Shim Ravalia of The Gut Intuition: “Every single of us have our own strengths and weaknesses”

Ask For Feedback — Every single of us have our own strengths and weaknesses. The most important habit to have on a personal and professional level is asking for feedback regularly from people that you trust. It can be uncomfortable sometimes for people to tell you where you may go wrong or what you can do better […]

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Ask For Feedback — Every single of us have our own strengths and weaknesses. The most important habit to have on a personal and professional level is asking for feedback regularly from people that you trust. It can be uncomfortable sometimes for people to tell you where you may go wrong or what you can do better but it can help you become more aware of yourself and be more productive. Receiving good quality feedback can really help you stay on track, improve relationships and keep working on improving yourself. This is an incredibly invaluable habit to install everyday.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shim Ravalia Founder of The Gut Intuition and Co Founder of The Queens In Business Club. Shim is a Gut Stress Expert helping highly driven women go from too stressed for success, to healthy habits that create a lifestyle of a better work life balance so that they can get things done, feel amazing and make more money without burning out.

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?

From a very young age I was always very active and loved playing sports and moving my body in different ways. This naturally progressed to just geeking out on learning about the human body and how it all just works.

I must have been around 9 years old when I tripped into a glass window and accidentally cut some of the tendons in my hand and wrist quite deep resulting in just not being able to move my fingers for a long time. Although this experience was traumatizing, looking back I found it quite fascinating to see the deeper structures of what goes on inside our body and just how white our tendons actually are. It was like the scene from the movie, The Terminator. I remember well what it actually took for me to start healing from the injury and the support I needed and received from my family, the doctors, nurses and physios to finally get my hand and wrist back to a new normal again.

By the time I was 15 years old, I was deeply moved by science and the human body and I knew it was the path I wanted to go down further and explore. This curiosity led me to go down many rabbit holes of science and spirituality together.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

For many years I worked just on physical health and I never really paid attention to the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of health. It just wasn’t the way it was taught to me at University and how other professionals within my network approached health and wellbeing either. Yet, in my first business that I ran for 6 years which was a Sports Injury Clinic, 4 years in I started to feel a discontentment in my approach to health and how I helped people. I was visiting a friend and I noticed a book on her bookshelf that just popped out for me. I came across Louise Hay who wrote several books on how you can start to heal your body by understanding symptoms that come up and their emotional meanings. This was a game changer for me and something just clicked. I started the journey of understanding and expanding my knowledge on how our emotions can get trapped in our body and what needs to happen to release it. Since that day, understanding the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing has been instrumental in my work with female entrepreneurs.

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 would have to dedicate this to my father who sadly passed away in June 2018. My father’s health and wellbeing which sadly deteriorated in the last 10 years is what helped me to be the person I am today in my personal and professional life. My father gave me some of the biggest clues to achieving optimal health without actually being direct or even knowing about it. With the pain he was going through physically and emotionally, I started to piece together this massive jigsaw puzzle in my mind of the many possibilities of why he was suffering the way he was. Of why he wasn’t able to express how he felt the way he wanted to as many men experience and how he led his life.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

One of the interesting things I have learned the hard way is that as entrepreneurs, you have to hustle and work hard to get to the level you desire. This is shown in many ways over the years from different experts in different industries via social media, courses etc. The consistency of this behaviour is what lands our health in hot water. We get sucked into this illusion that if you hustle, spend all the hours you can in your business you will make it. This could not be further from the truth. There are always consequences and sacrifices made by your body right under your nose of the short cuts you take. Because of this behaviour of pushing myself when I didn’t feel like it, I reached burnout many times and just dealt with it by pushing through because that’s what everyone else did. The only time I gave myself permission to stop was when I was forced to deal with it there and then as the physical pain reached a critical point.

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 absolutely loved reading The Body Keeps The Score by Dr Bessel Van Der Kolk. It helped me understand and expand on the feeling that I had deep down for a long time that you cannot escape how you treat your body negatively and the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual traumas you have gone through in your lifetime. Your body keeps a record of this and results don’t lie. This book resonated with me a huge amount because it helped me face head on my own traumas that were present in my body. I have gone through joint and muscular pain to headaches and migraines, indecisiveness, stress and overwhelm to a bacterial infection. Symptoms give us the biggest clues to the bigger picture of what could be going on with our health. To show up and be the best version of you inside out, to achieve the results you want to achieve in your life, career, business,- you have to be willing to look at the depths of your psychology and your biochemistry together and not individually. We want success, but it’s inside of us in our physical body, in our emotions and in our thoughts.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

It’s a quote that I originally created myself, ‘Always TRUST your intuition because second guessing kills it’!

The biggest gift we have from birth is our intuition. To make the best decisions for ourselves whether it’s for our business, our career, our relationship with self and with others requires a healthy balance of using our intuition and reasoning. Our intuition isn’t a straight line like how our conscious minds work everyday. In fact, intuition is deeply rooted within our body, it is connecting to our emotions, our senses and we must not ignore or over think it because it’s showing up for a reason. Just like any skill, it takes daily practise to truly tap into it. So we should rely on it as well as our own logical reasoning to make healthy and balanced decisions to stay grounded. Ultimately, the food choices we make, the people we connect with, our own self care affects our intuition; it can either suppress it or support it. It shows up differently for every single person, but it’s our job to figure out when it shows up, use it well and live a beautiful and harmonious life.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

A really exciting and powerful collaboration I have been working on with five other co founders is The Queens In Business Club — the first global female entrepreneurs club of its kind. The 3 foundational principles of the club are Education, Empowerment and Execution, giving female entrepreneurs everything they need from Sales and strategies to health and wealth all under one roof. Given how 2020 has gone and how 2021 is shaping up to be, there has never been a time than now for female entrepreneurs to think, act and grow their business in a healthy and profitable way.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Breathing — when we are faced with challenges, it can bring with it a lot of stress sometimes, more than we can handle. Breathing in my experience has been quite underrated in just how powerful it can be for you and your body. Taking in deep breaths every single day can calm your nervous system down away from the fight or flight mode and move more into recovery and rest ultimately lowering stress. Deep breathing is really important because one single deep breath can send a strong signal to the brain which then sends these to the body leaving you in a state of calmness quicker.

Body scanning — Awareness is the first step to releasing unwanted stress from your body. Without it, you end up just feeding the same stress cycle over and over again. Body scanning is a powerful technique to add everyday because it’s an excellent way to release tension in areas you didn’t realise you were experiencing. Sometimes, you can get so caught with your stress that you may even forget the physical symptoms that your body is communicating with you such as headaches, migraines, back, shoulder and neck issues to stomach discomforts. This is all connected to your emotional state as much as your physical state. All you need to do is lie down or sit comfortably and close your eyes for 5 minutes. From here, focus on your breathing allowing it to calm down and come into a natural rhythm for you. Bringing your attention from your feet all the way to your head, notice any sensations, pain, tightness, stress and focus on any emotions and thoughts that may be coming up for you too. Acknowledge this and breath into what you are feeling. This helps you gain awareness and release the tension.

Ask For Feedback — Every single of us have our own strengths and weaknesses. The most important habit to have on a personal and professional level is asking for feedback regularly from people that you trust. It can be uncomfortable sometimes for people to tell you where you may go wrong or what you can do better but it can help you become more aware of yourself and be more productive. Receiving good quality feedback can really help you stay on track, improve relationships and keep working on improving yourself. This is an incredibly invaluable habit to install everyday.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

My meditation has always been a diversity of music from all over the world. It’s a very humble, grounding and healing practice for me everyday. When I was 16, I taught myself how to play the acoustic guitar and I haven’t stopped practicing for 19 years. In my experience, meditation can be whatever practise you want it to be as long as it serves you in a positive way and allows you to actually feel a sense of peace and calmness. Meditation overall is an art of exploration, discipline and patience.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Sleep — Getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely crucial to the success of your business and your personal life. Sleep is critical in restoring the cognitive functions you need to solve problems effectively. Getting insights, recognizing patterns and being innovative in your business/job/career becomes more suppressed when you are sleep deprived. You can actually give yourself jet lag by not getting a good amount of sleep in and working past your bedtime. Missing out on sleep can make you feel irritable and groggy therefore eradicating successful working relationships personally and professionally. Statiscally, business owners who tend to constantly play catch up with their sleep are less likely to seek out new perspectives or ask their colleagues/team for their input. Make it a good habit to have no tv/phone/ipad etc one hour before bed. The blue light at night will delay releasing melatonin (sleep hormone) at the right times. This is one of the biggest reasons why you may sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and wake up in the morning feeling very tired.

Walking In Nature: Whether you live by the beach, the countryside or have a local park, it’s quite easy to get into the habit of walking in nature every single day. Many studies have shown that exposing ourselves to natural daylight and being surrounded by earth and nature can actually change our mental health and how we process our thoughts. Being in nature can increase your cognitive function and neural activity. The best thing about spending time outdoors is it helps relieve stress, improves your focus and feels good all round.

Blood sugar kit — You don’t have to be suffering with diabetes to use a blood sugar kit. In fact, it’s a great tool to use to monitor your blood sugar levels and your productivity when you need to. It’s important to have this by your side because not only does it help you understand what foods spike your blood sugar levels quite high but it can also make you more aware of your mood and behaviours too.

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 the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

It’s not painful enough, we don’t make our self care a priority and we don’t share this much with the people that can support us with it either. The behaviours and patterns we are committed to and have around healthy eating serves us and brings us a benefit so it’s difficult to let go of it even though we know deep down it’s not good for us in the long run. There is always a story underneath the story.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Find yourself after a loss — After the passing of my father, a year later I lost an aunt of mine whom I was close to as well. Grief is heavy and it does not come with an instruction manual on how to get over it either. It’s different for everyone in how it’s processed. I have learnt that there is no right or wrong when it comes to dealing with grief however, one thing I do believe, we can come out of it renewed and full of creativity. My own father’s passing led me onto the path of my business, The Gut Intuition.

Associate and disassociate — Over the years of my entrepreneurial journey, I learnt to really understand that the people in your life do impact on all aspects of your health. It’s learning to associate yourself with people that you can trust and that will support you with a helping hand no matter. This alone diminishes stress off your shoulders almost completely. It’s equally just as important to dissociate yourself from people that are just not on the same vibe and energy as you and don’t have your best interests at heart. One thing I’ve always remembered is that everybody wants to ride the limo with you, but who will ride the bus with you when the limo breaks down?

Zoom out/awareness — When you are faced with a problem or challenges, it’s very easy to become tunnel visioned with it and not being able to breathe and see another way. There is always another way and it’s about remembering this when difficulties appear. Zooming out is a skill that must be mastered now more than ever. The moment you take a step back, breathe and zoom out, you stop becoming so attached to the problem and actually see clearly how to overcome it and see the bigger picture. This alone does wonders to your mental capacity, your nervous system, energy and your focus.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

In my years of understanding how muscles work and behave, it takes less muscles to smile than frown meaning it’s more of an effort to not smile. A Smile is something we should all wear very proudly, it’s part of our identity and our magic of who we are as individuals. It’s contagious and it doesn’t take much to put a smile on someone’s face either, the small gestures can make a big difference. Think back to when someone thought of you and perhaps sent you a text or a picture or an unexpected gift in the post. It puts a smile on your face doesn’t it? It’s really important to do this more in uncertain times and re — visit positive memories and holidays with your loved ones.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Traveling — Having a balance with work and play is music to your soul. With the recent changes in the world coming with travel restrictions, it’s not going to be forever. Traveling plans are a must because it really gives your mind and your heart a sense of grounding and peace, totaling immersing yourself in a different environment to the one you normally have. It gives you the opportunity to rest and reflect and reconnect with yourself again.

Core values — Having well defined core values that hold true meaning for yourself in your personal and professional life is super important because it helps you grow, learn and evolve. Any decisions you make for the future are a true reflection of your values and beliefs you have in place.

Compassion and Empathy — Compassion and empathy towards ourselves has to come first in order to help others along the way. These two factors are life long skills that become stronger the more you practise it. For years especially in my business journey, I bent over backwards to help clients and my colleagues without really considering myself and went onto people pleasing at the detriment to myself. My 3 biggest tips to practising empathy and compassion are 1) practise kindness, 2) listen actively rather than listening to just give an answer back and last but not least, 3) to put yourself in someone else’s shoes because every single person is on a journey.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

You are the product of your own environment. There is research out there that shows us that an environment can add to your stress or reduce it. Your perception of the world around you is how you take your surroundings through your own eyes and ears. However, the information taken in doesn’t stop there, it makes an impression on your nervous system, immune system and your endocrine system. This is where association and dissociation can really help you create an environment where you can truly thrive.

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.

It would be a movement that nurtures and protects children all over the world in the hope for a better future.

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 🙂

I would love to meet and connect with Oprah Winfrey. She has inspired me so much over the years with her charitable work with disadvantaged girls and child abuse. Her journey from being on TV to owning her own network channels helping millions of people across the world has truly been phenomenal.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can connect with me on Linked In where I am the most active:

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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