Summer Barbecues and – Stress Eating?

Summer is here after a long, grueling winter! For many of us, that might mean the chance to hit the beach, enjoy pool outings, and even summer barbecues with our friends! For many of us, that might feel like the toll of the long winter months might be there for all to see.

In fact, for many who rate “stress” or “emotional” eating as a struggle, the summer can feel like a downer! It might even feel like a double hit because you *want* to be enjoying your sunshine months and joining in on the fun but feel uncomfortable and even out of control with your eating habits. And then as it upsets you more, you might find yourself even reaching yet again for those comfort foods.

The cycle of stress eating CAN be stopped. My latest workshop was created out of this very struggle that I hear people go through every single day. The Food and Your Mood workshopcan help you get back on track —

You’ll learn

+how to end the cycle of stress eating and guilt

+create a more balanced relationship with food

+tune in to your body so you know WHAT you’re hungry FOR

+how food affects your body and mood

+WHAT to do to navigate the endless cycle of emotional eating

Enrollment is by application only. Be sure to get started on the application HERE so you can get access to the registration steps in this life changing workshop!

Your investment in yourself this summer can give you the opportunity to get yourself out there again to enjoy your life – whether it’s feeling your best at your neighbor’s pool party or hosting your own summer barbecue! Food cravings don’t have to stop you from celebrating our sunshine!

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTubepages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the life you want to celebrate!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

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What Good Are Emotions?

You might have been feeling like your thoughts are running a mile a minute. Maybe you’ve even had an overwhelming sense that you can’t calm down. This overwhelming sense might make you feel like you really can’t help but just push your feelings aside and keep muscling through. Next thing you know, you find yourself numb, going through the motions, or like you’re just a bundle of raw nerves, frought with anxiety!

This might be just the time when you reach for that extra serving of your favorite “comfort food” or notice that you’ve not only eaten more of that bag of potato chips than you planned to – but that you’ve eaten the whole bag!

If this sounds like something you’ve encountered, you might have found yourself getting nervous at the thought of navigating emotions. You might have even wondered what that even means or what it would look like.  In fact, not only have many of the participants in my Mindfulness Matters group shared this cycle as one of the biggest obstacles they’ve had to shaking difficult feelings and building what they want in their lives, but it will be an important aspect of the upcoming Food and Your Mood Workshop.

Here’s the thing…

Emotions get a bad rap. They often leave us feeling overwhelmed, out of control, or even at their mercy. Yet, they really serve to protect and HELP us. We just need to learn to uncover their messages so that we can benefit from them. That way, we can not only tune in to our emotions to help us make decisions, but we can feel back in control and settled into ourselves.

So, let’s explore the question of what purpose emotions serve:

  • Emotions provide us with a signal that something is happening (e.g., “I feel nervous standing alone in this dark alley”).
  • Whether you realize it or not, your emotions— expressed by words, face, or body language— influence how other people respond to you.
  • Emotions save time in getting us to act in important situations. Our nervous system activates us (e.g., we instantly jump out of the way of an oncoming car). We don’t have to think everything through.
  • Strong emotions can help us overcome obstacles— in our mind and in the environment.

I encourage you to pick out an emotion this week that leaves you a bit frazzled – but just a bit because we want to first practice! Once you’ve identified an emotion, see if you can draw upon these four objectives and identify the way that this emotion might be trying to benefit you!

What did you notice about your feelings going through this activity? Leave a comment and share with me!

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTubepages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the life you want to celebrate!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

How To Manage Overwhelming Emotions

For many of us, our mind is running on overdrive with a million thoughts a minute. Sometimes, we might even feel like we are constantly bracing ourselves for the next “hit” or that other shoe to drop. We might even try to slow down and catch our breath… but feel like we are just too overladen with overwhelming feelings to settle down. In fact, many of the participants in my Mindfulness Matters group have shared this cycle as one of the biggest obstacles they’ve had to shaking difficult feelings and building what they want in their lives.

Here’s the thing…

We CAN learn to quiet those incessant, overwhelming emotions so that we can feel more in control and get to the things that enervate us in our lives. While we may not be able to shuffle the situations we find ourselves in, we CAN learn to detach from the difficult, overwhelming feelings that paralyze us.

One exercise that can help with detaching from overwhelming or negative feelings is the “leaves on a stream” exercise.

Here are simple instructions:

Imagine you are sitting in the middle of a stream. The water is flowing away in front of you.

Notice if there is any sound from the running water. Notice if there are any trees on the banks of the stream.

Now see leaves floating down the stream away from you. They can be any shape, color, or size. As the negative thoughts come into your mind, be aware of what the thought is, and then place it on a leaf.

Now watch it float away down the stream. Do this with each thought as you notice it.

As you acknowledge each of your thoughts, you do not need to hang onto them. There is no need to become attached to the thought. Just acknowledge it and then place it on a leaf.

By watching it float away, it loses its hold on you and its intensity.

What did you discover going through this activity? Comment below and share with me!

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTubepages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the life you want to celebrate!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Take Hold of Your Overwhelming Emotions!

Sometimes, we have intense emotions that are difficult to manage, such as anger, shame, depression, or anxiety. Difficulties controlling these emotions often lead to problematic behaviors that affect us and those around us. Problematic behaviors are often ineffective solutions to intensely painful emotions. We then find ourselves in a never-ending cycle of feeling overwhelmed by intense emotions and wanting to shut our feelings out completely.

Instead of this turbulent, emotional merry-go-round, we CAN learn to tame our emotions and take hold of them so that we can keep showing up fully in our lives and connect with the people and experiences that matter to us.

“Emotions” isn’t a dirty word – in fact, emotions offer us a lot of valuable information. Emotions provide us with a signal that something is happening so we can check out the facts. It’s a problem when we treat emotions as if THEY are the facts about the world. For example: “If I am afraid, there must be a threat,” or “I love him, so he must be good for me.” We need to be mindful that emotions are not facts. Therefore, it is important to check the facts about the situation – and our Mindful awareness of our emotions give us the signal to go ahead and check on the facts.

They also motivate and prepare us for action. The action urge connected to specific emotions is often “hardwired.” For example, when we hear a loud horn beep suddenly, we startle. Emotions save time in getting us to act in important situations. Our nervous system activates us (e.g., we instantly jump out of the way of an oncoming car). We don’t have to think everything through. Strong emotions can help us overcome obstacles— in our mind and in the environment.

Yet, sometimes, we take action without working through the facts and it doesn’t always turn out in our favor.

One of the favored topics in the Mindfulness Matters group focuses on learning to understand the emotions we experience so that we can identify, observe, and describe our emotions in order to know what they do for us. That way, we can uncover whether they are working for us or hindering us from getting what we want in this moment.

We go on to discover ways to reduce our emotional vulnerability to and stopping unwanted emotions in the beginning stages so we can let go of painful emotions when they start and increase positive emotions! This way, we can reduce our emotional suffering.

P.S. We go through these skills in more depth through a 8 session group in Mindfulness Matters!

Space is limited to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.

Register for a screening here: http://www.subscribepage.com/mindfulnessmattersgroup

I will be CLOSING the cart on registrations in just 10 days on February 16th so be sure to claim your seat!

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the life you want to celebrate!

Comment below and tell me how you took hold of your overwhelming emotions!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Discover How To Own Your Worth In Relationships

We love the people who matter to us in our lives. But they have flaws and sometimes those same people we love disappoint us. They treat us unfairly or misunderstand our needs, leaving us feeling hurt, angry or let down. Mindfulness skills can be used to help us preserve self-respect in our own relationships and to guide us toward more healthy relationships too.

When your discomfort alarm rings and you find yourself feeling upset about an interpersonal interaction, first notice your experience without critiquing it. Ask yourself, “Is this fair to me?” If someone is asking you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, or if someone’s behavior ignores or dismisses your feelings and needs, this is NOT fair to you!

Then, take notice of what you’re experiencing and what messages this experience might bring you. If you decide that the situation isn’t fair to you, think about whether you REALLY need to apologize to anyone for what is happening. You may have the urge to apologize, or you may wish the situation were different, but overapologizing puts you in a position of compromising your self-respect and taking responsibility for a situation you don’t own. Remind yourself that it’s OKAY to say no! For example, if you really don’t want to go shopping or meet with a friend for lunch, you don’t need to apologize for wanting time to yourself.

Next, take notice of your values for yourself and in a relationship. With many of the adults in sessions, kids and teens in sessions, I work with them to complete a set of standards to write out in clear language all the ways that want, need and deserve to be treated in a relationship. I also have them write a clause for “dealbreakers” or ways in which another might act or treat them which would be cause for terminating the relationship. I would encourage you to think about your own set of standards, or even a family set of standards!

Finally, be truthful with yourself. Holding a Mindful awareness of our experiences helps us to take notice of our truth in a gentle, compassionate, and nonjudgmental way. If you have a friend who behaves in every way you outlined on your dealbreakers list, it’s time to GET REAL! Think about whether there are any problems you can solve with assertiveness skills and in relationships that cannot be repaired or are too toxic, work towards distancing yourself and setting limits.

Relationships can be tricky, especially when you feel lonely or want so desperately to be connected that you may end up keeping people around who aren’t nourishing and positive for you in your life. Weigh and consider how to focus your life’s energy on the people you love and who bring you joy by setting an intention to bring closer to you those who already meet your set of standards.

P.S. We go through these skills in more depth through a 8 session group in Mindfulness Matters!

Space is limited to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.

**only 5 spaces remain**

Register for a screening here: http://www.subscribepage.com/c6q6s5

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the New Year!

Please comment and share what you hope Mindfulness will bring you! Mindfulness, even in small increments, really does matter!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Even Just ONE Mindful Moment Matters

Many people have started to find their rhythm again after the hustle and bustle of the hectic season. Some are still looking to find their footing. Still, many others are looking to figure out the new normal for themselves amidst new goals. After so much activity and taming giant to-do lists, you might be finding it hard to focus on just doing ONE thing in this ONE moment. It might feel like it’s hard to see why just that ONE really matters unless it’s part of a bigger whole or has a grand agenda attached to it.

Here’s the thing – It’s natural to feel that way and, yet, it can hold us back from allowing in some of those very things that can help us get on the pathway towards exactly where we want to be so that we can cultivate the life experiences that are meaningful to us. In fact, one of my favorite things in the Mindfulness Matters group is a story about how just ONE simple act can have a tremendous impact on every single moment that follows.

Here’s the story:

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. 

One day he was walking along the shore.  As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.

So he began to walk faster to catch up.  As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. 

As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”

The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.”

“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”
 
“The sun is up and the tide is going out.  And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
 
“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
 
The young man listened politely. 

Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it
Into the ocean, past the breaking waves and said –  “It made a difference for that one.”

We can easily find ourselves getting caught in the whirlwind of life or even falling into a rut where it then becomes hard to just make ONE shift. It’s in those one small acts and moments where we can begin a new pattern for ourselves that allows us to make great gains. Each week in the Mindfulness Matters group, we take steps just like this to help bring in a powerful tool for turbocharging your life to quiet your inner critic, break out of your mental rut, and tune into your best self so that you can carve out the life that serves you best. I’m happy to talk to you about how this group can help you get where you want to be – you can easily get in touch!

In the meantime, what’s ONE thing you can do today to make sure you wrap up your day with greater clarity and a bigger smile than when you started it?

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch! Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the New Year!

Please feel free to comment and share your favorite Mindfulness tip with me! That way, we can spread the word together – because even just ONE act of Mindfulness matters!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

 

Break Out of Your “Mental Rut” to Turbocharge Your Life!

Have you caught yourself just whirling through your day, finding yourself at the end of it and just wondering where the hours went? Or maybe you’ve looked up from what you were “busy” with to find yourself puzzled by how it just got done without you even noticing that you were doing it. Sometimes, we find ourselves relieved that we just managed to get yet another item on our to-do list done. Yet, we might often feel like we’re on a fast spinning carousel ride that we can’t get off of. We might find ourselves overwhelmed, frazzled, or even just like we “miss” being a part of our lives. This is where that autopilot mode can take us – a life filled with days that are devoid of our awareness and participation.

In a car, we can sometimes drive for miles “on automatic pilot,” without really being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we may not be really “present” moment-by-moment, for much of our lives: We can often be “miles away” without know­ing it.

On automatic pilot, we are more likely to have our “buttons pressed.” Events around us and thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the mind (of which we may be only dimly aware) can trigger old habits of thinking that are often unhelpful and may lead to worsening moods. snapping at our loved ones or colleagues, and not really understanding what quite set us off.

By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old “mental ruts” that may have caused problems in the past.

This is where the gift of Mindfulness can bring tremendous benefits – not only to ourselves, but to those around us who are impacted by our experiences. The aim of Mindfulness is to increase awareness so that we can respond to situ­ations with choice rather than react automatically. In other words, we can break the grip of autopilot and its reactions. We do this by practicing to be­come more aware of where our attention is and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again. We do this without berating ourselves so that we can keep moving forward rather than getting pulled back into the same tailspin.

As we prepare for the next round of the Mindfulness Matters group enrolling in just a few short weeks, I wanted to share a short exercise with you for react with more intention and deliberation in our lives so that we can escape the mental ruts and access greater freedom and choice in our day-to-day experiences.

This exercise is designed to easily bring mindfulness into your everyday life so that you don’t have to feel pulled away from the things you love and care about to take care of yourself.

Choose one task each day that you often do in automatic pilot. Things such as brushing your teeth, eating a meal, attending lectures, showering, preparing for bed, walking in the park are suitable. It is probably best to stick with one activity for a week or longer rather than changing the activity regularly.

When the time comes for that activity, do it in a fully mindful frame of mind. Pay attention to the activity itself, noticing with intentional awareness what is happening right now. For instance, with teeth brushing you might feel the touch of the brush on each tooth and the gum, note the noise it is making become aware of the taste of the toothpaste. Just like in the breath awareness, if you find yourself thinking of other things, then simply note it for a second or two and return to the sensations associated with brushing your teeth.

If the activity is likely to be longer than a few minutes – such as eating a full meal or walking in the park – then practice the first three minutes mindfully. Pay attention to what you see, the sounds you hear, the feeling of your clothes as you walk and what can you smell.

As a general aim, stick to the sensations present at the time: touch, sight, sound, taste, smell. You may also note what emotions and bodily feelings you have – like noticing your breathing becomes faster or tension in your muscles.

At the end of the exercise, continue the next activity mindfully for as long as that Mindful state lasts.

What did you discover about yourself as you went through this exercise?? What did it feel like to slow down and really participate in your life to get out of that mental rut?

Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self into the New Year!

Please feel free to comment and share what it was like to get yourself back in charge and escape the never-ending mental rut!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Don’t forget to get access to more valuable content weekly here!

P.S. Groups are an amazing way for us to lean how to express ourselves and understand that we are not alone. The Mindfulness Matters Group will run on Tuesdays from 6:30pm to 7:30pm  beginning on February 26th and running through April 16th. Get in touch to talk about how this might help you get yourself back on top!