Intentional Living

  • Tips for a Great Quality of Life

    Learn what you need for a great quality of life in mind, body and heart.

    How do you know if you have a good quality of life?

    What exactly does quality of life mean anyway?

    Does quality of life simply mean you experience more happiness than disappointment or is there more to it than that?

    Many fields study quality of life, including psychology, personal development, business, and health and wellness. The term varies depending on the context in which it is used. Which is why there is no single agreed-upon definition of quality of life.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of quality of life is: “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns” (, n.d.). Since the WHO’s definition is used in many public and global health research studies it’s an important benchmark. Essentially the WHO’s definition states that quality of life is a subjective measure of an individual’s well-being. This point is debated – some researchers state that quality of life must involve objective along with subjective measures (Karimi & Brazier, 2016).

    This article focuses predominantly on how the quality of life is relevant to you and your well-being.

    Tips for Improving Your Quality of Life

    To improve your quality of life, it’s helpful to look at the different areas of life and focus on the area where there is the most room for improvement. As a starting point, you can begin by focusing on the six domains the WHO includes in its definition – Physical, Psychological, Level of independence, Social Relationships, Environment, and Spirituality/religion/personal beliefs.

    Which domain catches your attention? Is this the area that you want to improve for a great quality of life or do you feel confident and satisfied with it? Don’t worry too much about the names of the domains, what’s important is to take a step back and neutrally assess each one.

    Below are some examples and questions, based on some of the WHO’s domains which are directly related to your relationship with yourself – physical, psychological, social relationships and spirituality. I hope these questions get you thinking about how you would like to enhance your quality of life.


    This domain takes into account, health, illness, physical limitations as well as possibilities for improving your relationship with your body.

    • Does your physical health add to or detracting from your quality of life?
    • Do your food choices affect your mood and energy levels?
    • How satisfied are you with your sleep quantity and quality?
    • How often do you move your body?


    This domain focuses on emotional health and well-being, understanding of stressors, coping with feelings and your unique understanding of your mental well-being.

    • Do you manage your emotions and moods as you like?
    • Are you living in the present or do you find yourself in a cycle of distraction?
    • Are you optimistic about the future?
    • Do you feel resilient when faced with life stressors?

    Social Relationships

    In this domain focuses on the relationships with others, how comfortable and confident you are in social situations and how much enjoyment you receive from them.

    • Do you have someone to talk to about your struggles?
    • How confident are you when you meet new people?
    • Do you feel like you have good communication with your significant other/friends/family?

    Spirituality & Personal Beliefs

    The last domain in this article focuses on personal beliefs which included spirituality and religion. It might be helpful to also think about your personal values and the role they play in your quality of life.

    • Is religion/spirituality important to you?
    • Do you have people in your life that discuss your personal beliefs with?
    • Is spirituality a source of confusion for you?
    • Does the media you consume help you grow as a person?

    Your answers to the above questions and any other questions you come up with for yourself will help guide your choices. There aren’t quick fixes, but rather focused effort to live in alignment with what you need for your life. Small habit changes in your everyday life are the changes that add up to more happiness and fulfillment – two important aspects that lead to a great quality of life.

    I hope that the questions above help you focus on aspects of your life that you have the power to change. Remember to track your progress. You’ll know that you’re moving forward as you feel more and more content with your life. Journaling is also a great way to track changes. Progress can motivate you to continue your journey as you improve the quality of your life.

    In Sum

    The theory and research behind quality of life are wide-reaching but reflecting on the parts of your life that you have an opportunity to enhance can lead to great quality of life. When you focus on the parts you can change you can make a plan that works for you. Spending your time improving your quality of life also improves your overall well-being and that’s what leads to more happiness and a fulfilling life!

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  • How to Transform Your Relationship with Food for Good

    Your relationship with food…

    Being present, increasing your awareness of your emotional life, is essential for personal fulfillment.  Without it experiencing lasting change in your relationship with food, stress eating and your body isn’t likely.

    Nutrition and exercise are important, but without a shift in your emotional awareness, you’ll be right back at the start, sooner than the current diet fad ends.

    Being present

    Tomorrow is tomorrow. Future cares have future cures. And we must mind today.


    Being present is clearly assessing where you are at this moment and includes both the positive, fulfilling parts of yourself that you like as well as the draining aspects of your life that you need to either limit or use as an opportunity for growth or both.

    This only thing you need to do is be here today. When you’re present you make moment to moment choices that all add up to big changes in your relationship with food.

    Think about today and what you need right now. Shift your focus away from immediate gratification and get closer to the core of what your heart desires most. Sometimes asking yourself a question helps – do I really want to eat the chocolate bar or am I looking for a break from stress? It’s easy to grab the chocolate bar that tastes delicious and results in your brain being flooded with feel good brain chemicals. The challenge is to focus on what you really need for your well-being and your relationship with food.

    Most people who struggle with emotional or stress eating, body image, chronic dieting, developed an automatic reaction to food. What’s important to remember is that this is a brain-based behavior and it can change. What it is not is a lack of willpower or mental toughness. It’s a learned behavior and you can learn different behaviors that are more in alignment with what you want in your life.

    If you want to get off the diet merry-go-round of chronic stress eating an effective strategy is allowing yourself to accept the challenge of being present right now. You can learn how to become a mindful and conscious eater and change your relationship with food.

    Follow your own guidelines

    He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.

    Niccolo Machiavelli

    Are you in command of your present self when you’re thinking about your future self?

    The only way to ‘obey’ yourself is to listen to your own wisdom and ‘command’ your body with the clarity, kindness and compassion you need to move forward. Listen to your own good advice it’s the way to change your relationship with food.

    A plan based on your unique needs and clarity about what needs to change is a good starting point for lasting change.

    When you’re present and have guidelines in place that work best for you, then you can make choices with clarity. You can identify what you need and incorporate it into your everyday life. What you’ll build is confidence that you’re on the path of greater self-awareness and fulfillment stress eating doesn’t have a chance!

    You will get to a place where things make sense and the difficulties you experience from living with another person’s guidelines, for their food relationship is impossible. You need to listen to your mind, body and heart and do what’s right for you.

    It’s easier to notice opportunities when you’re focused on what’s working rather than struggling with what doesn’t work.

    You’re able to see things clearly as they are and your path forward, to is less a complicated relationship with food.

    Even when the path is unpredictable, when clarity is your guide, you can adjust and stay on course.

    Practice more of what works and stop doing what holds you back.

    Don’t skip the messy middle

    Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. It is all we ever have so we might as well work with it rather than struggling against it. We might as well make it our friend and teacher rather than our enemy.

    Pema Chödrön

    When thinking about your relationship with food, it’s easy to get lured into focusing on the end result, like you need to –

    • stop stress eating
    • stop criticizing your body
    • feel more comfortable

    When you’re feeling stressed out and desperate for change, it’s natural to look at someone else’s plan. A lot of the time it’s great to not reinvent the wheel. But when a new client starts coaching with me and they’ve followed someone else’s plan they usually get stuck overfocusing on the end result.

    When you skip over the middle part of change, you lose all of the stuff you need to learn. The middle part of the process is where your hard work creates the change.

    Step-by-step small changes is what creates transformation. The middle part isn’t something that can be skipped over – it’s essential.

    This phase is rich with opportunities for self-knowledge to achieve fulfillment in your life. The middle is the ‘how to change’ part of the process of changing your relationship with food. The best part is that you can use the process as a guide whenever you need it.


    Even as we live with the knowledge that each day might be our last, we don’t want to believe it.

    Sharon Salzberg

    Acceptance lays the foundation for everything you want to achieve.

    Look at yourself clearly as you are.

    It’s difficult your experience of living in the body you have isn’t pleasant, yet it’s essential. As you grow in acceptance make sure you sprinkle in a lot of the positive thoughts and feelings. Positive thoughts have the tendency to multiply and nourish your desire for change.

    When you build your future by accepting where you are right now while focusing on gaining more self-knowledge, you’re well on your way to getting your needs met and changing your relationship with food.

    Transformation cannot be built on someone else’s truths for their life.

    Transformation can only occur as you get to know who you are and where you’re going.


    Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.

    John Keats

    Getting where you’re going is faster with clarity.

    Clarity helps you identify what you need to do right now that is in alignment with your goals.

    With clarity wishing and hoping for change melts into the act of doing only what you need to do to get to where you want to be.

    Clarity gives you the opportunity to take a deep breath. When you exhale feel the weight of expectations and the pressure to conform to other’s expectations lift.

    You can finally say, “ahhhhhh,” and feel at peace that your relationship with yourself, while not perfect, it’s progressing.

    The way to make your plan work is to work on the fundamentals. Be present, follow guidelines that work for you, start from where you are today and accept yourself with clarity. This is a foundation you can build a new relationship with food and your body.

    Enjoy food and feel good about it.

  • 28 Quotes to Inspire Optimism and Energize Your Life

    If you clicked on this post, I’m guessing that a positive quote, a few words of inspiration are one of the things in life that gives you a boost.

    I love a great quote to –

    • make sense of confusing situations
    • support a more optimistic point of view
    • spark motivation when it’s low
    • reminder to be patient
    • practice compassion and gratitude

    There are so many ways that quotes nourish the mind and inspire living your life with optimism and intention.

    Quotes are one type of affirmation.

    I like to think of them as a holder of your values. When you include quotes in your daily life that speaks to where you’ve been, where you are or where you’re going, they help you focus on how you want to live your life.

    Most quotes take just a minute to read and yet they hold a lot of power.

    Here are some examples of how you easily use them throughout your day:

    -> Help you maintain a positive attitude – save it as your smartphone screen.

    -> Help your motivation at work – in a paper planner write your quote in your planner at the start of the week or in an electronic calendar put it in the header, with either option you’ll see it every time you check your schedule.

    -> You can also display positive quotes—on a post-it, on your cell phone case, on your fridge. Putting positive quotes where you can easily read them are great reminders to shift your mindset and help you achieve your goals.

    Remember – we can get used to seeing them and ‘edit’ them and stop paying attention to them – just like the pile a paper on the counter, so you’ll want to move them around from time to time.

    Positive thinking & growth mindset

    Positive quotes and daily affirmations rely on the power of positive thinking and a growth mindset. Although positive quotes and daily affirmations are different, the idea behind them is similar: they help shift your mindset toward a more positive and optimistic point of view that can improve your life.

    There is also research that shows the benefits to positive affirmations and positive thinking.

    In one study about the psychological impact of the September 11th terrorist attacks, researchers found that positive thoughts and positive emotions buffer against depression and sustain thriving in resilient people (Fredrickson et al., 2003). Also, positive thinking can be beneficial for your overall well-being, which includes less depression, a reduced risk of cardiovascular-related death, and even an increase in life expectancy (Buigues et al., 2021).

    I hope you find this list helpful!

    They are short so, easy to keep in mind and powerful so, they make an impact.

    Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light

    Albus Dumbledore

    Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.

    Carl Jung

    The most effective way to do it is to do it.

    Amelia Earhart

    If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

    Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

    Marcus Aurelius

    Say goodbye to your inner critic and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.

    Oprah Winfrey

    I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.

    Emma Stone

    Today is a good day to try.


    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

    Lao Tzu

    Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

    Albert Einstein

    We know what we are but know not what we may be.

    William Shakespeare

    No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.

    Madam C.J Walker

    Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    Winston Churchill

    Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

    Theodore Roosevelt

    I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

    Michael Jordan

    You define beauty yourself. Society doesn’t define your beauty.

    Lady Gaga

    People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder.

    Salma Hayek

    I’m excited about the aging process. I’m more interested in women who aren’t perfect. They’re more compelling.

    Emma Watson

    You have power over your mind–not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

    Marcus Aurelius

    I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.

    Mary Shelley

    Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.

    James Baldwin

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

    Charles Darwin

    If you do not change direction, you might end up where you are heading.

    Lao Tzu

    There is nothing permanent except change.


    If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

    Maya Angelou

    Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.


    If you would like even more strategies to live an intentionally happy life take the quiz!

  • How to Have a Better Relationship with Food

    A better relationship with food comes from setting kind food limits.

    So, what is a kind food limit? It is a limit that supports you, opens up growth opportunities that you want in your life and ultimately leads to greater well-being.

    A kind food limit takes into account what you desire for taste and pleasure and what your body needs to work well and feel good.

    It also accounts how you feel when you eat a particular food (physically, mentally and emotionally). It also helps you check your energy need right now and in the near future so you have the fuel you need.

    The big picture of kind food limits is that they help you to make food choices that you feel good about, so you can stop stress eating for good.

    That’s to say, you feel good in a well-rounded sense. You feel satisfied so you can focus on what’s happening in your life rather than thinking about food. Satisfaction is important because if you don’t enjoy what you’re eating or you’ll feel like there’s something missing.  And that’s the perfect setup for mindless stress eating that leaves you feeling unsatisfied and disappointed with yourself.

    Kind food limits are mostly positive, meaning that they move you toward something you need or desire.

    Some examples are:

    • Planning a meal at a favorite restaurant
    • Enjoying a meal with a friend
    • Looking forward to favorite comfort meal or dessert

    It could also be a little less glamorous and commit to a meal simply because you know your body needs it to feel better.

    You also need the nutrition to fuel your body considering what you’ve got going on for the rest of the day. You might drink a glass of milk with lunch rather than soda, because that’s what you need today. Tomorrow you may have different needs.

    Think about when you come home from vacation or after the holidays, sometimes you might need to eat more of the food you missed in the previous days or weeks. Or you might need to reset kind food limits, especially after enjoying traditional feasting foods around holidays. Eating isn’t perfect and there isn’t a need for judgement either. Life happens in cycles and kind food limits support you regardless of the cycle you’re in at the moment.

    For me, eating more traditional desserts around holidays is part of the way I connect with my culture. I eat those traditional foods in a concentrated way because they are time consuming to make, they are part of meals with family and friends and they are a connection with my ancestors.

    If I lived in Italy, I would have a different experience. I know I would enjoy those foods more frequently, but less of them, with a great cup of coffee and interesting conversation sitting outside in the sunshine. But right now, I’m in the states and it’s a very different vibe!

    If you’re like most of us and busy during work hours it’s often a grab what’s available situation – it’s easy, quiets your hunger, but ultimately most of the time not what you really want to eat. Sometimes this is just the way it goes, but when every day is a grab and go type of day it can become nearly impossible to set kind food limits.

    Well-balanced meals – most of the time – support you in a variety of different ways.

    After eating a well-balanced meal you’ll probably feel:

    • emotionally more aware
    • focused on your task
    • thinking more clearly
    • resting more deeply
    • managing feelings more accurately and peacefully

    Kind food limits also help you stop mindless eating and stress eating sooner than you expected.

    Reaching for the candy bowl on your coworker’s desk, just because it’s there can become a habit. In fact, you might even find that you walk by the coworker’s desk when you want a piece of candy!

    The feel-good part of your brain excitedly lights up at thought of candy and then the sight of it can starts the cascade of relief before you’ve even taken a bite.

    But, eating candy right before you have a big chunk of work to get done and a deadline to meet isn’t always a good idea.

    Give yourself a moment to consider the outcome you desire and make a decision based on what you want.

    Making a choice at this moment means saying, “not right now.” It doesn’t mean banishing candy, after all, candy is made for pure enjoyment. Eating for enjoyment is part of normal eating. Kind food limits are about kindness and care – of yourself and for your own long-term well-being.

    Setting kind food limits is a very achievable goal! A kind food limit helps you be more aware of your needs.  What your brain needs for fulfillment, your mind needs for satisfaction and your body needs for energy.

    Here are three practical steps you can take to set kind food limits:

    1. Identify what you’re really hungry for and/or if you’re even hungry at all.

    Slow down, rather than reaching for what’s immediately available. It may take some planning and time to get what you want and need. You’re worth the wait!

    2. Notice food rules like, “If I have this pie, I’ll need to work out x number of hours!”

    Listening to yourself requires that you become quiet and still for a moment as you learn about your needs and make decisions based on kind food limits.

    3. Eat until you’re satisfied.

    Eating to satisfaction usually happens when you eat a well-balanced meal with protein, carbs and fat. Use your body as your guide and trust the feedback you receive for what works for you. When you thrive it’s easier on your system and your body feels better.

    Being quiet so you can hear the feedback your body gives you is the pathway to develop kind food limits.

    Get to know what supports your well-being and what you like – it’s a winning combination that benefits you for years to come!

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  • How to Get Unstuck and Be Happy for Good!

    Why is it so hard to get unstuck and move forward in life?

    It’s like you’re standing at a fork in the road, unsure of which direction to take and there’s a huge tree blocking both paths. You know you have to move down one or the other, but how are you going to climb over that tree? The path that leads to less stress and more happiness is right on the other side. Take steps to climb over the tree and risk taking the wrong path? The difficulty is feeling spent and burned out and all you want is to get unstuck!

    The search for happiness seems a long way off when you’re trying to make choices that support you but you’re still struggling to find the path. The key to breaking free from this cycle is to listen to your true self. This article gives you the key points to follow so you can get unstuck and be more authentic.

    What is Authenticity?

    Being authentic means that the way you show up in your daily life is accurate with how you feel, what you think and how you express yourself – this is your true self. Rather than showing people only a particular side of yourself, you express your whole self genuinely. That means being authentic requires you to know who your true self actually is. And this requires self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-acceptance. 

    Why Authenticity Matters to Get Unstuck

    We are constantly bombarded with media, family, co-workers, friends, who tell us who to be, what to want, and how we “should” be in life. All of these influences slowly chip away at our self-knowledge and confidence about our authentic selves.

    But when who you are is a problem for someone else, you start telling yourself that who you really are isn’t okay. People pleasing can take over and lead to suppressing who you really and end up leaving you feeling lonely and disconnected from others.

    How You Lose Your Authenticity

    We are constantly balancing inner and outer aspects of ourselves in order to better fit in, to become more successful, or to find love. We are driven to find “our place” in society, and we want to be respected for who we truly are and what we have to contribute. Many high achievers are propelled even further and want to know how to live with purpose, deeper meaning and to feel fulfilled when they become a more authentic person.

    But at the same time, we live in a society that values superficiality, that strives for perfection, and defines success by the dollars in our bank account and not by how well we live our values every day. So how are we to be authentic in spite of the messages that try to convince us to be someone else?

    Why Overcoming Inauthenticity Is So Hard

    We were molded as children by our parents, teachers, religion, peers, and society to “fit in,” or match the version that they see. As a result, we develop beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are in alignment with what we were taught. Sometimes it matches our self-concept and other times it doesn’t which leads to inauthenticity and the need to get unstuck.

    This version of ourselves can be thought of as the “Adaptive Self”—the self that prioritizes fitting in, getting along, and generally doing what we’re told. This self is not without value and purpose—it helps us be functioning members of society. If you’re feeling inauthentic, the Adaptive Self might by running your life and keeping you stuck.

    To reclaim your authenticity, you need to define your authentic self –

    • the self that prioritizes
    • living in alignment with your values,
    • pursuing your purpose and passions

    so you keep moving forward in your life.

    What does it mean to be authentic so you can get unstuck?

    Being authentic means being true to yourself and living in alignment with your values, passions, and purpose. It requires honesty, courage, and vulnerability. When you are authentic, you feel more confident, fulfilled, and empowered.

    Here is your pathway to step into more authenticity:

    Identify your values

    Your values are the principles and beliefs that are important to you and are guidelines for how you live. They are a reflection of who you are because they are the foundation of your life. Take some time to identify what is most important to you in life. What matters most to you? Make a list of these values and prioritize them in your life.

    Identify your passions

    Your passions are the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. They are a reflection of what excites you and brings energy into your life. Take some time to identify what activities, hobbies, or interests you enjoy. What brings you a sense of purpose or meaning? Make a list of these passions and prioritize them in your life.

    Take action on your values and passions

    Once you have identified your values and passions, it’s time to start taking action. This can be uncomfortable, especially if it means making significant changes in your life. However, taking small steps towards your values and passions helps you integrate them into your life. The benefit is you’ll also build momentum and confidence as you do. For example, if you’ve always wanted to pursue a hobby, start by reading about it, take a class or join a group related to that hobby. Sometimes this step by step process helps you to “test the water” and make decisions along the way.

    Let go of people-pleasing

    You might get stuck when you worry about the messages you receive from others about who they want you to be. However, being authentic means letting go of people-pleasing and living in alignment with what you need in your life. This might mean saying no to things that don’t align with your values or passions. It can also mean setting boundaries with people who don’t support you.

    Practice self-reflection

    Self-reflection is essential to deeply knowing yourself. Self-reflection is examining your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so you can identify areas where you are out of alignment. Take some time each day to reflect on your experiences and how they relate to your values and passions.

    Embrace vulnerability

    Being authentic requires vulnerability. It means being honest with yourself and others about who you are and what you want. This too can be uncomfortable, but it is also empowering. When you embrace vulnerability, you open yourself up to deeper connections with yourself and those important to you which often leads to a more fulfilling life.

    In sum, to get unstuck and be authentic requires identifying your values and passions, taking action, let go of people-pleasing, practice self-reflection, and embrace vulnerability. When you live in alignment with your true self, you feel more confident, fulfilled, and empowered. The antidote to both stuckness and lifelong happiness is authenticity!

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  • 4 Ways to Love and Accept Yourself in Midlife

    When you accept yourself life gets better.

    How you do it is to confidently acknowledge that there’s so much about you that’s good. You also know you’re on the path of continuing to growth when you can accept your wonderfully imperfect self too!

    Daily life is challenging with unrealistic expectations of who you think you need to be. The media, social media, family, work, society at large, all try to shape you into the image of someone who measures up even if you might not agree.

    And yet,

    • trying to do a good job
    • be a good person
    • be valued by those who matter to you

    This is what’s really important in life.

    So, how do you get past negative self-talk, worries about not doing enough and living up to unrealistic expectations?

    The path of acceptance is one of courage. It requires you to get clear about what you need, even when you aren’t sure or change your mind or make a mistake about what you really want.

    Practicing self-compassion while you figure it out will help you stay on track.

    Here are 4 ways you can cultivate more self-acceptance. They are all interrelated moving from what’s outside of your control to what is within your control. As you follow the steps, you’ll clarify what you want in your life and set goals that align with your values.

    No matter what your age, culture, race, gender or nationality the media (and social media) often highlights the ideal and can leave you feeling that you don’t measure up to the ideal and unattractive. Comparisons aren’t only for teens; it can happen to us no matter what your age. Research has shown that the more media you consume with attractive people in it, the worse you feel about yourselves. But it’s important to remember that the media is a reflection of what we’re already thinking and to get unstuck it’s important to remember this. If your focus is appearance based, you likely feel that you fall short because your brain is already oriented that way. If you see media for what it really is—a show—then you can stop comparing yourself to unrealistic ideals and accept yourself.

    2. Limit negative self-talk.

    One of the ways you can better accept yourself is to challenge your negative self-talk. All of us have an inner monologue running all day long. If this self-talk is mostly negative, you’ll have a hard time feeling good about yourself. For example, many of clients say things like, “I’m not attractive anymore”or”my life is a mess” or “I didn’t work so hard for my life to be like this.” You can stop some of these painful thoughts by simply limiting your media and social media time, which can help the immediate negative reactions.

    I haven’t met anyone yet whose life is completely negative or positive. For longer term relief practice noticing when you have the feelings of satisfaction or when you laugh or even when you feel proud of yourself. When you recall pleasant memories – times in life when things have gone well, your brain gets a boost from recalling that experience. The act of remembering good times can open up a more optimistic frame of reference and help you get unstuck from negative thinking and accept yourself.

    3. Express yourself.

    What else stops you from accepting yourself? Mostly, it’s our fear of what other people might think about us if we showed our true selves. For example, maybe your friends all have the same opinion about a political topic, so you decide not to share your different point of view. Maybe your friends have a particular view on what’s healthy eating and exercise so you decide not to talk about your views because you just don’t want to have that conversation. Or maybe your friends enjoy sharing a meal at a fancy restaurant, so you decide not to invite them to your house for the cozy dinner you’d really enjoy. Even as adults we often hold back because we’re afraid of how we’ll be judged.

    It’s human nature to want to show the best sides of ourselves. And holding back your opinions occasionally is a necessary part of life — in fact, it can help make our relationships a bit easier and more enjoyable. You don’t have to share everything with everyone all the time!

    However, self-expression is a problem when you edit yourself so much that people pleasing is your default and your unique perspective gets lost. The result? Few of the people in your life know who you really are deep down. Maybe you even start to question who you are and what you believe. Another consequence is that the important people in your life don’t have the opportunity to accept you as you are. Most importantly, you don’t give yourself the opportunity to accept yourself as you are either.

    4. Celebrate your strengths.

    Sometimes it’s easier to focus on your weaknesses instead of celebrating your strengths. This is especially true for “problem solvers.” Everyone has things that they just aren’t great at doing and that’s okay. But, when you focus on those things instead of focusing on what you’re good at too, it leads to getting stuck. If you get down on yourself regularly for the things, it’s going to be hard to like yourself as much as you could. So, celebrate your strengths and discover even more about yourself. When you gain a new or broader perspective it usually helps you accept yourself more.

    In sum, when you accept yourself, life is easier – that’s the bottom line! It’s a process to get there. And part of that process is building habits that support your well-being and personal growth – step by step. Habits that help you feel good and continue to grow and nurture yourself with compassion and accountability make the process easier.

    How will you begin the process of accepting yourself?

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  • How to Fearlessly Live Your Core Values

    Identify your core values and learn how to live by them to build greater happiness.

    Sometimes you can go through life without paying much attention. Maybe you move from one thing to the next, playing on your phone, without considering whether your actions match up with what you believe is important – core values. But when you go through life without following your values, you can lose yourself and your ability to generate real happiness.

    Want to identify what your core values are and learn how to live them? Keep reading…

    Identify Your Values

    When you identify your values, you begin to design a life that is in better alignment with your true self. It’s important to remember that values are different for everyone—you are the only one who can identify your values.

    Think about the list of values below. Write down any of the values that feel right for you. Add any other values you find that aren’t on the list too.

    Values List:

    Short List of Values

    Next, note your most important three to five values. For each of these, write down three or more actions that define what it means for you to live by these values. For example, if you value loyalty, actions might include forgiving a friend for a betrayal, negotiating fair treatment at work to ensure your commitment to your employer, or choosing not to engage in extramarital affairs.

    Now, write down one thing you have done that does not reflect each of your top three to five values. For example, if you value fun, it’s a more action-oriented choice to take the time and effort to look for fun activities to pursue.

    Next, write down what you could do differently next time. Maybe instead of bracing for the worst, you could think about what might go right, what you might learn, or what cool things you have to look forward to in the future. When you engage in this activity, you may learn that you can live in closer alignment with your personal values.

    It might be hard to follow through. Maybe you need to –

    It’s quite easy to go with the flow, keep the peace and lose sight of your values. It’s a lot harder to live by our values and do what’s right for ourselves in the long run.

    What if you haven’t been living your values?

    For one woman I know—a kind, smart, caring person—the rift between her values and her actions became apparent when she started leaving her boyfriend at home so she could gain attention and physical satisfaction from other men. It was clear that her actions went against her values. So even though her actions made her feel good in the moment, each night she would go home feeling terrible.

    For another woman I know—a strong, giving, selfless person—the growing gap between her values and actions was happened when she started staying in her basement office working until late to avoid her responsibilities at home. Never had she been the kind of person that couldn’t handle a challenge. Never had she been willing ignore her kids. But in the middle of the pandemic, she was overwhelmed by constant needs at home and work all happening at the same time. She lost her track of ability to give and receive love – one of her highest values. It was only when she reminded herself that her family was the most important thing that she reached out for help and started living her values that she rebuilt her relationships and happiness.

    The good news and bad news are that we all hold different ones. The outcome will look different for each of use loses track of our values. Many of us never think to ask ourselves what our values are or what would happen if we weren’t living them, the result is feeling lost and not knowing what to do.

    By identifying what you need to do to live your values, you can become the person that you want to be. And as it gets easier to love yourselves, you start to feel happier.

    Live Your Values

    When I did a values exercise in early in my career discovered that kindness is one of my top values. I was living this value in many ways, but I had some major gaps. For one, I could be really critical of my supervisees, criticizing them for the smallest things without a kind word at all. I could tell you I acted this way because I have high expectations, but while that’s true it was a rationalization–excuse I told myself to justify my behavior. The truth is that living your values is hard, and I wasn’t yet ready and as a young professional didn’t know how and felt ashamed to ask for help.

    I could tell myself I was being kind when I was really being stern-even blunt. But one day I realized I was just making excuses, and I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I was not who I wanted to be and behaving that was wasn’t comfortable. It seemed scary to be present in the moment when I wasn’t sure how to say what needed to be said. But I decided that I had to do it and no matter how much I fumbled, I had to live me values and be more kind and accepting.

    For each of your core values, in the last exercise ask yourself these three questions:

    1. Are there any people with whom you have a difficult time living this value? Maybe your romantic partner, parent, sibling, coworker, or friend?
    2. Are there any situations that make it difficult for you to practice this value? Where are you and what are you doing when you don’t practice these values? For example, maybe you’re at work, at home, out at a bar, on social media, in the car, or at the daycare center.
    3. Is there anything else that makes it difficult for you to live your personal values? For example, maybe you live your values at the start of the day but by nighttime they are a distant memory.

    Once you’ve identified what triggers you to veer away from your core values, it’s important to identify what about these experiences affects you in this way.

    Ask yourself what thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations lead you to behave differently than you would like to. Also ask are there any people or situations that lead you away from your values.

    The emotions that trigger you may be the same across all situations, or they may be different. Write down anything that think might lead you away from your values. These emotions, thoughts, and associated bodily sensations are the foundation of what causes you to abandon our values. When we act in a way that’s inconsistent with our values, we are attempting to regulate or reduce our negative emotions, even if only temporarily. By acknowledging this and changing your habits, you can start to live in accordance with your values and improve your lives. Changing your life is never easy, but it’s always worth it.

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  • How to Stop Stress Eating and Bingeing in 5 Steps

    Stress eating is pretzel logic.

    When you eat well most of the time, but then something stressful happens and your mind turns immediately to eating the twists and turns of rationalizing it are short lived. When stress eating and bingeing takes hold of you the fallout is tinged with guilt, shame and regret. The big question is how do you get out of the cycle?

    The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know. We feel it in a thousand things.​

    Blaise Pascal

    Stress eating makes sense, it’s just not logical. Human emotions are connected to both conscious and unconscious memories, thoughts and perceptions. You have an experience and your thoughts about it shape how you describe it. The unconscious memories, that aren’t language based, but rather are emotional and give a “felt sense” or vibe about situations. For stress eating they often are the fuel for calm at any cost that’s difficult to understand and put into words.

    There’s a clash between what’s conscious (food choices that enhance health) and unconscious emotional stress (stress eating regardless of what you know) that can feel like a compulsion or addiction you’re powerless over.

    Stress eating calms your brain in the short them. 

    For a lot of people when stress eating often turns into a binge. Which ten results in feeling even more out of control. And then there’s even more guilt and shame to stress out about than the original stress that let you stress eating.

    You might spiral from fries and a soda for lunch to cupcakes for an afternoon snack or a fancy coffee or an energy drink mid-afternoon when the blood sugar crash hits hard and you’re getting sleepy.

    Since you’re already “off the wagon,” the day gets even worse when you stop by your favorite fast-food place on the way home from work. You’ve hit the point of no return and it’s just you and food tonight.

    Maybe tomorrow will be better.

    The food coma is approaching fast.

    When you add it all up the guilt, shame and disappointment in yourself can be overwhelming. The solution is – once again, start a new diet to get back in control. This is the pretzel logic that leads right back to more stress eating!

    When guilt, shame and disappointment lead to counting calories, cutting out food groups, resistance, to feel good about yourself it’s just never going to happen!

    Dieting doesn’t work that way.

    But does it help you to stop stress eating and bingeing?

    My guess is that your answer is no, it just makes it worse trying the same old solution without a different outcome.

    You probably find that your feelings for yourself aren’t generous or kind either. Sadness and frustration make it difficult to see other options.

    For the people I work with, the feelings after stress eating can be more hurtful than eating the food.

    Stress eating is like putting a band-aid on your car after an accident.

    Even though there’s an accident and care is needed the band-aid will not fix the problem.

    Counting calories is a way to set boundaries for yourself, no matter how much this solution makes things worse, it’s important to acknowledge the goal. Boundaries can be helpful and kind when they are thoughtful and lead to better outcomes.

    You want to feel more in control than the food that’s controlling you.

    How much of your day is spent tracking and making decisions about what you can or can’t eat based on the data collected on your phone app?

    The thing is that you can transform your relationship with food from external control (calorie counting/apps) to internal control (developing a trusting relationship with yourself and your body). Keep reading and I’ll teach you how!

    The battle needs shift from fighting with food for control to working with your needs and taking good care of yourself.

    Battles are externally driven. The focus is on what you’re doing wrong and how you can wrestle control from the stress eating and bingeing.

    Taking care of your needs is a fundamental shift in the metaphor. It’s the thing that got you into this situation in the first place. Focusing on food to meet your emotional needs is what lead to emotional eating.

    When you first stop dieting for control it can seem like you’ll stop paying attention to your health or you’ll thoughtlessly eat whatever, whenever, however.

    But that’s not the way a healthy relationship with yourself that really works. A respectful relationship isn’t one that allows hurtful, destructive situations to continue in the name of love. That’s the opposite of health.

    Loving limits develop from your awareness of what you need and supports you, in mind, body and heart.

    Transforming your relationship with yourself and food is a permanent fix. In fact, it’s one of those situations where you get to a point that it’s impossible to not listen with self-compassion and clarity about your needs anymore. That’s when stress eating and bingeing isn’t a problem anymore.

    Here are 5 things to do instead of stress eating:

    1. Track your feelings.

    If you’re not ready to let go of tracking, instead of tracking calories, write down what you’ve eaten and what you’re feeling. This will give you much more useful information.

    It’s the beginning point of developing a supportive relationship. Getting to know what you really think about what you’ve eaten and how you feel physically and emotionally after your meal or snack will give you information you can use the next time, you’re feeling a similar way.

    If you’re not ready to let go of tracking, instead of tracking calories, write down what you’ve eaten and what you’re feeling. This will give you much more useful information.

    It’s the beginning point of developing a supportive relationship. Getting to know what you really think about what you’ve eaten and how you feel physically and emotionally after your meal or snack will give you information you can use the next time, you’re feeling a similar way.

    2. Stop making judgments.

    A judgmental attitude leads to black and white thinking.

    There’s a mini court of law in your head with a conviction and you’re the guilty party. Sentencing is quickly handed out. There is no appeals process.

    The judgment is, you are bad or the food you enjoyed is bad and dieting is good. It’s really that fundamental. But life is filled with nuance and transforming judgment into curiosity leads to all sorts of possibilities.

    Curiosity gives you some space to think about a situation from all sides, identify how you feel and determine what you need to do for yourself. It takes time and care and you’re more than worth the effort.

    3. Plan your meals instead of leaving it up to whatever!

    When you have an idea of what you’re going to eat for each meal you take the guesswork out of leaving your meals up to chance.

    When you know what you’re having for lunch or dinner you will feel more in control because you are making choices for yourself – the ultimate control.

    Be sure to eat meals you enjoy and provide the nutrition your body needs to run well.

    I can’t stress this enough, planning meals without some measure of pleasure will lead you to avoiding them. Make sure you look forward to your meal by providing yourself with a pause in the day to enjoy yourself (even better if you eat with someone interesting).

    4. Make sure you get enough sleep.

    When you drag through the day because you’re tired, your body will look for quick energy.

    Your ability to make clear choices for yourself will be greatly diminished. You’ll find yourself making impulsive decisions that you aren’t comfortable in the long run.

    The urge to count calories and feel back in control may be even stronger and then the cycle starts all over again.

    Rest is essential to feeling good and to have the mental energy, as well as physical energy, to make choices to fuel your life.

    5. Decide what type of relationship you want to have with your body.

    It’s like learning to swim. Eventually, you let go of the wall and trust that you have learned how to tread water in the deep end of the pool.

    You’re a little unsure, so you stay within arm’s reach. As your confidence grows you move a little further away from the wall, it gets easier, but it’s also tiring.

    You only have so much strength for one day. As you practice you get stronger and more confident and before you know it, you’re swimming like a mermaid! 

    This is the same thing that happens when breaking free from stress eating. It’s difficult to trust yourself and as you do, the trust in yourself will grow and you will find yourself redefining your relationship with food, your body and yourself.

    In sum, transforming your relationship with yourself is one of the most positive things you can do. You can learn to treat yourself with kindness and self-compassion while setting limits that are a natural extension of a conscious relationship with yourself.

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  • 5 Easy Tools to Clear Blocked Motivation in 5 Minutes

    How often do you feel like can’t clear blocked motivation, so you can stay on track and focused on your goals?

    5 tools to clear blocked motivation

    Sometimes a little break is just what you need to refocus and recommit to your goal, so you can clear blocked motivation.

    Asking yourself questions that lead to either affirmation or shifting of your goals is one important part of the growth process. Assessing what works or what doesn’t and then change it up so you’re closer to your goal is a nice, neat process, but there is a flipside…

    When overwhelm creeps in and your enthusiasm wanes, it can lead to apathy, decision fatigue and hopelessness.

    The cycle of feeling down and hopeless robs you of the mojo to keep moving.

    Regaining your enthusiasm is an intentional process.

    It may seem like waiting for inspiration is your only option, but in the end, waiting will only get you further away from your goal. Taking small, manageable steps, step by step, on a regular basis gets you where you want to be much sooner than you imagine.

    Fortunately, you have options to begin the process!

    You can move out of a state of apathy, doubt or overwhelm and learn to prevent it from happening again too.

    You can clear blocked motivation!

    With these 5 motivation tools and just 5 minutes each day, you can get back into the flow of success, focus your goal and welcome the good things that come your way.

    Here’s the plan:

    1. Choose one tool and practice it for 5 minutes or more if it’s working.
    2. Adapt the 5 motivation tools so they work best for you.

    Before you know it, blocked motivation will be a thing of the past.

    5 Tools to Clear Blocked Motivation

    1. Do just one thing at a time.

    Focus on just one part of your goal. Often, we get so overwhelmed with the larger goal that we have difficulty seeing the small steps right in front of us. Think about the spokes on the wheel of a bike tire.  All are needed to make the wheel strong and stable; each small action is a like the spokes on the bike wheel, all are necessary to support the larger goal. Focus on one spoke at a time.

    Celebrate when one part of your goal is accomplished and use this success to fuel your motivation for the next one.

    2. Get moving.

    To get the energy flowing there is no end to the helpfulness a walk in the sunshine brings. The type of walk I am talking about is one where you are able to just be, look at the clouds, watch the birds, feel the sunshine on your face, allow yourself to be in the present moment. The walk can be as short one; 5 minutes is good.

    No need to get your workout gear on for a power-walk this is a ‘get re-centered walk’ to reconnect with your sense of self and what you are working on and clear blocked motivation.

    Think about each step moving you forward, step by step toward your goal.

    3. Open yourself to growth

    When people feel doubtful, fearful, anxious, they often constrict the body, thoughts and beliefs in what is possible. Collapsing into your body and getting smaller can result in shallow breathing.

    Take 3 deep breaths, comfortably, not too fast and not too slowly, can loosen tension and bring a sense of expansion back. You can feel your body fill with oxygen, feel your breath bringing new life into your being. 

    With each breath think about expansion and give yourself space to do what you need to do for your life.

    4. Visualize your life as you need it to be.

    It is common to think of goals as wishes and they are. More importantly though, goals are also needs. When you think about your goal from the mindset of a need rather than a wish, it changes. Now it is something closer, more intimate. Rather than a wish that can be dismissed, it calls your attention to take action so you can clear blocked motivation.

    To live a fulfilling life, you need meaning and purpose in your life.

    5. Just let it go and be.

    Give yourself time, no more than 5 minutes, to write down all of your negative, worrisome, difficult, boring, doubtful, and fearful thoughts. Then put them in a bag and seal it up! Let them be. They are just words; some will be yours and some will be others. Remember, they are just words. Your truth is much bigger much more life giving than any doubts.

    Now give yourself 5 minutes or more and write down all of your supportive, productive, growth-enhancing thoughts and words. Keep these with you and remind yourself of them every day. Filling your mind with these words helps to keep you adaptable and focused on growth.


    Give yourself the time and energy to get un-blocked and back to growth with the tools above.

    The greatest gift to yourself is your time and attention.

    Becoming more conscious day by day will fuel your motivation to achieve your goals. 

    You can have the success you desire and the life you need.  

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  • It’s Not About The Mashed Potatoes

    It’s not about the mashed potatoes or anything else in this list – it’s about listening to your own voice.

    it's not about the mashed potatoes it's about listening to your own voice

    It’s not about the mashed potatoes or the pie or the rolls or the whatever you enjoy eating.

    It’s not about emotional eating.

    It’s not about stress.

    It’s not about feeling too full.

    It’s not about being hungry.

    It’s not about exercising away the calories.

    It’s not about being bad.

    It’s not about being unworthy.

    It’s not about your childhood.

    It’s not about your poor choices.

    It’s not about your lack of control.

    It’s not about willpower.

    It’s not about finding the reason why.

    It’s not about wishing and hoping.

    It’s not about waiting to be rescued.

    It’s not about rewriting history.

    It’s not about your successes.

    It’s not about your failures.

    It’s not about your any of these things.

    What it’s about is stepping consciously, fully into your life and taking the risk to be different.

    Many people don’t choose this path and do same thing over and over, because it’s safe.

    The big question to answer is, does staying the same cost you what you really want?

    What else is there that really matters?

    Life is too short to sacrifice your happiness and strive for goals that aren’t what you really want or need. 

    Living in alignment with what  you need is the path to fulfillment.

    You can make your life your own by getting inspiration from others and creating something that in new and fit your life. Follow your own path and do what works for you.

    You have to be good with you. You live with yourself in your head 24/7.

    • What’s it like in there?
    • Is it a place you would welcome others to come in for a visit?
    • Do you want your more for yourself?

    Listening to your own voice.

    When you focus on the latest fad diet or workout or meditation trend or the latest stress quick fix, it can make stress build rather than helping to reducing stress. Which in turn can take you further away from what you really want your life to be. In those times when you find yourself stress eating and unconsciously reaching for another handful of chips, it’s confirmation that stress is in control.

    Sensible advice is often lost when you’re desperate for change. And unable to patiently pay closer attention to what you need for more self-awareness.

    Just think, if you allowed yourself to set your intentions and live more mindfully would you be further along than if you chased the latest fad?

    Listening to your own voice takes courage and grit.

    Others in your life might not like it.

    It might mean that they will need to adjust and get used to a more vocal, more honest you. Many people will outright disagree that you’re doing what’s right. Others will see you change and try to convince you that you should follow their advice instead of cultivating your own voice.

    You need to stay the course.

    As long as your path is one of health, self-compassion and in alignment with your intentions, you’re good.

    Are there dreams you want to become reality, but you’re scared?

    Think about how you feel after you’ve earned something rather than receiving it as a gift. Usually people say that their sense of self changes. Every time you learn something new you’re adding to your self-knowledge. This is precious gift.

    When you take a risk you might find that:

    • Challenges make you stronger.
    • You start believing that you can trust yourself.
    • Listening to your mind, body and heart give you the information you need.

    Sometimes you need good information, but most of the time all you need to know is yourself. An intimate knowledge of how you work free from the assumptions, judgments, someone else’s rules. Instead, be curious and experiment and then pay attention to what happens as a result. Do more of what works. That’s the bottom line.

    What if you have the resources to know what you need right at your fingertips?

    What will it take for you to listen to yourself and get started?

    Get started.

    Start making the changes you want to see happen in your life today. It’s all you’ve got in the end.

    Do what you need to do to be healthier, happier and more connected to what you most want in your life today.

    It’s not really about the food or what you weigh or how you look or how many lines are on your face or much cellulite you have or don’t. How much is in your bank account or how much staff you have working for you. These aren’t markers of your value as a human being.

    The stuff above doesn’t elevate your value and valuing them keeps you locked in a battle that you’re never going to win. There will be someone who has more than you and you will find that you compare yourself to them even when you try not to.

    Step into the fullness of your life.

    In the end your life is not about the mashed potatoes.

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