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!

Sleep Soundly!

Most of the people I work with loooooove a good nap after or to sleep in on days off, but daylight savings time has thrown a wrench in even the healthiest of sleep schedules!

Use the following rules of thumb to help you and your teen find a healthy sleep routine:

• Create a sleep routine that begins at least 1 hour before going to bed. Just like when we were getting into a routine for our day to day lives as youngsters, we need time to relax and transition to sleep. A sleep routine should consist of relaxing activities that cue the mind and body for sleep. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and Mindfulness work well in a sleep routine.

• Establish consistent sleep and wake times. Avoid using the “snooze” button on your alarm clock… it seems impossible, but it can be done!

• The bed should be for sleeping only. Wakeful activities in bed confuse the mind and body, and the bed no longer becomes a cue for sleep and rest. This means homework, FaceTime with friends and Netflix require another comfy space in the home.

• Create a relaxing environment. Comfy blankets and pillows will help create the conditions for sleep. Be mindful of how light and temperature impact your comfort too.

• Avoid heavy meals and spicy foods before bedtime.

• Avoid any stimulation before bedtime, including arguments or conflict, vigorous activity, or anything else that is likely to activate your mind and body.

• Get exercise during the daytime.

• If you are unable to sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something boring and/or relaxing until you are sleepy and ready to return to bed. Don’t just lie in bed with your mind racing for hours!

A good sleep routine leads to a more positive overall mood AND it’s a great way for both you and your teen to feel a sense of power over your own emotional health.

What sleep rules did you come up with to help you get your best night of rest this week? Hit reply and share with me!

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!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Learning to Love Ourselves

Self-compassion is a powerful tool you can use to improve your well-being, self confidence and resilience. Many find it easy to have compassion for others but struggle in applying this same kindness to themselves. By taking moments throughout your day to pause and practice self compassion, you can gradually increase this quality and make it a more regular habit in your life. My “Beyond the Couch” podcast interview with Dr. Ellis Edmunds highlights some of the key ways that we can begin practicing this so that it can become an everyday as pet of our lives.

Here is one way you can get started:

  • When you find yourself stressed out in a difficult situation, take a moment to pause.
  • Reach up and touch your heart, or give yourself a hug if you are comfortable with that.
  • Take a few deep breaths.
  • Acknowledge that you are suffering and see if you can treat yourself with as much kindness as you would a dear friend or child who was struggling.
  • Offer yourself phrases of compassion, first by acknowledging your suffering:
    • “This is suffering.” or “This is really painful/difficult right now.” or “Wow, I am really suffering right now!”
    • “Suffering is a part of being human.”
    • For the final phrase(s), choose whatever is most appropriate for your situation. Feel free to use any of the following phrases or create your own:
    • May I hold myself with compassion.
    • May I love and accept myself just as I am.
    • May I experience peace.
    • May I remember to treat myself with love and kindness.
    • May I open to my experience just as it is.
    • Return to your daily activities, intentionally carrying an attitude of self-compassion and acceptance to your day.

What did you discover in tuning in to yourself so that you can bring more self compassion into your experience? Hit reply and share with me!

NOTE:

I have been asked to extend a second slot for the Mindfulness Matters group where I explore this skill in DEPTH over 8 sessions!

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 a few days so be sure to claim your seat before I do!

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 your experience with greater awareness went!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Mindfulness – Beyond the Nonjudgmental Stance

Last week, we examined one of the key elements of Mindfulness – practicing the non-judgmental stance. Today, I’d like to extend that so that we can really expand on the benefits into our own everyday lives.

Our aim in training our mind to become Mindful is to be more aware, more often. A powerful influence taking us away from being “fully present” in each moment is our automatic tendency to judge our experience as being not quite right in some way—that it is not what should be happening, not good enough, or not what we expected or wanted. These judgments can lead to sequences of thoughts about blame, what needs to be changed, or how things could or should be different. Often, these thoughts will take us, quite automatically, down some fairly well-worn paths in our minds. In this way, we may lose awareness of the moment, and also the freedom to choose what, if any, action needs to be taken.

We can regain our freedom if, as a first step, we simply acknowledge the actuality of our situation, without immediately being hooked into automatic tendencies to judge, fix, or want things to be other than they are. The body scan exercise provides an opportunity to practice simply bringing an interested and friendly awareness to the way things are in each moment, without having to do anything to change things. There is no goal to be achieved other than to bring awareness to bear as the instructions suggest—specifically, achieving some special state of relaxation is not a goal of the exercise.

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 know- ing 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 mood.

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.

The aim of this program is to increase awareness so that we can respond to situ- ations with choice rather than react automatically. We do that by practicing to become more aware of where our attention is, and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again.

To begin with, we use attention to different parts of the body as a focus to an- chor our awareness in the moment. We will also be training ourselves to put attention and awareness in different places at will. This is the aim of the following exercises.

Try one this week on two occasions and share with me your experiences:

+Try approaching your experience in each moment with the attitude: “OK, that’s just the way things are right now.” If you try to fight off unpleasant thoughts, feel- ings, or body sensations, the upsetting feelings will only distract you from doing anything else. Be aware, be nonstriving, be in the moment, accept things as they are. Just notice.

+Choose one routine activity in your daily life and make a deliberate effort to bring moment-to-moment awareness to that activity each time you do it. Possibilities include waking up in the morning, brushing your teeth, showering, drying your body, getting dressed, eating, driving, taking out the garbage, shopping, and so on. Simply zero in on knowing what you are doing as you are actually doing it.

NOTE:

I have been asked to extend a second slot for the Mindfulness Matters group where I explore this skill in DEPTH over 8 sessions!

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

Learn more about the group HERE!

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

I will be CLOSING the cart on registrations in just a few days so be sure to claim your seat before I do!

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!

Share a comment and tell me how your experience with greater awareness went!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Mindfulness – Practicing the Nonjudgmental Stance

One of the key elements of Mindfulness is practicing the non-judgmental stance.

Mindfulness refers to awareness of the present moment without judgment and the thing is… judgments are often difficultfor us to notice and sometimes even more difficult for us to shake.

One thing to keep in mind is that  judgments can be useful. They allowus to have quick descriptions by creating simple categories and they’re fast, shorthand ways of describing preferences and consequences. At timeswe do need to make judgments very quickly in order to act. For example, if we’re driving and someone is swerving into our lane, we have to make a quick judgment in that moment – so judgments sometimes can be useful.

There can be some problems with judgments too. They have a tendency to distract us from what’s actually happening so they might replace facts. In times when we’re judging, we stop observing or becoming aware and noticing what’s going on for us. They also tend to feed negative emotions like a guilt or shame.

Positive judgments can also be a little bit problematic because they can be fragile. Things we often think of as good can very quickly turn bad for us if they don’t meet our expectations. It can be helpful for us to learn to let go of judgments so that when they’re useful for us, we can draw upon them and when they’re not really serving us,  we can actually do something else.

Here are a couple of steps for letting go of judgments that I wanted to share with you. One, just get into the practice of noticing your judgments – keep a tally of them! you can use a journal with the tracking judgments sheet I am including for you. In my Mindfulness Matters group, we use judgment jar where we place a marble in the jar every time there is a judgment that’s shared. That way, we have an opportunity to just stop and notice what it was that brought on the judgment and whether it’s something that’s helpful for us or not and how we can replace it.

I’m including the judgment tracker journal sheet FREE for you to easily integrate into your day!

What you might notice as you start practicing noticing your judgments is that it feels like you’re doing a lot of judging.  Then you might judge the judging. As we’re becoming aware of it, we start noticing more and more. That doesn’t mean we’re doing it more – we’re just becoming more and more aware.

After we start noticing our judgments, we might want to ask ourselves “Is this judgment helping or hurting me?” If the answer is that it’s helping us, we notice ways that we can contribute to our lives and that judgment or that thought that we’re having actually impact us. As a result, we have the option of taking action. If it’s something that’s hurting us, we have some tools for what we can do to let go of that judgment. We might reevaluate and become aware of what it was that we were judging and then replace it with statements of preference. We can also replace judgments with statements of consequences or statements of fact, or things that we’re observing with each of our senses.

In doing this, we practice accepting what it is that we notice.This way, we can more easily allow the judgments to drift away with more and more practice. As you progress, you may notice that there’s more judging and you’re likely going to be tempted to judge that judging. Instead, allow yourself to just notice that and come back to awareness of what’s going on for you.

P.S. I explore this skill in DEPTH through my 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 a few days 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!

Share a comment and tell me how you quoted your inner critic and its judgments today!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!