Wow, spring is finally here, and whether or not the weather has gotten the memo that winter is over, I am so ready for this new season. With the extended sunlight, do you feel a little energy building? With this renewed energy do you spend time spring cleaning your house, closets and clearing out old clutter? If you have a yard, do you spend time clearing away old leaves and brush and begin to prepare the soil for new bulbs, flowers and greenery? Most people gain momentum during the spring season to clean and clear their physical environments, which is great, but have you considered spending time to spring clean in mind, body and spirit?
Whether it’s your physical environment or your physical body, residue builds and clutter stacks up higher and higher. Emotional clutter needs time to cleanse and clear just like the clutter and dust bunnies in your physical space. When you spend time cleansing and clearing in mind, body and spirit, you create the needed space to grow, to expand, to evolve—to plant new seeds within your heart and mind.
Here are some useful tools you can integrate to help clear away the clutter of physical and emotional residue that may be lingering on from the cold, grey winter.
Let’s start with mental clearing. I find one of the most useful and accessible tools for mental and emotional release is journaling. You might prefer to read on and then come back to these prompts, but if you know you may put it off and never do it, take a moment right now to get out your journal, a notebook or something else to write on and a writing utensil and complete these prompts right now!
Spend time pondering the following self-reflection prompts to help clear your mind of any residual clutter from the seemingly never-ending winter. Letting go and clearing any lingering emotional discomfort will allow you to create room for mental and emotional space for what will serve you moving forward. Without the space to create what you want you will remain stuck in what you already know. Self-reflection is one of the most powerful ways to motivate yourself and create a new, healthy mindset towards the change you desire.
· What stands in the way of living my most healthy life?
· What roadblocks are currently in the way of living my best life and being the version of myself—and how can I begin to address each roadblock?
· What would my life look like if I were being guided by my desire to make my vision my reality?
· What difficult circumstances did I have to manage this winter?
· What residual emotions from the winter do I need to release, to let go of, once and for all and how can I do this in a healthy, productive manner?
· What do I need to let go of in order to move forward with more peace of mind on a daily basis?
The second tool you can you use to clear your body and the mind is your breath. (If you missed my recent blog about the power of your breath, you can catch it here!) A form of breathing that will cleanse and clear your mind and body is called the bellow’s breath. It is a stimulating breathing practice, so it’s ideal to practice it in the early to mid-part of the day, not in the evenings. It’s always best to practice with the support of an instructor if it is brand new for you. (This particular breath is not suited for anyone who’s had recent abdominal surgery or who has untreated high blood pressure, anxiety or if you are pregnant.) If you give it a whirl and dislike anything about it, there is no need to do it! Just doing a diaphragmatic breathing practice can help to rid your body of excess stress hormones and your mind of excess stressful thoughts. The second breathing practice described below is a calming, grounding breath that is balancing, clearing and suitable for all.
+Bellow’s breath: Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed and relaxed. Each inhale and exhale are equal in duration, but as short as possible. You are “pumping” your navel center and building energy with this breath, creating a cleansing of mind, body and energy. This is a noisy breathing exercise, almost like a dog panting on a warm day. Try for approximately three in-and-out breath cycles per second, and aim for about ten breaths at time to begin. This produces a quick movement of your diaphragm, just like a bellows. Return to your normal breathing rhythm after each cycle. Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try as it can cause some dizziness. Again, if it is at all uncomfortable, there is no need to continue. Each time you practice this exercise, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute. If done properly, you will feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a refreshing workout.
+So-Hum breath: as you inhale, feel your abdomen expand and say “so” in your mind, as you exhale, draw your navel in towards your spine and say “hum” in your mind. Continue for at least one minute, but feel free to go longer. This “so-hum” breath will help to focus your attention and quiet your mind.
This last portion is all about spring cleaning for your physical body. One of my favorite ways to do this is adding in more bitter flavors, which is always available with fresh leafy greens! Here’s my favorite green drink recipe that is cleansing, refreshing and I think super delicious!
When you try it, let me know what you think. If you tweak it to make it your own, let me know what changes you find to be delicious, I love trying new variations on old recipes!
Spring Cleaning Green Drink Recipe
Serves 2: because health is best when you share it!
2 peeled cucumbers
½ cup fresh chopped pineapple
2 cups of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, dandelion greens chopped
1-2 stalks of celery diced
1 inch of fresh peeled ginger root chopped
1 tablespoon hemp hearts
juice of half of a lime
½ cup filtered water or coconut water, may need more to blend to desired consistency
Blend all ingredients together and add more or less of your favorites to taste
When you try these cleansing practices, let me know how they work for you! Know that you are clearing mental and emotional space to move forward, building energy to feel well, live well and be well.
Whether or not you are breathing is a deciding factor as to whether or not you are alive. Breath is life. Your breath works as a part of an automatic response within your body, meaning, you will breathe whether or not you are thinking about it. The cool thing is, if you bring your breath into your conscious awareness and under your conscious control, you create the opportunity to control your nervous system.
The pace, rhythm and direction of your breath all directly point to your mood state, mental state and can trigger your nervous system towards causing stress or a state of relaxation within your nervous system. There are two major elements of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system, or the mode of fight or flight or freeze and the parasympathetic nervous system, the mode of rest and digest. Ideally, unless of course there is a true emergency, we all want to live in rest and digest mode.
The importance of engaging the parasympathetic nervous system response, or remaining in rest and digest mode most of the time is well documented. You see, stress is the cause of upwards of 90% of illness. The stress response as you experience it in your mind and body can be caused by something stressful that is actually happening, or it can be caused by just by thinking about something happening that is distressing. The good news is we can do something about the latter—when the stress response is triggered by our thoughts. This something is super simple and is absolutely free of charge. This something is using your breath.
When you take ahold of your breath, you can take ahold of your whole nervous system. You can calm your mind and body and reconnect to what is true right now, rather than what is occurring in your mind that is creating a fearful, stressful response within your mind and body. Your body does not know the difference between the real or perceived stressors and will respond accordingly to either. When you find that you are catastrophizing and creating the stress response within your body, you can bring the process of breathing into your focus by slowing down each inhale and each exhale and calm your mind in the process.
Breathing diaphragmatically engages the parasympathetic nervous system response. Try this, place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest. As you breathe, notice which hand is moving. You are not judging your breathing process. You are simply noticing your breath in order to improve your ability to calm your mind/body. If your hand on your chest is moving but your hand on your abdomen is not moving (meaning your chest is expanding as you inhale), you are paradoxically breathing. This type of breathing can come about by feeling as though you have to suck in your stomach all the time, and it can actually cause you to go into fight or flight mode. Yikes!
If this is how you generally breathe, don’t fret! You can change how you breathe right now! You can practice diaphragmatic breathing in order for it to become your new method of breathing. To diaphragmatically breathe, allow your abdomen to expand into your hand as you inhale and allow the hand on your chest to remain relatively still. As you exhale, draw your navel in towards your spine. Allow this to become your new pattern of breathing—abdomen expanding as you inhale, navel drawing in towards your spine as you exhale.
When you breathe in this manner you are creating an opportunity to calm your nervous system in the here and the now. By allowing your attention to rest on your breath, not in your stressful, repetitive thoughts, you ease your body of the excess cortisol and adrenaline produced by your stressful thoughts. In the moment you recognize that you are feeling stressed within your body due to a thought or perception, rather than an actual stressful occurrence, try this process of connecting with your breath. Breathe diaphragmatically, slowly and deeply. Begin to slow down each inhale and each exhale. Focus on your exhale and allow just a slight pause at the end of your exhale and at the top of your inhale. Follow your breath with your mind. Notice the sensation of your breath against your nostrils. Notice the cooling, calming impact of your breath as you inhale and the warm, soothing impact of your breath as you exhale.
When you focus on your breath you create an opportunity to become fully engaged in the present moment, the only moment. When you are fully engaged in the present moment you create the opportunity to live your life right as it is unfolding, rather than in the anxiety of the future or wishing for a different past. Your breath is your link, it is your powerful anchor to the present moment. Use it. Be aware of it. Allow it to create the transformation of your nervous system that is possible. Be here now, be aware of your breath and allow stress to no longer rule your life, your body and your mood state.
If you’d like some guidance on how to breathe, you can listen to my 5-minute guided diaphragmatic breathing practice here in the resources section of my website. Has changing your breath changed your life? I’d love to hear how using your breath to manage stress has impacted your life for the better! And…if you haven’t already signed up for the Free Webinar: Spring Cleaning for Mind and Body that is THIS Thursday, March 21st at 12pm EST (even if you can’t make it live, still register and I’ll send you the replay!) be sure to do so now! We will do some breathing, journaling and chatting about healthy lifestyle practices to make space for your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing! Register here!
Mindfulness is something of a buzzword these days. When concepts, words or disciplines become buzzwords they can lose their true meaning and power. Mindfulness is paying attention from moment to moment with a nonjudgmental awareness. When you are practicing mindfulness you do not judge the present moment, you experience it. When you are living mindfully, each moment of life as it is experienced just as it is unfolding in the here and the now. The ability to stay present invites you to experience your life in a meaningful way, where you are not simply responding to past experiences and stress or future worries. Engaging with the present moment is experiencing what is true right now.
When you are able to experience what is true right now you are able to acknowledge, feel and accept your emotions. The act of being mindful—of being completely engaged in the present moment—offers the opportunity to no longer act or respond to life out of your unconscious mental and emotional programming. When you step away from acting out of autopilot mode, you can begin to make conscious choices about how to live your life right now. When you are able to both be aware of your emotions and make a conscious choice, emotional eating becomes less overbearing and more within your conscious control.
While mindfulness may seem like a simple concept, it is definitely not an easy practice. While there are helpful apps, classes and books you can use to learn and practice mindfulness, having quiet time to be present and reflect on your experience of the present moment is where your power lies. The power is in the practice, not it in the learning about and studying the practice itself.
When you can experience your rich internal emotional world without hesitation or attempt to flee from any emotional distress or discomfort, your self-awareness grows. Through a consistent mindfulness practice, your ability to make a choice in the present moment is enhanced. When you practice mindfulness in a disciplined manner, over time, you free yourself from the binds of emotional eating. While this progression may sound simple, or too good to be true, remember that it requires these two elements that allow it to be integrated, over time, into your life: dedication and self-discipline.
When you bring the element of dedication to the practice of mindfulness you can offer yourself time daily to pause, reflect and release any emotions that are triggering your emotional eating. (You can read more about creating this personalized plan from a previous blog on this process here.) The importance of self-discipline is all about showing up for the practice, showing up for yourself and your emotions for the long-term. When you are fully conscious of your emotions, they become less uncomfortable and more of a message about your experience of your life. When you are more deeply connected to your internal emotional world, you can respond in an empowered way to your emotions and therefore not run from them, not attempt to escape them with food—or anything else that only serves to numb out your emotions.
To establish a mindfulness practice, it is best to start with one minute and then build from there. One minute of attempting to witness your emotions, thoughts, body sensations and external environment can feel like a really long time when you first begin the practice! After two to five days, increase to two minutes. Over time you may find that ten minutes feels really great! I recommend spending some time in reflection following the practice whether through journaling or simply acknowledging what the experience was like for you. I also recommend logging the minutes and making some simple notes about how you felt before and after the practice and any emotions or thoughts that arose, just to notice, not to judge.
As you apply this practice to food, eating, and further into your life, you will see how showing up for yourself in this way is empowering and freeing. You will see how allowing yourself to experience your emotions offers you valuable and deeply meaningful information about your experience of your life. Being mindful and emotionally aware allows you to make a choice about how to respond. Over time, food becomes less of a coping tool and more of a space where you can derive nourishment and pleasure. When you begin to integrate a consistent mindfulness practice into your life you open the opportunity to truly make peace with food.
Self-regulation is the ability to regulate your own behaviors, actions and choices consistently. Self-regulation is a personal strength and for many of us it is a strength that is, well… a work in progress. The ability to moderate your needs, actions and choices from a whole-person perspective—mind, body, spirit—can be a challenge. The good news is that self-regulation is a strength and if you think of it like a muscle, you can make it stronger with repetition and practice. It is a strength that can be honed, developed and utilized in order create how you want to feel about yourself.
These four tools that I list here will help you to establish, create and build upon your self-regulation. These tools are applicable to any area of your life that you would like to feel more in control. If you find you are not following through like you’d like to in certain areas of your life, it will be of benefit to you to strengthen your self-regulation skills. OR if you find that you are excessively rigid anywhere in your life, this indicates an imbalance as well. Over-regulation and obsession with perfection is not healthy either. Living in an overly regulated space is generally not sustainable and it creates unnecessary internal stress and discomfort.
So how do you go about increasing your self-regulation skills? The following are four practical tools that will help you grow in your ability to self-regulate. These four tools are useful and actionable and will offer you the best place to begin.
1. Create a Personalized Plan
When you create a personalized plan, you set yourself up for success. The ability to regulate your behaviors can be hard. If your goal is to heal your relationship with food, your body and yourself but you don’t have any type of plan for how to make that happen, you will not have anything to regulate. This leaves your goals merely a daydream and you will be stuck in a space of fantasizing about what could happen tomorrow. On the other side of the coin is an overly rigid plan. These could include a restrictive diet plan, excessive exercise plan or other extreme measures. This doesn’t allow you to grow in self-regulation because you are relying on an someone else’s external plan to tell you what to do for often just a limited period of time.
When you create your own personal plan to grow self-regulation, and in sticking with the example of healing emotional eating, losing weight or improving your body image, your plan will need to set manageable guidelines. Your plan will need to have small changes that are actionable and realistic. Your plan will need to offer you space to grow (meaning you will have to learn from mistakes) and make the changes that will allow you to meet your goals and will be sustainable over time. Your plan will need to have opportunities for you to reflect and make shifts and changes as needed. Your plan is yours. Not your friends, your moms, your co-workers, but yours. Your plan will need to fit your personal needs. Your plan will need to offer you space to create growth through self-reflection and self-awareness. Your plan will encourage the shift to create the ability to self-regulate your own needs in mind, body and spirit.
To begin, you need to identify what you want, why you want it. Determine your personal values in life and how you connect these to what you want in order to help support yourself and create the change you want. Then set specific (meaning measurable), doable (they will actually fit into your current life), and desirable (meaning you truly WANT it) goals. Each goal needs action steps that you can take daily, no matter how small, so that you are creating movement and momentum consistently towards what you want. Create a timeline for reflection, reevaluation and what to do when you achieve a goal. Your ability to create this personalized plan for YOU in and of itself demonstrates an ability to practice self-regulation!
2. Recognize Where You Sabotage Your Goals
When you bring awareness to where you are sabotaging yourself, you have two choices. The first is to stop the self-sabotage and the second is to give up. Ok, maybe it’s not that simple. But if the option of stopping the self-sabotage sounds like the more appealing option than giving up (which is equal to giving in to any negative beliefs about yourself: I can’t do it, I’ll never change, it’s too hard, I will fail, why bother, what’s the point, blah blah blah…), it will require some work. This work includes self-reflection and a decision to change your thoughts, beliefs about yourself and your actions. I call this self-saboteur the Deal Maker, if you want to read more about that concept, I have a chapter dedicated to it in my book, or you can read more on my blog here.
For today, what you need to know is that this part of yourself will sound convincing in its effort to foil your plans to make the change in your life that you desire. If your goal is to create greater health, to eat healthy, to move your body more, to lose weight, to save money, to change careers… no matter what it is, if you are not fully committed, you set yourself up for self-sabotage. Some examples of self-sabotaging thinking are “I have to be perfect,” or “I will fail” which only leads to the feeling of why bother or what’s the point. Your internal Deal Maker will try to put off taking action towards your goals and it uses these negative beliefs about yourself to keep the lie and resulting inaction going. Your internal Deal Maker preys on your fears. When you can highlight for yourself the exact thoughts, beliefs and fears that derail you, you can challenge them, work with them, and change the way you respond to them. When you are aware of the roadblocks that show up and you struggle to push through and past them, when you see that you are in your own way, you can do something about them. This is a daily practice. When you can understand where you tend to self-sabotage and see the common excuses and fears that your Deal Maker uses to keep you from taking action, you can recognize that they are not valid. You can recognize that there is another way. This leads me right into the next step: MINDSET!
3. Change Your Mindset
When you change your mindset, you change everything. When you place something into your mindset before you plan to do it and you spend time visualizing yourself doing it, you are FAR more likely to do it. When you leave your plans in a fantasy space, you are FAR less likely to take action. Mindset is a decision that you make ahead of time. Mindset is a shift in perspective and it’s intimately tied to self-regulation and self-discipline. However, it is not discipline that you might think of in terms of punishment or consequences. I am talking about reward based discipline because making progress and meeting your goals feels amazing!
One of the most important elements of creating a focused mindset is the perspective you bring to what you want. If you view hard work as draining, overwhelming, tiring and inaccessible to you, it will only be another barrier to address. If you view hard work as rewarding, building momentum, creating the change you desire and freeing you to live the life you want, then you are well on your way to achieving what you want. When you change your perspective you change your whole life! Take time daily to create a mindset of action. Visualize why you want what you want and connect with the belief that what you want is possible. And this leads me right to the final tool to build healthy and balanced self-regulation skills.
4. Create an Accountability System
The only person you can truly be accountable to is you. When you are “held accountable” to others, it implies the possibility of punishment or reward. When you are accountable to yourself, your personal follow through IS the reward. Your progress IS the reward. Creating a life you love and managing your life in a way that feels as though you are regulating your behaviors in a way that aligns with what you want IS the reward.
All of that being said, being involved in an accountability group can help maintain your momentum. When you have others to cheer you on or share your struggles, you will feel more connected. This helps you tap into energy reserves that come from feeling supported and encouraged. Begin by setting up a review system for yourself so you initially will know what you want to work towards, what it will take to get there, and any struggles (areas of potential self-sabotage) that may arise. Talk these through within your accountability team. Your accountability team could be peers, friends, family, people you meet in a Facebook group, co-workers, someone from the gym or anyone else who has a vision for their life and is ready to stop dreaming about it and ready to make it happen. If you find you could benefit from additional support hiring a coach or therapist will offer this level of support and accountability as well. When you are consistently taking action towards your goals, you are building the ability to self-regulate. When you share that within a pair, group or team setting you inspire others and receive inspiration to make it happen.
Building self-regulation as an internal strength takes time. If you have struggled with this for a long time, know that it will not happen overnight! Change is hard, growing is often uncomfortable, but it is absolutely worth the effort. When you follow these steps of creating a plan, help yourself get out of your own way, develop a focused mindset and a method of accountability, you will see the changes within your life. The first place to start is always with what you want and why you want it. Reminding yourself often of your ultimate goal will help you make the necessary and at times uncomfortable choices that grow your self-regulation. Every time you choose your plan, you choose to not believe negative thoughts, you don’t respond to your internal fears, you take time to create a healthy mindset and you check in with yourself and your supporters, you are growing your self-regulation muscle! Keep me posted on your self-regulation journey!
Have you tried every single crazy diet and dietary theory, (like keto-paleo-vegan) every exercise program, every supplement and pill or any other random thing that offers a promise of losing weight? Did you have some success initially only to regain the weight? Chances are, you might be an emotional eater. If this seems to resonate with you and yet you want to stop reading, I don’t blame you! This can be tough to acknowledge because food has been a consistent emotional suppressant and stress management system for you. Just having this realization in and of itself can be super scary. It’s even scarier to know where to begin to change this most likely deeply entrenched habit. If you feel overwhelmed by taking the steps to begin to do something about it, you are definitely not alone.
Emotional eating is a major struggle for tens of thousands of people. The diet industry preys on people who are desperate to lose weight and makes their specific diet plan seem easy, healthy and like it’s the only way. They often make us feel as though we don’t have the discipline to do it alone, so we need their plan to lose weight and then equate the feeling or experience of “being thin” to happiness. Restricting food, not eating enough calories and possibly not receiving enough valuable nutrients that your body needs to function effectively sets you up for “cheat days” binge eating, being mentally and emotionally preoccupied by food obsessions, low energy and low motivation. While all of this is reason alone to question diets, their promises and systems—no matter what they promise and/or deliver—none of them address the root cause of weight gain in the first place: emotional eating.
If you have been an emotional eater for a long time, you may have begun to see your own patterns and how there is something missing. If you are just beginning to acknowledge that you are indeed an emotional eater or stress eater, there is good news. This is where you can begin to heal because awareness is the first step. You can start feeling hopeful when you are no longer sinking into a space of avoidance and denial, or spending more money on another book, pill or plan only to be disappointed over and over again. With awareness as the first step, acknowledging that the process is not a quick fix is the second. Reinventing your relationship with food, your emotions and yourself is possible and it requires time, dedication, consistency and effort.
The biggest difference here is that as you begin to work towards healing the root cause of the weight you wish to no longer carry, awareness alone does not cause the weight does not just pour off! Usually the process takes much longer than a crazy crash diet as there are many layers and steps to working through emotions. The work requires developing new ways to manage emotions, developing new routines, thought patterns and alleviating negative cognitions you may experience about yourself that seem to keep you feeling stuck. These negative beliefs may feel like, “I have to be perfect” “I will fail,” “I’ve tried to change before and it didn’t work,” “what’s the point,” “I’m too lazy,” “I’m not good enough,” “my body fights me,” and so on. These negative beliefs often run deep and are perpetuated by thoughts which will significantly impact actions, behaviors and choices. Not to mention that through the healing process it is helpful to address nutritional imbalances within your body, metabolic function, blood sugar balance and body image. It can be overwhelming because it is indeed a ton of work.
Once you make this choice that tackling emotional eating is the change you want, there are two concepts that are essential to come to terms with as you begin. The first is that you need to believe in your ability to create the changes you desire in your life. The second is that you are willing to commit to creating the change you desire. Once you fully integrate these two concepts, you will be well on your way. This is where you can address the challenges, blocks, negative thoughts and feelings. There will be resistance, but that’s ok, through the change process you will build resilience. There will be back-sliding, but that’s ok, there is nothing you will ever create for yourself that is truly meaningful and long-lasting that doesn’t have a learning curve and opportunities to grow into becoming your best self. It all starts with the decision to change, the desire to know and understand your internal emotional world and to befriend your mind and body. Once you create the belief and dedication, you then take it one day at a time.
While the process can be overwhelming and seem like a major task, breaking it down into doable, practical and meaningful steps will begin to propel you forward. As you begin to shift your mindset and work from a space of focusing on what’s going well rather than whether or not you are perfect, you will make progress. As you make progress you will see the internal shifts happening slowly and steadily. When you turn the focus away from losing weight and towards healing your relationship with food, your body and yourself, you will remain motivated to create the lasting change you desire. Often with diets there is a promise of losing weight fast. However, when addressing emotional eating, it will not be a fast journey. This is a steady, action focused journey where you begin to create your own personalized dietary plan. You create the movement in your life that is pleasurable. You create opportunities for self-reflection and emotional awareness to learn and grow. You are in charge of what makes your body feel energized, healthy and vital. You know what’s best and you will develop trust in your body and ability to change—and keep changing.
If this feels new, strange or something you have not considered or if you have known you are an emotional eater for a long time but avoided facing it due to fear or denial, now is the time to step into your personal power. It’s time to reclaim your health and wellness in mind, body and spirit. It is time to begin your personal journey towards making peace with food.
If you find you could benefit from support along the way, reach out, there is no need for you to go through this process all alone. Whether you reach out to me, another coach, therapist or best friend, find your team that will support your growth, change and will encourage you to create a life you love.
Are you feeling as though this winter will just never end? If so, you are not alone. Here in NYC it’s cold and we’ve had a lot of rainy days. So many of us can identify with the experience of having the winter blues. The winter blues often create low motivation and stagnancy, you just don’t feel like doing much or getting much done. The winter blues can feel as though your energy is zapped, causing you to not engage in many of the elements that tend to actually make you feel good. To me, it’s no surprise that many of us experience times of feeling down in the winter. After the activity and hubbub of the holidays, it’s common to feel more isolated because of the cold, the reduced daylight hours and often more dreary weather.
The good news is that there are some simple, natural strategies that you can incorporate all winter long to help you beat the winter blues. Use these strategies to create your own ray of sunshine on any given day.
1. On Sunny Days, Expose Your Skin to Light for 10-15 Minutes
2. Eat Naturally Mood-Lifting Foods
3. Practice Saying “YES” to Yourself
4. Move Your Body
5. Start (or Maintain!) a Mindfulness Practice
1. On Sunny Days, Expose Your Skin to Light for 10-15 Minutes
This first strategy encourages receiving some sun exposure whenever it’s possible. When sunlight is exposed to our eyes and our skin, the brain is alerted to wake up and feel more energized. Exposure to sunlight can help you feel more mentally sharp and positive. Every day that the sun is shining, be sure to get outside and turn your face to the sun for about ten to fifteen minutes. If it’s not too freezing cold, you can certainly hang out in the sun even longer (although don’t overexpose without sunscreen!) If you can’t get outside, take a few moments to at least let the sun hit your eye balls. A full spectrum light box can be another option, although there is a cost associated with this tool, it does offer the full spectrum of light and helps improve mood and mental energy.
2. Eat Naturally Mood-Lifting Foods
The second strategy has to do with improving your mood through food. The food-mood connection is super strong. Nutrients that support energy and healthy brain function all help to create the best opportunity for your mood to be in a balanced and positive space on a daily basis. When you are eating these healthy, mood supporting nutrient dense foods, factors such as the temperature, weather or time of year can feel as thought they are less of a downer! Some of the nutrients known to improve the functioning of your brain and improve mood are Omega-3 Fatty Acids, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Tryptophan, Vitamin K and Protein. Here is a brain power smoothie recipe that incorporates many of these nutrients in one power-packed delicious drink!
Brain Power Smoothie Recipe:
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries ½ ripe banana 1 heaping teaspoon raw cacao powder 1 tablespoon ground flax seed 1-2 cups loosely packed fresh kale (or spinach/favorite leafy green) 1 cup plain unsweetened coconut or almond milk 1 serving unsweetened protein powder of your choice
Blend all ingredients together until smooth and enjoy!!
3. Practice Saying “YES” to Yourself
During the winter months there are often many things to do, places to go and people to see. One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself is to learn to say YES to yourself, meaning that you may have to say NO to others. If you find you need to preserve your energy, do it. You do not have to do all the things all the time. When you practice saying YES to yourself—to what you want and need—you will build more energy and stamina for the things you actually do want and need to do. When you practice saying YES to YOU, you are caring for yourself. This will build feelings of empowerment to make your own decision and choices for your life. As you continue to practice saying YES to YOU, you will improve your mood state and your energy. Finding the right balance between activity and rest for you will allow you to feel refreshed, motivated and energized.
4. Move Your Body
Movement and exercise have consistently been shown to improve mood. Really, exercise is valuable for a long list of reasons. But the one benefit alone of improving mood is enough to make it happen and to make it happen consistently. The second part of this is the kicker: consistency! When it is gray, dark and cold, you may not feel like going out for a walk or going to the gym. That’s ok because you don’t have to feel like it but you still need to do it. Focusing on how you feel after you exercise can be motivation to help you get your body moving. If you really just don’t want to go to the gym or go outside on a cold or damp day, do something indoors. Try yoga, dancing to your favorite music, light weight training, jumping jacks, plank pose and/or squats. You see, the movement doesn’t need to be anything fancy and it doesn’t even have to be for a really long time, you just need to do it in some form or another nearly every single day. Try incorporating regular movement into your day and notice the impact it has on your mood, energy, stress and sleep. When you focus on the benefits, the motivation will follow.
5. Start a Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness has been shown to improve mood as well as your perspective on life’s challenges. Mindfulness is paying attention from moment to moment with a nonjudgmental awareness. When you are being mindful, you are fully engaged in the present moment. When you are being mindful you are fully engaged with what is true right now. When you are in a space of non-judgment and self-awareness, you are able to create a healthy perspective of the present moment. When you are present and engaged, you are able to notice your mood state and have an impact on it in a way that is healthy. Mindfulness allows you to evaluate the veracity of your mood and your thoughts.
Try starting with just one minute of being as mindfully present as possible. Set a timer for one minute, and for that minute attempt to focus on the rhythm of your breath. When you notice that your mind is wandering (and know that it definitely will!), guide your focus back to your breath. This is the practice. You are not trying to silence your mind, but to bring your focus back to your breath when your mind wanders. You can increase the amount of time by a minute every other day until you reach five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes. The amount of time is not as important as doing it consistently and with effort. There are great apps out there to assist with the process. I personally like Insight Timer, but use any that you like and find to be helpful for you.
Try incorporating these five simple, natural strategies to improve your mood and you may find that the winter is not so blue after all.
I remember the first time I heard a yoga teacher say, “take a moment to set your intentions for your yoga practice today.” This felt super powerful and it hit me in a big way. Not only can you show up for something, like a yoga class, and receive all of the naturally intended benefits (lengthening muscles to increase flexibility and strengthening muscles to increase your stability, allowing your mind and body to relax) but you can also have an intention for specifically what you want or need to get out of the class. This opened up the opportunity to bring this concept of setting an intention into everything. You get to choose what you want and what you need from every aspect of your life.
When you set an intention, you set in motion a powerful force to focus, to create and to specifically consider what you truly want. When you set an intention, you can go beyond mindset and bring what you want into a laser-like focus. Where you place your attention, your energy will inevitably follow and flow. Imagine what would happen if you put your attention on what you want each and every day. Imagine if you were able to hold onto your vision for your health and well-being, your relationships and your life in this intentionally focused way. Imagine the amount of energy you could generate and regenerate to make it happen, to make your vision your reality.
This is completely possible and only requires a dedicated focus to use your intentions to take action towards what you want. Begin with your vision and your goals. Consider what you want to create within your life. When you are super clear on what you want and it is specific, you can use daily intention setting to ensure that you take action to create a life you love.
One of the most valuable exercises you can do on a daily basis is to set your intentions for your day. Your intention, coupled with commitment and dedication, create the ability to follow through consistently. With consistent effort and dedication, you will make what you want happen in your life. This momentum will build your energy for growth and change. The change process is difficult and can create discomfort. However, using the intention setting process can keep you focused beyond the temporary challenges of change to create more comfort as you make this new way of being your new habit pattern.
To begin, connect with your vision for your life and focus on one specific goal. Each day set a specific intention for your day that allows you to align with your goal. This process allows you to maintain your belief that you are capable of achieving your goals and living your vision. This daily practice will allow you to believe in what you can do for yourself and how you can keep your vision at the forefront of your mind and held within your heart. When you do this, your vision will be the driver of your life.
Each day consider what will help you accomplish your goals. What do you want to bring into your day? What are your hopes and aspirations for the day? Take time to write down your intentions. Once you write them down, say them out loud. Visualize yourself practicing and living your intentions in order to keep them fresh within your mind’s eye. When you write down your intentions, say it out loud and visualize yourself completing it, you create a greater opportunity for growth.
At the end of the day, spend time reflecting on your intention and the impact that setting it had on the remainder of your day. When you stay true to your vision, your goals and your personal intentions, you will see the power of your vision come to life.
If you haven’t already, you can sign up for the free webinar I am offering on Thursday February 28th at 12 pm EST HERE. Even if you can’t attend live, still register and I will send you the replay! This webinar will help you reconnect with your personal vision and goals to maintain momentum to create the growth and change you desire for this year. There will be visualization and reflection exercises to look back on your month and time to set your intentions for the month ahead. I hope you will join me!
Emotional eating is a struggle for so many of us. It can dampen and diminish life in so many ways. Emotional eating causes you to not experience the full range of your emotions. Emotional eating often creates feelings of frustration and defeat related to unwanted weight gain. Overall, emotional eating causes a sense of disconnection from both your mind and your body. For so many that struggle with emotional eating, healing your relationship with your body can be the biggest challenge to overcome.
Body image issues run deep. A disturbing number of girls put themselves on a diet as early as the third grade. Many teenagers say that they want to lose weight to look more like images they see in fashion magazines or on social media. Most men and women say they feel insecure when they see celebrity images and other ads. This is not cool. Not only does the struggle with body image, insecurity and not feeling good enough begin quite young, many say that these stereotypes and feelings are often perpetuated within their peer groups and families.
Emotional eating can be driven by a negative body image and feeling less than, not good enough, or inadequate. These feelings create further uncomfortable internal experiences which will inevitably trigger more emotional eating. The first place to begin is to develop emotional awareness, which if you are unfamiliar with how to do this you can read more on several of my past blogs, one of them you can find here. When you are actively working towards emotional awareness and feeling more present and connected to your emotions and your life, it will be helpful to address the emotions that surface related to how you feel about your body.
How often do you complain about your body out loud? How often do you complain to yourself about or wish your body was different? How often do you judge other people’s bodies, either to yourself or to others? This is where you can begin to create the change you desire related to body image. First of all, if you are judging other’s bodies, practice thinking kinder or more neutral thoughts rather the negative biased thoughts. If you are talking about other people’s bodies, practice pointing out what you might compliment versus judge. When you treat others with kindness and respect and end the judgement thoughts and statements you can begin to heal yourself.
Working to heal your relationship with your perception of your own body may be more of a challenge than changing your perception of others. It starts with healing your relationship with food and feeling as though you are not intentionally harming your body or sabotaging your body with negative thoughts, beliefs and actions.
Even though you desire to heal the root cause of your struggles with emotional eating and body image issues, weight loss may be a goal for you. This can bring up additional uncomfortable emotions such as fear. You may be fearful of the attention that weight loss attracts. You may fear the line of questioning around your weight loss such as, “how did you lose so much weight?” or “what diet did you use?” and so on. You may also fear only being noticed for weight loss. You may fear being judged or even being more attractive to others and what that might mean. You may fear being considered “good” if you lose weight and “bad” if you gain weight. This is super complicated stuff. So to think a diet, a workout plan or even a few compliments will heal these deep-rooted thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions, think again. It starts with healing yourself. Food and even weight have only become metaphors for the challenges, fears and insecurities you experience.
Many of those I work with initially say that they want to lose weight. But really, as we dig deeper, they want to feel more confident about their body. They want to make choices that create a sense of control and empowerment within their lives. This is where the real work begins. You see, there is no diet that will offer anything more than a temporary feeling of accomplishment. There is no workout plan that will help you address and explore your emotions. There is no compliment that will change your mind about yourself or your body if you don’t believe it in your heart.
When you set out to begin healing your relationship with food, your body and yourself, here are some important elements to consider. I recommend getting out a journal and spend time reflecting and writing down your answers to the following questions.
-What do you like about yourself?
-How do you want to feel?
-How has your past impacted your body image and your choices? (You can read more about your food story here.)
-How have comments from others impacted how you feel about yourself?
-How have certain food choices from this past week caused you to feel about yourself now, why?
-When in your life did you feel your best about yourself and/or your body, why?
When you take time to deeply reflect on yourself, your body, your thoughts, beliefs, actions and choices you can begin to know yourself more deeply. The more deeply you know and understand yourself, the more you can practice self-acceptance. When you reflect on your answers to the questions above, what stands out to you?
Now begin to determine your strengths. Take time to acknowledge what you like about yourself. Become very clear about how you want to feel—both about yourself and in general. Begin to work with these elements first. How can you use your strengths to empower yourself to take ownership over your choices. How can you use the positive attributes you can recognize about yourself right now to heal your life? Now move into awareness of your emotions (if you’d like to learn more about this process you can read more here). Practice noticing, accepting and understanding them. Move into a space of applying this same practice with food. Ask yourself with each food choice you make if that choice supports feeling a sense of self-respect and self-love.
As you grow in your ability to make healthy, intuitive and mindful choices relating to food, the next phase of healing is to move your focus into your body. While this may feel awkward in the beginning, integrate a time to practice being grateful for individual elements of your body. Practice looking at a specific body part, such as your feet, and express gratitude to them for walking you where you need to go. Focus on your heart and thank it for never missing a beat. Gaze into your eyes in the mirror and express gratitude to them for allowing you see all of the beauty of nature and those you care about. These practices of appreciation for all that your body can do will allow an internal shift of how you experience and care for your body.
When you offer your body gratitude, you are offering yourself a place to feel more accepting, loving and kind towards yourself. Allot time daily to engage in the practice of healing your relationship with your body and with yourself. I recommend keeping a journal through this process as you will begin to experience a powerful shift as you practice over time.
Another step to heal your relationship with yourself is to compliment yourself. Acknowledge when you working hard, and tell yourself that you appreciate this hard work. Acknowledge when you practice elements that are challenging and thank yourself for remaining dedicated even when it is hard. Acknowledge when you make a specific choice that you feel proud of allow yourself to really feel this pride within. Practice stating to yourself what you do like about yourself, what you are good at, what physical attributes you appreciate about yourself. Validate your feelings to yourself and be grateful to yourself for choosing the difficult path of healing as opposed to remaining stuck in a space of struggle and fear.
You see, you are not your body, but you do live in your body. You have to determine what kind of home for yourself that your body will be. Will it be one that you fight with, detest, complain about and harm? Or will it be one that you respect, treat with kindness, love, and deeply care for? As you treat yourself with care and make choices that support how you want to feel, you create an opportunity to transfer that care to your physical body. Conversely, when you are kind to your body, you are creating a deeper kindness for who you are at the core of your being.
As you heal, your relationship with food will transform. Over time, you will not judge, restrict, binge or complain about food. Over time you will treat your body and mind with the respect and care that they deserve because you will feel your worth and have a longing for this deeper well-being.
When you work with these practices I would love to hear about your experience. If you find these concepts to be overwhelming, you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out for support either from me or from someone you trust. Know that there is hope for healing.
Personal responsibility could be loosely defined as “adult-ing.” When you take personal responsibility for your life you are closing the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it. Have you ever felt as though you missed out on some book or class that we are all supposed to read or take that teaches us how to be an adult? Taking personal responsibility for your life can be tough and there is no special book or class to read or take. It is about taking action and ownership over your life. Taking personal responsibility is about committing to yourself, committing to your goals and committing to doing what it takes to create for yourself what you say you want.
I imagine that in many areas of your life you are actually quite good at this adult-ing thing. Maybe in these areas of your life you may not feel as though you have a choice. Whether it’s showing up to work because, well, you’d get fired if you didn’t—or waking up early to get your kids off to school because if you didn’t you’d be labeled as a bad parent.
I am sure there are plenty of days you don’t feel like going to work or would rather stay in bed than getting up early to take care of your household responsibilities, but you do it anyway. Why? Most likely there are external forces at play that create a sense of responsibility and obligation, so you show up for those responsibilities. You push through any resistance and get yourself to work—or wake up early and take care of what needs to be taken care of in your household. This is evidence that you are indeed capable of being a responsible, maybe even a high-functioning adult. Somehow this evidence just doesn’t always translate to your own personal goals.
So here’s the big question: if you are able to push through resistance to these adult-ing tasks, why don’t you apply that same push-through motivation to your personal goals—to your health and well-being goals? Good question, right?! The truth is, you always have a choice. So why don’t you show up for yourself the same way you show up for others?
You—and only you—can successfully manage your lifestyle and your behaviors. So long as you blame any external factor on why you are not following through with your personal goals, you are distracting energy away from doing what is necessary to achieve them. Of course time is hard to come by, of course resources might be limited, but the more you focus on these external reasons of what you do or don’t do, the more powerless and out of control you will feel when trying to reach your goals.
Anytime you externalize a problem: “I don’t have enough time to cook/exercise/meditate/read/do self-care…” you increase feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, frustration and stagnancy. On the other side of the coin is taking personal responsibility, “Today I will make time to incorporate cooking/exercise/meditation/reading/doing self-care…into my schedule.” This is taking control over your life. When you take control you allow yourself to experience less stress and frustration. Now this is adult-level problem solving at its best! Taking personal responsibility for your life, your health and your well-being is rising to the occasion and showing up for yourself, no matter what.
Excuses are always at the root of failing to take personal responsibility. And who do you think loves to make excuses? Your internal Deal Maker! Just a quick reminder, your Deal Maker is the part of yourself that always has excuses in the form of a deal: “I don’t have time right now to exercise, I’ll do it later (deal?).” When later arrives, there’s just another deal…”I have too much to do tonight, I’ll get up early and do it first thing in the morning…tomorrow, (deal?)…” You know quite well you are not going to wake up tomorrow morning if you didn’t this morning! Your Deal Maker is always prepared with another deal. This part of yourself will sabotage your goals over and over and over again. When you show up for yourself, you develop Inner Strength, so you can STOP the negotiations, STOP the excuses and just START. Start somewhere, seriously, anywhere is better than stagnancy and excuses that are getting you nowhere!
When you think about the excuses your internal Deal Maker makes that leave you feeling stuck, lazy and sinks you into frustration-giving-up-mode, what comes up for you? How can you reframe these? What comebacks can you develop for these excuses and deals? Think about the impact these excuses and deals are having on you right now. Think of how they are keeping you from seeing and taking the options that will help you feel and become in control of your life. Do you believe in your potential to do anything you set your mind to? Think about it, how much of a factor are these excuses in derailing the potential of being your best self?
Some other common excuses that are important to be aware of sound something like this: “Yes but…” and “If only…” The next time you hear these words either coming out of your mouth or running through your mind—STOP—write them down and evaluate them. Ask yourself: are these words really the truth or are they just lame-o excuses? “Yes, I know I want to go take a walk but I am just too tired…” Or, “If only there were more time in the day I would have time to take a walk, time to cook dinner, time to meditate, time for self-care…”
When you take time to discover, uncover and expose these excuses and deals that cause you to feel stuck, you can begin to figure out what you can do about them. Once you are no longer fooled by excuses and deals you can work on releasing them. You can begin to take personal responsibility for your time, effort and energy. You can begin to work more effectively towards self-management.
Avoiding and denying are two big-time defense mechanisms that often come into play with excuses and deals. These defenses will seriously hold you back. These defenses will keep you stuck in the space of perpetually making excuses and deals. What truly is holding you back from taking action towards your goals? Why aren’t you making the changes you say you want? Is it fear? Oh yeah…most likely it’s fear. Luckily, the most useful tool you have to deal with your fear is action. You have to practice feeling your fear and doing it anyway—over and over and over again—until it’s no longer so scary. Address these factors that are holding you back from feeling empowered when it comes to YOUR LIFE and you will begin to gain clarity. Once you understand your excuses and deals, you will want to take action. You will want to push through fears and show up for yourself. You will begin to want to take personal responsibility for all areas of your life.
For the next week, practice writing down the excuses that you hear yourself saying out loud or in your mind. Practice paying attention to, acknowledging, and preparing comebacks to the deals that your internal Deal Maker uses to sabotage your goals. Take action—and take it consistently. Believe in your ability to grow up. Be an adult and take ownership over your life—show up for YOU. One of the harsh truths about being an adult is that no one is going to do anything for you. No one can create the change in your life that you say you want. You have to do this for yourself. However, one of the benefits of being an adult is that you have the ability to ask for your needs to be met. So, if you need support, ask for it! Ask your significant other, friends and family members (or get a health coach!) to be on your team. Ask them to cheer you on. Let them know your goals and why you want to accomplish these goals. Your story just may inspire someone else to elevate their goals and increase their effort to take personal responsibility.
Practice living your priorities. Practice taking personal responsibility for how you choose to spend your time. Be ok with being “imperfect.” Perfectionists lose time excelling at tasks that could require WAY less time for an equally acceptable outcome. Reduce the time-wasters in your life. I surely know I have some favorite go-to time wasters. Assess your day and determine where you might be losing time due to these time-wasters! You don’t have to eliminate them all together, you just can’t let them take over. Consistently remind yourself that your goals are your priority.
Learn to say “no.” When you practice saying no to things you either don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do, you ultimately say yes to yourself! You say yes, this is my time, these are my goals and dreams and I can make them happen. Align with your values and dedicate time, energy and resources to yourself.
Are you ready to start taking personal responsibility for your personal goals? Let me know how you will take personal responsibility for your life today!
Do you love yourself? Do you feel as though you are enough, just as you are, right now in this moment? Do accept yourself unconditionally? Here’s the radical, complete and honest truth, you are lovable, you are enough, just as you are right in this very moment. Not because I say so but because you are alive, you are here and it is your birthright to feel whole, to feel as though you are enough. It is your birthright to love yourself unconditionally.
While this might sound really nice to love and accept yourself without condition, self-love can be a missing element and hard to come by for so many. Some view self-love as a negative, ego-driven problem. Others of you may view self-love as a challenge. If that’s you, is it because you put your love out into the world and into others and don’t reserve any for yourself? Self-love is important, it is vital to living a fulfilling, peaceful life. Self-love is more about how you view, value and treat yourself internally and externally. The good news is that self-love can be created, grown and developed with consistent practice.
First, let’s address the faulty belief that self-love is a negative, ego-driven problem. While it can be easy to label others as selfish if it seems that they are only considering their problems or needs when they make choices in their lives, that does not necessarily mean that they actually love themselves. The ego can be dangerous and overbearing. When you are living from a space solely based of the needs of your ego, it will cause problems in relationships and interpersonal interactions. However, someone who has the ability to truly love themselves is able to set boundaries and create a way of communicating their needs in a way that is diplomatic, grounded, kind and reasonable.
Having a strong sense of yourself, your values, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses is a good thing. Understanding the cravings and desires of your ego is a good thing as well. You just don’t want to over-identify with your ego’s often frivolous cravings and shallow desires such as attention, material attainments or praise for the hope of being viewed by others as superior, better than or even worthy. This is not self-love, this the ego’s desperate attempt to gain attention and love from others in a way that is not healthy or from a space of knowing yourself deeply. These attempts for external validation of being lovable or worthy can stem from fear that you are falling short in the opinions of others and need to over-compensate through an over-striving ego. Phew, that was a mouthful…I could go on and on about the ego. It is a challenging, dynamic and important topic, but right now I really want to get to the good stuff about self-love!
When you are practicing self-love you are treating yourself with respect and care. Self-love is striving to grow into who you know you can be and truly are at your highest, strongest, healthiest version of yourself. Most importantly, self-love is never giving up on yourself. When you truly love yourself you are resilient, courageous and confident—because you love you! When you truly love yourself you don’t seek love from others, however you are completely open and unafraid to receive love from others. When you truly love yourself you believe that you are indeed lovable and worthy. Is this how you feel? If not, you are not alone. Many people at times feel inadequate, not good enough or not deserving of good things, like love, in their lives. When these negative beliefs are strong and overwhelming it can cause self-sabotage or relationship sabotage.
The key to building and creating self-love is to know yourself fully and deeply and to actually like and accept who you truly are. To know and accept yourself means that you are not afraid of your shadow side (the not so great stuff about yourself that you fear others will figure out about you and then run fast and far) and that you actually embrace and accept the shadow parts of yourself as a part of the totality of who you are. This can directly have a positive impact on your ability to accept and embrace elements of others that you may find to be “unacceptable.” Light-bulb: this will help expand the unconditional love you are able to offer yourself to others as well!
One way to practice building and creating self-love is self-reflection. There are many ways to reflect, including journaling, meditation and attending therapy. For today I will focus on journaling as it super accessible. Using a journal consistently will help you reflect and know yourself more deeply creating an opportunity to grow and build self-love. To begin, use prompts such as: “what are my strengths?” “what are my weaknesses?” “what do I like about myself?” “what would I like to improve about myself?” “what are my personal values?” “what do I struggle to accept within myself, why?” what do I struggle to accept about others, why?” When you start answering these questions and take time to review them, what stands out to you? Thank yourself for taking the time to reflect and grow in your ability to love yourself through the process of self-reflection.
Another way to create self-love is to date yourself. When was the last time you did exactly what you wanted to do exactly when you wanted to do it? If it wasn’t pretty recent, chances are you are depending on others too much for your happiness. When you take yourself out on a date you get to choose everything you want! Do you want to go a particular restaurant? Then go there! Do you want to see a specific movie? Take yourself to it! Do you want to curl up with a good book and cup of tea? Do it! When you learn to befriend and love yourself, you are never alone. When you find yourself wanting something from someone else and they are not—in your opinion—providing it for you, give it to yourself! See how this feels to spend time, to get to know and care for yourself. Meet your own needs and be proud of the relationship you can cultivate with yourself. There is nothing ego-based about that!
On this same line of thinking other ways to offer yourself self-love is to write yourself love notes, positive affirmations and positive messages. Remind yourself that you are worth time, effort, reflection and getting to know. Remind yourself what you like about yourself, what you accept about yourself and that you want to have a healthy, loving relationship with you.
One last way to create more self-love is to change patterns of negative thinking that have led to not loving yourself unconditionally in the first place. This requires hard work, but it’s totally worth it. Examine your thoughts, beliefs and opinions you have about yourself. How do those make you feel about yourself? What kinds of words are running through your mind about yourself in the form of thoughts? How do those thoughts make you feel in your body? Is it pleasant? Are they kind? Are they negative, self-deprecating and harsh? Do your thoughts support being loving and kind towards yourself? If not, write them down and practice the powerful technique of Reframing.
Reframing is taking your negative or unkind thoughts and putting them into a more neutral, reality based statement. For example, if your thought is, “I knew I’d fail at ___________” (which triggers feeling as though you are inadequate/not good enough/unlovable), try changing the thought to something such as, “Failure is an opportunity to grow, I will figure this out” or “I have failed in the past and survived and I will survive this time as well.” Note: this is not the power of positive thinking, (which I do recommend, just not for this process). This is reframing your thoughts so they are more aligned with what is real and what is true RIGHT NOW. This is allowing yourself to build trust in yourself that your mind will not continue to cause and perpetuate a harmful, conditional-love-based relationship with yourself.
This all may seem like a lot. And while I wanted to write about it all from a happy-happy-happy place of self-love and acceptance since it’s Valentine’s Day and all, this is the reality. This is what you are faced with within your own mind on the regular. It’s time to take ownership over your mind, your thoughts, your beliefs and your actions. This includes how you treat yourself. If you want to be loved, love yourself! If you want to be treated well, treat yourself well! It all starts and it all ends with you—no one else can create self-love for you. While this may feel daunting and maybe even harsh, it’s powerful when you put it into practice! You can create the reality you desire not by seeking love but by creating love. Not by pouring out all of your love but by giving yourself love, refilling your own self-love cup. Remember, there is an infinite supply of love. You deserve to be loved. You deserve to love yourself. You deserve love.