Category: Conversations

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Pace of Life with Tara Mann

We at KYŌ use Basecamp daily, allowing us to accomplish a high level of productivity and reach our full potential. Basecamp is a program that encourages mindfulness in the workplace and helps create a calmer office environment and work lifestyle. So, we were quite excited when we had the chance to sit and talk with Tara Mann, a designer at Basecamp.

Tara has a passion for technology and user-centred design. She has always paid attention and been attracted to the subtleties of design. Whether it was a bowl, a watch, or shoes, she often collected things she liked as a child, not realizing she loved design until later on. Gaining a formal education at design school in college is when she realized she could combine her love of technology, apps, and how humans think with design. She discovered interaction design, and a passion was born.

'I love all aspects of design.' Click To Tweet

Pace of Life

One question Tara often asks herself is, “Am I happy with where I’m living?” As someone who has moved to another city for a job, she finds it strange that people often move just for work. “To me, the city I live in is so important and affects me mentally on so many levels. It’s crazy that I moved out of the city I loved into a city I didn’t want to live in just because of a job.”

She explains the importance of figuring out what pace of lifestyle fits you and your personality best. For example, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and NYC – three cities Tara has lived in – all have very differently paced lifestyles. Tara believes that being mindful about which lifestyle works best for you will make a big difference in feeling fulfilled and at peace.

'What pace of lifestyle makes me most happy?' Click To Tweet

 

Balancing the Work Day

As somebody who works from home, Tara has the freedom to complete tasks as she desires and make her own schedule. However, setting boundaries and figuring out a balance when working remotely can be tough. She enjoys going for walks and takes breaks to remain composed and relaxed throughout the day.

 

Mindfulness; A Work in Progress

Living in a constantly connected world, and working in a fast-paced workplace can make it difficult to be mindful, but Tara acknowledges how Basecamp is helping her and others be more mindful. “Basecamp is a product that forces you to think before you write and be mindful in that way.” Tara also recognizes that mindfulness is something to constantly work on. “It’s something I haven’t totally figured out but I’m interested in it and figuring out how it fits in my life and my work process.”

 

Tara’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • What are my professional goals?
  • Why do I live where I live?
  • What pace of lifestyle makes me most happy?

 

We’re a proud customer of Basecamp. This software has literally changed our lives and the way we work at KYŌ. – Marc Champagne (KYŌ Cofounder)

 

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Finding Focus with Steph Liverani

Creating a company in your early twenties can be daunting, but separating from the company you created to help grow another at 23 is a unique endeavor. Self-starting entrepreneur Steph Liverani and a group of friends successfully created Crew, a labour marketplace (recently sold to Dribble), Unsplash, an online community of adventurers and photographers and then Crew Collective & Café, a space in Montreal that’s part collaborative work space, part coffee shop, and part event space.

A Choice to be Made

But through all the hard work and dedication Steph put towards growing Crew and starting Unsplash, something was off.

I hit a point where I felt guilty about going to watch a movie. Click To Tweet

At the time, Steph was heavily involved with the management and growth of Crew and Unsplash simultaneously. “I remember waking up early, working till late, and then getting home and feeling guilty about wanting some time for myself,” she continues, “I needed a change.” The change came when the team decided to sell Crew so they could focus on one business. The byproduct of this decision also helped Steph maintain a healthier work/life balance.

 

Finding Her Focus

Since deciding to focus on Unsplash, Steph has put an emphasis on becoming more mindful. “Self-reflection is very important,” says Steph. “It helps you be more comfortable with yourself. And the more comfortable with yourself, the more reassured you’ll feel,” she continues. Steph does a lot of her reflecting while walking her dog. “We walk our dog four times a day, but being in the natural elements is also healthy for me,” she says.

Whether it’s visiting with family and friends, checking out a movie, or taking her dog out on a hike, as Unsplash continues to grow, so will Steph while remaining focused on what makes her happy.

 

Steph’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • Why do I feel this way?
  • Am I being fair to myself?
  • What does happiness mean to me?

Photos: Unsplash

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Peace & Freedom with Jade McQueen

Jade McQueen integrates mindfulness into every day by making time for it herself and by incorporating it into what she does with her career. As the managing director of media and entertainment at Box, an enterprise content management platform, Jade gets to work in the most collaborative industry; entertainment. She works with music, television, gaming, sports and more. “We’re impacting creative work,” she shares as she explains what Box is. “We’re giving creative work the means to happen faster and securely.” Jade shares that there is a lot of mindfulness behind what she does because Box allows creatives to focus on what matters: creating. “My mission is to help creators out there not worry about technology and get to their best work. That’s what I do.”

Mindfulness at Box

“Box is the kind of company that allows you to be yourself.” Jade explains that at Box, when you walk into work, you have ownership over the role that you play and can apply your own values. She explains that doing the work you want when you want is where mindfulness plays a strong role. She wants the people she works with to understand, “It is not about getting the work done with you suffering. It is about you learning through getting the work done.” She believes having this kind of mindfulness with your work supports both personal and professional growth.

'Box is the kind of company that allows you to be yourself' Click To Tweet

Peace is Freedom

Jade shares that the most important thing to her is freedom, and freedom to her is being able to “tap into a place of peace where I have created – whether it’s mental or physical – a safe haven.” She continues, “Mindfulness to me means creating the space in my head, and the material and physical space around me, in order for me to have peace.” Because working with entertainment and business can be very stressful, Jade explains how important it is to have a rock-solid foundation that you can always go back to.

 

'Mindfulness to me is not just creating that space but constantly reinforcing that space.' Click To Tweet

 

Journaling En Route

For her career, Jade travels a lot. “I travel so much, so where I go has to become home.” She explains that she’s a big believer in becoming part of the environment you’re in rather than just being a visitor or foreigner to that place. One way she gets grounded in new places is buying a journal for every country she visits. “I use plane rides to allow me to just dump everything that I’m feeling because there’s no distraction.” She continues, “I find myself being able to get all these things out of my head and on to paper so that by the time I land, I’ve already been able to clear my head and I’m ready to take in the atmosphere of the place I’m in.” Writing allows her to ask herself questions about what is going on in her life, giving her a chance to evaluate if she’s telling the same story again and again. “I constantly challenge myself to think different. I’m a big believer in changing my own story.” By giving herself time to find freedom and to journal to feel grounded, Jade is able to incorporate mindfulness into her life every day.

'I am not my circumstances; my story can constantly change.' Click To Tweet

Jade’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • What does today mean to me?
  • What are you most grateful for?
  • Am I telling myself the same story?

Photos: UnsplashBox

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Taking a Personal Inventory with Joe Burton

Joe Burton lived a busy, cluttered life with a focus on driving his career forward and climbing to the top. His success in the world of business is what aided him to build his own company from scratch, but it was realizing his financial-focused career lacked purpose that inspired an idea. It’s never too late to start over, which is exactly what Joe Burton, the founder and CEO of Whil Concepts Inc, did. Whil is the leader in digital wellbeing training. They help employees reduce stress, increase resiliency and improve performance with programs based in science, mindfulness and positive psychology. As somebody who once lived his life focused on everything but his mental well-being, it took a lot of self-reflecting and learning to get there.

 

Mental Well Being > Physical Well Being

Joe Burton is naturally a type A personality. With a drive to win and a focus to be the best of the best, he worked for years in the professional services industry climbing to the top. But by doing so, his life was passing him by. As a global COO, he was travelling from country to country. “I’ve worked in 50 to 60 countries,” he explains. “I flew in, I worked late, I went to my hotel, I worked late, I flew out.” He was missing out on a lot of what life had to offer, and working so much was taking a toll on his body. Joe realized that stress and a lack of mindfulness was causing a lot of his physical pain. Recognizing that his mental well-being was just as important as his physical well-being was a huge turning point in his life, leading him to resign from his position and begin a journey towards mindfulness.

I want to enjoy my life. I want to create and build things. I want to savour and love what I’m doing. Click To Tweet

Asking Important Questions

Joe found himself drawn towards people who, like himself, had a connection to the corporate world but had dedicated themselves to becoming trainers in mindfulness and meditation. He took courses about stress, resiliency and how to sleep better and began to journal. He began by writing about what was going on with his life, what his challenges were, what was important to him, how he felt, etc. Joe shared the importance of asking yourself, “Who are you now and who do you want to be?” and “What are three things you stand for?” Asking yourself these kinds of questions allows you to evaluate where you are in your life versus where you want to be, something that proved very beneficial in Joe’s life.

Practice with Intention

One of the things that worked well for Joe was guided practice and practice with intention. As a former athlete, Joe recognized how the repetition of techniques is what helps develop skills. “That’s what we work on creating a Whil. How do we create learnable, repeatable skills for your average stressed-out professional?” Joe continues, “One of those repeatable skills is the art of journaling.” He shares that journaling is a technique that calms and focuses the mind so you can actually get something done.

I look at journaling as the life skill that you can learn and that is repeatable. Click To Tweet

Taking a Personal Inventory

Joe Burton discussed the importance of knowing where you’re starting from by taking a personal inventory. In order to live a mindful, fulfilling life, he suggests you start by asking yourself questions like, “What do you stand for? What are the three things that define you at your core? Who are you?” and comparing it to, “Who do you aspire to be? What kind of life experience do you want to be having?” Acknowledging that you are not where you want to be is the first step to getting there.

You have to understand where you are and where you want to go. Click To Tweet

Three Steps of Mindfulness

“Mindfulness meditation practice for yourself is wonderful, for other people it’s even better.” Joe shares how involving friends and colleagues in your journey towards mindfulness can make a huge impact. “Mindfulness meditation starts within”, he begins. “Then you take the next step outside of yourself with journaling, writing, exploring and thinking through issues.” He shares that the last step is to take mindfulness with you into your conversations and relationships, in order to bring it all to life.

Joe’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • Who are you?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What are three things that define you?

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The Joy Of LEGO & Micro Mindful Moments with Loren I. Shuster

When interviewing The LEGO Group Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer Loren I. Shuster, it’s difficult to hold back the droves of questions about what it’s like working for one of the most innovative and globally successful companies on the planet. So, we didn’t. “It’s a wonderful company to work for,” says Loren, and that’s saying a lot considering his resume includes names like Google and Nokia.

To put into perspective, the joy LEGO brings worldwide, Loren tells us, “I travel a lot and I’m constantly going through immigration. Immigration officers aren’t known as the nicest people, but when they find out I work for LEGO, nine times out of ten I get a smile or someone tells me a personal story about how LEGO has affected their lives. It’s an amazing product to represent and be a part of.”

 

A Mindfulness Master

Loren’s job is to lead over 4,000 colleagues across the world to deliver the wonderful LEGO playsets we’ve all experienced in our lives. He travels a lot, is constantly in meetings, and motivates thousands of people in multiple offices around the world. And his secret is simply to live a mindful life.

“Mindfulness has been in my life for over eighteen years,” says Loren. “I’ve found it to be a foundational practice for maintaining a high level of general well-being.”

'Mindfulness is the foundation of my physical and emotional well-being.' Click To Tweet

 

The Gift of Presence

For Loren, being mindful is what keeps him centered. He says it, “plays into my capacity to stay focused and stay present when I’m working.” This notion of being present isn’t something he takes lightly. “I’ve come to learn that as a leader, the greatest gift you can give a colleague is the quality of your presence,” he shares.

Whether it’s in a large meeting with multiple team members, or an intimate one-on-one conversation, Loren prides himself on showing wholeheartedly that he’s focused on what his colleagues are envisioning. This could be anything from personal challenges to general feelings, he says the important part is to, “build a connection and fellowship to energize them.”

'the greatest gift you can give a colleague is the quality of your presence' Click To Tweet

Micro Mindfulness Moments

As one of LEGO’s international leaders, you can imagine how busy Loren’s day can get, but no matter how many meetings he has, he’s found a way to stay mindful throughout. “I have a lot of micro mindfulness moments,” he begins.

“For instance, when I’m going from one meeting to the next, I intentionally slow down my final five or ten steps before entering the room. I feel the sensation of the ground and I leave behind my previous meeting so I can connect with the next one. By the time I step into the room, I’ve gone through a transitional phase,” he says.

'Mindfulness can cultivate some critical emotional intelligence skills.' Click To Tweet

Another secret micro mindfulness moment is when Loren finds himself getting distracted in meetings. “I centre myself by feeling the sensation of my feet in my shoes, my shoes on the floor, and that brings me back quickly,” he shares.

 

Name, Contain & Reframe

As a EVP and CCO, presenting is a major part of Loren’s job. At any given time, he’s leaving an impression on thousands of people’s minds. With that kind of daily pressure and responsibility, he’s also found that anxiety is normal.

But instead of giving into the anxiety, Loren has learned to channel it. “With presentation anxiety, first I name it. Putting a label on the emotion helps calm my nerves. Then I contain it, meaning I feel where my body is reacting like my jaw, or butterflies in my stomach. Finally, I reframe it and channel that energy to propel my voice with greater confidence.”

 

Practice Makes Perfect

Loren didn’t just wake up with all this mindfulness wisdom, it’s something he’s practiced for a long time and continues to practice every day. “I wake up at 5:30 and meditate for thirty minutes every day,” he tells us. “I learned that it controls my impulse to get anxious,” he shares.

He’s also journals regularly and finds that airplanes are the perfect environment. “I’ll journal when I’m on a plane, and it’s usually to reflect,” he says. “Usually it’s just a stream of consciousness. I’ll write whatever comes to mind.” But journaling doesn’t only come in the written form for Loren as he often draws pictures. “I learned that if you use pictures, it’s a way of circumventing the logical lines,” he explains.

Loren Shuster truly lives the The LEGO Group brand. He’s a curious creator who enjoys the playfulness in learning. He’s an incredible motivator, and he does so in such a way that inspires others to act in a similar manner. And by living and practicing a mindful lifestyle, he’s helped people, companies, and even immigration officers experience the joy of building.

Loren’s questions for the KYŌ App:

  • What quality would I like to bring more of into my day?
  • What triggered me today?
  • Am I living up to my purpose?

 

Photographs: The LEGO Group Facebook

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The Soulful Creative with Caroline Zook

As hard as it is to believe, it took Caroline Zook years to be able to say to herself that she’s an artist. All it takes is a quick glance through her work and you’ll understand why referring to her as an artist is an obvious declaration. But that belief in self, that core of who someone is, and that realization of what drives our soul is exactly what Caroline and her online company Made Vibrant, help people with.

 

UNCOVERING THE VIBRANT SELF

“Every day I’m trying to chisel down to what I am,” says Caroline as she explains Made Vibrant, her online learning hub for soulful creatives. “I constantly try to live as my most vibrant self,” she continues. For Caroline, vibrancy is so much more than a way to describe her artistic style and design choices. Through online courses, inspiring content, and keynote speaking engagements, she’s constantly teaching people to fully express themselves in a creative way.

When 'who I am' aligns with 'what I do', I feel the most vibrant. Click To Tweet

A HISTORY OF VIBRANCY

This realization of living with vibrancy didn’t just come to Caroline, it’s been a process that she’s both learned from and appreciated. “There’s a part of me that’s very much a people pleaser that I have to keep in check. Those things can start to skew our view on the world,” she explains. Keeping emotions like self-doubt and uncertainty in check comes with practice and exercise, but finding that intersection of creativity and personal growth is something Made Vibrant really focuses on.

 

A PERSONAL JOURNEY

Made Vibrant wasn’t always the goal for Caroline, but after launching a freelance design business, she realized that vibrancy meant more to her than just an aesthetic choice. “My business was a bit of a personal journey,” she says, “I was always attracted to these super vibrant colours, so I asked myself, is there more to this?” And the result is Made Vibrant, a digital hub of inspiring visuals, emails, videos, and social media content designed to teach people to become soulful creatives.

 

MINDFULNESS IS INTENTION

For Caroline, being mindful means living with intention. More specifically, mindfulness is insight, action and having a conscious ownership of your thoughts. And like KYŌ, she believes asking the right questions is key.

'I think asking the right questions can help you figure out those nuggets of wisdom' Click To Tweet

Whether it’s developing workshop materials or designing something new for Made Vibrant, Caroline Zook is definitely living the life of a soulful creative.

 

Caroline’s questions for the KYŌ App:

  • What makes you feel free?
  • Am I choosing something because I want it, or because I’m afraid of what others will think if I don’t choose it?
  • What can I do today to feel like my most vibrant self?

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Restaurant Harmony & Kitchen Therapy with Jeffrey & Troy

When you think of a stressful working environment, a busy kitchen in a successful restaurant is right up there with the White House Situation Room. Unless, of course, you work in the kitchen at The Sum Of Us or Tom & Serg with world-class chefs Jeffrey Cruz and Troy Payne. Their secret of keeping the kitchen relaxed, safe, and therapeutic sounds simple at first, but as we chatted with the cooking duo we discovered it comes from multiple sources.

'It’s not about keeping inspired - it’s about inspiring the people around you.' Click To Tweet

The Sum of the People

The kitchen is so much more than a place where delicious meals are created. Jeffrey and Troy see it as part teaching opportunity, part family gathering place, and part sanctuary. But for both world-class chefs, it’s not the ingredients or even the recipes that makes these kitchens special, it’s the people. “It’s not about keeping inspired – it’s about inspiring the people around you. And if you inspire the people around you, that inspires me,” says Troy Payne. “Never hire a cook, you hire personalities,” Troy continues. “You hire individuals that bring character. It’s like building the Power Rangers.”

Lessons Learned

As veteran chefs, both Jeffrey and Troy understand that kitchens can become volatile environments if expectations aren’t set or the right people aren’t in place. One way they’ve managed to avoid the typical high-pressure kitchen environment is to use it as a place to teach. “You shouldn’t leave the kitchen until you’ve learned something,” preaches Jeffrey, a consummate culinary student and master chef. “I never went to culinary school. I learned everything I know from being in a kitchen and I want to share this with the next generation of chefs,” he continues.

 

Finding Harmony

Beyond the people and how they operate is one final pillar of mindfulness that Jeffrey and Troy hold dear to their hearts, and that’s the passion. “We cook, that’s all we do. But we get the opportunity to do something with it to make someone happy,” says Troy. “If you like doing that, it’s not stressful, it’s therapeutic,” he continues. The harmony in the kitchen is infectious and spreads throughout the entire space. We are about creating an environment of escapism in busy Dubai and for Jeffrey and Troy that always starts in the kitchen.

'Being able to talk about things, and the freedom of open speech, we’re able to help build confidence' Click To Tweet

Reflect, Respect and be Yourself

When speaking about reflection and mindfulness, Jeffrey and Troy shared a simple, but extremely effective exercise. “At the beginning and end of every day, you shake hands and you hug,” says Troy. Then they gather the entire kitchen staff and have an open forum-style conversation. It gives everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts, and strengthens the feeling of family; and if a family member isn’t happy, you find a solution as a group. “By being able to talk about things, and the freedom of open speech, we’re able to help build confidence,” says Troy.

As successful world-class chefs at The Sum Of Us and Tom & Serg, both Jeffrey and Troy are very appreciative of what they have in their life. But when asked specifically about what they are grateful for, it’s not the industry fame or restaurant write-ups, “I’m most grateful for my family. And not just my home family, but my kitchen family,” explains Troy. And for Jeffrey, it’s “being given the opportunity to be in the kitchen and be myself.”

 

Based on how they’ve built their teams and created a family-oriented culinary experience, The Sum of Us and Tom & Serg feels like the perfect place to find an incredible culinary experience.

Jeffrey & Troy’s questions for the KYŌ App:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • How can you be yourself today?

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Focus & Simplicity with Jeff Sheldon

Jeff Sheldon is a self-proclaimed “designer by trade and entrepreneur/businessman by accident.” He is the man behind UGMONK, a minimalistic and simplistic apparel brand. He isn’t your typical company founder, though, because Jeff wears the hat of graphic designer, product photographer, copywriter, and manages a slew of other roles. This way, there’s a real distinct consistency throughout the entire brand.

He admits that his reasons for starting the brand were mostly selfish, stating, “The desire to start it was really just to make stuff I really like; really simple and clean stuff. I’ve always tried to make products in a selfish way because I want it to exist.” It turns out a lot of people like Jeff’s minimalistic style as well. While brands tend to focus on following trends, Jeff continues to break those rules and creates an un-categorized new sense of fashion.

“The design has always been my drive ever since I was a kid, whether it was drawing or sketching or building things with Lego,” he explains. What he’s doing now is really just a manifestation of his skills and his passions. And he isn’t doing it alone; Jeff likes to keep the business in the family. His business partner is his brother, who handles more of the web development. His mom does all of the shipping, his sister-in-law does customer service, and his wife helps out in various ways as well.

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THE PROCESS

It’s hard for Jeff to describe in much detail what a typical day is like, because no two days are alike. Especially since the birth of his son, his schedule has been tough to pin down. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is how he starts each day; “I’ll sit down and write out my things I want to do that day.” He has three index cards, each with 10 slots. One says “Today”, one says “Someday” and the last says “Next”. He elaborates, saying “I’m constantly referencing this [Today] card as I work throughout the day and cross things off with a pen. It’s so satisfying.”

Since the birth of his son, however, Jeff’s been getting used to the balance between work and home. “I used to be able to work as many hours as I want,” he states, claiming that he often times doesn’t have that ability anymore. Not having that ability isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, and it’s sort of forced Jeff to find that balance. “There’s time’s where I just really want to work and not change another diaper,” he admits, “but it brings some perspective to my day.”

'Setting aside time to be fully all-in with family gives such a refreshing perspective when you get back' Click To Tweet

MINDFULNESS

“I’d say I’m actually really bad at separating work and life, because what I do is what I love and my work blends in so much,” Jeff confesses. One thing that has proven useful is taking small trips. He recalls, “recently we [his family] went to Up-State New York for four days just to disconnect and go hiking and be with family.” He proudly states that he didn’t even take his laptop out of the bag once, which is not the kind of discipline that typically comes easy to him. It pays off in the long run, though, because setting aside time to be “fully all-in with family gives such a refreshing perspective when you get back to work.” Jeff plans on taking more of these short trips, where he can shut down the work stuff for a couple of days.

'Realizing what went wrong and identifying those issues is the first step in improving it' Click To Tweet

When prompted for the most important questions that Jeff asks himself on a consistent basis, he delivers three superb responses. Firstly, “What are the most important things I need to work on today?” This lends itself to his whole index card system and how he manages to stay productive and organized. Secondly, “What things went right today?” Listing things to be grateful for, even if they’re as small as a good lunch with a friend, can go a long way. It forces you to really look back and appreciate what you have. Finally, he asks himself “What things went wrong today?” This isn’t as negative as it may sound. In fact, realizing what went wrong and identifying those issues is the first step in improving it, delegating it, cutting it completely, or fixing it.

Jeff’s Questions for the KYŌ App:

  • What are the most important things I need to work on today?
  • What things went right today?
  • What things went wrong today?

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Mindfulness & 4-Letter Words with Darya Rose

You know you’re in for a treat when you ask someone to explain who they are and they reply with, “sometimes I describe myself as a Vulcan.” Darya Rose authored the popular healthy-living book Foodist, created the digital content platform Summer Tomato, and recently launched the Mindful Meal Challenge, a 5-day challenge that helps you develop a mindful eating habit through daily emails and video lessons.  As you can probably tell, she leads quite a busy life.

Adopting a Healthstyle

Darya is a scientist at heart and she uses her background in neuroscience to help readers understand her concept of healthstyle. Healthstyle is a very personal set of all-encompassing healthy habits that include things like eating, exercising, and being mindful. But one thing it is not is that nasty four-letter word diet.

“I use it as a bad word,” explains Darya. “It’s a scientific term, but in pop culture it means restrictive food intake for the sake of weight loss.” Healthstyle isn’t just about weight loss, it’s about optimizing your quality of life in both body and mind. And one of the ways Darya teaches people to adopt a healthstyle is by developing a set of habits that help your mind feel just as good as your body.

'Healthstyle is about optimizing your quality of life in both body and mind' Click To Tweet

One of the ways Darya helps explain this notion of healthy habits is through her idea of putting the fork down. When eating a meal, we typically prepare the next bite as we’re chewing the first. It’s natural, it’s instinctual, and it’s a trigger our brains use to help save energy. But as soon as we become aware of this trigger, we become more mindful of how much and how fast we eat. “We live 90% of our lives on autopilot,” explains Darya. “Being aware of your triggers is incredibly powerful.”

 

The Value of Meditation

Darya has been practicing meditation for years. She admits it wasn’t easy getting started, but after going on a silent meditation retreat in 2015, her life hasn’t been the same. “I work better, I concentrate better, I’m slower to anger, I’m less reactive in general – I wish everybody could experience that,” she says. “But,” she continues, “mindfulness is not your brain’s norm, it’s like learning a language, you have to practice.”

Journaling Brings Meaning

Currently Darya doesn’t journal, but she fully supports those who do, especially those who have experienced trauma. The act of writing down thoughts can be extremely therapeutic because it can help bring meaning to a traumatic event. Getting started with journaling can be difficult because as Darya puts it, “confronting your own brain is terrifying,” but it’s a beneficial habit that can be developed over time.

'The act of writing down thoughts can be extremely therapeutic' Click To Tweet

Daily Reflection

Obviously, Darya isn’t actually a Vulcan, but we understand why she’s proud to describe herself as someone who takes pride in logic and reason. Her scientific background and ability to understand the value of mindfulness has helped her focus on what is important in her life. “I take time out of my day to cook, work out, spend time with my dog and my husband – those are things that are important to me,” she explains.

Darya’s Questions for the KYŌ App:

  • What are you doing today that has meaning?
  • How will you focus on what is important to you?
  • What are you grateful for?