The Power of Creativity

Have you ever said, “I’m not that creative.  I can’t paint, or sew, or draw, or decorate a house like Joanna Gaines.”  (Love her!!!)

Being creative doesn’t necessarily have to be about art.  Perhaps you’re really good at cooking, making a spreadsheet, dancing, or diapering a baby’s butt.  Or maybe you can put together an amazing outfit or pick out the perfect jewelry to compliment.  Or perhaps, you always know the right thing to say.  These things all require creativity.

So, even if, just for a moment, let’s say we all are creative.  In our own special ways.

Perhaps we can even view our gifts from God as creativity.  Here’s what God says about our gifts:

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”  Romans 12: 6-8 (NIV)

God gave us all unique and specific gifts.  And he’s asking us to use them.

So, lets draw this all back to our health.  How in the world can being creative help me be healthy?

Here’s how:

Do you ever notice that as adults we get serious?  And if you are in a place of depression or anxiety this probably really hits home.  There’s no time to laugh and have fun.  We have things to do, places to go, and people to annoy (I mean see).  We get serious about all the things.

Now, lets compare that with a child.  Children are naturally creative, imaginative little creatures.  They pretend.  They laugh.  They play.  AND, for the most part, they are happy, lighthearted, and frolicy.

So, what if we tried on a little play and creativity?  What if we added a moment of lightheartedness to our to do list?  What do you think might happen in our brain?

It’s going to chill out!  Stress is going to lessen.  Digestion is going to happen.  Smiles are going to occur.  And perhaps even laughter might escape our lips.  We might even allow ourselves to feel lighthearted.

Play and creativity is a crucial part of reducing stress.

PLUS, if we’re using the gifts God gave us we are fulfilling our purpose in life.  You probably know that people who feel like they have a purpose are much happier and fulfilled than people who don’t know what their purpose is.

So, get out there.  Do your thing.  Create.  And enjoy doing it!

 

 

 

 

 

Just Breathe

So, I’ve had a pretty emotional few days and wondered what in the world I was going to write about today because I’m still in an emotional roller coaster. I decided to just write what was on my mind:

Sometimes life sucks.

Something unexpected happens and pulls the rug out from under your feet. Or something not so pleasant happens that you know is going to happen and it still sucks.

So what are we to do?!?!

My advice is to just breathe.

Breathe in the breath of God.

In Genesis 2:7 it says,

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Without God’s breath this man would not have come alive. AND, it is the same today. Every single being comes to life with the breath of God.

Have you ever heard a baby take its first breath and cry? Guess what?!?! God did that! He breathed His breath into that little, precious miracle.

In addition, every single breath we take we are filling ourselves with the breath of God. Imagine that resurrection power entering our nostrils, traveling to the lungs, entering the blood stream, and what that power is capable of. 🤔

Johnny Diaz sings a song called, Just Breathe, that is such a good reminder for me.

Last week I posted a video on my Facebook page about anxiety. And in that video I discuss one way of breathing to help calm anxiety. And sometimes we could use to focus on the breath to just make it through the day- whether we have anxiety or not.

From a health perspective, breathing can calm the central nervous system allowing us to process the emotions instead of storing them inside our bodies as toxins. (I love talking about emotions and our bodies by the way! Perhaps a blog post topic for the future.) The less toxic we are the better our bodies function and the better we think and feel.

Yes, breathing can help with all that. Wowie! So, today, in the midst of the emotional struggle I’m going to focus on breathing. Breathing in the breath of God.

What life events or struggles have you had that pulled the rug out from under you? Comment below so we can support, encourage, and pray for one another.

That Elusive Peace

In yoga we often say, “Having peace doesn’t mean there’s no chaos in your life.  Having peace means you’re in the midst of the chaos and you have calm in your heart.”

 

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

 

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

 

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  (NIV)

 

Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.

I’ve heard those verses before (maybe even a thousand times).  So, how do they help me find peace?!?!

I heard a sermon by Pastor Mark this past weekend that was all about disillusionment.  He used the movie, Ready Player One, to illustrate his point.  The characters in this movie join in a video game to escape their current reality of life.

Is that you?  Are you currently trying to escaping your current reality?  Like, scrolling social media for hours on end, watching endless Fixer Upper or Family Feud, playing video games, whatever…..

Some people think if they become Christians and believe in God then EVERYTHING in life will be perfect and peace will abound endlessly.

That is disillusionment.

God doesn’t promise smooth sailing.  In fact, he might even bring you into the “wilderness” just so you will seek him to get out.

To have peace, we must first understand why we are here on this earth, understand our purpose.  And we all have exactly the same purpose:

To Serve God.

No matter what we’re doing in our day to day lives:  changing baby’s butts, doing dishes, driving, cooking, learning, working….

We are to serve God in all we do.  When we seek God with all our hearts God will come to us.  He promises to.  And, I know that is easier said than done.  Believe me.  It’s a daily struggle for me too.

But, I have experienced God’s peace.  And for an extended period of time.  I can’t explain it.  There was no reason I should’ve had it (my life was crazy unpredictable).  Yet, it was there.

And then… it was snatched away in an instant.

See, my husband was admitted to the hospital a few months ago, had two surgeries, and nearly lost his leg.  The same week, I was put on crutches for a torn tendon in my foot.  And I lost my peace.

The devil knew I was strong with God.  So, he attacked something I couldn’t control.  A rampant infection in the person I love the most and my mobility.  And he stole my peace.  Rather, I allowed him to take it.

I think we tend to see control as peace.  When we know what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen, then ahhhh…. we’re okay.  At peace even.

But, God isn’t about what we can control.  No. No. No.

Sigh.

He’s about us serving and worshiping him.   And I know and have experienced that if we keep our focus on him, peace will come.  So, as I work to reclaim my peace – in a place of complete uncertainty in my business, life, direction – I am seeking Him.  The one who’s hand created the boundless stars and hung the moon at just the right spot.  He’s got my focus….

Now, if I can only keep it there.

 

(By the way, my husband is fully recovered and still has his leg!  Praise God!)

2018-04-30 16.53.16

This is us the day we came home from the hospital.  Celebrations all around!!!

Silver Linings

 

Take a little imaginary journey with me…

You walk out your front door to a blustery windy, downpour rainy day. Like sideways windy rain. You are nearly soaked by the time you get in your car. Deep breath! You drive slowly to the airport, avoiding -only barely- a collision from hydroplaning. Deep breath! You arrive to the ticket counter (late from the horrid rain) to hear you have less than 5 minutes to get to the gate. Running with your backpack bouncing on your back, shoes off through security, back on without tying, hope you didn’t forget anything, you make it to the gate just in time. Deep breath!

You settle in, buckle your seat-belt, watch the safety presentation, and close your eyes for a moment of peace or even a little nap. The airplane takes off in the pouring rain and as it climbs the turbulence is intense.  Will this morning ever calm down?

Suddenly, everything is calm. You glance out the window and the sunshine is so bright you have to squinch your eyes. It is so beautiful!! Above the clouds, above the storm, things are calm, smooth, easy, and beautiful. Thinking back, you may not have noticed the magnitude of this moment – this beauty – if it hadn’t been for the storm.

Doesn’t life often feel that way? Sometimes the storms of life are long, arduous, and depressing. Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. And sometimes it seems as if the storms will never end.

Yet, the sun still shines- above the clouds, above the storms of life. There’s always a silver lining. Sometimes, that silver lining is hard to find, and if we look for the good it will appear- one way or another. One thing I do to help me see the silver linings of every day is to keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something I have to practice or I lose it. Kind of like flexibility. Join me in this practice:  What can you be grateful for today? What is your silver lining today?

10 Benefits of Detoxing

Maybe you’re thinking, “What is all this talk about detoxing?  And why in the world would I even consider it?”

Well, detoxing is actually an amazing experience that can leave you feeling lighter, tighter, and soooo amazing.  Here’s 10 benefits you can experience in less than 14 days:

10. Reducing or eliminating auto-immune symptoms.  

Do you struggle with an auto-immune disease that your doctors can’t seem to get a grip on?  Have they suggested a detox?  If not, this is a great one to try because it’s gentle on the body and very effective.  If you have auto-immune symptoms you are likely very toxic.  So, a detox would be amazing for your organs and digestion!

9. Losing weight and inches

We will be taking out all sugars and caffeine out of our diet for 14 days (you can do this!  I’m here to help!).  See, fat doesn’t cause us to be fat.  Sugar causes us to be fat.  Taking sugar out of the diet – even for just a short time – can help us shed pounds, inches, and feel lighter.

8. Reducing headaches and joint pain

Sometimes a build-up of toxins can cause pain and headaches.  Our bodies are designed to process and eliminate toxins.  However, when we overload our body with toxins it can’t process them quick enough.  So, the body stores the toxins to deal with later in our joints, muscles, and organs.  As you can imagine this causes pain and decreased efficiency of our body.

7. Reduce or eliminate heartburn

Belching, feeling gassy, or having heartburn after meals is often a sign of digestive upset.  Taking some time to detox will help your digestion work better creating less gas and bubbles in your tummy.

6.  Think clearer

Ever feel like your brain is foggy and you can’t remember anything?  Actually detoxing your digestive system can eliminate this fogginess and help you think clearer.

5. Take control of sinus and allergy symptoms

Certain foods can cause inflammation in our bodies and sometimes even cause sensitivities or allergic reactions.  We’ll be taking out the most common food allergens to reduce these symptoms and allow you to test and see if your body has any adverse reactions or sensitivities to any food.  In addition, we’ll be filling our bodies with nutrient-dense foods, like fruits and veggies, to reinvigorate the gut.

4. Eliminate food cravings

Our bodies desire balance.  When we eat too much of one kind of food it will begin to crave it or crave the opposite of it.  For example, if we eat too much salty food our bodies will crave sweet food to balance it out.  Then when we eat sweet food our bodies ride the blood sugar roller coaster – sugar high to sugar low.  Then we crave more sugar.  It’s tricky to balance it out.  This cleanse will help you eliminate those cravings and help create more balance in your diet.

3. Double your energy

Ever get that foggy headed, super sleepy feeling around 2, 3, 4:00? Sometimes the food we eat actually causes us to lose energy and get sleepy.  Our bodies are telling us to take a nap (and most of the time we can’t lay down in the office for a snooze). So, taking control of our food intake can give us an abundance of energy.

2. Reduce or even eliminate anxiety and mood swings

Sometimes, negative emotions can be increased simply by the food we eat.  Eliminating common trouble foods will help you reduce or eliminate anxiety helping you take control of your emotions.  Who doesn’t want less anxiety!?!?

1. Feel amazing

You will be amazed at how good you will feel on this cleanse.  If there are ANY symptoms, emotions, pain, or moods you want to get rid of – then detoxing is on your to-do list!  During a cleanse, we give our digestive tract a vacation from the stress of hard to process foods.  I’ve had clients tell me they felt the best they had in years after detoxing!  Why wait to feel better?!?!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about detoxing or about the specific 14 Day Reset Cleanse I offer let me know!  Let’s help you feel better today!

The PTSD Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry Christmas!  Jingle Bells!  Santa Claus!

Do these words make your heart swoon or send dread all the way to your toes?!?!  For some people, the holiday season can be a time of anxiety, sorrow, dread, worry…

And I get that.

If you’re like me and have suffered from PTSD or anxiety/panic attacks, the whole thing and especially socialization of the holiday season can feel like a boulder on top of you. Even thinking about being with all those people and having to have conversations might just send us into a full blown “I refuse to get off my couch and celebrate – bah humbug” state. And possibly even the idea of getting one tree out of the attic -much less seven (yes, I have seven Christmas trees!) – is just too much to handle.

Let me explain.  When there is an emotional war going on in our brains the body is trying to figure out how to create balance and peace.  Some days it does better than others.  And some days it’s a total loss.  Either way, when something is thrown in – expected or not – that is out of our control our brains flip out.  Our brain is already overloaded and this small feather just sent it into full combat mode.  Que the heart palpitations, sweaty palms, shallow breathing, tight chest, dread, fear, and fight or flight mode.

The sympathetic nervous system -the fight or flight system – is fully engaged and anxiety is high with panic riding full force towards us on the horizon.  And grandma, parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, nephews, and in-laws are arriving shortly!  What am I supposed to do?!?!?!

Here are 5 tips for those of us with PTSD and/or anxiety to use in moments like this.

  1. Stop.  Take a deep breath.  And another.  And another.  And another.  When we breathe slowly and deeply for at least two minutes our brain says, “Hey!  I was freaking out, but I’m breathing like a calm, relaxed person soooooo – I must be relaxed.”  This turns on the parasympathetic nervous system and allows us to relax and calm down the nerves.
  2. Focus on what is going well in this very moment!  We are in control of our thoughts!  Much to many people’s surprise, we have the ability to stop negative thoughts from taking over and sending us in a downward spiral.  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.”-Philippians 4:8 (NIV)  Paul’s words are written as he sits in a jail cell wondering if he will live or die.  If he can focus on positive thoughts in that situation then I can too.
  3. Get grateful!  Begin to name all the things you are grateful for.  This also takes the focus off of the negative and puts it on the positive.  Gratitude can do more for us than we realize.  I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal that I write in everyday, and I really notice a difference in how I respond to anxiety producing moments.
  4. Be prepared ahead of time.  Take some time for yourself filling your own cup.  Maybe you’ve heard the thought that you can only serve others from the overflow of your own cup.  And if you’re dealing with anxiety or PTSD then you need some extra filling of your own cup to be able to deal with life – especially around the holidays.  What nourishes you or helps you relax?  What is enjoyable? Go do that!
  5.   Choose your activities wisely.  What are some parties, events, or gatherings you want to attend (if there are any)? You don’t have to go to all of them.  Choose the one or two that will be important for you but also the ones that could end up nourishing your soul.  If it’s too much to have Mammy, Pappy, and Uncle George over then ask if someone else can host this year.  Things don’t have to stay the same just because, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Being kind to yourself and to others, make the best choice for you.

Implementing these tools won’t stop your anxiety, but they will help you manage it.  And as a yoga teacher I often tell my students that when we feel depression we are living in the past.  When we feel anxiety we are living in the future.  The best way to counteract both of those is to live in the present moment.

Comment below with a way you help manage your anxiety!

To learn more about me and my story visit my website, and contact me if you need advice for dealing with anxiety or PTSD.

Listen to Your Body

The Hunger Game:  Want to learn to play?!?!

I’m here to teach you how to tell the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger by playing the “Hunger Game.”

But first, why am I talking about emotional hunger vs. physical hunger and what’s the difference?

Emotional hunger means you turn to food either to avoid uncomfortable emotions or to heighten pleasurable ones.  It means you eat based on how you feel instead of what your body needs.

Examples of emotional hunger (FEELINGS):

  • Eating for comfort or out of loneliness or sadness
  • Eating from boredom
  • Eating to try to soothe anxious or depressed feelings
  • Eating to fill an aching heart

Whereas physical hunger means you eat when your body signals to you that you are in fact, hungry.  And it means that you stop eating when you are satisfied and before you are uncomfortably full.

Examples of physical hunger (SENSATIONS):

  • Stomach growls and gets that hollow hungry sensation
  • Body feels weak and energy goes down
  • Blood sugar gets low and you feel shaky
  • You feel lightheaded or faint

So what will learning to listen to my body do for me?

It will free you from being a slave to food!

What that means for you is that you’ll feel more in control of your eating and less dependent on food to “help” your moods and emotions. By listening to your physical hunger signals, you can determine how hungry or full you really are.  With practice, you’ll be able to pinpoint where your body is at any given moment.

By doing so, you will train yourself to stop eating BEFORE you are too full and to not turn to food when you are not actually hungry but are in fact bored, upset, anxious, or depressed.  Because everyone knows that’s a vicious cycle…so let me show you how to end that cycle and have some fun while doing it!

ENTER…….the Hunger Game!

How do I play the Hunger Game?

Let me first clarify that I’m not talking about undergoing top-secret weapons training to learn to “kill” off your colleagues or friends… I’m talking about a simple, helpful game that you can play all by yourself even in a busy restaurant!

Here’s how you play the Hunger Game:

  • See if you can be the slowest eater at the table – no one has to know you’re playing or that you’re trying to win the Hunger Game
  • Periodically check in with yourself throughout your meal and honor when you’re energized and satisfied by completing the meal
  • Use and end-of-meal ritual, like putting your napkin over your plate or ordering hot tea and fresh fruit to symbolize completion of the meal

What do I do now?

In my health coaching practice, I help my clients learn to tell the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger.  Together, we come up with a plan to help you keep identifying the difference so you can lose weight naturally and double your energy.

If you think you may be engaging in emotional eating and you don’t know how to change it, then click here now to schedule a time to talk with me today!

To your health!

Carrie