Tag Archives: Stress

Bust Stress Boost Energy by Tweaking this one thing that you do everyday

Bust Stress

Boost Energy

by Tweaking This One Thing That you do Everyday

As a society, we can’t do things quickly enough. It seems the latest thing to fall victim to this sprint mentality is eating. Our world is insta-everything, connected 24-7, and everything is focused on convenience and “saving time.”  As a result, our bodies are operating in chronic stress mode and have more stress and less energy.

As a coach, I have never been told that someone wants less energy; however, I am always asked how clients can reduce stress. Through my certifications in holistic stress management and integrative nutrition I have learned powerful, yet simple techniques to reduce the effects of stress and boost energy. They have one thing in common, the mind.

I continually seek ways that are simple and effective in helping me improve the quality of my life. Once I learn these tools, I pass them on to my clients and everyone that I meet. The latest tool comes from my training and personal experience in mindfulness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the 1970’s defines mindfulness as  “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally”. Essentially, practicing mindfulness whether for five minutes or forty-five, anchors you in the moment, removing you from ruminating about what happened yesterday or fixating on what’s to happen tomorrow. The outcome is the absence of suffering. Suffering is being anywhere, but in the moment. Without stress and suffering, we have more focus, attention, awareness, and contentment. This same principle can be applied to something that we do everyday, eating.

I view eating as an opportunity to heal by tuning into the intelligence of the body and our own intuition about what it is that our bodies need in the moment. The human body is extremely intelligent and the gut is actually referred to as the second brain and makes up the enteric nervous system. It is where the immune system is housed and how we bring the outside world in. Our bodies are continually sending us signals and warning signs. Unfortunately, we often miss them because we are so busy and distracted.

Here is a snapshot of how stress manifests in the body over time. When your body is in chronic stress mode all of your systems are on high alert all the time and your organs are working way harder than necessary (lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, stomach, intestines).

Your mind does not know the difference between a real threat, being chased by a lion and the thoughts circulating in your mind that are of a threatening nature. Such as, you are worried that you are going to loose your job. So, your body’s fight or flight mechanism kicks in, ready to deal with the threat in either scenario. The trouble is, the fight or flight response is only supposed to last for the time in which your body deciphers something as a threat, and either fights or flees and then returns back to homeostasis. However, your body never gets a break from this cycle, and it becomes chronic.

This is extremely taxing on the mind~body system as a whole. Over time it can create anxiety, sleep disturbances, digestion problems, relationship problems, weight gain, palpitations, exhaustion, and memory issues.

Our bodies’ response to stress has not evolved with time and instead of slowing down and using effective techniques to de-stress, we continually add fuel to the fire. I never imagined that eating quickly could cause my body more stress.

So, how can you reduce the effects of stress and boost energy by tweaking one thing that you do everyday?

Eat mindfully at least once a day.

The road warrior diet (eating in the car), corporate diet (eating as you multitask at your desk), and nurse diet (scarfing down a few bites as you steal away to the break room), all diets that I have been privy to are a few examples of adding fuel to the “stress” fire through mindless eating.

When we eat mindfully we can watch for and notice important clues about how nutrition affects us and make changes accordingly but more importantly in my book, enjoy our food.

Digestion is a bodily process that takes a ton of energy. When we are ingesting a meal in a stressful manner, we are creating even more stress for our bodies. During the stress response, the blood is shunted away from the digestive organs to the primary organs in preparation for a fight or to fuel the muscles to flee quickly.

So, you can kill two birds with one stone, reduce stress and receive the maximal nutrient benefits of your food by taking the TIME to slow down and eat a meal in a relaxed way.  This is a way to eat mindfully.

Everyone eats and the body can not survive without fuel. So many people are making the effort to eat healthier but have no idea that greens for example must be chewed up into very small pieces in order for the gut to be able to absorb the nutrients. Instead, we take one bite and slam it with a swig of our favorite diet beverage or coffee. Not to mention, we have no idea what the food tastes like because we scarfed it down so fast we don’t have time to smell it.

Food is meant to be enjoyed in my book. When I take the time to enjoy my food, my body receives maximum benefits and I only eat what I need.

Studies show that the first several bites of our food are the peak of our sensory experience with it and this declines over the course of the meal. This is referred to as the satiety cascade. We eat for fuel, but another big part of eating is a sensation of satisfaction or a feeling of satiety or fullness. If satisfaction peaks during the first few bites of our food and we are not paying attention to the taste, flavor, smell, texture, or how it makes us feel, we miss all the benefits!

The result is, more stress to our already stressed out bodies, more food than we really need and we are never truly satisfied. End result: more stress, weight gain, and less energy.

I invite you to pause before your next meal. Consider treating your meal as a sacred event. Your body is your vehicle for everything. If you have a Porsche, I am sure you treat it with the best fuel that money can buy.

Simple ways to enjoy a mindful meal:

Find a place where you can sit down at a table. Place your feet on the floor.

Offer gratitude for your meal.

Pretend it’s the first time you have ever had this food.

Use all of your senses to heighten your satisfaction of the meal.

Smell your food before you take the first bite.

Try and chew your food at least ten times before swallowing. This helps the flavor linger in your mouth longer and helps break down the food, especially greens so you get maximum absorption and energy in the gut. It also helps slow you down.

Eat in silence.

Put your fork down in between bites.

Eat with your non-dominant hand.

Enjoy a conversation over your meal.

Refrain from multitasking as you eat.

Make your meal your main focus.

Make this an opportunity to heal.

Ask your body what it really needs.

Notice how you feel emotionally before you eat.

Ask yourself if you are hungry before you eat.

Notice how you feel after you eat.

I hope that this information serves you in the best possible way and that you can implement some of these techniques to improve the quality of your life.

Life is too short not to live fully.

Please share what tips you are willing to try and what struggles you have had with eating mindfully.



21 Days to Joy

Joy is a natural state of being, but one that is not very familiar to most of us. In fact, I would venture to say that a more familiar experience for most of us is a state of struggle, not joy. Most of us may even admit that we are not naturally, “joyful” and may only notice or experience true joy when we acquire or get something that is external in nature. For example: a new purse, a new job, a new relationship, or a a great vacation.

Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with this, but living like this can create a lot of stress if the only way we can experience true joy is to get or acquire something. In addition, if we are relying on external sources for experiencing joy, that is not sustainable over time.

I share this from my own experience. I spent many years seeking approval and joy from external sources. One habit in particular involved the purchase of a certain type of very expensive handbag. I am talking upwards of three and four hundred dollars. I would often ask for these as birthday or Christmas gifts and occasionally I would purchase them for myself.  The joy and excitement would last about a week or so and then fade off into the wild blue yonder.

Fast forward five years and the thought of spending that much money on a bag makes me feel like wow, that was an interesting phase of my life! I am in a different place totally. I no longer seek validation from others and I know now how to create joy from within. If I had continued down the path of using expensive bags to fulfill me and bring joy into my life, I would be broke and certainly unhealthy by now.

When we learn to create joy as a familiar state of being within ourselves, we can release the old familiar pattern of struggle and all kinds of positive shifts start to show up in our lives. Where we once experienced struggle we see opportunity and growth. Where we once saw limitation we see abundance. That is where the magic lies and you start to become the creator that you were designed to be.

We are each designed to be creators.

So, I invite you to join me for 21 days to JOY in the #smilefest to create your own joy from within.

It takes 21 days to create a habit.

The simple act of turning the corner of your lips up into the shape of a smile changes your body chemistry.

It also shifts your energy and has the power to shift your mood from stress and struggle to joy and ease.

When I smile, it literally feels like my heart is lighting up. It is hard for me to feel negative or stressed when I am smiling.

The benefits of joining 21 Days to JOY:

  • it’s FREE
  • it’s FUN
  • it helps you feel FABULOUS

Check out my Facebook Page and join our community.

Join here

 Please share this with your friends and family. We all need more joy. Use hashtag #smilefest 😊#21daystojoy

Peace and smiles,


Please share your experiences below about how you create joy within.

The Top 3 Mistakes that Keep us Stressed and Unwell

As a culture, we live so habitually. We go from one day to the next without much INTENTION or AWARENESS about what is happening moment to moment. As a result, we lose so much of the opportunity to NOTICE the nuances which could be anything from joy to a signal from our body that something is not right. For many of us, what this looks like over time is a total disconnect between mind and body. We are whole by nature, so when we live in a way that honors “all parts of us”, we are much more likely to thrive in health and happiness. I chose three categories to demonstrate how we sabotage our own health which keeps us stuck in chronic stress and in poor health.

  1. Time Vampires: Time is really the only constant for all. We each have twenty four hours in a day. Most of us wish for more time. People who are not living INTENTIONALLY tend to fall into one of two camps, the “auto-pilots” and the “multitaskers”. The auto-pilots are checked out and not much registers with them or gets their attention. The multitaskers assume since they are doing multiple things simultaneously, that they are super efficient. Studies show that the opposite is true. When we multitask and frequently get interrupted, we become less efficient. Regardless of which camp you fall into, neither approach is very fulfilling and keeps the body in chronic stress mode which will eventually catch up with you in the form of (dis)ease.
  2. The Sleep Robbers: Sleep has become so un-essential to our day to day existence. It’s this attitude of, “if I can sleep for a few hours, great, otherwise….no big deal”! Actually sleep is a BIG deal and crucial to great health. Here’s why, when we get good deep sleep and actually go through the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, when we are actively dreaming, the brain has time to assimilate all of the information it has gathered throughout the day. It’s like emptying the basket as it were. When this doesn’t happen, things get backed up and can cause premature aging. It can also lead to trouble with memory.  The other function of good restful sleep is hormone regulation. Without good sleep, the  hormones responsible for regulating appetite (gherlin) and satiety (feeling satisfied) (leptin) become dysregulated. You may wake up after a very short night’s sleep and feel more hungry than usual, but no matter what you eat, you never feel satisfied.
  3. Nutritional Nightmares: Have you heard that stressed is desserts spelled backwards?! When humans are stressed, we tend to reach for quick and convenient foods. Unfortunately, this typically means foods that are loaded with fat, salt, and added sugar. The human body was not built to be able to properly digest these foods. Think of the caveman foods! The actual process of trying to digest convenience foods puts the body into stress mode, when we were already stressed to start with. That’s where the chronic nature of stress rears it’s ugly head. Being well certainly requires eating the right types of food, full of healthy vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. However, just as important to our nutritional habits are not what we eat, but HOW we eat. The “road warrior” diet, eating in the car is stressful in and of itself. Mindless eating, eating while simultaneously texting, emailing, talking on the phone, and surfing social media is no environment for receiving the potential benefits of the fuel we are feeding our bodies. I believe eating is a sacred event and each time we eat is an opportunity to heal the body. As families, the dinner table is more like a hotel buffet with a revolving door. Everyone is eating different foods at different times and there is minimal community or sharing time with one another discussing the events of the day over a home cooked meal prepared with love.

Now that I have stressed you out, let me share some tips that have helped my family and me be more mindful and intentional about our health and daily habits:  

  1. Time Vampires: Spend five minutes before you get out of bed to focus on the positive and how you plan to spend your energy during the day. Cluster similar tasks together and do them at set times during your day (emails/phone calls), (laundry/dishes) and (exercise/errands). Document for three days how you spend every hour of your day (you will be surprised how much precious time social media surfing can use). Plan out a weekly dinner menu on Sundays and purchase the groceries and prep as much stuff ahead of time as you are able, so you have a few containers of healthy snacks ready to go in the fridge for lunches and school that are washed, cut, and ready to grab. Get your family involved in the process; especially your kids. They can learn about the importance of healthy food at home and will feel more vested in the outcome if they are helping prepare things.
  2. Sleep Robbers: Start preparing your body for sleep way before “lights out” time. Explore sleep hygiene rituals that signal to your mind and body that a time of rest is soon approaching, such as: drinking a cup of warm decaf tea, gentle stretching or restorative yoga, meditation or prayer, light a candle and journal your gratitude, read a relaxing book, take a warm bath with epsom salts and lavender oil, listen to soothing music, read to your child, and consider cutting out caffeine and screen time two hours before sleep.
  3. Nutritional Nightmares: Begin each morning with a glass of warm water with fresh squeezed organic lemon juice (this stimulates your gut and promotes healthy digestion), experiment with green smoothies for breakfast, eat one meal a day for your immune system (think foods that are the colors of the rainbow-green veggies help reduce inflammation in the body because they are alkaline and healing), and eat at least one mindful meal a day (sit down to eat, feet on the floor, offer up some gratitude for your meal, explore each bite as if it were your first time eating this food, do nothing else other than eat, and notice how you feel before, during, and after your meal.

I hope this has sparked your curiosity and given you a few ideas to be more AWARE, MINDFUL, and INTENTIONAL, so that you may start to explore your daily habits, not from a place of judgement, but self-compassion and kindness.

Please share which of these three areas resonates with you and why.