buried deep within me. I spent 8 years researching and developing effective methods to not only shine in my own life but help restore emotional balance and solve male and female sex problems.
My life experience has enabled me to relate to and understand the pressure and frustrations experienced by people in or out of relationships who are unable to relax in the most intimate moments of connection with another. I know how mentally devastating it is to feel incomplete as a person and to feel like a failure as a human being.
I have since developed my knowledge and skills to the point where there is no sexual function or emotional connection issue which fazes me in the least, and my methods are now recommended and referred to by medical professionals.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
32-year-old recovering drug addict and alcoholic, Sean (not his real name) booked a session with me to solve a sexual function problem. A successful businessman, his deals had always been sealed over scotch and a snort of cocaine. He had been constantly high for the past 12 years. Whenever he started coming down or feeling any kind of negative emotion, he’d just take another shot of whatever was on the table.
One of his problems was that when he decided he ought to become sober, he had no coping strategies for dealing with emotions and life in the real world.
He had met a girl in rehab and suddenly it was important for everything in his life to be working normally. But without drugs he couldn’t perform sexually as he was unable to maintain a strong erection. He was constantly feeling anxious and nervous. Having been sober for six months he said he was constantly feeling like he needed a really strong drink!
In talking with Sean, I was able to explain how he would be able to solve his anxiety problem as well as his sexual function issue. I then guided him through the Emotional Reset Technique (ERT) several times, so he understood how it felt mentally and physically. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was in charge of his emotions which allows him to deal with emotional reactions and levels of stress so that he could function effectively in all areas of his life.
For example, anxiety would arise from the thought of losing his new-found love and the thoughts would spiral downwards, creating more and more anxiety to the point he would be looking for a way out or a fix (his choice of addiction). However, by applying ERT, he was surprised at how relaxed and at ease he was feeling, when thinking about that issue would normally work him up into such a frenzy that he thought he would need to have a drink.
Anxiety became part and parcel of his sex problems too. He had been so used to using drugs to enhance his ability to feel he didn’t realize he could enhance his sexual feelings without them. This is typical of addictive behavior where the underlying issue is pushed aside through an external “fix” providing a temporary distraction from a perceived uncomfortable feeling.
Sean told me he learned more in his first hour with me than he had learned in 12 consecutive weeks of psychotherapy! Most sexual function issues are caused by focusing on the wrong action at the wrong time and this is where through using the technique he was able to resolve the emotional triggers, enabling him to feel more relaxed and at ease so he could focus his attention toward his ideal outcome.
He contacted me a few days after his session to excitedly inform me that he had overcome his sexual dysfunction issues through applying the knowledge I had shared with him. In fact, his girlfriend had told him she had just experienced the best sex ever and he was proud to say that he didn’t need alcohol or drugs. Both of these breakthroughs dramatically transformed his life and the lives of those around him.
Success stories like this from my clients constantly demonstrate the power of being in charge of your emotions in overcoming addictions and negative behaviors.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Most of us have the great need to feel valued, appreciated and connected with others at work. However, frequently being emotionally triggered prevents this from happening.
Stress hormones are triggered during an emotional reaction and throughout that duration a person cannot think clearly or rationally. This can lead to overreacting or excessive negative thinking which has a detrimental effect on their ability to work efficiently and in a connected manner with teammates.
It also leads to outbursts and rash decisions which can undermine the safety as well as mental and emotional wellbeing of all concerned.
Our best ideas, motivation, creativity and communication come from a place of calm therefore, a fantastic work culture requires balancing our emotional state. Your people need to know how to deal with their emotional reactions in the moment they are triggered so they don’t lose control and create negative repercussions that have a ripple effect across the workplace.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I particularly enjoy books that help us to strengthen our ability to imagine and focus our attention such as Jose De Silva’s Mind Control Method which I first read about 20 years ago.
Like many of our readers, I’ve had lots of highs and lows in my life and actually I think this means that we are alive. Being given the hope and understanding that we are able to be in charge of our thinking and that nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so turned my life around.
Continued practice with the De Silva Mind Control Method and other techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques led me to a profound realization. The key to a peaceful mind whilst living and engaging in the world is to first be in charge of our emotions and how we want to feel.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?
In Sanskrit, there are two words that lie at the essence of Buddhist philosophy. Shunyata means nothing, emptiness, zero and it is the state of receptive stillness that is full of potential. The opposite of Shunyata is Purnatva which means fullness, perfection and completion. Both Shunyata (emptiness) and Purnatva (fullness) are the two polarities of the one experience.
Mindfulness leans toward the idea of perfection and oneness of all things which is in alignment with the principle of cause and effect. Acting from a place of cause, we reside in the state of acceptance and therefore do not argue with reality.
The idea of reaching a still point of consciousness and the feeling of serenity or peace is at the essence of all esoteric traditions as it means to experience existence outside our mind’s comprehension. This is due to the fact that the mind needs a sense of duality to be able to function. Within that duality or polarity we perceive what we call reality.
Neuroscience helps us understand this on a far more practical level. The massive amount of data that we perceive through millions of sensory receptors in our body is filtered in our brain through what is called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) according to our belief system or what we understand to be real. Because our RAS filters out 98% of the data our body perceives (so we don’t go crazy) we all experience reality in a different way and will fight to the death to defend our beliefs. And yet when we reach the stage of mindfulness, our experience is almost identical or in harmony.
Mindfulness, somewhat similar to Zen has both a formal and practical application ie: A) sitting and meditating, reaching a deeply profound experience and B) living and acting in the world from that experience of deep inner peace.
The idea of mindfulness as with all meditative traditions is to reach a state of self-realization or self-actualization. That is to gain an experience beyond the mind’s comprehension where we connect with “reality” or “truth” as opposed to our mind’s perception or belief. The first part of the meditative process is learning to focus and concentrate. Here we meet our nemesis. Distraction.
Sitting in a quiet space formally meditating with discipline, patience and perseverance will enable you to dispel distraction, but actually living in the world is another story because our willpower is no match to the most powerful force on earth — human emotion.
We are sentient beings which means everything we do is ultimately for a feeling. Most people when you ask what they want, will reply “they want to be / feel happy” yet isn’t it funny that to achieve this we need to be in charge of how we want to feel which for many seems beyond our grasp.
So Mindfulness can be summed up as “being in the world but not of the world” rather than getting caught up in the turmoil of emotion that is becoming more prevalent on our planet. We are able to stand in the eye of the cyclone and deal with each crisis as it arises.
People who are being blown around in the storm will wonder why those coming from a state of mindfulness are not. There is no need for those wishing to learn mindfulness to be experts in philosophy but rather simply be guided to the experience of it.
Living your life from a state of mindfulness is being able to act from a place of calm, balance and poise. All our actions are deliberate with specific outcomes in alignment with the principle of cause and effect. Therefore, truly being mindful is taking charge of your emotional state so you can be in charge of your thoughts, words and actions.
Your emotional compass needs to be recalibrated each day because if you start off in a bad way in the morning, it’s potentially going to escalate throughout the day as your attention continues to be focused toward what you don’t want.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?
Being mindful is understanding that our thoughts, actions, words, and deeds all arise from a state of calm, balance, and poise. To achieve this state we need our emotions and mind to work as one, complementary, and creatively.
Our brain is, after all, a powerful creative machine that can manifest whatever program we put into it just like an ultimate computer. The true state of mindfulness allows us to access our full creative power and intelligence of our brain and mind. Clarity of mind enables us to gain insight on our unique gifts and talents so that we can hone them as strengths and utilize these abilities in the world in a creative and productive way.
Living our life from a place of emotional calm and balance with less emotional reactivity helps us create powerful connections and bonds with others where we develop deep empathy and understanding.
We lower our stress hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol while naturally increasing “happy hormones” including serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins. This increases our energy levels, is anti-aging by decreasing destructive effects on our body organs especially our heart, and improves our mental state as well as our overall sense of emotional wellbeing.
When we are not emotionally triggered our attitude and behavior transform, we begin to get to know and like the person we are and so does everyone else. We transform our old thinking and belief system to focus on thriving, not just surviving and we leave the person we don’t like being behind. We begin to live from an empowered emotional state.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
- Focus and concentration
Mindfulness practices are powerfully enhanced when we reach an empowered emotional state in our lives. Our thoughts and our emotions are intrinsically linked together and so true mental clarity needs emotional calm.
- Emotional calm
Achieving the experience of peace and serenity in our lives is about resetting the default in our body’s defensive system (autonomic nervous system). Rather than be triggered into fight/flight or freeze/shutdown modes when we perceive a potential threat, we are able to use our social engagement system to reassess/reevaluate the potential threat. Using feedback and communication we are able to engage with the world around us rather than be limited to predefined programs (our belief system) of how we should act.
- Social engagement
Our social engagement system is the way we are both perceived in the world and the way in which we perceive others. It is the combination of using our physiology and physical gestures, our facial expressions especially eye contact, our listening ability, our intuition and our tonality (how we sound). When we are able to maintain an empowered emotional state, we can consistently reset our social engagement system so we don’t appear as a threat and therefore are more trusted by others. This creates an environment of openness and communication which helps transform arguments into agreements and enables us to empathetically see another’s model of the world.
- Creative intelligence
Clarity of mind and emotional calm creates an environment in our brain that allows our emotional and thinking processes to work in harmony. This opens up access to the full potential of the prefrontal cortex of our brain, known for executive functions, imagination and creativity, foresight and the simulation of experiences before they happen.
- High energy emotional state
Having a clear direction in life by being able to utilize your unique strengths together with being in empowered emotional state results in less emotional triggering and therefore fewer arguments, stress, apologies, and other energy-zapping negative behaviors. We are then able to access larger energy reserves simply because we are not wasting our energy on misinterpretations and faulty perceptions of our life experiences. Higher energy means we are more easily able to connect to high energy emotions such as laughter, joy, excitement, gratitude and happiness.
From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
It is of critical importance to understand that when someone is emotionally triggered they communicate it through their social engagement system. Things like anxiety, grief, sadness, despair, anger, frustration, etc are instantly perceived also through our social engagement system (a highly tuned threat detection system) and therefore we become triggered ourselves.
Therefore to help someone to a place of safety and calm we must first achieve that empowered emotional state ourselves. To do this we must:
- Reset our feelings of tension and emotional reactivity in our body.
Know that your best communication comes from a place of calm — instead of trying to shut another person down when they’re triggered because it feels uncomfortable to you, focus your attention on resolving your own triggered emotion and restoring yourself to a state of calm so everyone wins.
- Reset our conveyance of tension and emotional reactivity to others.
Relax eye contact and your facial expression and modulate your tone of voice so others feel safe and receptive to what you have to say. Understand that everyone gets emotionally triggered from time to time and the most important thing you can do to help, and support others is to ensure you are emotionally balanced yourself.
- From an empowered emotional state communicate empathetically to the other person whilst understanding that they are still triggered.
Be patient — when a person is emotionally triggered, they cannot think clearly which means they may not respond in an effective or logical manner. While you cannot resolve another person’s emotions, you can aid in not retriggering them. Choose to perceive that people are generally doing and saying things with the best of intentions.
- Develop a rapport with the other person through empathy, understanding and compassion.
Pay attention and listen carefully when someone is going off at you as it will provide clues on your communication style, attitudes, and any annoying behaviors or habits you would be wise to modify. This new knowledge will help you grow and evolve as a person and stop triggering other people with inappropriate behaviors or forms of communication.
- Gently encourage and lead the other person to an empowered emotional state.
Start a conversation on what an ideal outcome would look and feel like because everything we do is to create a feeling. This will shift a person’s focus off what they don’t want and their unwanted feelings toward creating their ideal outcome which helps to uplift them physically and mentally as well as emotionally.
Helping others naturally increases serotonin which is a natural mood stabilizer and is thought to regulate anxiety and happiness.
What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?
The key to being mindful whilst engaging in everyday life is to be able to reset your emotional triggers and their emotional reactions. The average person can become triggered 40+ times a day simply from running out of milk, not finding a parking spot, or having a disagreement with a colleague, to a full-on argument with a loved one.
We have so much potential to access this amazing brain we all have in common. It’s just that we have programmed it away from threat/fear rather than toward reward/happiness. Away from what we don’t want rather than toward what we do want. Our programs have generally been created in a haphazard way from our perception of the world, being emotionally triggered and reactionary states.
You have the access now in the world where information is at your fingertips to learn how to live life from an empowered emotional state, a state of calm and peacefulness where your mind is clearly focused on what you need to do and the ability you have in doing it.
Mind Renaissance is an online program with a community platform that enables you to achieve an empowered emotional state so you can enjoy happy healthy relationships and create a fulfilling life. The Emotional Reset Technique (ERT), with other principles and techniques involved in Mind Renaissance, becomes part of an enjoyable lifestyle rather than a practice that needs willpower and discipline to apply.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“You don’t have to say a word to change someone’s mood for the better.” This was quoted alongside Dolly Parton’s famous quote, “If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours.”
We can powerfully influence the lives of many simply by resetting ourselves to an empowered emotional state and living life from a mindfulness perspective.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
MATES Cafe ConnectUp is a global community of people who help adults and teenagers of all cultures and ethnicity overcome life challenges such as loneliness, relationship breakdown, anxiety, loss, and grief by being there and helping them find a new direction in their life.
We bring together everyday heroes from all walks of life who have learned from life experiences; to realize their true potential so that they can enjoy happy and healthy relationships, benefit the world with their unique gifts and help others awaken to new possibilities.
MATES are trained to empower their own lives so they can be there for others in a time of need, helping to facilitate people from a place of weakness to a place of strength. Not about giving advice, therapy, or fixing them but simply hearing them and helping them find new direction.
At MATES Cafe ConnectUp we are passionate about helping you harness the power of your emotions and maximize your brain’s performance to be healthier and happier in your relationships and experience the best life has to offer.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!