• Silk: The Simple Tool to Overcome Stress Eating

    Conscious eating is one of the fastest ways to overcome stress eating.

    Conscious Eating gives you the skills to transform your relationship with food and eating so you’re in control.

    When you learn emotional mastery tools, they’re transferable to many challenges in life, not only to overcome stress eating.

    Conscious Eating isn’t a diet. It’s being present and intentional about what you eat, how your body feels and what your mind needs for satisfaction.

    As you make choices for long term shifts in the way you relate to yourself and your body, you’ll also learn how to be more patient and compassionate too.

    Keep in mind that this is a mindset-transformational shift in your relationship with yourself.

    It’s a big and we’ll take it one step at a time.

    Mindset is the way you think about things, or your ‘frame of mind’ and the way in which your thoughts shape your actions. It’s more than simply differentiating between a pessimistic (glass half empty) or optimistic (glass half full) point of view.

    Conscious Eating is a mindset change toward mindful growth in how you think, feel and relate to yourself.

    This isn’t a ‘think differently and your behavior will change’ approach to stress eating.

    It is working with yourself toward a goal or value or belief—whatever word fits best for you—and knowing that you can create what you need to achieve your goal and live in harmony with your values.

    A mindset shift is takes into account your full experience as a person in making change, mind, body and heart so you can overcome stress eating for good!

    Becoming a Conscious Eater is learning to reshape how you care for yourself.

    Conscious Eating is forward thinking and growth enhancing. You are learning to do things differently. Learning how to stop, listen, identify and live with compassion and kindness for you!

    The most time-consuming part of change is when you’re preparing to make a change, but you’re not quite ready yet.

    Small changes over time, bit by bit, adjusting to the newness, and continuing to move forward is effective.  Being mindful of what’s working and what’s not and then making adjustments. Use the experience, both good and challenging, to help you know which way to go.

    When you’re able to use your time to learn about what you want it is worth the investment of your time and energy.

    The good news is that when you stop, identify your needs, and listen to yourself, with kindness and compassion, you are much further along in the process to overcome stress eating for good.

    4 Conscious Eating skills to overcome stress eating.

    An easy way to remember this process is SILK; Stop, Identify, Listen, and do all of this with Kindness in your heart.  Here’s the framework for it to happen –

    SILK – Stop

    Being consumed with food, telling yourself that you will be ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ or you’ll eat clean, only takes you further away from your goal. It puts so much responsibility in manipulating food that it’s difficult to focus on your goals and values.

    This surface level attention keeps the focus on food rather than your relationship with it. It’s manipulating the food in an attempt to have a better relationship with yourself.

    This feeds the problem.

    The way out is risk to shift your focus to your relationship with you and away from the food.

    When you stop, you give yourself the space to consider other options that when you overcome stress eating.

    The opportunity you open yourself to is growth. This is where a shift in mindset takes hold for your well-being – when you give yourself time and space to make conscious choices.

    Are the food rules you live with something like this; ‘I can’t eat ______, ______is bad, ______ leads to ______ health issue, etc.?

    Have you repeated some version of this statement to yourself so many times that you accept them as fact? If you eat one of the forbidden foods, do you experience shame and guilt?

    Your challenge is to ask yourself if you are physically hungry and if so, what is my body asking me for right now?

    The next question to ask yourself is – what do I emotionally need right now?

    It may be that you don’t need food at all.  You may need sleep, rest, friendship, love, space, quiet, movement, etc.

    And finally, ask yourself what do I need for you mind, body and heart to feel content?

    You might not be very confident in your answers at the beginning. That’s OK!

    Remember, this is a process of moving away from someone else’s ideals and moving toward your own self-knowledge for your unique relationship with yourself.

    SILK – Identify

    One of the first questions I ask the people I work with is, what are your needs? I would guess that 99 percent of the time they know that I’m not asking about food and shelter or even to change their body or behaviors in some way.

    I know this because more often than not, they will look me in the eye and tears will well up with the knowledge that there is something missing.

    There is a deep longing for growth that has stalled in the quest for a different body, as if that’s a guarantee of happiness.

    When you stop, take a breath and allow yourself to clearly look at your life and know that it’s not totally about your body then you have a realistic opportunity to overcome stress eating.

    One of the most convenient times to do this is while eating.

    Do only one thing while eating.

    It is extremely difficult to mindlessly stress eat if eating is your only activity.

    Practice being in the present moment and notice where your mind leads you.

    It takes practice to sit with yourself while eating, especially when eating is your way of escaping discomfort.

    If you’re reading a book, watching TV or working, it is nearly impossible to feel your emotions, hunger or fullness cues, or identify what you truly need in life.

    Your attention is soaked up by the action in the story or the problem being solved.

    You’re not in the present; you’re on autopilot.

    As you become more comfortable with identifying what you need, you will also get clear on which foods you enjoy, how your body responds and what works best for you.

    SILK – Listen

    Growth requires intentional change and the way to get there is to increase your awareness of your negative self-talk and the thoughts and feelings you experience; outwardly silent, yet inwardly booming, crashing like a giant wave on your hope, motivation, and faith in yourself.

    This means leaving negative self-talk, criticism and blame out of the equation.

    The fight is over, a truce is called and the peace talks are happening.

    The peace process is a little more complicated, takes more patience and you can do it.

    Little by little, with consistent intention toward growth, negative thinking eases up, allowing room for growth.

    Remember this is a shift in the way you live your life. It is worth the effort to overcome stress eating.

    We live in a time where our bodies are fair game for judgment, objectification, shaming and attempts to live up to someone else’s expectations.

    You may be waiting for whatever obstacle—real or imagined—to go away. The way to remove the obstacle is to acknowledge it and build a strategy that works for your life.

    Ask yourself –

    • do I want to participate in this type of conversation with myself?
    • if I’m really listening with my core values, what might I hear instead of all of the negativity?

    A growth mindset is assessing what needs to change, working toward the goal and making prudent adjustments as needed.

    Listening means moving away from controlling and toward acceptance.

    Sometimes acceptance is confused with: ‘this is who you are, it’s not going to change, so just get over it.’  I’m glad that this is totally, absolutely wrong in this context!

    Acceptance is looking and listening, so that your relationship with yourself can grow – mind, body and heart!

    If you desire change, it is possible through healing, respect and kindness.

    Accepting who you are today frees you to use the energy spent criticising yourself, in more productive ways.

    Listen for all of the good you can do and all of the happiness you can experience.

    SILK – Kindness

    Looking clearly, listening honestly, and stopping to pay attention, all give perspective and motivation so that you can make adjustments and keep growing.

    Conscious Eating is about curiosity, flexibility, and a willingness to make mistakes, so you can grow from them.

    Popular diet and eating plans are overwhelmingly all about the quick fix and won’t help you overcome stress eating.

    They require you to abandon values and good judgment about your nutrition and focus exclusively on changing your body.

    The assumption is that a different body is the key to happiness in your life.

    This devalues your humanity.

    Dieting is not about health; it is about an illusion of control. An illusion that you’ll have the life you want if you follow the diet.  If it worked, it would work!

    You can shut off your feelings and ignore them for only so long. They’ll overflow and come rushing back, with the accompanying onslaught of stress eating and feeling badly about yourself.

    The truth is that Conscious Eating is about learning life-long skills for your health.

    Many of the skills will help in other areas as well. SILK helps you use your self-knowledge to live a happy and fulfilling life.

    The big picture view of your life.

    Kindness and compassion provide an excellent foundation for living your life in harmony.

    Mistakes give you the opportunity to make more informed choices so the next time, so you can overcome stress eating.

    When you become a Conscious Eater, you can trust your decisions, because they are grounded in your self-knowledge and values.

    Choice is freely made.

    Remember, SILK: Stop, Identify, Listen, and Kindness. The path will always lead you back to you!

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  • How To Embrace Your Inner Strength and Cultivate Self-Acceptance

    Inner strength is one of the most powerful traits to cultivate self-acceptance.

    The science and philosophy that support self-acceptance as a way to be effective in your life and align with your intentions and goals is strong.

    Self-acceptance is embracing all of your attributes, positive or negative, exactly as they are (Morgado, Campana, & Tavares, 2014). Sometimes, you may struggle to accept particular qualities you have. Maybe you were criticized as a child or you’re locked in the comparison trap that’s rampant in popular culture or on social media, it is not easy to be compassion with yourself. But, accepting who you are is vital for your happiness and overall well-being. Self-acceptance is a fundamental part of psychological health and well-being. Keep reading for a more in-depth explanation and ideas on how to cultivate self-acceptance.

    Self-Acceptance for Mental Health

    Low self-acceptance leads to suffering. When you don’t fully accept yourself, you’re at a higher risk for experiencing anxiety and depression (Macinnes, 2006). Specifically, when you reject negative qualities about yourself, it can lead to rumination about the negative attributes. When you are in a situation and the negative parts of yourself show up the result is often negative self-talk. Some examples of negative self-talk include statements such as:

    • I’m not good enough.
    • I’m a failure.
    • I’ll never get things right.

    Negative statements we tell ourselves often become feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, and anxiety. However, when you accept yourself, especially the parts of yourself that you’re not proud of, you increase your control over your emotions. In other words, self-acceptance can prevent anxiety and any other emotion that’s difficult to accept.

    Self-Acceptance for Happiness and Well-Being

    Similar to mental health, cultivating self-acceptance is a key to your happiness and well-being. When you have more control over your thought patterns and feelings, you can manage negative self-talk more effectively. In fact, high levels of self-acceptance boost your self-esteem, allowing you to be more confident about yourself, and gives you the power to handle criticism better (Szentagatoi & David, 2013).

    Self-Acceptance as a Means for Change

    Maybe up to this point you have the impression that self-acceptance means becoming stagnant or complacent. It’s easy to think about, especially because the philosophy and science of self-acceptance encourages you to embrace every part of yourself. But self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you stop learning about yourself and growing. Self-acceptance gives you the freedom to recognize and acknowledge your weaknesses so you become aware of the things in your life that you want to change.

    Personal growth is spotlighted through the lens of self-acceptance. You cannot grow and improve your relationship with yourself without knowing who you are. The benefit is that cultivating self-acceptance opens you so you can practice self-compassion and self-love and transform into your most authentic self (Boyraz & Kuhl, 2015).

    How to Practice Self-Acceptance

    The science and philosophy behind self-acceptance makes a lot of sense, but how do you start a practice in your daily life?

    Here are a few techniques to get you started –

    Remind yourself that you’re learning and growing.

    Remember the last time you learned a new skill? When I first started gardening it looked so easy on the shows I watched. I wanted my yard in my new house to look just like the pictures in all the magazines. But I got a bit overwhelmed about learning about soil conditions, light requirements, some plants don’t flower the first year and it went on and on. My garden that year, it didn’t look anything like the picture. My neighbor – she had been gardening for over 10 years and her garden was beautiful!

    Making mistakes leaves the door open for negative self-talk to peek around the corner, ready to break into your mind. I could have told myself, “I’m a terrible gardener” or “gardening just isn’t for me.” But you can go in a different direction and tell yourself you’re learning and developing new skills. When you find yourself in a situation that you are not naturally skilled in compassionate self-talk like, “I will get better at this”, or “It’s okay, I’m learning and next time will be better.” Allowing yourself to accept that you’re learning and making mistakes is part of the process can release the expectation of perfection and empower you to try again (Carson & Langer, 2006).

    Keep a gratitude journal.

    When you catch yourself focused on things that went wrong during the day or dwelling on things you don’t like about yourself, it’s helpful stop, breathe and shift your focus. Developing a habit that signals you to think about ways to shift your focus to a more positive mindset helps you cultivate self-acceptance. One way to accomplish this is by keeping a journal (or a notes app on your phone) to write down a few things you are grateful to have in your life every day. When you focus on the positive, you’ll begin to reduce negative feelings which can boost your ability to accept yourself more mindfully (Carson & Langer, 2006).

    View your experiences from a different perspective.

    If you keep circling back, thinking over and over again about a situation feels uncomfortable? Try looking at the situation from a different point of view. Is there anything that could be a silver lining? Sometimes you can get stuck in your feelings and it’s like you keep experiencing them all over again. It’s often helpful to ask the question, what or how would Aunt Jane think about this? When you look at situations with fresh eyes, you’ll find things you didn’t notice before that may help you accept the experience (Carson & Langer, 2006).

    Cultivating self-acceptance is not a practice we can master in a day, and that is totally okay. The important thing is to recognize the concept and find ways to incorporate self-acceptance into your own life to better support your mental well-being, so you experience more happiness.​

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  • 5 Reasons Why Eating in Moderation is So Complicated

    You’ve probably heard that eating in moderation is easy and if you do you can eat anything!

    For someone who doesn’t stress eat or emotionally eat it’s an easy thing to say. But, if you’re trapped in the cycle of stress eating or emotional eating, dieting and back to emotional eating again it’s eating in moderation requires a few new skills.

    Eating in moderation is a great foundation for getting a wide variety of foods in your diet.

    Feeling good about what you eat, getting enough energy and just plain freedom from the dieting too.

    To get to the place where you can listen and get what you need it’s important to clear your path of distractions.

    Here are five things that hold you back from eating in moderation and what you can do about it.

    1. Focusing too much on the details.

    When you spend time focusing on the nutrition facts, what’s the healthiest way to eat, what’s the best plan for you or any number of other details, you can lose sight of the big picture. I’m not saying the details aren’t important at all or that gaining knowledge isn’t helpful, it’s when it takes up more time than is needs to take up. How you’ll know that it’s too much is when it seems to take on more importance than your experience of nurturing yourself.

    Focusing on the details too much also leads to silencing your ability to listen to the feedback your mind and body are giving you about what you need. When you aren’t listening to your body, it can lead to overeating. When you’re disconnected from yourself it’s very difficult to hear the subtle cues about what you need.

    Eat in Moderation Solution:

    Focus on covering the basics nutritionally while you loosen up the food rules. Slowly changing over time is usually more sustainable than one big overhaul.

    If you have health issues that require you to pay attention to carbs, fat or sodium in your meals take good care of your health and pay attention. You can identify where and/or when you shift from awareness and self-care over to worry and obsession.

    The change might be more about how you think, like a shift from food rules to guidelines for your long-term health and wellbeing.

    Shift your mindset to think about rules as guidelines for nurturing your body. As you shift into this way of thinking you will naturally have less stress about food. In the beginning, like any new habit, it might feel strange.

    Sometimes people feel like they will be out of control and overeat not knowing when to stop. Eating in moderation is next to impossible if you experience this fear. But when you take it slowly, step by step, it will help you transition out of worry and into the driver’s seat.

    The guidelines for good nutrition are there to support your decision making from the inside out. Take in the info, thoughtfully consider how you can apply it to your lifestyle and nutritional needs, all the while taking into consideration any medical requirements.

    If you’re able to relieve yourself of the stress about the food rules you may have the capacity to eat more moderately and consciously.

    2.  You’re stuck in the diet mentality.

    The diet mentality is when you follow a diet plan that promises to solve your weight, body image or food problems in a distinct, often quick and nearly painless way. Eating in moderation isn’t on the menu. The underlying promise is if you only follow a certain set of food rules, you’ll be happy.

    What lures most people in is the certainty and simplicity:

    • There are foods on the “OK to eat list” and others on a “don’t touch” list.
    • Restrict yourself to a certain number of calories a day and this will be your result.
    • Strict boundaries – eat at this time, this amount of this food.

    These plans are so popular because it’s enticing to get a set of directions that clearly direct you to take certain action – no thinking required.

    The common belief is that your body will not cooperate with you. So, you find yourself trying to manipulate the food in some way. Most of the time, this type of relationship is based on the belief that you cannot trust your body to give you good information on what you need.

    But you can develop a trusting relationship with yourself and make food decisions that meet your nutritional needs. You can also meet your needs for enjoyment and pleasure, so you feel satisfied with a meal.

    Eat in Moderation Solution:

    This situation calls for a mindset shift from viewing your body as separate from yourself, as if it’s a thing that you can easily shape and form at your will.

    The mindset that gets you out of the diet mentality is to develop a relationship with your body where you are treating it with kindness, compassion and respect.

    It’s difficult to overeat when you are you are kind and respectful to yourself. As you leave the diet mentality and eat in a way that respects your hunger and fullness, your awareness increases and your body naturally communicates with you. Eating in moderation is possible because you listen to when your body tells you it’s had enough.  And kindness and respect give you the ability to peacefully stop eating.

    3. Doing more than one thing while eating.

    If you’re like most people, you probably eat while multitasking at least a few times a week.

    You have a big deadline and need to quickly grab lunch while sitting in front of the computer.

    It’s easy to get to the bottom of the bag before you realize you’ve eaten all of the chips when you’re watching your favorite show.

    When you’re distracted paying attention to what you’re eating takes second place.

    It’s hard to know when you’ve had enough food to satisfy your physical hunger and the need for satisfaction, when you’re distracted. The feeling that the meal is complete and you’ve had enough isn’t a strong feeling when you’re doing something else. The warning to stop only comes when you can’t ignore the uncomfortable fullness.

    Eat in Moderation Solution:

    Doing one thing at a time can actually save you time. If you typically turn on the tv or switch to your favorite app or email while eating it’s easy to get drawn into whatever you’re watching.  The minutes pass by, just a bit more and before you know it, an extra 15, 30, 45, 60 minutes have passed and you’re still unconsciously eating.

    Doing one thing can also help you to eat more slowly, identify fullness and satiety sooner and possibly eat less.

    Doing one thing helps you perceive the cue that you’re full sooner than feeling uncomfortably full because you’re paying attention to yourself.

    4. Viewing what you eat as a moral issue.

    When you put food in the category of good vs. bad and assign a moral value to it, you’re going to get stuck.

    Foods have different nutritional values of course.

    I like to use the analogy of a serving of broccoli vs. a candy bar. Yes, they are very different from a nutritional perspective, but morally? You’re not a “bad” person if you eat candy nor are you a good person if you eat broccoli.

    Your body will have different responses and you may feel differently eating one vs. the other, but you have not gained or lost your, “I’m a good person” status.

    It’s just food and both have a legitimate role to play in nurturing yourself.

    Eating in Moderation Solution:

    Think about food from this perspective:

    • What do I want to eat (taste perspective)?
    • What type of nutrition do I need given my activities in the next 4 hours (fuel perspective)?
    • Which foods will meet my need to feeling good (satiety)?

    When you ask yourself these questions you are helping your body and your mind as well as your self-esteem. You can make decisions based on the fullness of what’s important to you.

    5. Not giving yourself permission to enjoy the food you eat.

    Follows from #4 above. Food is fuel and it’s a lot more too.

    Food is one of the great pleasures in life. When you acknowledge that it’s okay to enjoy eating you are closer to freedom from overeating and diet mentality related guilt about eating what you like.

    When you do this, you honor your need for both fuel and pleasure and you no longer left wanting more.

    You can eat what you need, feel satisfied and eat with moderation.

    Eat in Moderation Solution:

    Normal eating is many things.

    • Eating when you’re hungry.
    • Eating what you love.
    • Eating for energy.
    • Eating when you have the opportunity because you know what the next few hours will bring and you need to prepare.

    Eating is also for pure pleasure.

    The only way to eat the foods you love without guilt and the risk of habitual overeating is to make them part of your life.

    • Here are some questions to help you decide if this is for you:
    • What would happen if you allowed yourself to experience food with pleasure?
    • Would you eat less?
    • Would you feel less guilt and thereby less need to compensate for them?
    • Would your daily nutrition meet all of your needs?

    In sum, my challenge to you is this – allow yourself the opportunity to practice eating in moderation. Changing your relationship with food isn’t as easy as the ease a new diet plan promises. My hope is that the eating in moderation solutions gives you some ideas about how you can do things differently. Changing any habit that no longer serves you is what leads to more health and well-being.

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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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  • Top 10 Habits To Be More Calm Every Day

    Top 10 Habits to Be More Calm Every Day

    top 10 habits to be more calm every day

    Feeling good comes from experiencing less stress and more calm and the tiniest bit of success at this, as soon as possible helps to stay motivated. When you use these 10 habits to be more calm every day, you life changes!

    Habits that motivate you to keep going and building on each success is like a snowball the magically grows with each new day.

    As you begin the process and start experiencing progress it might be difficult to trust that it will last. Others might not notice your changes, but you know what you’ve accomplished and find valuable because you see it in yourself. The challenge comes when you need to trust that you have your own best interests in your heart and stay on the path of calm and clarity.

    These are the actions that can take you to the path of greater self-awareness as you grow in your relationship with yourself where you know what you want and need and you go after it!

    Here are the top 10 ways to connect with yourself and create a calmer life.

    1. Get Moving - a simple walk around the block can help

    Physical activity is one of the most common recommendations for feeling better - because it works! Countless studies have shown that improved physical and psychological health happens through movement. A simple as a walk around the block helps goes a long way. It shifts your perspective, interrupts negative thoughts and gets your blood flowing.

    2. Talk it out - use your words to give your feelings life

    Talk it out to yourself, a friend, the dog, etc. Sometimes we really just need to hear ourselves out loud. As you hear yourself it’s easier to uncover the thoughts and feelings just under the surface. You get clear on your own internal process, how you view the situation and what you feel. Abstract thoughts become more concrete, so that options about what you can do with them become clear.

    3. Create - creativity helps the mind open up

    The act of creating something, anything, helps you to think differently. Keep supplies on hand, so when you need to create, you have them available. In a pinch, all you really need is a piece of paper and a pencil. Scribble, draw, make patterns, etc. Just get the creativity flowing. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece since that’s not the point anyway. Leave perfectionism out of it. Your goal is to introduce more flexibility into your capacity for problem-solving and creativity helps.

    4. Eat - if you’re hungry you need food!

    Not everyone experiences hunger in the same way. Emotional or stress eating might mask the early stages of hunger. It could be that increased anxiety and irritability are early hunger signs that come before your stomach starts to rumble. Give yourself a minute to check in and see if you need nourishment to refuel. If you do, eat a well-balanced nourishing meal, preferably without looking at a screen while you eat. Enjoy your food and the experience of taking good care of yourself.

    5. Companionship - seek out community

    We are social beings and sometimes we just need to be with others. Spending time with a friend can take your mind off your current worries for a bit. It’s a break that can get you out of your head and the all-consuming thoughts that lead to emotional exhaustion and overwhelm. Your troubles won’t disappear and most things in life aren’t emergencies, it’s okay to give yourself some space and shift your focus for a while.

    Being with others and listening to their challenges will remind you that no one in life escapes difficulties. We’re all in this together and being together helps to shift your mindset from, “No one understands what I’m going through,” to “we’re all more alike than different and we all have struggles.”

    6. Entertainment - do something just for fun

    Escape! Yes, escape into something just for fun.

    • When was the last time you laughed just because something silly happened?
    • Or when was the last time you played a game, just because you like it?
    • When did you watch your favorite movie?

    Push the pause button and allow yourself to let go of seriousness and have a laugh.

    7. Journal - write it out to get it out

    Journaling has a long track record of helpfulness. In fact, it’s one of the time-tested ways of getting to know yourself. You can write it out in note form, bullet journaling with colorful pens and drawings and freewriting is always an option. The point is that writing out how you feel helps you organize your experience, clarify your ideas and stop them from cycling through your thought process without examination.

    You may even generate ideas and plans that take you where you want to go.

    8. Plan for your needs  and take care of yourself

    Take the time to slow down, stop thinking about the others and put yourself in the equation. What is it that you need right now? What do you think you will need later today? It can be as simple as going to bed earlier, having a cup of tea, paying a bill, making an appointment, getting a new pair of shoes, etc.  Feeling less stressed for having accomplished the task is the goal. Think about your needs and put them on the agenda of, the people you take care of list.

    9. Clearly identify your feelings - know what you’re dealing with

    Sad, Mad, Glad. These all mean different things to different people and I bet you can refine your feelings even more. You can begin by thinking about all of the feelings surrounding the first one that pops into your head. Sad can be broken-down further to include, disappointed, regretful, grieving, gutted, isolated, lonely, etc. The feelings you name give you more information about what you need to feel better. They give you direction.

    10. Take some quiet time - take some time out for yourself

    Allow yourself quiet time to sit through the distractions. Take some time to sit and be still. It will take practice. Turn off the distractions. Allow yourself to experience just nothing. Start off small and take your time. Experience what it’s like for 3 minutes, then try 6 minutes, then 9 minutes. Some days will be easy and some days will be next to impossible to quiet yourself and that’s okay.

    This list is just a beginning to help you get started. There are many supportive and nurturing ways to care for yourself.

    Life will happen and it will often interrupt your calm vibe!


    Establishing these habits now helps to have what you need in place when stress flares up, so you’re calm every day!

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  • How To Create A Reservoir of Inner Calm

    5 steps to create a reservoir of inner calm

    5 easy steps to create a reservoir of inner calm

    This article gives you five strategies on how to create a reservoir of inner calm which you can draw from when stressful situations arise. Since we can’t control when stress spikes, we can plan what to do when it does so when your patience is in short supply, you know just what to do.

    How many situations that test your level of patience in a day? If you are like most people, you have likely lost count, but this article will teach you how to ride out the calm in the eye of the storm.

    The secret to staying calm when you are in a state of stress is to hold your immediate reaction, even if it’s for a brief moment to regroup. The secret here is to rehearse. Your brain will do what it can to protect you by either fleeing, fighting or freezing, as if the treat is a mortal one. But that’s not what we’re talking about right now.

    Everyday stress like, traffic, work deadlines, your child can’t find the charger to his Chromebook and you needed to leave for school – ten minutes ago – we all have countless examples! Times of everyday stress are when you can safely hold your immediate reaction, so you can thoughtfully choose your response.

    Reservoir of inner calm

    All you need to do is start to build a reservoir of calm and use it as needed. It doesn’t need to be filled before you start. If that was the case it would never happen because the everyday stressors do not stop for anyone.

    There isn’t a finite supply inner calm. In fact, you’ll keep adding to your reserves as you grow in your ability to create space between you and the effects of stress.

    Here are five ways you can increase your reservoir of inner calm.

    1. Increase your emotional mastery

    Emotional mastery is the ability to identify what you’re feeling, what happens when you feel it and then take action, so the emotion moves through you instead of getting stuck.

    The practice of emotional mastery is what builds resilience. It’s your guide for what you need to feel better. It takes the work of thinking about it and strategizing your plan. You already know what helps you and you can do it right away and the byproduct is inner calm.

    2. Begin a daily mindful practice

    Being present with the world around you is grounding. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of life and lose yourself. For many of my clients, this is what prevents them from moving forward and reaching their goals.

    When you are feeling alone and out of control, it is important that you take time out of your day to meditate, be quiet and disconnect from “doing.” Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has often said that we are more like human doings than human beings.

    A daily mindfulness practice can be as individual as you are. It might be sitting quietly for five minutes or an hour or something in between. Or it might be walking and practicing your awareness of the birds, the sunlight on the tree leaves or the breeze on your cheek. It could also be doing something where you lose yourself in the process, like in a creative practice – drawing, painting, quilting, knitting, etc. The point is to disconnect from information coming into your being and connect with your internal sense of yourself.

    3. Challenge negative thinking

    Everyone has negative thoughts that creep into their head throughout the day, but it is how you deal with them that matters. When you feel yourself moving down the road of negativity, it is time to take a step back and identify the emotion that sparked those thoughts.

    By challenging negative thinking, you will begin to use the thoughts to help you shift your perspective. Even if you’ve felt this way for a long time, it is possible to regain your inner calm and peace.

    4. Limit negative influences

    “You are a product of your environment,” is a common saying for a reason! It is important to surround yourself with people and in environments that encourage growth and positive thinking.

    When you cut out the negative influences from your life, you will feel a sense of freedom and weight lifted. By choosing to eliminate those who drag you down, you will be able to open up new avenues for personal growth.

    One very important aspect of this is to also ensure, as much as you can that your environment is calming. Home is a place of respite, but not always. Clearing your space (home, car, purse, office, garage, etc.) of clutter is very important. A fancy car is nice, but a clean car you feel good in is great. Same idea with your house, it’s wonderful if you have the resources to live in a picture-perfect space, but most of us don’t. Living in a house free from clutter and disorganization – helps to keep your reservoir of inner calm full!

    5. Remove yourself from the situation

    It can be easy to get caught up in stressful situations that seem impossible to escape. Not getting caught up, means establishing a boundary between yourself and the situation.

    It can be frustrating when you are removed from a situation that you are trying to change. But there are times when it is more beneficial for you to take a break or even realize that you’ve done all you can and you may need to make a different choice.


    The goal of this article is to provide you with five helpful strategies to fill your reservoir of inner calm. You can experience less stress in your life so you have more time and energy for what you really want! Really, isn’t that a big part of clearing stress, to live a mindful and fulfilling life?

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  • 3 Ways Self-knowledge Makes You Emotionally Strong

    3 Ways Self-knowledge Makes You Strong

    3 ways self-knowledge makes you emotionally strong

    We are often blind to what our emotions are trying to tell us and they are the basis for self-knowledge. It can be hard to pay attention when your head is piled high with tasks, appointments, and the endless list of everyday worries that seem impossible to solve.

    Yet, when we pay attention and develop a deeper awareness, we have everything we need to make choices that move our lives in alignment with our needs and desires.

    It is impossible to say how much of this is a natural or an acquired ability, but it has been part of humankind’s evolutionary process since the beginning.

    We evolved to be aware of our environment and learn from our experiences to create a future full of purpose. This means that, without self-knowledge, your life will end up being filled with regret and regret leads to suffering. The longer you put off pursuing self-knowledge, the more times you’ll have to reinvent the wheel only end up making things worse.

    The process is simple. At the same time, it requires you to be patient with yourself. When you’re unsure, it takes time to figure it out what you’re feeling rather than making a snap judgement that isn’t really accurate. This is how self-knowledge makes you emotionally strong.

    Here is your 3 part recipe to increase your self-knowledge and emotional strength.

    Here is your 3-part recipe to increase your self-knowledge and emotional strength.

    1. Identify your emotions.

    When you are uncertain of yourself, introspection is the way to go.

    Identify the emotions you are experiencing at the moment. What is your gut feeling? Your breath? Your heart?

    Characteristics of an emotion include clarity, intensity, and pleasure or pain. If you don’t know what an emotion feels like, here are some examples for you to explore more closely:

    Anxiety – The immediate sense of irritation that may be present when faced with a particular situation.

    Disillusioned – The feeling that everything is not as good as it seems.

    Excited – A state of intense arousal, often with an accompanying sense of joy.

    Sad – A feeling of discomfort lacking clarity. It’s more like a vague melancholy.

    Anger – Clear sensations in your body signaling the need to take action and be defensive against certain situations.

    Joy – The highest and most enjoyable emotion experienced by humans. It is a state of permanent happiness and contentment felt after great success or accomplishment.

    It’s important to be as specific as possible with your emotions. This is one of the times in life where nuance matters a lot. Clarity about your internal state makes a difference. It’s too easy to get swept up in the immediate emotion put it in a broad category when really, it might be something much more subtle.

    Take for example anger and sadness. Many people become angry when they’re sad. They don’t want to experience loss and instead become angry as a way of pushing the feeling away.

    I’ve had this experience when I moved across country.

    I didn’t really want to move, in fact I loved where I lived and often thought, “man I love it here.” But, when it came time to begin the moving process, I started to pick out all of the flaws and justify why it would be better to live elsewhere. I pushed away the fond feelings for a place I loved as a way of making it easier to focus on the future.

    This process prevented me from acknowledging my experience of loss and the sadness I felt. Instead of letting go, feeling sad and being in the present I was misaligned with myself. In the end, it made the transition more difficult and take longer than expected to settle into the new location.

    2. Put your experiences into context.

    Make a short list of 3 moments of your life that made you feel strong.

    When you are doing this exercise, pay attention to the emotions that are present during each of the three experiences.

    What emotions were present for these three events? What characteristics did they have?

    Once you have this information at hand, it’s time to put them into context. As if you were explaining your life story to someone new, explain each of these three moments. This exercise requires a non-judgmental outlook – it’s just the observable information, not an evaluation of them.

    It’s helpful to make a note for yourself, on your phone, in a journal or a sticky note that you put somewhere so you can see it often. Reminders like this help you to keep the emotion and experience top of mind, so it becomes part of what you do during the day.

    This is another way that self-knowledge makes you strong.

    Make a short list of 3 moments of your life that made you feel strong.

    When you are doing this exercise, pay attention to the emotions that are present during each of the three experiences.

    What emotions were present for these three events? What characteristics did they have?

    Once you have this information at hand, it’s time to put them into context. As if you were explaining your life story to someone new, explain each of these three moments. This exercise requires a non-judgmental outlook – it’s just the observable information, not an evaluation of them.

    It’s helpful to make a note for yourself, on your phone, in a journal or a sticky note that you put somewhere so you can see it often. Reminders like this help you to keep the emotion and experience top of mind, so it becomes part of what you do during the day.

    This is another way that self-knowledge makes you strong.

    3. Determine what your future plans need to be.

    What would you do differently if you knew what your emotions were telling you?

    Simply imagine yourself in the future.

    If you know what was going on inside of you at the time, would this future change?

    Which ones?


    What do you need to do in order to bring this future about, or how can it be brought about easier or faster?

    A word of warning.

    Many people think that they can skip over numbers 1 and 2 above and go right for number 3 to create a more aligned future. But it just doesn’t work that way. It would be a lot less painful and messy if it did, but it doesn’t.

    Alignment takes time and reflection to really know yourself and your needs. Don’t shortchange yourself by moving past this quickly. Most of us were never taught anything about emotions or feelings, other than being told what is “appropriate” to feel for someone else’s convenience. There can be a lot of unpacking judgements in this phase.

    Shaping your life into one where you draw on your sense of inner calm and self-knowledge makes you emotionally strong, so you can live your life in the way that is fulfilling for you.

    It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drudgery of life and forget that we are all just one step away from creating our ideal futures.


    No one is born emotionally strong.

    It’s a learned skill that you can master at any point in your life. The process is simple but takes time to know more about yourself with each step.

    1. Identify your emotions.
    2. Put your experiences into context.
    3. Plan for the future based on the two previous steps.

    Self-knowledge makes you strong and able to handle anything with clarity, alignment and grace.

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  • 10 Ways to be strong, feel calm and have clarity

    Being strong, calm and clear are three ingredients anyone needs when they’re in the middle of challenging times.

    10 ways to be strong and feel and have clarity

    Hectic schedules, long work hours, health problems and the fast paced changes aren’t easy to handle. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are the keys to being strong, calm and clear:

    1. Breathe!

    Taking a few minutes out of every day to just breathe can change your perspective on everything around you. It puts distance between the overwhelming thoughts and emotions that may be distracting you from focusing on what’s truly important. 

    It delivers more oxygen to your brain that lowers stress and increases calming neurotransmitters for more clarity.

    2. Change your environment.

    This is a big one. When you’re around people you don’t want to be, a change is needed. 

    If your physical environment is stressful with too much clutter or noise, it can increase anxiety. Even at a low level they distract you from what you need to do. 

    Think about what you need to create the positive environment for yourself. Ask yourself, if this helping me or stopping me from doing what I need to do for my well-being?

    3. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

    Realize that others may not understand your life as well as you do. 

    Maybe, you need time and space to understand your life too?

    The first part of being calm is to understand what’s going on within yourself. Sometimes we take our first impressions and the only impression. 

    Take for instance a feeling. When someone doesn’t hold the door open for you might be irritated at first.  You might quickly think that it’s rude and the person is a jerk. Which might be true, but often we don’t have the opportunity to find out. 

    When you find your feelings linger and you wonder why you can’t shake an insignificant situation, it’s probably something else, like feeling invisible, disrespected, unimportant or any number of other feelings that need care. 

    Understanding yourself is an act of self-compassion. Which leads more calm and clarity and knowing what you need in your life.

    4. Being strong comes from self-knowledge

    Each and every one of us has a reason to be here and a purpose. Seek that purpose. 

    You may not see the story line that made you who you are yet, trust it’s there and hang on to what you do know. Your life is unfolding in ways no one can predict. 

    As you go through life, it may not be what you expected it to be. If you followed the plan. Go to school, create a good career, find the right partner, have the kids or not and then you’ll have the life you dreamed of. But when it doesn’t turn out that way it,  is when many people begin to doubt that they’re on the “right” path. I don’t think there’s a right path, just the one you’re on. 

    Each path has lots of options and you can change your direction to a path that feels more in alignment with what you need. Sometimes it takes some exploring to find out which path that it. Take each day as it comes, make wise decisions and in the end, you’ll get to where you need to be.

    5. Build a reservoir of calm

    Strength comes from building your reserves of calm and clarity

    When you know where you end and the other begins it’s easier to not let the emotions of others upset you. Emotional boundaries aren’t about being unfeeling or lacking empathy, it’s about respecting yourself and others that you each have your own experiences. 

    Your self-knowledge along with the well-being habits are skills you can learn to keep stress low and reservoir of calm full.

    6. If something is bothering you, deal with it then and there.

    Don’t put it off for tomorrow. If you let the sun set on the problems that you have today because they will only create more mind-clutter. 

    Ask yourself 3 things: 

    1. How am I feeling? 
    2. What do I need?
    3. Which action do I need to take? 

    Sometimes your answers might be, “I don’t know,” and that’s completely okay. You might need to give it a few minutes and allow yourself some space to get clear. 

    The idea is to not let it linger and avoid dealing with something that needs your attention.

    7. Clear communication with yourself and others takes time

    Use it. Don’t talk yourself out of your ideas or accept less than what you need. Don’t settle for less than what you are for the sake of convenience. 

    Being heard and understood will help you to keep growing in your relationships – with yourself and others.

    8. Choose your words wisely and be sincere even when you’re wrong.

    Don’t try to manipulate yourself or others with your words by saying something different from what is in your heart. 

    When you’re clear it’s easier to speak how you would like to be spoken to, with compassion, sincerity and integrity. 

    Remember, personal integrity is a gift you can give yourself every day.

    9. Know what’s most important to you and cherish and protect it.

    No one knows exactly what will happen; don’t put your happiness in someone else’s hands. 

    Be responsible for your own feelings and trust that others can choose to be responsible for their feelings as well. 

    You job is to take care of your well-being.

    10. The simple things matter.

    A smile, a compliment or a walk through the woods can give you the energy you need to find inner clarity and inspiration. It’s the simple things that sprinkle the day with positive feelings and bathes your brain in feel good neurochemicals. 

    It’s important to take a step back and savor those moments. They are the antidote to negativity and false positives.


    Being strong, feeling calm and having clarity are all possible. 

    When life feels overwhelming and your mind is cluttered with all the things you need to do, people you need to take care of and situations that need your attention it can seem impossible. 

    There isn’t a magic wand, but there is one thing that makes a difference – it’s your relationship with yourself. 

    When self-compassion becomes a priority in your life, it leads the way to more calm, clarity and makes you strong!

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  • How To Stop Negative Thinking From Becoming A Habit

    Self-compassion is the missing ingredient that stops the negative thinking habit.

    how to break the negative thinking habit with self-compassion

    It’s not about being selfish but rather being kind to yourself, acknowledging that it’s okay to make mistakes or feel bad sometimes.

    Self-compassion helps you treating yourself with kindness and understanding when you make a mistake or experience a difficult situation.

    Self-compassion helps you to look at the big picture. Life is full of both positive experiences and negative experiences. Self-compassion is what helps you to look at both sides of life non-judgmentally, so you can move forward with clarity and prevent a negative thinking habit.

    Courageously embracing self-compassion will change your life in many ways.

    The immediate benefits are less negative thinking, more motivation, greater resilience, and more happiness. But the ultimate goal is to fully accept ourselves as we are – which can lead us towards living a fulfilling life.

    What’s the big deal about self-compassion?

    I believe that self-compassion is crucial for success, well-being and happiness because it’s an antidote for negative thinking and poor self-esteem. It might not be the most important factor in happiness, but it’s certainly one of the most important.

    So why is self-compassion so important in our lives?

    The short answer is that it helps us to overcome negative thinking. And to do that, we need to be able to feel compassion for ourselves— when we are suffering.

    The goal of the rest of this article is not to teach you how to be compassionate towards yourself when you are suffering, but rather to provide you with the knowledge that will help you understand how self-compassion can help you overcome negative thinking and achieve your goals faster. Hopefully, the result is less suffering in your life.

    Negative Thinking

    Imagine you are in a high-pressure situation where you can’t understand what’s going on and no one is willing to give you the answers. Think about the last time you had a client or employee who just isn’t getting what you’re communicating. You try to figure out how to communicate more effectively and yet, they blame you for not helping them get the result they want.

    As the stress and tension grows, so does your frustration and anger until finally you burst out in a rage of screaming at your family, crying and feeling life a failure too.

    Now imagine how you would feel if this happened to you. Would you feel content, happy and satisfied? Or perhaps sad, downcast and disappointed? More than likely it would be the latter. This is because we often judge ourselves very harshly on our own mistakes. When you can practice self-compassion, it helps to be more accepting yourself.


    High self-esteem doesn’t always result more motivation and success. A person with high self-esteem can still feel frustrated, disappointed and demotivated sometimes. In fact, some people with high self-esteem have a hard time overcoming their own negative thoughts and they keep on feeling frustrated or discouraged even though they believe strongly in themselves.

    Having a more realistic view of ourselves helps us to acknowledge our shortcomings while still having confidence in ourselves. This is where self-compassion comes into play.

    In psychology, the term “self-compassion” was coined by Kristin Neff, a researcher from the University of Texas. In her experiments, self-compassion has been shown to be crucial in overcoming negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves. It helps us to take a step back from our thoughts and see them for what they are – just thoughts.

    How does self-compassion help you?

    According to Kristin Neff’s research on self-compassion, it helps us in four crucial ways:

    1. It stops the vicious cycle of self-criticism.

    When you’re in a critical frame of mind, it can be hard to think about yourself in any other way. The more you beat yourself up, the more negative thoughts you have about yourself, and the more frustrated and demotivated you become.

    Many people get stuck in a cycle where they criticize themselves for not being good enough. “I don’t have what it takes to get where I want.” These thoughts can this quickly turn into a vicious cycle that keeps on going round and round.

    But sometimes we can outsmart ourselves by saying things like: “I know I haven’t been doing well lately and I’ll improve soon. I’m sure I can get better at this. I want to do better. I don’t want to give up.”

    2. It helps put things in perspective.

    When we have a positive view of ourselves, it’s easier for us to see ourselves in a calm and realistic manner instead of seeing ourselves in a negative manner that gets us down over and over again. Self-compassion allows us to be more objective when trying to resolve our problems instead of being stuck in the situation.

    The more self-compassion you have, the less you worry about things and the less often you experience negative emotional states such as anxiety, sadness and stress (Neff & Conner 2014).

    Empathy is one of the most important aspects of self-compassion, and it’s the major reason why self-compassion is so effective. Research shows that those who are more self-compassionate experience less negative emotions like anxiety and depression (Neff & Vonk 2010).

    3. It helps you be more resilient to negative events.

    A person with low self-esteem can feel bad about their self after not meeting his goals. A person with high self-esteem might not care as much. However, a person with low self-esteem can feel very discouraged and unmotivated.

    Although there is a clear link between low self-esteem and depression, there is also a link between high self-esteem and anxiety (Neff 2015). In her research, Neff found that anxiety can be reduced by practicing more compassion toward oneself. This led to less negative emotional states such as anxiety.

    This was a major finding for Neff since a major factor in the development of depression and anxiety is our negative thoughts.

    When you practice self-compassion it can help to relax us and bring us back to a more positive mindset. This can help to alleviate negative emotional states such as anxiety, frustration and sadness (Neff 2015).

    4. It helps you be motivated about your goals.

    If we judge ourselves based on our own actions, we feel like we will never be able to do anything right or achieve anything important. As a result, we feel less motivated about our goals and we give up faster. Self-compassion is a powerful motivator because it helps you to enjoy your accomplishments and learn from your failures.

    Neff found that self-compassion helps us to have a more positive mindset about ourselves and the world around us. This can lead to being more motivated to achieve your goals. When you trust yourself and look forward to achieving things with a good attitude.


    Self-compassion has a direct impact on negative thinking and self-esteem. It isn’t “going easy on yourself” or “letting yourself off the hook,” so you can avoid accountability. Self-compassion helps you to view situations as they are. Which helps to improve your relationship with yourself as your life becomes less stressful and more fulfilling.

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