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Ep 96. Creating a Natural Lifestyle with Tony Riddle

April 6, 2020

Tony Riddle, otherwise known as the natural lifestylist, joined me on the Calmer You Podcast for a very in-depth and inspiring conversation. I think you are going to really find this episode quite fascinating and mind-blowing. We chat about: The link between being disconnected from nature and depression and anxiety. Re-wilding ourselves – what can […]

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Tony Riddle, otherwise known as the natural lifestylist, joined me on the Calmer You Podcast for a very in-depth and inspiring conversation. I think you are going to really find this episode quite fascinating and mind-blowing.

We chat about:

  • The link between being disconnected from nature and depression and anxiety.
  • Re-wilding ourselves – what can we do at work, home and on daily life to re-wild. 
  • Practical tips on everything from the plants to have in your house to clean the air to how to sleep better.

Tony Riddle offers Natural Lifestyle Coaching – find out more here.

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Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Calmer You Podcast. This is your host, Chloe Brotheridge. I’m a coach, a hypnotherapist, and I’m the author of The Anxiety Solution and Brave New Girl. And this podcast is all about helping you to become your calmest, happiest and most confident self.

Chloe Brotheridge: Today, I’m speaking to the incredibly interesting Tony Riddell, a.k.a. The Naturallife Stylist. Tony is a natural lifestyle coach and he’s spent the last 18 years developing and refining a robust way of life based on the principles of a natural lifestyle. Central to his continuing exploration is the question, “What makes the human animal successful in the modern world?”

We have a really interesting discussion all about the links between our disconnection from nature and the levels of depression and anxiety that we experience.

Tony teaches us how we can re-wild ourselves, what we can do at work, at home and in our daily lives to connect back to nature and gain all the health and mental well-being benefits of doing that.

In this episode

And he shares loads of practical tips on everything from the plants that you need to have in your house to clean the air, to how to sleep better, to how to squat better and so much more.

I think you are going to really find this episode quite fascinating and mind-blowing. So, let’s get into the interview with Tony Riddle.

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Welcome Tony Riddle

Chloe: Welcome, Tony. Thank you so much for joining me. How are you today?

Tony Riddle: I’ve been great. Thanks for inviting me in. Brilliant, I’m going to have a great day, actually. It been lots of nature today. So, I just literally arrived from Hampstead Ponds now; down cold deep in the icy water. Yeah.

Chloe: Sounds energizing.

Tony Riddle: Yeah, epic stuff.

Chloe: I’d love to hear from you, and for people who don’t know who you are, what you do. What is it that you do and how do you help people and what’s been your journey to get to where you are today?

Meet Tony Riddle

Tony: Wow, it’s a big one, isn’t it? Hi, my name is Tony Riddle. I’m also known as a.k.a the Natural Life Stylist. What does that mean? Well, before that, it’s essentially just re-wilding humans; introducing them to ways of living that are more in sync with human biology. And then bringing that forward into everyday environments to enable us to thrive, not just survive.

And what I mean by that is most of us are just surviving; we don’t even realize it. What we’ve normalized; the anxiety, myriads of different diseases, 100 different autoimmune diseases, it’s just become normalized. How do we get through that and how do we see through it? And for me, it’s always been looking at nature to have the answers. Well, nature’s the cure, I’d say.

And the more and more I went deeper, I went into that, the more you can see that these natural beings of the world just don’t have, sometimes, even words for what we have. Like insomnia, there’s no word for it in some of the tribes that I’ve visited. They have no connection to it.

Finding connection

For me, it was always about, yeah, how do I find that connection? It wasn’t really resonating with people; they couldn’t really relate to it. It’s partly because we were using language like “zoo humans” and “wild humans”; it sounds great, romantic, but people didn’t really relate to the wild human. And they also didn’t like the fact thy were to be called a zoo human, let’s say.

So, somewhere in the mix, I was approached by an editor from the style magazine, Sunday Times Star Magazine. And she was writing a piece on six best coaches. So, my ego’s like, “Ooh, six best coaches. Yeah, I’d love to do that.”

And so, we sit down, we start chatting and then she says, “Okay, I was expecting it to be really about movement” because she could see that there was an influence through natural movement with me and a lot of my clients.

Finding a natural lifestyle

And then as I start to expand on the whole philosophy, it was not just about finding natural ways of moving, it was finding natural ways of sleeping, natural ways of digesting, natural ways of eating, natural ways of breathing. And then the social community and the spiritual context; what it was to be a natural being.

I was like, “Okay, this is much bigger. How about we do a full feature on it? This could be two pages.” And then that became like the naturalized stylist; it was obvious for me after that.

And then, all of a sudden, it was like waking up the next day and things just exploding because it’s suddenly relatable, I guess.

So, that’s kind of where it is at now and that’s kind of where I am this part of the journey. I mean, leading up to that, yeah, it’s been huge. It’s been a huge journey; it’s the unravelling of Tony, I guess. Allow me to sit here as Tony 2.0, I call him, you know.

Tony 1.0

I had an upbringing in a village that was kind of a concrete existence, so let’s say. And punctuated in amongst that, there was a little piece of nature that us kids went to. And maybe an hour or so a week, but it was a moment to express kind of our physicality and connect to something deeper, I guess. You know, partly we could just kick our shoes off and climb trees and play in the streams and then suddenly it was back into the concrete existence like everyone else’s experience, as in overnight.

And TV and sitting in front of the box, just having that kind of social experience at the very beginning, that was kind of the template. ADHD, yeah, dyslexia, you could throw a lot into the mix, really. And it’s really just this craving for being outside. I’d sit in a classroom, like tapping, looking out the window with really, this huge desire to need to move.

And then had such a terrible education; it was like one of the worst, I think. And then found myself in the army later on, partly to avoid the drugs and the alcohol and the crime that was basically just normalised within my social group and it was a form of escapism.

Military life

I found myself in the military and I spent three and a half years, really. Again, I guess going back to that one hour, expressing my physicality as a young boy out in nature that punctuated in amongst my week, I now had that in the army; I could really express that.

But then eventually, it just got to a point where I just found myself a bit lost, even in the military. And then unfortunately, found myself dropping back into the same social patterns as what I’ve been trying to escape.

Help arrived

And then someone saved me. They said, “Well, have you thought about personal training? Maybe I can set you up.”

So, that was the next step for me. And it kind of already I could feel, “Ah, this is for me.” So, already, I was exploring that. And then I had a position in a personal training, which was my first person training position.

Fortunately, I walked into a place that didn’t have gym equipment, no resistance machines; it was just a studio. So, you had to really learn your craft. And the people that were in there were mainly 40-something women. Their husbands were commuting into the city in the and they had absolutely no interest in what the current paradigm, probably a personal training was, which is a little bit sabotaged by bodybuilding and fitness models.

And so, it became about more course stability. It was just the new language I was learning and I discovered Pilates. And then from Pilates, I then, skipping forward a few years, found myself in my own Pilate studio, one-on-ones and just joint sessions.

Growing the practice

And then I took on a bigger practice. I had like six practitioners working for me; all equipment based, loved the original philosophy. It made perfect sense to me. And there’s images of Joseph Pilates. He’s a middleweight professional boxer, lost an eye in a fight, gymnast, circus performer; stuff that people didn’t really know about him. Even his cold immersion images, images of him in his pant standing in the snow, you know.

So, there was something really — I was intrigued by it, you know. So, I started to look deeper into that. And I found his original system that was called Controlology. There was crawling patterns and more about body weight and understanding where weight should be, even when you’re standing. And it was a very different terminologies, a very different language at that point.

Then I was involved with a company called Wild Fitness. They were taking zoo humans and turning them into wild humans, except they were still teaching the current paradigm of personal training, but just in nature.

Mentors

At that point, another great mentor of mine, Nicholas Romanov, walked in and he helped me understand a specific posture that everyone walks into; when they’re running, when you’re climbing, any particular movement pattern, you could observe it through his method called The Pose, which was — there’s a skill and it has a technique in mind and a physiology to it.

Lifestyle symptoms

And suddenly, I looked at my Pilates practice with that filter and I was like, “Oh, my God. People are just coming in with symptoms from a lifestyle. I’m just giving them symptom relief, not going to the cause. YI’m teaching them to lie down and move around on a piece of equipment, unravel the tension and their compromised body from their everyday lifestyle. What creates that?”

And it was like, “Wow. Okay, the obvious things are their footwear was one and then it was the chair. Okay, sitting; sedentary lifestyle.” So, then if it was all about the money, I could’ve just kept inviting them in and just dealing with the same situation; oh, it’s just hips and it’s just feet and it’s something that you can just correct their posture.

But I started to look at there must be more natural system or natural way of moving. And so, another mentor, Irwin Nicole, he has a system called Move Nat, which is about observing certain movement patterns that we all carry out in nature. It’s based on George {indistinct 12:57} work.

Studying movement patterns

George {indistinct 12:58} was like a French Marine officer in the 1800s and studied all indigenous populations and realised that they had these incredible physicality; ability to move. And just compared to his own Marines, could just outperform, let’s say. And what is it they’re doing differently?

That’s kind of where the military assault course came from that; that’s the origins of it. They’re observing they all could balance, run, lift, carry, throw, defend, swim, jump. There was just the whole protocol to it.

So, Irwin’s work was very much like that. But I could then apply Nicholas’ pose method to that. So, then I could see the appropriate pose and what was needed.

So, what was happening was instead of taking what wild fitness would have called zoo humans and putting them through this exercise program and expecting a natural outcome, I had to take them back, so they understood the appropriate postures and techniques within those disciplines first, and then their physiology would start to adapt to it.

Opening a pilate studio

And from there I opened up a gym. I closed my Pilate studio. It felt very much like being a fraud, having that. Again, you could carry on, on that path, and just give people symptoms really.

So, we used to joke and it was like we called it movement therapy, but it was more like movement and therapy, where people would come down, they’d lie on the reformer and they were doing a series of exercises, but they’d also be telling you about their problems, you’d see.

“Okay, it’s still lifestyle. There’s something in there. What is it there? What are the symptoms and what’s the cause?” that’s going into the cause?

I started with movement; that was the very first layer that really. Really just honing a movement practice that was natural to people in a gym facility. Three of us opened that practice with different influences.

Barefoot running kind of came through with a book called Born to Run. That blew things up for us. And we got involved with the barefoot brand who are now what we called Viva Barefoot. That meant I could then look at the way the feet were behaving, have them performed naturally, but in an urban environment. They had some kind of protection. And then we understood there were particular postures and protocols that we could get people to just become more efficient as movers.

Wild Fitness Retreat

Then eventually, the philosophy started to open up and I piloted the first Wild Fitness Retreat out of the Isle of Wight. That was an opportunity to bring more in; more of this natural movement, rather than a modern day exercise into a natural habitat. There was more availability around sleep, more discussions around sleep and then the core philosophy.

Two other people I set that business up, jumped ship. They moved out of the gym facility. And then something made me stay. I think it was the ego. And also, I had my father’s influence; he had a business and I watched him literally, just everything went in the business and we very rarely saw him. He’s home on like Sundays, if we were lucky.

The turning point

And we just watched it unravel; pretty much lost everything in that process, I guess, including him a little. And something inside me; I felt like I was playing out the same pattern. And I’d stayed in the business far too long, trying to support it with my own means in the end, because we’d lost to other directors in the sense.

And then I was holding a big workshop, and this is the turning point for me. And people have come over from all over, standing in a room, and I’m there preaching about a philosophy about zoo humans and wild humans and living naturally.

Imposter syndrome

And a tube train kind of went past the building and in that moment it, just shook the doors of the building. And I was like, “Oh, my God.” I was like, “Again, that message on the fraud; I’m standing here teaching people about how to live a natural lifestyle in an urban setting.

Yet, I’ve just worked 16 hours yesterday. I’ve had no sleep. My diet’s a mess. My skin’s a mess. I’m completely fatigued and on the borderline of adrenal fatigue, not happy and probably depressed at this point.”

And it was just the moment. And I’d gone bankrupt to live through a week after that whole thing. Just let it go. And so, everything I’d figured, I’d managed to just unravel within a week. The fear of, “Oh, what if I lose the business”, the fear of what people would think, the shame, the guilt.

Tony 2.0

And out of that adversity, suddenly, Tony 2.0, and it was just — I think that was the adversity I needed at that time was the closure of a business that I’ve been deeply holding on to.

I then went off on a bit of a journey and it was how do you rebuild yourself? Luckily, I had a very supportive wife and kids at that stage that were just, “Take as much time as you do.”

Protocols

Breath work came in for me first; meditation. And then, of course, I had all the information, I had all the knowledge; it was just now I had to experience and put it into practice. Instead of just standing there in front of an audience, telling them how they should be using these protocols, it was like, “Ah, I’m the man in the audience and this is what I need to be doing.”

I guess I had to experience it and then out of that, of course, you can have the wisdom, you have the knowledge and then you have to really experience it. And I think unless you’ve gone through real anxiety and if you’ve gone through depression, as you’ve gone through break downs and then you see them as breakthroughs. For me, that was the real turning point. And I guess people could relate to that.

Again, it was like, “I’ve been there. I know it feels rubbish. But I also know you have everything inside of you.” To turn it around and be the change and then be an example to others.

Running barefoot

And then more recently, I undertook an event where I decided I wanted to show human potential and human physicality. And so, I chose to run from Land’s End to John Groves, which I did barefoot.

Why barefoot? Well, because it kind of, you know, people can’t relate to it. They start with a , “Wow.” But it gets that initial “Wow. That’s sounds fascinating. I’m just going to go and run the length for the UK, but I’m going to do it barefoot.”

So, really raise that socially extreme eyebrow and created a platform. And with that platform, it meant I could raise awareness for a bigger picture. My whole theme is around living a natural lifestyle and reconnecting people to nature and this was the real opportunity for that.

Well, here’s what we can do. We can run barefoot; that’s natural. We should be able to get up and run each day; that’s also natural. But where’s the stage for this? Well, it’s nature. How do we do that? It was then an opportunity to raise funds for six organizations and then interview sustainability experts along the route.

That was the plan with this idea that we — I mean, there’s so much around the environment and sustainability now, isn’t there? Lots of people even striking in the streets. But it’s how many of those people are actually out in nature and connecting to it and really understanding what it is they’re trying to save? Because I can’t relate to and I can’t connect to it, what chance do I have of saving something if I’m not immersed in it?

Becomming nature

From that kind of experience, it meant that even towards the end of the run, I felt I’d literally just become nature at one point. I was out there for so long in this meditation state of running, which I then called the pilgrimage.

For me, it was like an opportunity to come back with, “Wow, this is incredible. If we’re really out there for that long, you understand how precise it all is. And it’s all happening for you.” There were just people that would appear on the route exactly when I need them, when I felt most broken or someone that had to open a road for me, it just happens this guy was there, “By the way, just to let you know, I’ve opened the road up for you.”

But usually, we’re so cluttered up with information or I have to be at this meeting or this appointment at this time. We miss those cues, those subtle nudges. But this on this adventures, I had an opportunity to really tune into it.

And then I faced adversity even on that; I had a bad injury towards the end of it. I’d managed to sprain an ankle, leaping over something in a stream, and I couldn’t even load my left foot at that stage; it was completely swollen. Really just brutal, brutal injury to get, right at the end, when you’ve got three days left to complete 30 miles a day for 30 days. That was the timeframe I’d given myself.

Pain cave

I then went through all the protocols I’d learn again. For me, it was another adversity. Now, I have this kind of cave; I call it the pain cave. You’re much stronger than I am and can choose to go out into the light or stay in the darkness at the back of the cave; out in that light or back in the cave. I can only see the back of the cave. So, what are you going to choose?”

And in that moment, I was just, “It’s enough for me.” And it flipped a switch that enabled me to get my thoughts from being a victim, “Oh, no. I’m not going to be able to run. I would not be able to complete this thing” to “I’m healing.”

And it’s in instances like that the adversity begin; you realize that it’s all perception. It’s just literally perception; it’s the perception of a moment and we are just the vessel.

And the mind is incredible, really, if you really want to go in there and unravel it and just see what’s available. Human potential is way beyond what I’d expected and my expectation going into the run. Again, that was really about the physical self, but it came out as, “Oh my God, the mind is — we’re just incredible beings”, if we really let it go. So, that’s a bit of a waffle.

Chloe: No, that’s so interesting. So, this pain cave, was that something that spontaneously came to you? Is that a practice that you returned back to or what was that?

The cave

Tony Riddle: It’s something I go back to. In training sometimes, if I was pushing it in training, of course, you get to the point where you feel like you’re completely fatigued. And that’s the cave. You know, you have to basically somehow get yourself out of there to face the next session.

But again, I look at that through stuff I’ve had in the past when it’s been right down depression, anxiety, anything that was flagged up in the past. It’s the same thing; it’s just a matter of I have to go into the cave.

And most of us are just fearful of going there. And I think you have to go there; that’s where the deepest lessons are. We’re so fearful of anxiety. We’re so fearful of depression. But at times, that’s where the most valuable lessons are. And we come out of a much stronger being. But it’s having the tools and the skills to get out of the cave. That’s what I’ve learned now. You know, because we’ll go in there.

Again, like I was talking about the ponds, that’s a mini hit of adversity for me. And I take a lot of people through that process or into the cold or into ice. And when they first arrive, you can see they’re really, really anxious. That’s the pain cave for them; about to go into the cave.

How to down-regulate

And so, one of the tools we can be using to be able to enter that and to down regulate and to see the adversity differently; that it’s a challenge that it might create. We very rarely have real adversity. Some of it is myself manufactured in a way. I’ve got a few emails on here that I know I have to deal with today. I can already feel I’m a little bit up-regulated going into them. What do I do about that? Do I mean, do I stay up-regulated or do I use methods to down regulate, so I see it differently?

What I mean about seeing it differently? You know, we revert back to our earliest traumas, the moment where stressed out. It’s like the stuff that’s happened in the first early years, let’s say, is what plays out for the rest of our life; it’s like the templates. Up until the age of seven, let’s say, those recordings that have occurred in those earliest years are what we play out for the rest of our lives. They’re out templates that we’ve inherited through our tribes of influence or whoever.

Subconscious patterns

And the moment we’re really up-regulated, we start to go back into, say, the 3-year old or the 4-year old or the 6-year old. It comes up. We don’t know that, because it’s just what we operate at. It’s like a subconscious pattern that comes up.

So, do I want to answer my email in that mind-set or do I want to get rid of the imposter and start to become the authentic self again? That’s what I learn within it; within the practices like breath work is an incredible modality, just for flipping that switch of perception to get you out of the cave immediately so you can become the authentic self again, answering the email rather than the imposter stressed out urbanite who is up-regulated in a sense, that might not be giving the right response.

And we can all relate to that; that’s an email. That can even be a phone call. And as a parent, it’s like, if you’ve got chaos going on around the home and you maybe need to get an email done and the kids are going crazy. Is it the kids are going crazy or is it just your perception of the kids going crazy?

And the moment you step back from that and again, you go and have a chat with the bear and he gives you some advice on, “Well, here’s some breathing technique can be doing” or “At least stare at some nature” and these amazing studies of what can happen just by immersing in nature for 20 minutes.

Forest bathing

So, in Japan, it’s like they took 260 individuals, study them in 24 areas. And within 20 minutes, each one of those individuals has a 13.4 percent drop in their cortisol; their blood pressure and heart rate dropped and they’d return back to their parasympathetic rest-and-digest. So, away from their sympathetic fight-and-flight; that’s every one of those participants. So, if we think of that, that’s dropping them into that authentic self again.

But we can’t all do that in the office or say in this environment now, I might be really up-regulated. What do we do before we started? I’ve just come off the tube. We certainly breathe for 3 minutes before you start and it’s just would define you within the chaos again.

So, that’s the cave for me really. Yeah, it’s always with us. And it’s just finding ways; how can I get myself out with that experience?

Chloe: And when you talk about breath work, what does that mean to you and others and are there certain practises that people can be trying today to help themselves?

Breathwork

Tony Riddle: Yeah, there’s really simple techniques. It depends on where you are in the day. There’s breath gurus out there. I’ll make it really simple and I maybe put a few of them in here.

A guy, I work with. He’s an amazing breath coach. Alan Dolan, he’s known as the breath guru. They work with some systems like Transformational Breath. Some work with Hoff’s work and down regulating breath.

And then there’s really simple access, which is someone that we worked with, which is Eddie Stern’s app. And it’s just a breathing app you can download. And with that, rather than you having to count about breath, it just has a sound in the background. And you follow the sound with your breath and you can just go off. It’s like the entry into meditation, you can find through that; just the simple breathing app.

Down regulating the breath

So, down regulating breath means that you’re dropping yourself into parasympathetic, which is rest-and-digest. It’s a more restful state, heart rate, blood pressure drop, saliva will come up because your rest-and-digest digestion.

And then we have kind of up regulating breath, which is about becoming more alert. If it’s says, 3 o’clock, 3:30, usually for me, I might feel like, “Just a little bit, I’m dropping a bit here. What can I do? I could go smash the caffeine or I could up regulate my breath.”

Then I choose more of a charging breath; it’s more of a {deep breath}. 10 cycles is enough just to make you alert; just that. As simple as that. And then just expand on that, if you only do 30 breaths or whatever. It can feel a little bit tingly from that sometimes, just because you’re playing with oxygen, carbon dioxide levels.

We also use things like breath hold, which has become quite popular, with Wim Hoff’s method is like the Ice Man. And then so, on the final out breath of that, you then hold your breath and it would just help balance that system again.

Parasympathetic nervous system

Back to parasympathetic. It’s such an important tool, this. I mean, I coach a lot of people in breath, just purely. Again, going back to parenting. So, I could use this as an example coming in here. I get onto the tube, tube is chaos. Sometimes, just getting out of the tube can be chaos, let alone getting onto it. It’s an alien environment. The air is not great. The lighting is terrible. So, we’ve just normalized it, but on a subconscious level, it’s just not very natural environments; you’re never really going to get a natural outcome. It’s very difficult to become very restful in that environment.

Then everyone else has the same experience. So, you’re now surrounded by the energy of all of that, which can feel quite anxious. And then so, I’m going to be up regulated; little bit anxious. And then I arrive home to my door and my kids have been waiting for papa, probably for 8 hours. And they wanted this amazing guy to come in the house, who’s their image of what papa is and what their expectations are. Yeah, I have this craziness around me and I’m up.

Breathwork exercise

So, I will stop at the door and I’ll just do a very simple workout. It’s like a 4-second inhale from my nose and then a 6-second {exhale} and I just do 10 cycles. And then I walk in the door and then it’s a very different experience I’m coming in with. It’s almost like I’ve left it at the doorstep and I can walk in like Tony 2.0, not Tony Imposter again.

So, it’s just work in a different breath modalities. And I think you can explore with that. There’s so many like box breathing, people talk about, which might mean 3seconds in, then you hold for seconds, 3 seconds out and then you hold for 3 seconds.

When is the best time for different breath techniques? Again, if you’re up regulated, down regulate. If it’s before bedtime, definitely just go to the long exhale. It could be 3 seconds in, 4 seconds in, longer exhale. And then just 5 minutes of that and you’ll be away and it just drops you into the rest-and-digest, rather than maybe a little bit up regulated or you might’ve seen something or heard something just before bedtime.

Meal time

Meal time is another classic. So, meal time, if you want to assist digestion, you want to down regulate. If again, you’re up regulates and you’re trying to eat, then a lion walks into this room right now growling {roar} and the lion kicks off. We have an option; we can fight/flight, we can freeze and we do and then we can — That’s it, right? That’s an acute response. It’s not chronic responses and cute response.

And in that acute response, we have a regulatory system. Our digestive system will cut off. There’s no point in digesting a meal. And also, it’s hugely costly to digest food. That energy is best spent to fight, flight or freeze or whatever we’re going to do because there’s a line in the room right now.

My digestion gets shut off; that means stomach acid, enzymes, all of that, gone. The next one is my immune system; no point fighting off a cold. I’d rather give it to the lion, you know? The immune system goes out. The final one is hormonal system; no point producing Bam-Bam. If there’s a lion in the room, that shuts down.

Three issues

What are the three things we mainly see are digestive issues, hormonal issues, immune system. It’s simplifying it somewhat, but it’s the best thing.

And so, with the digestive system, that’s an acute response. I don’t want that to be chronic. If it’s chronic, there’s no absorption. So, you and I could be sitting in here. We might have the most incredible diet, but because you’re up regulated, your digestive system is out, what are you absorbing? I might have a crappy diet right now, but be really down regulated and an amazing digestive system, I can’t absorb more. So, you’ll be overfed and undernourished? And so, we think we’re doing the right thing around food groups, but often, it can be digestion.

Breath

I find that breath is a great opportunity, just to down regulate. You know when you already feel your salivary glands coming and it’s a great practice anyway. It’s like saying grace or something and just preparing yourself for the food, I think is really powerful.

So, again, breathing for sleep, breathing for stress, breathing for digestion and breathing, if you’re feeling low. That is an incredible practice, if we really start to understand it and honour it. And I think if there’s anyone with anxiety out there or even depression, breathing is the go-to; it’s one of the best practices that will help you get out the cave.

Using breath as a pause

Chloe: I love the idea of kind of using it as kind of a pause and also like a bookend. Before you go from work to see your kid, you stop and pause and take some breaths, before you eat, before you go to sleep, to actually shift your state to be. Because often, we’re just going from one thing to the other and absorbing things as we go.

Tony Riddle: Absolutely.

Chloe: And it’s so interesting what you’re saying about and it being on the tube and around everyone and the lighting and the — And so often, we’re not even — we’re so, as you said, so used to that that it just seems normal and we’re not even aware there is a problem.

I just got back from staying with a tribe in the Amazon for two weeks.

Tony: Beautiful.

Chloe: And I came back into London. I met my boyfriend at a co-working space. And I felt like I didn’t know how to exist in the city. I was like not sure how to use like, I don’t know, the thing to get in the door. And it took me a while to get back into it because I’ve been so just on a different kind of level of existing.

Tony Riddle: Frequency, isn’t it? Just a completely different frequency.

Chloe: Yeah. Yeah. I’m so interested to hear more about, you know –

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Chloe: I often think — I’ve had a theory and I think you’re going to prove that theory that a lot of anxiety is caused because we’re so disconnected from our natural state.

Tony Riddle: Yeah.

Connecting with our natural state

Chloe: And we don’t actually know how good we could feel, a lot of the time. We have no idea because it’s become so normalized for us to be in cities.

Are there other things that you would suggest for people to be doing that can help them to connect back to that?

Ways to connect back with nature

Tony Riddle: Absolutely. I think it’s really worth highlighting that disconnection. I’ve been lucky enough to train, I mean, some incredible beings. They could be from teenagers through to the elderly; some 80-year old clients, from students through to billionaires. Get flown around by private jet, amazing lifestyles; I’ve been witness to it all.

But you know what? If their fundamental physical, social, spiritual needs aren’t met, as in what’s aligned with nature, you know, finding those natural ways of performing, they’re still pretty unhappy.

And the good news is, the more of nature I kind of introduced to their lifestyles, the happier they become, the more successful they become; not talking the modern day monetary ladder of success, I’m talking of successful as human beings; that’s the thing.

We are amazing

And we very rarely understand how amazing we are. We are literally awe inspiring, if you really understand where we’ve traversed, where we’ve come from. We’re talking like 100 thousand years of the most incredible sapiens species to get here today. And so, imagine just the environments we would have existed in, compared to where we are today. Imagine the adversity we would have faced.

I think it’s firstly just important to just kind of get a handle on that. Just understand that it’s inside all of us is this innately wild, connected, empowered being. That’s in our DNA; it’s in us. Until something happens along the way that pulls us off the path of divinity, let’s say.

How cells behave

I have my discussions around schooling and stuff like that. But I think it’s like a petri dish that we’ve been cultured into, lets say, what’s been normalized in this petri dish. And Bruce Lipton‘s works really great for this because it helps you understand perception as a signal, it helps you understand how cells behave. For me, he is like the granddaddy of epigenetics in a way.

Chloe: Is he the author of Spontaneous Evolution

Tony Riddle: And also The Biology of Belief.

Chloe: Oh, Biology of Belief. Yeah, yeah. That’s the one.

Tony Riddle: Biology of Belief.

Chloe: Yeah.

Tony Riddle: So, the fantastic thing is it could be a petri dish and inside the petri dish is a number of cells. And we are a petri dish of say 47 trillion cells in that dish. And what he’s established is what one cell will behave, the others will behave the same way. Also, that if you take those cells and create three more petri dishes and culture, those identical cells into these petri dishes, they will be cultured into whatever that environment is. So, whatever your environment is today, your 47 trillion cells will adapt to it.

Adaptation

And this is where we have a choice and we have to choose whether we want them to adapt to; good or bad. Because the ultimate human experience is adaptation and we will literally adapt to good or bad. But first, it’s understanding what’s good and what’s bad. And for me, it’s always, “Well, what do I put in my petri dish?”

What they notice through his experience and the experiment is if you put toxic information or toxins into the petri dish, the cells go into protection, which is a bit like the sympathetic system I was talking about earlier, like fight and flight. The system will shut down and go into protection mechanism. And we want growth to be able to understand how to thrive. That’s survival, protection.

And then if you put it nourishing or nutrients into the petri dish or nourishing information into the petri dish, the cells that go into a pattern of growth. Then they’re in parasympathetic or growth promoting state.

What is growth promoting

We need to say, “Okay. What is growth promoting?” And for me, it’s understanding what exists in nature again. So, we could talk about, let’s say, “What food would we want to introduce into a petri dish?” So, we want to think processed foods that we have no connection to. They are maybe mono cropped, destroying an environment, they are covered in glysophates pesticides, they maybe in packaging that was also destroying the environment. Do we want that in our petri dish?

Or do you want to think, “Well, I want to have food that’s in nature, which is organic, which hasn’t gone through a heavy process, that I know is then growth promoting; it’s full of nutrient because exactly where it came from is the earth. I am part of the earth, the plants, the rocks and the animals. I need nature to go in. Not something that’s abnormal, created in a laboratory.” One will have one experience; one of the other.

Water

Water; let’s look at water. What kind of water would I want to put in my petri dish? Do I want municipal water that maybe has some chemicals in it; maybe oestrogen, maybe chlorine in there, because we need chlorine in there to clean, because it’s such an old system? Every now and then you’ve got the whiff of chlorine that will come for your taps. Do I want that in my petri dish or do I want to think about springwater or water systems that can purify?

Natural movement

Then we could go movement. “Okay. What kind of movement do I want in my petri dish?” This is tricky for us, because we are a sedentary culture. I don’t have any chairs in my house. And I don’t live in chairs in there for a reason is because when you observe people in the natural petri dish; in that environment, they don’t have chairs. But they have this amazing physique.

Now, we all see them on the front cover of Nature magazine; these amazing beings that have beautiful postures, beautiful physiology. And what is they’re doing differently because, the don’t still sit for nine hours a day. It’s just they don’t sit in chairs; they’re on the ground.

And then you observe there’s like around 100 different rest positions that can be performed on the ground. And each one of those rest positions is a micro element of the macro skill of standing up and being upright and then performing, walking, running, lifting, carrying; all those things. In the roots of that, is a movement system that just exists on the ground.

Posture

And we have one chair. So, the chair goes into me into the more protection mechanism in that petri dish, because it, unfortunately, creates a compromised posture, gets us locked in the hips. We create a C-shaped spine, core stability goes out, glutes switch off, hamstrings get tight, we get locked in the ankle. And then when I go to stand up, I’m now walking from a completely different physiological and anatomical system from what I should be. Therefore, it’s compromising me.

Then I go to a class, like I used to have a Pilates studio to go and unravel it somehow. Actually, if I didn’t put the information in in the first place, or I at least had a practice in like chair care, or I called it chair sitting offsetting now. So, it’s like where I sit for this amount of hours. Let’s get back to the ground and help unravel it. It doesn’t mean yoga. It doesn’t mean Pilates, it just means adopting natural sitting positions. That’s what we can be doing in the petri dish.

So, if you are Netflix bingeing at home, go on the ground and just play with different rest positions like squatting, kneeling, shin boxing, getting yoga poses or long sits or straddle sits. There’s multiple sitting positions that you can choose, which will just help your overall mobility and posture and create a stronger physical self. Which then is much more powerful to go out into the world; you can absorb more in a way if your physical body is actually stronger. So, that’s movement, that’s water, food.

Sleep

So, we can look at sleep, right? So, sleeps a huge one, isn’t it? So, we all think we have a good handle on sleep. And yet, if I start a workshop around this petri dish model, how many hours would I need? How many hours sleep do we need? And it can be probably 8 hours, 7 hours; we kind of lost sight of how many hours we need individually for a start, because they’re all different. But also we’ve lost sight of what actually happens in nature compared to what happens in the urban environment. The urban environment isn’t natural, so we don’t get a natural outcome.

So, how do we understand what natural sleep is without going into nature and observing what happens there? Most of the sleep studies in the books I’ve read are pretty much around what happens in the laboratory experiment. So, they’re in sleep experiments.

Sleep experiment

Is a laboratory sleep experiment going to give you a natural outcome? I’m not so sure. Yet there’s Professor Siegel, from the University of California, went to study three different tribes, different geographic locations. And they discovered that not one of those tribespeople are sleeping for 8 hours. So, 99 members, 33 members in each tribe, studied for 1,165 days. No, not one of them sleeping for 8 hours. It’s between 5.7 and 7 hours. That’s it.

What they do notice; the difference is the environment again. So, the difference is in that petri dish environment. It is there where the toxins and the growth will come in. They don’t have the ability to create sunrise at sunset. So, there’s no sunlight; ability to switch a light on. In other words, and create light. So, they managed to down regulate their system.

Temperature

And through that, the air temperature is cooler at night. Of course, they have a fire. So, they always get up to tend to the fire and they’re never asleep for the whole stretch. They wake and sleep, they wake and sleep, they wake and sleep. So, they look out the fire, look after the young, they fix tools, they smoke and they party.

They don’t have a word for insomnia and they don’t have the chronic disease we are led to believe we would receive from a sleep debt or not achieving 8 hours.

And that’s for me was game changing because most of the successful people I have coming in don’t have the opportunity to be sleeping for 8 hours. They’re quite on it because really they’re getting more and more stressed. And you could see that then you would create more inflammation and more disease just from the stress of not getting the 8 hours. It’s like how do we alleviate that? Okay, look at this, guys. Not one of these people to sleeping for 8 hours. They are in amazing shape, they’re incredible beings.

But let’s have a look underneath it, what is happening. And we know that around that fire, they’re not absorbing crazy information at night. No one is saying around that fire, “The village next door is going to come in here and rob us and stab us and shoot us.”

Triggers

So, that’s the movie influence that we use; the TV or the screen is the fire. So, we want to make sure of what information am I absorbing at night? I want the romantic firelight conversations that have been passed down for generation to generation to generation and the wisdom that comes with it, rather than toxic information that’s going to trigger something within me before I go into a sleep cycle.

And regardless whether you have a breathing approach or breath approach to down regulate, that can’t go unseen, it’s been seen. So, your subconscious sees that as something you’re entering sleep with.

Air quality

The other one is temperature and the next one is air quality. So, I’ve now been sleeping in the same room; we’ve been in this apartment for a year. So, I’ve been sleeping in the same room, the same since sensory experience, the same straight lines, linear approaches, for a year. And if I get the sleep studies right, then I should be in there for 8 hours. So, I’m going to be breathing in and out, the same materials and the same material experience, for 8 hours a day, for a year.

So, really it’s about — That’s where we need to be looking at, “Do I want neurotoxins in the air itself?” That’s being kicked out from the paints, the mastics, the glues and the materials in your room. So, it’s like, “How do I work with that?” And it can be plants that create some nature in so we can bring more nature in that help stimulate our ancestral eye. We know that taking people out into nature, they get dropping cortisol.

Nature scenes

The same thing happens if you show someone a flick book of nature. Here is a nature scene and they go, “Ah” and they down regulate. Here’s an urban setting and they up regulate. So, you can go nature scenes in that environment that will help down regulate.

Plants, help them purify the air. There’s a huge NASA study on 10 recommended plants for air purification that will deal with formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, main neurotoxins. The best ones I found we’re like Peace Lilies, because you could go away for two weeks and you don’t have to worry about them. They were so robust. Even if they droop and you come back, just give them a little bit of water. So, you don’t have to have that anxiety about, “Oh, my plants can be okay.” They’re just really robust. They can cope. That’s air purity.

Lighting

And then there’s lighting. So, the lighting is probably the most important, really, in the sleep realm. Because, again, it goes back to their ability in nature not to be able to turn the lights on.

And what lighting can do is it can suppress melatonin, which we know as a sleep hormone. Many people will understand that one as a sleep hormone. It’s kind of not doing it justice by just calling it a sleep hormone.

So, melatonin has two main processes in digestion. One, it’s is the regulatory system for ghrelin and lepton; two hormones. So, ghrelin’s process would be if ghrelin is up, then I need to eat. The idea is you want ghrelin now and then lepton, as lepton comes up, it says, “I’m satiated. I’ve had enough food.” So, imagine they’re like that; ghrelin to drop and lepton to come up.

Melatonin’s role is ghrelin and lepton; that’s its key role. So, if you don’t have melatonin in your system in the evening, then you face, “Oh, I’m really hungry right now.” And the other voice of, “I haven’t had enough food yet.”

Role of melatonin

And basically, by 10:00 PM at night, melatonin should be at its peak. It should be peaking at 10 PM. So, imagine if it was around the circadian rhythm or lighting experience. The sun goes down and then by 10:00 PM, those hormones are coming into play. So, melatonin being one of them. That’s one of its roles.

And then apoptosis, which is transforming unhealthy cells into healthy cells, that process is also driven by melatonin; it’s one of its key roles.

And so, we start to see cellular issues coming in. There’s lots of studies around cancer, even now with melatonin and nightshift workers versus day shift workers.

And so, they show, with nightshift workers, like 35 percent higher rates of breast cancer and prostate cancer versus dayshift. Then you look at the NHS study that if look at blind people. So, blind people aren’t exposed to the blue and green spectrums that would suppress melatonin. And yet they have something like 11 hours of melatonin in their system.

Blue blocking glasses

So, we know, really, the peak would be 11 hours, if we could get to that. And if that’s not enough, really for the listener, they show three chambers. So, there’s a dark chamber, which is the sleep experiment in the laboratory. Then they show the simulated nightshift worker. They’re in a brightly lit environment. And then they show the same nightshift worker in a brightly lit environment, but wearing blue blocking glasses, which we’re hearing about a lot now.

So, then when they study their urine test for melatonin in the morning, the experiment where they’re in darkness, pure darkness, the laboratory, they have high melatonin. The ones that are in the simulated work experience with the bright lights have no melatonin. And the group that wearing the blue blockers have the same levels of melatonin as the dark sleep experiment.

Chloe: Wow.

Tony Riddle: Exactly. It’s a game changer, because then you know that you’re going to sort out the digestive system. You know that you don’t have to be panicking about receiving 8 hours of sleep because you’re basically functioning pretty much like the hunter gatherer that will sleep, wake, sleep, wake, sleep, wake throughout the night.

So, for me, as a parent with four kids; a 10-year old, an 8-year old, a 3 1/2 year old and a baby nearly three months now. I’d probably be dead by now if I listen to the science. Because we’re up throughout the night. You know, it happens. We co-sleep as well. And Beau is probably one of most nosiest eaters I’ve ever heard right now. And I wake with it.

Setting ourselves up for growth

So, I wake, but I know that my environment, my petri dish, is set up for growth. So, we have clean air in there. We don’t have any toxic lighting, toxic materials or toxic information around us at night, and therefore I wake up in the morning and I get on with my day.

I’m up at 5:00 AM. I hit the mat do some abilities and breath work. I’m on it and also not stressed about not hitting the magic number of 8. It’s all about the habit and the environment. So, always think about that, and going back to the petri dish again, think about your environment and what it is I can put in that petri dish to make it growth-promoting.

Working from your desk

That could be a simple thing like your desk. We’re at a desk right now. Okay. So, how do I turn my desk from being a compromising desk into a growth promoting desk?

Firstly, if you have natural light in there, bring something natural in. If there is no natural light, bring a nature scene in; something you can look at, but also that you’re familiar with. Maybe it’s a favourite walk that you go on in nature. So, your mind is already familiar with the setting and you can you can relate positivity to it.

Visualisations

So, it could be a favourite tree even that you sit under and you take a breath or a moment or you read under. Like this morning, I walked to the ponds. I love that. There’s a beautiful setting there as the sun comes up over the ponds; that perfect setting. And you just have that on your desk.

Again, going back to the flipbook, already studies show that that’s enough to down regulate your system and connect to something natural again. And the more we connect to nature, the more we see who the authentic self is in a way.

Sitting; chair care. Some HR departments are fine with standing desks, others hate it. So, again, you can slide your chair away. If you have the standing desk hate campaign, you just slide the chair away, hold the desk, do a few squats and then have a little walk around. Come back to your chair.

So, every 25 minutes, {ding}, Tommy goes off. Go off, come back to your seat again. It will help creative flow, rather than just blood stagnating in the hips from sitting. And the key is movement here; just try and get movement back into that cellular experience.

Blue blocking glasses

Nature scenes; if you work late, blue blocking glasses. There’s so many varieties out there at the moment you can really play with. I can send you some links to some stuff for your listeners. There’s some that make you look a bit more like Bono, because they’re quite amber. And those you might get in the way of home or I’ve got one guy who has a band. So, he started wearing those; they’re quite cool. Or they have regular ones that are like reading glasses. People say, “Ah, I didn’t know you needed glasses.” “No, no. They’re just my blue blockers.”

Bringing in as much nature as you can

So, that’s simple. As much nature as you can bring into that environment again. And then if you can, you know, I did a talk in Santander. We looked at the air quality in there; it was terrible on their whole floor. So, it’s like, “Okay. Who’s responsibility? Is it like the head of their team? Okay. It’s your responsibility is to clean up the air.”

See, given, it’s like those guys might be in there for 10 hours and you could really smell the rubber, the glues and everything within the building. It just they’d normalized it. So, people that have been working in there for a while, they’re just ignorant to it. I walk in and I was like, “Wow, this is really strong in here”; headache by the end of the day.

So, yeah, I did simple things like that. Again, it’s about emotional wellbeing again, isn’t it? The closer you can get to get those needs met, you start to remove the suffering and the symptom of the environment and the experience of it.

Emotional wellbeing

But there’s also perception, isn’t there? So, part of that petri dish, I think, were Bruce’s work. What they notice is also the signal that gets introduced to the Petri dish would also dictate what the reaction, whether it is protection or growth.

So, don’t go out there freaking out, “The air quality. I can’t move. I can’t do this” because ultimately, it comes down to perception and knowing that you have a choice. Don’t have to just sit there for 8 hours a day. We do have a choice. We can move the chair back or do squats or go for a walk. Like the bear at the back of the cave, you’re stronger than I am. You get to choose. So, it really is a choice. You can literally change your perception in a breath of how we’re feeling. That’s how powerful we are. We just lose sight of how much power we hold, I guess. Yeah.

Chloe: So, fascinating. And I wonder, in the coming years, if governments and the employers are going to have to take note of these things and design environments. Otherwise, people are going to be too sick to sort of function. I hope that that gets out there. Yeah.

Burnout

Tony: All the sickness that we are seeing now, we were seeing the symptoms of it. And it’s almost getting younger and younger. I don’t know about you. Because of my coach. So, I see it. Originally, I’d see like 40s going into 50s burn out in the city; 20 years ago, maybe when I first started coaching in city. And then now, I start seeing the 40s and the 30s and I’ve just had 20s or so; 20s in burn out. I mean, that’s seriously something showing.

Now, what is it? What’s happening here? And I think partly, we walk around the permanent office in our hands, you know, permanent distraction. So, if I go back to there’s a gen that’s called — Peter has called generational environmental amnesia. It’s kind of like we forget. And this is the new norm.

New norm

So, my son, Beau, has been born. Animal populations, human populations and the way the globe is right now, that’s his new norm. That wasn’t my new norm when I was born and my parents’ new norm and my grandparents’ new norm.

So, we know that already it’s do. Well, it’s going to be more now, isn’t it, because we lost like a billion animals in Australia, right? So, we could have said previously 60 percent of wildlife has been wiped out on the planet.

But we’ve also lost sight of what it is to be wild and how do we view what’s natural? Because we’re losing even the natural beings of the world, like the wild beings of the world. And the ones that are there, we’re not going for advice and wisdom.

Indigenous wisdom

I posted about something Australia the other day and it’s probably a bit too soon, but it was just felt like, what, if we actually spoke to the indigenous populations of the world to find out what it is that environment needs. Because say Australia, for instance, Aborigines have been there for 60 thousand years. But yet, we’re flying in environmental and regenerative experts from different continents to look at that environment when we could be inviting them in to the table.

That’s the almost like the amnesia part of it where we’re forgetting that these people have been around for thousands of years with an ecosystem, so much so that they are still the ecosystem; they’re not separate from it.

Our environment

So, I’m sure they have some amazing wisdom to impart there. Even just understanding what we can probably access in ourselves, not just how we can save an environment that we inhabit today. It’s just, I guess, dropping the ego somewhat and reconnecting with what would be the ecosystem, as they have or as they do.

So, going back to — So, Beau’s interpretation of the world is very, very different. So, for him, who knows what he’s going to have in his hand. So, I know there’s a mobile phone here and I know that, “Okay, I’m going to pick you up at some point and I’m going to look at it.” But I think Apple’s original intention was this would be an extension of you. So, this actually would become an extension of you over time.

The change of pace

The danger, again, that if I speak to a lawyer, let’s say he’s named Lawrence Middleweek; he’s a client of mine. He’s like 70. How old is Lawrence? He’s like 75, maybe. Sorry, Lawrence if I go that wrong. And he said, “When I started out, Tony, as a lawyer, I would write a letter to someone and I would have a week to respond. I’d have a letter, a letter would come in, I’d look at it. I’m going to do diligence and find out every little detail and I’d make sure it’s all in that one letter, because I know it would take a week to come back and off it went. And then a week later, we’d get the response again.”

Anxiety

Where are you putting your attention

You do have a choice to put your attention back on your breath. If you’re even on Instagram, staring at stuff, that you can feel you’re up regulating and anxious. Don’t choose to do it; choose to pull away from it. Even delete accounts that you find are up regulating you. Why even have them in there? Just separate from it. And just take it upon yourself to manage yourself.

Again, it’s your petri dish, not someone else’s. And your interpretation or perception of the world is entirely yours. How we interpret something is uniquely ours.

Chloe: I’m often thinking things at the moment to do with the climate crisis and people’s anxiety around that and whether this will almost be our way out of the fast pace of life and disconnection. My hope is that we can learn to connect more in nature and slow us down. The economy can’t continue to grow and grow. That might cause us to slow down or we might connect more with each other and communities more.

We have to save ourselves

Tony: Absolutely. I always take it back. I think there’s an element of we have to save ourselves as well. Just be the change, I think, is the most important. No one likes to be told what to do, really. “You got to do this. You got to do that.” It’s really just be a great example of a human being.

And don’t just do it for you. You know, I mean, I have kids. It was like, “I have kids. I mean, how do I want to be performing as a human being? I want to be the best example of a masculine as I can for my kids.” I had three daughters before Beau came into the world.

Natural parenting

And I was like, “Well, how do I become a mature masculine?” And part of that has to be this interaction with nature. I have to understand that I need them to understand nature. And the more I can have them connect to nature, the more they understand they are nature and the more chance we have of them saving nature. It’s about the next generations, as Greta Thunberg is, quite frankly, pointing out.

Raising kids

My kids are outside all of the time. I want them to just feel that they are a bit like the indigenous populations again. Peter Gray asks, “How does childhood look like?” and he’d ask 10 leading anthropologists. And it’s like, “Well, it looks a bit like this. They just play all day, from infancy through to the age of 16. No adult intervention. No one teaches them anything. They just instinctively know what to do and they just move into it. They’ve learned to track, make fire, build shelter. They’ve learned everything about the environment to become an adult species.”

What is your relationship with the planet

If you really care about your kids, we must examine our toxic relationship with each other and the planet.“How do I be the best example of that?”

And again, just look to nature, look to the more natural ways of being.

Choices

So, if I’m stressed out to the eyeballs, I have a choice; I go out and get drunk or I can do breath work, going to immerse myself in nature or have a community and speak to people and sit around and communicate with others or go and do different practices. Or I could smoke or I could do this. It’s just understanding, again, about the petri dish, isn’t it? And the petri dishes nature.

Again, I think it’s very important for us to see that it’s not really about us. It’s about the generations that are observing us that home. It sounds cliché, that whole, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” It’s really being the change that you want them to see in the world.

And if you go really into the early layers of it, those first six years is Bruce Lipton’s work again. The first six years are the tapes you play out for the rest of your life. They’re your observations. What do we want them to observe to play out for the rest of our lives? What do we want them to normalize?

Being nature

I’m having to rewind, reconnect and become empowered. They are innately wild, connected and empowered. I have to go on retreats, workshops, go to the Amazon, drink ayahuasca, smoke tovan and take mushrooms; do what I do to unravel and unravel and unravel. Whereas, they’re just innately nature; that’s all they are.

What’s most important

So, that’s our responsibility, I feel, is that’s probably more important is the understanding that this is why we need to reconnect to nature. It’s for the next generations to inherit something to hand over that stewardship, if you like, of the planet.

Chloe: Thank you so much for sharing all of that. I must say you’re fascinating. I hope that people listening can take some things and practical things away and just get a bit more inspired. And now, I’ve got lots of ideas now for things that I want to be changing; more plants is definitely one of them.

Tony Riddle: Ah, they’re so easy as well, aren’t they? I love them.

Chloe: Yeah.

Tony Riddle: I mean, nature scenes and plants. I mean, it’s such an easy thing to bring in materials, right? They’re materials; just think of that. You can a look at simple things up Bio Philip design. Just research a bit about Bio Philip Design, then you’d understand it’s about Bio Philip; bringing nature in.

Living in urban environments

83 percent of the UK live in urban environments. And we spend a whopping 90 percent of our time indoors; for some it’s more. So, give an idea; 10 percent outdoors would mean 2 hours, 24 minutes outdoors. And that doesn’t mean in the shops, on the public transport, shopping, because it’s still an indoor experience. It means actually outdoors.

And so, what I often ask people to do is set the timer for 2 hours 24 and try and get those gains in. Weekends are a great opportunity for that. But I actually tried to get to nature, try and really just immerse in nature, have that experience. I mean, that’s so important for us. But it’s just understanding that we have this extraordinary amount of time spent indoors.

Bringing nature inside

So, that’s one way of doing is to go outside to {indistinct 1:12:14} or we flip it and we just bring nature in. So, just bring as much of nature into your experience as you can. And this comes down to multiple layers. It’s like a sensory system and then it’s like your microbiome.

So, your sensory system is we could say that if we just go from the same linear experience like we’re in now, this box, and this is your commute to get to here, and then you walk along the corridor with the same linear corridor and you go down in the same lift and then you go to the same mode of transport and then you arrive home into the same dimensions and linear experiences as you’ve been doing for maybe 20 years, some people, where’s the new information? How are you expecting to, from a neuroplasticity perspective, rewiring and wire your brain. So, it’s how do you find new experiences?

And so, try and change your environment is one. Getting out into nature is another. But bring more nature in, because nature is forever changing. It’s like it’s forever changing cycles. So, that will give you a new stimulus.

Microbiome

And then there’s also the microbiome. So, we have microbiome on this biosis; there’s an imbalance. That doesn’t just mean in your gut, it means everywhere. So, we’re literally inhaling microbiome right now in this environment.

And so, I can keep that in the linear Gray experience of the urban environment or I could go into nature and breathe nature and be in that biome, which would then create more of a symbiotic relationship because I’m back immersed into my natural habitat. There you go.

Chloe: That’s going to stay with me; that image of –

Tony Riddle: So, that’s like an indoor-outdoor.

Chloe: Yeah.

Tony Riddle: And I understand that’s who we are. And whereas, in nature, again, it would’ve been, like with these tribes we’re talking about, it’s probably the flip; 90 percent outdoors, 10 percent indoors. So, how do we balance that?

And then have a play; how much time you can spend outside. If you’ve got kids, hand it over to them. It’s their experience. They can draw maps on where they want to take you and hand it over to them at weekends; where you want to go? Where can we go in nature?” and have them set the time those. And also, there’s no such thing as bad weather. It’s just poor clothing choices.

How to be human

Yeah, again, just play it. Nature’s the best way to access what it is to be human, I think. The best way that you can really identify what your authentic self is once you get away from the chaos of the urban setting.

Chloe: This has been so helpful. Thank you. Where can people find out more about you and what you’re doing, what you offer?

What Tony is doing next

Tony Riddle: Mainly on Instagram, actually. I’m known as The Natural Lifestylist; @thenaturallifestylist on Instagram. So, my website is tonyriddle.com, I guess, isn’t it? I forgot my own website; tonyriddle.com. And I also have some tutorials on there. So, go and buy chair care and stuff like that.

I have a squat tutorial on there, which teaches people how to get to a flat footed squat and other rest positions that you can be choosing on the ground. So, we can put a link in there to that as well.

And then coming up, there be a fair bit of press, I think, coming up, because I’m going to be running — I’m doing the three peaks. You know the Three Peaks?

Chloe: Yeah.

Running the 3 peaks

Tony Riddle: So, I’m going to do 485 running, including the Three Peaks and I’m going to turn it around in 9 days. Yeah. So, three is completion and 9 is transformation. So, that’s the next sight.

Chloe: When is that happening?

Tony Riddle: That’s not till May.

Chloe: Okay.

Tony Riddle: I’m looking to finish at the top on my 45th birthday. So, I’m super pumped about that. I’m really looking forward to that. And again, I’m going put it back around into sustainability. The environment is the correct platform for the bigger picture, which is our environment that we should all be putting our attention on right now, I believe.

Chloe: Brilliant.

Tony Riddle: That’s me.

Chloe: I look forward to following your journey with that. Thank you so much,

Tony Riddle: Thank you.

Outro

Thank you so much for listening. I really hope that you gained a lot from this episode. Come on over to Instagram and let me know what are you taking from this episode. Find me @chloebrotheridge.

And I would love it if he would leave me a review in the podcast app on iTunes. Subscribe to the podcast, leave me a rating.

And is there someone in your life that would really benefit from this podcasts? You can let them know by sharing this podcast; I’d be so, so grateful.

So, I’m just wishing you a wonderful week ahead, sending you loads of love. Hopefully, you’ll tune in again and I’ll see you soon.

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