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Podcast With Tanya Dalton - The Good Enough Life with Niro Feliciano
November 22, 2022   |   Episode #:

277: The Good Enough Life with Niro Feliciano

In This Episode:

What is normal? And why are we obsessed with being normal? Today’s guest, Niro Feliciano would argue that “normal” often means overscheduling yourself, being exhausted and overwhelmed, spending too much time on your phone. Normal isn’t necessarily healthy. In this episode we are going to unpack the difference between happiness and contentment; we’ll understand how pressure and stress can pack our to-do list full of tasks that we don’t really want; and how we can start living with more intention.

Show Transcript:


The Big Idea

What’s on your to-do that isn’t even yours?

Questions I Answer

  • What’s the difference between happinesses and contentment?
  • How does stress affect my body?
  • Does social media cause comparisonism?
  • What is considered normal?

Actions to Take

  • Follow Niro’s advice on getting clear on how you are spending your time. Make 2 lists:
    • List 1: Who and what is important to me? What do I love to do?
    • List 2: How do I spend my time during the week?
  • After making your list, see how they match up – see where priorities are not getting enough time and make some adjustments to fit what YOU want.

Key Moments in the Show

[03:32] Getting back to normal…. is that what we want?

[07:40] The mind body connection and stress

[13:16] The difference between happiness & contentment

[18:15] Who is setting our goals? You or someone else?

[20:45] How social media affects happiness

[30:10] What makes me feel so busy?

[32:14] An activity to get clear on what’s important

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Extraordinary is a choice. Take that in, soak it up because the hustle, grind, repeat mantra that society’s been touting for decades, it added all wrong. I’m Tanya Dalton. I’m a seven figure entrepreneur, bestselling author, speaker, mom, and Rulebreaker. I’m here to help you live to your fullest potential. That’s what this podcast is all about.

The Intentional Advantage is doing life on our own terms, defying the status quo, and seeing ourselves outside of the tidy definitions societies make for us, it’s intentionally choosing to step back away from the chaotic rush of your every days and choosing, choosing to see that it’s your world and it’s filled with opportunities. Let’s challenge the bedrock beliefs that so many have wholeheartedly trusted because we were told they were truths. Let’s have a healthy disregard for the impossible. Let’s choose to be extraordinary.

Hello. Hello everyone and welcome to the Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton. This is episode 277. We are in the middle of our season on purposeful productivity. We have been talking a lot about living a life on our own terms, really doing the things that matter, doing the work that matters, finding our meaning at work, really understanding what is important to us. And I think so often we are caught up in what life is supposed to look like, what we should be doing, which you know, is supposed to and should or definitely red flag words, but we live to others expectations all the time.

And I wanted today to dive into what does “good enough” look like? What does the good enough life feel like to you? What does that look like? What does it entail? And when I thought about this whole concept and this idea, I knew I wanted to have Neuro Feliciano on. Neuro is a psychotherapist. She’s a podcast host of all things life, and she’s an expert on anxiety, brain science, and spirituality. She’s interviewed on things like relationships, parenting, mental health, and she’s appeared on national media outlets, including Parents Magazine, The Today Show, NBC Niro been in private practice for over 17 years working with adults and adolescents. And her newest book is called, This Book Won’t Make You Happy.

I love the title of that book because so many people promise happiness in their books and they don’t deliver. Niro is a first generation Sri Lankan American, and she lives with her husband and four children in Connecticut. In today’s show, we’re going to talk a lot about what is normal, what is normal, what’s the difference between contentment and happiness, and really understanding how we want to spend our time.

She and I go through a great little easy, simple activity where you can get really clear on how you’re spending your time and if you like how you’re spending your time. So let’s go ahead and dive into today’s episode.

Tanya Dalton:
I am so excited to have you on the show today. You know, I love how you start out your book by talking about the word normal.We have spent the past few years talking about how much we want to get back to normal. And you say in your book, I really forgot that normal really wasn’t working for us in the first place, right? That’s right. Why? Why do you think we’re so obsessed with being normal?

Niro Feliciano:
It’s a validation that we’re doing okay and that we’re on the right track.And even if normal means unhealthy, there’s some reassurance that if everybody’s doing this, then I’m okay. I’m okay. And why it was so interesting for us as therapists is because prior to 2020, we were seeing high rates of anxiety and the highest we’d ever seen, higher rates of depression, suicidality. And that’s why when we got to 2020, actually some of those things, yes, did get worse, but we found other things that we began to appreciate that were far simpler. But hearing people say, I can’t wait to get back to normal, we would all say we weren’t good before. We weren’t good before. We were busy, we were not enjoying our lives. Anxiety was going through the roof, and now we’re at this different level.

But maybe we need to think outside of normal into what we want and and even more important, what’s actually healthy for us mentally, physically, Emotionally.

Tanya Dalton:
Well, first of all, normal sounds average. And I don’t think anyone wants to be average. I think we all want to be extraordinary, don’t we? But that does make sense that we’re looking for validation.

It’s this whole idea that when we’re looking for success, we look outside of ourselves, what everybody else is doing, right?

Niro Feliciano:

Tanya Dalton:
And I, I love what you talk about when you talk about what we were doing wasn’t necessarily healthy, you know, it was maybe normal to overschedule yourself, or we think it’s normal to, you know, not shower when you’re a new mom or to not have time for yourself.

It’s normal to, you know, work harder than everybody else in your office. If you’re leading them, it’s normal to be exhausted or overwhelmed. Why is it that these normals are seen as acceptable, do you think?

Niro Feliciano:
You know, what you and I have talked about in terms of, in, in some ways that busyness is a badge of honor that, that we wear. If we’re busy, we’re filling our time, we’re productive. And even if it’s not healthy, it means we’re doing the best we can.
And I think that’s what most of us want to do. We want to live to our potential. We want to do the best we can, but we have to begin to reevaluate what does this mean the best we can?
What is it doing to us? Is this the quality of life we want in doing and continuing to strive and achieve?
It’s not to say, because I wrote about contentment, and one of the things people asked me was, Does that mean you settle? Does that mean you don’t want more? Absolutely not. Actually, when we look at the research on the practices that foster contentment, we see people who practice self-compassion, people who meditate, people who are have a daily gratitude practice, actually end up being more successful because it lowers stress in our life and helps us to cognitively think clearly increases our motivation, elevates our mood.
So yes, we get to those goals faster when we’re actually actually for contentment, engaging in those practices.
So it’s not settling, but there is this idea that we can need to continue to strive for the next thing. But it is the process of how we strive that creates this imbalance in our lives that, that we certainly feel emotionally. But with that we see over time also affects us physically–we see higher incidences of illnesses and disease when people have been chronically stressed and serious illnesses such as cancer and increase in autoimmune diseases that get exacerbated or even show up for the first time.

It’’s far more serious than we realize the busyness, if we look at it over someone’s lifespan.

Tanya Dalton:
I like that. And you, and you do dive into this in the book as well, this idea that, you know, we think about our brain and our body somewhat separately. It’s kind of funny, even though your brain is part of your body.

One of the things that I talk about on, on in the show and in lots of other places is a lot of times look for where your body is showing you tension. And then ask yourself what the thoughts are going around that. Can we talk about that connection between your body and your brain? You, you touched on it there, this idea that a lot of the stress is leading to a lot of these illnesses or these debilitating conditions. Let’s, talk about this idea, because I think so often we think, well this is just what we’re supposed to do, so we’re checking the boxes, and this is what healthy is, as healthy as normal. And it’s, and it’s not.

Niro Feliciano:
You’re, you’re absolutely right. And we are so integrated. We are body, mind, spirit, we are that integrated. And now there’s more research coming out. There’s so many practitioners that have moved from traditional western medicine to titles such as functional or integrative because they recognise this connection. And to be honest with you, I’ve been in practice 17 years in terms of private practice. It wasn’t until I started writing the book that I began to understand how integrated we are after looking at the research.

And one thing that kept coming up for me when I was reading the research on gratitude or self-compassion or mindfulness: Why were these people living longer and healthier just by keeping a gratitude journal? Why were they stronger in terms of their immune function just because they talk to themselves kindly. This didn’t make sense to me because for so many of these practices, when people think about them, they’re like, Oh, that’s a nice thing to do.

These are physically transforming. When you look at research on gratitude, you see that cardiac patients after heart failure who kept gratitude journals had lower rates of inflammation than people who didn’t eight weeks after starting.
It’s not that long. So the reason being is because all of these practices reduce stress. And when we experience stress in our body, it’s literally that fight or flight: Your body is preparing to be attacked. We’re being prepared physiologically to either run from a bear or fight it or kind of shut down and freeze. And that is a serious threat on our biological, physiological systems.
The body is going to sacrifice other things in order to bring down that level of distress and stress. And one of the things that sacrifices is our immune function. So there are these cells called the NK cells and natural killer cells, which we see over time…if the body is constantly stressed and our biggest stress triggers are emotional, they’re not physical–they’re emotional and psychological– it puts our body in that state of alert physically. If we’re stressed over time we see immune dysregulation because the body will sacrifice that to bring down this high level of cortisol that we constantly experience (cortisol and adrenaline) when it’s circulating through our body when we’re stressed.
One thing we know about cortisol, when it is high over long periods of time, we see an increase in inflammation. And inflammation is at the root of so many of our illnesses, including certain types of cancer, if not many types of cancer. So we see that correlation between chronic stress, increase in cortisol, increase in inflammation, and the proliferation of disease. And that’s why when you have a consistent gratitude practice, when you are constantly aware of how we’re speaking to ourselves, and I know you talk about this as well, what we say to ourselves matter, we actually reduce stress in our mind, which gets translated into our body.
And over time it makes a difference between a decreased compromised immune function and a healthy, strong immune response. So that’s how, when it comes down to it, and it’s all kind of coordinated by this thing called the HPA…

Tanya Dalton:
Oh, Don’t throw out fancy scientific words, we already know your smart! (laughing).

Niro Feliciano:
It’s a game Changer Actually, mechanisms in your body that get dysregulated that are really important when we’re stressed out about things,
right? So yeah, yeah. Can we live like that? We can, for so many of us living like that is normal, but it has a serious consequence, not just in our mental emotional health, but over time on our physical health as well. I, I like how you’ve mapped that out because I think that that’s one of the things that people don’t get.

Tanya Dalton:
It’s kind of what we touched on there, that people feel like, Oh, it’s fluff. Oh, do a gratitude journal. That’s cute. That’s nice. Right? And we think of these things as not being important when in truth they’re life changing. Not just emotionally, spiritually, but physically as well. You know, no one is being chased by a bear hopefully. Yeah. But we’re getting…

Niro Feliciano:Well in Connecticut, in the woods we have, I’ve heard of it. So j

Tanya Dalton: We have bears in my backyard too. So we have an issue with bears in my bird feeder right now, so no one’s getting chased, thankfully, by, by the bear, right? But we are being chased down by a to-do list, and that’s flooding our body with this cortisol. It’s flooding our body with stress hormones, which those long-term effects really do make a difference. They do. And you know, we’ve talked about a priority list here on the show and why that’s important, you know, to get rid of your to-do list and really dive into prioritizing and choosing the things that matter.

I want to talk about, because you, you kind of circled on this idea of happiness and contentment, and you have said in the past that happiness is fleeting, it’s strong in the moment. Contentment is quieter. It’s more subtle, but more powerful. And it’s this idea that’s a deep appreciation of enough. Enough is satisfying, it’s peaceful. Let’s talk about this idea of enough because I think this is why we are putting so much on our plate. We don’t know what enough looks like or we feel like we’re supposed to, right? So we’re never feeling full, we’re never feeling satisfied. Let’s dive into that.

Niro Feliciano:
Yeah. You know, the way I define the two in the book a little later on is if happiness is having everything you want,contentment is wanting everything you have. And I think if we recognize that and we look at what we have and look at the things in our life and we say, Okay, what’s important that I already have right now, then we find what the definition of enough is. And it doesn’t, it’s not mutually exclusive. You can still want more and still have a deep appreciation for what you already have.

The problem with our culture right now is we’re constantly being in this productivity culture as you talk about it, in striving in completely just focusing on our goals. And we should have goals. I believe we’re here for a purpose, you know? Yeah, we should have goals. But sometimes we can myopically focus on this idea that when I get to that goal, that’s when I’ll be happier. When I get to that goal, that’s when I’ll be satisfied. And what happens, even neurologically because of dopamine, is that goal post moves when you get there, you wrote your book, then you wrote another book, you know what I’m saying? Because that became the next goal then. And, and if we don’t, consciously stop and say, Let me appreciate where I am. Let me appreciate what I have, that is enough that fulfills me that maybe I’m not making time for, because I am spending maybe more time than I want in that pursuit of that goal. And especially when we’re pursuing that goal thinking, that’s when it’s going to bring us happiness…that’s when we get into dangerous territory.

The one thing that we know psychologically when we are pursuing that goal is that yes, there will be happiness that comes with that, you know? And that’s going to be that new type of happiness, which dopamine is there for it, which kind of creates that excitement and that rush. There are also going to be challenges at that level, we say: New levels, new devils. So yeah, so you, so you write the book, this is what I figured out in my life. So what happens? I got busier, more speaking, more podcasts, other things to write about now more book deals that I’m talking about those now. Which maybe once I thought, oh, that’s amazing for that person that is creating stress in my life now trying to figure out a new balance, right? So yeah. So unless we are balancing the two, the contentment with that type of fleeting happiness, which is great, and in the moment we can appreciate it, but we can’t rest our whole idea on happiness on that achievement or pursuit of that goal.

Tanya Dalton: Yeah. I think that’s so true. It’s this whole idea too that the things that we used to wish for, the things that we have now or the things that are weighing us down, that are stressing us out, we, we had wished for this, we wished for the family, we wished for the book, we wished for the, you know, the things that we’re doing, speaking on stages, all of those things. But it does bring stress. And I think that we think, or we believe that struggle is just the part of life. I mean, two, we see this, I mean, I see this with writing. I wrote two books in two years and I can’t tell you the number of people who said, When’s the next book coming out? And I’m like, Can I just appreciate these two? Can I take a little time and breathe and just talk about these two books without that breathing down my neck of what you expect from me to come out with the next book. I want to, I want to give myself some space. But it’s the same thing, right? You’ve written the book now, people are like, all right, let’s get another book deal out.

Niro Feliciano:
That’s right.

Tanya Dalton: People are moving us through life at a pace that’s maybe, maybe not the pace we even want, quite frankly.

Niro Feliciano:
I think that’s part of it. What one thing that we have to ask ourselves is, whose goal is this now? Is this my goal or is this a goal that I’ve internalized from other people or society and is that one that I want? And even just that example of a book, like I, I have four kids and you know, before, and I’m South Asian, so getting married, having kids is very high on the priority list of the aunties in my culture. So if you know you have your first, or you get married and they’re like, When’s your first baby? When are you going to have a baby?

And then you have the baby. Oh, when are you having the next baby? When’s The next one? Yeah. And then let me tell you, when I got to three people were like, Oh, you’re not having any more babies, are you? So all of a sudden I’m like, totally changes. Oh My gosh. Yeah. This is confusing!

Tanya Dalton:
Everybody wants a say in your life. Everybody wants a say.

Niro Feliciano:
Who’s setting the goals and expectations? Is it you or someone else? And even if we can begin to ask that question, we can get closer to the things that are really important to us. And then let that dictate what the goal is going to look like in whatever season you’re in. Because that will change too, depending on the season you’re in and what’s important to you as you crossover into the next.

Tanya Dalton:
Amen. I mean, can we just get an Amen? I need you guys listening right now. Just give me like an amen because there’s so much truth in that. We talked about this idea too funny enough earlier. This season. I think it was like 273 where we talked about this idea of living to the pressure that other people put on us. You know, I love that whole thing. Like what do you have in the next baby when you have like, Oh, no more babies for you, right?

Niro Feliciano
Yeah. Are you Are you crazy, right?

Oh, are you and these are sometimes people in the grocery store for crying out loud, right?

Niro Feliciano
You don’t they don’t even know you. They don’t eat and what they say still affects you. And you’re like, why do I care?

Right? Oh, yeah, I mean, I’ll tell you I you know, I my kids did not breastfeed while they were really terrible. Breast feeders. And I can’t tell you the number of times I would leave from like a public place like grocery store where they’d be like, how’s the breastfeeding going? Strangers, and you’re like, you know what, my journey is my journey and it’s not going well. Okay. You’re lucky I’m out of my house. So this is

Niro Feliciano
the thickness that’s a huge issue. That’s a great example of how this happens and how it impacts us.

Tanya Dalton:
I mean, there was probably there are points in our lives. We always have this where we feel like hashtag mom failure. Nothing made me feel more like a failure than when I couldn’t breastfeed my own kids because it was like, This is what you were designed for. This is what you’re put on this planet. And it’s like, well, apparently not me. I’m apparently different. Right? And we’re not told it’s

Niro Feliciano
hard. We’re not told it’s hard when no one tells me this is so hard and painful. And it’s not for everyone and your mental health is not worth it at the end of the day. If it doesn’t go the way you thought it would. Yeah.

Tanya Dalton:
Yeah. It’s so true. I mean, I can tell you a whole story about how my husband threatened to throw the breast pump into the into the alley and run over it because she was like, we’re not doing this anymore. But even though I feel like even when you feel like you’re in a healthy mental space, it is so easy to get derailed. It’s so easy. To get off track because of so much pressure. I want to talk about that. I want to talk about the pressure we feel from social media, from our phones from all of those things. And I mean, my listeners know I went off of social media January 1 of this year, which was a really big leap. I feel like it’s like an energetic haircut. Like I feel like I just got my hair cut every day because it feels so freeing. But one of the things that you say is that in the book, it’s an interesting coincidence that platforms like Instagram and Facebook started exploding in 2012. The exact same year that the World Happiness Report said there was a sudden decline in happiness. It was on the rise from 1991 until suddenly 2012 When it just plummeted. Let’s talk about that because our phones are not evil. Social media is not evil. I made the decision to go off social media. That was my choice, because that works for me. But how do you see phones playing into a lot of this pressure and being present and all of these things that you talk about?

Niro Feliciano
Yeah, that you’re also there was an exponential rise in the decline of adolescent mental health as well. So we definitely know there is a correlation there between adolescents and social media as well. You know, it’s this constant barrage of expectation. It’s this constant comparing of an idealized world or situation that we didn’t have before. Social media. I think about like when I was some of my daughter’s ages. And you know, if someone had a party and I wasn’t invited, I might find out about it. I might not I have kids in session, having a panic attack in real time because they’re seeing pictures from this party that they are not at, and that’s just one aspect but it affects every one of every age. There’s it’s kind of internalized should statements I should my house should look like this. You know, I should have this many followers on social media if I’m going to be successful. I should be at this party. You know, my marriage should look like this with my husband writing me public love letters and posting them on Facebook. You know, which I told my husband please don’t ever do.

Tanya Dalton:
Please. Oh my gosh, right. i You and I are aligned because you talked about this in the book where I’m like, like a personal card. Just like that means a lot more of its overall romantic dinner alone. Yeah,

Niro Feliciano
that’s right. So it is this constant world of comparison. And then the other aspect of that, and I do write a lot about social media, my book to the point my editor was like, there’s a lot about social media. It’s quick, and she’s not really on social media. It was like, trust me, trust me. It’s all connected. It’s all connected on social media. And it’s a time suck, you know, and part of that is the dopamine hit we get when we experience new information. And for us what I what I always am mindful of, especially two of my kids are teenagers now is that we knew a life before social media. They don’t this is their baseline normal. So unless we are intentional in helping them experience life off line, the tendency psychologically neurobiologically. We’re not wired to experience life offline if we have that constant stimulation and notification which triggers our own dopamine rush. So it is a scary world, unmonitored, unchecked there are good things that happen from it. But I’m going to tell you this Tanya, in 17 years of practice, and especially the last 10 when social media has been really big or 15. Now, anytime someone’s experiencing anxiety, we do recommend I have recommended a social media detox. I have not had one patient, not one in that many years come back saying they didn’t feel better. So when you said it’s an energizing haircut, I believe it. I believe it and I wish that I would make that decision and I have different reasons why I don’t right now. But if if someone could tell me tell me, you’re going to be fine without social media. You don’t need it at all. I would do it. I would do it because the benefits of it to me don’t weigh the obstacles that creates in our life and within ourselves. Yeah,

Tanya Dalton:
yeah, it is. And it wasn’t a decision that I was just like, oh on a whim I’m gonna I was very very intentional. I thought about it. I created some space to really make the decision. Because it was a big choice. But for me, part of the motivation was, I didn’t feel present. I felt like I was disconnected. There were moments where I was taking pictures of dinner, like let’s get your hands out of the picture. No, move the glass of milk, no do right. And then here we are sitting down to a family meal. Which should be nice and enjoyable. Can I’m spending the first 15 minutes trying to snap a picture? For what right when really what I’m looking for is that connection with my family. I think we crave connection. One of the resources that you talk about in your book that I went and I took a took a look at was Eric pickers deals essay called removed powerful. It’s so powerful and I will put a link to it in the show notes because it’s all these pictures. Well you want to explain what it is why don’t you explain

Niro Feliciano
the what he did? And and it’s interesting because he said that he experienced this himself and he just wanted to illustrate it and I feel that is the way with many writers too. I read somewhere we write the books that we need ourselves

Tanya Dalton:
yes and question

Niro Feliciano
Yeah, and I had to say i i needed to figure out this contentment thing. Because living in Fairfield County and Connecticut as a professional with kids, there is his constant drive to more and wanting more and never feeling like you’re enough and constant comparison. And I needed to figure that out myself more than I realized. I did. So what he did was he took photographs of people who were on their phones in different situations. And then he photoshopped out their phones. So they’re literally just looking into their hands and empty spaces. And you see the disconnection you get glaringly obvious and you have people on our wedding day looking at their phones, you have people sitting on a couch with each other instead of looking at each other and connecting. They’re looking into this empty space where their phone was photoshopped out of the photo. Were people in bed and I think about this now when I’m in bed on my phone, and my husband’s next to me and we might be both reading something on our phone. I’m like, Oh my gosh. This is just like his essay. We’re not connecting with each other. We’re looking for connection or this facade of connection outwards. And what is that really doing to our real genuine connection that we have the opportunity to engage in, you know, which, you know, will be more meaningful if we’re actually engaged in present, the powerful

Tanya Dalton:
I think it was heartbreaking. Some of those images, people on their wedding day like you said, families, people cuddling on the couch, we’re not cuddling. They’re looking at their phones. And it really makes you think, where’s our gaze, you know, I mean, where are you looking at where you’re looking is where your intentions go. Right? That’s, that’s the direction we’re moving towards. So it really does get you to think because we are we’re all we’re all looking for connection and if the phone is causing that disconnect as it was for me, I was like, I need to remove this. Yeah. And so I still have a phone I mean, I still, I’m still in the 2000s go back to a rotary dial or anything, but I just made it so it was so much more intentional, because I wanted to really be mindful, which goes down to a theme that we talked about again and again on the show in the books choices. So I want to talk about choices here in just a minute. But let’s first take a quick mid episode break. Are you tired of being the best kept secret in your industry? Or maybe you’re tired of feeling like you’re running in circles, uncertain about what you need to do to really grow your business? Let me rephrase that. To have a successful business while having a successful personal life. The truth is, you don’t win in business by doing what everyone else is doing. You win by playing a completely different game. You do what works for you. And this is what I love doing during strategy sessions. Meeting one on one with you to help you get real solutions, not plug and play formulas, no templates, customized solutions to help you stand out as the thought leader in your industry as the visionary for your business. If you want to multiply your profit margin while working fewer hours so you can actually thrive in your personal life. Or maybe you want to create frameworks and intellectual property to position yourself as a thought leader. Or perhaps you want to craft a highly engaging and referable Keynote or book that elevates your thought leadership. If any of that’s on your wish list a strategy session with me is exactly what you need. It’s an opportunity to drop the heavyweight of confusion and the lack of clarity you’ve been carrying around and step in to the great business leader you are designed to be a strategy session with me is really easy to book just go to Tanya dalton.com/strategy for more information. Honestly, strategy sessions are one of my very favorite things to do. So head to Tanya dalton.com/strategy right now. Okay, so let’s let’s talk about the phones just for another another minute or two and then want to talk about choices. But let’s talk about this idea of phones and how they contribute to our busyness and how we’re how we’re running our days and maybe how our phone is even running days more than we

Niro Feliciano
are. And I know that you talk about business so so that is also an important piece of this connection with social media and phones. I mean when the fact that we have our phones all the time. It is a constant access to us and creates this ongoing To Do List all day and feeling like we have to respond whether it’s text or email, whatever it might be, but also because we’re so busy because we’re running at these, you know, unimaginable pieces that we feel like it’s very realistic for a lifespan. We are burned out, we’re often burned out and we lose our cognitive ability and what what happens we need distraction. We need to just mindless distraction that can be entertaining, and because our phones are right at our fingertips, and there’s every interesting thing I mean every shopping cart, every silly dog video, every recipe that you could possibly explore if you have the curiosity. It’s a constant, constant distraction that is so readily available and we feel even I’ve had patients who thought they got a notification they didn’t. It’s almost like phantom Leg Syndrome. You know, they’re feeling it seems to be calling her name all the time. You know, whatever that reality is that we want to explore. And part of that is a result of the busyness and needing this mindless downtime. And instead of doing something productive, as you said, five minutes of meditation or reading a book for you know, 20 minutes, or taking a walk or breathing fresh air, we go to the phones because they’re there.

Tanya Dalton:
They’re there, it’s easy it becomes becomes a habit. Right. And I think I like what you said there about. It creates this ongoing to do list where it’s like, oh, I need to be doing these things because all these other people are doing that. So I want to talk about this idea because it does it comes down to prioritizing what is important to you something that clearly we talk a lot about on the show. But you and I align when you say your time is your most valuable possession and you walk through an activity where you have people make two lists. Can you can you walk us through that because I loved this two list method because I feel like when you see a list and the other list doesn’t match up, you’re like, oh, disconnect. It’s really obvious. So walk us through that.

Niro Feliciano
You know, we find peace when our schedule aligns with our values. And that’s something I had to learn at some point in practice. I remember I was sitting across from an analyst and we were having a very nice conversation. And halfway through the conversation, I thought to myself, when have I spent 45 minutes talking with my own child, and I didn’t I couldn’t remember a time where I had 45 minutes with my own child. And then I knew something had to shift. So what I did was I made a list of the most important things in my life things people experiences, whatever it was. And then in another column, I listed base a basic day where does my time go? And I wanted to see how they aligned and what I saw was the things that were most important in my life did not get reflected in my schedule. Now we have to, you know, be we have to kind of put this in perspective. Obviously, our job takes a lot of time and it may not be the important thing in your life, but it may afford time for things that are important in your life. But are we incorporating any time for those important things? And this just helps us become more cognizant of what needs to go perhaps that may not be as important and where we need to designate time for things that are important now, did I start scheduling 45 minutes at a stretch with my kids? No. But I became more intentional about saying, hey, let’s let’s go out for coffee with my teenager my oldest daughter or let me make time to watch this movie with my other daughter. Or let’s make time to read this book together that we’ve wanted to read. So it may not be the bulk of my time. But seeing that now, I’m intentional about allocating time to those people and things that are important, made me feel more at peace made me feel more fulfilled and more balanced. When it came to how I was living my day to day. And I’ll be frankly honest with you, I go through seasons where this goes out the window completely. Oh, we all do. Life is crazy. And we normalize that. Yes, it’s yes. And it’s a constant process of reassessing and re evaluating and being intentional over again, but it’s so much better than if we don’t have the awareness and we’re not intentional in the first place. We know where to go back

have salutely Absolutely. I think too. Let’s just talk for a second about that idea that maybe you don’t give your kids 45 minutes but again, let’s not get caught up into the quantity of time. It’s the quality of the time 45 minutes, sitting side by side with your kid while you’re scrolling through your phone and they’re scrolling you’re theirs isn’t nearly as valuable is 10 minutes, listening to what happened on the playground today and actively asking questions. You’re having a true conversation. 10 minutes is less than 45 and yet, so much more valuable, right? It’s how you spend it.

Niro Feliciano
Actually, the research supports that too. It takes 10 to 15 minutes of one on one time with your child eye contact where you’re having a conversation or doing something that’s meaningful to the child to make them feel connected to the point where it improves their self esteem. So it doesn’t take that long. All it takes is intention, making it happen and designating time in your schedule to have it so you don’t need the 45 minutes actually and for many of us who have multiple kids. That’s not a realistic measure of what we’re able to do but 10 to 15 minutes. I easily even to this day after writing a book on social media spend 1015 minutes scrolling mindlessly. So I’m still working on it still working on it

Tanya Dalton:
works in progress, right. I want people to really soak in that idea that we just kind of closed out the show with this idea that the 10 minutes is so valuable, that it’s not about the length of the time. It’s the quality of it. It’s the intentionality as you said, I think that’s really powerful because we do we beat ourselves up that we’re not spending an hour one on one with each kid. You have four kids. That’s impossible. Hey, you have two kids. You have one kid, that can be possible, right? I mean, we’re just humans. So I want my listeners just to really soak that in and take that as permission for you don’t, you don’t have to look at your calendar and say, well, I should be spending eight hours doing these things. Spend it with intention really choosing to be happy to find the contentment as you talk about I love that I love it. So you have an incredible book, incredible podcast. Thank you. Why don’t you tell your my listeners where’s the best place for them to connect with you? Where’s the best place to get more of you because you’re an incredible resource and I just I love the way that you talk about all of this.

Niro Feliciano
Thank you for saying that. So my website neuro feliciano.com has all of that information. My podcast is linked there. You can listen to podcasts. It’s called all things life and it’s just about wellness, emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual wellness. Anywhere you listen to podcasts, and I have a newsletter that I send out very inconsistently, but when it when it does go out it has good information and reasonably

Tanya Dalton:
high quality over quantity. That’s

Niro Feliciano
right. That’s right. So I’m very human, and I’m very transparent about that. And then I I am a therapist, but I’ve learned along with my clients and listeners and and viewer so at my website earthly santo.com You can find a lot of that and on Instagram, I’m pretty active on Instagram as well. And roughly siano

Tanya Dalton:
amazing we’re all works in progress, everybody. We’re all works in progress, even therapists. Thank you so much.

Niro Feliciano
Thank you. Thank you for having me. This is a pleasure.


Tanya Dalton:
I have to say, I just love Niro’s perspective on all of this, especially with her background as a psychotherapist and having worked with people over the past decade and a half, more than a decade and a half. Her idea, this concept, especially of the ongoing to-do list that gets created for us by other people,

I think is really, really powerful. I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to take a look at your own to-do list or hopefully your priority list if you’ve been listening to the show. But looking at the things that you have on your, your task list that you’re wanting to work on or maybe not you’re wanting, but you’re expected to work on. Do you feel like a lot of those tasks are there because you want them or somebody else?

I think it’s really powerful to take a good look to step back and really assess how you feel about what it is you’re doing on a daily basis. I’m going to walk through that activity that Niro talked about today. I’ll put that in the show notes. I’ll also put a link to the Eric Pickersgill photo essay. I’m telling you, go look at these images.

It is, it’s insightful, it is heartbreaking, and it really does make you think the show notes with all of those links can be found at Tanya dalton.com. Just go under podcasts. This was episode 277. Here’s what I want you to think about today. As we close out the show. I want you to think about how you are living your life.

That’s really, that’s the heart of this entire season. And for those of you who are listening to this as it goes live, it’s probably Thanksgiving week for you. For those of us in America, this is a time where we’re gathered around with our families talking about what we are thankful for. And I want you to really think about what is it you are thankful for?

And then let’s have more of that in your life. Let’s capture more of that in your day. Let’s create a life that feels purposeful so that what you’re working on, your productivity really is tied to your purpose. That’s really what I want for you. When we do work that matters, when we live life on our own terms, that’s when we’ve got the Intentional Advantage,

Thanks so much for joining me today. Quick question though, before you go, do you like prizes? When you leave a rating and review of the Intentional Advantage podcast, you’ll be entered to win my life changing course, multiplying your time. Simply leave the review and then send me an email at hello Tanya dalton.com with a screenshot. I choose one winner at the end of every month.

So go ahead, do it right now. Just a quick comment with what you loved about this episode or the show in general, and a rating and send it our way. Not going to lie, buy stars is my favorite, but I’d love to hear what you think of the show and if that’s not enough of an incentive for you to win the Multiplying Your Time course.

I have to tell you, reviews are the number one thing that supports this podcast in me. It’s the best way to spread the word and get business tips and strategies to all those other women out there who need it. So there you go. Two great reasons for you to go and leave a review right now. So go ahead and do it. Send that screenshot my way because I want to give you a free course.

And thanks again for listening today.

**The Intentional Advantage is has been called one of the best productivity podcasts for women. This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.

Tanya Dalton is a woman motivational speaker on goal setting, time management and habits. To book Tanya to speak to your company or organization just visit TanyaDalton.com/speaking