March 16, 2022

E240: Health Theory with Jonathan Mills & Charlotte Stebbing-Mills | Mental Health Podcast

In this episode, we have guest speakers Jonathan Mills & Charlotte Stebbing-Mills, who run a company called Wellness Theory. We talk about the belt, sleep, nutrition, diet, stress, work, the whole nine, and this conversation is one of the first of...
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In this episode, we have guest speakers Jonathan Mills & Charlotte Stebbing-Mills, who run a company called Wellness Theory. We talk about the belt, sleep, nutrition, diet, stress, work, the whole nine, and this conversation is one of the first of many in-depth discussions that we're going to be having not with me in them particularly, but on the show about health. Because I recognized one of the things I want to do as we go forward with Think Unbroken is to teach you guys the same tools that I am learning in my life all the time. I will teach you about business, health, fitness, wealth, and wellness as we go forward. I'm going to teach you about trauma, I’m gonna teach you literally about everything that has helped me have my life be what it is today. Because I thought to myself, you know, there's a lot of shows that exist that only talk about trauma. I don't want to pigeonhole myself into that. The reason is that I know how important the vast array of all the information is in the human experience and if it were not for me, having mentors and all of these different areas wouldn't be where I am. So I want to give you guys that knowledge.

So today, this conversation with Jonathan and Charlotte of Wellness Theory is going to be absolutely incredible!

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest Jonathan and Charlotte Stebbing-Mills who with over 30 years combined experience in Health Fitness and Wellness, are empowering people to change their lives. Guys, I'm super excited to be here with you today particularly because my word for this year is health. So for those who don't know you, before we dive in, tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today.

Jonathan: Definition to say. We're excited to be talking to you, my name is Jonathan and Charlotte and we are Wellness Theory. So Wellness Theory is a company that we created where we help people to realize that when they're healthy and well, they can be a force for good in the world because something that we're so passionate about and it's important to us is when we can get rid of unhealthy stress from our lives and really leverage healthy stress we can really make a difference in the world, no matter how big or small.

Charlotte: Yeah. And how we got here is what is very unique, very for both of us because we didn't always know each other obviously. So for me, I was born and raised in the UK, I had a bit of a turbulent childhood when it come to parents getting divorced, be witness to things that no child should have to witness being then thinking that I was getting through and getting past all of those things, just naturally moving through life thinking, all is good until fast forward to when I'm like 25 and all of a sudden, wham, everything hits me at once. And I'd always been interested in Fitness and I'd always be in the fitness industry, I kind of fell into the industry at the age of 16. So fresh out of school, what I really wanted to do was actually when the military because I was a very much in a people-pleasing space of my life, I decided to listen to family members and okay, I'll go to college and I still want to do that after then I will know behold I went to college found different father together.

So what I ended up doing is working predominantly in the fitness space all-around Fitness Nutrition, getting in shape, helping other people get in shape, whether it be for a wedding, for a holiday, and I always knew there was so much more to it that, you know, people get results for that occasion in their loser begin. And I always knew there was a better ripple effect that could be happening and that was when I was really searching for a way in which people could have lasting change in that Fitness space. But for me, when I ended up having my own wake-up call as it were I suddenly because I had neglected, my emotional mental wellbeing for all these years. I suddenly had this like all moment of this is the piece as totally missing, this is the piece that is causing somebody that on the outside, which was myself healthy, well in terms of to the world, I was active, I would fit, I was progressing, I do really great in my career, I was living in the Middle East, I was climbing up that ladder, got to the most senior position you can get to when it comes to that field. But inside I was like struggling, I was spiraling, negative thinking, complete emotional meltdown, I was literally a point of wanting to end it all, I was done, I was down and out. And there was at that point where I was like that, do you know what? Isn't it? This isn't it for me? Something clicked that was when I went on my own journey of mental health, getting support, learning about our emotional health and how impactful that is when it comes to wellbeing.

Jonathan: For me, my back story well, it's really started when I was a child and growing up in South Africa, this was born. And one thing I learned and the biggest thing I learned was actually from my dad, he didn't teach it to me, consciously, it was something that I picked up from him as I grew up, which was to about suppressing emotions, and I didn't realize that until a lot later in life, when I was growing up and hiding about expressing yourself, hiding those feelings, and just because as a man, you're not supposed to express feelings. So, I grew up in that environment where my mother was very expressive, my dad was not, and anytime that I was trying to be expressive, my dad makes a joke about it bother him and just makes you say, don't cry, don't do this, don't that, you know, just get on with it.

So I took that with me, I'll see through growing up as a child and one of a kind of a pivotal moment for me as a child was, when I witnessed my dad hitting my mom for the first time last time, that's when they kind of split up and things got a bit crazy for us as children, from my sisters. And then, that's when we move from South Africa to the UK and growing up as a teenager living with my mom, against or suppressing, those emotions and struggling to understand why everyone around me was happy enough crying and doing been expressing themselves and I was what was wrong with people? I not supposed to show these emotions and I took this into college with me, I took this in to work with me.

And I remember, as getting into the workplace, my mindset was about, okay, I can't show emotions, I've got to be strict, I've gotta be strong, I've got to be great to like, people need to understand this is how it's going to be, and this is my way or no way. So I kind of went into into the work environment into the health and fitness industry focusing on really kind of is keeping busy, training all the time is being that kind of dictator mentality when it comes to being a manager, also, being a coach as well so I took that with me. When I couldn't get the results, I was trying to get, I would get angry, I get frustrated, I get real just pissed off and that would happen and pretty much every five minutes for me, always known I've got nicknamed The Hulk at that time, I was extremely angry person, anybody work with me even Charlotte at the time we came to heads a lot of the time when we used to work together because it was, I couldn't understand that why I would tell some of this is how you do it, I show them and they wouldn't do it. So why didn't this is how you do it? This is the only way to do it. So why aren't you doing it? And I get myself worked up, I get angry, I'll be swearing every five seconds and my way of releasing that wasn't expressing of talking about it, it was hitting the gym hard, it was training six, seven times a week, sometimes three, four hours a day, and that went out a lot of stress on to an already stressed system, and I would be experiencing a lot of tea beyond nine coffees a day, trying to keep myself awake, that would actually have the adverse or effect and just completely exhaust me. I started developing chronic pain, stop work, I thought they've been pain initially and paying attention and over the years that developed into chronic pain and I started experience that in my back in my spine and I never used to look and experience these feelings our insider used to try again ignore them and block them off. And over the years, I got louder and louder and louder and to the point where their chronic pain became so much, I couldn't train anymore, I was struggling to eat, struggling to sleep and I started to affect my vision and that's when I knew that there was something going on inside that, it was something wasn't right and it wasn't connected. And I was focused so much on the physical aspect of my health, I was trying chiropractors, I was trying physios, I was trying I had injections in my spine to try and relieve the pain, I was experiencing and nothing had a long-term effect. So it got to the point where I start to think there must be another way and that's when I started to think outside of the physical and started to think, okay, what can I do? That's different and that's when I got into the mental and emotional side of wellness and started to look at what how I was thinking, how I was feeling and actually start to process, something emotions I was feeling, but first, I had to understand what I was feeling because I had no idea I was completely emotionally illiterate. I know what the only thing I knew I was feeling was anger, I knew I was angry all the time and I knew I was exhausted all the time, that's pretty much it.

And then when I started to resolve these emotions started to do some that inner work, the funny thing happened is after years, this was about 10 years of pain accumulating in the first career and when I started to pay attention and just sit and listen to myself and started to pay attention, and get the help I needed, within weeks that pain that chronic pain just dissipated in completely vanished. And I remember standing up one day from a breath work, was a huge win for me, it was a massive, massive firm thing that were affected my life. So, what about two weeks after doing a constant breath work meditation that are really connected with, I remember standing up one day, I just felt no pain at all and my body I had no idea what was happening and that's when those kind of when that light bulb moment went on, which was like, majority of pain is not a physical problem, it comes back to lot, deep-seated, emotional, mental, energetic issues, that have been called over years and years and years ago that's compounded. So for me, that lightbulb moment that are harm moment was, health is not just about training and eating well, it's about the physical, it's about the mental, it's about the emotional, connecting all those together and understanding our body as one whole and we can't just focus on one and they collect the others, that was just the key to what we do now, with Wellness scenario, what we do with clients now.

Michael: Yeah, both of your stories are incredible. And you know, I feel in my own personal journey in life a parallel with each of you individually and together. I remember a moment I was probably 30 years old, it was the first time in my life I felt pain free. I remember standing, in the kitchen with one of my very close friends and roommates at the time in this was gosh, almost seven years ago and I was literally crying and she's like, what is wrong with you? Why are you crying? Are you okay? And I'm like, I don't feel any pain, right now. And that might have been to my recollection the first time in my life that I had that experience coming on the backside of a tremendous amount of, as we would call it, doing the work, showing up, going to therapy, breathwork, journaling, meditation, the whole nine. And I think constantly and frequently when you look at the research, especially if you're familiar with Dr. Felitti work in the ACE survey if you're familiar with Vessel Van Der kolk work in the body keeps the score, if you're familiar with Walkers were everything kind of points to this idea, that there is this really interesting correlation probably based on causation of trauma and abuse and the strenuous circumstances, we go through in our childhood, that lead us to this place where these detrimental health ramifications start to present themselves at 12, 18, 25, 35. You know, it was really fascinating, my look at the experiences of many many people who have been in my life who have gone through these traumatic experiences who are now and they're on a litany of prescription drugs and I can't help, but wonder like if they were to do some work would this be different or has it already been too far gone?

One of the things I'd love to talk about and dive into is kind of the basis of Wellness that are, where this is come from, what the mission is, what you're teaching, and what you try to what you want to accomplish with the company?

Charlotte: Yes, I did. The real kind of baseline of this is we ended up creating Wellness Theory off the back of not seeing it talked about enough, not seen people talk about this correlation, because in the fitness space trainers are taught the very, very basics of psychology and it's usually in around and just moving people into action, it's not looking at potential issues that are going on underlying behaviors, right? So this whole industry are not aware of emotional intelligence or emotional literacy or emotional connection. So we created as much change as we could when we was working in the corporate Fitness space, we did work for the same company and that's kind of how we met and then we were just like no, you know what? This we're too restricted here because you know, there's obviously certain parameters within any big company, you know, it was flying and managing clubs across six different countries in the GCC. So there's like certain structures that you can't change even own really wants you to know how well it's doing ended up being born because we would like to know that there's a need for this and it's very drastic.

So, our whole mission with this is just a raise awareness and help people to stop suffering. Like Jonathan said, a whole mission is about helping people realize when they're healthier while they can be a force for good because we've seen it in ourselves, seen in our clients, the minute they start getting a grip on how they're feeling and how they're showing up in their lives, they suddenly want to do of these incredible things. And the reality is like they had to deal with stress in the first place because that was the pattern. Like you said there, Michael, you know, you've seen people that have gone through these traumatic things that now on this like, massive prescription of drugs or other things that they're experiencing, and the reality is that, it doesn't have to be the case whenever we work with people from a fitness space, would always notice the pattern is, there's a form of stress, there's triggering all of these behaviors, there's a form of stress is when somebody's not performing at their best in the workplace, it comes back to stress being the room. So Wellness Theory is all about helping people pull out that stress at the root so that they can actually start to live a healthier lifestyle.

Michael: And in that, I think that there are people who I'll give you my own scenario. So, I'm looking at my life, I'm 20 or 25 years old like, my life is stressful, so, I'm going to drink this away, I'm gonna smoke it away, I'm gonna have sex it away, I'm gonna eat it like, I'm gonna do the whole thing everything, but deal with it, because especially, in Western societies, you find that the answer is always go to the pub, go to the restaurant, or go to the gym too much, right? Jonathan, your experience and looking at this. And going first and foremost I think, one of the important things we could do here would be (a) to define stress for people listening because I think there's a huge misnomer about what stress even is, because there is healthy stress, and there's unhealthy stress. And then secondarily, I think that there are people who are listening, I know, there are people listening right now, who don't recognize that their behavioral patterns are actually making their stress exponentially worse, so, first could you define stress and then you could talk about how the actions that you're taking in your day to day life are implicating long-term health problems?

Jonathan: Absolutely. So, stress, in itself I think the first thing for people to realize our stress is normal, stress is a normal physiologic response that every single human being on this Earth experiences, some more than others. When we have any type of challenge or change within our life, no matter how small are extreme, our stress response kicks since it's an alternate is an autonomic response, so our what we call in our scientific perspective, we activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is a stress response fight flight or freeze. So our cortisol raises our adrenaline and raises and we're in a state of stress. Now what happens at that point is a body that was about our mind, the body will start to determine whether that stress is useful, so is a life at threat, this is a hallway about to get mauled by a lion or run over by cars, though if we are, that's true is warranted and when that danger passes are we're safe again, our body automatically, calm down to what we call the parasympathetic nervous system, which is our rest and recovery and the same happens when we start a new job, when we get into a new relationship, when we go to a new country, our stress response activates, but this is a good thing because it helps us to grow, helps us to adapt, but as long as we're aware of it and we're have to shut it off when we're not we don't need it anymore.

The problem arises when we it switches on, we're not aware of it and we keep it on and we keep it on by for example, if the situation happens at work, you go into work, someone you're all calm, you're happy and then all of a sudden, someone comes in your face in the shouting at you and all of a sudden your stress response raises, they walk off and you're wondering, what the hell happened? Like, what was going on, and you're thinking about it all day. So you're not coming down, your stress response is still active, you're worrying about it, you're throwing, what did I do? What did I do wrong? What's happening? Why they're angry at me? Why they shout me? And it's on your mind you're playing over the scenario again and again, and every time you play over the scenario, you bring up those feelings of whatever happened, it could be fear, it could be guilty, it could be shame, it could be anger, whatever that is. You're bringing those feelings, back up, are reliving that moment in your mind again, and again, and again. You're going to bed what's on your mind that your stress response is still high, you wake up in the morning, you feel exhausted, your stress response is still on and it's only so much you're stripping you got a limit on your stress response, so you've got two different levels of stress, like sympathetic nervous system, that initial one where you feel it, you feel like your heart rate racing, your body's warming up, your palms are sweaty, then when it reaches its limit and it can't handle any more stress, is switches to the most primal stress response that you have, which you don't realize, it's on anymore, you don't realize it's there, but it's still underlying. You might feel that you're relaxing, you get home, you can okay, sobbing, shouting, I'm going to go home, I'm going to relax, I'm going to sit in front of the TV to watch Netflix and have a glass of wine, but you think you're relaxing on the outside but incidentally that stress response is still kicked in. So what's happening is that is going on and on and on it's like a hamster wheels keep going until you start to identify and realize how you're feeling inside and start to deal with those emotions that happened during that situation could be able to calm everything down. So stress is a normal response and it's healthy when it's needed, it becomes unhealthy when it becomes chronic, and we keep living in that emotion and that state of stress all the time, whether it's due to the people we work with, the job we have, family we have, the relationship where in all these things have an influence, on how we respond to stress?

So an acute stress, we raise our level again, we notice that we're in a new situation and new challenge and new environments and we go, okay, this is good though, okay, I feel comfortable now, I can calm down, I can relax my nervous system does its job, we're in a more resourceful state that when we're not and we keep it there and we'll keep it all seat whirring what's going to happen with fear of the unknown, we keep it switched on and that's when it becomes chronic, when it becomes chronic, it creates massive health implications, mental health, emotional health, physical health, from anything from that overthinking and that's analysis to paralysis my mentality to pain, chronic pain inflammation in the body, which leads to illnesses disease and can carry on the longer we live in that state of stress.

So, I think, as long as people realize that stress is normal and it's needed, depending on what we're doing we're challenging ourselves, we changing things in our life that we need to acknowledge and feel overall them, understand what we're feeling and understand when we don't need it anymore meant to be able to calm down and switch it off because you can even though it's an autonomic response. You can't control the initial response, but you can control your response after that. You can control what happens next. Does that make sense?

Charlotte: We think about it like the light switch in your bedroom, right? When you want to look for something is perfect, it's good that you can switch it on, right? But you try and sleep and the light still on, that's going to mess with you, right? That's not a good thing, it's the same of a stress response. Like Jonathan said, we need to make sure that it's on when it needs to be but then we know how to start to navigate when it is on so that we can start to bring ourselves back to resource base.

Michael: I love the analogy actually I think that's really perfect because at nighttime, if my lights on, I cannot sleep like it's not going to happen, right? And I think that there are so many different ways that people can navigate this but when stress is such a constant factor in life, television, Netflix going out, drinking, over working at the gym, working too much, your cell phone, which you should probably throw in the trash, you know, you have all these things in your life that are really just stress magnus, just you're getting drawn to them every single moment of the day. (A) how do you figure out and decipher healthy stress versus bad stress? And then (B) in your day to day life just understanding the world that we live in, how do you just navigate stress as a whole?

Jonathan: So when it comes to understanding how unhealthy stress is, getting triggered by silly things. For example, you wake up early in the morning and you look at your phone scrolling through Facebook and social media and most of the stuff you see on there is usually negative or quite it's just stuff that doesn't need to be out there and we look at it and we create an emotional response to and will get triggered. There might be something to do with train of ours and your government, I might be something to do with what's going on in the world, that's nice to think and started it, all right, why is this happening? This is awful, this is bad, this triggers a response and you don't need that; that's an unhealthy stress response. Because if we're getting triggered by something that's on a phone, that's on a screen when we're laying in bed and looking at it, it doesn't make any sense, it's not serving you.

So, unhealthy stress is when it becomes uncertain and that could be the same as when you're going to work, you're driving to work and you get cut by someone and you start feeling your blood boil, and you flip something up and you start swearing at them, that person hasn't got a clue what you're saying or how you're feeling, they've got your big gun and you now again your stress response is kicked in and he was shouting and swearing in you're holding on to that intense charge of emotion, that unhealthy stress. And it's these things where we get stuck in triggered by silly little things and we hold onto those emotions, we hold onto those feelings and don't let them go and they build up and they build up and they stack that becomes unhealthy and it's because we're looking our phone first thing in the morning, it's how we over the awareness of when we're driving to work or when were talking to people at work or when we're talking to a family and families a big what we find is a big one that stresses people out a lot and the funny thing is, it's probably family you can't choose your family, but what you can choose, is your response to your family. So if you know that you're going into a situation, then you know that okay, I will be usually come to heads, you've got that decision to make where you're going to other let that affect you and influence you and raise your stress and keep it there, or you've got the choice to not let it affect you in the interpreter, from overall resourceful way, and it is easier said than done when you're in a stressful state and you're in that chaos and you're like, going crazy like there are ways to manage that.

Charlotte: Yeah, so that the healthy stress essentially something that helped us grow, right? It challenged us, it pushes us out of our comfort zone, this something actually ends up being either a real good lesson for us, where it ends up building something within us, right? So that's actually really, really healthy. And the problem is, people get sucked into a lot of distraction and they give their power away to these things. So, like Jonathan mention the phone, the job, we start to allow these things to just become part of who we are, instead of, actually having our own sense of authority over our own lives and that I think is where the big slippery slope can come in.

If you can imagine like a pyramid and you imagine at the top of the pyramid, we have life in the middle of the pyramid, we have health and at the bottom of the pyramid we have what called root or more, kind of our upbringing or a conditioning, okay? We are always playing in this pyramid every point of the day, we are operating from the things that we've modeled in the world, from the way our parents reacted to stress. If you've seen, you know, your parents or your friends, like flipping people off in the traffic and getting stressed out, you're going to model that too and that's going to become part of who you are but the only reason it becomes part of who you are, is because you're just adopted that usually mindlessly, right? And not on purpose, but it's just how I suppose his works but what we do is we adopt that and then we behave that way, without even questioning it. So that's kind of where our conditioning plays apart, but then that has a knock-on effect like Jonathan said to how we feel, you know, in the traffic scenario, you're going to go spend the rest of the day, stressed out of your mind or you've got this toxic energy inside of you and then that might cause you too, then snap at somebody else throughout the day and just have these little knock-on effects and ultimately that then you chew into that life level and you show up in life, in ways in which, you wouldn't usually choose to.

The problems, we get stuck in this period will get stuck in this little cycle and that becomes really, really unhealthy until we start to control what is going on at the root, what is going on at in our well-being, in our actual health, like in terms of what we doing about it? Well, how attuned in, even how we're feeling? We even away though, why we are flipping people off in the traffic, are we aware why we snapping our loved ones, most of the time, we just don't take the time to check ourselves and that's becoming a big problem with falling victim to our circumstance instead of being able to take personal responsibility. And personal responsibility isn't about the burden of being responsible for everything all the time, it's about remembering that we have the ability to respond.

Michael: Well, that's very beautifully, said, and I would could not be in more agreement with you. One of the things that came to mind, as I think about this idea of people being stuck in that pyramid, I will be the first person raised my hand and like I've been stuck in that shit for sure, right? And you look at these choices and decisions that you make in you, you've hear the word choice in this, you hear the word decision in this. But so many people just relegate, that idea in that understanding to the fact that this is who I am, this is how I grow up, this is who I'm going to be, there's nothing that I can ever do to change it. Now, obviously, there's conversations about limited belief and being stuck in a fixed mindset and things of that nature, but when you're working with people and they're coming in, they want to go through this process with Wellness Theory and they recognize or you recognize while you're stuck in this pyramid. How does one start to move through that? What I would love to tap into this something practical that The Unbroken Nation listening, right now can add to their life to look at, okay, am I stuck? How do I get unstuck? How do I get out of this pyramid? How do I live my life through choice and decision making?

Charlotte: So I think the first place is recognizing them and that's the key. So this is for anybody, this recognizing, you know, what that life level there are things that just aren't serving me, they're not serving my loved ones are not saying who I am and who, I believe I can be, that's the first part if they need to recognize actually. When we are trying to change things in our life, because that's usually the thing, right? It's like, okay, we're stressed out, some change the job, or the relationships aren’t working, so we change the relationship we're trying to change the stuff in the life, and that's usually a big problem and often time clients come to work with us is because they've already tried to change all those things and they're still feeling this way, they're still struggling with their own, clues of stress, like, negative thinking, over thinking, chronic pain, anxiety, or of these types of things.

So, what we always do with somebody in the very beginning, we need to help them to understand that the things that we can control ourselves the easy wins and the low-hanging through or often in that health level, okay, and there's eight key pillars within that Health level, where anybody can start.

Jonathan: Definitely. In these eight pillars that we focus on the health level of your breathing and meditation as a kind of like the foundation, the key to tapping into every system in our body, we go from there into it's a movement and when we talk about Movement, we talk about mindful movement so not just exercising the gym but moving your body because it is such a vital thing to do is movement is the key to life for our physical body. We also look at nutrition and hydration, put your two big, big things that a lot of people miss, especially the hydration part of keeping yourself hydrated and functioning correctly from there we look at quality of thinking, we look at emotions and turns out emotional stability, emotional intelligence. We're just look at sleep again, sleeps kind of be bigger to win, a lot of people can make in a short space of time that doesn't cost anything so it's like there is the biggest return of investment they can focus on. And then the seventh one is energy, so on their energy is a consistent, is it up and down, is like a roller coaster, is in low constantly throughout the day.

And then the last one we look at is action taken, so all those seven above, if you're aware of your breathing habits, and they're not great, if you're aware of, don't move much, you're aware of the nutrition habits, your quality of thinking your emotions, but then you don't take action on anything to improve and change things, it's pointless, it's like I said, the whole concept of knowledge is power based application of knowledge. So came knowing but you're not applying it to your life then nothing is going to change and that's even worse than not knowing because not knowing is is kind of like ignorance is bliss time a bit scenario. When you know and you don't do anything about it that creative and more problems because you know what's going on, you know what needs to change but you're not making those changes that need to happen. And that can come down to people, might not be ready to change and nothing, that's a big key. And as the first step, it is of that recognizing like, obviously like recognizing that what's happening, but also being ready and willing to make those changes because if you're not ready, you're not willing doesn't matter how much you recognize it, you're not going to do it, you need to be in there, stay ready with willingness and readiness to change and that's half the battle. Once you're ready and willing and the other half becomes a little bit easier, I'm not saying it's all right, easy, and you're going to do it like they overnight but having that level of awareness and recognition, but then being ready and willing to make those changes, that's the first half of the battle done.

Charlotte: I think it's really important as well is like that's our last one action taken confess to such a thing that people struggle, and procrastination right? Now I think it is modern world and that's where they're at, the root level comes into that pyramid that we described earlier is that if we can dig into any one of those areas Michael as you see fit to get more tactical for listeners, but the reality is if that's the real struggle is, the conditioning is the root level that need attention and you might need help to work through that because that is when you are looking at things like, limiting belief, you are looking at on resolve negative emotions, you are looking at old patterns are not serving and that requires a little bit of a deeper work, like the work that you referred to earlier.

Michael: Yeah. I love that. And I do actually want to go a little bit deeper because Jonathan, you said something I thought was really interesting and that's one of the easiest and quickest way to start creating changes around sleep. And there's research and studies coming out right now that just because of the lack of sleep that were happening we are losing longevity. And that one of the things that's fascinating, that's happening for the first time in the last, like, two hundred and fifty years, is that life expectancy is actually going down and that terrifies me. What I realized is that (a) I've had insomnia for the vast majority of my life and so I've had to put a tremendous amount of work around my sleep habits, to make them forefront in my life because if I don't sleep, I can fill it, I don't coach as well, I don't write as well, I don't host podcast as well, I don't do so many different things as well, right? But when I focused on sleep first, I noticed this huge difference in this trend line of health of success, of business, of growth, of relationship, of career, like everything, like really seem to be around that foundation.

So, I would love to dive into that a little bit more because it is free, it is accessible, there's no fucking excuses for anyone listening this because it's right here for you and we all do it. So I would love for you to talk about but let's rewind, let's say someone listening right now is like me I'm 30 years old, can't sleep, can't sleep whatever. My mind was always wondering, I'm always racing, I wake up exhausted, I go to bed exhausted, am up at 3:00 in the morning even though I don't even wake up till like 7:00, the whole thing, all of its just screwed up. What the hell do I do, guys?

Jonathan: Well, if you're like that is definitely your priority and focused and I think that's where a lot of people go wrong is they feel like exactly like you explained but the focusing on nutrition, or focusing on exercise sleep should be your number one priority if you're sleeps not quality because that affects every single area of your life, like you said, and once you get your sleep in order becomes easier to make those changes in every area. And there's so many things you can do when it comes to sleep from external things to internal. So, I know she wants to speak about the internal when it comes to the race in mind, so I'll let her go through some tactical things that people right now especially after having a racing mind overthinking and they can't get to sleep.

Charlotte: Just before I do, those one really interesting study that you heard about quite recently. And that was that there was a big experiment done on like, how much sleep people are getting and they found that people who have less than seven hours sleep a night when they do almost like the equivalent of a Breathalyzer test, but in the Science World, you're actually like kind of alcohol level when you wouldn't be pass it to be able to drive a car just because you're having less than seven hours. And when we're talking about seven hours here, we talk about quality, this is something that we talk about with our clients as well we need to look at the quality of sleep because I'm sure, you know, they're Michael, there's so many studies but I have nine hours sleep, you got out, but obviously, you're going to seven hours sleep, it's about the quality, it's about making sure you get the right sleep cycles and get the right number of sleep cycles as well and throughout and it's throughout our night.

So what's really, really important is that we are looking at first the environment that you're setting up for yourself when you go to sleep. And yes, that's external environment and internal environment. If your mind is racing, you need to take care of that first, right? That's part of the weight like when you brush your teeth before you go to bed, that needs to become one of those habits, we need to start to cleanse our thinking but otherwise it is going to wake you up 3:00 in the morning so there's a few different things you can do something simple, like a brain dump where you literally take all of the thoughts that are in your head and you just whack them out on paper, not your phone on paper, and you literally almost like just clear that frenetic energy that's in your mind, you're getting it out of your system, you get it onto paper, you'd actually do anything with it, we're not judging it, we are literally just getting it out of our system so that we can just breathe get into a good night's sleep and then away we go. So that's kind of one thing if that resonates there's something key to try so I can be really really helpful.

The other thing is something simple like breathing, so simple just like box breathing. So we heal clear our mind, we are literally just breathing in for we're holding for four, and hold it on the exhale as well. We just continue going in that box pattern, and that will start to bring our nervous system down, so it stops fueling these thoughts, it's not fueling, all of this excess energy that we don't need when we're trying to go to sleep. This is just a couple of things that you can do, just to help with the thinking side because then you have a clean slate, then you're like, okay, I've got the capacity for sleep right now because your body knows what to do, when you go to sleep.

Jonathan: And then you've gotta see the exploded when it comes to the external things are so many things you can do right now to make it easier for your body to go into that deep sleep. And in terms of the room, is it sure everyone's heard this a dark room, you gotta pitch black, pitch black room, and there are so many studies done on this as well, when it comes to light and sleep. There was one study in particular, where they had a pitch black room with only a literally, a tiny stream of light coming in that were you see when it came in, it was shining on the participant leg and wasn't in the face anything like they were completely everything with black to them their case closed. But when that light hit their skin on their leg, they woke up within minutes their brain activity start; the brain wave started to go into waking state. So light doesn't affect you by just touch training in your face, it's photo receptors that are on every single inch of your skin.

So when light hits any part of your skin, your brain waves start to go into that awakened state. So pitch-black room is very, very key blackout curtains whatever you need to do, to make it nice and dark in there, get it done and also coldness is having a cool room. And again, so many studies done on this as well about 19 degrees 19, to 20 degrees, seems to be optimal for going into that deep sleep and staying there if it gets too warm it's what a body can't sleep, it's too warm and so I'm comfortable everything. Again, we wake up our heart rate increases, our body temperature increases when we go to sleep. So having a cold room around about 19, 20 degrees from what studies have shown is key, I'd prefer to have it colder, doesn't it colder the better for me. You can definitely notice the difference in sound as well obviously, some depends where you are, if you're in the middle of a city and you've got traffic going along and stuff, ahead, sound might not be easy to control, but you can get some earplugs and sleeping devices that can help shut off the noise around you. I know some people get used to the noise and they're able to see through it, which is fine but a lot of people aren't they get wake and very, very easy by any noise that happens.

So it's looking at noise temperature, light within the bedroom, before you go to bed and especially phones our technology, I think we reiterate the so much and so does everyone else, if you look at any blog or any video, when someone's talking about improving your sleep, it's no technology, no phones, no blue light at least three hours before bed. Is that get rid of the technology; rid, okay? I do meditate, rid, talk, do something that doesn't involve looking at screen because it's that blue light rays it obviously keeps your brain waves in a waking state. Obviously, you can get blue light reducing, you can get apps on your phone and screens that with reduce blue light, emission ultimately the best thing is get rid of Technology two to three hours before bed and keep technology out bedroom I'm completely because again, even if you're not looking at it and it's on that those radio waves those frequencies emanating from the devices can still affect your sleep. And again, those are studies done on that the effectiveness of Wi-Fi signals, phone signal that affect asleep if you're in a close proximity to them.

Charlotte: Another thing to think about as well and there's a lot of studies to support both angles on this about when you should exercise so it's always and we always say, to a client, you need to test, right? Anybody listen to this… You need to test what's right for you and test, okay, well, how did y'all sleep after this? So there's a lot of research to back up if you're exercising, intensely first thing in the morning, you're going to sleep better at night.

So the reality is like, if you're going to the gym, you doing high-intensity session like couple hours before bed, you're probably going to be off the wall and it's going to be even harder state. So, just something as simple as changing when you're exercising, can be really helpful as well. So coming back to what I mentioned a second ago because it's so so important, use your self is your own experiment, you need to pick the things that feel like a low entry point and there could be an easy win for you right now and then see how that affects things because the reality is like your unique and you've got to be on your own journeys, going to be some things that are going to help one another's. If you can do a kinder aspic you're going to like be sleeping like a king and queen in a week, it's that power.

Michael: Yeah, I love that. And for those who are on the metric system where I like 65 68 degrees is probably. I find myself, I'll give you a perfect example. I'm in Denver Colorado in the middle of America out here in the the Arctic desert as they call it and it was freezing cold last night, zero here, I don't know what that means in imperial system, sorry, but what I did I turn up the heat during the day because I'm working, I want to say comfortable, there's lots of things to do. And as I was going to bed, I realized it was like, 71 degrees in my bedroom and which would be like 24 for you guys or whatever, I don't know, I should figure that out. So we have contacts for people, but it's warmer than it should be, and I had such a struggle, initially, falling asleep that I had to open up the window and let cold air come to cool the room down and I fell asleep about 45 minutes later than I usually do. So, I think that people will hear these things and go, well, that's far-fetched that doesn't really make sense how could temperature makes such a big difference, but it really does make all of the difference in the world. And, you know, a couple of degrees here there can be the difference between a great night sleep and really for night asleep. And so I'm right here with both of you like test it, find out what works for you, I use noise canceling headphones at night with beta wave noise and I have a sleep mask like I did pitch black and Theta noise. So everyone needs something different and I think that's one of the greatest things about the human body and experiences that we're not all the same and people always be like, eat broccoli, don't eat broccoli. I don't know, man, do what works for you.

One of the things and for the sake of time, but I feel, this is very important and I want to go in deeper with you guys if you have time right now. Talk to us about another one of those pillars in this eight steps and that's nutrition. It's such a complicated thing, I mean, with all the information I feel like it's over information, people get stuck, they don't know where to start. If you were to lay out just some base guidelines for the way people should be thinking about nutrition, what would those be? And I want a predicate this on this, I once heard someone say food is medicine and I have found that to hold incredibly true in my life. What kind of role does food and nutrition really play in the Human Experience?

Jonathan: Sign is every other problem. This absolutely massive part of how everything functions and I think the biggest thing like you said, there's too much information and too much conflict in information that people are listening to. And like, we've already mentioned the first piece of advice, we give anyone, it's listen to your own body, whatever you put in, you're going to get a response. So for example, you eat something there, your body does not like you're going to get response, you're going to feel nostalgic and I feel bloated, you're going to feel gassy, you're going to feel maybe abdominal pain, you're going to feel just exhausted, that's not a good sign your body, your gut, your digestive system is not able to digest that correctly and that's not the food that's the problem. There's a deeper thing going on inside of what's happening inside a gut, not to go too deep into that it's changed the food initially and figure out what foods make you feel good. And with most people is usually whole foods, single ingredient foods, lots of vegetables and some people if they want to eat meat, it can go for organic as I'll need to stop like this it just helps the gutter to digest food correctly.

So I'd say the first thing is listen to your body what you put into it because it's going to give you a response to what happens and that's the first step is listen and adapt. Second one is hydration, doesn't matter what you were, you're not hydrated, you're not absorbing anything, you've got a hydrate properly. So, and that doesn't mean drinking 4-5 liters of water a day, it means drinking quality mineralized water and you a lot of people listening to his might be drinking three liters of water a day, and they still feel dehydrated, still have a dry mouth, they still feel like going to the running, to the toilet every five seconds. If you're running to the toilet, every five seconds, and you got a dry mouth of the drinking three liters, that's a key that your water is poor quality, you need to change it up. And if you just Google what the kind of top three waters in your area, even like bottled water between pots of water and get that, but then, as an extra added benefit is add in sea salt, as a mineralization protocol to the water.

So, for example, if you have a glass of 300 mil glass of water, you would add half a teaspoon of Himalayan pink, sea salt or Celtic Sea salt into your water that helps to remineralize it and not going to sign see those minerals that are in the salt, they get into your body they are responsible for hundreds of things from energy production from skin Health, digested health, of absorbing nutrients from food and taking them to where they need to go in the body so they don't just get flushed out of your system. So they are responsible for so many things and every system in our body functioning and all the organs functioning as a meant to, just by adding half, a teaspoon of good quality sea salt into your water when you drink it, helps to remineralize it and what you notice is that you go from drinking 3D to probably half of that and you feel hydrated because it's not the amount you're drinking it's the quality of the water that's now not just passing through your system it's actually getting absorbed into every cell of your body and hydrating you and doing what it needs to do. So that would definitely be a big big win when it comes to nutrition and hydration.

Charlotte: One more thing I would add to that is the state you are in when you are eating, if you are super stressed out of your mind you haven't taken a minute to just calm yourself, right? Just by simply breathing a super super simple then your body isn't going to have the capacity to be able to digest the food that you're having. So again, you could be eating that the freshest diet ever the cleanest diet, you can imagine and if you're eating when you're stressed, like your body is not gonna be able to utilize it so it's really pointless. So, just taking a few deep breaths before you eat, can just put your body into that space of rest and digest, right? Literally what is good. So what we want to do is make sure that we're creating again that internal environment so that we are able to then you did effectively.

Michael: Yeah, and I think one of the things that's so important is recognizing that especially for people and I know many of the Unbroken Nation audience, who have grown up in trauma environments or had traumatic experiences that we can often be dissociated. You know, I remember these moments and childhood in my teens and my early 20s and I mean even now like if I get triggered because like it still happens, right? I'm like if I eat and I'm gonna hyper arousal state, I like engulf that shit so fast, my body cannot possibly break it down because I've not chewed enough to start creating the saliva to digestive enzymes to kick in for me to actually produce the natural normative response of the human body to break down food to turn it into fuel. And so I love what you just said, I think that's probably one of the most important things anyone's ever said on this show about eating is that you really do need to take a moment and I would even recommend doing it at every single meal, I saw a study, I want to say it's from Cambridge University, but I don't want to swear by that and that they people who prayed before eating digested better than people who just ate because it was just that single moment of pause prior to eating that help them come back into their body. And so, I think that there's obviously so many different ways, whether it's prayer meditation or breath but, you know, to just be present and I feel like I'm hearing that being the repeating aspect of this entire conversation is like, pay attention, be present, be in your body. I would be remiss to not ask you guys this question though, because I think it's It's really, really important in this topic. There are people who are listening right now who will tell you, Yeah, guys heard this a million times, but they fight themselves at every turn one more episode of Netflix before bed, I'm going to eat the bag of chips it's fine tomorrow, all of these things that happen in their life where they are on the precipice of massive change, but they don't do it, they feel it, they hear it, they see it, their bodies decomposing, they're breaking down there, destroying life expectancy, but they're consuming this every single day. I know you're listening right now; I'm talking to you. What I want to know here, if you're in this position and you're looking at, you're working with a client like this and they're in this place where they just, for whatever reason, cannot seem to hold true to the promise that they made to change the sleep, change the food, change the nutrition, start hydration work, at whatever that is, what advice would you give to those folks?

Charlotte: Super simple piece of advice, would be to look at your non-negotiable, or your habits and check who they are made for because the reality is, you're adhering to old habits; habits that you're comfortable with, your habits aren't designed for the person you want to be. So, non-negotiable means exactly that they are non-negotiable like earthquake could come and you would still do this thing to a point. The reality is like, it becomes so important and we need accountability for that, we need consequence, we need often the community when we're trying to do something alone is ten times harder. So if we can create that environment of that level of accountability that really, really helps but if even with those things, they're still a struggle, you have to go deeper into the conditioning and start to look at, where is this pattern formed? What is it about this pattern that is causing you to gain something more from it because the reality is we gaining something from having this problem and it can be just instant gratification, it can maybe this just helps me feel safe and the reality is sometimes that is the case and there's lack of stability somewhere else in their life so they their make up for it by watching that extra Netflix show. So we have to go back and look more deeply, okay, how these patterns board and also what are the unresolved emotions that are attached to it? Because we're still swimming in that pool, even though our mind is telling us we want to be over here, we want to be further along, we want to be achieving our highest-level, the reality that there's still something in the old conditioning that is still holding you and playing apart. So, you got that kind of first point I mentioned around the non-negotiable, I can be quick and easy win for people, but I'll be honest that period that we spoke about the beginning, lasting change happens when you deal with what is going on at the root? What is going on in that conditioning? Because they're you then get to propel forwards in a way that is exponential.

Michael: It's beautiful. Before I ask you my last question, can you tell everyone where they can find you? 

Jonathan: Yes, so you can find us at our website, where I was contact information is on there. And also, we're quite a very active on Instagram, @wellnesstheory or any of those places, you can contact us and find us more about what we do.

Michael: Brilliant. And of course we will put all those links in the show notes, my last question for you, my friends, what does it mean to you to be Unbroken?

Charlotte: So for me, this is a really interesting one because I don't see anything that's broken. We are all part of one and the same, right? And if we can really wrap our heads around that, and we can really start to embrace that, we realize that we're just starting to come together in a new way and that's actually probably the healthiest thing in the world. When we see ourselves through a broken lens it's always going to be colored that way if we actually play pretend for a moment and imagine actually like, we're not broken we're just exactly where we're supposed to be. I think we'll start to see the world through a different lens, and we start to see our own healing journey through a different lens to.

Jonathan: I've always been under the very nervous thought process of that, we don't need fixing, there's nothing wrong with us as I do with anyone, okay? Like everything you're experiencing is for a reason and like we said that, the whole message of this kind of, by crosses, have been about listening, there's been a, paying attention to yourself, like, everything that's happening to you, everything that was happening is giving having to use happening for you, and it doesn't feel like that when you're in it, and you're really feeling down in the dumps and you're feeling depressed and anxious, but it's just those are signals, it's time to start listening to that. When we start listening to that, we can start to untangle all these things, all these feelings, all these emotions, all these thoughts, all these sensations and start to actually, align with what it is we want to direction, we want to go in it. When we start to realize that we're not broken, we don't need fixing, we just need to pay attention to ourselves of what these signals and the signs are telling us that's when we can start to actually create the like that we want and we can create who we want to be. So I did, I'm a big believer in that when someone says on something wrong with me or not there's nothing wrong with you, you're exactly where you need to be, you just need to listen, to be able to advance and progress.

Michael: Brilliantly said, my friends.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

Please, like, subscribe, comment, share.

Tell a friend.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

-I'll see you.

Jonathan Mills & Charlotte Stebbing-MillsProfile Photo

Jonathan Mills & Charlotte Stebbing-Mills

Authors/ Master Trainers/ Founders

With over 30+ years combined in health, fitness and wellness, Jonathan and Charlotte have been empowering individuals all over the world to become happier, healthier versions of themselves.

Inspiring people to say goodbye to stress and hello to lasting wellness means less time struggling and more time creating a meaningful impact in the world.

Our programmes have helped hundreds of incredible men and women to reach the top of their wellness game, whilst making sure they don’t burn out.

We aren’t interested in the illusions of instant gratification and fake overnight success stories that fills the screens of social media.

Instead we stay on the pulse of change, being mentored by the greatest teachers of our time so we can show up with proven, effective and lasting results for our community.

We are ‘normal’ people just like you who have had our fair share of human experiences and are now fortunate to be able to live a life we have designed to contribute to others.

Compassion and appreciation is woven into everything we do which creates a special vibe in our community.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.