Demystifying Yoga and Why You Need to Try it.

I remember the first moment I walked into a class known as “hot yoga”.  Yes, it was hotter than hell or so I imagined.  The class was heated to around 102 degrees with about 40% humidity.  I managed to last, but honestly wondered how many people passed out, threw up or went to the bathroom and never came back.

I pondered all of those things in the space of 5 minutes.  The people were all slim, seriously.  There was a mirror on the wall in front of me and I wondered why, whyyyy, would they do that to people wearing next to nothing.  And to top it off, a man walked in wearing what seriously was the smallest erm covering ever and put his mat in front of me (More on that later if you want to click the link).

Here’s the thing.  I was brand new and it wasn’t about any of these things, but if this was my first experience, I had nothing else to compare it to.  So, for those of you who are either nodding your heads, or wondering what happened next, I will help clear some things up.

This particular studio caters to the college students.  I didn’t realize that when I signed up as it was close to me and I wanted to see what all the “fuss” was about.  The people were very serious in this class and very much unforgiving that particular day.  It is not like this everywhere and just to be clear, it is not like this in every class there.  The phrase that I later discovered “your vibe attracts your tribe” is also true for yoga studios. 

Since I was a beginner, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I tried it again years later at this studio and found that it still seemed not quite the right fit for me personally.  I wanted to connect with my body and my breath and I personally couldn’t do that while staring at a mirror.  It was way too distracting in this class.

I didn’t want the mirror to be my focus and I found the students body language as well as the instructors seemed to imply that if I didn’t do the pose a certain way, that I was less than somehow and the mirror was just confirmation.

The next place I tried offered Restorative Yoga Well, the few times I went I really enjoyed it…until I took a friend who couldn’t sit still at all, but that’s another story that I linked here.  You have to understand that I was mentally and physically in pain at the time, but I had come to the conclusion that it absolutely couldn’t get any worse (which was actually half right) and that to do nothing was insane (which was 100% correct).  So, the art of restoring my body back to the original factory settings appealed to me highly. 

We got to use bolsters, which are like pillows, blankets, blocks, straps and pretty much anything we had available to us at the time.  I felt very good about the process.  After a while of finding my place in this class, I finally decided to take what would become my greatest passion.

The Vinyasa “flow” Class.  What fresh hell was this my body whispered?  Why are we doing this?  My wrists said to me.  My brain said “Aww F-this.  No.  Noooo.”  But I sat on the mat with no mirror in front of me and listened as the teacher centered us.  I began to move and thought that if I needed a rest surely yoga was the place to find it, right?  Well, again.  Not all classes are created the same and they shouldn’t be.  So, in this flow, it was exactly that.  We literally flowed from pose to pose to pose, and I felt like we never stopped.

Again, my body was in the greatest pain it had ever been in at this time anyway, so I felt as if I had nothing to lose and everything to gain…if I could last.  It was literally like being on Survivor I thought.  I had to pace my thoughts so that I could make it 60 minutes.  Could I do this?

The first few weeks, were hard.  Down Dog was not my favorite.  I actually secretly despised it.  Planking.  WHY was that ever created in the first place when you could plop down on the damn mat.  Why did I want to actually hold myself up?  Why?  Anyway, all this moaning was only in my head.  At least for the most part.  I might have told my husband I wasn’t cut out for it.

Then the day happened when my wrists didn’t hurt quite as much, and in a moment of weakness I said yes to signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.  So, the truth is, I get it.  I really do.

I am not slim…I am curvy, but prefer not to put that label on my style of teaching as that’s just ridiculous.  I want to teach yoga that is truly available to every body.  Every size, shape, color or anything else you think is holding you back.  Are you in pain?  I understand.  Do you think you are too big busted?  I got you covered with modifications and ways to move those girls out-of-the-way.  Don’t want to wear yoga pants?  Fine, then wear what makes you happy…and ermm covered.

After 200 hours, and days I almost cried from the pain, I graduated from my yoga teacher training.  I couldn’t hold myself up at first.  Seriously, and had to modify by coming to my knees in down dog, one of the most used poses there seemed to be ever.  I had such poor wrists that I couldn’t side plank.  And I tried for a year to hold myself up in a pose called crow.  I want you to believe me when I say “trust the process”.  I additionally became certified in teaching yoga for arthritis and pain.  I am now a mindful coach who specializes in getting through this minute to the next, and the next and the next and learning to let go of the things that are holding you back.

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I would love to be able to help you with getting control of your thoughts, practicing visualization techniques, and creating affirmations that can help you move ahead with your life.

Available to you here >> Head|Heart|Health Club <<

Feeling Down? 7 Ways to Pick Yourself Back Up

Feeling down? 7 ways to pick yourself back up.Feeling Down? 7 Ways to Pick Yourself Back Up!

A Guest Post By Leo Babauta

From time to time, we all get a little down, maybe even a little depressed. Maybe we are feeling overwhelmed, or feel bad because we’re not doing well with our goals. There are many reasons for feeling down, and I’m not qualified to discuss all of them, their implications, or clinical treatment. What I can talk about are some things that have worked for me.

Feeling a little depressed can interfere with achieving our goals. We know we should be doing something, but we just don’t feel like doing anything. This can last for a long time if you don’t head it off as soon as possible and take action. Here are some of the things that work best for me:

  1. Make a list. Sometimes we are depressed simply because we are overwhelmed with all the things we have to do that we haven’t gotten around to doing. You might be into GTD, but sometimes every GTDer falls behind with his system, and sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do so. So all the “stuff” that’s in our head can overwhelm us. Start simply by picking up a piece of paper and a pen, and making a list of the most pressing things you have to do. Sometimes it’s work stuff, sometimes it’s stuff around the house that’s bothering us, sometimes it’s goal tasks, or a combination of these and more. Simply making a list can be a big relief — you’re getting things under control. You can see, right in front of you, what you need to do, and that alone can pick up your mood.
  2. Take action. You’ve made a list, and you still feel overwhelmed? Well, get started on the first thing you need to do. Is it a big task? Break it down and just do the smallest task, something just to get you started. Once you get started, once you get into action, you’ll feel better. Trust me. You might still feel overwhelmed, but at least you’re doing something. And once you start doing something, you’ve got momentum, and that feels much better than lying around feeling sorry for yourself.
  3. Exercise. I know, you might not be in the mood for exercise. But just do it! Taking a walk, going for a run, going to the gym, whatever it is you do for exercise — get out and do it now! You don’t need to do a real hard workout, but the simple act of exercise can lift your mood immediately. Just do it!
  4. Shower and groom yourself. Laying around in your underwear, smelling bad, is not going to do you any good. Simply showering, and feeling clean, can do wonders for your mood. Brush your teeth, comb your hair, shave, do whatever it is that you need to do to feel clean and good about yourself. Instant pick me up!
  5. Get out of the house and do something. Sometimes, if you stay home lying around, feeling depressed, just getting out (after showering and grooming) will change your mood. Staying home all the time can really get you down, and you may not realize this until you go out and do something. Preferably something on your list (see No. 1).
  6. Play some lively music. I like Brown Eyed Girl, the Kinks, the Ramones, or an upbeat Beatles tune, but you might have your own brand of feel-good music. Whatever it is, crank it up, and let yourself move to the beat. It may just be what the doctor ordered.
  7. Talk about it. Got a significant other, best friend, family member, co-worker you can talk to? Bend their ear. That’s what they’re their for. If you don’t, there are hotlines, or professionals, you can talk to. And then there’s always online groups. These are great places to find someone to talk to. Getting things off your chest makes a big difference, and can be a huge lift. It can also help you work out the reasons you’re feeling down.
  Not convinced yet?  Here are a few more articles to help you:
 What works for you?  Feel free to leave a comment below if you tried any of these tips.

Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster…5 Things to Try

Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster...5 Things to Try

Your thoughts can determine your reality.  Do you accept this?  If so then you know that your moods are triggered by your thoughts which then creates a spiral of feelings.  Some are easy to deal with and others, well, let’s just say you might be having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde conversation in your head.

As we start to spiral out of control, the emotional roller coaster senses it and the chemicals in our body either speed up the coaster or slow it down.  It is also important to note that regular eating habits can maintain a good balance in our blood sugar levels so if that is not the case, eat a snack right now and come back to me.

So after doing a check-in on your emotions, and knowing what your trigger is, it’s time to really dig in and do the work.  If you are reading this article, there is no one peeking over your shoulder to tell you how to feel right now, but you are aware that you might need a few tips and tricks to create less of the roller coaster ride, and more of a great sight-seeing train ride, that stays even and is enjoyable.

5 Tips to Get Off the Coaster:

  1. Are you in the present moment?  Imagine the mood is like a balloon.  Detach from it by letting go of the string and watch it drift away.  Same as old thoughts.  To come into this moment right now, practice breathing deeply for a full round of 3 breaths.  Roll your shoulders back and walk around barefoot as needed.  Feel the sensations in the present moment of your toes on whatever surface you are walking on.  Get grounded.
  2. Don’t act, pause.  If the emotion is at the top of that first hill, ride it out.  Throw your arms up and scream down that hill.  Man.  Emotions can suck, but they can be really cool as well.  Exhilarating even.  Think about the situation as a whole and ponder in a week from now, is this going to be the same?  Visualize the emotion you really want to enter in on your next clank up the roller coaster hill. As you come down that next hill, smile.
  3. Don’t dwell in negative.  We get so caught up in negative news, negative drama, and negative reactions that we tend to stay there.  Change your situation if possible.  Get out of the house.  Go for a walk.  Look for a new job, seriously, if it’s that bad.  But don’t dwell as it hasn’t helped you so far.  Make a plan.  Talk to a  health coach or a counselor if you really want a different perspective.  You can do this.
  4. Journal around your feelings.  I know that I teach this, and have several different tools you can use, but it is really true.  Daily my Club members tell me what a difference it makes just doing one exercise I have taught them.  Trying one new thing.  If you don’t believe me, see the link above and read the comments that scroll at the bottom.  You don’t have to be a great writer to practice this.  You can start off by simply writing “Today really sucked and here is why.”  Then shift that into, here is how I want to feel.  Then the next day you can go one step further and write as if the good news you have been wanting has happened or the day went better than expected.  Each day will get easier.  I know you can do this.
  5. Learn to practice mindfulness.  I did a funny live chat about a lady who was definitely not mindful on my last errand and how her day went compared to the manager who just smiled as she came out of the door.  I then starting thinking what if I have been like that?  What if I am seen in that light if I am in a hurry or if I lose my cool in public, which of course, never happens because I am all zen.  Yup.  A zen Scorpio.  hahaha.  <<< not really, but I am a work in progress, okay?

I don’t proclaim to have all the answers as I am still learning and teaching myself and will continue with each breath.  Each day I could have done things differently and of course, the old thoughts do not serve me.  I must let them go and release them.  Live in the present moment as best I can with the tools I have available to me.  Coach my Club and others using my motto “The burned hand teaches best.”  I can teach you because I have gone through it as well.

Want more guidance?  Come join my Closed group through this link.  I won’t hold you hostage and I know that spending $10 on monthly coaching seems too good to be true, but it’s not.  It’s real.

Getting to the Root of What’s Bothering You

There’s something just under the surface that you can’t figure out.  You feel very close to making a break through with yourself, but each time you are almost there, another wave crashes over you and threatens to pull you down with it.  You feel alone, but the fact is, you aren’t.

Over the years, I realized what had to happen in order for me to get over a feeling that felt “stuck”.  I actually had to give it a bit of attention and figure out where it was coming from.  It’s uncomfortable as hell, but the fact is, if you ignore it, it will get worse.

Right now, as you are reading this, do a brief inventory on your feelings.  What made you stop and read this?  What feeling is there just below the surface?  As I was writing this, I was happy and content to help others, but now, as I am exploring the feelings someone else might be feeling right this minute, I am anxious.  How do I move forward and really help people get “unstuck” and move forward?

Self-check in time.  Are you running away from your feelings?

If the answer is yes, why? Are you afraid you will reveal too much emotion by facing what is bothering you?  What is the worst thing that can happen?  Sadness?  Tears?  Anger?  Or regret << bingo.  It might be this one that gets stuck.

How to get to the root of the emotion:

  1. Name the feeling and give yourself back the power.  I remember the first time I told someone the root of their problems was ultimately depression.  Depression is a serious thing, but once addressed, we can really get down to business and dissect that bad boy.  It no longer has the power of hiding out in the darkness waiting to overtake you.  You see it coming and you are ready to face it.  Do not freak out over that word.  It is just a word, but if you don’t face it, it can and will destroy your life.
  2. Write about it.  You aren’t a writer.  Heard that before.  You don’t have time.  Avoiding it still.  I have worked with clients who tell me all of this.  I am not a counselor, merely a wellness coach using her gifts to assist others into stepping into the life that was truly meant for them.  Write down every single thought for 5 minutes.  Set a timer.  Then close it.  The next day, re-read it.  Look for a pattern.  A word that emerges.  If you don’t clearly see it, do it again.  Write a stream of thought for 5 minutes.  Is there one word that pops out and your gut says that is part of the problem?  The next day, begin with that word.  Explore it and see what is under it all.
  3. Talk about it with a friend or counselor.  Do the work first as named above, and when you have really explored it, especially if it persisting sadness, do seek professional help.  Private message a friend and ask if they have the name of a counselor.  It is okay to not be okay…but you can’t stay in that place for the rest of your life.  It is not healthy for you and you deserve so much better my friend.
  4. Be mindful of the present moment…constantly.  I watched this inspiring story about a guy who lived after jumping off the Golden Gate bridge.  You might have heard about him, and his story.  He said the second he let go, there was instant regret.  He prayed to be saved, and he was.  One thing he does now is constantly take back control from the “what ifs” and the past thoughts.  He made people realize they have to be honest about their pain.  Here is his post.  It gave me chills to know that this is what he was called to do.  I hope this story as well as these tips help bring a little bit of comfort to your day my friends.

Hope

What happens when you embrace your darkness?

According to Carl Jung, the “persona” defines what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world.  Interestingly enough, the word persona is derived from Latin as “mask”.  So he describes the “shadow self” as the unconscious mind which holds those fears, weaknesses, and perhaps even the stray evil thought.

Sometimes we feel that in the darkness there is comfort.  We can stay there and hang out for a while and no one can see what we are thinking about or what’s really going on.  So let’s think about this for a moment.

Each and every one of us, has darkness.  It’s just part of life.  Part of our soul that has been changed by experiences…but we are ourselves because of it.  It is neither good nor bad until we act on it.  It’s just there; however, if you are fighting depression, it seems to stay more present in your mind.

So what are some ways we can deal with our darkness once we are ready to move forward into the light?

  1. Record your joys and your gratitude for the good things you have going on in your life in a journal.  <<< just like the one I use:)
  2. List what good you have recently…like swept a neighbor’s porch off, or given clothes away to someone who needs them.  Paid it forward in the coffee drive through.  If you are having problems listing things, go out and do something!
  3. Find a way to laugh and incorporate funny videos into that if it helps you smile.
  4. Do some exercise, walk, or get yourself to yoga!
  5. Get your vitamin D as it helps beat depression back with a mental boost.
  6. Shift into the light…literally.  My friend suggested this light to me called a Ion Therapy Lamp.
  7. Help lift someone else up by paying them a compliment when they least expected it.  Maybe even something you admire about them that you have never told them!
  8. Pray, meditate, or shift your thoughts to something else.  You can use a mantra, or even affirmations.

The bottom line is this…it’s okay to NOT be okay every once in a while.  As I said today on my fan page, a shadow is cast by a light.  If you are noticing a shadow, you are also casting a light.

Whether you are trying to wear too many masks, such as the one you wear at work, or the one you wear at your child’s school function, and your true self is just tired of the whole game…so the darker thoughts start to creep up.  That is definitely a sign that a break is needed.

Once we begin to see that the darker parts of us are really there as a guide, we begin to see what parts we want to bring more light to.  We can peacefully co-exist with both sides, and we can also learn to understand what it means.  There are times we need to take a break, step back from the world and re-charge.  The darkness likes to point out when we are stretched too thin, so just take note and remember to breathe.

Light

How to Find Your Groove Again…and Release Funk!

I can’t help but think of George Clinton and “We’ve Got the Funk” when I started thinking about my title for this post.  After I listened to that song, it was hard to concentrate as I like music and I started to wiggle…but that made it even better.

So back to the word “funk” and what that means to me.  I know that I have many things to be happy about, but occasionally, it takes just one little thing to bring my mood down.  I know that I do not want to function at such a low vibrational frequency, but at times, I just have to go with it.  If it appears I need to bring myself out of it, because it has lasted longer than necessary, I will work to snap myself out of it.

Why don’t you want to stay in a “funk” or a low-frequency?

I know that many people worry about money, so I am going to start there.  When you worry about money, bills, and feel like you have scarcity in your life, you actually start attracting more of it.  I know some people think this sounds crazy, but it’s true.  On the other hand, when you start acting as if your needs will be met, through prayer, meditation, or journaling, and release it after the prayer, things start to shift.  I have seen this happen in my life and I firmly believe it to be true.

I would like you to apply the “acting as if” rule to your thoughts anytime you start to feel like things are slipping out of control.  One of the hardest times to do this for me personally was when I was very ill.  When you are ill, you are not at your best.  It lowers you so much that it seems you can’t get out of the hole.  Start visualizing yourself well.  Again, write on it, pray over it, meditate on a healthy vision of you.  Embrace it.  When people ask you how you are doing, say “I am healing.”  Do not, in any way shape or form, list what is wrong with you.  Don’t air it out on Facebook, don’t talk about it with a friend, don’t put it in writing anywhere.

The exception to this thought process is if you put it out there in a positive way.  I know that sounds crazy, but a friend of mine does this to let her friends know how her journey is going and it is never written in a low way.  It is always written in a way that says how blessed she is, and I believe it helps her healing process.  She has continued to beat enormous odds!

How can we find our groove again?

  1. Do a body scan like I say at the beginning and end of my yoga classes.  Breathe deeply, start your thoughts at your head and release tension you might be holding in your jaw, and face.  Work your way down and feel the tension slipping from your shoulders.  If you notice any tight spots, send healing thoughts there to open the muscles up like a flower budding, releasing the tension held therein.  Continue working your way down and take inventory of your stomach.  This part is a little bit different.  Think about what you are eating.  Are you feeding yourself good foods?  Does your stomach not seem to digest foods?  Are you processing foods normally?  <<< Yes, I know people think this is TMI, but it helps.  Lastly, scan all the way through your body and notice where you are holding tension.  Release the tension by tensing the muscle and releasing it.
  2. From your body scan or inventory above, think to yourself what needs to improve.  Are your self-care routines in place?  Are you taking care to keep moving and exercise?  Have you given up doing something you love and thus feel tight and tense all the time?  What really needs to change?  Embrace the truth with yourself.  Don’t cover it up.  Write about what things you know need to be different in order for you to “release the funk.”
  3. Are you sleeping?  Full disclosure on this one.  Several years ago I started doing research, more research, into all-natural supplements because I was diagnosed with so many things.  I read that people with fibromyalgia don’t sleep, and I put myself on this supplement and never looked back.  Except when I run out of it and can’t sleep again for 2 days until the order comes in.  So I became a customer first as I got a discount from ordering something that honestly, helped me find sleep at last.  You are more than welcome to do your own research, but for me, the change was drastic.  I needed sleep to function.
  4. The stomach was the root of several of my moodiness issues.  If you read my post I linked up there to the word stomach…it really changed my life when I realized that caused me so many hours of “funk” when it was not in balance.  I did put myself on my own probiotics after hours of research into the different types.  Why?  My gut was causing me so much pain and dysfunction that I couldn’t have a normal life.  Period.  <<< that link above is my really super amazing research I wrote for a magazine:)  Yes I am proud of it because I didn’t give up on my quest to find my groove again.
  5. Treat yourself and others with kindness.  Have faith that this will pass.  Be gentle to yourself, but firm that you can’t stay in this place forever. I know you can move forward and find that inner fire again!

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Coping During a Mercury Retrograde

Are you feeling a little bit anxious?  Do you feel misunderstood?  Friends who are empaths read this before continuing if you haven’t read it before.  What is empathy?  Well, empathy can be described as the ability to read and understand people.  Empaths are a bit different and are quite sensitive to others moods, energy and thoughts without even being aware that they are.  They just sometimes “know” things aren’t right and can really feel shifts around them.  During this time of a high communication “fritz”, we need to be mindful on HOW we are communicating and what types of messages we are putting out there in the universe.

Lack of clear communication can lead to years of not speaking to someone.  Trust me, I know.  Sometimes it for the best, but other times, you wish you had talked to the person face-to-face.

What is Mercury Retrograde anyway??

It has been described to me as such:

We use the term “retrograde” to describe the backwards movement of a planet. Of course, the planet is not actually moving backwards; however, from earth it appears to be moving further away. When it does this, astrologers call it a retrograde, a time where the planet is almost “resting” or not in full action.

All planets retrograde, however Mercury retrograde is often the one that is given most attention because Mercury is associated with communication, technology and contracts- in many ways, Mercury is the messenger.  Communication, travel, and technology—all of these areas might go haywire for about three weeks.

How to cope during this time:

  1. Read everything thoroughly that you are sent.  But Don’t read INTO it.  I admit that I might have a tiny problem when people send me things with ALL CAPS.  Don’t do that to people unless you are writing a blog article and want them to read that part:)
  2. Remember my 3 breaths from the FB Live video?  Pause and take those 3 deep belly breaths.  Put your hand on your belly, and then feel it rise and fill your lungs as they expand, exhale through your nose.  Repeat x 3!
  3. Confirm all travel plans before you head out.  If possible, have a back-up.  If not, just go with the flow if there are delays.
  4. Think of this time as a time to get to know the phone better…as in phone calls with voices.  Not texts, messages, e-mails on important items.  As a matter of fact, limit messages if you can.  They can be read into big time.
  5. This is a time to connect with your inner wisdom, not reactions.  Is it true?  Could the other person be feeling off?  What do I know about this person?  Is it in character?  Connect with your gut feelings.
  6. Do not put too much on your plate during this time.  <<< repeat it friends.  Back-to-school, new routines, new plans, for 3 weeks, just hold on before adding lots more to this time.  October is a great month after you have gotten into the routines of school to add things.
  7. Have patience.  Above all, I wish you patience during this time.  Seek out yoga, meditation, and quiet reflection at night.  Pause, breathe and be kind to yourself.

I have some great articles on journaling, self-care, and grounding your thoughts that might help you.  <<<  check those out for more!

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5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood

For those of you who have read my about me page, you know that I have been researching and improving my health for over 18 years.  Last year I completed a sports nutrition certification and realized, yet again, how many of the health issues we face today can be altered and slowly improved with just the right tweak in our diets.  I believed so much in it, that in just 1 year, I had completely turned my life around from removing the foods that were causing me pain and “flare-ups” of my diseases.  Depression was not going to get me once I identified what foods made me worse.

So today, I was minding my own business gathering ingredients for a nice big salad, when a processed food display jumped right up and tried to grab me.  <<< not really, but it almost did.  Chocolate is my weakness.  But this chocolate was on something that is a known flare for me and causes me to crash so much right after eating it I feel like I can’t move.  I become that tired.  So I knew what I had to do and I want to help you do the same.  Let’s grab some of these great foods instead!

5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood:

  1. Go bananas <<< technically I linked to my favorite dry snack, but I love this version of dried bananas.  So what do these yellow fruits help us with?  Bananas employ mood-lifting power, with their combination of vitamins B6, A, and C; fiber; tryptophan; potassium; phosphorous; iron; protein; and healthy carbohydrates.  What happens in the body?  You get a quick boost from the fructose as well as sustaining energy from the fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensuing drop in energy as well as mood.  Mind you, this is natural and not some made up thing like “high fructose corn syrup”.  <<< icky for autoimmune responses…well just plain bad honestly. So I always stay away from that.  At our house, we tend to use bananas in smoothies, but if they have been there and are ripe, I will actually cut them up and put them in the freezer for later use as “banana cubes” in my blender.
  2. Sunflower seeds (or butter) <<< I love this stuff times 10.  I was doing research a few years ago on a theory I had that my prior acid-blocking supplements (completely weaned myself off them using natural remedy) were causing an issue with my magnesium levels.  Why is this important?  Magnesium, in addition to regulating mood, is vital for many body functions to operate normally. Magnesium deficiency can be responsible for feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (triggers increase in adrenaline), and it’s been linked to various mood disorders. However, stable magnesium levels can help the body and mind achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Some scientific studies have shown magnesium supplementation to be beneficial in treating major depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.  Boom!  There it was yet again.  That feeling to go down the right path and unravel the mess my doctors, no offense to anyone, had caused in my gut.
  3. Dark chocolate is the bomb dot come in my world.  <<< the one linked I often see in my grocery store as a savior if I am desperate to have something chocolate.  I have to read all ingredients, but this one is safe for me.  The organic cacao powder is my go-to for smoothies, baking and drinks of the hot kind.  Yummy.  How does this help me?  Sorry men, but PMS time, seriously, come in the house with this in the shopping bag.  Here is why: Among its many nutrients, cacao beans contain a slightly stimulatory, mood-boosting caffeine derivative called theobromine. Theobromine, a molecule with a structure similar to caffeine, has been shown to support mood and increase focus:)  I am big into plant-based or phyto healing, so as this chocolate melts on your tongue, a number of reactions occur, including the release of serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body.  Yummy.
  4. Pass me my green tea y’all.  <<< I linked my all-time favorite recent discovery of this muscle recovery tea I drink after a hard day of yoga.  So why is tea, especially green tea helpful?   Tea, the green variety more so, provides catechin antioxidants that have been shown to support brain function and promote proper balance of the stress hormone cortisol.  Further, a toasty mug of tea can supply you with L-theanine, an amino acid that might promote you being alert a bit more.  Also a report published in Public Health Nutrition showed that study participants who sipped four or more cups of green tea daily reported having a more positive mood.  I recently started making my green tea 30 minutes ahead of time in the fridge using cold water and mint leaves.  I then drink it cold and I know that provides a metabolism boost as well.
  5. Walnuts were also on my list of foods to eat.  <<< again, I have to be careful.  No glaze, no almonds (I personally found out they cause me stomach pain…who knew? Autoimmune is a tricky navigation.), no additives.  JUST walnuts!  Why are they helpful?  Walnuts contain a handful of components that contribute to the elusive good mood, including omega-3s, vitamin B6, tryptophan, protein, and folate.  Higher blood levels of omega-3s have been linked with better mood and lower rates of depression, while lower blood levels of omega-3s have been associated with higher rates of depression and negative feelings.  Boom!  Grab you some walnuts friends.  Or nutty friends…either way. Normal suggested dosage of omega-3 oils is one gram (1,000 mg) per day. You’ll get about the same amount, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein, in just half an ounce of walnuts.  I put them on my yogurt, but yogurt is a whole different story, so read the ingredients!  I personally have been enjoying some Brown Cow yogurt…but prior to that is was the Stonyfield Farms kind.  Again, navigate so that you can actually read all the ingredients as I discuss in my 4 Weeks to Wellness course.  You don’t want things you can’t read going into your body.  It really does flare all kinds of things that are just bringing you down.

Thank you guys for reading this and go out and clean your pantry today!  Stock up for better health!

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20 Minutes of Anger or tips for not Hulking out

Recently I was at a talk where someone said emotions take 60 seconds to pass through the brain…while that might be true of some emotions, it is not true of all.  Take ANGER for example.  Oh yeah, that bad boy throws a fit.

How does anger respond in the brain?

The bad news…when we become angry, like really, really angry, think HULK angry, our cerebral cortex, or thinking part of the brain, is bypassed. The limbic system, or emotional center, is considered more primitive.  Okay, so to grasp this, Hulk center equals primitive thoughts, rational thoughts equals Dr. Banner.  Yes, I am a geek, but this works.  Back to the brain.

The data that we get from the outside world passes through our amygdala, where it decides whether to pass it on to Dr. Banner or the Hulk.  So basically, during the fight or flight event, the amygdala goes into action without thinking of the consequences as it doesn’t have to. This reactive incident has come to be known as an amygdala hijacking…or in geek terms, Hulking out.

What happens next?

During the Hulking out, or amygdala hijacking, the hormones flow freely.  A surge of energy follows preparing us for flight or flight…and of course, during a Hulk moment, what do you think you are going to choose?  Wellll, you don’t actually choose right then.  Unless you have your anger under serious control, during those moments, what the person says or does is not controlled by Dr. Banner…it is controlled by Hulk who smashes first, thinks later.  Unfortunately, the impact of these hormones that leads to anger can last several moments…or several days.  Yup DAYS.

According to research, on average, it can actually take 20 minutes for a person who has experienced an angry state of HULK to calm and move from functioning from the emotional area to the thinking area of the brain, thus turning back to Dr. Banner.

Hulk smash?  No.  Stay calm.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s, yes, you guessed it, I watched The Incredible Hulk.  Bill Bixby and the awesome Lou Ferrigno, who as a young girl, was scary to watch on T.V.  Ha.  My dad was frequently thought of in our house as the Hulk at times too.  He never ever remembered what he said when angry.  Yes, I still love my dad, but it needs to be referenced that I did grow up with someone frequently Hulking out around me.  My brother and I both can get angry fairly fast as well.  So how do you learn to stop the immediate rush of hormones?

Tips to tame the Hulk:

  1. Stop and breathe.  Just 3 short breaths and remember you are currently NOT in control of your thoughts…which means your mouth.
  2. Use a code word for your family which seriously tells them not to push your buttons right now.  I need a moment works as well.  Or “Go outside right now.  NOW”.  I need some air.  That might work for your kids.  If it is a spouse, move away from them and tell them that they need to leave you alone to process your anger for a while, and you can revisit this later.
  3. Get some exercise or yoga.  It is well-known that exercise increases serotonin and endorphins.  Why is this important?  Endorphins and serotonin are important chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are manufactured in your brain and affect your mood, energy levels and overall well-being. remember that burst of energy you are going to get up there ^^^ as the Hulk?  Use it here instead.
  4. Stick with “I feel…” statements during this time and let people know how something made you feel…not blaming, but stick strictly to feelings.
  5. Use humor to diffuse the situation if you can…quick tell me a joke.  This doesn’t always work, but it helps my teens.  They smile and then we try very hard to move past whatever it is.  If we give the anger somewhere to go, it has less control over our brain and we return to thinking faster.

A few other tips can be found in my grounding article, as that works well with people who are processing many emotions that might not even be theirs.  Check out Learning to control your highly sensitive emotions as well.  Sometimes we realize that we are reacting to emotions or even channeling other emotions around us thus bringing us to whatever level the other person is functioning at.  Take the time to remember you are not always in control, and use the tips here to get your Hulk state calmed down.

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Empath tips to use today!

My wildly popular article has gotten lots of comments on being an empath.  Most of them were wonderful as we are all in the same boat, and let’s face it, the article was written about what I feel.  I wrote a follow-up that you can read here on protecting yourself from negative energy because it was needed by some of my followers.  Then, to further help you, I wrote about how to ground yourself.  But the questions keep pouring into my fan page on Facebook.  So I am going to write a little bit more for you today and see what we can do together to move forward and tread lightly at the same time.

So much energy….needs an outlet.  I want you to pause and think about what you are doing to really relieve your stress.  My husband used to say it just radiated off me.  Being a teacher was hard.  I would pick up on everything.  If I didn’t go directly to the gym after work, I would bring all that “stuff” into the house.  You know what I mean.  The stories here in the archives on this blog about what I dealt with, well it was not easy.  So maybe the gym isn’t your thing, but what to do with all that stuff that isn’t yours?

Yoga...helped me harness my own power.  I’m not saying you have to do that, but you have to shed the other feelings that are not yours.  So go on a walk in nature, stop by a park, get out of the car, take your shoes off and walk barefoot in the grass.  Say to yourself that you are releasing what does not serve you back into the earth.  Then move on from there.  It does no good to bring it home.

Lies. Energy vampires.  Okay, this one gets a bit tricky.  If you catch someone in a lie, and trust me you will, have or do daily, that itch, you know the one, that itch doesn’t always have to be scratched.  So how do we make peace with knowing we caught someone in a lie, and then moving on.  As difficult as it is, that’s their karma, or behavior that they will later have to answer to.  Will we be around to see the destruction?  Possibly.  But do we need to be there?  No.  We already know that it probably isn’t going to end well.  So have a secret word or phrase that you utter like “Interesting.” Or “Is that so?” or even Namaste.  And just let it be.  Say the same thing every time so that it becomes like washing your hands of it.  Then really and truly, go wash your hands as soon as you can.  It’s done.  You don’t own that problem.

Rest when you canIf you know you have a large gathering coming up, take some time to meditate or rest.  Get off social media.  Schedule down time.  Seriously and truly rest your brain waves.

Go visit some animals and laugh. Spend some time with a friend who has animals and lets you just chill.  Laugh with the friend and soak up the love of the animals.  It will recharge you.  If animals are not your thing, take a journal outside and write under the clouds.

Water…get to it.  If you are still needing one more way to cleanse your soul, find a stream, pond, ocean or somewhere you can walk in the water, listen to it and just enjoy the way it feels and sounds.  Add a water feature to your office to relax you or put on some music with water in the background.  It will help you focus and reclaim your energy.

I hope you enjoyed all the links in this article as there are additional resources for you. NEW resource available to you called the Empath’s Guide to Journaling.<<<

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Note: NEW support group to help you in the Head|Heart|Health tab on the blog up top!

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