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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Ease Depression with these 5 Steps

This article is not medical advice, but it is intended to help you on your journey.  While I don’t know if anything can actually prevent you from becoming depressed, I believe that my diligence helped me come out of it.  The signs that I personally experienced were from my own combination of invisible diseases.  I was diagnosed with “secondary depression” stemming from pain.

Symptoms you might experience:

  1. Loss of energy or fatigue even after sleeping.
  2. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt that you are to blame.
  3. Weight loss or gain…in my case it was gain.
  4. Thoughts of suicide or just nothingness…as in what would happen if you didn’t exist?
  5. Restlessness, insomnia, or wanting to sleep all day long.
  6. No pleasure in any or all activities, and/or no joy or happiness in other things that used to bring you joy.
  7. “Hermit” behavior and not speaking to anyone.

While there are certainly more symptoms, these are just a few that are warning signs your body is trying to tell you something.  What do you think your body is trying to tell you?  There could be many underlying health problems mimicking depression that can be corrected and/or helped once noted.

5 steps to take if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms:

  1. Have your thyroid checked, your vitamin levels and possibly even your adrenal glands.  If you open the link on thyroid, in the fine print of the article, it says this:  A 2005 study found that subjects with Hashimoto’s disease displayed high frequencies of lifetime Depressive Episodes, Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Social Phobia, and Primary Sleep Disorders.  What had I been trying to tell my doctor for over a year?  That there was a link.  When he refused, seriously, to listen to me I went to a functional medical doctor instead.  The body gives us these warning signs as a way of letting us know that we really are not in balance.  I could see that I was not, and definitely knew something brought it on because never in my life had I felt so empty.
  2. Get more Vitamin D.  I take this one right here, but have your levels checked first.  I started looking into the most pure form of phytotherapy, or plant-based nutrition supplements, and was personally sold by the methods of how this company preserved the nutrients in the most readily available form.  I read that Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.  So I also decided to take a gluten-free multivitamin.
  3. Check and see if you suffer from food intolerance as it a real thing. Like most people, I used to think that food intolerance caused unpleasant reactions like diarrhea, swelling of lips or tongue, etc. I would not have associated my food with what was happening in my brain and gut until I studied the effects of what I was eating.  I journal the questionable items which might have sugar or gluten to see if that is what triggers my response or mood shift now.  When I am away from foods I need to eat, and make do with foods that I should NOT eat, there is a consequence in my body.  My body warns me almost immediately now.
  4. This one is hard, but drink less caffeine.  Anxiety often happens along with depression, and too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious.  There is no clear link; however, it is well known that cutting out sodas and sugary drinks that spike your energy and then leave you in a slump and replacing with water will leave your blood sugar levels at a more normal balance, which will, in fact, help you in the long run.  Plus you might just sleep better this breaking the cycle.
  5. Exercise in some way shape or form daily.  People get mad at me for pointing this one out usually, but it brings us back to the endorphins. I wrote about this a while back, but it is true that endorphins help us.   In my own way, I always have dark chocolate here, so I hope you opened my old post up there as it has a funny clip, plus I do yoga and walk, get outside, etc.  Truly is life saving to get exercise.

While these things might seem insignificant to others who do not know what it’s like to be trapped in a world of nothingness, these tips really could help save a friend’s life.  Keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on a card as well.

Articles I have written on autoimmune can also help you in your research on gluten intolerance, leaky gut and more.

  • The great puzzle takes you back to my allergy tests.
  • Fog speaks on what it’s like to have brain fog.
  • War on me talks about my inside battle.
  • Motivational Monday on this day talked about tips I used to get by daily in pain.
  • The Thief is one of my faves and talks about old age being a bitch.

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Body Image and Yoga…3 Reasons to Ignore the Mirror!

Happy International Day of Yoga my friends.  After one full year of teaching yoga, wow, I can honestly say that my body image has changed, but I still work on it daily!  In 2010, you are welcome to use the side search on the blog and read all about that year, but that was the year that everything started to attack me.  Autoimmune changed my life…and I don’t know if I will ever really accept it, but I have learned how to control it and that was a huge relief.

That being said, several changes happened to my body during the last 5 years that were not there before.  I found out I had fibrocystic breasts, and while it’s never a fun topic, I am linking it to my blog post on what happened that year and how I found out.  So I am going to be honest, my body image was not good around the time I came back to yoga due to pain, years of invisible diseases playing a game with me, plus more.  In some of my previous posts, I honestly thought I was writing in a positive way as I always laughed at myself; however, going back and reading now, I see that I was not fooling anyone.

I was in severe pain for so long that it was a deep path I had carved into my brain.  It was well-worn, so naturally I didn’t notice when my self-esteem went down the same path.  Why is it that your friends don’t say the things you need to hear?  Don’t be that friend who just lets your friend continue down this path.  Set the path on fire so they have to find a new way.

My new path was yoga.  Yoga became my saving grace.  When my anxiety from the countless doctor’s appointments was high as I waited on new tests, I would go to yoga.  At first, I cared what people thought of me in my yoga clothes.  I was not able to do all the things other people could…but I went to restorative yoga anyway.

What did I learn from this class?  I will tell you lessons that I learned which can’t be taught from a mirror.

3 Reasons to Ignore the Mirror:

  1. The mirror doesn’t tell you how beautiful you are to other people.  This is serious.  It reflects back your insecurities.  When you look in the mirror, you might see tired eyes, lines, and saggy skin.  When your friend sees you do a pose in yoga class for the first time that you have working on for a few months, they see your natural inner beauty.  I am telling you I know this to be true.  I have witnessed it in my friends who were afraid to come to yoga.  You might not even see how you glow, but I do.  As your teacher, I send you so much love and light during class.  Never once thinking of what you can’t do at all.  I have been there my friend.
  2. The mirror is actually supposed to be a tool.  Yup.  Just a thing to use for alignment in postures.  It is not there to judge us as that’s our job.  Do you ever stop in mid-thought and think to yourself “What if my daughter, sister, friend does this to herself?”  Would you allow others to speak so badly about themselves as you do in your head?  No matter the woman, no matter how you talk to yourself in your head, the answer is always I would never want anyone else to talk to themselves like this.  Seriously.  Ask a friend.  My group of sisters, not related, but from all cultures, meet regularly and we have said this many times.
  3. The mirror reflects the light around us, but not inside us.  Remember that the next time you are not going to yoga class because of how you “look” in the mirror or in yoga clothes or in blah, blah or until you lose x number of pounds.  Seriously remember this.  Because through yoga, I have learned to steady my mind, open my heart and come back to the breath.  If I miss yoga for too long, or don’t go for myself as I am the teacher, ha, if I don’t have that time to do the inner reflection, yes, hell yes, the outer reflection can look ugly to me.  I absorb others energy at times and if I don’t get it out through the experience of yoking myself back to the present moment, this breath, this body as Rolf Gates would say, “The real payoff of a yoga practice, I came to see, is not a perfect handstand or a deeper forward bend—it is the newly born self that each day steps off the yoga mat and back into life.”   

Each time I leave practice I am whole again my friends.  I have then collected all the pieces of my soul that seemed scattered and I feel new again.  Come to yoga my friends.  The mirror can’t possibly tell you how it feels.

Rolf GatesWant to learn new yoga poses in 3 different ways?  A break-down of poses for your body?  Check out the Head|Heart|Health Club

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What is Fierce February?

Fierce Love

I was pondering what to say to everyone on The Burned Hand fan page, when I came up with #fiercefebruary due to some research I was doing about cortisol levels and self-esteem in the older population.  The word “fierce” is particularly useful in self-esteem talks because you can basically “fake it until you make it”.  Fierce can be ferocious and forceful like a lion…but it can also mean showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.  That’s what I want you to put in your head a minute.

What does fierce look like?

So I did a series of posters on Vitalize You Wellness that I pinned to the top of the fan page.  That page is meant to inspire my friends, followers, and clients of my 4 Weeks to Wellness as well as my yoga community.  It was difficult to do the posters and of course, that was because of the old feelings that came up with them, but when I was done, I knew it was the right thing…even though you have to hover over the pause to slow it down since I didn’t create the program as it’s on FB.

When I came to my yoga teacher training, it was just like any other time you would meet me.  I was open and honest about what it was like to live with invisible diseases and pain because I looked okay on the outside. But the truth is, don’t we all??  I’d like to start you off with this thought for the month.  How can coming to terms with whatever you can’t change make you stronger?  Better yet, why don’t you start working on the things you can change and see where you are in a month?  I mean honestly, that’s the whole basis of my plan that I made for myself.  I was so focused on the pain, the hurt and the diseases that I forgot to focus on other things.

As I began to work my way backwards, which was very interesting because I focused on the end result instead of that moment, I kept telling myself that I could make it from February 6th of last year, WOW, until June 14th.  Each month I would start my wellness checks, was I eating the right way for my body, yes.  Was I now moving, yes.  Was I taking care of my stress and balancing my life out as best I could?? Yes.  And lastly, was I taking care of my self-care needs?  Yes.  When I began to realize that not everyone fighting invisible diseases had the kind of support that I did, I started working on this course for my friends.

It has now been one year since I started my yoga teacher journey, and I want to encourage you to do something that makes you feel “fierce” and strong.  Please know that one of my favorite quotes is “It takes so much courage just to start.” And I hope you start working on yourself a little each day.  If you are interested in learning more about my program, 4 Weeks to Wellness, which is currently under $50!!  Click the linked word to find out more.  You get lifetime membership for the introductory price even if I add more modules later!

Fierce Feb

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Blog Talk Radio Interview

Hi friends…today I had a follow-up radio interview to my previous interview that talked about Living with invisible diseases.  Today the talk focused on how I was able to move forward from all that pain, and start getting back to the life I thought I was going to be living.

What is Blog Talk Radio anyway?

BlogTalkRadio is the online radio network that allows users to host live call-in talk shows with unlimited participants using our free podcast recording tool. No software to download or complicated audio equipment.

I would love for you to listen to this quick show!  The Magic Happens “Share the Wealth” with Kellie Fitzgerald as hostess.  The interview went so well again that Kellie has asked me to come back for an even longer talk next time because we both feel that living with invisible diseases does NOT need to be hidden in some dark, dusty corners and spoken of in whispers.  No.  We both understand the pain of inflammatory diseases and what that brings to the table when people think “You look well.”  To be honest with you, I don’t remember what I said last time…but it was painful I know.  Raw.  Real.  And me.  Here it is:  Older Blog Talk Radio Interview  <<< so you can see the difference.

Thank you for always being here with me!  Namaste my friends.

HappinessHere is the link to 4 Weeks to Wellness.  I appreciate those of you who have already signed up and are giving me such great feedback after listening to me this morning!  You can leave a comment on this post if you would like!  Also see the work with me tab at the top of the blog for more!

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The Secret to Success in Every Area of Your Life…

The Secret to Success in Life

Finding Success Took Me Years…Now You Can Benefit.

Two years ago, I was severely depressed from my illnesses.  I was in pain daily, overweight, and couldn’t find a doctor to help me…other than suggest prescriptions for life to manage my pain.  I knew that I didn’t want to do that, and February of 2014 was when I left the doctor’s office more depressed than ever as I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia…and no treatment.  None, but medicine.  Nothing to address my diet, my life, how I was going to live since I said no to this medicine that could cause more damage to my liver.

But after the sadness passed, I was determined to continue my research into helping myself, and others like me.

Today I want to share with you the one secret I discovered.

I discovered my mind played a key role in all areas of head, heart and health and I learned the secret of using my mind to become a success in every area of my life. Not just mentally, but physically and emotionally as well. It sounds so simple…but it took me almost 17 years to “wake up” and discover that the true hero of my life had to be me. The key to making this happen was getting mad, and forming a plan.

I lost over 25 pounds on my 5’2 inch frame, started moving more…and finally started feeling better. I had truly lost hope of ever feeling better before I mapped out the series of steps that was crucial in changing my life…and never would have imagined that I would make it through 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in 2015!!

Over the last year, many people in my life have seen this transformation, and have contacted my about my plan.  I do have a line of all-natural supplements that I prefer, but it was so much more than that.  With each step that I took towards wellness, each change that I made, I could feel my spirit lift.  I knew that I was on the right path.

I no longer let my thoughts of pain, depression, and hopelessness rule my life.  I took control back over my head, my heart and my health.

If you have tried everything, or at least you think you have, if you feel like you need a fresh outlook on your life, I am offering lifestyle tools for the first time online! <<< Clicking that link takes you to my new product portal. I have coached hundreds of people over the last year in my business, but decided to open it up to an online community.  Work with me to help change your life!   

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Share the Wealth…blog talk radio show

Share the Wealth with Kellie Fitzgerald and her guest…well me!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themagichappens/2015/07/29/share-the-wealth-with-kellie-fitzgerald-and-aimee-barnes-halpin

Hopefully you got a chance to listen to that ^^ as it was actually a really quick show!!  Well, for me anyway.  I glossed over most of the details, but I do want you to know that there is a search button here on the page and if my story resonates with you or you know anyone at all who suffers from any of the diseases I talk about, please feel free to share this post with them.  Lastly, I am doing some more research on one more new gene mutation so look for that soon if you happen to like reading about invisible diseases and possible links as to why you might have what you have!  ~Aimee

Breaking chains

Awakening People Post!

Hey guys!! Most of you know my story in bits and pieces, but I recently tried to pull it together for a submission and guess what?  It’s being posted tonight!  Awakening People is the Facebook page, but here is the link below:

http://www.awakeningpeople.com/6-things-i-learned-from-fighting-invisible-diseases.html

Thank you so much for reading ^^^  muah.

 

 

Top 10 yoga tips for beginners.

downdog

Starting a yoga practice?  Read on.

If you are reading this because you are about to start a new yoga practice, welcome.  Before you run out and buy a new mat, have a look at a few of my suggestions.  I have been “practicing” yoga for years, but until this year, I was not serious about my practice…if that makes sense.  I am completing my 200 hour Vinyasa yoga teacher training in June, and I wanted to pass on some tips that can really motivate and help you stick to your practice.

  1. Buy a good mat.  If you are looking for a yoga mat, there are literally thousands out there.  Before you buy one, see if you can use the ones at the studio to get comfortable with them, then ask what thickness or brand they use.  I prefer a thicker mat, like this one << unless you like hot yoga, and I have this one.
  2. Find a good studio.  If you are uncomfortable when you go there the first time, give it another chance.  If you are not comfortable again, try another studio.  You want the vibe of the studio to be completely welcoming.  They should show you around, tell you where things are located, and basically be helpful from the moment you walk in.  My studio is awesome about that.  It really is the little things that mean a great deal to me.
  3. Respect your body’s knowledge.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Don’t be afraid to tell the teacher before class if a particular area is causing you some discomfort.  That way the teacher will know ahead of time and can give you a few modifications.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others.  This might seem like a no brainer, but sadly, it’s not.  You constantly have to re-align yourself to focus on you and you alone.  What Mr. Yoga Guru at the front of the class can do has no bearing on your life whatsoever.  Great, he can fold in half like a pretzel and then stand up with his hands.  Enjoy the moments that you have with your progress.  Where you are is very important.  It’s the start of a great practice. 
  5. Buy comfortable, not see through, clothes.  Please don’t feel you have to clothe yourself in head to toe designer yoga wear.  But at the same time, do a quick mirror check to make sure it’s not thin as tracing paper when you bend over.  As lovely as your under garments might be, heck as lovely as mine might be, I prefer my underoos to stay hidden.  I don’t spend a lot, but I make sure my tank tops stay in place and my leggings are not sheer. Note: I use the Yoga Club.  Seriously.  You can’t go wrong with how cool the clothes are, and a box comes to you for 60% off retail!!
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  My friends would say this is pretty easy for me, but if you step out of a pose, or erm fall off the surf board during SurfSet, as long as you aren’t hurt, just smile and get back up.  We are lifelong learners and it’s important to find an inner sense of humor with this process.
  7. Breathe.  Sometimes, I feel like I am breathing the loudest in the room.  I take the phrase “ocean breath” seriously when my teachers taught me how to breathe.  It has steadied my entire practice.  Ujjayi breath is a 3 part breath and I find it very calming.  Whatever kind of breathing you use, just remember to listen for your breath as you steady yourself.
  8. Make your practice a habit.  If you make a regular practice of yoga at least three times a week, it will be more beneficial to you in the long run.  You will become more flexible as the weeks progress and you will be able to flow into the poses without thinking about it.  You can even do 15 minutes of Sun Salutations at home in the mornings. 
  9. Communicate with your teacher.  Stay after class for a second if you think you didn’t catch just how to do a pose or if something didn’t feel right.  You can ask them to watch you do downward facing dog for a minute and ask them to go over the most important tips for really getting into that pose.  It seems so simple, but if you don’t press into the knuckle mounds of your hand evenly you might walk away with sore wrists.  Take the time to ask.  It’s really okay.  You can also read my pin about how to avoid wrist pain.
  10. Don’t rush.  Take time to really slow down for yoga.  Be present.  Stay for Savasana…the resting time.  Focus on your breathing.  Check in with your body.  And of course, it’s fine to congratulate yourself for doing the best that you can.  You did it!  Repeat Namaste when your teacher says it at the end as a form of respectful closing to thank your teacher for sharing their energy with you. 

Yoga Sutras

 

 

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Building faith muscles for fibro.

So dear friends, tomorrow is May 12th.  It is National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain day.  My personal efforts to make this dis-ease known have grown to over 25,500 fans on my FB fan page for my blog.  Although I must confess…most follow because of my quotes, and that’s okay too.  So tonight, I’d like to talk to you a little bit about faith.

When you start out feeling human and “whole”, you might not realize what a great thing it is to be seen as you.  You are simply Joe, or Josefina, or Steve.  At some point though, if you develop health problems, you seems to identify yourself with them.  You are no longer Aimee.  You are Aimee, the writer, living with invisible diseases and pain.  This can be both a blessing and a curse…because like the great C.S. Lewis said “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too?  I thought I was the only one.”

So you find out you are not alone with that thing you have that no one can pronounce.  However, you start to cling to it.  All of its symptoms, its pain, and it’s mess become you.  Until one day, you can take it no more, and you claw your way up out of the misery and stop checking the “support” group that really provides no support.  No, it doesn’t.  It provides a place to vent.  But if we were to be honest with ourselves, and we need to be, it doesn’t build your faith muscles.  It lets you say things like “I’m sick…I am so exhausted today.”  And people tell you to rest because they mean well.  They really do.  But the truth is, we are all exhausted in these groups.  We are all in pain.  Some of us are working towards finding a better way to live.

So I would like you to get a journal.  It can be any journal you want.  This one happens to be on sale that I linked.  And I like the quote.  I have heard it’s pretty popular.  Anyway, start out with the date. That’s easy enough.  Then I’d like you to write ONE, only one good thing that happened that day.  It can be that you got out of bed.  Then close the journal.  Then the next day do the same thing.  Work up to actually journaling about the good in your life.  No matter what happens that day, find at least one good thing on which to build your faith muscles.  You can do this.

So in honor of National Fibromyalgia Day, get your journal ready.  Your journal of faith.  Your journal of hope.  Check back here because I am going to have more ideas for you soon.  Don’t forget, I’m here for you.  I know you can do this!

Fibro Day Faith