Start Exercising Now!

exercise

When we’re stressed out, anxious, or depressed, I know it’s tempting to curl up into a ball, watch movies, and stay in bed. While these actions may seem like a good idea, the answer to feeling better is actually to get up and move. Exercise plays an important role in our health. When we exercise, we release endorphins, which are the chemicals that create a positive feeling in our bodies. We all have an exercise routine we love, whether it’s running, hiking, biking, walking, swimming, doing housework, practicing yoga, dancing, doing pilates, or something else, we have to stay active. By doing so, we will not only be physically fit, but we will also increase the “feel good” hormones in our body, which can assist in dealing with depression, reducing stress, alleviating anxiety, increasing self-esteem, and more.

What I love about exercise is that it really has so many positive benefits for us. In addition to making us feel happier and more relaxed, exercise is also important for keeping our hearts healthy and strong; staying active also strengthens our muscles and bones, lowers blood pressure, and exercises such as yoga help keep us flexible.

I know that the weather is colder, the days are shorter, and it probably seems like a good idea to just stay put, but trust me, you’ll feel so much better if you dedicate part of your day to getting up and moving. Even if you only have 10 minutes to go for a walk or a quick run, do it! Promise yourself that you will create a plan to stay active. If you’re exercising in the morning, it’s important to warm up first; don’t overexert yourself, especially not first thing in the morning, as this can be a shock to your system. Instead, wake up, have some water, tea, breakfast, and after you digest you can stretch and go for a walk – how great does that sound? Add your exercise routine to your calendar. Join a group exercise program and make new friends who support your healthy lifestyle and encourage you to do great things for yourself. Share your new workout plan with others so that at least one person will hold you accountable. See if you have a friend or family member who will work out with you. Whatever your next plan of action will be, I want you to not only look great, but to feel amazing as well. If you have a medical condition or an injury and cannot exercise at this moment, please try other stress reduction methods such as meditation, massage therapy, and/or hypnotherapy. If you can exercise, then get up and move! If you’re not sure whether or not you can exercise, or what the best exercise is for you, make sure you see a physician who can help you make a safe, healthy decision.

A Health Coach is a great resource to have when you’re starting a new exercise plan, want to heal yourself, and need someone who will listen to you and support you consistently. Join me for a free one hour consultation where we’ll create a health program that is perfect for you. Explore my programs and get a sense of which one of these you’d like to try first. Here’s to your health!

Discover Your Deepest Desire

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I recently signed up for Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge. I did a 21 day meditation challenge with them not too long ago, so when I saw that they were offering a new one so soon, I was really excited. As you know, I have been meditating more lately and it has worked wonders for me. Wherever you are in your life, even if you are already calm, peaceful, and happy, I encourage you to meditate. I feel that I have discovered more about myself and that I now have a tool that grounds me and quiets the chatter in my mind. I am confident you will uncover amazing things that meditation can do for you, too.

Here is a great quote from day 1 that I wanted to share with you all: “Our deepest, most heartfelt desires are like stars in a constellation…brilliant, twinkling lights that show us the way and create pathways to our true destinies. It is our soul’s mission to connect with, cherish, and realize our desires in order to live our lives to the fullest and make our greatest contributions to the world. In fulfilling our heart-held dreams we flourish, serving ourselves and others from a place of bliss, generosity, and love. Our journey starts at the beginning, in the center, as we go within to listen to our deepest truth.”

Each day, there is a new centering thought for our meditation. Our centering thought for day 1 is: “I am my deepest desire.” We meditated on this thought and you can, too. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and try meditating for 10 minutes today. Share your experience with me and others on this blog and I hope that you will achieve your deepest desire. Namaste.

*Update: Oprah and Deepak Chopra are having another free 21-day meditation challenge! This challenge will start on 4/14/2014. Sign up now – you’ll love it!*

Can Creativity Make You Healthier?

HappyWoman

Expressing your creativity may just be the health answer you’ve been looking for. Whether you are a dancer, singer, painter, poet, writer, drummer, guitar player, or pianist, taking time to be creative can make you healthier. Since there are plenty of ways to be creative, including blogging, gardening, making collages, acting, etc. find something you love that allows you to relax and be creative and do it! You will be amazed at how your mind and body will start to heal.

I often feel best when I write. For me, there are so many benefits to writing: I express how I truly feel, I tap into that part of me that makes me feel so happy, and I feel like I am telling my story. When I don’t write, the opposite happens. I become stressed, unhappy, and even anxious. If there’s one thing I can tell you with all sincerity is that you have to let that creative part of you shine so you can nurture yourself: mind, body, and spirit. There are no wrong answers with being creative – just do what you love!

I have been reading Dr. Lissa Rankin’s Mind Over Medicine where she lists several benefits to expressing yourself creativily. On page 114, she writes, “Health benefits of creative expression include improved sleep, better overall health, fewer doctor visits, less use of medication, and fewer vision problems. Creativity decreases symptoms of distress and improves quality of life for women with cancer; it strengthens positive feelings, alleviates distress, and helps clarify existential and spiritual issues; it lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, reduces anxiety, and improves mood, social functioning, and self-esteem.” She confirms what I have been feeling all along, which is that we must value our creativity and take time to nourish that part of ourselves. With so much credit being given to doctors, lawyers, and engineers, we often forget how important it is for us to tap into our inner artist, writer, musician, etc. and let that part of us out so we can heal and be happy. (By the way, I think artists, musicians, and writers are an invaluable part of our society! I owe so much to the brilliant authors and actors who make me laugh and to the singers who move me with their incredible voices. To all the amazing creative minds who encourage me to tune everything out and just write, I’ll always be grateful.)

I like to give my clients a journal. They can use this to write gratitude lists, keep track of how certain foods make them feel, and write about anything they want. I give them journals because I feel that my clients are on a journey and this is a great time for them to write about how they feel: their hopes, dreams, desires – I want them to know that they can all come true and that they should be proud of themselves for working with a Health Coach who believes in them. I always remind them that they can and should also do what they love and tap into that creative part of themselves. In this way, I watch them heal, relax, and release some of the stress that they carry around. You would be amazed how much of a weight is lifted when we sing, knit, dance, paint, write, etc. – the world suddenly becomes a better place and that stress, anxiety, and depression we may have been feeling finally melts away.

Dr. Lissa Rankin goes on to write, “The health benefits of creativity are incredible – that’s just how creative expression affects the individual! Creativity also affects your work life, your relationships, your sexuality, your spirituality, and your mental health […] Even seemingly unrelated benefits may arise as the result of expressing yourself creativity, such as improved fertility” (p. 115-116). I always feel that we all have a story to tell; a book inside of us or maybe even a short story that needs to be written and shared. Whatever is burning inside of you, let it out. The cost of keeping it inside could be your health. The benefit? Your mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical freedom – the start of finally being healthy and happy. Unlock your creativity. Pick up a pen, paint brush, or instrument and sing the song of your heart.

Is it time for you to work with a Health Coach? Prioritize your health and happiness and work with me! Schedule your free initial consultation and start living the life of your dreams. You will have my undivided attention as well as a unique, personal program that is customized for your needs. You’d be surprised how fun and freeing it can be to finally let yourself heal. Read more about my approach to wellness and health coaching here. Whatever you do, nourish yourself. Namaste.

Meditation to Heal Yourself

WaterfallDr. Andrew Weil was one of my favorite teachers when I was in nutrition school and he is still such an inspiration to me. I love how much he knows and teaches about breath techniques, meditation, and living a healthy life. I came across this meditation to heal yourself and thought I would share it with all of you. Remember that your body does have the ability to heal itself. I want you to believe that whatever you are going through, your body wants you to heal. Repeat this affirmation: “My body can and will heal itself.” Enjoy this meditation and I wish you all lots of health and happiness. Namaste.

Is it Time to Take Care of Yourself?

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I once saw a hypnotherapist who did a writing analysis for me. She was incredibly shocked to see that I leave virtually no margin on the left side of the paper, but leave a wide margin on the right side of the paper. She explained to me the significance of this: I leave no room for myself, but give others plenty of my time and space. She told me that by indenting a little when I write (on the left side) I will give a message to my subconscious to create boundaries with others.

It’s been years since I saw her and I wish I could say that I’m much better at taking care of myself, but the truth is, I have a hard time saying, “no” to people – especially my loved ones. I cook for my family, offer emotional support, and give so much of my time and energy that I forget that I need to also give that love and attention to myself. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I am working on my “me time” – that precious, positive time that I am trying to carve out for myself each and every day.

One of the things that has helped me tremendously these days is meditating. I cannot sing enough praises for how powerful, relaxing, and amazing meditating has been for me. I signed up for Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditation challenge and it was absolutely amazing! I am hoping that they will offer this challenge again, because it’s such a beautiful way for us to learn more about meditation and turning inward so we can reflect, heal, and relax.

I promised myself that I would get more massages, so it’s on my list of things to do. As much as I would love to say that I am 100% better at creating boundaries with others, I am not there yet. But I am learning to put myself first so that I can recharge and be kinder to myself. Not only will I be more loving to myself, but I will also be an even better friend, sister, lover, daughter, Health Coach, etc. And speaking of being a Health Coach, I always tell my clients to take care of themselves; I talk to my clients about the importance of self-care and taking time to rest and relax so we can fully heal. So, I have been making sure that I work on this for myself as well. I have seen tremendous improvements in my clients who are learning to meditate, breathe deeply, and make that extra effort to take care of themselves. The amount of energy that they have after they do this is truly inspiring and is a testament to the power of doing simple things like taking a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, biking, laughing, etc.

I am honored to be their Health Coach and will continue to spread my message of the importance of quality self-care so that I can hopefully help more people to take care of themselves for a change. If you are one of those people who needs an extra push to put yourself first, I promise I will do my best to help. Your first consultation is free, so what do you have to lose – except say, a few pounds, unwanted stress, headaches, and much more unhealthy stuff that is preventing you from being your best self?

I took the picture above when I was with my friend Jess in Marina del Rey; it was a beautiful night and we had lots of fun. If you work with me, I will help  you tap into free and affordable ways that you can relax, de-stress, and be the best, happiest version of yourself. If nothing else, I will help you do at least one kind thing for yourself every day, starting now. As soon as you read this, contact me so we can schedule your first session. Tell me what’s going on in your life. Are you struggling to lose weight? Is your work stressing you out? Do you feel lonely because you’re not in a relationship? Are you in a relationship that you’re not sure is right for you? All of these things impact our health and well-being and we’ll get to everything you have to say. In the meantime, take a deep breath, relax, and create an intention to heal. Promise yourself that you will do more to put yourself first so that you can relax and recharge. Namaste.

My Quest for Self-Care

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I don’t know about you, but life has been pretty busy for me lately. Throughout all of the commitments, studying, and work that I’ve had, I’ve also tried to keep my promise to myself that I will make time to take care of myself. I’ve learned that I have trouble putting myself first and that it’s not helping me to stay healthy. In fact, I was taught to put others first – which is great – and I’m sure you have all been taught the same thing, but to constantly put everyone’s needs before our own can take a serious toll on our health and well-being. Recently, I’ve been reminded of the importance of “me time” – more specifically, carving out time to rest and relax. I’ve promised myself that I will get more massages, stop working earlier in the night, and take at least one day off a week so that I can enjoy myself and my loved ones. While I haven’t gotten around to that massage just yet, I have been doing other simple things to help me keep my promise to myself.

I also decided that in my quest to take better care of myself, I would spend quality time with people who lift me up, support me, and share my goals, passions, and desires. So when my amazing friend Jess (pictured with me above) asked me to attend  an event with her on a yacht in Marina del Rey, I said, “yes!” It was a beautiful event hosted by Yelp, and we had fun talking and admiring the gorgeous ocean, sky, and the rest of our surroundings. There won’t always be events on yachts to attend, but the beach is close to my house and I’ve made it a point to invite others to go with me for a little while after work so we can enjoy the sunset and a relaxing walk.

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I took this picture last week when I went to the beach in Santa Monica with my boyfriend. We were there for a short while, but we got to see a beautiful sunset and we enjoyed a short walk while we were there. The weather is cooling down fast these days, so I’m trying to soak up as much of the beach as I can (although something tells me I will bundle up and convince my love to keep coming with me even when it’s much cooler – he is from New York, so I know he can handle the colder weather, but I might need to take a blanket or two!).

I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such beauty; I believe this is one of the ways that I create time and space to enjoy myself and nature. After my time on the yacht in the Marina with my friend Jess, I went home, made some tea, and got ready for bed. I’m learning how to set boundaries with others and explain that I need time, both to myself, and to enjoy nature. My hope is that by sharing my experience, I will help you to take care of yourself more – to put yourself first for a change so that your mind and body can heal, relax, and take care of you.

Are you tired of putting yourself last? Do you want to work with a Health Coach who understands how taxing it can be to put everyone’s needs before your own? Start creating ways for you to rest and heal by contacting me for your free initial consultation! Tell me about your days: Are you tired? Overworked? Stressed out? Is it time to take care of you? Work with an experienced Health Coach who will share tips and tools for taking care of your mind, body, and soul. I look forward to speaking with you soon and being a part of  your wellness journey. Namaste.

Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress

PeaceandCalm

“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders” – Andrew Weil, M.D.

In my last post, I talked about the importance of learning how to deal with panic attacks and stress. I shared some meditation videos and explained how helpful acupuncture and meditation have been for me in relieving stress and tuning in to my body. Today I want to share some breathing exercises that have been helpful for me. Dr. Andrew Weil has many amazing breathing techniques and you can read more about them here. Dr. Andrew Weil explains bellows breath, relaxing breath, and breath counting. I highly recommend taking a minute to review each of these breaths.

I personally love relaxing breath and do it a couple of times a day. In addition to this, I am also doing the meditation to rebuild the arcline that I shared in my last post. Remember that breathing is natural and the more that we learn to use breathwork to our advantage, the faster we can de-stress. Dr. Andrew Weil states that our breath should be deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular and this has certainly helped me to calm down.

Here is a great video of Dr. Andrew Weil leading a meditation:

What are your favorite breathing exercises for relaxing? Do you have something that works well for you when you are stressed out? Please share! Also, if you’d like more help dealing with stress and anxiety, working with a Certified Health Coach is a great way to discover new tools to help you manage your stress. You are not alone. Contact me and we will get you started with your free initial consultation today!

Meditation and Other Tools to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

WomanMeditating

It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious at some point in your life. There are certain life stressers that raise our anxiety levels, such as our financial situation, finding a new job, moving, getting married, etc. While a little stress is normal, sometimes we become so stressed and anxious that our anxiety interferes with our day-to-day activities. If this sounds like something you are going through, you are not alone.

Recently, I have been more stressed out than usual. I have been relying on my usual stress-reducing techniques, but as my acupuncturist put it, my “tank is full.” As a result, I have been paying more attention to myself and making sure that I am taking the time to listen to my body, rest, and do things that are fun and enjoyable. I am thankful that I have an amazing acupuncturist who has been helpful, understanding, and an important part of my wellness journey for over 2 years (I wish I found her sooner!) and she is continuing to be soothing and reassuring now. If you have never seen an acupuncturist before, I encourage you to give acupuncture a try – what have you got to lose?I know that acupuncture has been helpful in relieving stress for me, and I am continuing to see my acupuncturist regularly. (Last time I was with my acupuncturist I told her I wished I could have acupuncture every day and she said, “come every week!” If I’m going every week, you know my tank is definitely full – and that’s okay :)).

If you have ever had an anxiety attack, you know that there are some physical symptoms that come with an attack. Because of these physical symptoms (racing heart, upset stomach, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, etc.) it’s easy to become convinced that you are suffering from a medical illness (and that’s okay too; anxiety attacks can be scary, but once you learn how to deal with them, they won’t be so bad). A great way to put yourself at ease is to visit a doctor and explain your symptoms. After you receive confirmation that you are healthy and not suffering from anything serious, relax, take a deep breath, and work on managing your anxiety. Since a doctor can rule out serious medical conditions, trust that you are healthy and are just experiencing normal symptoms associated with an anxiety attack. Additionally, psychologists are another great resource; taking time to talk about your worries with someone else can help put your mind and body at ease. Lastly, I recommend working with a Certified Health Coach who will give you tools to manage your stress and anxiety and will create a program specifically to help you be healthy, happy, and stress-free. A great book that I recommend to clients is Panic Attacks Workbook: A Guided Program for Beating the Panic Trick by David Carbonell, Ph.D (purchase this book here).

Throughout this stressful time, I reached out to Felice Austin, a hypnotherapist, yoga instructor, and therapeutic imagery facilitator. As it turns out, Felice has some great videos on meditating to help strengthen and rebuild the arcline, which is helpful in preventing panic attacks and depression. Even if you are not experiencing panic attacks and depression, these meditations are still great stress relievers. The first video explains tuning in (what we should do at the beginning of a meditation), the second video is a meditation to strengthen and rebuild the arcline (this is the video that will help with depression, panic attacks, and dealing with stress), and the last video explains tuning out (what we should do at the end of a meditation).

I hope these tips will help you as you are trying to relieve stress. If you are ready to work with a Certified Health Coach who will guide you and help you manage your stress by creating a program specifically designed for you, contact me so we can set up your initial appointment and give you the tools to be happy, healthy, and stress-free! Remember, you are not alone and there are ways to deal with anxiety and there are people who are trained to help. Be well and take care of yourself and if you have a story to share with everyone that you feel will help, please share! Xo