UCSD Eating Disorder Research Study (Participants Wanted)

UCSD Eating Disorder Center for ResearchI was recently contacted by Laura Greathouse (cool name!) from the UCSD Eating Disorder Center for Research. They are actively seeking participants for a study of eating disorder recovery and the brain.  Below are some of the details and please feel free to visit their website for more specifics or contact them:

We are looking for female volunteers with current or past bulimia nervosa to participate in our study. The project is a brain imaging study looking at how participants make decisions about and experience rewards. The neurobiology of decision-making and reward in bulimia nervosa MRI study is a one-hour scan session. Those who are eligible to participate will be requested to fill out questionnaires and carry out tasks while undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Participant eligibility includes:

  • women between 15 and 30 years old
  • drug and medicine free for at least 3 months (birth control is okay)
  • currently have or be recovered (behavior/symptom free for at least 12 months) from bulimia nervosa, or may have never had an eating disorder

Participants do not have to be from San Diego. If we find them to be a good fit for our study, we will cover their travel costs to our clinic. Participants will be compensated up to $150 for taking part in this study. 

For those interested, they can email edresearch@ucsd.edu for more information and to start the recruitment process.

What is Divine Timing? 3 Tips to Working With the Universe

Divine Timing - Allow Universe To DeliverIf you’re like me you may have heard people talk about or use the phrase divine timing.  Perhaps you had an inkling what is was but never actually put much thought to ask yourself “what is divine timing and how can I work it?

I’m excited to share what I’ve experienced over the past few months as I’ve been steeped in self-awareness, learning, processes, practice in order to have a greater understanding of what the heck Divine Timing is…to me. 

I say what divine timing is to me because I think it’s up to each of us to define it for ourselves. I’d like to share some definitions I’ve found around the web and then help explain what I’ve learned from my practice of being in the space for divine timing to show up.

Definitions for Divine Timing

Here are some definitions from around the web:

Someone on Yahoo Answers About Divine Timing: “It means God brings and does things for us at the perfect time. Not to soon nor too late, just at the right time.”

From Self-Growth.com on Divine Timing they say, “Divine Timing is the idea that everything happens at its exact right time.”

From a more foo-foo site called FaireMoonChild.com on Divine Timing we learn, “Divine Timing means that everything needs to fall in place organically (like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together) before it can work out. “

And I absolutely loved this comment from an Abraham-Hicks forum I found…

Divine Timing - Right Place Right Timing“Timing is all about how long it takes you to come into alignment with your desire. If you’re waiting, you’re a little bit off track. Waiting is all about noticing the absence of what you want, so that’s not being in alignment with what you want. You need to ask yourself how you really feel about your desire — not trying to be positive, this is all about accurately assessing where you are in relation to where you are. How you feel tells you how close or far you are. Are you worried? Hopeful? Frustrated? Optimistic? My guess would be that you’re actually on the negative end of the scale, because if you were at hope or better, you wouldn’t be “waiting,” you’d feel good and you could feel yourself moving toward what you want and LOA would be giving you feedback reflecting back those feelings. Regardless, the answer is always to accept that where you are is okay, and then wherever you are, to gently lean in the direction of feeling better.”

Being a fan and follower of Abraham Hicks for many years I would say that last comment is pretty spot on. I’ve found from being in the practice of noticing divine timing that it is about the time it takes for me to line up with my desire.  I’m really, really not a patient person thanks to being practiced in instant gratification and action.  One of the things I learned by studying divine timing is that I don’t have to be patient, I just need to be aligned and when what I want isn’t here it’s because I’m noticing its absence and keeping it from coming to me.

Wow.

That was pretty powerful for me.  There were some more religious websites I didn’t include in my definitions above because they didn’t resonate for me.  They talked about divine timing being God’s timing – like it was happening outside of me and I needed patience to wait for it.  Not that I don’t think the Universe is waiting to give me what I want, but it doesn’t have a divine timing outside of my own time to align.  To line up, be in harmony and in a place of expecting what I want.

 Divine Timing vs Make It Happen

If you’re a type-A personality like me, you’ve probably also picked up along your trail that you’re the one who needs to do stuff to make things happen.  One quote I picked up from a leadership workshop years ago was, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.”

There’s a bit of truth in the “if it’s meant to be it’s up to me”, but I sure took that to mean I needed to go out and get myself busy if I wanted to manifest shit!  I’ve found it is up to me, but I don’t have to go running around making myself crazy busy, sacrificing my health or emotional well-being in exchange for my dreams to come true.

I’ve come to see the contrast between what I learned about Making It Happen vs Divine Timing that I want to share with you.

Make It Happen

Divine Timing

Motivate yourself Act from inspiration

Effort and tons of physical action is required for results

Ease and allowing in tune with good feeling actions

“Yeah, I want it, but…” “Everything is always working out for me”
Be a go-getter and carve out the path I trust the signs from the Universe of my path
Controlling Receiving

 Examples of Divine Timing

Your Attitude Determines Your DirectionAllow me to share a couple of examples of divine timing that I can recall noticing recently.  I bought a ticket at the beginning of the year to attend Lightning in a Bottle – a music festival I attended in 2014 and absolutely loved.  When I bought my festival ticket this year I didn’t think too much about buying an RV pass because they cost $350 and that’s more than I wanted to spend for the festival (on top cost for the 4 day pass). As the festival date got closer I started looking for people selling RV passes. I didn’t see any up for sale like I did last year (at the 11th hour last year I was able to buy one for only $150 – pretty cool!).  I kept waiting and looking and searching. I started to give up home in the last few weeks and settled into the idea that this year I would be camping.  I started looking for car camping passes instead, only to find out those were in high demand!

As the day of the event drew even closer, like 24 hours before it started, I had an ah-ha moment and started to get really excited about going to the festival. Up to that time I was a little stressed about all the work I wanted to complete before I left for a few days off.  When I released the stress and began to visualize enjoying the event in my RV instead of camping on the hard ground…poof!  Three people came online selling RV passes. I contacted each one and eventually bought a pass for $200. That felt fantastic!

Then, as I went to the event I was in a really great mood – definitely high flying. I enjoyed listening to music on the radio and driving my RV onto the festival grounds.  The previous year my camping spot was a bit tight and so not level that when I parked up on the curb/ground a big bottle of something came crashing out of one of the kitchen cabinets and broke all over the floor.  There was glass everywhere.  This year, when I pulled into the event there was plenty of room around me, the spot they gave me was incredibly level and easy to get in/out of AND I had a view of the main stage from my front windows (yet I was far enough away it wasn’t too loud).  “Holy cow are you kidding me!?”  That’s what I said when I finally parked and got out of the driver’s seat.  Thank you Universe!

Well, that wasn’t the end of the divine timing moments.  As I settled in, grabbed my pack and a drink and headed to the main stage (aka The Woogie) I was still on my high flying disk and ready to dance. [sidenote: I have this thing about concerts and pretty much travel in general that says that I get adopted by great people wherever I go so I’m a happy solo traveler.] After a few songs I had a group near me say hello.  I told them I was alone and looking to get adopted by fun people.  They said they were there to adopt me then!  I went on to hang out with them the rest of the day and late into the night.  Happiness Wants You - Let It InWe had some amazing encounters that night – yes, more divine timing and serendipity.

These are just a few examples I could think of where the Universe delivered to me exactly what I wanted because I was aligned and expecting what I wanted, feeling good on my journey and wasn’t keeping them away by noticing the absence of them. It was all about ease and flow that day and the Universe delivered even better than I could have maneuvered my way into happening.

3 Tips for Working With the Universe and Divine Timing

I’m constantly learning how this world we live in works and I appreciate tips or “life hacks”.  I like to share life hacks for personal transformation so here are 3 tips I’d like to pass along for you to work with the Universe and capitalize on the power of divine timing:

  1. Surrender – if you find yourself in struggle or efforting too much, getting frustrated, and impatient then remember to surrender.  Struggle is the opposite end of the stick from divine timing. If you’re working hard and things aren’t unfolding, then step back and surrender by saying something like “I know the Universe knows what I want and it’s on its way to me now. If it’s not here, I can clean up my attitude/energy and expect it.”
  2. Be Happy Now – if you’re anxious, frustrated, worried about something or any other negative emotion you’re keeping what you want from coming to you. When you find yourself wrapped up in low vibrations about something you’re doing the very thing that will keep you from receiving what you want.  So get happy now on your way to it.
  3. Trust the Path is Always There – the path of least resistance or most allowing will be revealed to you as inspiration. If you find yourself saying, “Well, I could do it that way but that would really suck” then that’s not the path.  Yes, action will be necessary because you moving towards what you want actually helps you shore up your own belief in what you want coming.  The Universe will do it’s part so look for ah-ha ideas and inspiration that comes to you and then act on it.  Don’t wait!  Don’t put it on your to-do list or after you finish 15 things and forget.  If you receive divine inspiration, act then.  Trust the inspired action or path is always being shown to you and always will if you’re in a good feeling place.

Stop Waiting to be HappyThis all boils down to being happy on your way to what you want.  The path of least resistance will feel good (yes, there may be “work” but it will be motion forward).

Final Words on Divine Timing

I feel like I could go on and on about the idea of divine timing and what I’ve learned, but allow me to share a couple final words on divine timing.

Prepare your grid, your attitude, your energy for what you want to come to you.  If it’s not coming, look within and address where you are now.

Feel good along the way.  We get so focused on the outcome that we miss the journey.  If we have everything we want then we would not have anything to look forward to in the future – and the Universe would stop expanding.  That will never happen.  Sometimes I find that I enjoy the journey or the idea of having something even more than the having of it.  I am in the practice of letting go of having the thing I want while I enjoy the process of wanting it and visualizing it as if I already do.

I can’t be anxious in my anticipation of what I want.  Anxious is out of alignment. I must chill out, maybe take care of myself and find something to appreciate or enjoy now.

When I allow the Universe to surprise and delight me in it’s own creative and unexpected ways, I am actually amazed what it comes up with that I didn’t even realize I wanted at the time.  It has way better ways of delivering to me what I will enjoy more than I can craft for myself. I now go through my days asking “what spectacular fun adventures does the Universe have in store for me today?

Expect great things.  Period.

The more I am feeling ease and flow, the happier I am in each moment and then more I am in a place of allowing good things to come to me.  Ease and flow is a state of alignment and therefore I’m not doing the things that keep great experiences from coming to me.  It reminds me of this post I wrote many years ago about allowing well being.

Now Your Turn!

The Universe is waiting to deliver a spectacular life to you in each moment. What’s one action you can take to align more with what you want, to be happier now or to take action towards what you want?  Step up and share in comments below.

With love and light,

Polly

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Bulimia Recovery Research Study (Australia) Seeking Particpants

I was recently contacted by Dr. Elysa Roberts, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle in Australia.  She is part of a group conducting a study and is looking for participants to work with them in the next few weeks/month. If you are interested, please see details below.University of Newcastle Logo

BULIMIA RECOVERY RESEARCH STUDY

We are currently recruiting volunteers who might be willing to participate in an in-depth interview about the recovery process from Bulimia with the aim of gaining a better understanding of how the “occupational experiences”, i.e., activities, routines, habits and environmental changes, influenced recovery from Bulimia. The following are details about the project and attached are flyers in two forms that we’ve used or shared with others.   

Specifically, we are looking for a small number of:

  • English-speaking women
  • aged 28 or older
    with history of diagnosis of only Bulimia Nervosa (no other eating disorder history)
  • who received some medical, psychological and/or psychiatric treatment at some point in recovery
  • who assesses herself as recovered from Bulimia Nervosa for a considerable time and
  • is willing to share her experience in a confidential, audiotaped, semi-structured interview via SKYPE – the interview will take 1.5 – 2 hours, and can be completed in two parts as needed.

Those interested in participating or seeking additional information may contact me directly at +61 2 4921 6663 or by email at elysa.roberts@newcastle.edu.au.

Breaking Addiction by Lance Dodes, MD: My Book Review

I’ve been reading the book Breaking Addiction: A 7-Step Handbook for Ending Any Addiction by Lance Dodes, MD recently. I have highlighted many parts of this book because there are lots of key insights about addiction that I want to pass along to you.

As an eating disorder recovery coach, I’m always interested in learning new techniques or processes from people in the area of addiction, habits and neuroassociative conditioning. These are all fascinating to me and I find value in picking up books like Dr. Dodes book because if I can learn one new thing that helps me help someone else on their path to lasting recovery it’s totally worth it.

Live Less Out of Habit and More Out of IntentGeneral Review of Breaking Addiction

My overall take on the book is it’s an easy read filled with a nice combination of practical steps for understanding and recovering from addiction mixed with case studies, or stories, of patients he’s worked with to explain the processes.

I really like this approach because it’s one thing to have him explain something, but I found it very helpful to read a real-world example that I could relate to. As a former food addict I could totally related and. I also saw examples where my clients from different walks of life have their struggles which often vary from my own journey.

Lance Dodes, MD is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He’s part of the substance abuse treatment unit at Harvard’s McLean Hospital.

Pretty impressive credentials, right?

His bookl is very straight forward, easy to get through and provides how to processes with some simple steps to ending any addiction. None of the people in the book had bulimia or anorexia, but one story was about overeating. I found the stories easy to relate to what I personally experienced at times during my 20 years with bulimia.

Dr. Dodes being a clinician and professor does present the material very matter of fact. I find that both helpful and hindering to his being able to relate to what goes on inside the mind and emotions of an addict. All in all I enjoyed the book and want to share some of what I learned from this book with you.

Key Insights from Breaking Addiction

Dr. Dodes does a nice job of calling attention to key points in the book. I’d like to share them with you here and do my best to summarize what he talks about in the book.

INSIGHT #1:

Addiction is a behavior intended to reverse a profound, intolerable sense of helplessness. This helplessness is always rooted in something deeply important to the individual.”

Said another way: an intolerable sense of helplessness leads to addictive behaviors.

Wow. That IS a key insight into addiction!

I started applying that to my coaching clients immediately. It hit me so square in the eyes having spent many years with that overwhelming urge; being that out-of-control-crazy person I would turn into before I would binge and purge. It could definitely say I often felt “an intolerable sense of helplessness” before my binges.

Now what makes each of us feel helpless is different. For some, it’s trying to please others and when we can’t we feel helpless. It can be feeling not good enough. Not loved. The usual list of reasons and situations we that leave us with unmet needs (think six human needs – certainty, uncertainty, significance, love/connection, growth and contribution).

He goes on to say that the moment of decision to follow through with our addictive pattern or habit (for bulimics it would be compulsive overeating) is when we begin to feel relief from that sense of helplessness. The moment we decide we’ll “give in” we feel a little better. The pressure starts to release. We let a little air out and feel the internal helplessness start to subside. As a former food addict, I remember the moments of shoveling countless calories down also had a numbing effect. It took me away from whatever problem I was feeling helpless about.

I have to agree with this insight from Dr. Dodes. Addiction is often created by feeling helpless. I can also say there are other triggers that can lead to triggers. I have a client right now who will not meaningfully overeat, but get caught up in the process of eating and feel she’s eating too much, feel guilty and purge it afterward. That crazy-making sense of helplessness may…may…have been there behind the overeating, but I know it’s quite a different experience from that rush, or pressure-building feeling, when external situations and stresses cause us to feel helpless.

Food feels like the only relief.

INSIGHT #2:

“The drive in addictive behavior is rage at helplessness. It is this particular kind of rage that gives addiction its conspicuous characteristics of intensity and loss of control.”

…and…

INSIGHT #3:

“Addictions are all substitute (or displaced) actions. They take the place of a more direct response to feelings of helplessness in a particular situation.”

Our addictive behaviors cause us to do things to relieve the pressure of the rage induced helplessness. We sort of have to take it out on something. We have to release that feeling and for those of us with bulimia pounding down the calories is the way we avoid those awful feelings of helplessness.

Dr. Dodes calls it helplessness and I’d like to translate that into the terms I’d most often feel myself and hear from my clients are…anxious, angry, frustrated, lonely, sad, or stressed. Maybe a few others but the top two seem to be anxious or stressed out.

How to Know if You Have an Addiction

I like the section of the book where Dr. Dodes helps you understand the distinctions between habits and addictions. There was a great part where he talked about addictions as compulsions. He says…

“Compulsions…are basically identical to addictions. They are behaviors that are strongly driven, repetitive, and difficult to stop even if you wish you could…compulsions are so common, in fact, that they are often taken for granted, or are at worse a source of good hearted humor.”

He goes on to explain that everyone in mainstream society suffers from compulsions. We label these compulsions, like bulimia, with such stigma that those of us who suffer from these compulsions are labeled in a way that it’s like a straight jacket when you try to get out of those patterns.

I like thinking of bulimia as a compulsion. It helps take the severe weight of the behaviors out of the realm of “disease”. Disease seems so permanent or difficult to cure. Let’s just stop calling it that, ok!?

More Insights From Breaking Addiction

I’d like to circle back to a few remaining insights Dr. Dodes shared in his book.

INSIGHT #4:

“The key moment in addiction is when the thought of it first comes to mind. This may be hours or even days before the addictive act occurs.”

Which leads very nicely into…

INSIGHT #5:

“The key moment in the chain of thoughts, feelings, and acts leading to an addictive behavior may be a decision to take an action that brings you closer to the addictive behavior, rather than a conscious thought about the addictive act itself.”

There was so much in this section I have LOTS of highlights. It’s so true!

I liken when he’s saying here to what Abraham-Hicks often talks about the power of momentum (video). Abraham talks about how our emotions build momentum with attention on them – or focus.

A story Abraham tells about how our emotions build momentum is to imagine a car on the top of a hill in San Francisco. If you nudge that car (think a negative thought) and then run out in front of it (realize you’re thinking/focusing on what you don’t want) and stop it, you’ll only feel a slight bump on your legs. However, if you let that momentum build – or push the car and let it roll down the hill – and don’t do anything to shift your focus or manage your emotions that car will run you down if you get out in front of it at the bottom of the hill.

This is the classic frustration of recovery and relapse!

I can’t tell you how many clients work so hard on stopping their addictive behaviors or overeating in the moment they’re worked up. That’s really not the ideal moment to work on it. I agree with Kathryn Hansen, author of Brain Over Binge, that you can ride the emotional wave of the helplessness, the addictive urges, and stop them.  But oh man that’s the hard way of going about it! And many people struggle trying to solve their problems head on this way.  That’s not how I did it.

The methods and insights that Dr. Dodes talks about and Abraham teaches are about getting momentum going in the direction you want and noticing the urge when it’s tiny. The first moment you have a thought about overeating – or negatively focused on your body or self esteem issues – that’s when you are your most powerful self and can have a better opportunity to break the momentum before it’s too powerful. Before it turns to anxiousness or stress.

Dealing With Emotions

Distance To See ClearlyDr. Dodes says later in the book that…”people have habitual ways of dealing with anxiety, sadness, fear, anger and other feelings. These emotional defenses are pretty much permanent aspects of their personalities – techniques settled upon early in life to deal with emotions.”

It’s my experience that we have traumatic, or just long term struggles, with something in our life and we develop defenses to not feel the pain of the emotions that are created by those struggles. It’s sort of an emotional self-defense mechanism. We create patterns to survive when the world makes us sad or angry or upsets us.

I wrote an article a long time ago that I called The Hole in The Soul. I used to feel like I overate to fill a void in my heart that felt empty. So empty. I go into greater details in that article, but the short of it is that I felt such emptiness of love from my parents and so disconnected from Source, or God, that I felt nothing in my heart. It was empty and I used food as a way to fill me up and keep from feeling that emptiness.

Get to Know Your Defenses – Your Unique Patterns

I would like to take an opportunity to share one final thing here and I expect I’ll need to write another post to share Dr. Dodes techniques for recovery with you. In a future post…

For now, I want you to know that he talks about each of us having defensive styles we use when we’re faced with something uncomfortable. If we can document our patterns by journaling and taking notes about the things going on in our lives each day we’re more likely to see things jump out at us by noting them down.

He says that our addictive brain will keep us from seeing the destructiveness head on. Sometimes we have to get past ourselves by writing down our thoughts, feelings and focus for a week or more to see the things we do routinely to avoid that feeling of helplessness.

Studying yourself like as if you were an experimental case study is a good way to get more aware of yourself. If you wanted to see the way things you’re doing are impacting your life and look for new routines to replace those negative patterns with documenting your daily life is an approach to consider. After reading his section on noticing patterns I wrote down:

What causes ME to feel helpless? What response do I have when I feel helpless?

If you can notice your moments of helplessness either in the moment or look back over the past few days/weeks and pay attention to the situation and your response to it you could very well uncover the patterns that you’ve ignored to this point.

Please share your comment below about Breaking Addiction.  Do you think bulimia or any other addictions are a rage against helplessness?  Is that how it feels for you?

With love and light,

Polly

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How Can I Be Happy? Ask Better Questions!

I want to use a personal example to demonstrate the power of asking questions to help you on your path to answering “how can I be happy?

I had this awesome ah-ha moment this morning that inspired this post. I hope you get something out of this and apply what I learned in your life.  Then come back and let me know how it helped!

Happiness is Always a ChoiceThe Path to Happiness Is Always Available

Allow me to lay a little philosophical foundation before I go into my story from this morning that reminded me of the importance of asking better questions.

My belief is that there is a path of least resistance that leads us to happiness.  That path is always available to us when we’re connected to our highest selves/Source/God/the Universe.  When we pinch ourselves off from the wisdom that is within us – by focusing on the negative or what’s not working – we can’t see the path of least resistance. It’s there. We just litter the path with obstructions.

To find our path to happiness I think it’s about being present to our feelings in every moment.  When we find ourselves feeling bad we must do something about it. Take responsibility for how we feel.  Take ownership of our happiness. It’s our choice.

I’ve been on this path to happiness for some year now. I’m so sensitive when I don’t feel good and I’m just not willing to feel bad for very long. I won’t tolerate negativity inside or outside in my life. 

Why would you tolerate feeling bad?

You know too much and won’t let that happen and let’s move ahead to helping you continue finding that path to happy.

Find Your Happy Path With Focus & Questions

As a student of Tony Robbins’ and Abraham-Hicks I know that what I focus on I will attract more of into my life.  I’ve noticed that whatever I focus on and give meaning to will create a feeling inside of me (focus –> thoughts –> meaning –> feeling).  Therefore, I’m in control of what I feel are given what I choose to focus on.  It’s powerful just knowing that!

(I really, really hope you took that last part in because that alone could shift your whole experience of life.)

From experience in dealing with monitoring and guiding my feelings I’ve learned that if I guide my attention with better questions I can usually find my way to feeling better.

A Story of Hope

I’d like to give you an example of how I was able to shift my emotions today in an instant just by asking myself better questions.  Here goes…

This morning I received an email from my attorney with an attachment/letter from my soon-to-be ex-husband.  We’ve been working on the divorce for nearly two years and it’s been emotionally taxing with all the back and forth.  Every time I receive an email from my ex or attorney my mind goes to “oh great, what does he [the ex] want now?”

Being Happy Doesn't Mean Things Are PerfectThis morning I fell right back into my old negative pattern.  The negative pattern I’ve been sustaining all these many months.  The first question my brain suggested was…you guessed it “what does he want now?!”  As soon as I saw the email, heard the question in my head and made it mean that it was going to cost me more money I felt like shit.  My pulse started to race, my body clenched up, I started to grit my teeth and could not sit still.  Yuck!

I wanted to go about my day and not open the email – that way I didn’t know what this was going to cost.  Yet, having studied Brian Tracy and his book Eat That Frog First I know that if you’ve got to do that thing you least want to do first thing in the day or it will haunt you and drain your energy all day.  I didn’t want this taking away any more energy than it already had, so I opened the email.

As I suspected, the ex had yet more demands to put upon our agreement that would cost me more money. 

I felt pissed. I felt frustrated. I felt defeated. I felt hopeless. I felt like getting revenge. 

You name it if it was on the negative end of the scale within a period of 90 seconds I felt it all.

As I noticed I was becoming more upset I took a deep breath and paused. I got up from my desk and stepped away from the computer. I centered myself and said “what’s a better question?”  I asked myself “what do I want?”

As my mind searched for an answer what came back was “how do I keep my house?”

Your Subconscious Mind Is So PowefulIt was so easy and yet for the past two years that thought had eluded me.  Partly because I wasn’t clear whether I wanted to keep the house or just move on with a clean slate.  Only recently I became clear that I want to save my house.  My subconscious mind in that moment, knowing my inner desire, sent my brain the impulse, the question, that I most needed to hear in that moment.

Just shifting my focus from “what’s this going to cost?” to “how can I keep my home?” felt like something worth working towards.

It’s like when I have a goal in my workouts.  Right now I’m training for a Tough Mudder obstacle race this weekend. I’ve been working towards this goal for the past four months. 

The goal was always clear: kick ass at Tough Mudder and have fun!  Because the goal was clear along the way it was easy for me to find the happy path to my happy outcome.  Along the way I’ve had tough workouts and sore muscles, but I have enjoyed it because I am so focused on my goal. But I’m also committed to enjoying the journey just as much.

I’m willing to put in the work, the time, the focus to get my result.

Now I just need to apply my work ethic towards my divorce.  This was my ah-ha moment! I realized with that one simple question (“how can I keep my house?”) I have a goal and the answers will come to me.  There will be some work, some negotiations, some focus I’ll need to apply but I will get my result.

The Bottom Line On Being HappyStop Waiting to Be Happy

If you’ve read my blog for any time you know I’m a big fan of being as happy as you can on your journey – not at some destination called “someday”.  I have tried a lot of personal challenges and morning processes along the way and all of them have helped me to be the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  Even in the midst of a nasty divorce, I’m still shining my light. I’m still focused on my happiness. Setbacks are lessons that make us stronger.

Being happy is an inside job. It’s in those small moments when something knocks us off our game or takes us down to our knees that we choose.  We have to find our way to better feeling thoughts.  One thought – or question – at a time.

I hope my ah-ha moment will stick in your mind the next time you receive some bad news or someone cuts you off in traffic. Ask a better question!

Tony Robbins says something to the effect of: “ask a better question, get a better life”

It’s your inner environment my friend. It’s about your inner conversation. It’s your thoughts/focus/meaning that will have you rolling downstream towards feeling better or leave you pissed off, frustrated and enjoying a pity party for one.

Here’s to you regaining your power in those moments from here after!

With love and light,

Polly

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Extreme Self Care Tip: Enjoy a Day of Decadence

pillows-loungeOne of the first things I often prescribe new coaching clients is to begin a practice of extreme self care.  Self care has become such a secondary thing in our lives with kids, chores, work, school, relationship, community, and on and on.  We often put our own needs on the back burner so long it takes getting sick or a breakdown before we’ll let ourselves relax.  Papering ourselves…what’s that?

Ok, some of you might have the whole pampering and self care thing handled, but if you’re reading this it’s because you’re looking for ideas to take better care of yourself.

Good for you!

I’m such a fan of self care that I am a stand that all women (and men) introduce more self care and self love into their lives wherever and whenever possible.

What is a Day of Decadence?

I’ll describe what a Day of Decadence means for me and what it often includes.  My hope is that you’ll be inspired by the concept that you’ll schedule one for yourself.

The idea for a Day of Decadence came after an extremely busy period in my life.  Things were moving at 10x speed and there was no vacation getaway or funds in the bank for a long weekend out of town.

As I looked ahead to my weekend after a long work week I knew that if I didn’t drop the to-do list and pick up the self care checklist I was going to start the following work week even more behind and lacking energy.

So that’s just what I did.

Here’s what I did to create my first Day of Decadence:Tea Time

1. Food/drinks – I filled my shelves with all of the necessities I would need to eat for the day. In addition, I splurged and allowed myself a few of those goodies you might serve to friends or on special occasions.  Heck…this was a Day of Decadence. It was practically a Day of Independence and a federal holiday.  Why not have lots of yummies around (mind you, careful not to select foods that could trigger a binge if you’re in that window of recovery.)

2. Movies and magazines – I bought lots of girlie and travel magazines.  The fun stuff I could just veg out on and not anything business or would trigger me to want to start some big house project.  The less motivated I was to-do stuff the better I would do at spoiling myself into happy. I rented a few movies that I knew would light me up – nothing too serious or dramatic.  Light, funny and/or romantic was the way I went. You might choose a documentary if you’d like to use this time to feed your mind.

3. A tidy house – I decided to straighten up the house before the weekend so I wouldn’t feel so compelled to pick up a broom or dust a damn thing.  House chores are not a part of a Day of Decadence. If you don’t have time or money to have the house tidy before you begin – just promise yourself you won’t clean.  Think like a queen…would a queen dust or vacuum when she’s tending to herself? Hell no.  And neither will you.Relaxing Lounge at Home

4. Sacred space – there is a lot you can do here to create an environment that nurtures your heart and spirit.  I burned some essential oils and lit candles off and on through the day and night. I also had a huge stash of pillows and blankets so I made a fort in my front room. I moved cushions off the couch and onto the floor to make the entire front room like on big bohemian tent. In different DoD’s I have pushed two couches together to make one big bed-like space where I can fill it up with pillows and blankets. Very cozy!

5. Tune out – the level with which you can turn off the outside world is up to you. Most of the time I let the people I’m closest to know I’m not available that day and it’s no problem.  If you want to keep in communication, do that.  This is your Day of Decadence. I do no internet, no phone and no TV. I only feed myself what I want to take in that day.

6. No schedule or have-to’s – I’m pretty Type A person so having a day without a set schedule is a breakthrough by itself. On my Days of Decadence there is absolutely nothing I have to do.  Everything is what I want to do…when I want to do it. Once or twice I’ve jumped in my car and ran out for a pedicure or massage, but that’s pretty hard to do without an appointment.  The day starts when I get up and ends when I feel like going to bed.

7. Rest and more rest – if there’s anything I think we could do with more of in our lives it’s a nap.  I tell ya having all those pillows in the living room like one big bed is really conducive to rest and napping.  You can’t have enough chill and rest on a Day of Decadence.  Get your exercise and have-to’s out of the way before you wake up that day. The only exercise I recommend on this day is maybe a walk to get some air or see some nature, but nothing hard core or scheduled like a workout class. You can do that another day – this is about self care and while exercise is self care for your body, it has a different purpose and feeling.

8. Be unapologetic – I never apologize when I take a Day of Decadence.  I completely give up that this level of decadence is my reward and right as a person. I deserve it not because I work so hard and have earned it – I deserve it because I’m born worthy.

9. Recognize the gift – self care is one of the greatest gifts we give the people in our lives.  I remember an old Jim Rohn quote “I’ll take care of me for you and you take care of you for me.”  That to me has several notions, but when it is applied to self care I say that we are much more able to be our highest and best selves when we care and nurture our needs.  If you pamper yourself, get lots of rest, and slow down your momentum to a place of peace or happiness you are then able to go into the world and spread that energy to the people around you.Tub with Roses

10.  Do only what you want to do – on this day with no agenda, schedule or have-to’s your practice will be learning to feel for what feels best.  I will wake up and then do whatever inspired action comes to mind.  I’ll feel my way through my day by asking myself “what would feel great now or next?” When an idea comes I check in with myself and then go with the best feeling thought I have.  This I think is the ultimate freedom and opens up our spirit for more connection and trusting our inner guidance.

While this is my checklist for a Day of Decadence yours can look completely different and unique to you.  I don’t want you to walk away from this and not set yourself up for some extreme self care. So, here’s my invitation to you…pick up your calendar or find a date that looks like it could work for your own Day of Decadence and commit to having it.  Or say something like “I commit to having at least one Day of Decadence within the next 30, 60 or 90 days.”  We can do that.  You may need support and resources, but it’s possible.

This can and will happen for you if you decide right now to do it.

Will you commit to having a Day of Decadence? Even start with a 1/2 day if that’s all you can do to start.

Something for God’s sake is better than not.

Please share below what you’re committing to and what you got out of this for yourself.

With love and light,

Polly

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Polly’s Rant: Let That Shit Go

I've Mastered the Art of Bouncing BackI’m on Day 14 of my 30 day Happiness Challenge and I just hit a bump I couldn’t bounce right back from…quickly. 

[Friendly warning: this is going to sound like a complete rant ’cause I need to get this off my chest.]

I have been practicing my beloved morning process for happiness every day during this challenge (truth be told I do it every day regardless of the challenge because it feels so good!) and feeling better and better each day.  This morning I was at Gymnazo (my local CrossFit type studio) and I had an awesome workout.  I’ve been training hard for a Tough Mudder race in a few weeks and to train harder I was testing into the advanced level program at Gymnazo.  I failed the test a few times in February and just this morning I finally passed their assessment.

Needless to say after training for four months I was over the moon happy with myself. I posted a celebratory post to my friends on Facebook, I shared it with friends on email and all the usual fan fare.  The work day was going very smoothly and I was delighted with a new coaching client call I had and felt amazing after that. (I freakin’ rock!)

Everything was doing great and then I got a few texts from the ex and that’s when I felt like the floor was pulled from under me.  Without going into too much detail it’s been a non-amicable divorce and I just want it to be over.  I’m doing all I can to move things to completion and one thing after another comes up from this guy.

Well, today was yet another unbelievable request on top of many other outlandish requests that have come across the wires.  For whatever reason, I was clearly not on my center and I let it take me off balance.  I knew it was happening. I could feel it happening and I noticed I was resisting.

Part of me wanted to throw fists at the guy’s face. He wasn’t in the vicinity.

I Tripped on Some Feelings - I'm Ok Now I Brushed That Shit OffPart of me wanted to scream out “stop this shit and leave me the fuck alone!  Get out of my life!

Part of me wanted to cry.  So I did.

Then I told myself I shouldn’t face what’s happening and should turn my attention to the result I’m after (“I’m divorced and happy about it“).  That didn’t seem to be the route to go either.

I squirmed and fought against thoughts and emotions left and right. It was like I was in that Alien movie and there was something inside me bouncing all over the insides of my body trying to get out.

All along I was feeling for my inner north – my Source’s guidance as to what to be and do.

I got nuthin’.

“Sit with it” was what I heard.

Sit with this crap?  This fucking bullshit?  This pain?

Well that sucks.  I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to create new things in my Vortex because I’m facing contrast. I don’t want to face contrast any more. I just want the good stuff.  Just give me the good feelings and I’ll be happy.

Nope, that wasn’t helping any.

Just more inner turmoil the more I fought it. So I decided to take a few deep breaths, give up, give in, have some dinner and a beer and sit down here to share my battle.  Be vulnerable and rant and show you it’s not always pretty on the other side.  Life happens.  We get knocked down.  We want to give up.  We want to fight back.

But I know too much to know that isn’t how things turn out. I know that “everything is always working out for me” and so I keep going.  I’m practicing the art of “let that shit go” – that which doesn’t serve you let it go.  Or as my friend says “how fast can you get off it?”

A Good Laugh & Sleep Cures AllI don’t wallow (well, I wallow a little).  I have a mini pitty party and then I plan to go to bed and release it.  I know that I have an opportunity for the next few hours I’m awake to try to relax.  To breathe.  To settle into what happened and start to feel for my happy place.  Then, I’ll go to sleep and tomorrow I’ll be happy again.  This crap doesn’t deserve my happiness.

I’m not wiling to let these circumstances define me. I’m not looking for happiness to come from my ex, or the world or even for things to change honestly.  They will be what they are but deep down I know that I am loved. I am part of the Universe and that means I am infinite. I am divine. I am amazing. I am worthy.  And so it is.

Whew, just too a deep breath and let it out….ahhhhh [sigh].

There is something about sharing what’s on our heart with another human being that allows the energy to flow.  Nothing’s changed in my life…the situation is still what it is, but my attitude is now different. I’m different. I’m bigger and better because that happened just now.

I appreciate you listening and hope this rant has somehow helped you in some way.  Who knows…maybe this shines a light on something in your life that you could approach differently.  Who knows…maybe this will just fade off my blog into infinity and no one will ever see or read it.  That’s fine.  I feel better and that’s what this is all about, right?  If I spread good feelings instead of bad ones to those I love then I feel I’m doing ok.  It’s my job to make myself happy and give it away to others.  My happiness is my gift to the world.

I take happiness very seriously.

Actually, I take happiness very playfully!

Ha!  That sounds a whole lot more in alignment, right?  Yes it does.

Thanks for listening and if you have anything to share, please post a comment below.

Much love,

Polly

If It Feels Light It’s Right!

Do whatever makes you feel goodThese words of wisdom came to me today courtesy of my Tough Mudder Training buddy Amanda Leath while we were out on a training run. 

If it feels light it’s right. If it feels heavy it’s a lie.

This came up when I asked Amanda how she decided what events to attend like the Tough Mudder race we’re running, the non-profits she sits on the board for and other ways she invest her time.  She said our friend Carolyn Silas had given her these words of wisdom and she said it worked for her.

I can totally relate because it’s the best way to choose not only what you do, but also what you think, what you focus on, who you spend your time with – just about everything can be chosen with this simple distinction.

Your Inner Guidance System

When I first started listening to Abraham Hicks I heard them talk a lot about our inner guidance system.  When I think of the inner guidance system I relate it to an inner compass. A compass will always tell us which way is due north.  Our inner guidance system will always tell us which way is the path of least resistance.

The path of least resistance, our path in life, is happiest when we’re following our inner guidance.  When we’re on the path, we feel good (happy, peaceful, excited, etc) and when we’re not on our path we feel don’t feel good (anxious, stressed, angry, frustrated, etc).

Like a compass, if you were to follow your feelings you would find your path to least resistance – or your happiest path.

An Example of Following Your Inner Guidance

Allow me to share a recent example of following your inner guidance and staying on the path of least resistance.  Yesterday two of my best friends came over to visit for a few hours.  We planned to hang out from about 1:00 – 3:00 and I needed to leave to meet a friend for dinner and a movie no later than 3:30.  We all knew the plan and felt that it was a good amount of time to visit and hang out.

Getting Silly With Best FriendsMy friends arrived a little after 1:00 and we hadn’t seen each other in many months so there was a lot of quick catching up to do.  You know how it is when you’re with your best girlfriends and the conversations sort of erupt with quick stories, jokes and laughter.  Well, I brought out some of my latest costumes and colorful music festival wigs and things just went to a whole new level.  The giggles became belly laughs, we ran out of memory on our phones from taking to many pictures and the fun our afternoon exploded into just naturally expanded past what we first planned for. Hey, when you’re having fun…milk those moments!

Well, we could all tell we were on a roll having so much fun and didn’t want it to end.   I started to notice I was feeling anxious as I checked my watch a few times. I thought about letting my friend down for dinner and felt bad. I could tell we weren’t going to be complete with our visit by 3:00 and 3:30 was quickly approaching.  As I began to focus on being late to meet my friend that night I grew more anxious and my body began to tense up. I noticed what was beginning to happen and I asked myself “what would feel best?” and “does that thought make me feel better or worse?”  Should I rush my best friends on their way and then dash off to my next meeting? I could tell from the negative emotion that I felt in my gut that it wasn’t the path of least resistance.  My inner guidance said “relax, enjoy these precious moments and adjust your plans that night.”

As I felt my way through a few options and explored what felt best I realized that the best thing was to text my other friend and ask for a change of plans.  That option felt best and that allowed me to be present with my besties while we completed our visit. I was able to turn my attention back to the present moment to love and enjoy them in all their glory.

That night I apologized to my other friend and our change of plans turned from dinner and a movie to just a three hour dinner instead.  I told him that I had heard bad reviews about the movie we were planning to see anyway and he agreed it was best. Having three hours to hang out and be connected was much more valuable than watching a movie.  That night we grew closer and had a delightful time.

The Bottom Line About Inner Guidance

Relax and have faith things will work out.As I went to bed that night with a full heart, a phone full of memories from the day, a deeper sense of love and connection with three great people I love very much I knew I had found the path of least resistance. A quick recap of what happened so you can take this into your life:

1. Self awareness – be aware of your emotions and when you start to feel those negative emotions rise up inside

2. Notice your focus – what you focus on and what you make it mean in the moment has a lot to do with how you feel

3. Choose your path – decide to guide your emotions by your thoughts and questions can help you check in with your emotions and guide you to the path of least resistance

This process works not only for negative feelings, but positive ones, too.  In the moment those negative feelings were creeping into my body I noticed that I wasn’t choosing the good feelings. I decided it was important to feel good and that my life is all about feeling as good as I can as often as I can.  I allowed myself to enjoy the day and connected with amazing people as a result.  In the end, trusting my inner guidance helped me find the path of least resistance and I felt fantastic about it.

Please remember to share your comments below!

I look forward to reading your comments – or email me a question if there’s something I can help you with.

With love and light,

Polly

Tough Mudder Training: Polly Mertens & Amanda Leath————————————-

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My Daily Practices for Being Happy

I Am a Happy Person!Today I want to share some advice about how I practice being happy that I gave to a client this past week. I often write so much about bulimia recovery because it’s where I came from and what I’m known for helping people with, but I’m also a life and business coach so let’s explore more than just recovery and addiction today!

The path I’m joyously focusing on is in the area of teaching people how to be happy.  Truly happy not faking it but miserable inside.  Happy now, not someday.

Happy because you want to thrive!

When the majority of your activities, your thoughts, and your focus are on what’s not working guess what you’re likely to get more of in the future…?

Yup.

You already know how this works.  You get more of what you don’t want. It’s not hard to figure that out, but it takes practice to shift.  Today we’ll focus on happy in order to bring more of that into your life.  Ready?

To Be Happy, Get Happy

I was reflecting this week on my own level of inner happiness (which reached a new high just yesterday!) and noticing my journey these past few years. I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project in 2013 and went on to create my own project. (read on my Joy and Authenticity Project post). It was during that period that I listened to Abraham-Hicks video about creating a morning process (read more about how to create a morning process).

Be With People Who Are HappyI belong to a small yet powerful women’s circle in my community. This group of women get the meaning of “working on yourself” and don’t let you slack off when you’ve got something in the way of being your most radiant self.  We each expect the most from ourselves and we support and facilitate one another through our inner journey to release what doesn’t serve us and remember who we truly are inside.

This past week as I was sitting in the circle and remembering how what we focus on we create and bring more of into our lives. I realized I could focus on and bring even more happiness into my life if I chose to put more focus on it.  So, I set a stretch goal that I would focus on being the happiest I could be each day for at least the next 30 days.  I’m on Day 5  of that stretch and feel so blessed and thankful to be re-visiting being happy in this new way.

What my stretch goal has shined a light upon for me is that when you fill your mind, your energy, your time with a focus on happy the negative doesn’t come up because you’ve got so much good going on all around you.  If you read my last post on the momentum of thought this really dovetails nicely into what I’m talking about here.

What I think keeps some of us from being happy is we don’t realize happy takes practice. It takes focus and life energy to guide ourselves in this way.  In all actuality, it feels like it takes energy because often we have so much momentum going in the negative direction that it feels like “work” to start the momentum in a positive direction.

There is good news!

The good news is:

  1. There is more well-being and positive energy in the world than negative energy
  2. Well being is being showered upon you all day every day –  if you stop doing what you’re doing to resist it coming, you will naturally let it in (read more about letting your cork float)
  3. You can create just as much momentum in the positive direction as you’ve created in the negative with a shift of focus – the better it gets the better it gets

What I’d like to do is teach you a few of the practices I’ve utilized that help me release my focus on what’s not working and allow in the natural well being that wants to come to me.  And guess what…being happy is the result!

Oh this is soooo cool. Let’s get started shall we?!

Things You Can Do To Feel Happy

First, I want to insert a quick disclaimer.  These are the practices that help remind me to be happy. It’s important as you read to take away the essence of what I’m sharing, not necessarily the specifics. I had a client I shared the Abraham-Hicks videos with and it seemed like everyone I shared them with felt better when they listened to them.  Later on she said that Abraham videos didn’t work for her. That’s cool!  Find what does work for you and do that!

Here are my practices that bring out my happiness:

  • Believe good things are happening – one of my favorite Abraham expressions is “everything is always working out for me”. I must repeat that to myself a half dozen times a day.  The power of that statement is that repeating it creates a new belief. It’s a faith-builder.  The more I believe things are working out for me, the more I can have faith that when life throws me lemons that I’ll end up with lemonade if I just give it time.  In the moment of crappy circumstances, I resist the urge to believe that things are happening to me because life sucks or you have to struggle or suffer to get what you want. Instead, I take the high road when a seeming setback appears and I trust that something will unfold that will teach me something, bring someone or something good into my life. Just repeating the phrase things are always working out for me in the face of setbacks or crappy times can help you stay focused on what you want which is for things to work out.
  • Spend time with good things and people – you are the average of the five people you spend time with.  Invest in yourself and choose your friends carefully.  I also spend my time in the car, in the mornings, in the evenings listening to things that uplift and inspire me. I don’t let negative television, movies, music, news into my life. This is the one I truly believe is where the rubber meets the road.  People are so convinced that you’ve got to be tuned in to what’s happening in the world that they forget they create their reality.  By focusing on what is and what’s bad about the world, you’re just perpetuating more bad news.  I have a very light information diet for what’s happening in the world and it’s not that I put my head in the sand, but I choose to only let in what I want to know about and influence me.
  • Be So Happy You Make Others HappyMusic is a vibration just like me – as a vibrational being I really pay a lot of attention to the music I choose. I say choose because some people listen to the radio and just tune into whatever is on the station. Not me. I even use Pandora so I don’t hear commercials because commercials get into our vibration just like the music does and I don’t want someone else’s priority to become mine. I listen to a variety of music and I intentionally choose music that is at or is higher than my vibrational state. Some mornings I wake up to dance/house music, other times it’s peaceful and calming.  If I’m listening to a Pandora and a song comes on that feels out of tune with my energy, I change it! (I actually had to do that right as I’m typing this because the song that came on just wasn’t a match for my higher energy).
  • Let the chi flow – I read a few books and blogs about Feng Shui several years ago and really like the principles behind this concept.  In fact, just last night I spent a few hours cleaning up my place, reorganizing things and paying attention to what I had where so that the chi could flow around my home. I’m a big believer in less is more and as a woman I know that when we have things in our space that distract us it takes away from our energy/life force.  Have a look around your house and make sure you feel good when you come home. If not, take a small space and work on it a little at a time. I started with my bedroom first and worked my way around the house room by room when I first learned Feng Shui.
  • Thoughtful reminders and rituals – I already shared about my morning process earlier, so check out that post if you want to know more about my morning rituals.  You become your rituals.  I have an app on my phone that pings me three times a day to remember “spend time outside”, “be grateful for someone or something” and “feel the love”.  This way I’m focusing on what is important to me.  Whether you have reminders around you home, your office, your purse, in your car, on your phone or computer doesn’t matter.  Don’t rely on brain space to remember these things – set up a reminder or a daily ritual (appointment) so that you’re sure to have these things in your life.
  • Choose my words carefully and intentionally – your life is as good as you say it is. I choose my words out loud very, very, very carefully. If I say something I don’t want to perpetuate or to bring about I replace it.  Sounds a little odd a first when you’re not used to it and this definitely takes a LOT of self-awareness. I’ve practiced and focused on my words so much over the years when I say something I don’t like or want to have come about I’m so present to it that I now can’t help but correct myself. This takes practice and you may want to invite friends to help you here because we’re usually so sloppy with our thoughts and words that having a friend tell us when we speak negative might help us become more aware in the beginning.
  • Ask better questions – one of the Abraham questions that I use each and every day is “does this thought make me feel better or worse?” Questions are great for guiding thought, energy and focus. My emotions are a reflection of my thoughts. If I’m focusing on and thinking negative things that don’t feel good, it’s up to me to choose something that feels better. I find that before I started using this I was comfortable being uncomfortable with negative energy. Now days it feels so bad to feel bad that I simply won’t let myself feel bad for long. Usually I can catch a negative feeling and thought when it first comes up so I shift things relatively easily with a few new thoughts, focus or body movement. If I have a stronger momentum on a subject, it might take a bigger shift but I definitely don’t allow myself to sit in a negative place for long.  The best thing about all of this is that each day we go to sleep and reset our energy so I know that if I’m having trouble letting something go and focusing on what feels better I trust that I don’t have to pick up that bad energy thought the next day thanks to my morning process.
  • Take good care of myself – seems pretty straight forward, but I’m noticing more and more how important it is that I take good care of my body, mind and spirit.  When I feel well and honor myself, I am so much better at everything and the world around me lights up.  Taking good care of yourself is a gift you give to the people in your life. It’s an act of selfishness and is an act of contribution.  When you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated or too busy you are of little use to the world.  Say no to busy and say yes to taking care of yourself. Spend time figuring out what you need and give it to yourself.  I have friends that thing it’s crazy that I go to bed at 8:30pm but I get up at 4:45am each day due to my morning routine and that gives me enough time to read a little or listen to Abraham before I turn off the lights.  Going to bed that early took some practice and rituals and I say no to a lot of things people invite me to, but I do what makes me feel good and it works for me.
  • For goodness sake be thankful – there are people in my life who are so thankful and speak their appreciation for life that it inspires me. I really believe the words thank you when said with sincerity have the power to create magic and miracles in our lives.  There is no higher vibration than the one we’re in when we’re appreciating an act, a person, a situation or just appreciating being alive.  My app helps me remember to say thank you at least once a day, but I also have it built into my daily rituals and I have trained my brain to find things to appreciate. I once coached a client to include the practice of looking for things to appreciate when she went out on her 30 minute walk every day at lunch. If you spend more time looking (actively!) for things to appreciate you will find them.
  • Find Time For the Things That Make You Feel Happy to Be AliveDo what I enjoy – the more time I spend doing what I enjoy and makes me feel good the happier I am.  Simple recipe, right? I could go on for an entire post about doing only what you love or enjoying what you do.  The short story is stop or minimize the things you don’t enjoy. You have the power to chose so choose things that make you feel alive!
  • Let that shit go – this applies to people and things. If something doesn’t feel good – get it out of your life.  Donate old clothes, sell displeasing or unnecessary furniture, and replace or repair the broken.  If there’s someone in your life that just drags you down all the time, spend as little or no time with that person as you can.  You’d be surprised if you just try to minimize your exposure to toxic people how much better you feel! Trust me, I have a very close loved one that I’m not talking with right now because she’s toxic to my happiness.  It may be a temporary period, but sometimes it just needs to be permanent and you get to choose. Even family is a choice in terms of who gets your time.

These are some of the ways I remember to feel happy in my life.  This list is some of what I do now, but it was an evolution.  Please don’t try to take on all of these at once.  The best rituals are those that replace rituals that don’t serve you and bring more of your radiant self to the surface.

If you could pick one area of your life that you’re spending your energy in a negative way and replace it with one of the ideas above, which would you choose?

What one action can you take and commit to here and now to do?

Nothing changes unless you change.  This is your moment!

Pick one thing (or create one on your own) and commit to it below in the comments.

I look forward to reading your comments – or email me a question if there’s something I can help you with.

With love and light,

Polly

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You Create the Momentum by Directing Your Thoughts

Happiness of your life is the quality of your thoughts.I’ve recently found myself coaching a client who’s trying so very, very hard to release her focus on binging and purging only to fall back into the struggle…ahhh…the cycle of bulimia.

As I talk with her and text with her each day I feel what she’s going through.  The daily battlefield of the mind.  It seems to have so much power and control over us that we wonder where we ever went wrong.

Asking ourselves questions like…why would a person as smart, capable, conscious as me live this f*cked up life?

Why would I eat all this food?

Why would I hide out from friends and exhaust myself with purging…sometimes for hours?

Why would I labor on the treadmill or in the gym endlessly to shed those calories?

Why can’t I stop this incessant craziness?!

Why can’t I resist the urge to binge when I just want to live a normal life?

Guess what?! The last few seconds you spent asking yourself all those questions is EXACTLY what continues to perpetuate the insanity. No joke.

Your Momentum & Law of Attraction

Let me attempt to simplify how the law of attraction works in a single statement:

What you focus on you attract more of into your life.

There.  Not hard, right? It’s really simple in theory. 

Now…understanding how it works and actually applying it is a different story. Believe me, I’m still a student of momentum…just in other areas than food thank God.  Well, I’ll be honest, food momentum can grab hold of me like when I get my focus on chocolate in the afternoon. Same principle in action.

You see momentum within our bodies is like the energy of pushing a small boulder down a big hill.  It will quickly pick up speed if something doesn’t get in it’s way. 

Your thoughts – your emotions – are a lot like that boulder running downhill. If you start to think a negative thought another negative thought will match up with it and then another and another.  As a big fan of Abraham-Hicks I’ve heard Abraham say that you have a window of 17 seconds of focus on something before the momentum starts.  You choose to focus on something for 17 seconds and then 34 seconds and beyond…the momentum gets stronger.  The boulder speeds up, more speed, more thoughts, more energy, more stress, more anxiety…whatever.

Shift Your Focus to Slow Momentum

How to have a happy lifeIn working with this coaching client recently I realize I am acting as her sounding board and helping her push that boulder down the hill faster.  When I listen to her stories in the heat of what’s bothering her I may actually be helping her perpetuate her negative momentum.

Not cool.

As her coach, I recognized what was happening and started to guide her with new questions to elicit new thoughts. I asked her to only tell me her new story, not the one that she no longer wanted to live.  I encouraged her to not keep telling the broken record story she felt compelled to talk about because she felt better “getting it off her chest”. 

My hope is you’re realizing that asking yourself those questions and retelling your worries when you’re in the midst of negative momentum is not helpful. It serves to increase more thoughts in that same downward spiral.

What Can I Do to Stop the Anxiety? The Stress? The Compulsion?

There is no one size fits all answer to the question of how do you stop the compulsion when emotions like anxiety, stress, frustration, self-hatred, anger and those type of feelings arise.  In general, here are my tips for how to get off the roller coaster before it reaches the top and takes you down with it:

  1. Realize you’re creating momentum early – you are the thinker of your thoughts.  Thoughts are what I like to call “bubbles of ideas”.  You HAVE thoughts.  You are NOT your thoughts.  Just because something comes into your mind – or if you’re like me you hear it in your ear/head – doesn’t mean you have to believe it, act upon it, or respond to it.  Just realize you’re the listener and thoughts are happening.  Self-awareness is powerful!
  2. This Too Shall PassTake a breath – pausing when you begin to notice you’re all wound up is key.  Creating a pause, a small space of time between one thought and another is an opportunity to regain your sense of self.  Ground yourself.  Do something radical with your body like jump up, swing your arms, take 10 deep, slow breaths, or simply walk around/get up/lie down – anything to change the configuration of your body.
  3. Shift your focus – what you’re focusing on is causing you to feel the way you’re feeling.  One of the best ways to shift your emotions is the move your body (physical) and the next best thing is to shift your attention off of whatever it was you were thinking about.  For example, if you are anxious about a relationship or something happening at work, take a time out and step back from the situation.  Go to the bathroom, your car, step outside and just get some fresh air and allow yourself a moment or two to focus on the past or future.  Maybe think about what you did that morning, what you need to do after work, what plans you have for the weekend, or maybe simply reflect on one thing you can appreciate in the moment.  It may be a challenge to shift from anxious to appreciation that quickly, so find some tools that work for you.
  4. Practice self-soothing exercises – there are an abundance of self-soothing exercises you can have at the ready and I share all of my best in my ebook about how to stop a binge, but to name a few: tapping, go for a walk, say calming things to yourself like “this too shall pass”, call a friend, or do some light stretches/yoga to slow yourself down and get into your body.  Whatever it takes to slow you down physically the better.
  5. Don’t let momentum start – often people reach out to me when they’re in panic mode.  They’ve let themselves get past their comfortable place and they’re in crisis because food is all they can think about or they’ve already overeaten.  That is really not the time to try to slow the momentum from rolling downhill.  You need to get out in front of the boulder/energy/thoughts when it’s just a single thought or has very little momentum.  That way you can shift your focus and sooth yourself sooo much easier than when momentum is bigger than your ability to control it.

I share all of these things to help you get new insights into slowing your momentum down before the urge takes you over. However, I want you to know that the best thing you can do is to focus on the good in your life, your day, so much that the momentum of what’s not working doesn’t have space or time to gain any momentum.

If I had a preferred method of helping you stop the urge to overeat, I would tell you to be more grateful, to be more helpful to others (volunteer/help someone), to remember what there is that is going right in your life and to acknowledge yourself throughout your day for small wins. I’ve found that it’s not about recovering from the anxiety that creates a win – it’s about putting new focus in your life so the anxious moments are few and far between.

If you could carry around with you a list of questions that you could look at whenever possible, they would include reminders like:

What’s great about this moment?

What’s great right now? 

What’s going well for me?

Who do I love and why?

Who loves me?

What have I done in my life that I am proud of?

What am I doing that is furthering me along in my life in a positive way?

What did I do today that made me feel good?

What if everything were working out for me?

How would I feel?

How would I feel if I knew that I was loved unconditionally?

These are but a few ideas.  Maybe you have some of your own to offer?

Gosh, I would love to hear your ideas, too! I’ve had so many nice comments from you guys lately [big smile]. Thanks for all of the amazing feedback and shares you’ve contributed to our community recently.

If you have comments on this post or ideas for what you can ask yourself to guide you to remember what is great in your life each and every day, what would your questions be? 

Please share below in comments.

You freakin’ rock!!

I look forward to reading your comments – or email me a question if there’s something I can help you with.

With love and light, Polly

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