Sure, coffee is the traditional get-up-and-go, it contains beneficial antioxidants, but, for some, it’s a cup of anxiety. Coffee doesn’t actually provide energy, the caffeine just stimulates your adrenals, causing that jolt everyone seems to crave. But when you get that jump, in conjunction with the potential morning stressors, it can sometimes make you boil over.
You’re reading your email and find that you shoulders are tightening, you’re taking audible breaths, maybe even feeling a tinge of anxiety...this all could be caused by fight-or-flight and/or too much adrenaline, which could eventually result in adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a tricky one to come back from because it actually causes you to feel exhausted and lethargic and in order to reconcile your tired adrenals, you’re required to stop caffeine altogether! (Reaching this point usually means coffee/ caffeine doesn’t have its usual kick to get you out of your slump anyway.)
This topic is very familiar for me because, typically, I know that coffee is too much for my system. Depending on the day, it can even trigger an anxiety attack and the unfavorable shakes. I love the taste of coffee, particularly fair-trade organic options that are roasted evenly, so that they don’t harvest mold (a popular issue with coffee beans). I also try to find low-acid options, but even all of those upgrades still don’t change what coffee can do to your adrenals. For me, I start to see the effects of it on my face and, unfortunately, I’m the type of person who sometimes requires signs of visible distress in order to finally put a stop to unsupportive behaviors.
So, the alternatives! Weirdly enough, most people respond much differently to the caffeine found in tea. Some of this has to do with the fact that different types of tea contain different volumes of caffeine (some herbal is caffeine free, white tea usually contains the least, green tea lies in the middle, and black tea yields the highest amount of caffeine, along with green matcha). Also, caffeine has a variety of different strains so, some can be more steadily processed by the body. (Bulletproof coffee claims to have that as one of its perks...not causing you to peak and crash.)
Experimenting with different teas can have a variety of perks. Most boast loads of health benefits and you’re able to access your inner medicine woman, seeking certain types for your particular ailments. During my sister’s pregnancy, I found a way to amp her protein intake (my mom says it’s so important because you’re building a baby brain) by making her hemp mylk lattes with an assortment of different herbal teas. It’s super simple and so delicious. Hemp is an amazing source of protein, containing a whopping 10 grams per tablespoon! That’s about as much as a large hard boiled egg. Hemp also contains the oh-so-healing omega-3 fatty acids, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
To make a hemp mylk latte, your first step is to brew a cup of tea...I like to steep mine a little longer since you’ll be dilluting it with the mylk. In a blender, add a tablespoon of hemp seeds to approximately 1/4 cup of hot water. I like to add pure stevia (like Sweet Leaf) or a little bit of raw, organic, local honey. If you have vanilla bean, cinnamon, collagen protein, or any other health boosters, those are great add-ons too! Last, BLEND. (It also works to pour your brewed tea with the desired ingredients and blend, but you just want to make sure all of the little hemp seeds are blended fully to reach the desired smooth/ creamy consistency.) Once it’s complete, this tea even has a nice froth to it so, you’re not missing a thing!
Another great option is a blended, chilled matcha latte shown below! Not only is matcha delicious, it also comes with a barrel of health benefits!
Note: I DO still drink coffee, but never more than 2 cups a day. I am also very careful to take an inventory of how I’m feeling and what I’m taking on that day. If it’s a particularly stressful time, I just avoid it. I also never drink coffee before a flight or speaking engagements because those already make me nervous so, pouring some adrenaline on that would not be supportive!
Check out this stunning Montessori kindergarten. Obviously the aesthetic is so pleasing, but I think a lot of kids would thrive in a tidy environment, free of too much clutter and stimuli. With the way most classrooms are designed in the U.S., one might assume there's solid evidence that all children would excel in an environment with bold, primary colored banners, posters, vibrant educational rugs, etc.
The Montessori page Wikipedia states that "Montessori education involves free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to help and allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives." "The environment should exhibit the following characteristics:
Sources: design-milk.com and Wikipedia.com
Honoring yourself with proper self-care and healthy boundaries is the only way to truly grow into your God-given capabilities and potential. Imagine you are a plant. If you feed yourself soft drinks, you may stay alive, but will you really thrive? Sure, pop contains water and it may seem more appealing because it comes in a shiny can, it's sweet, and the carbonation makes it more exciting, but it will stunt your growth. Similar to toxic food, people, and behaviors— while they may be alluring, exciting, and make you feel good in the moment, they will also impair your capabilities to reach your optimum height. Toxins reduce your ability to thrive and flourish. So, when you come to a crossroads and you feel your intuition pulling at you, imagine yourself as a plant and remember: you have a choice to opt out of taking in the toxic! You deserve pure nourishment and nothing less— exercise, true love, spiritual warmth, supportive people, clean foods, and the opportunity to reach the sun!
Life is made up of decision and circumstances. Some of these things are within our control and some of them are served to us. Commonly, when life gets rough, people can get consumed with thinking, "why me?"/ "doesn't God love me?"/ "why does this keep happening?"/ "why doesn't the universe have my back?", etc. While these are all valid questions to entertain, they will never equate to relief. God DOES love you...maybe that's why you're going through this horrific situation-- only to refine your level of capability, aka "awesome", for something different. I wouldn't ever considered myself a troubled person, but let's just say that struggle is most definitely not a foreign concept to me.
There have been times when people have tried to lend their support by suggesting that I was special and God was allowing these things to happen because He had SO much faith in me. Well, as kind as that is, it didn't jive with me. A majority of the time, I thought that if that were the case, I just assumed God love me a little less so that I could receive a little relief. It didn't feel right. I wasn't being singled out by God and knew I wasn't the "special" student because we're all created equal. I also knew and know that everyone has one thing in common: we all have our problems. Maybe the scale is different, but they're there. So, I did what I do best and I ANALYZED different theories until I exhausted loads of options.
At thirty years of age, here is what I've come up with. I could have been born with an internal quest to seek a life of "normalcy". Let's be real, the closest thing to "normal" is if you're participating in a stream of societal expectations, charged generational ideals, and (I hate to say it because I don't ever want to be misinterpreted for hateful, but) functioning similar to a human robot. You can't blame this ever-growing species of human because it looks like it would be pretty uncomplicated to subscribe to a life of siding with the majority, holding beliefs that don't rock the boat, and living out your days as if your actions don't matter or contribute to the ripple effect in the universe...(selfie stick in hand). I can see the appeal because I am a completely different species of person on the total opposite spectrum. Being a highly sensitive person alone makes me a rare minority. But I am a person who realizes how much of a change one person can make. The ripple effect is real. I was able to see this in action when it was brought to my attention during my schooling with IIN. The longer I was on my wellness journey, the more frequently I would realize that my friend's and family's pantries had become VERY similar to mine, stocking a lot of my favorites. This may seem little, but it isn't. What these people eat means the world to me because it adds years to their lives and if they share it, the ripple effect commences! I honestly think some of it is persuasion, but a majority is through osmosis! (Real quick: again, I am not thinking I am superior to anyone. I honestly look at some people and envy that they are entirely content living their way and are totally unaware of this notion altogether! It can get exhausting being on the other side of it!)
When I decided to make bold moves by going to FIDM and then, going to IIN, there was something stirring inside me. I couldn't accept the status quo and get a job that didn't make me feel like I was REALLY living. Like I was REALLY being of service. My saying this doesn't mean that almost every profession on the planet doesn't have a very necessary place in this world. We need people who are passionate about ALL vocations...otherwise our society would experience imbalance/ lack. For me, personally, this is just quite essential. God placed this specific mission inside of me. Living against the grain isn't easy-- it brings up all sorts of things that make life feel sort of like an uphill climb. It makes "safe" feel unsafe because while I know it's the cozier choice, I still feel the urge to choose the risk. It's sort of like on Disney's Beauty and the Beast when Bell is on horseback, trying to find her father and she comes to a fork in the road. One route looks pleasant and promising and the other looks dark and dangerous. Regardless the appearance, Bell chose the less obvious choice. This decision resulted in her being held captive and at this point, many people (including her), could have sat and asked "Why God? I listened to my gut and I'm just trying to help-- so, why is the universe doing this to me?" Well, her time at the castle wasn't always easy, BUT it resulted in her "happily ever after". I know I really took that fantasy scenario and ran with it, but it's very similar to my point...if I ever get to it!
Again, life is made up of decisions and circumstances. It's all about perspective, following our intuition, and making sure we make the best of situations we find ourselves in. Your story can impact your life in a big way. You can blame the world for your circumstances, or you can sit and see the lesson in it. You can use these pages in your life as the fuel that will drive you to success. If life serves you sad, make sure you embrace happiness that much harder. When life sends you unpleasant people, appreciate gracious people that much more. If you find yourself in a downward spiral, stop and dream up a better outcome for yourself. See yourself in a different life and take the action steps that will lead you towards that direction. Maybe you are someone who feels like you're at a dead-end and don't have the resources to get out-- sit and write out baby steps and focus on the things you DO have control over. Decide to make a shift, own responsibility of your life, and the universe WILL open up doors for you. Again, it's all about perspective. When you're looking for it with positive intent, it will present itself to you.
SO, for those of you who have felt like you've had it rough: if you're someone who lives an alternative lifestyle and feel drained or like you've missed out on what life has to offer, know that you're not alone. You ARE a special breed of human and it's SO great that you're not content with living like the majority or within the confines of common. It's not that God doesn't love you OR that God loves you more, it's just that He has sent you on a mission that takes a certain person with your special traits and life experience. A person with tenacity, with heart, an imagination, and PASSION. Some of these things could be the very characteristics people have judged you for or have told you that you need to be more practical or take it down a notch. B-o-l-o-g-n-a. That's only because those traits aren't relatable to them-- so, it doesn't make sense to them, which can sometimes make people uncomfortable. Why life could seem like it's against you is because this current world isn't really cut out for you. (My mom would say, it's like how lefties feel in a predominant right hand world.) BUT, even though, the world doesn't really accommodate our kind, it desperately NEEDS them. So, when life feels hard and you feel stuck, keep moving forward. See the beauty in your struggle because with struggle comes lovely things like breakthrough, personal evolution, and progress!
So, I have to go ahead out "out" myself. Particularly because of the last few blog posts. Not only were they posted in MAY, they were also on the topic of self-care. While that has continued to be a running theme in my life, I have to confess that I haven't earned many gold stars in this area as of late. I could definitely get gold stars for worrying about not getting enough self-care, but actual implementation: nope.
When I moved from Oklahoma to LA, I felt like I was in a storm/ time warp/ twilight zone/ hell. I was very consciousness that this time of my life would bring inevitable stress, but trying to alleviate it sort of felt like trying to meditate and get in enough exercise while there was literally and figuratively a flood happening. Everything that I knew well-- every routine, familiar face, my grocery store, squeezing my nieces (my self-regulation vices) all of it sort of got swept away. This is by no means me feeling sorry for myself because this was entirely voluntary/ self-inflicted because it was my choice to move, but the multitude of change that I had just brought on was (and still is) extremely uncomfortable.
Before I go into some of the things that have gotten me through this in one piece, I suppose I could give a little insight to the subtext as to why this was/is "uncomfortable". (Please note: I am speaking from my personal point of view and while I am absolutely sure non-HSPs probably feel a very similar way being put in these positions, I am just giving a little insight to my experience in my "special" body.) Being a highly sensitive person, my nervous system is extremely receptive to sensory/ nuance/ energy...meaning, my fight or flight mode/ sympathetic nervous system is a little trigger happy. Change in my environment means a lot of "potential danger". The more you become acclimated to a person, space, etc., you are able to process those "features", deem them safe (or not), and you are then able to come down a little and not feel so uptight and/ or irritable. Which, again, is how most humans function, but, for HSP’s, it’s all intensified.
Within the first few months of being back in LA, I acquired a fast-paced job, moved into a new apartment...after three intense weeks of searching, had someone I've known for a long time show their true (murky) colors, and found myself in a very tight schedule with very little free time. All the while, I am trying to give myself grace as I try to process, self-regulate, and come back into my body more than not. (..And keep a social life, try to maybe date, and not starve my little elderly pup, Eloise, of deserving TLC.)
I felt led to accept an exciting job where I travel half of the month and while I am unclear if this is my premature death sentence or a potentially valuable challenge, it gave me the idea that I can share my journey to staying mentally sound, physically fit, and well-- all while traveling for work (and play)! I will go more into this exiting content later, but today I am going to chat about some of the things I have done that have been extremely instrumental to making a healthy/ stable transition. Yes, I do feel that if I didn't implement these steps, the stress would have been significantly more brutal.
First, some obvious “symptoms” and red flags to look out for that might indicate that you may be living at a pace/ mind space that could be detrimental your spiritual life, personal life, and literal lifespan: when you’re feeling a little out of body, unfulfilled, tense, you have a hard time connecting, OR you find yourself looking back on previous days and can't quite picture the details and the days seem vague. Any of these sound familiar? Here are some significantly useful habits you can implement to make you feel a little more sound, secure, and present.
1. Find Time to Breathe. Like, really breathe. Those great diaphragmatic breaths where you breathe in and your stomach expands and when you breathe out, it goes back down. (Reading this description could sound elementary and instinctual, but until I studied "basic breathing" in school, I didn't realize that my body didn't do those things until I started practicing. I would force my stomach to push out, even though, air wasn't actually filling my lungs and continue until I caught a full, natural breath. To this day, I still have to frequently check in with myself and make sure I'm doing that.) REAL breathing is a great way to signal to your body that you're not in danger. You could be safe on your couch watching Netflix, but if you're taking shallow breaths, chances are, your body is still in fight or flight mode. When you're functioning with your sympathetic nervous system, or "fight or flight", you're in survival mode. Your body doesn't care about secreting regulated hormones, repairing damaged cells, digesting, etc. It's purely functioning to survive, releasing cortisol. This is why when you’re stressed, you’re maybe a snacker or don’t have an appetite at all-- due to your bodies' inability to release the proper amounts of your "full" and "hungry" hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Another popular repercussion is having overly active bowels or your elimination is slowed down (or off altogether). One of my favorites is looking haggard— which is how your friends clairvoyantly ask you if everything is okay because they can see it on your face— your cell turnover rate has lulled. So, this cliche tip to breathe is actually THAT important because you want to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, “rest and digest” mode, so your body functions like it's supposed to..
2. Find a Not-So-Guilty Pleasure...or two. One of my very favorite scenarios is to cook while listening to uplifting movies or music, accompanied by chilled wine glass of KeVita (fermented coconut water). This originally became a habit because I wanted to "come down" after work by drinking something without alcohol when I quit drinking for a year. I now prefer this ritual because it contributes to my health and is still an extremely effective way to relax. So, I'm not saying go grab yourself a KeVita, but take inventory of the things that really give back to your body and allow you to feel at ease. Whether that's evening strolls, drawing, crossword puzzles, ANYTHING--- so that if you find yourself out of your comfort zone, you're able to come down, without compromising your health.
3. Get Moving. I can't tell you how often I've blogged about or told clients this somewhat obvious, but under utilized little gem. You might hear it a lot because the stats are right-- working out is one of the most effective stress relievers, a great way to pump your endorphins, and press the reset button. When I travel or find myself in a state of stress, I run. I bring my running shoes because I know the consistency of working out is so healing for me. No matter where you're working out, if you're able to become centered, it will trigger that same state/ mindset, no matter where you are (literally and figuratively).
4. Implement Routine. To some, this could seem very boring. I'm not saying shut down your spontaneous side, but routine can be a great way to bring familiarity to an unfamiliar place or time in your life. While I love supporting local, independent shops, one of my best travel tips is: the second you touch down at the airport, map a Whole Foods. You can find one in most major cities, either near the airport or your hotel. Since most layouts are fairly similar, choosing a grocery like Whole Foods will actually end up saving you time— not to mention the obvious perks of having healthy snacks handy when you’re on the go. I know when most people think of Whole Foods, they don’t exactly think “budgeting”, but this little routine will also end up saving you money! Grabbing some quick $3 breakfasts (like superfood oatmeal cups by Vilgilant Eats and Purely Elizabeth), $1 bottles of spring water, transportable fruits like apples, pears, plums— not only allows you to stay on a healthy path, it also reduces the temptation of grabbing a $4 acidic SmartWater from your mini fridge or a processed snack from a vending machine or convenient store. I also highly suggest grabbing a green drink, low in sugar (4ish grams a serving), to alkalize your system and help combat travel stress.
During my move, I have loved discovering new places, but when I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed, you have no idea how comforting it is to walk into somewhere like a Sprouts-- anywhere I can go to avoid unnecessary stimuli.
In order to master these tips, you must first challenge yourself to devote time to be still. Time to check-in and pay attention to what does and doesn't work for you: activities, foods, etc. By doing this, I was able to find the very things that bring me to a state of homeostasis. (And, also, things that lead me to the brink of spiraling.) This custom “wellness formula” is invaluable when you're entering a time of stress, change, upheaval. Take inventory of the things that help you self-regulate and feel whole and authentic... and do what it takes to make sure that you’re living on that level. It’s the most self-honoring thing you can do!
Do you have any self-regulating routines?! Please share in the comments section below!
I recently dropped one of my tried and true philosophies...and paid for it! Even when (especially when) you're overwhelmed and busy, self-care is imperative. These videos are slightly tricky to follow because they're from my Instagram stories and I usually lose my train of thought because the videos stop after 15 seconds SO, I will fill you in...
I have been desperately been trying to adopt a much more simplified lifestyle when it comes to STUFF. I can't even call it "minimalism" just yet because I attempted it before my move and I failed miserably. I ended up having two garage sales, sold stuff on Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace, gave things away, and donated two trucks full of decor and home goods! YET, somehow, that still didn't get me to the point of reaching "minimalist". Why? 1. Apparently, I'm not cool enough. (Totally kidding, but, really, I'm going to have to redefine the term and make it my own...I'm a stylist. I can't own three pairs of jeans and I'm not sorry.) 2. Because it took me three solid days of moving and three trips in a small U-haul van to clear out my house. This eventful topic will be a blog post on its own because I want to share my tips and lessons learned for those of you who are looking to shed some pounds...not on your body this time, but in you home and consciousness!
During those three days, plus the previous days I prepped for my move after working full days, I didn't really invest the necessary TLC in my honor...and I felt it. Without going into too much detail, it probably took me two full days before I came back into my body. No bueno.
Anyway, I frequently hear people plead their case as to why they haven't tried daily meditation, cleaner eating, or just fit in that warm and delightful "me" time-- and it's usually because work has been crazy, their kids have a lot of activities, they've been traveling, etc. The reality is, the more hectic your life is, the more imperative self-care is! Being mindful of balance and being mindful of just being mindful is HUGE when it comes to health, happiness, and genuine wealth.
Similar to why flight attendants instruct you to put on your oxygen mask BEFORE helping a loved one, you cannot give from an empty cup...or in the context of the airplane, you cannot save someone else's life if you yourself are incapacitated!
As always, I must close by saying that this is a constant evolution. Do I meditate, exercise, oil pull, call my family, spend time with friends, and cook 3 balanced meals each day? Nope. But opening up your consciousness to these truths each day is everything and will allow you to slowly reach a new spectrum of balance and ease!
First of all, I laughed out loud when I wrote this title because even though it's extremely dramatic, it's not too far from the truth! In my quest to get my 30's off to a good start, I decided to go full tilt into my consulting business without much of a doubt. I had a strong strategy in line, I had a keen feeling LA was my future, and I pursued my dreams. Well, as most of us know, "we plan and God laughs". I will not go into a spiral story about how hard my life is because that's just ridiculous, but I also wouldn't say my life has been a bed of roses. For the sake of authenticity, I always speak my truth-- even when it puts me in a slightly vulnerable state...especially considering the social media world we live in where we show the public our "highlight reel" (most of which is staged). Well, that's just not my jam because I don't think that serves anyone. So, my personal preference is to keep it real and the wiser I get, the more I really want to air that all out. (Especially in my line of work-- I feel like our primary goal is to encourage others. SO, I don't think it's very productive to paint a perfect picture of yourself for people, simultaneously saying you're going to help them tap into their true, authentic self!)
So, on to my story, in the attempt to build a bit of a financial cushion, gain more exposure, and do something I love dearly (style), I recently got a job at Saks Fifth Avenue. I first have to say that the inner workings of this corporate company is quite impressive. Second, I have to say that by taking this position, I was able to learn A LOT about myself. Exposing myself to a once extremely familiar environment made me see just how much I've changed over the past few years. Actually, not only that I've changed, but that I've been able to really get to know myself, truly. Just being in that job role for a short period resulted in old anxieties coming up and with them a pile of food cravings (particularly my blast from the past, tried-and-true comfort food: Chinese take-out).
At first, this irrational behavior totally caught me off guard and I almost resented the feeling that I'd lost contact/control with my centered-self, but looking at it now makes me realize that by having this experience, I am able to relate to my clients that much more. There is value in remembering what it was like to feel like I sort of "needed" to eat/ drink __________. I was also watching myself opt out of daily forms of self-care! WTF was going on?!
One thing that didn't waiver was my ability to check-in. I felt off, fuzzy, disoriented, and far from myself so I was able to stop and ask myself what was going on. Apart from the obvious (working in retail and doing my consults meant I was working every single day), I realized that it was my intuition and basic human needs that were crying out. I had lost focus on what really matters and that is being a Lifestyle Consultant. I know that without a doubt helping people optimize their everyday by way of clean living is my calling.
I was so consumed with getting to point B that I had lost sight of the reason why I was wanting to have that cushion-- to be doing what I LOVE doing: helping people...and in order for me to do that, I have to be in my right mind/body/soul. I do still wholeheartedly believe that assisting people with their wardrobes does help them by making them feel a level of confidence, getting the most out of an evening or an event, being able to self-express, but there is a fine line. Absolutely! (Click here for a more in-depth entry on this topic.)
I also realized that to support my highly sensitive self, I really shouldn't overwork and in the process of overworking, I shouldn't decide to skip out on taking care of myself when it is the most opportune time to do so! Another whammy: I should honor my unique traits by opting for a more supportive work environment...one that is a little more controlled. P.S. If you're interested in more on the subject of Highly Sensitive People and finding the right workplace, this book is great!
Going into this situation, I could have told you what would happen, but I thought it could be an exception...maybe. Sort of like when you think drinking that third or fourth drink THIS TIME will be okay.... when is it ever okay?!
So, in conclusion, this experience was a wonderful opportunity to really FEEL these life truths:
1. It is never an okay idea to drop self-care. You need TLC in many forms: exercise, being in nature, good magazines, pampering, etc.
2. Cravings for foods that don't contribute to your health, also don't contribute to your goals or self-esteem. They are signs that you are out of balance and that you want a pacifier (a hug, a jog, a different job, a nap). The urges feel SO legitimate because they really, really are. Your serious life upsets that cause silly cravings are as legit as it gets. The key is to focus on the serious life upsets. Until you do this, your wires will get crossed and you'll think that they're "serious" cravings and your solution lies in indulging in that food when, really, it's never the answer.
3. HONOR YOURSELF. When you hear that sweet voice in your head and feel that pitter-patter in your heart, and the flutter in your gut-- that doesn't mean you are doomed! Get quiet, listen, validate, and make a change. (Or make steps towards making a change...do what you can, now.) You are more than worth it. If you feel as if you've lost yourself in the mix of life and stress, do whatever you can to evoke that real you. For me, it's classic cinema, words of inspiration (particularly lectures from IIN), listening to Elvis, meditation, reading about my Myers-Briggs personality traits...anything that you can immediately identify with, that will allow you to breathe, and make you feel validated.
Stay-tuned for more brutal honesty about my exciting life adventure! The goal is to get to LA by spring and I'm not going to assume it's going to be easy or simple, but I know it will be eventful! And that's exactly the desire God has put in my heart! xo
There has been something weighing heavy on my heart the past few days so, I figured I should write it out. If you're like me, you regularly come across inspirational quotes and literature stating that happiness isn't something that can be acquired, but is simply a frame of mind or a decision. One of the more common quotes by Abe Lincoln states just that, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be". While I absolutely agree with this, I also feel a bit guilty for being one of those people who posts these things on social media, making it seem like being happy is so simplistic.
When I read these motivational quotes, depending on my mood, it can either help me immediately snap out of a rut or it just pisses me off. Some people require a little more than a change of tune or getting up on the "right" side of the bed. As a highly sensitive person, this is something I've dealt with my whole life. Since I was a small child, if I was experiencing internal hardship, which usually resulted in my acting out or falling into a slump, people would frequently tell me to essentially get over it or, my least favorite, "this too shall pass". This coffee cup advice seemed to work for so many people that I began to think that I was a defected human because I just couldn't shake it that easily.
Sometimes, if we are experiencing an imbalance, it isn't so easy to just snap our fingers and get happy because there is a correction that needs to be made. While this imbalance can inconveniently get in the way, it is wise to shift your perspective and be so grateful for it because it's your body's way of saying, "there is an area of neglect"! If we avoid this area or dumb it with a vice, it can manifest into a lot of mental and physical burdens, ten times its multitude. While it isn't always easy to get to the land of happy, it is SO important to point out that it is possible to get there and rise above!
During my 6-month program, my clients and I focus on goals. One of the most common things discussed is their goal to achieve a state of well-being, peace, and happiness. It's always a difficult subject, only because there are so many components to this weighted issue. Happiness is a product that has to be broken down into the many actions that we identify this feeling/ emotion with. Perspective is absolutely everything because while newlyweds think financial freedom brings "happiness" and think they will acquire joy by way of money, the single entrepreneur who is sitting on a large sum of money and has a comfortable cash flow thinks they could achieve happiness, if only they could get married. The interesting part of all of this is that through many studies, one Deepak Chopra performed, it has been proven that the amount of money someone acquires does not improve long-term happiness. The only time money does affect long-term happiness is when you worry about not having enough of it, which then reduces your state of well-being.
Touching on this point a little deeper, while being goal-oriented is invaluable, there are some people who are constantly focusing on their horizon/ future. "When I reach this level of success, I'll be happy." I think big picture goals are great, but if you don't make note of daily and weekly accomplishments and celebrate the mile-markers, you are selling yourself short. By the time you get to your end goal, or "destination", you won't get to reap the oh-so-nourishing sense of achievement because being a "future seeker" means you will already have your sites set on that new horizon. Being in the present will allow you to see your success and enjoy it. Staring at the horizon means you will keep going and finally stop once you've "arrived"... when you're dead.
I recently listened to an amazing lecture Deepak Chopra gave about something called the Happiness Formula. I found this extremely interesting and probably the soundest self-help I've come across. This formula is: H = S + C + V.
"H"- happiness, "S"- set point in brain that depicts if you're happy or not, stemming from how you received loved and were cared for in the first three years of your life, which can be changed with some mindfulness (50%), "C"- economic conditions of living/ how often you think about money (12%), and "V"- voluntary choices you make every day to receive pleasure (38%). Not only does this formula go much deeper in detail, Mr. Chopra has also developed a "well-being test" that is said to be a very solid predictor of what's going to happen in your future. The results are based on the calculated scores in areas of well-being including: social, career, physical, financial, and community.
So, on to rounding about this jumbled mess I've created. For anyone experiencing days of sadness, depression, fear, or, "analysis paralysis", please know and consider that there are things that you can do to alleviate this pain that doesn't come in a prescription bottle. While I am not a doctor and don't aspire to be, I have seen countless founded studies and have personally experienced the outcome of the many actions humans can take to rise above a rut and diagnosed depression.
So, is achieving happiness as easy to receive as simply subscribing to it? Yes and no. I think making a decision to make the necessary steps to obtain happiness is the golden ticket. What steps am I talking about? The ones Deepak Chopra touched on, the "primary foods" that are emphasized throughout the teachings at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I received my certification. Not only has exercise proven to be hugely effective in fighting depression, diet is the ultimate whammy in the world of rebounding from mental and physical ailments, along with meditation, proper sleep, and spirituality/ religion. Supplementation like omega-3's, L-5-MTHF, and SAMe are gaining a lot of popularity and acceptance, even in the medical field, in assisting to help alleviate depression. There are also a handful of amazing authors, specialists, and doctors who have created some lovely soul food in the form of books! Please know that you aren't defected because bumper sticker "words of wisdom" aren't enough for you.
Probably one of the largest factors that influenced my personal journey was learning about the importance of gut health and the major role it plays in your body's ability to cope and create your "happy" hormone, serotonin. "Gut bacteria creates 95% of the body's serotonin." To read more about gut health, Donna Gates is an amazing source of knowledge. Another enlightening condition that can affect your state of well-being full tilt is adrenal fatigue, which can be caused by something as ordinary as excess caffeine, but can result in depression and/or very similar symptoms to depression.
So, in conclusion, if you're trying to acquire happiness, I am a firm believer that you can achieve it because it is already within you. While state of mind IS everything, sometimes, it isn't as easy for everyone. We are all built differently, we all require different levels of self-care, and supplementation. Lifestyle plays a HUGE part and so does being mindful of the way we listen to and nourish our bodies. Please entertain the many holistic ways you can actively work towards tapping into your internal happy. Again, while it isn't always easy, it is within your power.
Moving to Los Angeles was never really my game plan until my freshman year of college when I found myself at a state school, yearning for a city where I could actually feel creatively inspired to do why I was there-- study fashion. It wasn't until one day when I was driving through Stillwater, Oklahoma and feeling unsettled (and crying hysterically, to be more accurate) when I thought the craziest and scariest thing I could do would be to leave. So unconventional. I had told my parents that I would stick out one full semester to just be sure that it was something that I wanted to do and if I still hated it, I could start entertaining the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
In high school, my merchandise marketing class was introduced to FIDM through a college recruiter and while I knew it was located in California, it never really struck me until my application was accepted and I was flying there with my family to see the school.
Los Angeles was slightly terrifying. During this time period, the first few episodes of The Hills had just aired on MTV and instead of that being a selling point, it actually had an opposite effect. I thought it was all just really daunting. Although equally reluctant, my parents were on board and my sister said if I was going to do fashion school, I should just go all in and do it in LA.
(I have to insert this fun "sign"....We decided to spend the last day of our trip in Newport. I had really just come to the conclusion that I would probably make the leap and move to LA and we decided to do a little shopping at South Coast Plaza (a massive shopping mall). We were talking about logistics and we ran into my enrollment counselor, who said she never goes to Newport! We had met with her in LA just a few days before, she knew my hesitation, and so we all got to sort of talk it through again and it was there where I was able to tell her in person that I was going to enroll!)
I had never spent much time California. When I was 3-years-old, I went to Disneyland and when I was sixteen, I had bought my car on eBay. Getting my car was a similar situation. I decided on the car, got my parents on board, and it didn't fully occur to me that I had to go to Los Angeles to get it! (Not until writing this am I actually seeing the funny similarity! Also amazing proof that I have extraordinary parents.) Fast-forward to my completion of school and it was probably the biggest gift that I could have given to myself. While it was really scary being alone, I was able to find some solid friends, good jobs, and great opportunities in the years that I lived there. I didn't stay because I felt led to be closer to family.
I now know I felt the nudge to leave so that I could be closer to home while my mom fought cancer...and won, I was able to be a part of the birth of my two beautiful nieces, and my dad decided to start a wellness center in conjunction with his existing practice and I was able to contribute to the process...I also got closure on quite a few relationships from my child/teenhood. If you read one of my posts below about how I found clean eating, I think that all plays a part as well. I got to a point where I didn't want to be defined by fashion and I needed to dig deeper. I think I got sick because I was feeling so out of sorts, which led me down a wonderful path, bringing me to receive my certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Tulsa and Dallas were sort of my detour training periods so that I could solidify my authentic-self, to learn what works for me and what doesn't work for me, and to get laser vision for the very purpose why I am on this planet.
NOW, almost 8 years later since leaving California, I am moving back. Each year that has gone by since, I would make regular "maintenance" visits that would go as follows: I would bottle up some creative energy, have a nice cry, and come home with a LA hangover, sort of yearning for that life, but knowing I wasn't supposed to be there. In the past 8 years, I've had people practically put down bets as to when and if I would move back. I would come home 90% of the time saying I wanted to move back, go through the motions of making a half decent attempt in doing so, but it was never that easy.
I see the pros and cons and always have. Not until I found out that I was a Highly Sensitive Person did I understand the underlying reasons for highs and lows. Too much stimulation, traffic, exertion, being too conscientious of stuff/status/silliness, an imbalanced diet, certain intense jobs, and surface relationships can make me feel depleted and anxious, lowering my energy and diluting my sense of self. But a trip to the museum, the ocean, window displays, exercise, street fashion, meditation, some Jesus, a deep conversation can pick me back up again. As elementary as this theory is, I feel so empowered to have this knowledge. Not to mention, studying similar principals that help achieve balance like Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda in school have been hugely instrumental in practicing self-care-- almost as if it is this no-fail formula to keep me planted and steady.
Will the transition be easy? No way. Is it a safe choice? Absolutely not. BUT that's pride, ego, and my head talking. I could seek them out and get one million and one reasons why it's too risky. But I am going to choose to consult my heart and my gut. My intuition has rarely led me astray and even when a decision didn't fit, I learned something extremely valuable and necessary in the process. Just like my move to Dallas and Tulsa. No matter what, I choose that each decision I make will have a positive outcome. A dear friend told me one time, "whatever you choose to do, do it wholeheartedly". Later, I found a similar scripture. I love this message. Even if you find yourself realizing that you need to make another change, maybe even in the opposite direction, if you choose to do it with your whole heart, you are accomplishing something, regardless. There is no loss, only an opportunity for growth...and THAT is what life is all about!