• How to Finally Stop Being a People Pleaser

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    What does it really mean, and more importantly, how do you stop being a people pleaser?

    On the most basic level, people-pleasing is changing your behavior to make others happy. Sometimes, in relationships, we change how or what we do to enhance the relationship, so what is the difference between relationship peace vs. acquiescing to relationship demands?

    Like many things, intention is the difference between a helpful habit and one that causes harm. You can change your behavior in a caring and selfless way; instead of rinsing your dishes and leaving them in the sink, you can rinse them and then put them directly into the dishwasher – one of my favorites! That is not what people’s pleasing is: being part of a family or community and respecting one another’s boundaries.

    According to researchers, the difference is that people-pleasing involves putting others’ needs and wants before their own and well-being, regardless of the consequences.

    The underlying assumption with people pleasing is that:

    • You believe the other person matters more than yours.
    • You are trying to avoid a negative situation by acting to satisfy what the other person wants.

    People-pleasing has an interesting relationship with manipulation. On the one hand, people-pleasing functions to minimize conflict between people: “Just keep the peace and do not say anything” or “Just do it their way, even if it does not make sense or is inefficient.”

    Sometimes, keeping the peace has an emotional cost – mainly for the peacekeeper. Suppose the other person manipulates the situation with disappointment, irritation, or anger, assuming you will capitulate to people-pleasing. In that case, the hard work of compromise to meet everyone’s needs does not have a chance.

    A person who people-pleases a lot is likely high in sociotropy, or, plain language, conflict avoidance. This trait is characterized by a strong desire for conflict-free relationships, often by seeking approval from others. Research shows that people high in sociotropy also have high levels of agreeableness (a desire to get along with others) and neuroticism (a tendency to have difficulty processing emotions).

    So, what happens when a people-pleaser struggles with regulating their emotions? It is a recipe for unfulfilled desires – wanting to avoid conflict with others but, at the same time, feeling conflicted within oneself. The result is feeling disappointed, frustrated, and dissatisfied!

    How To Be A People Pleaser

    Most of the time, when an individual becomes a people pleaser, it is because the alternative – peacekeeping outweighs the trouble of conflict. They could also have not learned another way to resolve differences. Aaron Beck, a pioneering psychologist, claimed that people please because they have overly rigid and unrealistic expectations. Most people pleasers have a powerful desire to be accepted by others. Their perspective is that it can only happen through positive interactions, so to use an old-fashioned phrase, they do not want to “upset the apple cart.” When a negative interaction occurs, they often feel at fault and assume they do not have the skills or abilities to handle conflict. When people pleasing is a regular way to interact with others, receiving near continuous approval from others results in feeling safe and well-liked.

    So, how does this pattern happen in the first place? Like most patterns established early in life, their attachment style with their primary caregiver shapes future social interactions. If someone is insecurely attached and their fear of rejection is also high, putting other’s needs before their own can prevent rejection. Many people are taught to prioritize others with messages such as, “Think of others before you think of yourself.” In Western cultures, women tend to engage in people pleasing more often than men due to cultural norms.

    How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

    Have you heard of the Golden Rule of Self-Care? The golden rule of self-care is to treat yourself with as much respect, kindness and compassion as you do others. Viewing needs as mutually important can help decrease negative perceptions of conflict around meeting them when you acknowledge the importance of your own needs, more to gain by resolving conflict.

    To stop being a people pleaser, you can

    • identify healthy boundaries to get your needs met
    • put yourselves first when you need to
    • be proactive to ensure that you are consistently taking care of yourself


    People-pleasing is a habit that you can change. Understanding how and why people-pleasing exists can help you better grasp what you must do to change it. When you break the people-pleasing habit, your life and relationships can improve and become more satisfying and fulfilling.

  • 5 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

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    What to do when self-doubt clouds your confidence and blocks your motivation.

    Do you find yourself questioning your beliefs or your point of view? Maybe you often wonder if you’ve made the right decision and second-guess yourself, replaying the various options in your mind on repeat. If so, you may be experiencing self-doubt.

    Self-doubt is questioning yourself about the truth about who you are and what you’re capable of. It could be focused on your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, opinions, decisions, self-views, or any point of view you hold about yourself. You might feel uneasy and question your self-competence or capacity to do what you want.

    Many of my clients who struggle with self-doubt fluctuate between judging and doubting their abilities and feeling confident in their capacity to meet their goals. Sometimes, you might be skeptical, and at other times, you may feel optimistic.

    Do you experience self-doubt?

    Here are some research-backed questions to help you determine if you’re experiencing self-doubt:

    • Do you feel unsure about your life?
    • Do you lack confidence that you’ll accomplish your goals?
    • Are you uncertain about your level of competence or capacity to be successful?

    How do you know if it’s self-doubt?

    Because self-doubt feels multidimensional – critical, judgmental, pessimistic, and so unpleasant that it’s often dealt with unconsciously—some can be helpful and others unhelpful. Here are a few of the ways self-doubt manifests:


    Self-handicapping is a defensive strategy that attempts to soften the harsh reality of failure with reasons for your mistakes that aren’t your fault. Stress eating, procrastination, and drinking are a few ways that enable you to blame your struggles on something other than yourself. But, this strategy often worsens self-doubt and leaves you feeling like a failure.


    Overachievement is a way of overcompensating that helps prevent mistakes and failures. Self-doubt often leads to the belief that the more regular effort you put in or the more competence you have, the more you need to succeed. Unfortunately, this is often a mismatch of what’s required to stop struggling with self-doubt.

    Imposter syndrome

    Imposter syndrome is when you feel like the success you experience is not an accurate reflection of your abilities and your success is a result of “just getting lucky.” There are many reasons why this happens, and one of them is that you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep up with your success. You might tell yourself your success is due to luck, timing, or contacts.

    5 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

    1. Unconditional self-worth

    Unconditional is the key – it’s not dependent on a particular result- it simply is. It doesn’t matter how others treat you because your self-worth depends only on how you value yourself as a human being.

    2. Unconditional love

    Love yourself “warts and all,” as they say. No matter your mistakes or the heights of your success, like unconditional self-worth above, you love your whole being.

    3. Growth

    Be in a state of evolution where you continue to be a lifelong learner and build on your strengths.

    4. Use positive self-talk

    Say things to yourself that are kind, positive, or supportive. Expect that you’ll make mistakes, and you’ll learn and grow in the process as you support yourself with positive self-talk.

    5. Affirm yourself

    The beliefs we have about ourselves sometimes need a reminder. Affirmations are a way to do that, as well as a way to keep goals in mind. Moving toward what you want is more accessible than pushing against what you don’t and hoping you’ll receive what you want.

    Here are three powerful affirmations:

    • I am strong and capable
    • I am doing my best, and that is enough
    • I am capable of anything I put my mind to

    Finally, here are two questions that can help you to focus as well:

    • How can I be confident even when I make mistakes or experience failure?
    • How can I be confident even when others doubt my abilities or withhold love, encouragement, or criticism?

    Developing a growth mindset helps to maintain your self-worth and can support you to believe in yourself even when times are challenging, which helps to prevent self-doubt from taking over.


    Self-doubt is an uncomfortable thought process and it’s a solvable problem. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome self-doubt and keep your momentum moving forward confidently with unconditional self-worth, love, growth, positive self-talk, and affirmations.

  • How to Break Up with Imposter Syndrome for Good

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    What is imposter syndrome and how do you fix it?

    Do you worry that the eternal “they” will discover that you are not exactly who or what they think you are? It could be imposter syndrome getting in the way of your confidence. It usually happens something like this:

    You have accomplished a goal and achieved success, but some of you cannot accept the success you have strived to achieve. Your inner voice tells you it was just luck and tried to convince you that you are not qualified, so watch out because “they” will find out! You might even doubt your skills and intelligence, even though you worked hard to get where you are. If you have ever experienced something like this, you have likely experienced imposter syndrome.

    Research on imposter syndrome in high-achieving women found that even when people have much evidence of their achievements, they can still convince themselves that they have not earned the success they have. Put another way, their self-assessment of their success needs to be more consistent with the objective reality of their accomplishments.

    Imposter syndrome describes when an individual doubts their accomplishments and fears that others will discover the “truth” that they are an imposter. The research also found that almost 70% of people experience some imposter syndrome during their lifetime.

    When people experience imposter syndrome, they typically credit their achievement to luck, good timing, or connections. They also dismiss their hard work and take ownership of learning the skills needed to achieve their success. Another factor is that people who struggle with imposter syndrome find it difficult to accept positive feedback or praise, making it much more challenging to break free from the belief that they are an imposter.

    Causes of Imposter Syndrome

    Like most things in life, there are many variables that contribute to life’s challenges. Here are a few:

    Life Transitions

    Imposter syndrome is common when starting something new, such as a new employment position after graduation. Other transitions like a promotion, creating a new business, and becoming a parent are major life events that can lead to low confidence and doubts about your ability to do the job successfully. Even high-performing professionals with a history of achievement still determine that their ability to perform is due to factors outside of themselves.


    Harsh judgment often leads to imposter syndrome. Early research found that children harshly judged by their families or perceived as less intelligent than other family members increased the chance of imposter syndrome. On the other hand, researchers also found that imposter syndrome can develop among children when families judge their children to be highly intelligent and competent. One thought is that the child feels pressured to please their families rather than believe in their abilities when their skills are challenged.


    We all have different aspects of our identities, such as gender, age, culture, or something else. When a person experiences part of their identity being criticized and belittled more than others, it can lead to imposter syndrome. Stereotypes that label an individual as less intelligent and competent can lead to an internalized narrative that accepts the belief as accurate. It happens when circumstances prove the stereotype is wrong, yet the individual believes it more than their reality.

    Low self-confidence

    Imposter syndrome overlaps with the other characteristics of self-confidence. Imposter syndrome is linked to self-doubt, often leading to failure. People who are both introverted and anxious are more likely to experience it. Generally, harsh criticism also increases the likelihood of imposter syndrome.

    3 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

    1. Emotional Awareness:

    Accept your emotional experiences. Remember that feelings are a response to an experience and are not a replay of reality. Writing your feelings down by hand and then looking at them from a few different points of view is often a helpful way to accept the positive aspects of yourself.

    2. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses:

    We all have positive and negative aspects of ourselves and are good at something, but no one is good at everything. When you accept that you possess skills and reflect on your abilities, it is easier to acknowledge your accomplishments confidently.

    3. Cancel perfectionism:

    Perfectionist habits often plague those struggling with imposter syndrome and need to stop! Everyone, and probably everything, is a work in progress. The goal is to keep learning and growing. Here are a few ways to practice more self-compassion. Take regular breaks and days off, and use relaxation techniques to calm stress and anxiety. Remember, mistakes are a natural and inevitable part of life, and you must keep learning and growing to your full potential.


    Sometimes, the voice of imposter syndrome takes over your confidence, tries to downplay your accomplishments, and leaves you doubting yourself. When that happens, it is a signal to take a moment, acknowledge your strengths, and take ownership of your power to move your life toward your full potential. Imposter syndrome does not have a chance to keep you down!

  • How to Believe in Yourself and Make Confident Decisions

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    Learn why believing in yourself matters and discover science-backed strategies and tips to start believing in yourself today.

    When you believe in yourself, it changes everything. It helps you achieve your goals, realize your dreams, and increase your mental and physical well-being. The sneaking thing is that a lack of belief in yourself usually makes you less likely to take action, change in helpful ways, or challenge yourself to improve your life. When you expect you will fail, you are more likely to fail.

    Believing in yourself is the starting point for what you want to accomplish for a life well-lived. It’s like dropping into a pickleball tournament when you’ve never heard of the game, don’t know how to use the equipment, and never even picked up a table tennis paddle or tennis racket. You don’t have the experience or confidence to play the game well, let alone achieve a win.

    Try as you might to push yourself forward, but when you don’t believe in yourself, you become blocked because your thoughts, attitudes, and actions aren’t built on solid ground.

    Even when you’ve worked through doubts, anxieties, and frustrations and know where you want to be, dreams aren’t achievable if you don’t confidently believe in yourself. What usually happens is one or both of these two things:

    • You don’t do what you need to do.
    • You sabotage yourself either in obvious ways or unconsciously.

    So, how do you believe in yourself to create the life you dream of living?

    How to Believe in Yourself

    Believing in yourself includes a variety of personal characteristics that you can develop no matter where you are in life. Things like self-worth, self-confidence, self-trust, and autonomy are some characteristics that increase your self-belief.

    • Self-worth is the belief that your life has value as a human being.
    • Self-confidence is a belief that you’re competent in your abilities, qualities, and judgment.
    • Self-trust comes from your history of relying on yourself.
    • Autonomy is the ability to choose and direct your thoughts and behaviors.

    These four key components are the most critical parts of believing in yourself. Regardless of whether you struggle with just one or all of them, you can improve them and believe in yourself more. When you understand where you struggle, it is easier to begin shifting your beliefs and points of view about yourself.

    Essential Questions to Ask Yourself

    Ask yourself these questions to determine where you’re getting in the way of your believing in yourself:

    • Self-worth: Do I value myself as a human being? Do I compare myself with others and view myself as worse off than others?
    • Self-confidence: Do I feel that my skills and abilities are effective? Do I generally feel good about my personal qualities? Do I perceive my judgment and decision-making as supportive of where I want to be?
    • Self-trust: Can I rely on myself? Can I trust that I’ll do what I say I’ll do?
    • Autonomy: Do I feel free to do what I want in life? Do I believe that I have what it takes to reach my dreams?

    If you answered any of the questions “no” or “sometimes,” those are the areas that get in your way of believing in yourself. Shifting how you think and the self-talk that follows can help you shift your beliefs so that you can believe in yourself more.

    Top 2 Strategies to Believe in Yourself

    1.   Practice supportive self-talk

    Now that you know the areas get in the way of believing in yourself, it’s time to take action.

    One of the most powerful and effective ways to do this is to challenge old beliefs by talking back to your inner voice. If you feel like your life isn’t valuable, start by giving yourself supportive messages such as, “I am a person who contributes to good in the world.” If confidence is low, remind yourself of what you can do and the skills you possess as evidence of your capabilities.

    What the research shows is that positive self-talk improves performance. By speaking to yourself as you would to a friend or family member, you can start to rewrite your narrative. When you shift the language you use to more accurately reflect where you are in life and where you’re headed, you’ll begin to focus more on your potential.

    Shifting your beliefs about yourself with a tiny change at a time compounds and before you know it, the narrative you have in your mind about yourself changes too.

    2.   Build self-trust

    The topic of trust is something that we usually think of as for others. But trusting in yourself and honoring your commitments to yourself is important. When you have (or don’t have) trust in yourself, it is similar to having (or not having) trust in others – it’s challenging to have confidence that you’ll honor your commitment to yourself. You know that feeling when you can count on someone that they’ll keep their word? That’s the same feeling you can have for yourself as well. You be confident that you’re doing what’s best for you!

    So, what happens when you don’t trust yourself? Maybe you aren’t honest with yourself because you’re unsure what to do with the information. Or maybe you can’t count on yourself to do what you tell yourself you’ll do. It could also be that you’re afraid that the outcome won’t be what you wished for and instead will be more disappointing than not. There are several possibilities. I’ve found that most of us want a guarantee before investing in ourselves and that’s a catch-22 situation where you’re in a stalemate with yourself!

    As strange as it might seem many of us have made promises to ourselves, no matter how impossible they may be to keep, and when they’re broken, it can lead to feeling like you can’t be trusted. For example, maybe you’ve promised yourself more than once that you’ll stop hitting the snooze button, but it’s so cozy that it doesn’t happen. Each morning it doesn’t happen. It is confirmation that you can’t trust yourself to keep your word. Fortunately, there is a way to change this dynamic with yourself!

    Here are some tips and strategies to build more trust with yourself:

    • Honor your word and do what you say you’re going to do. This might mean reducing your number of commitments, saying “yes,” to what matters and no to what doesn’t.
    • Practice radical honesty with yourself. Think about the truth of what you think, how it feels, and what you need in life. This is the time to focus on what you want – you can negotiate how your needs can dovetail with your commitments, but if you don’t get clear on what you want, it’s challenging to build a strong foundation of self-trust.
    • Live your values and do what’s right. Following your inner compass is a sure way to be on the path that is true to you. When you’re moving through your day based on your values, it’s easier to trust that you’ll make choices that matter.
    • Live with calm and clarity. Managing your emotions and knowing who you are and what you want is more effortless—being transparent about yourself makes trusting yourself much more accessible. You’ll easily make good decisions that align with who you know yourself to be.


    Believing in yourself significantly impacts your success, more than you might realize at first glance. It’s more than feeling good about yourself or having a positive self-image. It’s the foundation for your goals and dreams. It also helps you see where you’re stuck and how to be compassionate as you get unstuck. I hope the tips and strategies in this post enhance your belief in yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. ‘I should’ leads to shame

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

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


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

    2. ‘I should’ leads to guilt

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

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


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

    3. ‘I should’ limits possibilities

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


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

    4. ‘I should’ makes your world smaller

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

  • 5 Ways to Stop Overthinking – Be in The Present Moment

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    Has anyone ever told you to stop overthinking things?

    I know that I’ve heard it a few thousand times! That might be an exaggeration, but probably not! In this article, you’ll learn five simple steps that I take to stop overthinking and be present.

    You’ll know if you’re overthinking when you experience repetitive and unproductive thoughts – like your mind is on a merry-go-round that keeps circling around and around. The challenge is that overthinking keeps you focused on one thing. That one thing is usually what you’re unsure about, and at the same time, you’re invested in a particular outcome – that you can’t control.

    Since thoughts are focused in many different ways, the research has generally distinguished between rumination, which is focused on the past, and worry, which is focused on the future. No matter which word you use, overthinking tends to loop around the same thought, and there isn’t a resolution to what you’re overthinking. The overthinking loop keeps the cycle of thoughts running in your mind.

    One of the most frustrating things about overthinking is that it doesn’t get you any further and is generally not helpful. An excellent way to know if you’re overthinking is when you recognize that you are stuck thinking about the same thing repeatedly, but your thinking doesn’t lead to a solution.

    Overthinking tends to follow a pattern.

    Re-evaluating the past

    Rumination is the term often used by researchers, including repetitive thoughts about the past. Regrets (feeling wrong about an event or missed opportunity) and resentments (anger about an experience) also fit within this area. Many people are disappointed that they didn’t pursue a different path in life or are angry about how they were treated in a relationship. But I often hear in my practice when clients keep thinking about something they said. It might be second guessing how a comment might be perceived or judging themselves about a comment and feeling embarrassed about it. No matter what you’re overthinking about the past, the truth is that it’s not helping you to be present or confidently move toward your future.

    Be in the present moment.

    Does overthinking lead to being stuck today? Many people overthink the present, feeling like they’re in quicksand. You could question your choices and how they led to your current life circumstances, relationships, or work. Typically, this results in more stress and feeling less fulfilled in life.

    Your relationship with yourself is based on your thoughts about yourself, your life and the people in the present moment. Do you let yourself experience your life positively or overthink and focus on perceived flaws and mistakes? If so, this is an opportunity to reassess where you are in the present moment so that you can choose your next steps.

    Controlling the future

    Overthinking your future is what’s usually described as worry. Worry can be either short-term or long-term. Short-term worry is something like not waking up when your alarm goes off two hours early to catch a flight or text anxiety – did I study enough or even the correct material? Long-term worries might be, will I have enough money and be healthy enough to enjoy my retirement?

    Overthinking signals a problem

    When overthinking happens, it’s a signal that there’s a problem and you don’t yet know how to solve it. You might have thoughts –

    • I’m not happy with my career. Is it the job or me?
    • Is my partner my soulmate or is a soulmate even a real thing?
    • Is there a way for me to feel confident about my finances?

    While these are great questions to ask yourself, overthinking clouds or preventing you from making decisions that lead to answers, van Randenborgh and colleagues (2010) found that rumination- replaying thoughts from the past- negatively affects decision-making. Participants in their study found making decisions more difficult and feeling less confident in the decisions they made.

    Research has found that negative thinking is strongly associated with overthinking. Another study found that future-focused worry is associated with increased anxiety and thinking ability. Lastly, research suggests that changing overthinking that leads to worry can reduce anxiety since they are interrelated.

    How to Stop Overthinking

    1. Relaxation techniques

    Not only can overthinking increase stress and anxiety, but it can work in reverse – anxiety can lead to increased worry – it’s a bi-directional vicious cycle. A powerful way to interrupt the cycle is to use relaxation techniques. There are many relaxation techniques you can use. One way to relax is by engaging in physical activity like working out, walking, or practicing yoga. Another type of relaxation engages your mind and body, like taking deep breaths, practicing meditation, or guided imagery.

    Then, there is relaxation, which helps you shift from overthinking to being in the present moment. These techniques could be reading a good book, watching an enjoyable moving, spending time outside, talking with a neighbor, friend, or family member journaling and the list could go on and on. When you notice that you’ve thought about the same thing more than once and it’s leading you to overthink that’s the time to stop, plan some relaxation time and shift your thinking.

    2. Get some distance

    Sometimes it’s good to put a little space between you and what’s on your mind. Mindfulness lets you step back from your thoughts and consider where you want to go. The ability to take an objective viewpoint of your thoughts is vital to stop overthinking them. When you overthink, you can become consumed by the issue you’re focusing on and lose perspective. When you realize that’s what’s happening, it’s helpful to future pace which is asking yourself, “Will this be important to me in a year, five years?”

    3. Challenge yourself

    When you challenge yourself, holding yourself accountable is more straightforward, so you can make changes as needed. Ask yourself, “Are these thoughts helpful to me?” When you have more awareness of overthinking, you can put it into perspective and choose how you’ll respond. A lot of the time overthinking is a way to pause taking action. We all have coping mechanisms, no matter how unhelpful they might be. Sometimes overthinking is a way to press the pause button and give yourself some space. Challenging yourself is one way to break through the overthinking noise and take action.

    4. Fact or fiction?

    Have you heard the phrase, “Thoughts are not facts?” But we all know that, at times, it can feel like they are stone-cold facts. Sometimes it’s helpful to remember exceptions. It’s human nature to make mistakes or deviate from a habit. Looking for exceptions is helpful when you realize that your thoughts aren’t helpful or reflect your reality. Sometimes reminding yourself that very few things are “always” one way or another can free you from overthinking.

    5. Spend time with a pet

    Most pets don’t seem to experience stress as humans do. They don’t think overthink about or are embarrassed by their behavior. They can show us how to live and enjoy the present moment!


    Overthinking is not only unhelpful, but it can also actively harm your well-being by increasing stress, anxiety and negative emotional states. When you understand how overthinking functions in your life and how to stop it with the stress management skills above you have what you need to break free from the patterns that hold you back from living a fulfilling life!

  • 4 Simple Steps to Live More Simply and Savor Life

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    Do you want to live more simply and savor life in ways that are right for you?

    Read on to find out how you can simplify and enjoy life more.

    Does life sometimes feel more complex than it needs to be? Do you feel like society expects you to buy more than is necessary, own more things than you need, or do more work than you want? As much as we might not want to admit it, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is alive and well. If any of these situations resonate with you, you may want to find ways to live more simply.

    When you want to live more simply, it means making choices that ultimately make life less stressful and more fulfilling because of their simplicity. There are lots of definitions of what it means to live a simple life. Most definitions include some measure of eliminating extras so you can focus on what’s needed and live life with greater freedom, fulfillment, and happiness.

    It’s often argued that to live more simply (or minimalism) is a reaction to materialism. Others think that simple living is a part of “alternative hedonism,” which is a movement that responds to the destructive models of capitalist consumption.

    Here are a few different approaches to living more simply:

    • Minimalism – simplifies life by reducing your possessions and consumption. Sometimes, it also includes ascetic minimalism, which focuses on clean, uncluttered design.
    • Self-sufficiency – is providing for yourself as much as possible without modern systems or what we might call convenience. Some examples are living off-the-grid, growing your food, sewing clothes, or making self-care products like soap.
    • Digital minimalism – is reducing or eliminating access to certain technologies like cell phones, social media, or the Internet as much as possible.
    • Connection with nature – spending more time outside, camping, or in wilderness environments.
    • Slowing down – sometimes called “slow living,” reduces a sense of urgency or busyness so you can make intentional choices and enjoy your life more.

    Living more is as individual as you are. You can live with a mixture of some or all of these approaches. Trying different approaches to see how you feel and how they affect your stress level is often helpful. Doing this helps identify which style or styles you want to integrate into your life that positively affects your well-being.

    Why is Living More Simply Important?

    Many people choose to live more simply after they realize that no matter how much they buy, things do not make them happy. They find a greater sense of well-being when they reduce the pressure on themselves and gain time to do things that bring them true joy. Living simply can result in many positive things in life, including:

    • feeling less stressed about money
    • better work-life balance
    • more time in the day to be present
    • environmental consciousness
    • clarity about what matters
    • more freedom to choose what you want
    • space to discover your passions

    Living more has become essential for many people and there are lots of different ways to simplify life. Many of us, maybe even most of us, find a better fit practicing a few simplifying things rather than taking our lives completely off-grid. Here are some examples you might try to test out what feels like a good fit.

    • bake from scratch—bread, cookies, pizza – even better if you bake with someone
    • start a vegetable garden.
    • declutter and donate anything you don’t need.
    • stop buying things you don’t need and won’t use

    How to Live More Simply

    Does the idea of living seem great, but you’re just not ready to (or you don’t want to, which is fine) change your entire lifestyle?

    Here are some ways to live more simply: give up consuming to prevent FOMO and enjoy your life.

    1. Say “no” more often

    Our lives often get cluttered and busy when we say yes to everything. Maybe we say yes to eating junk food we don’t want to eat, participating in consumer holidays like Black Friday that we don’t want to join in, agreeing to do more than we handle, or accepting invites to events we don’t want to attend. By learning how to say no, you get back more of your time and take back power over your life. So, take some time to think about the things you let into your life that don’t need to be there and start saying no to them so you can say yes to what you want!

    2. Disconnect from technology

    There are many ways to disconnect; however, disconnecting from tech is one of the most challenging habits to change. Sometimes, you’ve just got to do it, as they say. Often, it’s helpful to start small with one of these suggestions:

    • turn off notifications on your phone
    • take a break from social media
    • digital detox with a weekend off of the Internet

    I think you’ll experience extra time in your day and maybe even have some free time for relaxing. Many of my clients experience much less information streaming into the brain when they decrease the use of technology. Think about how you can use this extra space in your mind when you get when you set limits with technology.

    3. Declutter your closets

    First, put all the clothes you don’t wear in a box. Leave out just enough clothing to wear for one month. You aren’t getting rid of anything – you’re just putting extra clothes in a box. At the end of the month, open the box and decide what to keep and donate. Once you get used to living without excess clothing, getting rid of the extra stuff when needed is easier. You can do this challenge with other items and decide what you need versus donating what you don’t.

    4. Set a budget

    Setting a budget can help prevent you from filling up your spaces with more stuff. It also enables you to discern what you value – stuff or experiences. Do you spend your way out of taking the trip you would enjoy so much more than another impulse purchase? One thing to ask yourself is if this is essential and if I will use this. When you decrease your spending to what matters, there’s less waste, and you’ll have more money for what matters to you.


    Living more simply can boost your well-being and even enrich your lifestyle. Fortunately, small changes allow you to test out what works for you as you go along. I hope the ideas and information provided here give you some ideas to help you create a simple life that you love.

  • 3 Ways to Turn Body Hate into Body Love

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    There are two paths – body hate vs body love.

    There is no in-between, justifications, or talking yourself into what-ifs.

    Maybe I like the color of my eyes, but my legs are too short. Or perhaps I like the way my body moves, just not the muscles or the bit of jiggle. There isn’t room for an in-between-the-line sort of perspective.

    Can you parse out your relationship with your body like that and still have a “healthy body image?”

    It doesn’t happen much, but there are all-or-nothing situations. The gray areas only serve to distract from how you truly feel. When the painful reality of how much body hate you endure daily, it’s time to make a real commitment to change.

    Two Paths: hate or love.

    Why do you hate your body?

    The path of hate is an easy one. You can continue living with negative thoughts and feelings about your body and you’ll find a lot of company. It’s how we’re socialized, especially women, that there’s always something not good enough. It’s expected that you will join in the negative body talk. For many people, it’s a bonding experience to share your pain of dissatisfaction with your body.

    If you tend toward stress, eating is the usual fallback to soothe the pain – temporarily.

    Self-deprecating humor about your body means saying, ‘Yep, we’re in the same boat; I don’t like myself either!’

    Going along with the crowd

    You can continue to agree with the millions of magazines, social media posts, radio and TV commercials, billboards, and so on that tell you your body could be better. The way to cure body hate is through diet and exercise. It’s the logic that if you do this, you will love yourself, and your life will magically fall into place because you’ve reached some physical acceptability.

    Okay, maybe they don’t say the last bit, but the message is loud and clear for many people.

    You might think, if this celebrity spokesmodel can make it happen, so can I! The plan they’re selling will finally get me you where you’re supposed to be.

    Do this and you will receive lots of other good things in life.

    Sometimes, it’s even presented that you don’t deserve good things or aren’t worthy if your body is less than some arbitrary acceptable definition.

    These messages are often followed by competing messages that show delicious-looking foods that will bring fun and happiness into your life. You follow the trigger and assure yourself this is the last stress-eating episode.

    Mindset and body love

    From a mindset perspective, this type of thinking falls into the fixed mindset category. You’re looking outside of yourself to change the way you feel. It makes sense if you haven’t experienced a different self-relationship; how would you know a different way is possible?

    Carol Dweck, a Stanford researcher who studies mindset, has shown that people who have a growth mindset are better able to take risks, challenge their fixed mindset beliefs, and are willing to identify fixed mindset triggers and learn from them. This means that when you approach life from a growth mindset, you’re eager to evolve and incorporate new ways of being with yourself, even when what you know doesn’t work and you’re not sure what will work.

    When applied to transforming body hate into love, you need to willingly look clearly at your thoughts and feelings as well as the conversations you have with yourself and others about body image, so you can identify triggers that keep you in a fixed state of hate.

    You can also take action when you stop paying attention to information that doesn’t help; even when it’s uncomfortable, try a different way.

    Just think of how much time and energy you’ve spent keeping things the same. You were searching for an answer in something that worked for someone else instead of listening to yourself. Paying attention to your body so that you receive the information you need to become who you need to be.

    How to grow your body love

    The path of love is much more difficult.

    The path of love takes time.

    The reward is the transformation from the inside out – real, lasting change.

    What I can promise you is that if you take the path of love, you will –

    • get frustrated
    • doubt you’re on the correct road
    • make mistakes.

    These are all expected and welcomed because this is where change grows into new ways of being with yourself.

    Transformational change results in a life shift that is nearly impossible to reverse.

    The changes become part of who you are.

    Why do we often take the path of hate when love is so much better?

    The path of hate has many people you can join up with.

    There’s a lot of advice and support to stay in the struggle and stay the same. Keep up the battle and live in discontent with your body because we’re all together on this! It’s familiar and the reinforcement you receive is all around.

    The old stories you tell yourself need somewhere to go. It would be best if you stashed the discomfort to get relief. All the better if you can blame outside of yourself. But the problem is that you’ll need to wait for society, your family, the media to change before you can feel better. Your power is stripped away.

    Family Body Stories

    Body stories are like other lore. They are passed down from your parents, teachers, coaches, culture and kids will either rebel or adopt these beliefs.

    Many studies have examined family relationship patterns (here, here, here) and their influence on body image. What we know is that especially in mother–daughter relationships, the unhappier mom is with her body, and there is increased body image and eating problems in the child. Without intervention, this relationship pattern continues into adulthood and gets passed down to the next generation.

    The research has also shown that when parents have a positive relationship with their bodies, it provides insulation from body image issues and the diet messages that bombard us in daily life.

    It’s a big culturally acceptable bath of yuck that most women, at one point or another, will jump into and sadly never get out of.

    The struggle is having a healthy, loving relationship with your body.

    Maybe you would like to change your weight, find an exercise plan you enjoy, make some changes to how you eat and generally feel better in your body. That’s great!

    You can do any or all of those things and protect yourself from the influence of a fixed mindset by focusing on what you think and instead doing what’s right for you.

    Your body story influences your day-to-day life, so make it supportive!

    Here are three ways to help you get started

    The first step is to pay attention to the little things you say to yourself. The judgments and comments you make to others about your body and eating habits. Also, the silent judgments you make about others that you would be mortified if they found out. Kindness and compassion are a circle that supports emotional well-being for all when it’s freely given and received.

    1. Challenge yourself with supportive questions

    • Is this what I want to say to myself and how does this affect me by giving voice to it?
    • Is this thought or feeling leading me to health and well-being?
    • Does this help me become who I need to be, or does it keep me standing still?

    Having some supportive and compassionate statements at the ready is also helpful. Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered just below.

    2. Reframe your story; every ‘because’ argument has at least two sides

    You’re the one who decides which direction to go. Sometimes, it must be true if it’s something you’ve thought or heard for many years.

    But is it? People can change at any point in their lives. Sometimes, it takes minimal effort and other times, it can seem like you’re moving with lead weights strapped to your ankles. Keep moving anyway.

    When change happens slowly, allow yourself to acknowledge all the tiny victories because they will add to the change you want to happen.

    When change happens quickly, remember all the time, thought, planning and action you have put into making it a reality. Most overnight successes were years in the making.

    Both fast and slow changes need to be honored – with abundant love.

    You’re more likely to make healthful decisions when you feel better and your self-esteem is high. Positive creates more positive. This is why the path of love, although more challenging to navigate at first, becomes more accessible. You will experience more freedom and greater well-being in the process.

    3. You can choose love over hate at any time

    You can change your thoughts and they have the power to transform body hate.

    Here are some alternative statements to get you started:

    I hate my body.

    Alternative: I’m nurturing a loving relationship with my body.

    My ______ is too fat/thin.

    Alternative: My body is just as it needs to be now, and I am evolving. 

    My ______ says I’m ______.

    Alternative: I choose my relationship with my body and nurture myself with love.

    I feel fat!

    Alternative: I have many feelings and there’s more to feeling fat.

    I can’t eat ______.

    Alternative: I choose foods that nurture my mind, body and heart.

    I need to work off those calories!

    Alternative: I am integrating all food choices into my lifestyle and I move my body with peace.

    My body doesn’t like me.

    Alternative: I am getting to know another side of my relationship with my body and practicing self-compassion is part of it.

    I feel gross like this.

    Alternative: I am changing and sometimes I will feel uncomfortable and it will pass.

    I’m just not attractive.

    Alternative: I am growing in my appreciation of beauty in all aspects of myself.

    I wish I had ______.

    Alternative: I have all that I need right now and know that I may change in the future.

    I don’t feel like myself anymore.

    Alternative: I am focusing on being present and learning what I need to care for myself in new ways.

    In Sum

    Use this list as a starting point to become more aware of your internal conversation. Use the awareness to shape statements to provide you with the information you need to support and trust yourself – that you can change your self-relationship and be comfortable in your body.

  • 3 Principles to be a Conscious Eater for Life

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    We all want to eat healthy, live well, and be our best selves. Unfortunately, stress eating can rob you of your best intentions. Fortunately, when you become a Conscious Eater, you learn how to experience and maintain freedom from stress eating.

    The cycle of stress eating usually goes something like this –

    • something happens that triggers an uncomfortable emotion
    • you reach for the chocolate (or whatever you like) one more time to calm down
    • enjoying the deliciousness of it is soothing
    • you promise yourself it’s the last time and you’ll “be good.”
    • feeling guilty about eating for emotional comfort

    Sometimes, it’s all of these emotions simultaneously, and that’s incredibly frustrating. The kicker is that it usually leads to even more stress in the long run.

    When you need quick relief from the stress, it’s not like it can wait – you need it as soon as possible!

    At the same time, stress eating isn’t a solution that lasts and if you’re reading this article, I bet you know it’s a cycle that repeats despite your best intentions.

    I also bet that you know when you stop stress eating, you’ll feel in control and that’s a good thing. The goal is to be at peace with yourself, your body, and your life and ultimately make peace with food for good.

    Another diet isn’t the answer because how you use food is the real problem.

    You’re probably at the point where you want more than feeling good about your body – you want to own your life!

    It’s motivating to keep going when you feel in control of your life. Losing weight, joining a new gym, or reading a great self-help book can be the spark, but when the sole focus is losing weight – that’s the definition of putting all your eggs in one basket. The problem is that you either “fall off the wagon,” or the excitement disappears when you reach your goal. That’s when people revert to the same Eating and physical activity behaviors. What you’re left with—well, you—and that feeling of ‘what do I do now?’ How do I maintain my balance without fearing the next stressful eating episode is just around the corner?

    You want, no, you need absolute freedom from stress eating.

    A whole-person perspective that integrates mind, body and heart would be great. After all, it would be best if you lived with yourself, and you want to be happy too.

    Conscious Eating is a way of living in a relationship with yourself that lasts a lifetime.

    You can live a long and happy life where you feel good in mind, body and heart while you experience freedom from stress eating.

    Creating a relationship with yourself leads to lasting change based on trust and respect so you can take care of your emotional well-being.

    You can stop stress eating and become a Conscious Eater.

    Fortunately, Conscious Eating supports you in making positive, life-enhancing changes that you can integrate into your life anytime.

    Conscious Eating is listening to your heart in the present moment, free from judgment, with the knowledge that you can provide yourself with the nourishment you need for a fulfilling life.

    Respect, kindness, and compassion are the hallmarks of Conscious Eating.

    Each time you eat, you can pause, center yourself and come to the table for nourishment and well-being.

    Conscious Eating frees you from the fear of missing out, which is often fueled by the anxiety that you must have what you want now for one of these reasons:

    • it may be gone soon
    • this is the last time
    • the diet starts tomorrow

    Mindless Eating can be like that.

    Sometimes it’s:

    • distraction
    • avoidance
    • controlling feelings that seem unmanageable

    Stress eating focuses only on the food, without regard for your nutritional needs, preferences, or whether you want to eat.

    It is impossible to Consciously Eat what you don’t want or like without experiencing a conflict because you’re out of alignment with yourself.

    Conscious Eating is liberating.

    Conscious Eating frees you from overfocusing on food and underfocusing on your emotional well-being.

    You can create the space to stop momentarily, give yourself time and identify your feelings.

    What are you hungry for, and what might be satisfying?

    Conscious Eating is a fundamental shift in your mindset about how you listen to yourself and take care of yourself.

    Conscious Eating requires compassionate patience.

    As a Conscious Eater, you’ll learn to nourish yourself in the word’s meaning.

    Nourishment: to provide food and other things needed for health, growth, etc.

    The goal is to truly enjoy your relationship with food and your body without guilt, negative self-talk, excuses, or shame.

    Each meal is one moment in time.

    Food has its proper place in your life and is one aspect of life – sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it’s a small part. Nonetheless, there are other equally meaningful parts of life.

    Sometimes, you will eat purely for fuel. You are hungry, busy, and need nutrition to function well. Knowing when you need to be quick and efficient versus when you can savor your meal is part of Conscious Eating.

    There is no such thing as a perfect eater!

    Real life happens.

    You may have days where there is one meeting after another and your energy needs are met through one energy bar after another or one cup of coffee too many.

    You may have days when what’s available isn’t appealing and you need to take care of your body and eat what’s available.

    Sometimes we eat just for energy and that’s okay.

    During times like these, Conscious Eaters are kind and compassionate, knowing they make the best decisions.

    You can nourish yourself and have confidence that you will have many opportunities to enjoy the foods you love.

    You can get back to listening to your natural rhythms.

    Becoming a Conscious Eater is often like getting back to nature. Eating more naturally, most of the time. It is like when you were little and ate because you were hungry and stopped when you were full. Even when you had something delicious, like your favorite ice cream, you listened to your body and stopped when your body let you know it was enough.

    And if this was not your experience growing up — maybe you never had the opportunity to listen to your body — you can learn how to listen now.

    Conscious Eating is a skill that you can develop at any time in your life.

    On the other hand, stress eating is a habit you can unlearn anytime!

    At some point in life, we all realize it’s not about weight or how you look in the mirror.

    It is more about how you want to live with yourself.

    Conscious Eating supports a relationship with yourself that is kind and compassionate in how you talk to yourself about your body and life.

    Breaking free from body criticism, stress eating, or the diet mentality is difficult.

    Whether it’s your conversations with others, television commercials, the latest magazine article, pop-up ads, or books, the message is how easy it will be to follow this or that plan and lose weight. Your reward will be unending happiness because a perfect body is the key to the good life. It’s a seductive message, but it isn’t reality.

    If a quick fix worked, we wouldn’t have so many new diets or “failures.”

    The solution isn’t easy. Freedom from stress eating takes effort.

    The reward for becoming a Conscious Eater is experiencing the fullness of life.

    Your life is yours to live right now- no longer being ruled by your feelings and led down the road of emotional eating one more time.

    You honor your life whenever you dare to risk listening to yourself.

    A wealth of knowledge about essential nutrition is easily accessible. Your challenge is to work within the parameters that fit for you. Respect any adjustments you need to make, given your specific health concerns.

    This process increases awareness, adjusts, and helps you move forward with new knowledge.

    There is no one size fits all; there is only what best fits you.

    Most of all, Conscious Eating is natural, kind, and filled with peaceful self-compassion.

    Conscious Eating breaks diet habits and leads to a calmer, more reasonable, thoughtful relationship with food.

    Often, when women talk about “my relationship with food,” it comes from a position of power – the food being more assertive.

    The diet mentality (there are good foods/bad foods, healthy/unhealthy food, the need to count calories, fat, carbohydrates, gluten, or whatever is the “baddy” of the moment) leaves your knowledge and wisdom about yourself out of the equation.

    There is a seesaw back and forth between knowing that you need to follow your path versus the overwhelming message that this plan or that diet will be “the one.” You never really reach a middle ground.

    Consciously make decisions that are guided by your self-knowledge.

    Struggle happens when you can’t integrate the latest diet fad into your life. “I start my diet on Monday,” it is just too much of a jolt to the system.

    Making changes gradually over time and allowing yourself to adjust to change step by step is usually more successful.

    Many women have been brought up with the cultural idea that feeling good about yourself and your body is not possible. You may have grown up believing that you are supposed to look a certain way or that there is one acceptable body type.

    If your body does not match up well, how could you ever feel good, never mind accept yourself?

    Conscious Eating is grounded in caring and compassion and provides nourishment, not only for your body with food but also for your mind and heart with peace.

    Conscious Eating Questions:

    • What is your body asking for?
    • What do you need to nurture your whole self?
    • What is your energy level for your planned activities?
    • What fuel do you need now—food, motivation, inspiration, peace, or something else?
    • What are your emotional needs?
    • Where is your heart leading you?

    It can be challenging to answer these questions thoughtfully in the beginning.

    Sometimes, you are swept up by emotions, thoughts, and memories and it is unclear what will calm your anxieties and fears.

    Longing for food can seem uncontrollable at times.

    The way out is to allow yourself some space and figure out what you need and how to nurture yourself as you experience it.

    Give yourself time and space to let the questions simmer. Give yourself the gift of thoughtfulness.

    3 Basic Elements of Conscious Eating – Mind, Body and Heart

    1. Mind – how your feelings shape your thoughts

    Most of us have the basic feelings: mad, sad, happy. One of the great things about Conscious Eating is that you learn to be more specific in identifying your feelings.

    With increased emotional awareness, your emotional vocabulary grows, leading to more options for best working with them.

    Rather than using food to calm or elevate your mood, you have many choices. For example, there are many ways to describe happiness. Joy, elation, glee, delight, well-being, merry. Each of these feelings has a different quality and experience of pleasure.

    Increasing your repertoire or vocabulary of emotions allows you to match the feeling with positive action.

    You can work with the emotion and move your life in the desired direction.

    Fulfillment, happiness, and peace in your relationship with food are possible because now you are taking care of your emotional health in ways that directly address what is missing.

    2. Body – How do you physically feel?

    Conscious Eating naturally leads you to regularly check in with your body with kindness and compassion.

    Conscious Eating allows you to check in with your subtle hunger cues and your need for movement, flexibility, and sleep.

    Most importantly, you respect your body’s information and meet your needs.

    A healthy relationship is built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect.

    Your relationship with your body’s hunger and satiety signals needs trust and respect, too!

    Conscious Eaters, stop, listen, and take good care.

    Allow yourself the time to check in and wait for an answer. Remember, snap judgments lead you away from consciousness.

    3. Heart – Quiet reflection

    The gift of listening to your heart is one of the guiding elements of Conscious Eating.

    This is where you will find the gentle strength of discernment.

    With experience and practice, you will know when a craving leads to “I just want it” instead of a thoughtful, centered perspective. You can ask yourself, “Am I using food, exercising, focusing on my weight, counting calories or macros to calm an uncomfortable feeling, or do I just have a craving?” This makes choosing what you want very easy.

    In sum

    The heart of Conscious Eating is a movement toward a better relationship with yourself. You know from your core what is best for you, and freedom from stress eating is a big part of your needs.

    The tug of war no longer exists. Instead, you’ll live your life with increasing peace and clarity.

    Your needs are considered first and foremost, whether caring for your emotions, eating, having quiet time, engaging in a nurturing physical activity, or something even more fulfilling.

    Deepening your relationship with yourself in a new way that brings you happiness happens constantly!

    I hope learning more about Conscious Eating and how it can bring more calm, happiness and peace into your life is helpful to you.

  • How to Insulate Yourself from Toxic Positivity

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    What’s the difference between good positivity and bad positivity, and when does it become toxic positivity?

    Positivity includes feelings like gratitude, optimism, and a positive perspective. It might seem like common sense that positivity is good for well-being, backed by research, but there are exceptions, too. One of the exceptions is when positivity is forced; it can be annoying at best and infuriating at worst, which does not enhance well-being at all!

    Positivity is good for well-being. The caveat is if positivity helps you avoid or suppress negative emotions, it can become toxic.

    The definition of toxic positivity is when an individual rejects or denies stress, negativity, or other negative experiences that exist.

    Sometimes, knowing the difference between positivity and toxic positivity is difficult.

    For example, if someone encourages you to “look at the bright side” when you’re not ready to, you might feel that they are dismissing your experience and the negative feelings that may result from it. Since negative emotions are as important as positive ones for meeting your needs, storing them without acknowledgment isn’t helpful. Even so, when it seems that positive advice from friends feels like toxic positivity when you’re on the receiving end, it might not be.

    There’s a thin line between positivity and toxic positivity and it quickly becomes very complicated, but here’s some help.

    Here are some more examples:

    • “I’m having a bad day.” Toxic response: “But you have much to be grateful for in your life.”
    • “I don’t know if I can have a relationship with my sister. She doesn’t treat me with respect or kindness.” Toxic response: “She’s family. You should love her no matter what.”
    • “This job sucks.” Toxic response: “You’re lucky you even have a job.”

    The responses are good examples of using toxic positivity to bypass the speakers’ negative experiences rather than compassionately listening to what the other is saying.

    On the other hand, when you feel heard, it validates your experience, regardless of the situation.

    This response accepts the negative emotions we all experience occasionally and communicates compassion and kindness. This approach is not toxic because it doesn’t deny negative emotions or force a feeling that doesn’t align with the experience.

    When Does Positivity Become Toxic?

    1. Some research suggests that it is inappropriate to use positivity to reframe a problematic positive when an individual’s identity is being threatened. For example, when people experience racial oppression, looking for the positive side of things can lead to worse well-being.
    1. If people encourage you to use a specific emotional skill you’re not skillful with, it can make you feel worse. For some people, positivity is a difficult skill to develop and implement. If your skillset for being optimistic, positive, or reflecting on the bright side of your situation doesn’t come quickly, it could be problematic for you.
    1. Most of us think positive emotions are good, and more is better. Well, it turns out that the saying, “too much of a good thing is bad,” might be right. Too much positive emotion is a known risk factor for mania. Too much positive emotion can result in negative emotion.
    1. Obsession with happiness or over-focusing on happiness decreases well-being. This creates a gap between how you feel now and how you want to feel. Having ultra-high expectations for happiness tends to take you out of your experience and preoccupy you with the future, which is a setup for unfulfilled expectations.

    In Sum

    Toxic positivity is tricky at times.

    The benefit of positivity, backed by science, is that positivity improves well-being.

    At the same time, it can be easy to focus only on positivity, which leads to toxic positivity.

    Hopefully, this post helps you understand the difference between positivity and toxic positivity and how to prevent it.