Your Grey Matter
Alycia Oliver is the Founder of Your Grey Matter, a space for growth, empowerment and connection. She is a Masters of Counselling Student at Adler University with additional training in Lifespan Integration (Level 1), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety, Play Therapy, and Gottman Couples Therapy (Level 1).
INTRODUCE YOURSELF! TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR FORMAL AND INFORMAL EDUCATION.
I’m a curious, growth-seeking psychology student with an ambitious goal to empower and support others through their magical journey of self-discovery and healing. I would define myself as an empath, a go-getter, and an optimist. From a young age I have been drawn to pushing my limits and smashing stereotypical expectations that may hold me back. When I began exploring pushing boundaries as I child, it presented as rebellion, hyperactivity and pushing others buttons. As time went on I learned to harness this energy in a more productive way. Today I am constantly checking in with myself to see if I am living in my comfort zone, on the edge of it, or in what I call the “stretch zone”. It is my goal to ensure I am not staying stagnant and I want to help you do the same!
With this perspective in mind I have traveled across the country to get my first degree in Psychology and Sociology and I am now completing my Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology. I am also certified in Lifespan Integration Therapy (Level 1), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety, Play Therapy, and Gottman Family and Couples Therapy (Level 1). In addition to my formal education, I attribute much of my learning to my personal life experiences. I believe we have so much to learn from what’s sitting right in front of us- we just need the knowledge and skills to decipher it. I aim to provide people the knowledge and tools to deepen their understanding of themselves and their relationships with others.
When I began exploring pushing boundaries as I child, it presented as rebellion, hyperactivity and pushing others buttons. As time went on I learned to harness this energy in a more productive way.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OR SKILL YOU LEARNED INSIDE THE CLASSROOM?
Through hours of group discussion on triggering and vulnerable topics, I have learned the power of language. Growing up we integrate and adopt the language of those closest to us and often times they are not politically correct or emotionally considerate. We never know what others are going through, or what their loved one’s are going through. Before you call someone “retarded” or loosely say “that girl is so ano”, it is important to think twice as that person may be struggling with an eating disorder or have a sibling that is mentally/physically disabled. The english language is so comprehensive, I encourage others to explore words that are not connected to shame and power.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OR SKILL YOU LEARNED OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM?
Listening to your body is the most powerful thing you can do. To live a life with intention and purpose it is crucial to be connected to yourself. It is a life long process to master our own minds, but I believe this should always be a work in progress. Often times it is easier to pick up on and identify emotional cues others are giving off. While at the same time we miss the important words our bodies try to communicate to us. It is important to continuously engage in the work to understand your behavioral patterns and in turn, the bodily responses those behaviors produce. Once we understand this, you can unlock the power of identifying responses prior to them occurring! In this way, we can teach ourselves to stop the anxiety attack that may occur or stop the anger that is boiling up inside of us.
WHO WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TEACHER?
To date my most memorable teachers have been my romantic partners. In relationships you bump up against your truths and your shadows (areas of yourself that are less than flattering). When in a committed relationship you’re often forced to look into a mirror- I believe this mirror to be a great teaching tool. If you’re in a supportive and nurturing relationship where open communication can occur, your partner can be your greatest teacher.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR GREY MATTER? WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE COMMUNITY YOU’RE BUILDING.
Each week, I am absorbing and learning an abundance of information that is not just applicable to people in the field of psychology, but to every single human on this planet. The more I learn, the more I realize how important it is for others to have access to this information. Having this knowledge can feel like a super power at times and I want to share this power with others! The amount of positive change I have experienced is remarkable, so much so I would like to pass this on to others. That being said, I would like to offer others bite-size, digestible information to summarize the books I’ve read, podcasts I’ve listened to, and trainings I’ve attended. After all, sharing is caring!
It is my goal, and my dream, to build a community of conscious humans that are dedicated to personal growth and gaining self-awareness. This community of curious and growth-oriented people can ignite a sense of empowerment and connection within each other. Your Grey Matter is a page people can return to during times of struggle and continuously visit to stretch and expand their perspective on human behavior. Being part of the Grey Matter Community will give you access to the tools needed to understand the complexities of why people behave and feel the way they do. I offer activities, journal prompts, and blog-like posts to keep your brain jogging!
BETWEEN WORK, SCHOOL, YOUR NEW PLATFORM AND (HOPEFULLY) SOME PLAY, YOU HAVE A LOT ON YOUR PLATE. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIME MANAGEMENT AND STRESS MANAGEMENT TIPS?
Self-compassion, self-compassion, self-compassion. In order to maintain everything in my life I have learned that it is okay to let something slide if I have to. The reality is, it is not possible to do everything in the way I want to (the perfectionist, over-achiever way). Although I do plan ahead, and allocate my time for each segment of my life, I try to listen to myself when I am resisting the work. To work when you are burnt out is highly unproductive. I have learned to utilize each day in the most productive way possible to get everything done. It is important to understand what times of the day you are most productive and when your mind tends to shut down. Hold yourself accountable, set small but attainable goals, and just keep taking one step forward every day.
Self-compassion, self-compassion, self-compassion. In order to maintain everything in my life I have learned that it is okay to let something slide if I have to.... To work when you are burnt out is highly unproductive
To manage stress it is important to reflect on what really fills your cup. Identify the things that energize you. The things that you do JUST for you, not others, and do that. Also, I would suggest learning self-soothing techniques. If you can learn the techniques that truly work to calm yourself down, you will not rely on others to do this job. This will make you feel more in control and naturally reduce your stress and anxiety. Self-Soothing Techniques often focus on the senses- put on a candle or essential oils, have a hot shower, drink warm tea. I encourage you to google more and give it a go- this is a trial-and-error process.
WHAT IS ONE LESSON YOU YOU’VE LEARNED THAT YOU’D LIKE YOUNG GIRLS GROWING UP TODAY TO KNOW?
Boundaries are important to begin experimenting with and setting as early as possible. If you do not feel comfortable, do not proceed. Boundaries teach people how to treat you and they teach people how to treat themselves. I would tell younger ladies to stop apologizing for everything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Let yourself take the space and reflect on why it is making you feel this way. It is okay to slow down and take some time for yourself and it is surely okay to set your boundaries.
Boundaries teach people how to treat you and they teach people how to treat themselves. I would tell younger ladies to stop apologizing for everything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW OR WHAT IS YOUR TOP BOOK RECOMMENDATION?
Attached by Dr. Amir Levine is a book that I believe everyone should read at one point in their lives. It touches on the varying attachment styles individuals have adopted in their childhood, which persists into their adulthood and impacts their relationships. In understanding your attachment style, you are able to understand why you behave the way you do with your parents, close friends, and romantic partners. Patterns break when we can view a situation with a new perspective and change not only our behavior but our internal dialogue about the problem. As long as we believe the problem is outside of us, the pattern will find a way to present itself in your life.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY?
Today I learned that we would rather control the pain we know rather than the pain we don’t know. I believe this to be an insightful and powerful statement. When I heard this quote I could immediately link it to areas of life it could apply to, such as why people stay in relationships they are no longer happy in or why people don’t leave jobs they don’t feel appreciated or stimulated at.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU?