• How to be Clear, Confident and Trust Your Food Choices

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    With an overwhelming amount of food choices at any given moment, it can be challenging to be clear, confident, and trusting of your food choices.

    Not only the number of choices we have (go down the cereal or yogurt aisle of any supermarket in the States) but also the food and nutrition information/advice we are exposed to—regardless of fact or fiction—is, in a word, excessive.

    How do you know what is best?

    What is “good” for you?

    What will satisfy you?

    Does the portion size on the package make sense given your hunger, the actual amount of food, the type of nutrition (protein, carbohydrate, fat), portion description, etc.?

    It’s easy to be confused, no matter how smart you are! How will you ever trust your food choices?

    And then we factor in the emotional component…

    The part of your brain that wants permission to have whatever you like when you like. It may scream for ice cream for every meal, focusing only on immediate relief. That part of you probably doesn’t want to slow down, so look inside yourself and find out what you like.

    That’s OK. You need this part of you for emergencies when making a snap decision. Gratefully, most of the time, it isn’t an emergency.

    It would be best if you had a plan to break the habit of impulsively reacting to food.

    Conscious Eating provides a foundation for building a better, more peaceful relationship with food so you can trust your food choices.

    What if your emotional part seeks comfort, excitement, interest, pleasure, escape, or something else?

    You probably know what I’m about to say; it’s nothing new.

    Comfort foods are just that, created to satisfy an emotional need. They’re usually meant to provide immediate relief from what’s troubling you.

    That’s why they work to comfort you while you’re enjoying the food. But then you’re reminded of your desires beyond the immediate, and guilt, shame, and disappointment reappear.

    This is where Conscious Eating is your “most terrible gift,” as an old colleague used to say. It’s terrible in that it isn’t easy, but a gift in that it sets you free!

    Trusting yourself and being emotional is rarely thought of together, yet it’s often helpful.

    It can be like your first swim of the summer.

    Dive in and swim around a bit and get to know the temperature.   

    Feel the firmness of the sand beneath your feet and the lightness when you wade into the waves.

    They lift you up and then gently sit you back down on the soft sand swirling around your toes as the tide recedes. Peace on the water is restored…until the next wave…

    This process leads you to Conscious Eating—developing the skills you need to ride the wave of emotion.

    This is the process:

    • feeling
    • experiencing
    • understanding
    • moving through

    You can move through stress eating and reach a place where you no longer need it and you can trust both your food choices and your emotions.

    You feel at peace with yourself, and food has its proper place- nourishment that allows you to enjoy yourself and live your life with consciousness and presence –nourishment in mind, body, and heart.

    Learning to trust your food choices is a three-part process.

    1. Have a thoughtful plan about your “Big Picture.” What is your overall goal? It is not short-term, “six weeks to a bikini body,” but what do you want in life? Rarely is dieting about just losing weight. All thoughts, feelings, meanings, etc., are wrapped up in “I want my body to be different” and moving toward “I want to have peaceful, fulfilling relationships with myself and others.”
    2. Thoughtfully assess your current situation. You will practice being present a lot! Some questions we’ll explore are: What are your options – food, stress relief, work, home, etc.? What is your current energy level, and how does this determine what comes next? Are you authentically living from your heart?
    3. Keep your focus on your future. What will your life be like when you’re at peace and have the goal in hand? This is your payoff, the big motivator- living the life you need and desire! Visualize your life in the future as you want it to be. Create small goals to help you step toward the larger goal each day. Before you know it, you’ll be much closer and more at peace than you think.

    Clear, conscious choice requires you to think about and choose your next move. Although this can feel complicated, it’s the natural process of growth.  Let’s get started!

    The Big Picture or Your Vision for Your Life

    When you look at your life, how do you want it to be? What kind of life are you creating? What are the most important components, values, and lifestyles that lead you to peace?  Is this the life you need to live for fulfillment and contentment?

    Two critical aspects of this question are:

    1. What do you want your relationship with your body to be like?
    2. How do you need to talk to yourself so that you continue to grow?

    The big picture is an evolving process where you refine as you go.

    You can define your goals through brainstorming, mind maps, vision boards and goal sheets. These are all great ways to help you determine what’s essential in your life.

    When you focus on growth, you’ll see patterns and ideas repeat. Do they capture your future vision for your life?

    Although you may not be able to plan down to the exact job, home, or body, you can think about the qualities you need in these areas of your life and invest in transforming them.

    You can get a sense of your future life with statements like,

    “I want to work in a company that values employees’ ________ (creativity, family, innovation, free time, etc.).”  

    “I want to live in a community that values _________ (sustainability, conversation, density, fresh country air, privacy, etc.).”

    This will guide you to be on the lookout for what you want and see if it feels like a good fit.

    You’ll begin to trust yourself, especially when it comes to more minor decisions like your food choices.

    Remember, you can choose something different if you get there and find it wasn’t what you thought.

    Use the information to guide your next choice and grow in your confidence and trust in yourself.

    Assess your current life situation

    Now that we’ve got the big picture in focus, getting there is a process of smaller steps or choice-by-choice decisions you make daily.

    To get there, you’ll make choices that sometimes align with Conscious Eating and occasionally don’t.

    You don’t need to be perfect. Your mistakes will help you identify where you are and how to get to the next place.

    Keep your big picture as your foundation for the skills you develop along the way and use them regularly.

    You’ll need a process to help you through the challenges.  Give yourself the time and attention you need to learn new skills. Changing stress eating requires intention and a process of conscious choice-making.

    Some ideas to keep you present for yourself:

    • Develop a positive growth-oriented mantra; you can find examples here.
    • Journal to keep you focused on the present and get the internal chatter out of your head.
    • Practice yoga, mindfulness, and simple stretching. These mind/body practices can help you get your mind and body in sync.
    • Do only one thing while eating. Eat in peace. Sit at the table and enjoy your food. You may find that you get full faster or that what you thought was enough wasn’t, and you need more. You may discover that you don’t like what you thought you did. Being quiet when you eat has many things to teach you.
    • When your mind wanders down the path of self-doubt, reach out a hand and pull yourself back to growth. Read positive quotes, listen to fun music, and call a friend. There is a push and pull with growth, always inching in the direction of growth.

    Keep your focus on the future and trust your follow-through

    Keep your eyes on the future. This is especially important when you’re developing new habits and your way of being within yourself is different. Like most new things it takes time to learn the ins and outs of new habits.

    Transformation requires fortitude.

    There are lots of things that can be improved. Take the opportunity to learn more about yourself and how to make adjustments that help you reach your goals.

    Shift any negative internal dialogue into curiosity.

    “If I thought about this in the context of my big-picture goals, how would I do things differently?”

    Take action

    Make a plan, and you will get there bit by bit. If you feel a challenge sweeping you away, take a minute to check your point of view and refocus.

    New ways initially feel clunky because you haven’t built up the experience of doing things the new way and that’s okay.

    You’ll learn that, just like standing on the shore, you will find the spot where the waves are no threat. They pleasantly and peacefully wash over your feet, relaxing in the sand. Even when it feels different, it’s also pleasant and perspective-shifting.

    Change is a process of interrelated exchanges and adjustments

    Think about Conscious Eating as a cycle with moving parts that are both unique and predictable at the same time.

    Sometimes, you focus on the big picture and get solid in where you’re going.

    Sometimes, you’re focused on the present, working with the emotion you’re experiencing in the moment and rolling through turbulent waves.

    Other times, you focus on the future, visualizing your life a week, month, or year from now and bask in the feelings of contentment.

    Each part of the process needs the other to move forward.

    Continuing to make adjustments as you become more confident in the skills you develop along the way.

    You are allowing general emotionality to become a specific feeling that you recognize and know what helps you move through it so that you care for yourself compassionately.

    Summing up

    You can be straightforward and confident and trust your food choices.

    This road is much less about specific foods, which isn’t the point anyway.

    Clarity is knowing what is best for you now and trusting that you have the strategy and skills for wise choices.

    You know that life is ever-evolving, and participating in creating the life you need and desire requires flexibility and grace.

    Peace with food is right there for you.

  • How Compassion Makes You A Better Person

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    Can compassion make you a better person?

    You might have heard how compassion helps your well-being. But why does it help you, and how does it relate to your well-being? Compassion is feeling the other person’s suffering and wanting to help relieve it. The opposite of compassion may be harshness, judgment, or even callousness. Generally, being indifferent to another’s suffering or hard-hearted is the opposite.

    Many researchers hypothesize that humans evolved to experience compassion because the resulting emotions and behaviors improved the survival of our ancestors. All people experience different levels of compassion depending on their own experiences, values, and beliefs about what is possible.

    Researchers also found that people are likely to feel compassion for those in their social group since they can better understand the point of view their group holds. There may be an evolutionary basis for this, as they were more likely to survive if they aligned with the group’s goals. Conversely, it’s easier to view competitor groups as outsiders or different and, therefore, feel less compassionate for them.

    How is empathy different?

    Many people assume compassion and empathy are the same since both emotions are similar and help you feel connected. However, it can be helpful to differentiate their differences in several ways. Researchers define empathy as sharing another’s suffering. At the same time, compassion adds another layer of feeling warmth, concern, and care for the other and a desire to improve the other person’s well-being.

    An empathetic response to another can lead the person to move away from the emotional situation to avoid discomfort. The biological drive to avoid pain is intense. However, a compassionate response, which includes a desire to be helpful to the person experiencing pain, often means getting even closer to the emotional situation. Researchers also found that people who feel compassion for others are more likely to help the sufferer than people who feel empathic distress.

    Can you learn to be more compassionate?

    Research in this area has grown over the last few decades, showing that compassion benefits both the giver and the receiver. There are a variety of positive outcomes in experiencing compassion, including reduced depression and anxiety. So, how do you increase your compassion?

    One recent line of research has involved contemplative practices such as meditation to increase compassionate feelings towards others. Loving-kindness meditation, or Metta, is one example of this. This meditation focuses on a short phrase to wish others well and notice the pleasant feelings they experience in the process. Long-term practice of loving-kindness meditation and other meditations with a similar focus functionally change in the brain. One study found that experienced meditators with compassion in their practice have a more robust neural response in an area of the brain associated with compassion than novice meditators.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to practice loving-kindness meditation for years to receive its benefits. Other researchers found that a short practice benefits the meditator and the person being mediated. There are numerous guided loving-kindness meditations available that you can try.

    Can you be too compassionate?

    What is compassion fatigue and how can you prevent it?

    The benefits of feeling and expressing compassion are clear. However, the research also shows there are disadvantages, and that’s when compassion fatigue can happen. Compassion fatigue is defined as “a more user-friendly term for secondary traumatic stress disorder, which is nearly identical to PTSD, except that it applies to those emotionally affected by the trauma of another.”

    Compassion fatigue is an emotional investment many experience with others they care about. Even if you’re not in the helping professions, you can still experience compassion fatigue related to someone you’re close to.

    Compassion fatigue is similar to burnout, but compassion fatigue includes “absorbing” the other’s emotional experience. Burnout focuses on the stressful situations in your own life.


    Compassion brings us closer to one another and improves both the givers’ and receivers’ lives. While the feeling can lead to adverse outcomes such as compassion fatigue, it has many benefits. Improving self-care practices that support healthy boundaries, emotional mastery and habits that increase well-being can prevent compassion fatigue.

  • 7 Ways ‘Should’ Leads to Stress and How to Breakthrough

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    Have you ever noticed that telling yourself – “I should…” leads to more stress, disappointment and self-criticism instead of motivating you to take action?

    Sometimes, it seems like ‘I should’ is like a giant electronic billboard in your mind flashing messages like, “I should do more work today,” “I should say yes,” or “I should skip the cake.”

    ‘I should’ often leads to anything you believe will help you break free from being overwhelmed, overcommitted and stressed out to the point where you lose sight of your goals.

    So many negative thoughts designed to keep you in line and follow the ‘I should’ find their way into your life. They usually come in quick succession, “I’m lazy,” “I’m not a nice person,” or “I don’t have any willpower,” and the goal fades into the background.

    “I should…” functions as a limit you ultimately set for yourself, but it lacks commitment to follow through. It’s a way to feel wrong about something you don’t want.

    The result is feeling guilt, shame, hopelessness, etc. To feel better and lift your mood, it’s easy to reach for food and stress eating is the result.

    This is the opposite of feeling motivated and adopting a growth mindset that leads to possibility. With this mindset, your relationship with yourself moves toward following your dreams and accomplishing your goals.

    Take a moment and close your eyes; think of the phrase, “I should.” What feelings do you notice? Are they positive or negative? Hopeful or hopeless?

    Now, take another moment and think of the phrase, “I can.” What feelings do you notice? Do you have options you can take? Do you feel like you have choices?

    This subtle shift from ‘I should’ to ‘I can’ opens your mind to new possibilities.

    You might take a risk and see how it works out, you might make a decision that doesn’t go anywhere and there’s an excellent possibility that with a bit of focus on “can,” you will make decisions that propel you more fully into your life.

    Challenging the way you talk to yourself helps you improve your self-relationship.

    What would change if you spoke to yourself in a similar way that a great coach speaks to their team? I can think of a few things that would change. You must be clear encouraging, challenge doubts, and hold yourself accountable to move forward, especially when it’s complicated.

    This one change in your self-talk can change how you think of yourself and your ability to go after a goal.

    I believe that you have what you need already. You probably think life can improve since you’re here reading this post. But, even if you’re skeptical, that’s OK, keep moving forward. , the fact that you’ve read to this point is verification that you have hope for your future. Maybe you need some ideas to get you there?

    Keep reading to learn how ‘I should’ holds you back and strategy to break through the limitations.

    Here are 7 ways that ‘I should’ holds you back and alternatives to keep you moving:

    1. ‘I should’ leads to shame

    Brene Brown referred to Jungian psychology’s view of shame as the swamp land of the soul.

    Shame is the feeling that there’s something wrong with you. When you make a mistake, it’s not about the error; it’s about the false belief that there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. ‘I should…’ leads to failing to do what you think you need to do; when you don’t, you’re a terrible person. It’s emotional in the swamp land.


    We all do things that we need to apologize for. We’re all human; trying to muddle through mistakes is part of lifelong learning. You can create a more hospitable environment within yourself instead of a shameful one. Take responsibility when you need to and forgive yourself. You can use the experience to become a better you. Self-compassion will lead you out of the shame swamp.

    2. ‘I should’ leads to guilt

    ‘Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s actions or lack of action.’ -Audre Lord.

    Guilt is the feeling of self-blame for having done something wrong. Like shame, we all do things that aren’t helpful or nice, selfish or unkind. Guilt can hold you accountable so you understand the effect of your actions on others and yourself. When ‘I should’ enters the picture, you are grounding your guilt on something that hasn’t occurred. It’s like feeling bad about not having the future you think you need but cannot make happen.


    Kindness and choice lead to action and allow you to make choices. Guilt traps you, stops you; you’re at a standstill. The choice is active; you lean forward and gain momentum toward action. Choice can change you and with a bit of kindness mixed in for good measure, you can make choices that move your life forward.

    3. ‘I should’ limits possibilities

    When you start feeling wrong about the future, your ability to think about other possibilities or options narrows. “I should” creates an environment where your thoughts loop around the perceived failure rather than looking at the situation clearly and asking yourself what you can do better. Looking toward better outcomes in the future promotes growth and gets your creativity focused on new ideas for a better tomorrow.


    Take a moment or an hour or a day to step back from the “I should…” The distance can help you gain perspective on the situation. Feeling wrong about something doesn’t get anyone in a positive frame of mind. Spend some time in nature, get some fresh air and go for a walk. When you get your body moving, feel the wind on your cheek, and the sunshine warming your skin, it’s easier to be present, think about what you want and define your goal. The possibilities are endless.

    4. ‘I should’ makes your world smaller

    Should closes your world in around you. It keeps you fixed on the viewpoint that this is how things have always been and how they will stay! It’s like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh; his expectations are limited. He expects that he will always receive less than he wants or deserves. His world is small even when his friends offer to help him, his energy is low, his expectations are low, and he stays emotionally low. He can’t see past his current situation.


    There are problems in life. We all have them; some are of our own making and others not. You can look at them as they are, consider your options and make a plan. Sometimes, the process is slow, and sometimes, you’ll know right away what works. Problems come and go. It’s your actions that make the difference. Being conscious of your choices makes your world more extensive and gives you more options.

    5. ‘I should’ keeps you from what you want

    Sometimes, people return to their childhood, college, early career, etc. They look at the events or choices they made, assume a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the past and the present, and justify their regret about where they are today. Reviewing the past from this framework is one of the most effective ways to stay stuck on the disappointments you’ve suffered rather than focus on what you need to do to get where you want to be.


    With an abundance of self-compassion and kindness, you can understand the underpinnings of the choices you made/make through the lenses of your history. The danger in giving a painful past more energy is that it keeps you locked in the pain. Understanding and action allow you to move beyond the circumstances that got you here. Kindness, compassion, and love lead to better things.

    6. ‘I should’ keeps you wrapped up in a wish

    When should it take away your ability to move forward, hoping and wishing, maybe even longing, enter the picture? This is the stuff of fairy tales. Somehow, the hero will come somewhere to save the day, and everything will be all better. This rarely happens. That another person would know you so well to see what you need and freely give it to you, resulting in your fulfillment. Hopefully, most babies receive this kind of love and care, but as you grow, you become more complex, and it becomes nearly impossible to know precisely what another wants.


    Hopes and wishes are essential to moving forward and must be accompanied by doing what’s necessary to make things happen. You have to take the actions that move you forward. Without taking action, you are a dreamer without a plan. Be a dreamer with a plan. That’s where you can be assured something will happen that moves you closer to what you need and want.

    7. ‘I should’ is the illusion of responsibility that masks a fear of change

    Fear of change is real, even when change would give you something much better than you currently have. Responsibility comes in many forms and one form is not masking the reality. Focusing on being responsible when it’s not necessary seems honorable, but that dynamic serves a different need. The reality is that it takes you further away from where you want to be to keep things the same. Change takes courage.


    Change, even when wanted, is challenging – it takes focused, intentional effort. It’s easier to stay the same and do nothing. The price is that your hope fades a little bit every day that you’re stuck. When you tell yourself, ‘I should,’ it’s an attempt to accept responsibility, but the result is being stuck. Effective responsibility is putting yourself out there, taking short-term risks, and being a little uncomfortable to experience long-term fulfillment.


    When you take the risk to move away from “I should” and step more fully into your life, you get closer to what you want. Action can lead you to growth in the direction your life needs to be. Life usually doesn’t guarantee happiness and fulfillment every day; at the same time, there are many beautiful days ahead.

  • 3 Keys You Need to Practice Self-Acceptance

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    Have you heard this advice on how to practice self-acceptance?

    • love yourself regardless of your body
    • you need to love yourself and you’ll overcome your ‘trouble spots’ and learn to love them
    • you need to (fill in the blank – work harder, practice acceptance, stop focusing on the negative, etc.) a little more

    If I had a penny for every time a client has told me some version of one of the statements above…

    It seems that this type of advice makes logical sense. But the problem is that it treats your body as a thing or object you can easily change. It’s like you’re a sculptor and your body is a lump of clay easily shaped, molded and manipulated.

    But you’re probably not a sculptor and your body isn’t easily changed either.

    The reality is that you’re more than your body. Your mind and body can’t be separated, and as much as you may try to treat your body as if you can mold it at will, the further down the road of disappointment you’ll find yourself.

    Developing a self-acceptance based on calm and clarity fuels a self-relationship that moves you to what you want in life.

    Although you may have a guess, it’s impossible to know what someone is thinking or what their beliefs are when they remain private.

    What isn’t private is another person’s body. You might even have a judgment or two based on your observation.  

    The boundaries between what is okay to comment, what is okay to wear, or even the acceptable language to describe the body are unclear in modern society. Yet, all of these things do communicate something.

    We see this daily from pop stars wearing costumes as bare as the censors will allow, detailed discussions of their food choices and workout play-by-plays on social media to commercials selling the idea of, “I’m so bad eating this decadently sinful treat!”

    Through your body, you experience life in shape, texture, color, vibrance, pleasure and pain. When you practice self-acceptance – all of your life – the “full catastrophe,” as Zorba said in the movie Zorba the Greek, you have a fantastic chance of being happy.

    Who decides what’s acceptable?

    We’re also bombarded with visual and mental images of the correct, most desirable, perfect shape to strive to become. It comes from the media, family, and cultural ideas about what’s best.

    The question is, who’s in charge of deciding what this should be?

    It is expected to make assumptions about who’s healthy and who isn’t based on snap judgments about appearance. Sometimes, you might even do this in your thoughts about your body.

    One of the challenges in modern society is figuring out how to trust your self-knowledge when so much conflicting information is available.

    There are too many choices, and coming at you fast makes you feel overwhelmed and unclear.

    The good news is that the process of change is directly opposite!

    Lasting change takes time.

    Change requires you to disconnect from your judgments and instead allow yourself to be in a state of curiosity.

    The most important place to start is self-acceptance. Don’t click away; that’s not code for “let yourself off the hook.” Let me explain… there’s more than meets the eye here!

    Acceptance does NOT mean:

    • stagnation
    • giving up your goals
    • learning to love where you are right now regardless of your desire to change

    Life is constantly moving and shifting and so are you. You can change your life, body, relationships, talk to yourself, and many more things at any time to practice self-acceptance.

    Self-acceptance is a process.

    What acceptance means will change over time as you grow. It means integrating where you are right now while focusing on the bigger goals you have for your life!

    Acceptance aims to help you get from where you are today and point you toward greater consciousness and growth.

    With the increased consciousness, you can thoughtfully plan with care and kindness.

    The benefit is that the changes you make are more refined and speak to what you genuinely want…the possibilities are endless.

    Making conscious change

    Conscious change is a process that works best with a focused, step-by-step approach.

    It can look like:

    • learning
    • integrating
    • experimenting with what works or what doesn’t
    • shifting and adjusting
    • acclimating to the new reality

    When you lose sight of the big picture where patience, kindness, and acceptance reside, you can over-focus on specific results as proof of failure rather than a step toward creating the life you want.

    Immediate results would be excellent; however, what you learn about yourself in the struggle to figure it out will help you get what you need – faster!

    Ask yourself this question from time to time: how has your life improved, even when you make small changes?

    Conscious change allows you to focus on small changes step by step. It helps keep you motivated so you continue adjusting your actions and continually iterate, even if it takes a while.

    How people change

    In the past 30 years or so, much research and development has been published about change, the process of change and what motivates people to change.

    The Transtheoretical Model of Change was founded by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente (for more information, look here) and is systematically and practically applied with Motivational Interviewing, founded by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick (for more information, look here).

    The Model of Change, while initially used to understand how to help people struggling with substance abuse stay on the road to recovery, has been expanded. Professionals in health, business, conflict resolution, etc., also find the stages helpful to understand how people make changes and what helps at each stage of change to stay on course.

    For most people struggling with stress eating—those who have dieted and dieted and dieted and want to get off that particular merry-go-round—the insights about how people decide to change and what is necessary to pivot in another direction are helpful. Self-acceptance is a big part of it (for more information on the decision to change, look here).

    Truly looking in the mirror and being transparent with where you are right now free you from evaluation and judgment so you can practice self-acceptance and make the change you need in your life.

    There are three ways to do this – Knowing, Consciousness and Peace.

    1. Knowing

    You know that you have to do something differently for things to change and it’s painful to go through the process.

    It’s complicated when you want things to change, whether it’s for your body to be different, your relationship with food to be different, or to feel like you can be present in the moment so you can change things.

    A question that helps to narrow the focus is:

    What is the most concrete thing that will lead to results you can see, feel, experience, and trust your self-knowledge so that you can practice self-acceptance?

    Often, the answer reverts to a quick fix like a diet. “Six weeks to bikini ready” or “do this cleanse and break free from sugar cravings.” It’s enticing but not sustainable.

    Ultimately, you know that these tactics don’t lead to long-term change. You want freedom from stress, stress eating, and burnout.

    It’s a challenge to keep moving forward when the path is unsure and the changes you experience are ones you only feel from the inside.

    Acceptance is the path to a long-term transformation of your relationship with your body, allowing yourself to begin where you are each day and keep moving forward.

    2. Consciousness

    Recognize where you are in the change process and decide to take action.

    It takes grit to stay the course of the slow road to change.

    If stress eating is what you want to change, every time you log on to social media, go to the grocery store, or even have lunch with a friend, you will be reminded that the process you have decided is best for you and it takes patience with yourself to stay on track.

    Trust the process, notice how you’re different today than yesterday and celebrate your success by honoring yourself – moment by moment.

    You are learning what you need to fuel your mind, body, and heart for the rest of your life.

    3. Peace

    Find what works for you and be confident in your changes so you can live with peace of mind.

    Freedom is knowing that you’re in control of your life.

    You can reach a point where you no longer unconsciously give your power away.

    When you treat yourself with respect and love, you can open yourself up and getting stuck on short-term results becomes a thing of the past, and you can practice self-acceptance.

    Self-acceptance is caring for yourself with kindness, love, and compassion.

    Kindness is the pathway toward change.

    Compassion is the fuel for a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

    Self-acceptance ultimately leads to more self-love.


    For too long, women, in particular, have accepted that feeling poorly about their bodies and disappointment in their lives is the norm. The implication that women should accept being unhappy is madness!

    If you can take the leap of faith—that love, kindness and compassion are the fuel that will help you change and support you to be where you want to be in life—then you already have a robust and supportive foundation to accept yourself and live the joyful life you want!

  • 5 Practical Ways to Be Calm and Release Stress!

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    Be calm and release stress with these 5 science-backed strategies.

    Maybe you’re feeling stressed about the future, disappointed about a relationship, frustrated about your life’s direction, or all of the above. These emotions can lead to an activated sympathetic nervous system. This matters because it’s difficult to know how to release stress and become calm again when you feel stressed or anxious.

    Calming stress or anxiety typically means that you’ve returned to your baseline level or your normal resting state, called homeostasis. Most people experience relief, fewer negative emotions, and a sense of well-being when they’re in this state.

    Stress has so many negative consequences that learning strategies to calm emotions and think clearly about your needs can directly benefit your well-being.

    Check out these simple and effective strategies to be calm – no matter what happens!

    1. Mindfulness Skills

    Mindfulness-based skills can reduce anxiety and depression, which are significant stressors in life. Sometimes, it’s a chicken or egg situation – did the stress lead to anxiety and depression, or does anxiety and depression lead to increased stress? Regardless of what happened first, mindfulness helps a lot of people. Mindfulness isn’t helpful for everyone and can result in negative experiences, so if you find it’s not for you, there are other options. But, it is a great tool to be calm and release stress when it works. Often, mindful meditations are guided, which helps you stay focused on your breathing and not on the thoughts that lead to more anxiety, depression, or stress.

    2. ​Thought Stopping

    It’s normal and even helpful to think about the difficulties in life. You might replay a horrible interaction you had with someone over and over again in your mind. Or you might keep going over your actions if the worst happened. This can help you figure out what you need to do to repair the hurt and hopefully prevent it in the future. But going over and over it like a stuck record at some point becomes rumination or uncontrolled repetitive thought cycles.

    Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to stop. There is a saying, “neurons that fire together, wire together.” This means that your thoughts can become habits and it becomes easier for your brain to keep thinking similarly. So, it can be difficult when you decide to break out of negative thought patterns.

    One of the best ways to stop repetitive thoughts is to shift the brain by focusing on something else. Forcing the brain to stop—rarely works, but action does. Your brain needs to have something to do for it to change. Distraction, changing what you pay attention to, can’t help but shift the focus. Taking a cold shower or walking briskly can grab your attention and work well. Science suggests that these strategies do help calm us down. You can also try other things – reading, watching a movie or video, calling a friend, engaging in an artistic hobby, or listening to music. There are many more, but the key is to find an activity that captures your attention (FYI, you may need to try several to find one that works).

    3. Journal

    Daily journaling about emotional experiences can result in minor and meaningful improvements in mental and physical health. ​Repetitive thoughts about the past, playing it over and over again in your head, is unhelpful; sometimes, writing about a painful experience helps to get it out of your head. This seems to be freeing and breaking the cycle, which might be why journaling can be helpful.

    Other types of journaling can help increase your ability to be calm and release stress. Gratitude journaling is another journaling that the research shows is beneficial for your well-being. When you shift your focus to what you’re grateful for, you can decrease negative and increase positive emotions, making you feel calmer.

    4. Yoga

    Yoga has been a popular mental and physical wellness activity for many years. It can help with your physical well-being by increasing your movement. It increases your flexibility and relaxes tense muscles as well. It’s also a way to calm and relax the body and mind together. The calming effect of yoga, something practitioners have known for centuries, is confirmed by current research. Doing yoga regularly can lower cortisol levels, a hormone that increases when stressed. If yoga helps you feel good, it can also support your mind and body as you calm down stress and anxiety.

    5. ​Practice Acceptance

    Relaxation techniques like those described above can help to prevent and lower negative emotional experiences. However, for some people, they can paradoxically increase negative emotional experiences. Mindfulness, yoga, and journaling aren’t for everyone. Sometimes, the solution is to practice Acceptance and passivity (versus control) over the body and mind. This is to say that instead of focusing on the outcome – less stress- we need to focus on the process – do the calming or relaxing strategies improve your quality of life? For example, instead of taking deep breaths expecting an immediate result, ‘Am I calm yet,’ focus on being present, allow yourself to experience your emotions as they happen, and then resolve them in your own time.

    In Sum

    Sometimes, stress relief seems like a distant goal, but simplifying simplifies it. Practical tools that support being calm and releasing stress can be as simple as paying attention, shifting your attention, getting ‘it’ out of your mind, or even allowing yourself to accept that stress happens and feelings can be intense and diffuse. Tell me, which strategy do you think you’ll try?