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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oxytocin (the love hormone)
conquers all

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Holistic Pain Relief, Women in Pain | 0 comments

My friend and fellow author Aubree Deimler wrote today’s blog. She’s taken everything she’s learned from living with endometriosis, and from her training as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and created PeaceWithEndo.com. You may not have pelvic pain, but this information about oxytocin applies to all of us looking for holistic sources of pain relief.

The Healing Powers of Oxytocin

Puzzle of LoveI listened to Dr. Christiane Northrup speak awhile back and something that she said made my ears perk up. She mentioned the hormone oxytocin and how it is the true fountain of youth hormone.

“Pay attention to this”, she said.

How had I never heard of oxytocin a.k.a. the love hormone?

I found out that oxytocin is produced in your hypothalamus and stored and secreted by your pituitary gland. It acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain.

Turns out this molecule is super powerful and arguably all healing. Here’s why…

Oxytocin has anti-inflammatory properties. So when it is released in your body it helps with cramps, headaches, and overall body aches.

Oxytocin has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is the “stress” hormone, which can cause all kinds of havoc in your body. The release of oxytocin follows with feelings of calm 🙂

Oxytocin is also helpful in overcoming depression and anxiety.

Interestingly enough, oxytocin receptors have been found in your digestive tract. Therefore, it helps improve digestion through improved gut mobility and decreased gut inflammation.

More oxytocin means less cardiovascular stress and an improved immune system.

As I gathered this information I could definitely see why Dr. Northrup spoke of oxtytocin with the suggestion to pay attention to this hormone!

How to Get More Oxytocin

Inevitably the question follows…. So how do we get more oxytocin?

Turns out its pretty simple. Your body releases oxytocin when touching is shared. This can come in the way of a hug, kiss or a simple handshake.

This touch causes your brain to release low levels of oxytocin both in yourself and the person that you are touching. With this connection, oxytocin levels help create a sense of trust.

When your body is sexually aroused or excited then oxytocin levels increase in your brain significantly. With orgasm your brain is flooded with oxytocin!

I understand that for many of us with endometriosis that sex and/or orgasm can be painful. But no need to fret, there are plenty of other ways that we can increase our oxytocin levels.

Simply watching an emotional movie can compel oxytocin release as can singing in a choir, doing karaoke with a crowd or dancing! Playing or cuddling with pets can cause oxytocin levels to increase too.

Another way to increase oxytocin is by verbally expressing your love for all the ones in your life: “I love you!”

Oxytocin is the love molecule but part of its evolved biology comes from the fact that you have to put it out there to get it back.

Because of this energy exchange, giving gifts to others can increase oxytocin levels.

Another way to give to receive is with focused meditation on others. Putting forth positive, focused energy to those in our life that we care about creates a ripple that returns to us with increased oxytocin and yes…. LOVE 🙂

On the Positive Side? 

I shared with my husband the power of oxytocin, and its become something we joke about now and again. We both recognize just how powerful this hormone is to calm down tension between the two of us.

Have you ever paid attention to how sometimes a hug makes the stress and anxiety melt away (at least for a moment)? Sometimes all it takes is my husband’s arms around me to make everything better.

I love how oxytocin spreads with the spread of the “L” word. When we give, we truly do receive. Oh by the way I LOVE you dear reader 🙂

I hope this information inspires you to give up some hugs today and share some love.

Yes, love indeed conquers all.

 

More about Aubree:

When Aubree was 29 years old she was officially diagnosed with endometriosis. She realized that she did not want to treat it with drugs or surgery. Instead she took an alternative road on a journey to whole healing – on a physical, emotional and spiritual level… and the rest is history.

As a certified holistic health coach and founder of Peace With Endo, Aubree is deeply passionate about wellness and inspiring other women with endometriosis to reconnect with a life filled with love and positive rhythms. 

Aubree is available for speaking events on the subjects of nutrition, healthy lifestyle, stress management, and overcoming suffering.

 

 

 

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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my book is now published

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Holistic Pain Relief, Kick Pain in the Kitchen | 0 comments

Kick Pain in the Kitchen: Holistic Pain Relief You Can Eat is now available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. You may choose from paperback, Kindle, iBooks or Nook versions. You’ll also find e-book rentals at OysterBooks.com and Scribd.com.

Kick Pain in the KitchenWhat an experience it is to write a book! I am humbled by the wonderful feedback I’ve received, both in the Amazon reviews and in person. With over 100 million people living in chronic pain (just in the U.S. alone), I hope my everyday ideas offer hope and empowerment to you and your loved ones.

“I will definitely recommend Kick Pain in the Kitchen to my patients: Those who are looking to avoid pharmaceutical treatment and those who want to combine western medicine with alternative therapies.“ ~ Jane A. Swartz, ARNP, MSN, Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner

  • Do you wish for realistic, holistic tools, which will minimize your pain and make you confident in your body?
  • Have you struggled to meet life’s demands because managing chronic pain takes so much time and effort, leaving you exhausted?
  • What would life be like if you could minimize your pain and dedicate the extra energy you’d gain to your goals?

Based on the author’s experience as a massage therapist, holistic health and pain relief coach, and woman in pain, Kick Pain in the Kitchen: Holistic Pain Relief You Can Eat offers you a holistic approach to pain relief that can be integrated with many other treatment plans. It’s full of straightforward, every day steps that anyone can start using right away.

Your path to health and pain relief starts in your kitchen and supermarket cart! The book educates you about why healthy, whole foods based, pain relieving changes can help, while giving you a practical game plan structured through the meals of the day.

Kick Pain in the Kitchen is part informational, part inspirational, and part practical. You’ll finish the book with plenty of options and a new focus on healthy habits to relieve your pain naturally.

 

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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3 skills you can learn from
living with chronic pain

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 2 comments

WildflowersHere’s a truth for my life, and maybe for yours: Some days I wish I hadn’t been “blessed” with all these physical challenges.

It might be a day where I have a lot of pain, or possibly a busy day including a few appointments with my “healing team.” I look around at my friends’ lives and see how different they are from mine. And I let out a big sigh.

Then I move on with my life, and do what I always do, which is focusing on the positive.

You may be saying there’s absolutely no positive aspect to living with chronic pain, and I promise you I can relate to that feeling too. On the other hand, I’ve found that living with chronic pain has helped me develop skills that others don’t yet have.

I’m appreciative of my client Christine, who helped me start thinking about this topic last night because of her own challenges. We started to think together about what we had gained because of our body-related challenges. Interestingly, she’s in her twenties and I’m in my late forties, so our perspectives are very different.

We still have commonalities that connect us, and knowing how to use that to benefit us both is the first skill we’ve learned.

Skill #1: Knowing how to get support in a healthy way

Like us, you may have also found that living with chronic pain helps you learn about your body in greater detail. Of course, this skill starts because you’re experiencing pain. But as the journey continues, the path often includes both pain and healing.

It’s the times of healing that help me understand my body more. No matter how lasting or temporary that healing time turns out to be, when I move from pain to healing I learn new things about my body.

Maybe you’ve been there too. If you’ve had to re-configure your eating routines to feel better, that’s learning what your body needs. Or when you realized that having a consistent sleep pattern makes a difference in your pain, you’ve gained that skill.

Skill #2: Knowing how your body works best

I’ve also learned the skills of gratitude and acceptance. Now, I don’t mean accepting that the situation is crappy and staying under the covers each day.

What acceptance means to me, and maybe to you too, is finding the peace with how chronic pain’s a part of my life. Since this is my reality, I’m going to make the best of it. I’ll find the joy in my opportunities to learn.

And what’s the thing I’m most grateful for about living with chronic pain? It’s that I’m ahead of the game compared to some friends and family members.

I’ve gained this critical skill: taking care of myself. I’ve learned it in my twenties, and been practicing it for decades.

In a way, I think it’s made me healthier at this age than I would’ve been without the experience. For example, making exercise a priority and actually scheduling it in my calendar began early for me. Quite different from folks I hear saying, “Now that I’m retired I can exercise regularly.” This isn’t a judgment of their path, because it’s their choice and I respect that. But I didn’t get to wait. I had to exercise to manage my pain. And’s it okay. I accept that and I’m grateful for what it’s taught me.

Skill #3: Gratitude and acceptance.

Bonus Skill: Taking care of myself.

Finding these skills is like the weeds I found the other day on my walk, pictured here. They may be growing wild, and not cultivated in a fancy garden space. But there’s so much beauty in them, isn’t there? I hope you’ll find the beauty in your own life too!

Would you share the skills you’ve learned from living with chronic pain in the comments? I’d love to hear more about your experiences.

 

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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what’s an elimination diet really like?

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Ask the Coach, Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Holistic Pain Relief | 0 comments

Broiled Salmon

Gluten Free and Migraine Friendly

As you’ve heard me say before, I went gluten-free a few years ago to help holistically manage my chronic arthritis pain. It was a big decision, and a big adjustment at the time. We re-vamped a lot of the things we do in the kitchen, and also changed the way we eat out.

But that was a tiny change compared to the migraine trigger elimination diet I’ve followed since March 1st—almost 70 days. An elimination diet is recommended many times by health coaches, nutritionists and even physicians. There are lots of different types of elimination diets, and just as many reasons why someone might embark on one.

In my case, a physician recommended the changes because I was having severe, chronic atypical migraine activity. Severe meaning it was massively impacting my quality of life and ability to work, play and simply function. Chronic meaning the migraine activity had lasted at this extreme level for several months prior the physician appointment. Atypical meaning there was very little headache activity involved but many other symptoms that health care practitioners and patients often don’t associate with migraine. More on my story is here.

The elimination diet that was recommended to me means that I have had to eliminate around 50 foods from my diet. It means that no foods (and even some personal care products) can be purchased without reading their ingredient list. It also means that eating out is practically impossible.

On the UP side, the elimination diet almost completely reversed my migraine activity within about 30 days. Some symptoms were eliminated in the first week!

But how do you take the dietary recommendations from paper to practice?

Gluten Free and Migraine Friendly

Gluten Free and Migraine Friendly

STEP ONE: Get a bound blank book to use as food log or diary. Since I am specifically trying to connect foods with migraine symptoms, I wanted to have something I could flip around in to see those connections. The same thing would apply if you want to connect pain-related symptoms to food.

STEP TWO: Make copies of the list of do’s and don’ts. One is attached to my refrigerator. The other is inside my food log/diary book. I’m working on making one virtual or “in the cloud” to access from my smart phone (helpful while shopping).

STEP THREE: On the list of do’s and don’ts, highlight those foods you use most in your food and cooking choices. For us, it was things like avocados, nuts, onions, and soy sauce!

STEP FOUR: Start reading labels in the kitchen to see what was “safe.” For example, the list said tuna was okay. But the list of ingredients on our tuna cans had vegetable broth in them, which is often “code” for MSG. So now when we shop, we look for brands of tuna without added broth in them.

STEP FIVE: Begin researching possible substitutions for your favorite foods on the “don’t” list. For example, switching shallots for onions. While it’s not the same exact taste, it works. And we’re also serving sauces on the side to accommodate my needs and all the other diners. With some regular experimenting and brainstorming, Cris and I have been able to enjoy a lot of fantastic “whole food” dinners together—all gluten-free and migraine-friendly.

Gluten Free and Migraine Friendly Broiled Salmon

Gluten Free and Migraine Friendly

The time I’ve spent in this elimination diet “phase” is a time when I have to give a LOT of thought to every bite. In our world of convenience foods and overscheduled lives, this isn’t easy. But trust me, living with pain or illness is harder than making extremely conscious food choices. For me it’s all about my mindset. I can either focus on the 50 foods I can’t have, or recognize the 1000 other options I do have. I also try to stay focused on the results that these changes have made in my health and my life. And like many challenges, elimination diets aren’t designed to last forever. So I often say to myself: “this too shall pass.”

Hopefully in just a few weeks, I’ll be able to start testing each trigger food and creating my own personal “trigger list.” Once I have that list (which may take a few months to solidify), I hope to be adding some of these eliminated foods back into my diet.

 

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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