Spring has officially sprung and while some people were recently knee-deep in snow and cold weather, no matter where you live you’re likely feeling a resurgence of energy to just get started!
Spring is one of my favorite seasons because it symbolizes new beginnings and not only the desire to set new intentions but to start actively pursuing them. Chances are, you’re feeling this way too and you’re ready to give your physical health the attention it’s been craving all winter.
It’s important to get clear on your goals—no matter what those may be—and what’s holding you back because recognition keeps us motivated through rough patches, hard work, and stagnation.
There were many times in my journey healing my Hashimoto’s where I felt discouraged and alone, but I never let it allow me to quit. Instead, I persisted until remission was accomplished. I have witnessed many clients do the same with plenty of education and support, plain ol’ elbow grease, and unwavering intention.
Setting Your Intention
To accomplish your health goals, first start out by putting a voice to them.
- What specifically do you want to see improve with your physical or mind-body health?
- Which symptoms are a total drag on your everyday life?
- Which are limiting you from being the person you want to be?
- What is utterly painful or annoying?
- What is it that you truly desire for your health?…
…fewer symptoms, less medication, remission, the ability to enjoy vigorous exercise again, better sleep, fewer depressed moods, less bloat, thicker hair, increased libido?
Put those wishes to paper and map out your end goal.
Make a list, then edit it. Come back to it and add when you notice something new you’d like to resolve and check off the goals you’ve achieved.
This needs to be written down and/or spoken.
When you do this, it becomes tangible and something to work towards. It also allows you to see the areas that need specific solutions. Whenever you’re feeling discouraged, go back to your list and remind yourself what you want for your life and how far you’ve come.
Then keep persisting.
We often have deep desires for ourselves that we never write down or verbalize because we’re scared we’ll fail. “What if I say this and it never happens? How stupid will I feel?”
But again, setting a specific intention is the first place to start. To succeed, we have to also identify and forgo the negative mindsets that hold us back.
There’s no doubt that changing your diet will improve your health; we have the science (and people who’ve lived it) to support this. Instead of operating from a place of, “What if it goes wrong?”…begin with “I’ll try no matter what.”
This isn’t to say that things always go according to plan, but if you have the desire to reach your goals, your health will undoubtedly improve because you’ll always seek solutions and implement those solutions no matter what.
When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2012, I wanted a homebirth. I was a young, first-time mom who had no knowledge of what labor actually felt like. The older women in my life offered me patronizing skepticism because I’d never done it and it’s hard work!
But I knew this was what I wanted for my child, so I persisted into four long days of unmedicated labor with all of the fear, doubt, and insecurities that arose in each contraction—or lack thereof. Early on the fifth day, I birthed a healthy 9-plus pound baby girl and was so thrilled that I’d achieved my goal despite what any naysayers told me.
Any health journey will require the same mindset. Yes I was young, yes I was inexperienced, yes I had high hopes. But I knew it was possible. So I persisted. And I did it.
You have to go into any goal with the mindset that nothing is impossible, nothing out of your reach. This can be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do because it requires breaking age-old patterns of thought that tell us things like, “This is genetic. There are no solutions. I must live this way forever.” Or, “This approach is too non-traditional.”
Family, friends, doctors, and co-workers often discourage us from even trying, only because they too are limited to their own cyclical, negative thinking. If they haven’t experienced it for themselves or read the research, it may be difficult for them to understand the goals you have for yourself. But remember, there are always solutions—it’s simply up to us to find them.
And it’s important to actively seek out supportive, well-educated allies to help us along in the process.
Hire a Coach
Although I graduated from nutrition school and have a deep love for imparting nutrition research onto my clients, this isn’t the only benefit I offer them.
Hiring a coach is an integral part of your health equation because we’ve been in the trenches ourselves (a good coach will have “been there”) and we understand the journey. We get the ups and downs, bumps in the road, and huge accomplishments. We understand that “this too shall pass.”
When you’re going at your health goals alone, you can become scared of every little setback, be worried about which next steps to take, agonize over every dietary decision, or miss a huge piece of the puzzle altogether—a piece that’s critical for sequencing an approach for lasting results.
Sequencing matters. Big time.
When you have a coach by your side, helping you investigate all factors and piece things together, you can customize a personalized, sequential approach. Adopting random strategies in random order is akin to bailing water out of a leaky boat.
It’s difficult to see things for yourself (even for coaches!) and becomes challenging to see the big picture—the forest for the trees, if you will. As a health coach, I’m not simply creating a specific, strategic diet plan for my clients. I’m also there to hold their hand and say, “This is one bump, it’s not the end of your journey. Do you know how far you’ve come?” It’s seeing a client in their time of vulnerability and saying, “You are so powerful. You’ve got this.”
Action Steps to Take Now
Once you set your specific goals, identify any negative thinking that’s holding you back, and find support, here are the next action steps to take:
1. Undergo an elimination/provocation diet. This involves removing possible food triggers/antigens from your diet for at least three weeks, then reintroducing one by one to chart any reactions. Any foods you are sensitive to and still consuming will affect how your gut, immune system, and hormones function.
2. Identify gut dysfunction. Is your gut “leaky,” allowing food proteins, bacteria, and yeasts into circulation in the bloodstream where they don’t belong? This will perpetuate the allergy-autoimmune-inflammation cycle and also make it difficult to truly digest and absorb the nutrients you’re getting from foods. See #1—doing this diet is a fantastic start in “healing and sealing” the intestinal lining, although many people need additional support cleansing yeast and bacteria from the gut.
3. Support detoxification. We live in a world full of chemical byproducts. No matter how hard we try, they’re inescapable, though we can certainly reduce exposure. Start by weeding out contact with harsh chemicals, plastics, and other immune- and endocrine-disrupting substances. Then add in foods and supplements to support your kidneys, liver, and bowel in their detoxification processes.
4. Deconstruct your stressors. Stress isn’t just the concerns over money, your job, or relationship problems. Stress is the undercurrent of our nervous system in any given situation—and we’re reacting all the time, whether we realize it or not. In every moment, try to tune into your heart rate/blood pressure, thoughts, and breathing to see where you’re stressed and then, begin to work through the problems in the given environment.
Remember, pain is always the signal.
You’re being asked to undergo a healing process to resolve it. It’s up to us to recognize it and act on it.
Set your intentions, identify anything (or anyone) holding you back, work with a coach to guide you in the process, and just get started.
True wellness is about much more than simply the foods we’re eating. Or not eating.
Much of wellness also consists of identifying and overcoming stress triggers. Many of the daily stressors we face come to us in for the form of “energy drains.” That is, situations—and people—that force us into a state of fight or flight (sympathetic) nervous system response, leaving us feeling depleted and weakened both physically and emotionally.
In both the short and long term, this can lead to immune dysregulation, nutrient deficiencies, blood pressure issues (and resultant heart or kidney problems), erratic blood sugar (dysglycemia), and hormonal imbalances. It’s so important to learn to recognize, work through, and overcome any energy drains to break these cycles.
Inevitably, we’re all faced with difficult situations in life. Too often, we view these circumstances as outside of our control, but in my work with clients, I’ve seen how we can reclaim our own personal power, no matter what arises in life.
Instead of feeling small and victimized, we can feel successful and purposeful.
Here’s how to stop energy drains from affecting you:
1. Put a voice to it
That which goes unsaid festers. For example, someone is acting out in coercive, passive aggressive, and catty ways in your relationship. It’s common to internalize these issues instead of speaking out against them. When you internalize, it can lead to continued ill health and symptoms: your blood pressure begins to rise, your heart beats faster, your adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline, your muscles tense, you start to sweat and lose minerals, and so on.
But when you speak up, people are forced to recognize the ways their behavior has been unfitting, unhelpful, and inappropriate. Hopefully, it forces them to think before they act given that you’re no longer allowing them to get away with it.
If we never put a voice to what’s draining our energy, it will just keep happening—nothing will change. Only when we speak and use the energy from our fifth chakra (our expressive chakra, where the thyroid lives) can we affect change and make our lives more functional and healthy—as well as help others and the world.
Not everyone possesses the same level of emotional intelligence. What is obvious to you as inappropriate may not be obvious to someone else. Once we speak out against the drains, we (again, hopefully) force others to examine the things they have been acting out.
Maybe they’ll change and maybe they won’t, but no matter—putting a voice to the source of the drain will affirm your experiences, prevent you from quietly enduring it any longer, and perhaps shift others’ consciousness so that they can make a change for the better.
2. Identify the tactics and patterns
People who drain energy from others (“energy vampires,” as Dr. Christiane Northrup calls them) do this for a few reasons. First, they fear loss of control and loss of power or position. They also do this because perhaps they’re not aware they’re doing these things, or because they get off on others’ pain and hardships.
Feel good peptides (bonded amino acids) are released in the bodies of people who have trained themselves to thrive on and enjoy someone else’s pain, so they literally get a chemical “high” from you—and this cycle can be difficult for them to break because it feels so good.
Without recognizing the tactics people who drain our energy use, we’ll keep repeating these situations because they have no incentive to break the pattern (remember, they feel good doing this).
For example, your supervisor won’t communicate her needs or expectations clearly but then punishes you when you don’t do what she secretly wanted. So you’re always in the “wrong” and worry when you’ll face serious repercussions at your job. Or there’s an unspoken understanding between you and your spouse that their needs come first and only after you’ve met them, can you do anything for yourself. Either way, you’ll end up stressed and burnt out.
If the pattern is unspoken expectations, break this cycle by asking for and getting clear information about what these people need or expect from you. They may try to deflect and avoid the conversation, but the conversation needs to happen nonetheless.
Or, if the pattern is lack of reciprocation in relationships, make sure you begin communicating what you need so you aren’t walked all over—and if your needs continue to not be reciprocated, you’re able to make the tough but necessary decision to stay or go. You’ll see it’s not about you but rather about this person who may not be capable of changing their tactics.
3. To become empowered, recognize the lesson
I believe that no matter one’s spiritual or religious beliefs, we can use the difficult circumstances in our lives as guides and teachers. This doesn’t mean every bad thing happens for a reason, but it can mean that no matter what has happened, we can work through it to become empowered versus feeling frustrated, angry, disappointed, sad, or victimized by it the rest of our lives. It’s a way to reclaim ourselves despite the pain.
With clients in Energy Reading sessions, I like to point out patterns and lessons that I see they’re being presented with to help break the cycles. The exact circumstances will differ but the themes are usually the same: you aren’t appreciated and feel resentful or overworked as a result; you get punished for not doing what others want; you get quieted often and talked over, and so on.
Recognizing the themes that accompany the energy drains helps us to break the cycle because we no longer wander through life waiting for the next “bad” thing to happen—the next shoe to drop. Instead, we can take a step back and see the larger spider web, if you will, and detach ourselves instead of getting caught up in it.
4. Enforce your boundaries
You deserve a happy, healthy life, bottom line.
Anything or anyone that infringes on this should be examined and ultimately worked through. If others don’t want to work through such issues with you, or if there’s no way to improve the overall environment in a situation, you have to begin standing up for yourself—because no one else will.
We try to give people the benefit of the doubt, expect they’ll do the right thing, and even hope someone will come to our rescue. In many cases, though, this isn’t realistic. The only one who can save you from the energy drains is yourself. This may not be fair, but it’s necessary.
This will require you to stand up for what you believe is right. This may mean you need to cut ties with commitments that no longer fulfill you, or choose a new career path, or have a serious talk with the people closest to you. Many women have been subdued and talked out of this essential skill, but it’s necessary to relearn it and begin enforcing it.
Whatever it is, remember: you can do it, and if not now, when? What you resist persists.
You absolutely can overcome energy drains, or simply learn to detach rather than being caught off guard by the next one. Once you do, you’ll reclaim an essential part of you that has likely long been tucked away and your physical health will begin to improve—dramatically—for the better.
“Stressed” isn’t just a mental state—it’s also a physical state.
Every time we have a stressful thought or are in a stressful situation, a sudden cascade of physiological responses sweep over us: blood pressure changes, muscle tension, sweating, a release of inflammatory compounds such as cytokines, and heavy or shallow breathing.
The sympathetic (fight or flight) stress response is a major cue from our nervous system that something isn’t right and we should heed its wisdom.
Remember, humans are mammals with a complex, instinctive operating system. If we choose to disregard this inner wisdom, we won’t be able to stop the nervous system responses that:
Keep us chronically fatigued and drained
Keep our immune system in overdrive
Leave us living in a chronic state of inflammation
Keep our sex and stress hormones out of balance
Prevent us from tapping into our own higher wisdom about which direction to take with our health and lives
To combat stress, people commonly rely on yoga, meditation, prayer, other forms of gentle exercise, and modalities such as the Emotional Freedom Technique.
While I think these are great compliments, I also know that unless you get to the cause of the stressor and extract it by its roots, so to speak, you’ll continue the stress response cycle.
Such modalities will only act as a bandaid.
This is where energy work comes in because it helps you identify the root of problems to start untangling yourself.
Energy is the sum total of your intentions and experiences as well as the intentions others have for you and have acted out on you. If you have been through exceptionally difficult experiences in your life (and really, who hasn’t?), you’re likely holding onto a dysfunctional energy pattern that needs to be released for you to reach optimal health.
Energetic patterns take root through our subconscious mind, which is the gatekeeper of the truth of our life experiences. The egoic or conscious mind is what tries to gloss over the subconscious mind in the form of downplaying, gaslighting, denial, and ignoring the subconscious clues.
Tapping into the subconscious mind is a way for us to start living out the truth rather than living the cover story, like:
“You’re not that sick; other people have it worse.”
“It’s genetic, there’s nothing you can do to improve this illness.”
“There’s something wrong with me; I’m inadequate.”
When it comes to your health, this is critical to address. I’ve seen clients improve greatly once they:
Acknowledge what has been done to them
Talk about how they felt powerless and stressed as a result
Release the internalized tension patterns
When we do this, we dramatically alter our nervous system for the better, allowing us to access the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” response that’s a healing requirement.
For example, growing up, perhaps family dinners at your home were seemingly uneventful but still rather stressful: everyone ate in a rush or panic, some complained about the food, or your parents and siblings tried to hide the underlying relationship tensions. You inevitably felt there were problems no one wanted to resolve so you suffered chronic stomach aches, felt food just sitting in your stomach, or you had little desire to eat.
Or maybe, like one client told me, she had a fear of eating alone despite living alone, so she often put off meals. For this woman, eating alone was a form of childhood punishment—being put in the corner with her food until she ate it all. So every time she ate alone, she was triggered back to a stress response that involved getting nauseous, losing her appetite, becoming anxious, or choosing to eat with the TV on or speaking with someone on the phone out of sheer panic.
Though she was no longer a small child who could be punished, her subconscious mind was still obeying the orders she had received so long ago. As a result, she suffered constant heartburn, hormonal fluctuations, irregular blood sugar, underwent extreme dieting, and had a fear of being alone which was keeping her in an abusive relationship that she knew wasn’t healthy for her.
The #metoo movement is a prime example of subconsciousness prevailing: victims are coming forward, often after many years, to acknowledge the stirring of their souls and situations that left them feeling violated, used up, and discarded, despite others in their lives telling them it wasn’t a big deal, they were making it up, or it’s something to ignore and move on from.
For the first time in a long time, instinctual memories are coming up to the surface in order to be reckoned with rather than suppressed.
It’s an awakening of the subconscious mind to acknowledge that which isn’t right and needs resolution. The longer we ignore such feelings and experiences—whether it be tied to abuses or other unhealthy situations—the longer we’ll deal with sickness that we just can’t put our finger on.
In my Energy Reading sessions with clients, I like to walk them through a simple visualization to begin deconstructing and unraveling the layers of subconscious energy or tension patterns they’re currently bound to.
[My Energy Reading services do not replace any medical or psychiatric treatment. If you believe you have a medical condition, please seek qualified professional care. I’m not acting in the capacity of a licensed or unlicensed therapist. My role is to support, encourage, motivate, and provide information and guidance.]
Bring your awareness to your chest. Imagine you can see inside of your body—your nerves, blood vessels, organs, muscles, and bones. Now also imagine you can peer outside of yourself to your external appearance so that you have awareness of both the internal and external of your body. Go to each energy center or chakra of your body, starting at the base of your pelvis and working your way up to your belly button, your stomach, your heart, your thyroid, your forehead, and the top of your head.
In each area, ask yourself how many layers of tension you’re holding, tuning into any physical pain. The tension may feel like an unspecified blob so imagine each layer of tension is a sheet of paper.
How many pieces of paper are covering each area? Go inside of yourself and once you see what’s written on each sheet of paper, make the connection between the words and how your body feels due to those words.
Each answer represents one sheet of paper. You may start to have thoughts come to mind. For example, the tension over your thyroid area could read, “chronic ear/nose/throat problems as a child,” “frequent antibiotic use,” “voicelessness,” “shame,” or “hiding.”
Or the sheets over your stomach may say “restriction,” “food allergies,” “rushing to eat,” “eating when angry,” “lack of trust,” or “body armor.”
Once you acknowledge the feeling, imagine flicking away the paper, one piece at a time, and releasing the feeling from your body. There are no right or wrong answers, This is simply a way for you to begin deconstructing the many layers of dysfunctional tension that’s keeping your body in an altered stasis.
Tying the feeling to the word is important because the acknowledgement is what helps you release the tension and trigger for good. It may happen immediately or it may take longer. Either way, it’s worth it to keep working through.
Once you begin to get a handle on which energy center of your body isn’t functioning optimally, you can begin to work backwards to greatly improve your health.