How to Step into Courage

Look.  I get it.  It takes lots of vulnerability to be courageous sometimes.  Trust me, after writing my previous post here, I almost erased it.  So how does one step into courage?  First, let’s take a look at the word itself.  What is courage?

  1. :  mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

That was how Merriam-Webster defined it.  But to be honest, I define it in thousand little ways and I am willing to bet that you have done any number of things that could be considered courageous.

I want to show you an exercise that I might do with my Club, so bear with me a moment.  Take a good look at this quote:  It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.  ~Erma Bombeck

Have you ever shown your dreams to other people?  That moment when you are on the brink of telling them the greatest joy you ever had and the plans you want to make and you rush forward and.  Stop.  <<< well that’s fear and we’re actually going to talk about that a little later in my Club and on my FB Page, but courage is when you take that deep breath after the panic and you go ahead.  So if you’d like, take a moment to journal around this thought.  You can pin this to come back to this if you want, but I really want you to think about this quote.

Our culture is ripe with tales of courage.  Do you remember being a kid and watching Indiana Jones?  Oh how I loved that movie.  Especially this part, and I didn’t make it so ignore the spelling:

Well, it just so happens that I couldn’t stand snakes after I accidentally stepped on one in an outdoor hotel lobby.  And it wrapped around my ankle and bit me and I had to go to the hospital for hours with no food in my stomach in case it was venomous.  Anyway, so later in life I volunteered at the Virginia Living Museum and I learned how to reach my hand into a pillow case, no lie, and grab a snake that was not venomous.  I also learned that their scales are like the same thing as finger nails…it still doesn’t mean I like them, but I tried.

Anyway, I bet you have done something in your life that took great courage.  I felt fear yet I was choosing to try to get over that fear as best I could.  That is a sign of stepping into courage.  I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.  ~Nelson Mandela

Then there was this time that a lady was bullying my friend and everyone at work was so afraid of this lady.  She would scream we were racists if we stood up to her, so she would hide, go on longer lunch breaks, not come back to the classroom for hours, seriously, and then when she did show up, she wouldn’t help my friend (yes, later she was put on probation).  Anyway, she stood in the hall screaming at my friend in front of kids and other teachers one day so I stood up to her and said whatever it was I said to get her to calm down, and then later I reported the incident when no one else would.  They didn’t want to be the ones to report this lady, no lie, because they knew she’d come after them.  A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

After that incident, I was shaking, but I got it done.  Have you ever stood up to a bully before?   It’s not easy, but it must be done.  I will always practice what I would preach to my children.  How could I not?

At some point in your life, there are any number of actions that have taken courage my friends.  I just know it.  You have probably felt afraid, but done something anyway like riding a roller coaster.  You have listened to your heart or even your gut and stepped out on that stage to speak.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”~ Steve Jobs

I said yes to jumping on an airplane to England last year, and going by myself to speak at a conference and I am so glad I did.  I hadn’t actually met anyone in person and my parents thought any number of things could have gone wrong…it was a list daily.  But without the courage to travel alone, walk around London alone, and go see Stonehenge alone, I would have always regretted it.  What if…what ifs are the things we don’t want to be thinking about.

Want to learn more?  30 days of journal prompts around courage in the month of August plus tutorials, master classes online, meditations, bonus yoga poses and more.  >>>  Head|Heart|Health Club <<<

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The Steps I took to Change my Life

 

Sometimes, my mind starts to wander and I think back to the year that my skin was on fire night and day.  I have tried very hard to block those memories out, so maybe you have no idea why this blog is called “The Burned Hand”.  I remember getting the incurable disease and thinking that my life was completely over at just 23 years old.  I feel like Ygritte whispering that I know nothing at that age.  And I didn’t.

I think back to the years that I had my children, and knew that I was so extremely fatigued it wasn’t normal and that I was not “bouncing back” from childbirth.  Then the second blood test and the news I had one more incurable disease, okay.  Not shocking, I already knew.  And more phlebotomies yearly would be needed.

I think back to the year my career as a teacher really started taking off and I was known as Mrs. Happy.  I had finally done it!  I changed my outlook on life and working with invisible diseases wasn’t going to stop me.  And then I started getting violently ill after eating.  I couldn’t look at food.  I looked pregnant all the time and my stomach was distended.  I started having severe allergy attacks, and I had vertigo for 3 weeks.  I spiraled down into a place of pain.  No one could touch my skin again, only this time was worse.  The base of my neck to the sitting bone was on fire.  I felt every single vertebrae as if it was on fire and begging to be put out like a living, breathing thing.

My shoulder went out.  My hip went out.  I couldn’t walk and I took a leave of absence from teaching, for presumably, a year.  I told everyone that, but I knew I was never going back.  I knew.  I actually thought that I was going to stay in that place of pain for a very long time, if not forever. 

I was diagnosed then with an autoimmune disease (just barely they said) and “fibromyalgia” due to the 18 points of pain that were in my body.  Didn’t I want to take pain meds for the rest of my life?  No.  No, I didn’t because I already had one disease that could mess with my liver and I wasn’t going to chance this.  It was at this point, that I realized I was screwed.  I had two options.  Get better or become something I didn’t recognize anymore…wait!  I already was.

The post will continue, but you can open these in new tabs if you are interested for later:

So life beats you down folks.  It does.  And it will over and over again if you let it.  What you do after this is up to you.  So here’s the point in my story that I don’t share much, but I was sitting on the couch in those early years, which yes, I wrote through the pain in 2013, but it barely scratched the surface, anyway, and I knew that I had a choice to make.  Get up and live.  Other people surely had as many diseases as I did, okay, I didn’t know anyone at the time, but surely they existed.  So I would live and change my life for them and show them that it could really be done.  I could do it.

One more test would come back in this puzzle that explained that on a purely cellular level I was not processing things correctly, but at that point, I didn’t care anymore.  I already knew I was different, and I was going to move forward.  So here comes the point where I tell you the steps I took.

The Steps I took To Change My Life:

  1. I decided I was going to change.  <<< This is the biggest one that you have to learn.  No one, and I do mean no one, can force you to change.  Period.  If you are waiting for your sign and this post is speaking to you, please write down on your calendar “Day I decided to change and live my life.”  <<<  Seriously.  You’ve got this.
  2. Stop making excuses and lying to yourself.  I will get out of the house tomorrow.  I will join the gym in a few months.  I will try yoga next month.  I will eat better after the “holidays”.  I will…yup.  Said them all.  Been there done that.  I made a plan, and then I stuck to it.  I called it 4 Weeks to Wellness and when each week was over, I would start back again.  Slowly and surely repeating the things I needed to change.  Fitness, I had to move.  Nutrition, I learned what was causing all that pain, balance, what was that anyway? and finally, self-care which was really lacking.
  3. I learned to be thankful for what I already had.  This one was hard.  Not that I wasn’t thankful, but I was so angry.  I was mad at the universe for giving me this life…never really thinking I had that much control over it all, but I was so very wrong.  I was wrong.  I woke up and started a gratitude practice even in my darkest hours.  I couldn’t sleep, but I would roll over and pull myself off.  I would not think of the pain, if it came in I shut it down with these words “Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”  I almost crawled to the bathroom with my eyes shut tight and said I will not insert the F word, think about this F word pain.  When i opened them on my bathroom mirror was the mantra “I am healing”.  Then I would say that to myself every single day.  Also, side note, my girls started to use dry-erase marker like I taught them and left mama messages to read on the mirror.  I was living for them and my husband and I was going to succeed.
  4. I started back to yoga.  I am thankful that someone took the lead in this and initiated my Yoga Teacher Training.  Can you imagine hardly being to move and going to yoga?  I almost said no a thousand times.  I almost quit a thousand times.  I would soak in the tub and almost cry out from pain at doing it, but I would not give up.  I would walk slowly and I would do the best I could, but I would finish that damn training.  I would and I did in June of 2015.  I went on to become certified as well in yoga for arthritis and pain.
  5. I started helping others.  I already had my FB page, but it just wasn’t enough.  How could I connect with others who could change their lives just by thinking about it, writing about it through my new journal therapy, starting a gratitude practice, and with sheer grit, take control of their heads, hearts and health?  I took some money and invested in a platform to build an online community.  I called it the Head|Heart|Health Club and I was going to make it work.  In January of 2017, I opened my doors to everyone who might want help, and I haven’t really looked back.

So if you are new here to the blog, welcome.  I really wanted you to know who I was before, who I am now, and what I am hoping to accomplish for the future of healing yourself.  I know you can do it.  Please stay in touch with me here <<< and get my monthly updates by newsletter if you’d like.  ~Aimee

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5 Hacks to Relieve Anxiety and Blues for the Empath

I have been told that I needed to chill out occasionally on the stress…which is kind of funny considering that is what I teach others in my yoga classes.  Here’s the thing though, if you walked around like a piece of Velcro picking up the feelings of every anxious person you came in contact with, you might understand.

I am going to go over the 5 hacks that will help you relieve anxiety and help you through the blues, but listen.  I give you permission to let it all go right now.  It’s not easy being an empath. << to read later if you don’t know if you are one.  The world doesn’t fully grasp how we came into existence and they think it’s lots of woo-woo stuff that can’t be explained.  Don’t worry, that’s not your job, or mine really, to explain this to them.  I used to think I had to explain this “gift” or curse as some say, but the truth is, we don’t owe the world an explanation.  We only need to take on our own problems, and that is half the battle.

What’s happening to me?

So here is what is going on with us.  We can read other people just like they read the news, but the difference is, when they close the article they are reading, the words stay there.  With me?  When we close our reading, the words jump onto us and follow us home…or in the case of anxiety, they somewhat merge with us.  As we go about our day, we can’t help but ponder why so and so was acting the way they did or we just wish we could help them because we know they told us they were fine, but clearly they aren’t and what if they do something stupid or worse.  Ack.  What if I am solely responsible for their bad decisions because I knew what they were thinking and I didn’t stop them.   Does this sound like a situation your brain has pondered?

Now you are anxious about things that haven’t even happened yet.

Trust me, I get it.  Your stomach hurts, you get a headache, you don’t want to see anyone and your brain is replaying things.  Nothing has even happened.  Quite possibly a few days go by, and you seem to let it go.  Trying to have a great day when out of no where, feelings of sadness overtake you.  You are already emotionally worn out and exhausted and now this.  What is going on now?  How can you stop this roller coaster of feelings?

5 Hacks to Relieve Anxiety and Blues:

  1. Focus on yourself.  I get that you are stressed, but let’s stop replaying what is happening with this other person.  It is time to focus on your needs.  As we focus on them, we are likely attracting more of their “stuff” our way.  Here is a tip from my new Guide.  Take the path of least resistance and sit in stillness for a round of 3 deep breaths.  You might want to be barefoot and put both feet flat on the floor.  Feel your toes on the ground or carpet.  What sensations can you feel?  What sounds are you listening to?  Continue to breathe and focus on the feeling of the air moving in and out of your lungs.  You are in control of your breath.  You are in your body.  Visualize a brilliant bubble surrounding you as you breathe.  Only what you allow to come in, gets in, and that is only positive energy to refill you.  You have now come back to your body.
  2. Follow that urge.  Do you have that itchy feeling sometimes that you need to get away and be alone?  Maybe read a good book or journal quietly?  That is your natural intuition telling you what you actually need to refill your depleted energy stores.  Energy is always changing and when it is in fatigue, it must be refilled.  Even more so for the empath.  Sadness might be telling you that your stores have reached a really low-level.  As we learn to let go from the other person’s emotions, we start to heal.  Getting back to nature can also help this process, going by the sea, or getting yourself to yoga where the energy is really high right towards the end of class and then everyone melts into savasana.  This is the most healing part, so try to follow your intuition here.
  3. Boundaries are your friend.  It is very important that you don’t take on too much and that the moment, and I am not kidding here, the moment you start to feel anxious in someone’s presence, you don’t question it.  That is your internal compass telling you who to steer clear of and it is time we stopped questioned it saying things like “Could it just be me?”.  No.  Your body knows.  If you are unsure how to set boundaries, practice using this article.  Everything we do has to be practiced so that it becomes like a reflex to us and we move into feeling instead of thinking.  That is actually our gift, and we need to recognize it and use it.  If someone causes a feeling that bring you down, recognize that as well.
  4. Take note of your own personal feelings.  Keeping a journal will be very useful for you so that at night, you can download what is really yours and yours alone to paper.  Not sure how to do this or want direction?  I recently was asked by well let’s say everyone who knows my journal practice for myself, to write a guide that would help empaths.  You are more than welcome to check it out, but the most important thing to remember here in all of these tips is that you have to do the work inside your head in order to make it become a habit that is second nature to you.  That is where the power lies.  It’s all inside of you already.
  5. Ground it out.  It’s time to put down the burdens of others.  Take your shoes off.  Feel through all four corners of your feet and lift your toes.  Walk outside on the ground or on your carpet if you prefer, but really focus on the feeling.  Being in nature is key here, but you can also take a shower and visualize the water cleansing the stagnant energy off of you.  Use sense of smell to make you feel safe and secure.  Do you know what the number one smell is that helps clear your head?  Fresh baked cookies.  I know, I know, but it’s true.  It invites feelings of warmth.  Last, but not least, make a list of 5 things that you like to do that soothe you.  Refer to that list often and re-evaluate it if something changes.

I hope you really use these tips and refer back to it as needed.  As we start to make taking care of our feeling first a routine, we will be less likely to fall into the trap of overwhelm, anxiety and sadness.  Need more?  My monthly Club is always available with open doors.  The content changes monthly, but I know you will enjoy it!

5 Hacks to Relieve anxiety and blues

 

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Raise Your Energy Right Now With These 3 Tips!

3 tips to raise energyI know you feel it too.  Some wonky, stagnant, possibly influenced by Mercury Retrograde, weird vibes.  The downdraft of negative energy is flowing around your T.V., other people, and your cell phone.  Anytime you see a headline of something negative, you feel yourself being pulled down.  Every click-baity headline designed to grab your energy is doing just that.

It is more vital than ever to surround yourself by those types of energies you really want to attract and protect yourself from the ones you wish you could repel.  So how exactly do we repel the bad stuff?

We raise our energy!

We work each and every day to detoxify our heads, hearts and improve our overall health by clearing ourselves of the energetic gunk that is trying to drag us down.  Our programming, our limiting beliefs, and much more that feels “heavy” and not in true alignment with who we want to be has got to be shed like a snake skin.

Great!  How do we do this?

  1. Stop.  Drop.  And meditate or sit in easy pose (sukhasana).  I am going to give you a tip from my Club this month.  I knew that people would need support during this time, so I wanted to introduce easy and accessible yoga poses to my Head|Heart|Health Club.  I want you to begin your practice seated…anywhere, but outside in the sun is great as well.  Close your eyes and feel the earth beneath you.  Feel every part of your body and visualize the earth supporting you.  You are at peace.  Take a deep breath in through your nose and as you let out a long exhale, feel your feet, legs and pelvis releasing a bit further into the ground.  As you begin to surrender to the pose, notice how you feel without resistance.  The spine naturally feels better and more light.  The crown of the head is nice and level.  You feel a good connection to the ground beneath you and you are at ease.  Thus easy pose has already helped stabilize your mood.
  2. Express gratitude for the world around you.  Do not spend this time yearning for the things you do not have.  Instead, appreciate the good in your life and it will come back to you ten-fold.  This practice begins to increase the abundance in life and I have personally noticed a huge shift upon repeating my 30 day Gratitude Journal exercises.  If you need more support on this, feel free to visit my E-book link.  The science of being thankful for what we already have in our lives was the true basis of how I learned to heal what I once perceived as a broken body.  Shifting my perspective to what I could do versus what I could not do continues to help me through life as well as through my yoga practice.  I am so very grateful that I can move again without crying because I can remember a time when this was one of the hardest things I ever did.  Making it from the bed to the bathroom.  Little by little, that practice of waking up and saying thank you with each step healed my soul.
  3. Learn to eat more mindfully.  This one can be a difficult task for lots of people.  I am teaching in my Club this month that eating Mindfully does not mean starvation.  It simply means being more aware of what certain types of food do to your moods, how you feel after you eat, and what actually makes you feel amazing versus what makes you feel regret and guilt.  Mindful eating also involves higher vibrational foods such as clean eating.  One ingredient good ole’ vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other things you can actually pronounce.  As well as upping the water intake daily.  It really can be that simple to start raising your vibration and blocking the energy drain.

I hope you enjoyed these tips today and if you want more information on anything that I teach, please see my brand new online portal.  When you click I need support, it takes you to read about the Club and what we have to offer you!

Tips to Raise energy

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Top 20 Motivation Tips

top 20 motivation tipsGuest Post By Leo Babauta

This article is a list of tips and tricks that, if used in combination, are a nearly sure way to achieve your goals.

Achieving goals is not a matter of having “discipline”. It’s a matter of motivating yourself, and keeping your focus on your goal. Follow these tips, or any combination of them that works for you, and you should have the motivation and focus you need.

Here are the top 20 Motivation Tips:

1. Chart Your Progress. Recently I posted about how I created a chart to track my progress with each of my goals. This chart is not just for information purposes, for me to look back and see how I’m doing. It’s to motivate me to keep up with my goals. If I’m diligent about checking my chart every day, and marking dots or “x”s, then I will want to make sure I fill it with dots. I will think to myself, “I better do this today if I want to mark a dot.” Well, that’s a small motivation, but it helps, trust me. Some people prefer to use gold stars. Others have a training log, which works just as well. Or try Joe’s Goals. However you do it, track your progress, and allow yourself a bit of pride each time you give yourself a good mark.

Now, you will have some bad marks on your chart. That’s OK. Don’t let a few bad marks stop you from continuing. Strive instead to get the good marks next time.

2. Hold Yourself Back. When I start with a new exercise program, or any new goal really, I am rarin’ to go. I am full of excitement, and my enthusiasm knows no boundaries. Nor does my sense of self-limitation. I think I can do anything. It’s not long before I learn that I do have limitations, and my enthusiasm begins to wane.

Well, a great motivator that I’ve learned is that when you have so much energy at the beginning of a program, and want to go all out — HOLD BACK. Don’t let yourself do everything you want to do. Only let yourself do 50-75 percent of what you want to do. And plan out a course of action where you slowly increase over time. For example, if I want to go running, I might think I can run 3 miles at first. But instead of letting myself do that, I start by only running a mile. When I’m doing that mile, I’ll be telling myself that I can do more! But I don’t let myself. After that workout, I’ll be looking forward to the next workout, when I’ll let myself do 1.5 miles. I keep that energy reined in, harness it, so that I can ride it even further.

3. Join an online (or off-line) group to help keep you focused and motivated.  Editor’s note, join an online community by searching for what you love near you.  If it is daily motivation you are searching for with an online community and a closed group, check this link here and click on “I Need Support”.

Each time I joined a forum, it helped keep me on track. Not only did I meet a bunch of other people who were either going through what I was going through or who had already been through it, I would report my progress (and failures) as I went along. They were there for great advice, for moral support, to help keep me going when I wanted to stop.

4. Post a picture of your goal someplace visible — near your desk or on your refrigerator, for example. Visualizing your goal, exactly how you think it will be when you’ve achieved it, whether it’s financial goals like traveling to Rome or building a dream house, or physical goals like finishing a marathon or getting a flat stomach, is a great motivator and one of the best ways of actualizing your goals.

Find a magazine photo or a picture online and post it somewhere where you can see it not only daily, but hourly if possible. Put it as your desktop photo, or your home page. Use the power of your visual sense to keep you focused on your goal. Because that focus is what will keep you motivated over the long-term — once you lose focus, you lose motivation, so having something to keep bringing your focus back to your goal will help keep that motivation.

5. Get a workout partner or goal buddy. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (running, dieting, finances, etc.), see if they’d like to partner with you. Or partner with your spouse, sibling or best friend on whatever goals they’re trying to achieve. You don’t have to be going after the same goals — as long as you are both pushing and encouraging each other to succeed.

6. Just get started. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start.

I have a rule (not an original one) that I just have to put on my running shoes and close the door behind me. After that, it all flows naturally. It’s when you’re sitting in your house, thinking about running and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time.

7. Make it a pleasure. One reason we might put off something that will help us achieve our goal, such as exercise for example, is because it seems like hard work. Well, this might be true, but the key is to find a way to make it fun or pleasurable. If your goal activity becomes a treat, you actually look forward to it. And that’s a good thing.

8. Give it time, be patient. I know, this is easier said than done. But the problem with many of us is that we expect quick results. When you think about your goals, think long term. If you want to lose weight, you may see some quick initial losses, but it will take a long time to lose the rest. If you want to run a marathon, you won’t be able to do it overnight. If you don’t see the results you want soon, don’t give up … give it time. In the meantime, be happy with your progress so far, and with your ability to stick with your goals. The results will come if you give it time.

9. Break it into smaller, mini goals. Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple of weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. It’s hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution: have smaller goals along the way.

10. Reward yourself. Often. And not just for longer-term goals, either. Above, I talked about breaking larger goals into smaller, mini goals. Well, each of those mini goals should have a reward attached to it. Make a list of your goals, with mini goals, and next to each, write down an appropriate reward. By appropriate, I mean 1) it’s proportionate to the size of the goal (don’t reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesn’t ruin your goal — if you are trying to lose weight, don’t reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. It’s self-defeating.

11. Find inspiration, on a daily basis. Inspiration is one of the best motivators, and it can be found everywhere. Every day, seek inspiration, and it will help sustain motivation over the long-term. Sources of inspiration can include: blogs, online success stories, forums, friends and family, magazines, books, quotes, music, photos, people you meet.

12. Get a coach or take a class. These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free.

13. Have powerful reasons. Write them down. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.

14. Become aware of your urges to quit, and be prepared for them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. A good exercise is to go through the day with a little piece of paper and put a tally mark for each time you get an urge. It simply makes you aware of the urges. Then have a plan for when those urges hit, and plan for it beforehand, and write down your plan, because once those urges hit, you will not feel like coming up with a plan.

15. Make it a rule never to skip two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row! Zen Habits says so! And just get started. You’ll thank yourself later.

16. Visualize your goal clearly, on a daily basis, for at least 5-10 minutes. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.

17. Keep a daily journal of your goal. If you are consistent about keeping a journal, it can be a great motivator. A journal should have not only what you did for the day, but your thoughts about how it went, how you felt, what mistakes you made, what you could do to improve. To be consistent about keeping a journal, do it right after you do your goal task each day. Make keeping a journal a sensory pleasure.

18. Create a friendly, mutually-supportive competition. We are all competitive in nature, at least a little. Some more than others. Take advantage of this part of our human nature by using it to fuel your goals. If you have a workout partner or goal buddy, you’ve got all you need for a friendly competition. See who can log more miles, or save more dollars, each week or month. See who can do more pushups or pullups. See who can lose the most weight or have the best abs or lose the most inches on their waist. Make sure the goals are weighted so that the competition is fairly equal. And mutually support each other in your goals.

19. Make a big public commitment. Be fully committed. This will do the trick every time. Create a blog and announce to the world that you are going to achieve a certain goal by a certain date. Commit yourself to the hilt.

20. Always think positive. Monitor your thoughts. Be aware of your self-talk. We all talk to ourselves, a lot, but we are not always aware of these thoughts. Start listening. If you hear negative thoughts, stop them, push them out, and replace them with positive thoughts. Positive thinking can be amazingly powerful.

Motivation Tips

3 Ways to Harness Inner Change

Inner Change

Life is always changing…yet inwardly, we resist.  Do you find change to be a scary process?  Especially if you are trying to harness inner change?  I know that at times, I do.  I am facing something right now that could be a very simple change, yet I am finding it hard to consider.

Moving.  Changing addresses.  I feel like that is a really hard thing for many people.  It’s just a house, right?  No.  Not to many people.  It’s memories, feelings, neighbors and more.  So why the resistance to change?

Resistance can show itself in many ways.

The “what ifs” start to surface.  It is this area of uncertainty that drives us mad.  We know the reality we are living in, correct.  We don’t know this scary possibility over here.  So let’s just stay in the reality we know.

We have no control over the change.  It’s like this, does the caterpillar start to freak out as soon as it goes in the cocoon?  Everything happens as it should once it gets in there…and then the butterfly emerges and flies merrily away.  None the wiser I suspect about all the little close calls it might have faced while in that cocoon.  But we start to question what will happen as we set this in motion..never stopping to think that it could just take its natural course and everything will turn out the way it should…or maybe always was going to anyway no matter what we did.

Nothing looks familiar over here!  I went to sleep thinking about the possibility of a new house.  Insert whatever you are thinking of here.  I have a little routine down right now and it works wonderfully.  What if my routine is interrupted?  What if moving messes up my business for a bit as I get settled (I work from home).  I need to remember the important things, and the things that are going to take some time getting used to.  Not focus so much on all the differences.

3 Ways to Harness Inner Change

  1. Get very clear on why you are even considering this change in the first place.  What are the benefits of doing something new, taking a new job, moving, making new friends or doing something that you might consider equally scary right now?  Do you have support should you wish to make a change?  A sounding board that really has no vested interest in your decision other than for you to be happy?  If not, consider joining us in my closed group, <<< but you really do need supportive people around you.
  2. Uncover the block to this change.  This one is really a big step.  If you haven’t journaled around this idea, might I suggest drawing a giant boulder in the center of a page, and then putting all the reasons around this “block” until you have exhausted this, and honing in on the one reason you really think might be the biggest block of all.  It will probably stem from fear, but you do the work and see if that is where it leads you.
  3. Don’t give up.  If the change is scary, worth it, and you know you can do it, make it your mission to succeed.  Put reminders everywhere (fridge if it’s food related, mirror for self-esteem, on the scale if you are wanting to lose weight, etc.), and affirm to yourself that this inner change is worth a few months of discomfort if it is what you truly want.  New thought patterns can be created, and soon those new patterns will become your fall back.  The old paths will become overgrown, and you will feel much better for making that commitment to yourself as you learn to harness inner change.

Here comes the part where you really get real with yourself.  Is this inner change worth the discomfort?  Yes as long as it is within your alignment of what you want for path.  Breathe in and take 3 deep breaths.  Imagine this change has already happened and everything went well.  How do you feel now?  You have your answer.

For more monthly guidance on getting out of your head, aligning with your heart and helping your overall health, join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club.

Harness Inner Change

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How Creating Self-Compassion Opens the Door to Healing

Self-compassion

Whew.  Some weeks are harder than others.  After coming off of my recent MCL knee injury, I was made to rest for approximately 6 weeks.  I had to learn things all over again that I worked really hard to teach myself when my body was so wracked with pain I could barely move.

How did I create self-compassion for myself and how did it allow me to actually heal in a more complete way?

I was working not to trigger those thoughts of pain, and in those first days, it was a struggle to practice everything I teach my group to do…which ended up being a blessing in disguise.  I learned now that I have those skills in mindfulness, which I previously did NOT have in my tool box, that I can get through the pain much easier. 

In our society, we are taught that bashing ourselves is not only okay, but it gets people’s attention.  Unfortunately, research has proven that this leads to consequences in the thought processes that actually perpetuate anxiety, depression, and of course lowered self-esteem.

Wait.  Where’s the good news?   Psychologist and author Kristin Neff, has said that cultivating self-compassion really centers around three things: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.  I had actually been practicing all three in my journal therapy and wasn’t even aware that it had been “studied” and researched.  I just knew intuitively that I had a knack for getting to the root of the problem thus helping others to heal as well.

Strategies for Creating More Self-Compassion

If you are working through emotional triggers and trauma, this part is a must do in your self-care routine.  I will kick your butt if you try that lame excuse of not having enough time.  Wake up at least 5 minutes earlier, put your sticky note on the calendar to journal and/or try one new thing a day for 30 days, etc.  Most people who tell others that they don’t have enough time are really saying Hey, I hear ya.  Taking care of myself right now isn’t a priority. 

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~H. Jackson Brown

Just saying.  ^^^

Now that some of you are pissed at me for telling the truth, let’s move on to the strategies.  By the way, if you don’t know who is writing this, read this link later. <<< You might be less inclined to be mad at me.  I have been there.

  1. Acceptance is key.  Thus the truth-telling.  I used every excuse in the book, blamed whatever I could, but the truth was, I needed to learn to love myself pain and all.  I needed to accept that I might not ever be well, and that my friends, was a bitch.   That was the other part of me that I denied.
  2. Dig deep.  Somewhere, deep inside of me, was the part that was hardest to make peace with.  It was the me before all this happened.  You know what, she didn’t ask for this.  Okay.  Got that.  But how would she feel knowing that I was staying stuck in my pain?  She’d be pretty pissed at me.  It is time to make peace with the old me, and become who I was supposed to be.
  3. Watch how the language changes.  I remember my dad.  Sigh.  He is still alive, don’t worry, but it was the way he dealt with this situation (bless his heart).  As someone who is highly sensitive to others emotions, I could feel his sadness.  He felt so sorry for me.  NOT helpful.  It was not his fault you see, but still not helpful.  As part of the parents who both gave me the hereditary condition, they both, in some small way, felt responsible.  Okay, so it is important to recognize who is around you when you speak to yourself as well.  You might be so programmed by your parents or others that you continue this woe is me…I am not worthy…I am so __________.  Insert your negative perception of yourself.
  4. Get out of your head!!  I am now great at this, but I was NOT for many years.  As a matter of fact, I have been practicing this now for 3 years and it has really changed my world.  In yoga, I mention this frequently as I teach my class this one thing.  Drop back into your body.  That sounds easy to do, but let’s try it right now.  Touch your scalp.  Feel your hair follicles come alive as you give yourself a scalp massage.  Touch the top of your ears, all the way down to your ear lobes.  Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply for a full round of three.  Say “I am worthy.” With each breath feel the worthiness come into your being.  Now open your eyes.  You have just soothed your parasympathetic nervous system.  Ta-dahhhh (you basically help the fight or flight response calm down).

Whew.  I don’t know about you, but I feel better just exploring how these tips really helped me change my life.  In creating my journal therapy content each month, there is so much more that goes into it.  I created a group where people like me could heal in a supportive environment and work through this “stuff” that truly gets in the way of our healing.  Never before had I ever, in 18 years, found a group that was working on healing the Head|Heart|Health of the matter.  Quite simply, I created what brought me back to life.

I hope this has helped you today and if you want to be included on my newsletter, the sign up is on the side of the blog.  Feel free to use the social sharing buttons if this article resonated with you!

She believed

 

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Reduce Stress Now With These 3 Tips!

tips for stressEvery single day, I see signs of stress.  The most stressed people seem to pop in to my yoga class as beginners.  They are literally alive with stress.  I can read their energy like a neon sign.  Do I have the right mat?  Let me look at my phone again for just a second to alert everyone not to bother me for an hour.  Oh, look at her yoga pants.  Is that what I should have bought?  My toes.  Crap.  I didn’t get a pedicure and this class sees my toes.  What if she makes me ohm?  I can’t be doing that.  It’s against my beliefs. 

Okay, so some of these have actually been said directly to me as the yoga teacher…and others said to a friend nearby.  It’s a small quiet space and I pick up on things.  The truth is, I can actually narrow it down to 3 tips because we just don’t do this in our lives.

Reduce Stress With These 3 Tips:

  1. Be present.  <<< I can actually end the article right here, but most people don’t know how to be present, so let me explain.  I read somewhere that being present is an ART.  And I want you to remember that.  In your Activities, Routines, and Triggers.  What we do daily…where we are.  Kids activities or yours.  Be mindful of your feelings and stress levels.  In your daily routines, pay attention to what you are thinking about.  Is it in the now or the past or future?  Focus.  Lastly, triggers.  These we need more help with.  <<< You can open my linked guest post after this.
  2. Are you taking a step back and breathing?  Most people do not take a step back and inhale deeply.  Even in my yoga classes, I actually have to teach deep breathing.  People even breathe quickly.  Like hurry up breath, I got things to do.  But instead, rephrase and mentally say “I can slow down and breathe today.”  If you take longer, deeper, more cellular breaths you will actually start to lower your blood pressure, so do that for a full round of three.  Daily.  Each time you feel stress, panic or anxiety come on.
  3. Think for yourself in a non-judging way.  As I said today on my FB Live, yes, this one is hard people.  Most people lack the ability to just let the thoughts pass by as observations.  Sometimes we think not nice things.  About ourselves, others, society as a whole, etc.  Sometimes, the thoughts aren’t even ours.  They were programmed in long ago by things we heard our parents say and now we say them to ourselves too.  But what if we practiced discernment?  The ability to practice more understanding or awareness.  What if we knew we sounded like a programmed robot on auto-pilot?

My glorious and wonderful friend was so scared of letting me down, her words, in my yoga class that she came in apologizing.  She hadn’t seen me in years, and wasn’t aware at all of how I taught yoga.  She knew she wanted to do it, and in her eyes, it was the Instagram version.  Umm no.  I am not an Insta teacher.  She thought she had to be flexible (no), dressed in the latest (no), and have a pedicure.  No.  It took several classes of me actually teaching the yogic breathing, philosophy and more to get her to come in to class and just breathe a sigh of relief.  No one was watching her.  They were all in their own heads.  It is okay to fall out of a pose.  It is okay to try something and fail.

The stress she had created in her mind was all based off assumptions of judgement, and fear of wanting to fit in.  As we practice patience, trust, acceptance, and letting go, we can begin to feel the stress melt away.  So what if you mess up?  In anything?  The beauty of life is that you can start again.   

Why worry strips you of POWER (and what to do about it)!

Worry strips power

Worry.  Worry is one of the most useless habits that I have.  Worry strips power.  It changes nothing at all, and yet I physically feel drained.  It doesn’t help me in any way, shape or form, and yet it is still there.  Trying to get my attention.

This could go wrong, it screams in my head.  You have busted your knee up for good girl, screams the voice.  You made so much progress, but it’s all gone now.  UGH.  None of this is helping me at all.  So yesterday, I told it where it could go.  And it stayed there all day long.  It really did.

I know that in practicing yoga and creating lasting mindful habits, I am happier.  I know that wearing a knee brace and worrying that my MCL is not healing correctly is ruminating and I get that from certain family members.  It hasn’t helped them either by the way.  Let me explain.  I have been to the doctor.  I have had it checked out.  I am following what he said to do.  However; every other day a person named “dad” calls me to “worry” about my knee with me.

I have two daughters, so I get it.  I really do.  But worry doesn’t prevent anything from happening UNLESS you were actually using it to create some plan of attack on the battlefield or something.  Maybe it was designed to help us at one point way in the past.  However, my dad must be planning an attack on everything in his life.  Whew, it’s exhausting.  And he knows this, so I finally had to say if my knee comes up one more time, he had to give me money.  HAHAHAHA.  One thing that will keep him quiet…money.

How to take back your Power:

  1. Name the worry.  Acknowledge it.  Say hi to it, then put it in time-out.  I did that yesterday.  I created a how-to video for yoga on modifications with an MCL injury.  I was very, very careful and know that I am getting a re-check today anyway.
  2. Staying present took its power away.  I mindfully cleaned my living room.  Thinking about each task.  Didn’t go to past or future, but stayed in the present moment on purpose.  I didn’t day dream…for once.  I made sure I started my day by grounding with 3 deep breaths.
  3. Emotions are just that.  They pass.  Anger, shame, guilt, and worry.  All pass.  This will pass.  This anxiety will pass.  This feeling will pass.  I know it as I have lived through other “worries” that never came to pass.
  4. Don’t encourage it.  I didn’t want to be rude to dad, but I also didn’t want to talk about the same thing each and every day without it going anywhere.  That’s like the old saying about worry being like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.  I don’t feel like being that person anymore.  I am creating boundaries around this that it can’t get through.
  5. Be real.  Okay, so it’s natural to worry a bit.  As long as you don’t stay there.  What can you do instead though?  Everyone in my Head|Heart|Health Club knows that I am going to ask you if you are putting the work into what you DO want to happen and take it away from what you don’t want to happen.  How you manage life is up to you.  If you start to notice this pattern, remember that it is truly up to you to change.  Redirect this energy to Empower.

Still need more help in this area?  Want to practice taking back your power on a regular basis?  Join us!

Inhale confidence.

 

Can You Change from Being Reactive to Proactive?

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.  ~Stephen Covey

If you aren’t sure if you are proactive or reactive, think about this quote for a minute.  Covey goes on to say that our behavior is determined by three main factors, and unfortunately, they start to look like a “Pavlov reaction” soon enough.

  • Genes: Did you inherit this character from your family?
  • Nurture: You got your character and ideas from how your parents brought you up.
  • Environment: The people and places around you are starting to influence your behavior.

So now that we have determined the basis for being proactive and reactive, it is likely you just decided that you might be just a wee bit reactive.

I don’t mind joking on myself to make a great point, and you can probably see this coming, but I was raised by very reactive people.  It makes for funny stories, it really does, but it makes it difficult to break out of such a cycle.  Here is where it is necessary to start though.   It is time to take off the gauntlets, and start learning your own set of skills for enacting change in your life.  After all…it is YOUR life. 

At some point in your life, it is likely that you have gotten drawn into the “I am going to have the last word” argument.  If you are someone who usually loves to have the last word, then this part will be difficult for you, but you have to try.  What can you do when every form of logic they are speaking just makes no sense, but they keep talking anyway???  <<< try not to flip out.

Here are a few tips for this situation.

  • They really just want you to come back and argue more in this situation…and nothing you say will actually change their mind.
  • Try this “I am not interested in having this debate with you…so I am going to do something more productive with my time.”
  • Stay silent and just look at them.  How often has this worked for you?  The key to your empowerment is to actually NOT have the last word…thus sending the message that there really is nothing to discuss.

When we are in the reactive state of mind, they control our reactions.  I repeat.  They are in control and usually know this by continuing to bait you. 

Here’s another one for you to think about.  You are at work and that co-worker who plucks your last nerve is spouting off at the meeting, the copy room or the lunch area.  You are minding your own business until they insert something that they claimed they did, but it was your idea first.  It could even be that PTA lady at your kid’s school, but it doesn’t matter.  They are being loud in order to get reactions from people.  They want praise and encouragement to continue this line of thinking.  How are you going to handle this?

  • Look them straight in the eye and congratulate them.  This is one way to handle it, but keep it simple.  Nothing more.
  • You have the choice to explore a different route now…and make your original idea much better.  After going down this route, then present it to your boss.  There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you have tweaked it.
  • Enlist in the support of others if you want to make a bigger impact with your idea.  If you really want to get over this person trying to control the situation, you could even ask them to help you with how to execute this plan.  It’s all in how you phrase it.

As we learn not to be reactive, and turn more towards the proactive way of thinking, we learn not to be stuck in this victim mentality that so many people are using each and everyday.  These reactive people exhibit the following signs.

Signs of reactive thinking:

  1. Failure to accept any responsibility.  It is always someone’s fault…except for theirs.
  2. Everyone in the nearest vicinity is at fault.  Blame never gets caught in their own two hands.  It’s like the game of hot potato…and they throw that thing away before you can see it stopped on them.
  3. They rationalize their destructive habits.
  4. They focus only on the problems...never wanting to move to a solution.
  5. They might live in the past or the “what if” land.  What if things had been different??  But they aren’t.  So here you have it.

Signs of proactive thinking:

  1. The buck stops hereIt is your responsibility to get things done.
  2. You are accountable.  Your goals are clearly defined and you know what you need to do in order to reach them.
  3. You have good problem solving skills or seek out others who can help you create the skills you need in order to accomplish the change you want to see in your life.  It does not have to be business related, it can be completely personal goals.  For example: losing weight.  You have been struggling, so you seek out ways to make it happen with a plan.
  4. They are consistent.  Slow and steady really does work for keeping your eye on the change you want to create in your life.
  5. They aren’t worried about reaching out to the right people in order to succeed.  I have been running a closed group of motivated people from all over the world.  On days we need to remember that our goal is mastering our thoughts, we put in the work, ask the questions in the group, and start back at our monthly goals.  We have surrounded ourselves with like minds in order to really focus on creating this lasting change for ourselves.

In the end, being honest with yourself is best.  If you think it is time to do the work on the inside in order to get results on the outside, we would love to have you in our group.  Being reactive throughout life didn’t really yield any personal satisfaction when I was in my worst pain.  However taking control of those thoughts, and taking control of my Head|Heart|Health, has given me an entirely new outlook on life.

I went from pain of hardly being able to move, to completing 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training.  I then continued on to get certified in yoga for pain and arthritis.  I left a job that was taking a toll on my health and I learned how to heal myself naturally, and then continued on to get sports nutrition certification.  I started counseling others how to do the same and this year, was proud to announce the new online catalog that includes different options to really take back control of your life.