Yesterday morning I made a big mistake in how I started my day…
While I typically begin my day with my exercise routine and meditation to get physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the day that’s ahead, yesterday I got on my computer to send a login to my website designer that she needed.
When I logged on to my computer, I happened to see something related to politics and the elections that triggered me…
While I believe that I would have still been triggered by this particular article had I seen it a few hours later, because I wasn’t really grounded in my body and I hadn’t meditated and centered myself, reading what I read sent me down a spiral.
I felt waves of emotion wash over me, some fears that had been hanging out in the back of my mind came to the front to take hold, and I felt tension fill my body and a headache start.
The result was that I was completely thrown off kilter for the whole day.
I truly believe had a done my morning practices, I might have bounced back a bit more easily but since I hadn’t the emotions I was suddenly swimming in seemed to take over the day.
I share this story because I truly believe that it is ESSENTIAL these days that we practice good self-care, that we develop our own key practices that we use daily AND that we also have some boundaries for ourselves around all the information we can be bombarded with– from social media to the news to family and friends sharing things they are reading and hearing.
As the 2020 election approaches here in the US, I believe there will be more and more pieces of news and information that can be triggering to us and that we need to work to stay grounded and centered, to set and maintain good boundaries, and to practice good self-care.
If self-care is a challenge for you, stay tuned as next week I’m hoping to release a little digital self-care toolbox that you can purchase for a very affordable price (just $19!).
Here’s to taking good care of ourselves!
Many of us have gotten used to not feeling all of our feelings. Depending on our upbringing and other factors, certain emotions might be more acceptable for us to feel and express than others are.
For example, I have always felt it was easy to express feelings like sadness and worry than it is to show anger (as is probably common for many women). You might feel more comfortable with anger but sadness might be hard for you (this can be conditioned into men with patterns of saying “men don’t cry”).
Yet each and every emotion that we have is made up of different neuropeptides (chemicals that act as neurotransmitters) and so when we don’t allow ourselves to feel and express ALL feelings and emotions, those chemicals that make up that emotion don’t fully work their way through our bodies.
What that means is that whatever we don’t feel gets biochemically stored in our bodies for “later.” Yet for many of us, we never really get around to that “later.”
Our bodies are designed to have a storage system where certain organs and body parts are more appropriate storage areas for each emotion. For example, grief is the domain of the lungs and large intestine, while anger belongs to the liver and gall bladder.
When we make it a habit of never really feeling those emotions or going back to the ones that we saved for “later,” however, our filing system gets awfully full and so then our bodies start sticking those emotions in other places they weren’t even designed to hold.
In addition, even if the emotion is put in the right file drawer (so to speak), if it sits there and then gets added to, it creates problems for our bodies in the long run.
If you’ve ever had a pain in an area that seemed to “come out of nowhere” and you can’t think of a way you hurt yourself or other reason, sometimes it can be that emotion trying to make its presence known…
For example, if you’ve got a bunch of grief stored in your lungs, you might notice an increase in respiratory symptoms without being sick or even just a tightness or heaviness in your chest and lungs. This was an experience of someone in one of my group sessions last night.
Once you actually process and release that emotion, that sensation goes away.
If this sounds “woo woo,” I encourage you to learn about the work of Dr. Candace Pert who studied these neuropeptides that she referred to as “Molecules of Emotion.” Dr. Pert wrote, “Your body is your subconscious mind.”
In a powerful scientific description of her research, Dr. Pert also wrote:
“A feeling sparked in our mind or body will translate as a peptide being released somewhere. [Organs, tissues, skin, muscle and endocrine glands], they all have peptide receptors on them and can access and store emotional information. This means the emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just (or even primarily) in the brain. You can access emotional memory anywhere in the peptide/receptor network, in any number of ways. I think unexpressed emotions are literally lodged in the body. The real true emotions that need to be expressed are in the body, trying to move up and be expressed and thereby integrated, made whole, and healed.”
So the next time you feel a pain come up in an area “out of nowhere,” perhaps take time to tune into that area and see if perhaps some emotion is stored there and is trying to work its way out.
And also remember that when you feel emotions arise, take time to feel them and don’t just constantly put them on a shelf for a later that never comes.
By doing so, you will be supporting your physical, mental, and emotional health in powerful ways.
I have to be honest… I used to spend more time listening to my body every day. It feels vulnerable to admit that since I’m so passionate about the message of listening to our bodies but that’s the truth.
I had a routine of starting each day with meditation and with gentle, mindful movement inspired by therapeutic yoga.
Somewhere along the way, probably about 6 years ago, I got busy focusing on my relationship and my morning routine got put in a box on a shelf that I would get back to “later.”
Yet 6 years later, I still struggle to find the depth of that morning practice that I once had. Yes, I do still meditation but I’m less consistent with it. Now I focus on starting my day with cardio exercise, which is also very important to my body and health, but that slow, meditative movement practice is still long gone from my mornings…
Looking back, that morning practice was an important part of how I tuned into my body-mind, how I listened to what my body needed, how I prepared my body– my vehicle for life– for the day ahead.
This practice also supported my mind and helped me feel in touch with my emotions, my thoughts, and what I really needed for that day.
Lately I’ve been working with a somatic therapist and one of the themes I’ve been exploring is coming back to a deeper listening to my body and what it needs…
It has gotten easy to get caught up in the to-do lists, “shoulds,” and productivity and to forget to slow down and ask my body-mind what does it need today.
After last week’s therapy session, the answer was putting on a salsa station and dancing my butt off in our living room! I can’t remember the last time I did that and yet it brings me such joy to move and dance to the music! I’ve been doing a lot more of that in the last week.
Today the answer was walking in my new favorite park, breathing fresh air, and connecting to nature. And then sitting on my favorite bench there and meditating out in nature, as well as writing this blog post in my journal.
I’m reminded of the saying we are human beings, not human doings and yet it is easy to get caught up in the doing…
I’m committing to more being, more listening, more slowing down and really asking my body, “What do you need today?”
The past 6 months have been challenging in some very unique ways. While the first few months of being at home, I felt a burning passion to use my tools and skills to serve others, by June my energy was flagging and my body was signaling to me that I really wasn’t as ok or as unaffected by the situation as I was telling myself.
I’ve spent some time slowing down, getting out in nature and recommitting to listening to what I really need on a deep level.
I hope reading this post inspires you to reflect on how you have or haven’t been listening to your own body.
Have you been caught up in the mental chatter, the stress, the fear Or are you taking time to really listen to what your body needs and to honor that in your daily life?
If we don’t listen, as my own health crisis in my mid-20s taught me, our bodies resort to screaming at us. And I certainly don’t want to go back to that…
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 (at the bottom of the post), 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 you are curious about how I might be able to help you do the same, I invite you to read about more about this work or to book a complimentary 30 minute call so we can chat. Please know that this is a process that takes at least 5-6 months but that it can bring you success if you are also willing to follow some lifestyle guidance about diet and exercise.
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.
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.”
And if you are struggling with stress and need some support around lowering it, I encourage you to book a free consult call with me so we can chat or to try one of my 30 minute quick support healing sessions to see how you can begin to lower your stress level and shift into these other stress responses NOW.