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04: Find Ease in Uncertainty with Diane Malaspina PhD

Tiffany Cruikshank and Rachel Land

Today’s guest gives us a masterclass in how yoga can help us navigate life’s uncertainty with a little more grace. Diane Malaspina is an Applied Psychologist and yoga teacher with over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness field. Diane has a B.S. in Psychology, a Master of Education, and a PhD in Educational and Developmental Psychology.

Rachel and Diane discuss why she was drawn to psychology as an area of study, how yoga and meditation turned out to be exactly what she needed as a stressed-out grad student, and how she started teaching yoga almost by accident when her favorite teacher called in sick. Diane also talks about how the pandemic forced her, as it did many of us, to completely change her professional plans but also allowed her the time and space to reconsider how to best spend her energy and time.

Listen in to find out why the expression “no news is good news” doesn’t actually ring true for many of us and how yoga and meditation can help us shift our baseline to change our relationship with stress and uncertainty.

“If we get into prolonged states of uncertainty or stress we overtax our system and shift into a physiological stress response which shuts down memory and our ability to focus.” – Diane Malaspina

“Growth is also signaled by challenge… If you don’t have challenge then you’re not going to have growth because the growth is the lifting out of challenge” – Diane Malaspina

Show Notes:

  • What drew Diane to the study of psychology [2:40]
  • Diane’s discovery of yoga practice and introduction to teaching [4:44]
  • Why are we so afraid of uncertainty [22:07]
  • How the stress response can help us shift into problem-solving mode [22:45]
  • What the Yerkes–Dodson law teaches us about optimal stress levels [24:54]
  • The physiological effects of prolonged stress [26:18]
  • The power of trained awareness [26:46]
  • Three options in the face of stress and uncertainty [27:57]
  • Cultivating acceptance in situations we can’t change [30:41]
  • Practices Diane uses to support mental health through the pandemic [33:45]
  • Training your brain to react more positively to uncertainty [39:28]
  • Practicing resilience on the yoga mat [43:23]
  • How to bias ourselves toward growth [47:03]
  • The power of the pause [53:13]

Links Mentioned:

“Resiliency is another little muscle that we build.” – Diane Malaspina

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