Episode 183 | The Link Between Wellbeing & Navigating Resistance

In this episode, Dr. Cari Wise discusses the concept of resistance and how it is often mistaken for procrastination. Resistance occurs when we have a desire to do something but struggle to take action. It tends to show up around creative activities or things that bring pleasure and enjoyment, but may not necessarily produce tangible results or be considered productive by society. 

Dr. Wise emphasizes the importance of not judging or dismissing these activities, as they are still important for personal fulfillment. She suggests examining the stories we tell ourselves about why we can’t or won’t do certain things, challenging the belief that lack of time is a valid excuse. 

Dr. Wise shares that resistance is distinguished from procrastination, which is often linked to tasks we feel we should or have to do but keep putting off; and advises balancing left-brain activities (work and responsibilities) with right-brain activities (hobbies and creative pursuits) to maintain emotional wellbeing. 

Key Takeaways Include:

1. Resistance is often mistaken for procrastination and occurs when we have a desire to do something but struggle to take action.

2. Resistance tends to show up around creative activities or things that bring pleasure and enjoyment, but may not necessarily produce tangible results or be considered productive by society.

3. It is important to examine the stories we tell ourselves about why we can’t or won’t do certain things, and challenge beliefs such as lack of time.

4. Engaging in fun and creative activities is not conditional upon completing all our responsibilities, and balancing left-brain activities with right-brain activities is important for emotional well-being.

5. Strategies for overcoming resistance include committing to the activity for at least five minutes, writing a note to remind oneself of why they want to engage in the activity, and scheduling dedicated time for it.

6. By pushing through resistance and engaging in these activities, we build confidence, create balance, and offset the stress and anxiety caused by our responsibilities.

7. Keeping our word to ourselves and cultivating a reliable and predictable relationship with ourselves allows us to navigate external circumstances with more ease and contentment.



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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

Hi there. I’m Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach and certified quantum human design specialist. If you are a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM podcast is absolutely for you. Let’s get started. Hello my friend. Welcome back to the joyful DVM podcast.

In today’s episode, I wanna spend some time talking about resistance because I think it’s something that many of us encounter without actually understanding what’s happening. And it often gets labeled as procrastination, which brings with it an element of judgment and an experience of shame. So if we can really understand the concept of resistance and how it’s showing up in our lives, we can also then have an opportunity to not judge it when it shows up,

but then to shift it intentionally when we want to. So this idea of resistance, what is it exactly? Well, simply put, it’s when you want to do something, like you really want to do it, but you just don’t do it. And I know that may sound a little bit funny, but think about it. What are the things that you really wanna do in your life that you’re not doing?

For me, I could come up with a few of them just as examples. I really want to reorganize a lot of things in my house, put some things away, find some new places for some things, get rid of some things, declutter. So I really want to organize my house, but I just don’t do it. I also really wanted to record this podcast,

but I bumped up against resistance in making the time to sit down and actually do it. It’s a really interesting concept when you start to realize how many places that it shows up. This idea of resistance often pops up for us around some really creative ideas. So creative things that we want to do. So some of the more fun things, if you will,

that might be another way to look at it. Things that would just be for pleasure or for enjoyment that don’t necessarily produce anything specific. And this is part of the reason that resistance is so sneaky. It’s often tied to what the world would identify as non-productive things, things that aren’t earning you money or gaining you status. But those things, my friends are still very,

very important, especially in your own life. They may not be important to anybody but you, but that they are important to you, that these things that you have that you want to do or accomplish are within your own mind and part of your own desires that gives them great value for your own personal life experience. When we bump up against resistance toward the things that we wanna do,

and just to give you a few other examples, examples like I wanna paint my front door and I have been wanting to do that for quite some time, but yet I bump up against resistance for it. I want to create some, I have some craft projects that I wanna do, and yet, even though I’m excited to do them, I bump up against resistance when it’s time to actually sit down and do those things.

I hope as I give you some examples, you can come up with some ideas in your own life of where this might be occurring. And so when we bump up against resistance, I think we have to pay attention to the stories that we’re telling ourselves as to why we can’t do or we won’t do those things right now, time is gonna probably be the number one thing,

so let’s just throw it out there for what it is we’re going to tell ourselves that we just don’t have enough time. But the truth is that we all on this planet have the exact same amount of time. And so if we look around at people who are doing more, we can see that they’re just using their time in a different way. Now that’s not an opportunity for you to compare yourself to others.

What it is an opportunity for is for you to tell yourself the truth, which is something very different. We don’t need to be in comparison in order to become honest. So we just need to take a look at how we are spending our time because we’re spending that time some way. So are we doing it spending that time in a way that’s actually moving us forward in our lives?

Or are we getting stuck in some buffering or distracting patterns that actually aren’t moving us anywhere? When it comes to resistance, that’s usually the case. We end up spending that time doing something that actually isn’t moving us anywhere closer to the things that we want to create or the things that we want to experience in our own lives. So this idea of resistance,

I said it’s different than procrastination. Usually procrastination is linked to some things that we are believing that we should do or that we have to do. Things like getting our bookkeeping ready for the accountant or cleaning the bathrooms or calling back somebody that you just really don’t want to call back. So things that we feel like we should do or we have to do,

but we just keep kicking the can down the road, we just keep not doing it. That is how procrastination shows up. And with that procrastination comes a lot of pressure and a lot of anxiety. We know we need to do it. We know at some point we are going to do it, but we’re gonna try to put it off as long as possible and we think that we’re saving ourselves as we procrastinate.

But the truth of it is, is the pressure and the anxiety over it just continues to build. So we’re not actually saving ourselves from anything. Actually doing the thing and getting it off of our plate would create a great amount of relief, even though whatever the thing is might not be the most enjoyable and fun way to spend our time. If we already know that we’re going to do it though,

we would probably do ourselves a lot of favors if we would just jump in and get it done, get it off the list because we know what’s going to happen. So the decision becomes how long are we going to basically create suffering for ourselves until we just get over it and get it done? When it comes to things like making those callbacks, I try to do those quickly because that is something that I can can procrastinate on and put off and put off and it definitely doesn’t make me feel any better.

So if you have things like that, I just want you to recognize that procrastination is different than resistance. Resistance is usually what comes up around things that you actually do want to do, things that you would enjoy doing, things that bring you joy and yet you still don’t do them. It’s a really fascinating thing and like I said, it’s often related to creative type activities.

Activities of the right brain, right? Activities that don’t necessarily create any external evidence of time well spent. So it’s not creating money, it’s not checking off a to-do list necessarily. At least not one that would be externally considered like important or responsible as far as the way that you spend your time. And this is part of the reason that we bump up against resistance is because we recognize typically that these activities that we want to do are almost in competition with those things on your shoulds,

right? Your should to-do list. So the things that you’re procrastinating against and the things that you have resistance to usually fall into two different kinds of lists and they can feel kind of similar. It can be easy to look at ’em and be like, I just never get anything done. But that’s not actually what’s going on. You’ve got two different things going on.

And the way that the the procrastination plays into the resistance is because we look at those things that we’re procrastinating on that remember, these are the things that we believe that we have to do or that we should do things that we know that we are going to do, we just don’t want to. So we just keep pushing it off. Building pressure and anxiety.

We look at that list and because that list is covered in judgment, it is covered in this belief that we should be getting these things done and that we need to get these things done ’cause it’s already there kind of under pressure. If we elect to spend our time doing something different, then somehow we are really messing up. So we kind of layer on the judgment,

if you will, toward ourselves. We don’t want to give ourselves permission to do anything fun or to do anything that would just be spending time in a non-productive way if there are still things on that have to to-do list for us to accomplish. So that’s how these two things can play together. So just to give you a very tangible example, if we are believing that we must clean the bathroom,

that we have to get the bathroom clean and we keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off, and yet we also want to maybe spend some time planting flowers outside, which one of those has more pressure around having to get done? Well, flowers are for fun, right? But bathrooms, we’re probably believing that they need to be clean for health reasons and sanitary reasons.

And so choosing to plant flowers over cleaning the bathroom feels like a really irresponsible choice in the way that we’ve been taught about choices in our world. And that’s how this procrastination can actually play into our resistance. We want to do those fun things and yet we don’t even want to consider giving ourselves permission to do them as long as there are still items on our to-do list under the pressure of procrastination.

What we want to realize here, what’s important to realize here is that these things are not conditional. One is not conditional upon the other. Being able to interact with one, giving yourself permission to engage in those activities that are the fun things in your life, the creative things in your life, you are not allowed to only do those once your to-do list,

you’re responsible, adult things are finished. This is very important for us to see. You do not have to have all your chores done before you can have fun. And I know I say that in kind of a sarcastic tone, but let’s face it, that is a rule that many of us grew up with. So we’ve heard that our whole entire lives and it’s quite possible.

It’s the exact times type of things that we say to our own children. And I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I want us to recognize that as an adult, those rules don’t apply. You get to have fun whenever you wanna have fun. You get to spend your time however you want to spend it. And there is no rule that says you must finish all the responsible adult things before you go out and have a good time.

I think it’s important quite honestly for us to make sure that we’re calendaring in the time to do those things that are fun, to do, those creative activities, those things that really bring us joy even when we still have things on our to-do list. Because what you’ll find is that as you get into the energy of those creative aspects of your life, you’ll have more energy then for the things that aren’t so fun,

you’ll be able to knock through them a lot more quickly. So those adulting things that we all just have to do as part of being humans on this planet. And yeah, you’ve heard me say a million times, you don’t have to do anything. It’s always your choice and that is a hundred percent true, but let’s face it, there are things that you do believe you have to do and that you are going to do.

So like paying your taxes for example, you don’t have to, there are consequences to that. And if you’re anything like me, you don’t want those consequences. So you are going to pay your taxes now, you might procrastinate on it, getting your stuff together, you don’t wanna spend your time getting all your bookkeeping together and getting it to the accountant and it might feel really stressful.

And there’s all kinds of reasons around the whole tax thing, why that might feel stressful, especially with a money story. That’s a whole other podcast. But for the sake of this podcast, what we wanna see is that these adulting things that we are going to do that we may not love spending our time doing, but we are going to do them because we are believing that’s just part of what you do as an adult.

So there might be a have to in there. We might have a hard time having doing something fun if those things aren’t completed yet. And what we don’t see is that if we stay in that left side logical brain checking off the to-do list, being hyper responsible, if we keep staying there in our lives, engaging from that place, we’re really out of balance because we need the right side activities as well,

the creative aspects of our being and that creativity, I’m not saying that it’s all things like painting and drawing and music. I mean that’s, those are definitely some things, but there’s all kinds of things that fall into that category. Even things like exercise and hiking and just spending time in nature. There’s all kinds of things that fall into this creative or right brain type of activity.

Those are the things that you really want to do. The things that you probably feel appalled from like a tug to go out and do those things to spend your time having some fun doing those things. And as you consider engaging in those things, that’s where the resistance comes in. This resistance against the very thing that you want to do. It’s a fascinating phenomenon to watch because you know you wanna do it and yet when the time comes,

even if you have calendared it, even if you’ve decided, okay, on Saturday morning I’m going to spend two hours from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM just working on a craft project or planting flowers or going for a walk, whatever the thing is that you put in there, it’s gonna get to be about 9 45 and you’re gonna feel resistance to that very thing that you created time for and that you really want to do.

Your brain’s gonna throw up to you a whole bunch of reasons why doing that right now isn’t a good idea. Why you should just do it later. And instead right now you should unload the dishwasher or do a load of laundry or whatever other left brain have to check off list thing is popping up. And if we listen too much to that lower brain,

then that is exactly what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna put off that right brain activity. We are going to give into the resistance and we are not going to engage. But here’s a really fascinating thing about the resistance if you know it’s coming and it will come. So let’s just get that right out there. All these things that you wanna do just for fun,

you’re going to have resistance to when the time comes to do it. So if you know that it’s going to be coming, then we don’t have to make its presence be a problem. And what I mean by that is when it comes time to do that thing, just do it. Just sit down and start doing it. And you can even tell yourself,

you know what? I’m gonna do this for five minutes and if I really don’t wanna be doing this after five minutes, then I give myself permission to go do something else. And what I think you’re going to find is that when you set yourself into motion and whatever that right brain activity is that you know that you really wanna do, but in the moment when it comes time to do it,

you feel resistance toward it and a whole bunch of excuses as to why you can’t do it right now, pop up. If you just say, you know what, not today, I’m going to do it anyway for at least five minutes. You’re gonna find that after three or four minutes, your whole nervous system relaxes and you actually start to enjoy the thing and you’ll just keep going.

You might even go longer than the time you had originally set aside. So why is it so important for us to do this? It’s important because of the impact that it has on your nervous system. Number one, being able to show yourself that just because you have resistance to something doesn’t mean that you don’t have the capacity to still do it. Number two,

it reminds you of how important it is to be engaged in those right brain activities, those creative type activities in order to create some balance. Number three, it helps to offset a lot of the mind chatter of the lower brain that the left side activities tend to feed. So the things that cause stress and anxiety, all those things that we have, the procrastination tendencies against,

all those adulting things that feel very pressurized, that we hold judgment against ourselves for not completing. By engaging in right brain activities, we actually help balance out the emotional impact of everything on the other side. So that balance is really, really important. Now, there are some things that we can do to help ourselves to just not give in to that resistance when it pops up.

One of them I’ve already shared, it’s just to do it anyway. So just to tell yourself, okay, I’m gonna do this for five minutes and if I’m not having a good time doing this, then I give myself permission to set this activity aside and go do something else. So that’s one hack. Another way that we can deal with this resistance is before we even have it scheduled,

like have it calendared on when we’re gonna do it, whatever the thing is that we’re going to do, write ourselves a little note as to why we wanna do this thing. Remember, these are things that you want to do. These aren’t the have tos. These are the things that you wanna do. So why do you wanna do it? Maybe you wanna do it because you think it’s gonna be relaxing.

Maybe you wanna do it because you know that you enjoy doing it, that it’s fun and that you always feel better afterwards. Maybe you wanna do it because you wanna create, if you’re doing something crafty, you wanna create something for yourself or for somebody else or for your home, there’s a reason why you wanna do those things. Maybe you wanna do it just because you wanna be outside,

because you want to enjoy the the blooming flowers two or three months from now. From the flowers that you flower seeds that you plant right now, like whatever the thing is, there’s a reason why you actually do want to do the thing. And it’s not some like pressurized adulting thing, which is where we come up with resistance. I’m talking about these are fun things that really only matter to you.

It’s probably not gonna matter to anybody else. Whether or not you plant flowers or you paint some picture or you spend an hour singing to the radio, but it’s gonna matter to you. And those very things are going to help fill you up and light you up in a way that all of the very logical and responsible things in the world are never going to do.

So if you’ll write yourself a little note as to why you wanna do this, that when you bump up against that resistance, you can pull that out to remind yourself because in that moment where that resistance is at the highest, that’s not your higher self trying to talk you out of this. Let’s be very clear. The resistance doesn’t come from that higher version of you that knows that you need the connection with these things.

That resistance comes in the moment when it’s time to take action from that lower part of your brain that’s trying to keep you safe. And that alerts to anything that’s unfamiliar. So why is it alerting now in this thing that you know is going to make you feel good because you don’t have a habit of doing it? That’s the simplest reason. Spending time doing something creative,

going for a walk, painting, listening to music without any other agenda to accomplish anything on a to-do list that feels super uncomfortable for the lower brain because the odds are, if you’re anything like me, you have not been spending regular time doing any of those things. You were probably a very good student. You finished all of your academics, you got into your professional career and you have been driven and focused on that.

And this trying to live your life in these tiny little moments outside of your work schedule. And you’ve probably been exhausted a lot of those times if you haven’t quite yet learned how to disconnect and how to leave work at work and to create that balance. And so your mind doesn’t actually set down, settle down once you get away from the clinic and then you have your adulting to-do list that you’re just trying to push through to get done.

A lot of things you’re putting off until the very last minute minute because we are very well practiced at scrambling to meet deadlines. It’s something that our educational system quite honestly has reinforced over the years. And so this idea of just carving out time to go do something fun without any like reason other than you just want to do it feels really unfamiliar. And so the lower brain,

because unfamiliar means probable death, it’s gonna tell you not to do it. It’s gonna give you a million reasons why and it’s going to bring this resistance up. And if we listen, it will talk us out of it. So having that thing written out for you, a little few notes written out for yourself as to why you wanna do this is a great reminder in the moment,

setting up a time in advance. So deciding when am I gonna spend time doing this? Putting that on the calendar and then just remaining aware that, you know what, yeah, the resistance is going to come up when I, when this time hits. That’s okay. You know it’s coming. You don’t have to believe it, you just do it anyway,

five minutes and give yourself permission. If I’m not enjoying myself after five minutes, I can do something else. If you’ll do just those little things, something magical iss gonna happen. You’re going to get the benefit of engaging in those activities that you have resistance against. As you continue this practice week over week there, there’s a compounding effect to that positive emotional and energetic experience that’s actually going to help shift the way that you engage with everything else.

So it’s a compounding positive benefit. The other thing that happens is that you show yourself that just because you feel resistance doesn’t mean that you give in. So you start to build confidence in keeping your word to yourself. And that is one of the most powerful things that you can do because when you decide for you what you’re gonna do and then you hold to that,

even when your brain offers you a million reasons not to, you are teaching yourself that you have your back, own back no matter what. That keeping your word to you is valuable. And as you teach yourself that you are trustworthy and you are capable of maintaining a reliable and a predictable relationship with you, then all of those external relationships and situations that can be pretty unpredictable don’t have as much impact anymore.

Your stability is no longer dependent on the predictability of the circumstances around you that you will never control. Instead, your stability becomes only dependent on you. And because you are predictable when it comes to the way that you treat yourself, you become much more powerful and content and even courageous in the way that you interact with the world. So my friends, the next time that you bump up against resistance,

just take a step back and ask yourself, is this resistance or is this procrastination with the type of activity that you’re avoiding or trying to avoid? You’re gonna be able to tell which it is. If it’s procrastination, then just get real honest with yourself. Is this something that I actually want to do? Am I telling myself a big story about how I have to do this and how it’s gonna take a bunch of time and how I don’t want to?

Because if you’re going to do it, there’s no upside to telling yourself that kind of dramatic story about it. If you’re going to pay your bills, if you’re gonna call back Mrs. Smith, if you’re going to clean your bathroom, then the amount you suffer before you actually get it done is completely optional and totally dependent on the story you tell yourself about the tasks at hand.

All of that is part of procrastination. You’re gonna be able to tell the difference between procrastination and resistance because procrastination is gonna feel heavy, it’s gonna feel pressurized and it’s gonna, you’re gonna have a lot of anxiety around it and you’re gonna feel pretty judgmental toward yourself. Resistance on the other hand, is different resistance. The activities that we feel resistance to are not typically shoulds.

They’re not have toss, they’re typically fun activities. They’re typically activities that would be just for us. They’re not gonna be necessarily productive in the eyes of society. They’re going to be activities that you know that you enjoy. They’re going to maybe with the the, depending on how chatter your brain is about it, they’re gonna be things that your mind might offer you the opinion that,

that it would be selfish or irresponsible to spend your time doing those things. And we just have to dismiss that because that’s not true. It’s neither selfish nor irresponsible to spend your time doing those things. And so it’s gonna be so easy with those things that fall under the resistance category to trade them to trade the time for that, for something that you,

that feel fills in, that falls into the other ca category of procrastination. But the only reason that that happens is because you are probably functioning in getting your procrastinated to do list done under the pressure of a deadline, if you will instead tackle those items on your to-do list before they become so time critical, you’ll have more space to calendar in the right brain creative just for you fun activities,

and then actually follow through with those when the time comes up. So that resistance is actually eased a little bit by being super honest with ourselves in what kind of tasks fall into both categories. And as you start spending more and more time in the activities that you have resistance to, you are going to find that your overall emotional wellbeing increases. Your net emotional state is gonna go up.

You’re going to have more joy, you’re going to have more energy, you’re going to have more confidence. And as you create more and more of that for yourself than all those silly things on that other to-do list, suddenly get a whole lot easier. All right, my friends, I would love it if you would play around with the idea of resistance and procrastination this week.

Be super curious and compassionate. Compassionate with yourself. Remember, there is no place for self-judgment and shame in any of this. This is all just a journey and an exploration. And as you continue to be curious about yourself, then you are going to find what works the best for you. ’cause remember my friends, you’re the only one who knows what’s right for you.

And as long as you continue to prioritize what’s on your heart, then you are absolutely on the right path. I hope you guys have a beautiful week, and I’ll see you next time. Bye for now.