I have been been reading a lot about integrative pain management and healing pain due to my own issues as well as wanting to improve the care I provide for my clients. I’ve been integrating mindfulness and nutrition in addition to standard cognitive behavioral therapy on a regular basis. This type of treatment was not widely found outside of a complementary and alternative wellness center...or so I thought.Read More
I had the pleasure of attending a talk and book-signing by Jen Sincero. She's the author of two books:
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
You are a Badass at Making Money
I highly recommend reading these books to help you become the best, most connected, happiest version of yourself. AND, if you can get your hands on the audio versions (my library had them through Hoopla), do it and listen over and over and over....in the car, on a walk, while you make dinner, etc. Not only is it convenient to listen throughout your day, but Ms. Sincero is HILARIOUS, and due to the funny voices that she used and ad-libbing here and there, I remembered key phrases in a way that I wouldn't from reading alone. Also, I learned at this book talk (is that what they are called??) and signing, she speaks just as she writes. She is the real deal.
You can read the books to get all of the golden nuggets of wisdom packaged in an approachable box with a laugh-out-loud funny bow on top. I'm giving you the life lesson jewels that she dropped during the talk.Read More
If you go to the bookstore or the library or more likely, search your trusty Amazon app for books on healthy eating, you'll be overwhelmed with conflicting titles...
"Low Carb Living"
"Low Fat Living"
"Eat Right for Your Blood Type"
"Zero Sugar Diet"
"Eat Fat, Get Thin"
"The Keto Diet"
"The Complete Mediterranean Diet"
I could keep going, but you get the picture. The messages are all over the place with research to support each camp. It's easy to see why SO MANY people throw their hands up in frustration and dive into a bowl of mac and cheese. I get it. Our brain can't deal with so many options, especially while you are working a full time job, being a parent, commuting, volunteering, etc., etc., etc.Read More
I grew up in the middle of nowhere. We got a few tv stations, and I think we had a promotional trial of HBO at some point in my teens. Life-changing!!! So when we found a movie that we liked, we'd record it and watch it over and over and over and over again. One of those movies etched in my brain is The Secret of My Success starring Michael J. Fox. I can still hear the background music, "...bow bow...chi, chi-ca-chi-ca, der, bow bow..." Michael J. Fox was a nobody who REALLY wanted to be a somebody in the corporate world. He knew that he wanted to be an executive, and he didn't take his eyes off the prize, even when slightly pulled away by a beautiful woman....because love will do that to you in the best way possible and makes for a great plot twist. Fox works as a mail clerk while simultaneously creating and executing a plan to make him an instant executive. I won't spoil it for you by giving away the ending, but let's just say that I wouldn't be using this as an example unless...you get the picture.Read More
ow that Part 1 sufficiently scared you, Part 2 will provide you with action steps to heal your gut and reduce the chronic inflammation.
Before we dive in to the practical changes that you can make, we need to make sure you have a sound foundation upon which to make your life upgrades. That starts with beliefs and mindset.Read More
We’ve all had a splinter or stubbed our toe and seen what happens as a result…the area hurts, it gets red, and swells up. Those symptoms are inflammation at its finest. Those symptoms are our body’s way of beginning the healing process. Those symptoms are signs that the immune system has turned on and is ready to fight invaders to prevent infection. That’s the good part of inflammation…the white knight coming to the rescue; it’s called acute inflammation. Acute inflammation’s evil step-sister (no offense to amazing step-sisters out there!) is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is…well…chronic. It is always there. Whereas acute inflammation is a natural process that we don’t control, chronic inflammation is within our control; we can turn it on or off with our lifestyle and nutrition choices. Before we get into what we can do to stop chronic inflammation, let’s take a closer at what it is and what problems/issues it causes.Read More
Before I get into the details, let me say that this post is as much for me as it is for anyone else. I've felt especially emotional lately, and I couldn't figure out what exactly was going on, until I found my eyes welling with tears at the coffee shop this morning. Then, it hit me...change. And lots of it. Involving people who have become family. And change that is out of my control.
It began with my neighbors. The neighbors with whom I have shared a wall of my home for nearly seven years. The neighbors whose same-aged son is the closest thing my son has had to a brother. Those dear neighbors announced that they are moving at the end of the summer. Boom...kick to the gut.Read More
A strong back. Just like that picture. That's my goal picture. And I've realized that itt’s called a journey because there really is no “end,” right? Well, I’m still on the path. Two weeks ago, I was performing my “Stretches for a Healthy Back” (and that’s really what they are called!), when, mid-lunge, I felt that familiar twinge and tightness in my lower back. As I eased out of the stretch, I cursed myself for not being more careful but quickly caught myself and realized that I hadn’t done anything wrong. The blame neural network path is clearly tied to the pain neural network path. In fact, they might be married. After I caught myself, I quickly switched out of blame and into healing mode. After getting my son off to school, I reviewed and started the McKenzie extension exercises and the wall slides to correct my torso's C shape caused by the muscle spasms. I found an article and video by Dr. Axe, and that has shaped the current part of my journey.Read More
Holidays bring family together...for better AND for worse. Holiday gatherings can be like an Instant Pot of family dynamics. These gatherings turn the heat up fast and cause steam to fly out of orifices after only a very brief period of time. These modern pressure cooker scenarios bring out the best and worst of us.Read More
Christmas is all about the BIG: big lights, big gifts, big sales, big traffic, big parties, big food, big bonuses (okay, not me but hopefully you!), big trees, and big jolly men in red suits. BUT, what really matters this season is not the big things...it's the little things. The little in-the-moment, everyday things are the foundation of relationships and love and joy. When you focus on the little things, Christmas lives inside you all year long.Read More
Oh FOMO. What is FOMO you ask? Well I had to consult "the Google" after hearing FOMO on a reality tv show (yes, I’ve been known to watch a Real Housewives now and then) and having no idea what the heck they were talking about. Urban Dictionary told me that FOMO is the Fear of Missing Out. Suddenly it all made sense. And I started to notice when FOMO reared its ugly head in my life. Most recently it popped up while helping facilitate an out-of-town weekend workshop. All weekend I couldn’t find my social groove and found myself standing in the middle of the conference room, alone. I was alone because I feared missing out on any and every conversation!Read More
Holistic psychology treats the total person focusing on the relationships among the mind, body, and spirit. The holistic approach is not new. In fact, over 2,500 years ago Hippocrates used the term to describe health and health care. Hippocrates emphasized the importance of looking at all aspects of a person, understanding that various factors all contribute to a person’s health. Holistic therapy educates the individual and draws from cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, breath work, personal growth, relaxation, imagery, and nutrition. Holistic therapy works to enhance a person’s well-being.Read More
Recently, I received a question from a reader asking how he and his partner could better communicate without judging one another. Being non-judgmental is great, but putting that into practice takes effort and, well, practice. Just like any other skill (e.g., cooking, soccer, knitting, etc.), effective communication takes practice. Whether you are currently struggling with communication or want to enhance your current communication, here are some strategies for healthy, non-judgmental communication in relationships, with colleagues, with family and neighbors, etc.:Read More
The metaphor for self-care. We've all experienced it or at least heard it...as part of the standard pre-flight announcements, the flight attendant instructs that, "if there should be a change in cabin pressure...put your oxygen mask on first before helping others." I get the importance of this if your plane is in free-fall, but it is not a good metaphor for self-care in everyday life. Why? Because that example is an extreme emergency. If we waited for extreme emergencies to start implementing self-care we'd be burnt out, have autoimmune issues, develop cancer, be overweight, be depressed, anxious, and in pain, etc. Oh wait, THAT is actually happening!!Read More
Meaning. We've all likely mused about it or thought about engaging in more pursuits that feel meaningful; however, soccer practice, needing to provide a steady income for the little things like a roof over your head, food on the table, healthcare, etc. sometimes fly in the face of a Mother Teresa-like image of making meaning. The bad news...one of the biggest regrets of the dying is not cultivating meaning and lack of meaning makes folks want to kill themselves. The good news...cultivating meaning can be done in little ways, every day.Read More
How do you, as a therapist, deal with hearing people’s trauma and problems?
That’s a great question. I enjoy working with others and that often does involve listening to others talk about what is troubling them. I feel compassion for what my clients are going through currently and the past struggles they've had; however, I know that it is not my job to "fix" them. In fact, I can't "fix" anyone, even if I wanted to. They are their own best healer. My job is to provide a supportive and judgment-free space for them to share their experiences, worries, and trauma; to teach them strategies and techniques to help them become healthier; and to remind them the ways they can feel most connected to life, to others, and to themselves. When working with others, I focus on the positive and their strengths, and reflect that back to them. All jobs have their stresses, and as a therapist, we are trained in techniques to help others; however, the training for taking care of ourselves was lacking. I’ve taught general self-care techniques for providers. I’ve also pursued resources to help me better manage the stress specific to the job of a therapist. I use specific visualizations and then take care of myself using the same self-care techniques that I teach my clients.
· I meditate daily (even if it is only for 3 minutes).
· I stay active and move my body several times a week with walks or weight-lifting. As a working mom, I focus on activity over trying to maintain a perfect exercise routine.
· I spend time in nature when I can.
· I do my best to practice mindfulness and be present when I am with my family.
· I spend time with friends inside and outside of the field.
· I pursue hobbies that don’t have anything to do with my work.
· I sleep 7-8 hours per night (most nights).
· I say No to things that don’t fulfill me.
This self-care plan has been a work in progress, and it’s definitely not perfect, but that’s okay. It’s a self-care practice which means I’m always working on it.
What do a sprained ankle, asthma, acne, depression, and Alzheimer’s all have in common?
Inflammation is a natural, innate response to injury, stress, illness, pain, etc. It’s our body’s way of bringing attention to an area that needs some attention/healing so that other parts of the vascular system and the immune system can be notified and work to reduce the inflammation. Acute inflammation is good. Think of times in which inflammation helped you. Any ideas? Have you had an infection? Have you sprained your ankle? Have you had a paper cut? In those instances, inflammation can be helpful, but when inflammation doesn’t stop at acute injury, it can take over the body. Widespread inflammation leads to a host of illnesses, but you can make changes to reduce inflammationRead More
Countless articles have been written about how to balance having a career and being a parent. I know because I've read them, and I've fallen short of the expectation that balancing was possible. What happens when you release the expectation that you should be able to balance it all and ease into the murky abyss of blending your career passions with the humans you love the most?Read More
In this disease-focused society, diagnoses are given out like chocolate on Halloween night. But what if we looked at the paradigm a bit differently? What if we saw anxiety as a messenger…as a friend? What if anxious feelings were really just our body and mind talking to us, trying to get us to listen, urging us to make a little or a big change? Anxious feelings like shallow, rapid breathing, dry mouth, and/or a racing heartbeat may be signs urging us to do something. Here are a few things that anxiety might be trying to tell you…Read More
One of my dearest friends just broke up with her long-term boyfriend mere months before their planned, year-long travel adventure. One of my colleagues lost both of her parents in the past 8 months. And yet another friend lost a job she thought she’d be in for the long-haul. What do these women have in common…besides wanting to listen to some sappy music and eat some good chocolate? They now have the OPPORTUNITY to truly figure out what they want to do with their lives on their own terms.Read More