Let’s face it… The past couple of months haven’t been easy.
Our lives have changed dramatically on a daily basis and many of us are feeling stressed and anxious about what the future holds.
It can be easy to fall into old habits and patterns like stress eating comfort foods, numbing out to too much Netflix on the couch, or having a glass of wine during the day to take the edge off.
While these coping mechanisms might make us feel a little better in the moment, chances are that now that we are a few months into this experience, you might also be a little (or a lot) concerned about the impact this is having on your health.
While there is some joking about the “Quarantine 15” and it might have felt ok in the beginning, you could be concerned that it might snowball into even more weight gained.
Or a few weeks of binging your favorite shows might have felt good but now you can’t remember the last time your really exercised…
If you know a little bit about the brain and behavior, you might realize that the patterns are becoming more deeply ingrained for you and they are becoming more automatic. In particular, habits that trigger a release of dopamine because they are enjoyable are ones that get very ingrained in the brain.
But we aren’t our habits and we can start to use the power of our mind to override those habits.
To start to break old habits, we can use our Prefrontal Cortex, our highest thinking part of our brain, to get out of acting automatically and instead have conscious thought about our choices.
A few ways to change your habits include:
- Figuring out your triggers– where do you get that dopamine surge from and how can you find it in a positive way (i.e. exercise instead of ice cream)
- Using affirmations to help establish new habits. This can be statements like “I choose how I respond to my anxiety and I _______ (different habit you are choosing)” or “I am choosing to face my feelings and know that I can handle them.”
- Boost your serotonin levels which help your Prefrontal Cortex to function properly and override bad habits. Sunlight, exercise, and remembering happy memories are ways to up serotonin.
- Using your thinking brain. Self-awareness is key so write down your goals, put them up in your environment and consciously think of how your life will change for the better with new habits. Use affirmations and visualizations and celebrate small accomplishments!
Be patient with yourself, stay consistent and keep going! You can make the changes you want!
And if you are really wanting to release these habits and create new healthy ones, check out a powerful workshop I’m co-leading with my friend and colleague Mary Lou Rodriguez on May 30th! We are going to dive deep into creating new habits and the workshop includes a group hypnosis session that will dramatically increase your likelihood of success!
If you are at all sensitive to the energies and emotions of other people, this particular moment in time might be feeling challenging.
When there is a collective energy of fear and panic, it is hard not to feel it. I know I certainly am.
I’ve been discovering just how critical self-care is for me right now.
When my nervous system started to activate easily just by hearing a tiny bit of the news or looking at my Facebook feed, I realized it was time to start upping my self-care practices.
A couple things I’m doing include:
⭐️Playing some Hz frequency music through YouTube while I’m working on the computer
⭐️Frequently grounding my energy
⭐️Using my energy healing tools to calm my nervous system.
The podcast episode I’m releasing tomorrow goes more into depth on this so check it out if you want more ideas.
I’d love to know what you have been doing to help take care of yourself at this moment in time.
Let’s share ideas and inspiration to support the collective energy of calm in our bodies, minds, and spirits!
With all of the fear, stress, and worry over the global spread of the Coronavirus, I’ve been thinking lately a lot about how our whole body is constantly listening to our thoughts and our beliefs. What happens on the bigger level is reflected on the micro level.
I see this come up a lot in work that I do with clients with immune issues, especially autoimmune conditions.
If we think that the world is not safe (and maybe we’ve had traumas that made us truly feel that way), then we actually see that belief and the fear it creates play out on a cellular level in the immune system.
The peacekeeper cells in the immune system, whose job it is to actually help prevent our immune system from overreacting to things and to calm down inflammation, can actually start acting like the warrior immune cells.
They forget their job of peacekeeping and start fighting things (including our own cells) and amping up inflammation.
The warrior immune cells that keep us safe from legitimate dangers (like pathogens) also tend to get extra aggressive and so the whole body is thrown into defensive mode.
When we are dealing with a health threat like the Coronavirus and there is a great deal of fear because it isn’t yet fully understood and because people are dying, it can trigger many of us to feel afraid.
We don’t know what to do to make sure we stay safe, we fear that we might die or our loved ones might die.
The problem is when we get in this fear and panic cycle, it then makes our immune system not function properly and any imbalance in our systems is not beneficial.
And you also probably have heard that stress suppresses immune function (and just that knowledge might add do your stress).
Personally, much of what I have been feeling in terms of fear and panic feels like it is coming from outside of me, from the collective consciousness.
So in this time that can feel scary, I want to encourage you to do a few things.
1) Remember that getting overly fearful is not beneficial to your immune system.
It is important to do things like be cautious, wash your hands, and do all of the things you typically do in flu season anyways. But it is not helpful to just sit in panic.
For me, I’m trying to avoid watching a lot of news and not even spending as much time on social media because it adds to my feelings of anxiety because I feel more plugged into the collective energy of fear.
2) Remember to think of things to do to boost your immune system—eating healthy whole foods (especially fruits and veggies), taking a Vitamin D supplement, getting good rest, staying hydrated, and exercising.
A healthy immune system is your best defense against things that you are exposed to. If your immune system is healthy and resilient it should fight off what you come into contact with.
3) Remember, hanging out in the energy of fear and panic is not going to help so do things like you would to address stress in general—deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and any other stress reduction tools you have, now is a good time to use them.
4) And if you are feeling a lot of fear, I’m offering a FREE group healing session focused on helping to release the fear, anxiety and panic you might be experiencing… and we will also give your immune system a nice boost too. Click here to sign up: https://heartfirehealingllc.com/releasing-fear/
A YEAR AGO, I WAS AT MY HEAVIEST WEIGHT EVER
And it wasn’t just about the number on the scale, it was how I felt in my body….
I felt sluggish and tired, my feet would ache if I was on them for very long, and I hated trying to find clothes to wear.
I felt frustrated and disappointed in myself because I was exercising regularly and eating fairly healthily yet I weighed more than I wanted to.
A few months before the first photo, I had started working with learning more about how to rebalance hormones that regulate weight and metabolism through the tools I have in my energy healing toolbox and I KNEW deep down that this was the key to real change for me.
My weight has been a struggle for me for many years. Even as a teenager who spent a summer working out DAILY and eating healthy (not a crazy fad diet but focused on eating mostly fruits, veggies, and lean meats), I lost ZERO pounds.
I now know that the problem was that the MANY hormones that regulate metabolism (and that evolutionarily have kept us starving) were out of whack…
By addressing those issues through working with my teacher, I was able to achieve my goal of releasing 25 pounds last year and not starving myself or exhausting myself with working out for HOURS every day.
And now I’m helping others to do the same thing.
Just today I got a text from a client saying SHE LOST WEIGHT EVEN DURING THE HOLIDAYS.
If you are reading this, I hope this gives you hope. You might be doing “all the right things” and not seeing the results because something needs to be rebalanced in your body. It isn’t your fault or that you “lack willpower.”
This isn’t about fad diets, starving yourself, and spending hours in the gym every day (the first 2 things will actually further mess up your metabolism, FYI). It is about healing the root imbalances and seeing results!
If 2020 is your year to feel healthy, vibrant and alive in your body again, I invite you to reach out and send me a message so we can find a time to chat about how I might be able to help you.
Also, feel free to sign up for a FREE group mini session on January 15 to get a taste of this work and start resetting your metabolism. Sign up here!
When I was 12, I started experiencing excruciatingly painful migraine headaches.
I still remember the first one, which was very scary since I had no idea what was happening.
I felt dizzy, my vision started to get weird, and I felt numbness on one side of my body.
My mom was scared that maybe I was having a stroke, given the numbness on one side of my body.
A trip to the doctor determined these were migraine headaches…
And a whole new chapter of my life began with most of my teenage years being filled with this headaches that could at times be so bad that they required a trip to the ER for high doses of pain meds.
After the first couple experiences of these debilitating headaches, I became very superstitious about various circumstances that might have caused them.
Since we couldn’t figure out an obvious trigger for them, I started to associate the place I was at when the came on, the thing that I was doing, or especially the lighting of that place as my potential triggers (without real evidence that this was true)…
My world got smaller and smaller as I didn’t want to go back to some places, do certain things, go places with bright or flashing strobe lights and I was TERRIFIED that I’d get another headache resulting in another ER trip.
It wasn’t until I was in college that the intensity and frequency of the headaches went away, as I learned to begin to manage my stress.
While I have long understood that these headaches taught me a great deal about how I could use relaxation to help control and eventually eliminate them from my life, it was only last month that I connected them to something else in my life…
Being an empath and a highly sensitive person.
In preparing a talk with my friend Laura Rowe, who specializes in working with empaths, I had a light bulb moment that my headaches actually could have been a way that I was trying to block out my sensitivities.
Of course not consciously… but on a subconscious level.
You see, being someone who could sense other’s emotions, pick up what wasn’t being said, and who was just sensitive to a world that is loud, sometimes crowded, and often overwhelming, I was often overwhelmed.
In talking to Laura, I realized that it is actually COMMON for empaths to experience headaches because it is like a way to try and block out all the noise we are bombarded with.
Fascinating discovery for me.
And this is EXACTLY what Laura and I will be talking about in our upcoming online class “Unraveling” on December 3.
If you are curious how being an empath or a highly sensitive person might be connected to physical symptoms and health issues, we invite you to join us.
There are some “spiritual” schools of thought that seem to lead us to believe we should always be happy, upbeat, joyful, grateful, and only things that are positive.
And that if we feel anything less than that, well we aren’t doing our work or that we are doing something “wrong.”
Yet this constant false positivity is dangerous because it doesn’t allow us to acknowledge where we are at in the present moment and that it is part of being human to sometimes feel less than amazing.
I believe it can even contribute to things like illness when we are constantly suppressing how we feel.
We all experience up and down cycles within our emotional and mental states.
It would be unreasonable to think we should always be positive, upbeat and happy and never experience feelings of sadness, frustration, or depression.
In my own life, I have come to observe this pattern where after weeks of feeling good about life, in the flow, and happy, then I hit a low patch.
In the low, everything feels heavier, more challenging, more emotionally overwhelming. Feelings of sadness, grief, or frustration can come to the surface. The low definitely doesn’t feel so good.
In fact, right now, I am in a little bit of a low.
Yet when I start getting into thinking that I should resist the low, force myself out of it, or when I judge or blame myself for experiencing the low, that is when things get worse.
It is natural to experience this ebb and flow cycle in life and the more we push against the low, get frustrated by it, or judge or blame ourselves for feeling it, the harder it becomes to move through it.
Resisting the low or thinking negative thoughts about ourselves because of the low doesn’t honor that it is a part of our natural cycles of life AND it also makes certain feelings and emotions seem WRONG.
If you are sad and down, allow yourself to feel those feelings.
If you are frustrated and feel stuck, again allow yourself to feel those feelings too.
ALL EMOTIONS ARE JUST ENERGY.
When we give ourselves space to simply be present with what we are experiencing and we get curious about if there is a deeper meaning or message to how we are feeling that we need to examine, things can begin to move and shift in a very natural way.
When we fight the feelings or we suppress them, the energy of them often grows stronger and it becomes harder for it to dissipate.
It is only when we become stuck in the negative and spiral downwards over a longer period of time that it becomes problematic.
If, instead, we feel our feelings, whether we see them as positive or negative, and we let them show us what we need to see, that is where true healing and transformation can occur.
INSIDE I CRINGED WHEN EVERY CONVERSATION BEGAN WITH “HOW ARE YOU FEELING??”
After I was told (incorrectly) that I had leukemia back in 2004, I remember feeling like all the parts of me, all of the pieces of my identity that had existed before were gone.
The Lyn that was the daughter, the friend, the grad student, the dancer, the healthy and alive woman… all the parts of me, suddenly disappeared.
One minute all those parts of me existed and in that instant of hearing that I had cancer, it was like “poof” those parts of me were gone.
In the months that followed my diagnosis, I felt like the only part of me that was seen by anyone was “the sick person” or “the cancer patient.”
Every conversation with a friend seemed to begin with “How are you feeling?” or “How is your treatment going?”
While it was nice to know that people did care about me, it was also extremely painful to feel like I was reduced to this one identity of sick person.
I longed for all the other parts of me to still be seen, acknowledged, talked to and talked about…
It felt really lonely to be seen in only this way.
Yet I felt like it wasn’t ok to say, “You know, I’d really rather talk about something else…”
WHEN WE ARE GIVEN A LIFE-CHANGING HEALTH DIAGNOSIS, IT CAN FEEL LIKE THIS ONE THING BECOMES OUR ENTIRE IDENTITY… LIKE WE LOSE ALL THE OTHER PIECES OF OURSELVES.
And it’s painful…
Maybe you can feel how much you long to still be seen as wife, as mother, as friend, as daughter, as business woman, AS YOU.
Because this diagnosis is NOT YOU.
Let me say that again…
THIS DIAGNOSIS IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT WHO YOU ARE.
You are still all of the parts of you that you were BEFORE you heard that diagnosis pronounced.
You might feel a bit worse for the wear, a bit more in pain or symptomatic. Yet those parts of you that seem to have vanished or be ignored are still there.
And it is totally ok (in fact, I encourage it!) for you to voice your needs and desires to talk about other parts of yourself and other parts of your life in conversations.
It is wonderful to say, “I appreciate your concern for me AND I also would love to talk about our relationship and the fun things we can do together today.”
THE LESS YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO BECOME AND IDENTITY WITH YOUR ILLNESS AND YOUR DIAGNOSIS, THE HAPPIER AND MORE WHOLE YOU WILL FEEL AND THE EASIER IT WILL BE FOR YOUR MIND, MIND AND SPIRIT TO HEAL.
When we don’t let ourselves become identified as this diagnosis, when we still acknowledge all parts of ourselves, we empower ourselves to feel more whole and alive.
And that is a powerful fuel that can be used to heal and transform your health.
I think that many of us have the belief that people like teachers, leaders, and healers have things “figured out.” Like they have gotten to the end goal somehow and their healing is “done”…
Today, I want to share that although this is something we think and maybe we WANT to believe this, it really isn’t the case. Healing and evolving is ongoing for ALL humans while we are here on earth.
I’d like to share one of my own recent (and still ongoing) challenges and growth experiences.
Over the past few months, I have been dealing with some fairly severe pain in my mouth. The first day it came as sharp stabbing pain in the roots of a couple teeth and went away. Then it built to pain moving from place to place in my mouth and feeling like my gums felt very angry.
In working with dentists, it seems like I’ve developed a pretty strong clenching/grinding pattern. My bigger question is WHY this has come up because I don’t think it is for no reason.
I’ve been left these past couple months working on practicing what I teach—listening to my body and what it is saying to me through this pain I’ve been experiencing—which has been very slow to resolve.
To be transparent, some days, the process isn’t easy and I get frustrated and just think “Make it go away now!” A couple weeks ago, I almost took my husband up on his offer of a leftover Vicodin. But I didn’t because that’s not how I want to treat my body.
The process of understanding this pain is like a trail of breadcrumbs that is leading me to messages that my own body’s wisdom and my own higher self are trying to bring to my attention.
Through working through the healing process with other practitioners, I’ve had insights into how some of the pain in my face connects to feeling like I wear a mask at times (and sometimes that mask doesn’t even feel like it is MINE), how I hold myself back from feeling all the joy that is available to me, and most recently, that much of this pattern is about speaking my truth.
Some of you may say “Oh you seem visible and you share your message and your truth here” but there are parts of it that I don’t share—words that it feels like I literally bite back—in my relationships, in my business, even in my connection to myself.
This pain is calling me to go deeper and deeper into the process of being ALL of me, feeling like it is safe to share even the struggles (WHILE I’m in them instead of after I’ve gone through them and feel like I’m clear on the message), and to speak my own truth without apology or fear.
Two weeks ago, a dear friend of mine held space for me. I thought I was just going to be getting some bodywork but instead in our conversation, she asked me how my breathwork practice was going and how it was helping with this pain.
I replied “I haven’t really been doing it because it hurts my mouth when I do the breathing.”
She said I want to hold space for you and be with you here while you do this. I had been feeling that I have NEEDED to do the breathing but when I’m in my own space and the pain surfaces, it is too much and I stop.
By having someone hold sacred space for me, I was able to breathe and face the discomfort.
And what surfaced in that breathing was a profound realization about something that I have hidden from saying to anyone for 15 years. I spoke it out loud, to my friend, and could feel a deep healing begin to occur.
I’m not quite ready to share what came up YET but I realized this is a key piece of my story that I cannot hide if I am telling my own journey. I’m allowing the healing to continue with the part of myself that I let go of 15 years ago before I share this piece of my story publicly but I did hear strong guidance that this is crucial to share when I am telling my story.
So to all of you who think I’ve got it all “figured out” or that I’m so far ahead of you, the reality is, it is still a journey and a process.
Another healer friend describes the process of healing like a spiral… sometimes we come back to deeper layers of something we thought we had healed and there is another layer to address.
Wherever you are on your journey, honor it. Don’t think that you haven’t made strides in your process because you HAVE. But also, don’t look at someone like a healer or a teacher as someone who is done with the process because the Truth is, we aren’t. We might be some steps ahead of you but we are still walking our paths.
In the past couple blog posts, I have talked about recent studies that have shown that stress isn’t always dangerous to our health and well-being. If you haven’t read the past 2 posts, I suggest reading them before continuing to read this one.
In today’s post, I want to talk more about the “tend-and-befriend response” to stress and how it is beneficial.
This particular response is part of our evolution and how we banded together with our tribe to survive danger. Part of the response is about protecting children from threat, so this response is often seen more in women but it is also something that can be demonstrated by men too.
This particular response helps to decrease fear and increase hope. It activates activity in areas of the brain to make you smart, brave, and social.
Through the activation of oxytocin, we have more empathy, connection, and trust and fear in the amygdala becomes dampened so we can be courageous. Through the activation of dopamine, we become more motivated, optimistic and fear is also dampened. Through the activation of serotonin, our perception is enhanced, our intuition is heightened, we have more self-control, and our awareness is enhanced to help us make smarter decisions.
So how can you activate this particular response when you are feeling stressed?
You can reach out and help others, give someone support or take time to listen to them. Practicing random acts of kindness or donating to those in need are great ways to activate this response!
Another way to tap into this response is to focus on goals that are bigger than yourself when you are feeling stressed. For example, in a job interview, instead of focusing on your individual goals for wanting this job, think of how this job will let you help your community, what kind of change you’d like to create through this position,
Again, to learn more about this other stress response, I highly recommend reading Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s book “The Upside of Stress.”
In my last post, I shared a little bit about new research that has shown there isn’t just 1 stress response like we all have believed for years but instead there are 3 different stress responses, including “challenge response” and “tend-and-befriend response.” If you haven’t read that post first, I suggest you take a quick read of it before continuing.
In this post, I want to dive deeper into the “challenge response” to stress and how you can begin to tap into it.
This particular stress response is ideal for situations that require us to perform under pressure, like an athletic event, public speaking, an exam, or some type of performance.
The challenge response gives us energy, focus, and other resources to succeed, it elicits peak performance, and it helps motivate us into action.
Yet if you’ve been in one of these situations like where you have had to speak in public or you are getting ready for a big athletic event, you might notice that in the past you have felt the typical “fight-or-flight response” kick in…
So how do you make sure you can access this response when you need it?
One way to tap into this mode is to consciously make an assessment of your skills and resources to face the task ahead.
You can ask yourself how hard the task will be, do you have the skills, strength and courage to do what’s required, and if there is someone who can help you face the challenge.
When you do this, if you can realize you have the skills and resources needed and remember similar situations that you have faced with success, you will typically be able to find your entry into “challenge response.”
Another helpful thing to remind yourself of is that your stress response is actually an asset, not something harmful. Tell yourself that your anxiety and racing heart are actually bringing more oxygen to your brain, that it is giving you more energy for your task, and more strength and focus to do what you need.
The research of Dr. Kelly McGonigal actually showed that when participants in a study were told this message that stress was supporting their brains and their abilities, no negative health impacts of stress actually showed in their bodies.
This new understanding of stress is another beautiful example of how our beliefs and our mindset have a powerful impact on our health.
If we believe the old paradigm that stress is dangerous or can kill us, it pushes our bodies to respond with the classic “fight-or-flight response.” If instead, we see stress as something that is supporting us in taking on a challenge, our bodies will respond differently and not be negatively impacted.
To learn more about this other stress response, I highly recommend reading Dr. McGonigal’s book “The Upside of Stress.”