our emotions and pain

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Our Emotions and PainWhen we hurt emotionally, we hurt physically. It’s been studied and the connection is real. I believe that understanding this connection is a big part of holistic pain relief. Plus, I think that most of us have experienced this in one way or another. For example, when the stress in my life increases I usually find that one of my nagging pain issues will return. Right now it’s the lower back and hips, because I have some extra family stresses.

From Mel Pohl, M.D. who blogs about chronic pain at PsychologyToday.com, “Especially in our culture, where we resist pain and want to move away from it at all cost, we create a vicious cycle where our attempts to move away from the pain actually intensify the pain. The fight to tighten up in response to a painful experience or be angry that it hurts makes the pain worse. By accepting and investigating the emotions we experience with chronic pain with curiosity, rather than judgment, we can achieve substantial improvements in our well-being. Emotions are as real as the pain that causes them, and I firmly believe that if people with chronic pain don’t deal with their emotions about their pain, they will never get better.”

So not only do the emotions in the rest of our lives affect our pain, but the emotions we feel about our pain affect it as well. It’s a frustrating feedback loop: emotions lead to pain, which causes emotions, which lead to pain and so on.

What can we do to break the cycle? My friend Susanne Spurlock, MSW, ACSW shared these strategies at a recent meeting of Lancaster General Health’s Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Awareness and Education Group. My comments are in parentheses.

  1. Optimism (the glass may be half empty, but it can be refilled)
  2. Help others (volunteering, interacting positively on social media especially pain or condition-related groups)
  3. Journaling (start one or pick your dormant journal up and write)
  4. Laughter, Fun, Play, Jokes (funny movies or TV shows are a good place to start)
  5. Verbal detox (appropriate expression of emotion with friends, family or a professional)
  6. Socializing (even just a phone call to a friend works)
  7. Exercising (be sure to choose something you find fun!)
  8. Cognitive behavioral therapy (or another type of professional counseling)
  9. Yoga, especially gentle or restorative classes
  10. Meditation (even simply deep breathing for a few intentional quiet moments)

My advice is to first pick one of these strategies that you aren’t already doing. Then incorporate it into your life in a way that’s both meaningful and appropriate to your pain levels. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the new strategy, choose another.

So let’s say you haven’t been spending much time with friends lately. Call a supportive and loving friend and suggest a get-together. It can be a cup of tea or coffee at home, or even out at a local café. Reach out to plan something every week or two.

Or try a yoga podcast at home. Here’s an example from Kelly at Sunrose Yoga that I’m going to try this week. Once you get comfortable with a bit of yoga at home, maybe a class near you would be a good option.

See how this works? It’s all baby steps forward. There’s no pressure or stress to the process because the idea is to reduce stress and manage emotions and pain. So be easy with yourself as you try these strategies to break the cycle of pain and emotions.

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are you ready to do a reset
so you can thrive this fall?

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Reset & Thrive Library Logo_MOD-Reset and ThriveIf you’re anything like me, summer is all about relaxation with flexed schedules, vacations with delicious indulgences, and a lighter list of to-do’s and to-don’ts. Don’t you savor every second of summer, and feel startled when autumn approaches? All too soon come the early morning alarms, lunches to pack, heavy project lists in the office, seemingly endless after school activities, and so very much more that seems to snowball so quickly!

I get it, the arrival of fall can feel like a fall into chaos!

This year it doesn’t have to! Perhaps it’s time to do a reset so you can thrive going into this new season?

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Introducing the Reset & Thrive Library:

Comprised of over 40 electronic resources specifically selected to help individuals and families get organized, create balance and improve their health for fall and a new academic season!

THIS LIBRARY IS AVAILABLE FROM AUGUST 21st THROUGH THE 31st. FOR ONLY $39, INSTANTLY DOWNLOAD THIS E-LIBRARY FILLED WITH DIGITAL RESOURCES AND EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME!!

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Not only do the Reset & Thrive e-resources offer VALUE because the ENTIRETY of its contents have NEVER BEEN BUNDLED ANYWHERE BEFORE and epic discount codes SAVE YOU HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS or more off the very best healthy living brands, but with this sale ONLY you will receive a TWO WEEK MEAL PLAN OFFERED NO WHERE ELSE!

No need to sort through thousands of recipes from the cookbooks included, we’ve given you two weeks of a get-started meal plan so that you can start without much planning or thought on your own – giving you precious time back to focus on reading the resources and thriving from the onset of this autumnal new year!

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The organizers of this Library, the Paleo Parents, have learned from over 5 years of healthy living, what tools people need for success. This bundle is sized just right to not overwhelm. It is broken into separate categories so that you can determine how to prioritize where you want to start.

For the Kitchen: The Cookbooks (a $201 value)

Section Graphics, For in the Kitchen, The Cookbooks-Reset and Thrive Fearless Sauerkraut Recipes, Sarah Ramsden

Make it Merry: A Healthy Cookbook, Carla & Emma Papas

7 Steps to Better Grain-Free Baking, Kelly Smith

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Health Happiness Paleo, Leslie Auman & Chelsea Gold

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The No Brainer Wardrobe, Hayley Morgan

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Simplify, Abby Lawson

Self Care for Self Love, Summer Innanen

Once a Month Meals, Kelly Seaton

The Wild Diet Shopping Guide, Abel James

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Go to Bed, Sarah Ballantyne

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The Kitchen Workout, Natalie Wright

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The Dietary Cure for Acne, Dr. Loren Cordain

Beauty’s Dirty Secret, Trina Felber

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Kick Pain in the Kitchen, Barbara Searles

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Of course, I’m especially excited that my book, Kick Pain in the Kitchen was chosen to be included in this Library. But, omigosh, it’s also amazing to be in the company of some of my health and wellness heroes like Dr. Loren Cordain and Sarah Ballantyne.

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7 healthy foods that may
be your migraine trigger

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Holistic Pain Relief | 0 comments

Migraine TriggersWhat if you’ve already “cleaned up” your food choices, and are dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free but still having migraines? I’ve had chronic migraine symptoms nearly every day for the last 15 months. So let me tell you, I’ve done a TON of research about migraine triggers.

Would you believe that foods full of health benefits could be a migraine trigger for you?

Here are seven healthy foods that you might want to test for their migraine trigger potential in your body.

  1. Avocado
  2. Nuts
  3. Garbanzo beans / chickpeas (hummus)
  4. Many fresh and dried fruits: citrus, pineapple, figs, papaya, plums
  5. Lentils
  6. Onions
  7. Treats like dark chocolate and red wine

Migraine triggers fall into two basic categories: stuff you can control, and things out of your control. You can’t control the weather, barometric pressure, your hormonal fluctuations, stress (sometimes!), or other environmental factors. You CAN control things that go in your mouth: foods you eat and drinks you drink.

Food and drink choices basically come down to a few things. Foods with tyramine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sulfites, and nitrites are the biggest culprits.

The reasons why these substances trigger migraine activity are hotly debated scientifically. But there is enough evidence to give eliminating them a try—especially if migraines are difficult for you.

Tyramine is produced when the amino acid tyrosine breaks down. This process can happen naturally in a food—for example, as a tomato ripens. In the list above, tyramine is the biggest trigger.

Tyramine can also be created as a food is aged or cured (as in cheeses), or through fermentation. When eaten, tyramine constricts and then expands (dilates) your blood vessels, which can cause migraine symptoms.

Glutamate is also naturally occurring in some foods, and commonly used as an additive in others. It’s what creates that “umami” flavor and savory taste.

Nitrites are naturally found in citrus foods or juices and in soy products. They’re also used in processed meats like bacon and sausage. You’ll find them in caffeine and alcohol as well.

Sulfite additives are used to prevent foods from turning brown when exposed to air, such as during the drying process. They’re sanitizers, and prevent the growth of molds and bacteria. They can be naturally occurring in the winemaking process.

Hey, I heard you! You just sighed really loud, and I know it’s frustrating. Believe me, I do know how it feels.  We try everything to be healthy, relieve our chronic pain, and then end up with extra migraine activity.

Most likely, you won’t have to eliminate these foods forever. But eliminating them for a short time (2-6 weeks) can give you a clearer idea of which foods trigger you. You may also learn that many of these trigger foods are okay in the absence of other major triggers like hormones or extra stress.

The first step to finding relief is education and awareness. That’s why I’m here for you. Ask me your questions in the comments, and let’s discuss!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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I’m in a Family Circle article
on chronic pain relief

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in Holistic Pain Relief, Kick Pain in the Kitchen, Wellness | 0 comments

Big excitement over here in my world!

Barbara in Family CircleI’m honored to be included this April in a wonderful article by Rachel Rabkin Peachman  about pain management. More importantly, the article tells inspiring stories of four different women’s journey from pain (fibromyalgia, migraines, scoliosis and arthritis) to pain relief. You can find it in the April 2015 issue of Family Circle – on the stands now. (I’ll add a link when it’s available online.)

Rachel does a great job of capturing my story of living with chronic pain and arthritis, but there are always more details to tell. Here’s a bit more about me:

When I decided to get certified as a massage therapist, I wanted to leave the stressful world of advertising behind. I thought my favorite clients would be people who “just wanted to relax.” It wasn’t long before I learned that what really connected me to my clients was the chronic physical pain I’d experienced. Because they asked for my help relieving their pain, they were glad to know I understood how it felt to hurt.

It wasn’t long before I realized that helping people relieve chronic pain was my true career thrill. Holistic pain relief coaching combines three elements:

  • My own experience
  • Working with clients as a massage therapist
  • Health and nutrition knowledge and certification

Last year I decided to capture all this stuff and move it from my brain (and my heart) to a book. That’s Kick Pain in the Kitchen: Holistic Pain Relief You Can Eat, published last October.

I hope you’ll also take advantage of my free offer. It’s a report on my favorite 17 ways to start relieving your pain TODAY! It’s a lot of small, easy changes you can make that will start adding up to gains in pain relief. Did I say it’s free? Just fill in the form in the upper right corner of this page.

If you’re finding me because of the Family Circle article, why not look over some of these blog posts to start understanding my coaching approach?

7 holistic changes that improve pain relief

nutrients for holistic pain relief: a 3-part series

3 skills you can learn from 
living with chronic pain

anti-inflammatory diet for holistic pain relief

three reasons why resolving chronic pain is challenging

relieving chronic, systemic inflammation (a 4-part series)

using recovery days to help relieve chronic pain

Welcome to our community – please comment and join in the conversation!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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choosing happiness
in the midst of life’s messiness

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in Ask the Coach, Healthier Choices, Wellness | 2 comments

Choose Happiness

 

I’m excited to be a Happiness Crusader and to be joining over 100 women in spreading the message of #ChoosingHappiness to women around the world. In today’s post I share how I chose happiness in the midst of life’s messiness by answering a few questions from my inspiring friend best-selling Publisher Linda Joy.

Today is the official release of her new book Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness featuring the soul-inspiring stories of 27 amazing women who share their intimate stories of transformation. Choosing Happiness also includes Reflection Questions after each story, which will empower you to integrate the vital lessons of each woman’s journey into your own life.

For a limited time you can get over 40 transformational gifts with your copy of Choosing Happiness. Grab your copy today at  http://bit.ly/Happiness_Book

Q: Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you realized that your happiness was an internal choice that could be made despite your outside circumstances?

When I was 12 years old, my parents divorced and my mother and I moved to another city. That the earliest moment I remember realizing I could either be sad or be happy, despite the momentous changes this meant for my life. However that was a child’s decision in response to some guidance from loving parents who wanted the best for me.

It’s also important to recognize that when an adult chooses to be happy, it’s a more complex and layered decision. My pivotal adult moment was at the time I was diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis. I was experiencing chronic pain, and although it wasn’t my first such experience, it was certainly the scariest. In that moment I fought through the fears and choose to find a positive, solution-oriented, happy approach to the rest of my life.

Q: How do you remind yourself that happiness is always within and catch your footing in those whirlwind moments of life that can throw us off balance?

Just when I think things are settled, life throws me a curve ball and I have to decide how to react. I may duck to try to avoid the worst, or such a move may be impossible. My goal is always to pop back up and stay centered in my life, instead of staying down.

I’ve found that the best way to remind myself of the happiness at the core of my being is to love, hug, and laugh with someone. It can be a friend, my spouse, or even a client. I also take the opportunity to ask someone else what going on in their life. This gets me outside myself, which actually makes it easier to reconnect with my own happy attitude.

Q: What is your personal definition of happiness today?

I recently heard this poem read, and I think it’s the perfect illustration of my definition of happiness.

I Have Found Such Joy

I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain, clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head,
And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.
I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days; a curtain’s blowing grace,
A potted plant upon my window sill,
A rose fresh-cut and placed within a vase,
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I long have loved beside me there.
Oh, I have found such joys I wish I might
Tell every woman who goes seeking far
For some elusive, feverish delight,
That very close to home the great joys are:
The elemental things – old as the race,
Yet never, through the ages, commonplace.

~ Grace Noll Crowell, 1877-1969

Q: Share three things that bring you happiness.

I find the most happiness in simple joys and close relationships. We have a close family, and because we’re also a blended family, it’s a special treasure for me. When my four-year old granddaughter stops to lay her head in my lap before she leaves to go home, I am happy.

When spring comes again and my garden grows with new shoots and blooms, I am happy.

And just so you don’t think I’m a sedentary old lady, it makes me happy to work up a good sweat exercising. There’s a chemical reason for that (endorphins), but it’s also my way of connecting to and nurturing my one and only body.

Thanks to my friend, Publisher Linda Joy, for these inspiring questions! I invite you to share how you choosing happiness moment in the comments below.

Be sure to check out Linda’s new book, Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness and grab your copy today at http://bit.ly/Happiness_Book to receive the bonus gift bundle worth thousands!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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