‘Tis the season of joy! I hope you are feeling it already. I know I am.

The thing about joy is that it is something we choose and cultivate every day. Like putting up a Christmas tree, or making this lamb sweet potato stew which makes my house smell amazingly cozy and warm.

One of the simplest ways to create joy is to practice gratitude. When you feel grateful, you simply cannot be stressed or angry, two of the biggest blocks to joy.

Try this: before you fall asleep, list 5 things you are grateful for, one on each finger. This will bring an immediate sense of peace and creates sweeter dreams.

Here’s what I am grateful for:

  1. My loving, supportive friends and family – too many to list.
  2. A career I love helping clients find the nutrition & life that work for them.
  3. Growing self-acceptance, trust and patience (instead of my old classic – forcing).
  4. The nourishing food on my table and roof over my head.
  5. My health and the strength in my body.

Research shows gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, enjoy good experiences, improve health and better deal with adversity.

What are you grateful for? Leave a comment below.

In Gratitude,

Adelma

If you have dealt with chronic stress, you may have heard lots of well meaning advice from friends and family. Perhaps you even told yourself the same thing: just think positive, get your head in the game.

Except it didn’t work. I had the same experience and it was maddening.

Learn the biological reason why it doesn’t work, as well as 5 simple tips on how to heal in my recent article:

Why Mind Over Matter Doesn’t Work with Chronic Stress

The good news is you can recover. I work with many people who are chronically stressed to heal the body, calm the mind and bring more joy into their lives. For more information on coaching or to set up a session, click here.

 

If you frequently find yourself paralyzed and want to address stress and anxiety naturally, you have come to the right place.

Stress and anxiety are different. Stress is part of every day life. It is the natural “fight or flight” reaction to events in our environment such as a deadline, running late or a contentious meeting. It makes you feel frustrated, angry or nervous. If the events in your daily life are constantly stressful, the stress can become chronic which puts your health at risk.

Anxiety is a mental health condition, affecting about 18% of the population. It is characterized as a feeling of fear, unease, and worry. The source of these symptoms is not always known. If you feel you may have symptoms of anxiety, consult your doctor.

While many stressful or anxiety producing events cannot be eliminated, it is possible to calm the physical and emotional reaction to them through diet and lifestyle.

Start by removing the leading triggers:

1. Sugar

2. Caffeine

3. A hidden food intolerance

4. Sleep deprivation

5. Feeling a lack of control of your schedule or your life

For more information, read my recent article: Signs your Diet or Lifestyle is Triggering Anxiety

I will add one more — fears or negative thoughts. Being caught in a cycle of thinking that does not serve you can increase an already stressful time. It is important to have effective techniques to address and release these reactions. Otherwise, stress or anxiety can mushroom easily.

As a coach, I work with successful professionals to reduce stress, create a healthier lifestyle and more fulfilling lives. To learn more about coaching or book a session, click here. 

Stressed, anxious or freaking out? BRAKE

Normally most of us are are calm, balanced and high functioning people.

But in high stress situations – an aggressive meeting, a comment that stings, a disagreement with a loved one, the body reacts: heart pumps, chest tightens, face flushes and we feel paralyzed or reactive. Our calm rational mind seems to fly out the window and we wonder how did that just happen?

Here’s a stress anxiety management technique: When you find yourself starting to get tight, overwhelmed or freak out, stop and pull the B.R.A.K.E: 5 simple steps to return you to your normal, calm self.

Breathe. Breathe deeply. All the way in. Hold for 3 seconds, all the way out. Do this until you are calm.

Reset. Take a step back and notice what exactly you are experiencing. What is your body feeling, what are your emotions feeling? What is your mind thinking? Fear? Judgment? Shame? Naming it makes it just one small part of you, a moment, instead of everything you are.

Accept. Rather than a sign of weakness, this gives you strength. GPS can’t give you directions until it knows where you are. You can’t make a change until you accept where you are and what the problem is.

Kindness. Be kind to yourself and to others. Most people are doing the best they can. Anger and reactiveness towards yourself or others only makes things worse.

Evaluate your options. You could lash out or avoid the situation, but then you have 2 problems. What is the best thing you could do in this situation?

Once you are in the evaluation stage, you will have the perspective to respond effectively.

However, if you constantly find yourself freaking out then it could be a deeper issue, driven by your diet, past stress or other environmental issues.

Sorting these out is well worth it, but takes time. If you are interested in reducing stress and anxiety, removing blocks and up leveling your life, sign up for a complementary Catalyst Session here.

Vitamin H

Yup, hugs are good for you. They release the hormone Oxytocin, which lowers stress and creates bonding.

Go on, hug someone.

 

Are you burned out from working too hard? Do you not even remember the last weekend you took or week you got a consistent 7 hours of sleep? Do you wish you had more time for you?
It feels like there is always more to do and you have to be the one to do it.  I get it. I was there.
Unfortunately the law of diminishing returns kicks in and those last few hours a night or on the 6th or 7th day are not very productive. So don’t waste your time. Commit yourself to working smarter, not harder.
When I tried it I was amazed had how much more energized, clear and productive I was. Refreshed, I tapped into the more creative, visionary side of my brain, connected more deeply in relationships and was generally more effective.
Here is a simple 3 step process. I suggest doing them one at a time.
Step 1. Schedule Smart. Do the big rocks first, the 1 or 2 things that will have the biggest impact. Train your team or virtual assistant to do the rest.
Here’s why: Your time and your brain are your biggest assets. Allocate them wisely.
Step 2. Schedule a non-work event 1-2 evenings a week and take at least 1 full day off a week. It could be an exercise class, a dinner, anything you enjoy that revitalizes you.
Here’s why: Remember the law of diminishing returns? You are least productive in your last few hours of work on the 7th day. Taking some time off will make you more energized and productive. Try it.
Step 3. Sleep 7 hours. Keep a pad by your bed so you can write down anything that keeps you up. Once it’s out, it’s much easier to sleep.
Here’s why: Sleep derivation impairs your brain functioning, your health and your sex drive. There is some indication that long term sleep deprivation can do permanent damage.

Deeper than exhaustion, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is described as feeling so tired that you can’t do all of your normal, daily activities for 6 months or more. It is usually not responsive to rest and not triggered by exercise. Other symptoms can include:

  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Difficulty thinking clearly and remembering things
  • Headaches, joint pain or tender glands in throat or armpits

About 1 million Americans have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, of which about 80% are undiagnosed. Often it is seen in conjunction with fibromyalgia, which affects 5 million Americans.

While there is no known cause, CFS is generally preceded by a period of physical or emotional stress and diagnosed by ruling out other, more serious medical conditions. The medical community recommends treatments that focus on cognitive approaches to increase positive thinking and lifestyle changes to restore vitality.

When I had these symptoms a few years ago following a near death experience from kidney failure (kinda stressful) I felt drained, trapped – literally sucked dry. I was never diagnosed and I didn’t know what was going on. So I slowed down, savored life & body and focused on joy. It worked, my energy was restored.

Here is the combination of life strategies and body care that worked best for me.

Top 3 Life Strategies:

  • Accept and love yourself as you are. Just as GPS can’t give you directions if it doesn’t know where you are, you can’t make changes until you acknowledge where you are right now. It’s not forever.
  • Tell yourself what you can do instead of what you can’t. When the body is sick it is easy to get frustrated and drop into negative thinking. But that saps your energy. By focusing on what you can do, you begin to create energy and momentum.
  • Plan and pace each day. Focus on what’s important. Being realistic about how much you can do and honor it.

Top 3 Nutrition and Body Care Strategies:

  • Sleep well and do moderate exercise like yoga to rebalance your body.
  • Eat well. Cut processed and sugary foods. Give your body the best nutrition.
  • Create a routine of 1 hour of downtime each day. This is really important. Cook dinner, take the dog on a long walk, read an actual book before bed.

For personal support healing the symptoms of chronic fatigue, see how a Customized Catalyst Program to boost energy, calm mind and uplevel your life could help you. Sign up for a complementary Catalyst Session here .

 

How to do I create a life I love?

Often it feels elusive. Then it happens, seemingly by accident.

If you look closer, it is is usually a result of identifying what is most important to you and bringing it into your life.

Sounds great. But you may be wondering – how do you know what is most important to you?

Here are 3 steps to try.

1. Ask: What does a life I love feel like to me?

Not what it looks like, but what does the experience feel like when you are with your partner, in the kitchen cooking dinner with your family, receiving accolades at work, or maybe seeing the world.

Here’s why it works: Have you ever taken a job or entered a relationship because of how you think it will feel, only to realize the feeling did not come. You probably got frustrated because it didn’t seem worth it. You may have then doubted yourself and what you thought you wanted.

For example, say you want to make enough money so you can enjoy life. Great. But in process, how do you feel? If you’re enjoying life, then everything is aligned. But if you are feeling drained then it is actually the exact opposite of what you truly want.

Take another common example: you want to be in love to feel connected. Yet if you are not connected internally, it will be hard to create this feeling in the relationship.

Skip the middleman and go right to the source.

To identify the feeling you seek, put your hand on your heart and imagine living a life you love. What does it feel like to you?

If it does not come to you or if you tend to be more visual, create a vision board of this feeling. Pull out the colors, shapes, textures that how you want to feel. Then take a step back and describe it. I encourage you to look for one central feeling across all areas of life. Is it connected? Is it like flying? Is it creative? Is it spacious?

2. Use this feeling as your core approach life. In strategic planning, this is called the “one true thing” – the core desire that drives each of us. When you come from your core, life gets easier. It works more synchronistically.

For example, mine used to be connected, a feeling I longed for but did not feel I had enough of. Until I created it in myself and my life. Now the feeling is flying – being light and powerful and free. It is the feeling of pure joy I experience sharing my love or my work with others.

Why it works: Ninety five percent of what you actually experience is the process, not the outcome (which is out of our control anyway). If the process feels the way you want to feel then it will be more satisfying, regardless of the outcome.

Ask yourself: What could you do in each area of your life to create this feeling? How would you operate differently? What shifts would you make?

3. Cut the drag.  Less is definitely more. Use this feeling as a screener for what you will and will not do. This removes the frustration of doing things that don’t serve you and propels you toward things that do.

Why it works: By focusing on what matters most to you, you will often get better results. Further, but cutting the drag you will have more time to recharge and let your creative, visionary brain do its thing.

Ask yourself: Which activities, relationships and work do not create this feeling? How can you shift then or remove them? Then stick to it.

How did it go? I’d love to hear your experience. Please leave a comment below.

How to Make Change Easier

Hi Everyone,

For anyone who is making changes, you know it can be a mixed bag.

Take loosing weight or changing your thoughts. You have a strong motivation and a plan. But it’s really about sticking with it, past the obstacles that will inevitably arise.

Of course, I get impatient – I want results yesterday.

So I took a page from what usually works in my life – running. It works because long ago I decided it’s not about the race, it’s about the process. Like with most things, 98% of the experience is process anyway. And I love almost the whole process:  running, getting the gear, planning for the day, stretching, hanging out with runners, even working out injuries.

When the process is enjoyable, it’s easier to stick in there. Satisfaction is no longer dictated by an outcome, which is good because most outcomes are out of our control in many ways. And when you are having fun and are more engaged, things may go even better than you expect.

Want to try it? Try these tips to love the process of any change.

  1. Get curious. Treat it as a “go and see”. What happens when I do this? Pay close attention to how each aspect goes so you can learn from it, without being attached to the outcome.
  2. Enjoy the details. One great way to do this is by creating rituals. For example, have a breakfast you love or tea after dinner in a special mug.
  3. Get support. Join a group or a team or enlist a coach.
  4. Accept yourself no matter how it goes. Carve out time to replenish yourself.
  5. Be grateful. List 5 things you are grateful for everyday. You can’t be frustrated or angry when you are grateful. This one is more for you than (When I started running again after being barely able to walk about 20 months ago, runs kinda sucked. I said “thank you left, thank you right”)

Try loving the process with something you are working on! Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below or shooting me an email.

In Joy,

Adelma

 

As you head off for summer vacation, sit back, savor and enjoy the satisfaction of everything you do.

Here’s something to consider. You may have noticed that often the greatest satisfaction comes from the small things, like a private moment or project. Why is that?

Satisfaction, or success and happiness for that matter, is a feeling not a destination or a result. So instead of aiming for a result, consider how you want to feel. What would satisfaction feel like? What is it for you? Then create that.

For me, it’s connection to my friends, family and the people I work with. When that’s there, I feel deeply fulfilled. One of my favorite ways to create this is cooking for people. Seeing the smiles on their faces as they dig into my roast chicken with turmeric or curry & almond quinoa salad is deep nourishment and satisfaction for me. Sharing food is my bliss.

What makes you most satisfied?

Enjoy,
Adelma
PS.  The pics below are from brunch last weekend. Recipes can be found through the links above.

Summer Brunch