What does everyone need to know about Energy Healing? Well, it’s effective and works. The end.
It really is that simple. But sometimes people want to know more about energy healing, and why I combine it with my coaching services for long-lasting results.
What is Energy Healing?
Energy healing can be described as relaxation technique that helps release stress & promote your body’s natural healing abilities. Yet it is so much more.
As kids, we learned Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2, which proved to scientists that energy and matter are expressions of the same universal thing. In other words, energy is everything. And energy healing is directing higher vibrational energy that is all around us to bring about the body’s natural healing abilities on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
There are various methods or types of energy, or vibrational, healing: Reiki, theta, sound, music, crystal, Healing Touch, acupuncture, homeopathy, flower essences, Chakra healing, and numerous other ancient methods. I use a combination of methods that I’ve been trained in to provide the best results based on each individual client’s needs.
Getting to the Root Cause
Energy healing is an ancient healing practice that’s been in existence for thousands of years. Unfortunately modern medicine, pill popping and other “quick fixes” that have been in existence for relatively short periods of time, are prevalent nowadays. And most times they don’t address the root cause, the energetic underlying, of what is causing a person’s mental or physical ailments. It will continue to show up, or worsen, until the root cause is healed.
I tend to work with people that have energetic distress, as I like to call it. In the fast-changing, uncertain and often turbulent times we live in, most people are experiencing distress. It’s energetic distress because it’s affecting one or more levels of the body in a subtle yet powerful way. It causes imbalances within us and challenges in our lives.
The levels of the body I’m referring to are:
the mental body or mind (those thoughts that seem never ending at times),
the emotional body (think of emotions as energy in motion),
the physical body (where the slowing and blocking of energy flow creates denseness, discomfort and disease, or dis-ease…when the body is no longer ‘at ease’), and
the spiritual body (your connection to something larger than yourself which varies by individual; it could be God, Spirit, the Universe, Nature, Higher Power, Intuition, Life Purpose, Passion, Love, etc.)
Energy Healing effectively works on all of these levels. It is a holistic approach to complete wellbeing and wellness, and can complement any current treatment plans you are following.
The Benefits of Energy Healing
Since Energy Healing works on the whole body, we see benefits in all areas. Commonly reported benefits of energy healing include decreased pain, ease of muscle tension, improved sleep & improved mental clarity. Additional benefits include:
It’s safe and non-invasive.
Promotes natural self-healing processes.
Clears toxins from the body.
Relaxes the body and mind.
Soothes anxiety and distress.
Promotes feelings of calmness and wellbeing.
Promotes a focused, peaceful and positive outlook.
Releases worry and replaces it with a sense of safety and comfort.
As you can see, Energy Healing promotes your overall health, is an excellent form of preventative care, and can help support your journey to wellness if you experience stress, anxiety, headaches, muscle or joint pain, chronic illness, poor sleep, tension or other challenges.
Life Changing Results
I’ve found Energy Healing is beneficial for anyone who’s looking for relaxation and natural relief of emotional, mental and physical ailments. It’s especially useful for people who have a large amount of stress, and can’t seem to turn off their mind from work or worry. Once you being to feel better, the possibilities for life changing results come next.
You experience relief in one area, and then notice other issues have resolved as well, without much focus or effort on your part. I’ve helped many clients whose initial complaint was a physical issue, like chronic headaches or migraines.
After the physical pain lessened or completely resolved, usually very quickly, they reflected back on other areas of their lives had improved as we continued to work together. Things like performance at work, self-confidence, emotional wellbeing and feeling more empowered.
Personally in my previous Corporate HR career, I experienced a large amount workplace stress that led to a physical illness. I credit Energy Healing as the catalyst for my disease going into a remission. And for experiencing stress reduction and hope again. It created the space where I could breathe easy again, start taking my power back and plan for a pivot in my career.
Going from HR to being a Life Coach, I now help hard-working professionals suffering physical and other ailments, mostly due to work stress and misaligned purpose (root cause). I use a powerful combination of Life Coaching plus Energy Healing techniques for life changing results. I find this combination to be more efficient, effective and meaningful than either practice on its own.
How to Get Started with Energy Healing
If Energy Healing is new concept for you and you’d like to learn more, click here to watch my video “An Intro to Energy: What is Reiki and How Does It Work.”
Have you heard the term, seen the sign in your Yoga class, or heard your friend raving about Reiki? While some may call it too Woo, I will let you know right out the gate this practice has transformed my life. But before I get too excited, let’s start from the beginning.
Reiki is a unique form of energy healing that uses Universal life force energy to positively impact the body’s energy. In fact, the term comes from the Japanese words “rei” (universal) and “ki” (life energy). It allows your body a break from the stress of life and helps find a natural state of relaxation to heal.
My journey with Reiki began during my corporate career and I was burnt out and overwhelmed with life. Fast forward 10 years, I’m now a Certified Usui Holy Fire® III & Karuna Reiki® Master Teacher and practice with my clients weekly. And thanks to the wonders of technology we can work together from the comfort of their home – energy has no boundaries and it can be practiced virtually.
What can Reiki do for you?
Reduce stress and promote relaxation
improve mood and sleep
ease physical pain
enhance the quality of your life
Curious about what to expect with a Reiki session? Check out this video for a nice overview of how it works and what you can expect.
Want to learn more about Reiki? I’m excited about my first Reiki training of the year! Come join me in Huntersville, NC on April 2nd and 3rd to learn more about this healing practice, receive healing yourself, and learn how you can practice this at home, work, and even with your clients.
Holy Fire® and Karuna Reiki® are registered service marks of William Lee Rand.
Do you ever feel pressure building up at work or at home? Pressure is great for growth; you need it to keep moving in the right direction toward your goals.
It helps you to expand and create in the way that only you can. You want to use pressure to benefit you, and don’t let pressure become stress.
The Pressure Cooker at Work
The thing about pressure, if it goes unchecked and just keeps building and building without any release (think of a pressure cooker), that’s when it can turn into the unhealthiest kind of stress called chronic stress. The stress that causes health and other issues.
You don’t want to let pressure become this type of stress. Learn about the 3 types of stress and what to do to if you’ve got chronic stress here.
As I look back at my previous career and work habits, I could sense the pressure building, feel it, and yet felt powerless against it. Over time without actively addressing it, the stress became chronic, taking its toll on my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
It’s common to feel this type of pressure regularly when in a high demand job or fast-paced work environment. The important part is to address the pressure before it turns to stress.
Pressure is a Sign of Growth and Change
Lately that familiar feeling of pressure has returned in my work life. I’ve begun some new coaching work. I typically work one on one with coaching clients, however, I started some coaching work for an external company where I must learn their systems and processes.
It’ll take some time to acclimate to all this newness, and I continue to remind myself that it’s part of the growth process and only temporary. This reminder helps in times when the pressure rises.
When you take on new assignments or when you’ve switched jobs to a new company, how was it for you? Those first 30-60-90 days can be rough.
You’re attempting to do the work you were hired to do, but getting up to speed with who’s who, how things are done, new systems and processes – it all takes extra time and extra effort.
When Pressure Becomes Stress
You may experience increased pressure due to other external forces too. Maybe someone was laid-off and now you have to take on the work they performed. Or maybe you’re experiencing more pressure from leadership, or a higher than normal work demand, or a lack of job security.
Even a lack of flexibility and autonomy in your work and your work schedule can leave you feeling stressed and as if you have no control. Over time or with too much pressure all at once, it can become overwhelming and stressful.
The effects of work-related pressure turning into stress is evident in your physical, mental and emotional health. Common ailments can include musculoskeletal problems like chronic back pain, joint pain and carpel tunnel syndrome. Gastrointestinal disorders, like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers typically have a stress component.
Mentally and emotionally, issues like anxiety, burnout and inability to get good quality sleep (sleep disorders) are a result.
Business leaders and owners should have an interest in managing the pressure and stress in their environments. But many times they get caught up in it as well.
Act with Intention: Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress
Here are some strategies to implement so you don’t let pressure become stress.
First off, stay present and conscious in the moment. In other words, realize that something is causing pressure. Pay attention to situations that you know will likely impact you.
Also, be realistic about what you can and can’t control. If the pressure is getting to you, take a few minutes to list out what the causes might be and circle the ones you can control.
Next, take action. For those items you can control, try a new strategy or approach to change the outcome. For instance, if you feel stuck in an unproductive weekly meeting and can feel the pressure beginning to rise as you think about the other work you need to be doing, have a direct conversation with the meeting leader. Give some suggestions for improvement like having a clear agenda with time allotments for each item. Or maybe suggest less frequent meetings with email updates weekly.
And for the things you can’t control, let them go. If you have a tendency to take on things that aren’t yours or that you have no way of influencing, it’s best to recognize that early on and let it go.
For instance, being late to a meeting due to a traffic accident causing traffic backup on the road, or technical problems on a webmeeting due to bandwidth overuse – let it go. Getting frustrated or upset doesn’t help. These things are beyond your control, and you when you recognize that and let it go, it takes the pressure off and allows you to move forward in a calm healthy way.
A fear mindset could be the main cause of your stress
Your mindset is how you think and what you believe about yourself and your environment. It plays a critical role in how you cope with life’s challenges.
What you think determines what you believe, and what you believe influences what you experience in life. Thoughts shape your reality.
The ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu wrote: “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
If a majority of your thoughts are fear-based, you’ve got a fear mindset. It could be thoughts and even statements (your words) about fear of rejection, fear of failure, or fear that you’re not enough.
This fear mindset saps your energy. It keeps you in the predictable and comfortable, preventing you from challenging yourself to achieve your full potential.
Fear is a normal emotion and has its function. It serves as your natural response to possible threats to your physical or emotional safety.
Unfortunately, in our modern world this response can be misused, overused or chronic. (See my previous blog called Letting Go of Fear.)
Too much fear causes stress. A fear mindset is contracting, and exemplified in chronic tension, struggle and hardship. This unhelpful energy is energy you could be investing in growth, in achieving your dreams and desires.
People often give up on what they want because they believe that reaching their goal is beyond their abilities. They continue living in fear and settle into their lives, thinking they shouldn’t try at all.
Fear is part of the fixed mindset
Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, writes about the power of mindset. She states that success is influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.
People with a fixed mindset – those who believe that abilities are fixed – are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset – those who believe that abilities can be learned and developed. Fear is part of this fixed mindset.
The most successful people have a growth mindset. They don’t freeze up or flee when fear shows up, they embrace it and leverage that fear into taking action. When faced with a setback, they try harder.
They keeping looking for solutions and trying new strategies. They adapt and grow.
What mindset do you have?
What are your predominant thoughts and actions? If they seem fear-based or fixed, there’s no need to worry. The best part about your mindset is that you can change it.
You can move from a fixed, fear mindset to a love-based, trust-based, growth mindset where you’re more likely to flourish. Trust and love drives out fear. They can’t exist at the same time.
Intentionally Expand and Grow – Take Action
Use one or more of these techniques to move from a fear mindset that’s causing your stress to a new mindset of trust and growth.
1. Watch your thoughts.
First off, pay attention to your thoughts and the words you use. Are you frequently telling yourself fearful or limiting things? Things like: “I’ll never be able to get that promotion, I’m not experienced enough.”; “I’m not smart enough to lead this project”; “What if I fail – will they fire me?”
2. Choose to adopt a new mindset. Change your limiting thoughts and beliefs.
Start by challenging your thoughts the next time you don’t do well on a task. For example, if your presentation at work didn’t go well, and you hear yourself thinking “I never do anything right”, “I’m not good at my job”, or “I’m such a failure”, stop and ask some prodding questions.
What is the evidence for and against your conclusion? You can create a list of all the times your presentations were successful and when you were great at your job in the past.
You could think of reasons why it didn’t go so well this time, rather than concluding you’re a failure. Did you get enough quality sleep?; did you plan and prepare enough?; are there other things going on in your life right now causing you to be off your game?
Answering these questions leads to the new mindset. Figure out what new beliefs are more supportive and adopt those beliefs. Your internal dialogue of “I’m such a failure” can change to “If I’m prepared and feeling well physically and emotionally, I’ll always succeed.”
Keep in mind, these new beliefs take their place alongside the old ones, and as they become stronger, they give you a different way to think, feel, and act.
3. See everything as an opportunity to grow and develop.
Another way to change your mindset is to see every situation and person you encounter as an opportunity for expansion and development. When challenging events happen, ask yourself: “How is this calling me to expand and grow?”, “What am I learning?”, or “How can I improve?”
This strategy works well if you have a demanding or controlling leader at work. You can switch the focus of being judged or criticized to how this is calling you to develop.
It could be as simple as witnessing their behavior and realizing you never want to treat others that way, or maybe it’s a challenge about developing a relationship with a difficult personality.
If you stay in a fear mindset, the stress of living every day in fear of disapproval or of doing something wrong can become toxic. You may become paralyzed from moving forward in attempt to protect yourself.
Changing your mindset to embrace the challenge and grow allows you to take back control in what feels like a powerless situation and live up to your potential.
4. Use the word yet
Adding yet to your inner dialogue may be enough to change your beliefs about yourself and what you’re able to do. It helps with motivation too.
You can change:
“I can’t do this” to “I can’t do this yet”;
“I’m not good at this” to “I’m not good at this yet”;
“This doesn’t work” to “This doesn’t work yet”.
One last thing. Make sure after you change your thoughts you step into those new beliefs. Take an action step in that direction to support the new thought.
Changing the fear mindset that’s causing your stress will change your outcome and results. With a new mindset, you can transform your life and the lives of others.
Everyone needs meditation, and this recent example is why.
Something felt off. I overslept the past two days due to poor quality sleep (seasonal allergies + a muscle pull in my neck) and I missed my morning meditation. I figured I’d have to time to get it in later in the day, but that didn’t happen.
Now that I reflect back on it, I felt less clear headed and energetic throughout these days. Was it the poor sleep, or missing my meditation practice? Most likely a combination of the two.
So this morning, I was determined to get back into my daily routine. I know from experience that meditation is a game changer for people.
I recommend it to all my clients and I’ve seen the phenomenal results that come from meditating regularly.
Personally, after two days of missing my meditation, it felt like coming home this morning. No racing thoughts, but instead peace of mind, tranquility, stillness, clarity – all the things that put a smile on my face during and after my practice.
I was floating afterwards and in a high energy, happy mood. So much so that my 14 year old dog picked up on it. This dog who now sleeps about 90% of the time, grabbed his toy and started chasing me around the house, poking me with his toy to get me to chase him back.
Our pets know energy better than we do, and he certainly was picking up on my high energy and was loving it.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been around for thousands of years and has numerous benefits. It triggers your body’s relaxation response to reduce stress and anxiety, lengthens your attention span, and is highly beneficial to your emotional wellbeing and for people struggling with addictive behaviors.
Meditation also increases self-awareness and emotional intelligence, two very important traits for professionals and leaders to help with relationships in the workplace and at home.
I was encouraged to start a meditation practice by numerous experts during a health crisis years ago. The root cause of my illness was eventually determined to be work-related stress.
I only wish I took that advice to meditate regularly sooner, I may not have suffered as long. If you experience a lot of stress or have unresolved health related issues, read more about the impact of stress and why you should care here.
A simple practice of a few minutes of meditating per day or in particular situation (before or after) can bring you a sense of calm during stress or help center and ground you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
I know meditation on a regular basis works, I personally don’t need scientific proof to experience something and realize the benefits directly.
However, if scientific confirmation helps others become more open to the concept of meditation and gets them to start practicing it, then by all means, keep the research going.
There are plenty of scientific studies reporting that meditation helps relieve anxiety and depression, improve focus and attention, increase concentration, and improve overall psychological well-being.
Meditation has also been shown to produce favorable changes in the brain. In this Forbes article, 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain, several studies are cited showing how meditation preserves the aging brain, reduces activity in the “Me Center” or “monkey mind”, changes key areas of the brain that support learning and memory, improves concentration and attention, and reduces anxiety.
Are you convinced yet that everyone needs to meditate?
Take Purposeful Action: Start a Daily Practice
If you’re not mediating now, start a daily practice. If you don’t think you have time for it, start off with a 1 – 5 minute practice first thing in the morning.
Keep it simple. Find a space where you won’t be disturbed and sit comfortably.
Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing. It may help to count your breaths (inhale: 1, 2, 3, 4, exhale: 1, 2, 3, 4).
As thoughts arise, observe them without judging, and let them go.
Try smiling to support a feeling of inner calm and joy. It gets easier with continued practice and when you start seeing the benefits.
After some regular practice and when you feel ready, slowly increase the time you meditate. If you start with 5 minutes per day, increase it to 6 or 7 minutes after a couple of weeks. You’ll know when you’re ready.
Some additional tips: play soft music to help you get in a relaxed mood, write down how you feel before and after, and if you keep a journal write directly after meditation. You may be pleasantly surprised by the content.
Lastly, if you feel fidgety or tense while meditating remind yourself that it’s a normal part of the process and a great reason to continue. Over time you’ll find that getting into a relaxed state comes easily and quickly.
Next thing you know, you’ll be buying a “heavily meditated” t-shirt to wear proudly in public.
Take Purposeful Action (For Current Meditators): Try Something New
If you already have a daily meditation practice, I’m sure you see its value and don’t need me to tell you to continue it.
I do want to encourage you to change it up or enhance your daily practice by adding different types of meditation every so often, like once a month or once every few weeks.
You can try a guided meditation on YouTube or one of the meditation apps, a mindfulness meditation, a group meditation experience, or a walking meditation.
Here’s one to try this weekend. Take a walk in a wooded area or other peaceful place out in nature for a walking meditation.
While walking, get centered and grounded by paying attention to your feet as they move, the strength in your legs, and the air easily flowing into and out of your lungs.
Then, bring your focus to all the beautiful things that surround you. Notice the birds, butterflies, and other wild life. Pay attention to the trees, the wind moving the leaves, and the warmth of the sun on your skin.
Be present with the whole experience. Needless to say but I’ll say it anyway, no listening to music, books or podcasts during this walking meditation, and put your phone on do not disturb mode if it’s with you.
In the comments below, share the one benefit you want most from your daily meditation practice? Or, if you already meditate regularly, what’s the best benefit you’ve gotten from it? Please share to encourage others.
Becoming skilled at letting go of fear is a powerful step in creating a happier and healthier life. What you may not realize is that fear, like all your emotions, is under your control.
With the proper techniques and practices you can get really good at managing unhelpful emotions and experiencing more positive, helpful ones.
These days many of us are being forced to let go of things due to social distancing and other measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
This sense of uncertainty can bring up fear: when will stores and restaurants open up, when will I be able to go back to working in an office, how will this all work so that we stay safe and healthy? There’s no shortage of fear and uncomfortable feelings.
You can let go of negativity around a current situation and focus on positives, and address the fear when it gets to be too much.
Why let go of fear
Fear is your body’s signal alerting you to danger, or what is known as the fight or flight response. However, when you’re not being chased by a tiger or in some other life threatening situation, and that situation is not under your direct control, it’s not helpful.
Fear produces cortisol and a stress response in the body, and if it occurs too frequently (chronic stress), it can lead to health issues and negatively impact your emotional wellbeing.
We often don’t realize how long-held thought patterns and emotions that no longer serve us prevent us from moving forward. Feeling the fear and letting it go helps you move forward and closer to achieving your goals and dreams.
It may be challenging to let go of what you once cherished or feel pressured by others to hold on to, or that you’re accustomed to. But the more you let go, the more space you create for new opportunities and people to come into your life, and the easier it becomes to address future fear or other unhelpful emotions.
Strategic action you can take
Try these 3 steps the next time fear is taking its hold on you.
1 Notice the fear. Become aware of when it comes up – awareness is a powerful tool. Appreciate that this feeling is totally normal. Your mind is trying to resolve what it perceives as “unsafe” to your survival.
2. Be with that feeling. Don’t try to fix it or get rid of it. Take a pause and as your notice it, see where it appears in your body. Maybe it’s a tight feeling in your gut/stomach, or in your chest. Some people say it feels hot, or heavy, or that it has a shape to it. Be curious, and appreciate that it’s there.
3. Let your body do its thing and process it. As long as you don’t attach any more energy to this feeling by creating a story around it and making it more than it is, the feeling will usually dissipate on its own in less than 90 seconds. Remember: notice it, be curious, and see if it’s changing as you stay present with that feeling.
You can do some breathing exercises or body movement to match the energy of that feeling. For example, if it’s a tightness or heaviness in your chest area, take a few deep inhales and imagine the oxygen going directly to that tightness or heaviness. Typically, you’ll begin to feel a shift of energy, and you may notice a lighter feeling or opening of that area.
One of my most scary times
A few years ago I was driving on one of the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world, the Hana Highway in Maui (read more here).
As you can imagine, the fear of driving this road consumed me. The trip takes 2.5-3 hours to drive straight through, for roughly 60 miles!
As far as working through the fear, I had no problem noticing it (step 1). I felt it for weeks. But I couldn’t let it cause me to freeze while driving.
So I felt it, and noticed where it was in my body (tightness from my stomach up to my chest) and felt how strong it was, especially during especially scary parts of the drive (step 2).
Then, I let my body do what it was meant to do, process it (step 3). Lots of calming breathing exercises helped.
I also matched that feeling of fear with singing and praying – loudly – to match the energy of that fear. Especially on those blind hairpin turns, when I had no idea if I would have a car coming right at me when I got around the corner. I also proactively forced a huge smile on my face and appreciated the beauty of the ocean and waterfalls and flowers.
I survived the Hana Highway, and hope this story helps you the next time you’re feeling fear.
Review and practice the above steps with fear, or any unhelpful emotion, and see how things begin to improve.
If ever there was a time to have some effective go tos for keeping anxiety and stress down, it’s now.
We are living in unprecedented times right now. The world has a lot of uncertainty and fear due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and all of its resulting consequences including job and income loss, lifestyle changes like social distancing, business closures, potential illness and death.
Add to this any planned activities you had scheduled for this time, and it can feel like it’s too much to handle. Life’s big celebrations like weddings, graduations and holidays are cancelled. People have been furloughed as many service industries are severely impacted. You’re putting your life at risk just to go buy groceries.
Moving During COVID-19
I moved into a new home last week. It was planned since January, not knowing all the complications that would be happening in March.
Moving is a big life change and full of stress, but add the pressure of not knowing if the transaction was going to get cancelled, if the deed could be recorded or if the movers would be forced to stop working (would they be considered an essential service during ‘stay at home” order).
Thankfully, I made it through the rollercoaster of emotions the week before closing on the purchase, but then came the next hurdle, physically moving to the new home.
Friends came to help move my breakable items and living plants, it was an exhausting day but went smoothly. I’m so grateful for their kindness and support in these social distancing times. The next day the moving company would come and move the rest.
That’s when the anxiety and pressure seemed to notch up again. Over the next 5 days, a new issue would arise almost daily, and each time I would get that tight feeling in my solar plexus area, directly under my ribcage and above my belly button. That’s my body’s signal telling me to brace for the uncertainty to follow. For example:
When the moving company called the morning of my move to let me know a couple crew members had head colds, and they weren’t chancing it. That they would send 2 others instead of the 3 planned, and another 2 would join later on;
When my desk for my home office wouldn’t fit through my new home office door;
When my washing machine was broken during the move, and I had to risk COVID-19 exposure to go buy another at Lowes. I’ve never been so excited to do laundry;
When the smoke detector in this brand new home kept going off making my 2 pups, already frazzled from the move, hide in the furthest bathroom and closet. The smoke detector was defective and was replaced;
When the toilets all backed up filling the tub and shower with sewer water because the pipes were filled with all sorts of new construction debris. The plumber came by and cleared out the main drainage pipe.
As I look back now, 2 weeks later, I realize what helped get me through that daily barrage of unexpected problems. It was the tools and techniques I’ve used over the years to become a more centered, present, and peaceful person.
Do I get angry, frustrated, and lose it sometimes? Of course, I’m only human. However, now I find it easier to recover from those feelings and realize, from experience, that all these issues do work out in the end, as all the ones above did. It may not be the result I was expecting, but it gets resolved.
My Top 3 Go Tos for Anxiety and Stress Relief
Here are my top 3 go tos to keep the anxiety and stress at a manageable level. I used them extensively over the past few weeks, and will continue to practice them as we all get through this new world with COVID-19.
1. A Morning Routine that Includes Meditation
My all-time favorite recommendation to coaching clients, and anyone really, is a morning routine that includes meditation. The benefits of meditation are well documented and include reducing anxiety, increasing wellbeing, better sleep, better attention and focus, decreased pain, better immune function, and more happiness overall.
My daily practice takes 30 – 60 minutes. If this is new to you, start off small and work up to longer periods of time.
You’ll find, as I did, that it increases very easily and you’re going to want to spend more time setting up your day for success with a daily practice that feeds your mind, body and soul.
For more information on how to create a morning routine, click here to read my blog Connect to Success Every Day for Best Results and sign up to get access to my free Connect to Success Morning Routine Guide and Checklist.
2. Positive Self-Talk
Positive self-talk is a habit we can all cultivate in order to proactively compensate for our brains’ automatic processes. Our brains naturally assess our environment and come up with thoughts to “help” us survive.
It’s the function of our brain. Unfortunately, we’re wired to seek out problems (in order to solve them and survive) and some of our thoughts could be unhelpful and even hurtful.
For example, I kept hearing myself say “this is a nightmare” quite a few times on my moving days, when all that could go wrong seemed to be going wrong. Was it really a nightmare? No. But it sure did feel that way, in that moment.
I caught myself thinking and sometimes saying it out loud. When I did, I would then take a deep breath, question that thought, and then change it to a more helpful, positive thought. Many times, just acknowledging different and helpful thoughts can make all the difference.
For me, acknowledging that moving to a new home is always challenging. It’s not fun, and it’s typical for things to take longer than expected, for walls to get dinged, for my body to get tired and sore after many long days and nights packing, moving, and cleaning.
That helped and completely changed how I was feeling and subsequently how I was reacting to everyone and everything coming at me.
Breathwork is another tool to help calm your body and change your state of mind. My favorites currently are box breathing and relaxing breath (4-7-8 breathing).
Box breathing is a deep breathing technique that increases calm and focus and reduces stress. You breathe in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and then hold for 4 seconds. You can repeat this pattern for a few rounds, or keep going for 5 minutes or longer until you start to feel deeply relaxed. For those of you who are visual, think of each of these 4 steps as drawing an outline of a box when doing them – up, across, down, over.
Relaxing breath, or 4-7-8 breathing, helps reduce anxiety and is great to do to help you get to sleep more easily. You breath in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds, and then exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds. Then repeat. When starting out, you can repeat this cycle up to 4 times, and build up with more practice and time.
I’d like you to try one or all three of these techniques the next time you begin to feel the pressure building. Bonus points if you create a daily practice like #1 above to help keep you in a balanced state on a regular basis, so you’re already in a better space to handle the anxiety and stress that is very prevalent in our new normal world.
You’ve been stressed lately. There’s a big initiative at work and you’ve been putting in a lot of hours, even bringing work home in the evening and on the weekends, and getting up early to catch up on your email inbox that you never have time for during the workday.
You’re starting to feel the effects of too much work and not enough quality sleep. You’re feeling run down and hoping this itchy throat and congestion in the morning doesn’t develop into a cold or the flu.
You’ve got no time for anything you enjoy; you can’t remember the last time you had a massage or went out with friends during the week.
You try to unwind some nights by binge watching your favorite TV shows and Netflix, but that doesn’t really help.
You just want to start feeling better, to be full of energy, to really relax after a long day of work and running around. You want to stop working so much and have more fun with family and friends.
You want the control back in your life so life doesn’t feel like it’s running you.
This scenario sounds a bit out of control, definitely unbalanced at the least. It was my experience years ago when in my Corporate career and I wished someone asked me sooner: who’s taking care of you?
So, who is taking care of you? If the above sounds a lot like your current situation, you’re definitely not taking good care of yourself and I’m sure you know that. It’s time for a change.
It’s time for some self-care and self-love. In fact, if you’re not feeling well on a regular basis – physically, mentally and emotionally – it’s probably long overdue.
Self-care is actually part of self-love, and includes mostly physical aspects like going for walks, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and making sure you’re sleeping well. It’s taking care of your “self”.
Self-love includes not just your physical wellbeing, but also loving and caring acts for your emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing too. It’s about balancing and supporting all the parts that make you whole.
Self-love is having regard for your own well-being and happiness and doing the things that support it. And it’s also paying attention to when something isn’t working for you so that you can pivot quickly and make a better choice that’s more aligned to your best interests.
It seems pretty straightforward but many people act in ways that don’t support wellbeing, for numerous reasons. Sometimes they don’t even realize it’s happening until something makes them stop to listen, like a serious health crisis or the end of a relationship. It can go on for weeks, months, even years before being addressed.
Here are 3 tips to bring more self-care and self-love into your life, so that you take back control and start feeling better fast.
1. Get a pre-sleep ritual. Sleep is so important. For optimal health and wellbeing, it’s recommended that you get no less than 7 hours each night.
Make that happen by creating a ritual to help you de-stress at night. Take an epsom salt bath, read a book, meditate, do some stretching or relaxing breathing exercises. Do whatever works best to help you unwind after a long day.
2. Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. Most of us are our own biggest critic and we think and say some very mean and unhelpful things. Would you talk to your best friend like that?
Be supportive, be kind, and be loving to yourself. Compliment yourself without feeling guilty about it. Pay attention to what you say or think when you look at yourself in the mirror.
Shut down that self-critic quickly and replace any negative self-judgement with a more positive statement that supports you. Again, pretend like you’re helping your best friend.
Take a break from self-judgement; don’t be so hard on yourself. For example, call something you accomplished “good enough”, without worrying about all the ways you could have made it better.
Even if something goes wrong or you don’t get the result you wanted, make sure you treat yourself like someone you love. We’re all human and we’re supposed to make mistakes, that’s how we learn and grow.
3. Speak your truth. Express what you truly feel, think, or want to do – respectfully without regard for what people might think or how you may be judged.
We’ve all done this before: where you agree to help out a co-worker with a project, and then end up doing most of the work while he gets the credit and your own work gets put on hold. You were trying to be helpful and a team player, but as it kept taking more time away from your priorities, you began to really regret helping out, even getting short-tempered, frustrated and angry about it.
In these kind of cases, don’t hesitate to say “no” when you have to. Your most valuable assets are your time and your energy, and it’s an act of self-care and self-love to prioritize your wellbeing over any requests from others.
If you have a hard time with implementing self-care and self-love on your own, I urge you to pick one of these tips and commit to it for the next month. And after that month, spend 15 -30 minutes to focus on where you are and evaluate your progress. Has your overall stress lessened? Are you sleeping better? Do you feel like you have more control of your work life and balancing a healthy personal life too? Most importantly, are you feeling better and more in control? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Another act of self-love is to get help when you need it. If you feel like you could benefit from someone partnering with you to reach your career and personal goals, I offer Free 20 Minute Insight Calls for professionals. You’ll gain greater insight into your specific challenges and how coaching can help. Schedule your call directly by clicking here or via my website at www.energyrapport.com.
The impact of stress is well-known but often overlooked or ignored, and it could be negatively affecting you to a great degree without you even realizing it.
Too much stress can have serious implications and cause imbalances in your physical health, your emotional and mental wellbeing, your energy levels, and even spiritually (your connection to what brings meaning to your life).
Do you have a problem with stress?
Do you think you have a problem with stress in your life? If you’re anything like I used to be, you probably justify your stress as the normal challenges that occur at work and personally. Often people downplay the seriousness of it, and ignore what stress can become if not addressed right away.
Pay attention to the physical, emotional and mental signs your body is giving you
I recommend you check in with your body to see if there really is a problem. How do you feel when you’re feeling stress or under pressure? Do you start holding your breath or does your breathing become shallow and rapid?
I experience many challenging people and situations during my corporate HR career. During these times, I distinctly remember a burning, and tightening in my stomach, like a knot was forming in there. And sometimes that tight feeling would start climbing up to my chest and face where I could feel my face becoming hot and blood pressure rising. Talk about my body sending signals.
Another thing to consider is how much stress do you have, and are you managing this stress well. Is it happening on a regular basis? Is it going away within minutes, or lingering for hours, days or weeks in the form of physical, mental/emotional or energetic issues.
Here are some telltale signs of too much stress becoming unbalanced and unmanageable.
Physical signs may include:
Burning stomach or indigestion;
Serious cravings for food/sugar, nicotine, alcohol or other substances or activities to “numb out” or “take the edge off”;
Headaches or migraines;
Back pain, many times inexplicable or chronic;
Other body aches and pain;
Low energy, always feeling tired;
Immune system is weak, getting sick frequently;
Sleep problems (too little, exhausted upon waking, waking up during the night and unable to get back to sleep).
Mental / emotional signs may include:
Feeling anxious or in a panic, often;
Mental fog, unclear thinking;
Confidence problems, feeling off your game;
Angry often, usually snapping at others, very little patience;
Feeling overwhelmed or like things are out of control;
Unable to turn off work once home or when trying to fall asleep.
These are warning signs. They are your body trying to get your attention, warning you to take action.
If downplayed or ignored for too long, they can impact your energy levels to the point where you’re always feeling run down, unmotivated and unhealthy.
Like you, I’ve been there many times in my professional career, attempting to manage a high-pressure, demanding business environment with all the personal challenges life throws at us.
My stress seemed manageable; but, on two separate occasions throughout my corporate career, after ignoring some of the signs listed above while trying to be strong and push through it, my body took over and put the brakes on. My stress became chronic.
I developed a serious health crisis that made me take action to address and alleviate the stress at work and in my personal life. With the proper support and focus, and taking action against the root cause of my health crisis – the chronic stress – I was able to successfully get past it on both occasions.
Why you should care – the long-term issues of chronic stress
The really bad type of stress is chronic stress. It is when distress continues for a prolonged period of time, typically 21 days or longer. It can be shorter or longer depending on the stressor and how much you can tolerate.
This long-term activation of the stress-response system – and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones – can disrupt almost all your body’s processes.
It can put you at an increased risk of physical and mental/emotional health problems including diseases, chronic health conditions, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. You can read and learn more about the different types of stress, including chronic stress, and how to prevent it here: A Moment of Silence for Your Chronic Stress.
What you can do about your stress
There are numerous strategies and tools you can use to counterbalance your stress. Think of it like taking a proactive “time out” from work and other stressful activities in order to minimize the stress-induced symptoms that may follow.
Two things in particular are very useful: 1) getting and staying active and 2) finding a support network.
Daily activity and exercise is the ultimate stress buster. It strengthens the physical body as well as helps to release those feel good chemicals affecting our moods and wellbeing. Go for a walk with your dog, take a break from your computer and walk around the office, or dance around to some favorite song. Just move, every day.
A support network helps you stay connected to others and nourishes your spiritual side. Make a list of people in your personal life and professional life who you like and trust and can confidentially share challenges and concerns and then brainstorm solutions.
Here are three additional resources with other options for you to consider and use to prevent or lessen the impact of stress regardless of the cause.
Do have a hard time letting go of thoughts about work or personal worries, to the point where it prevents you from falling asleep easily or wakes you up at night? Restful and rejuvenating sleep is the ultimate tonic to building your defenses against stress’s unwanted side-effects, like a low immune system or brain fog. Read more about stress and sleep and try the suggestions here: Too Stressed to Sleep? Here Are 3 Things to Try.
Do you need help getting centered and focused for the day ahead, so you’re in the best possible shape to handle any challenge that may come your way? Mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. That’s why most successful people have an intentional routine where they take care of their top priorities before the demands from work and others begins. Done consistently, it impacts your health and wellbeing and keeps your stress levels manageable. Read about options for morning routines here: Connect to Success – Every Day for Best Results
Being prepared and organized is a proactive way to repel the stress in situations. You can organize what’s going on inside, namely your thoughts, beliefs, and ideas in your mind. And you can also organize your physical space to release the things weighing you down, increase your energy flow and make room for new opportunities. Read and learn more about how to get more organized here: How to Take Back Control: First, Get Organized
Stress and spirituality
Spirituality has many definitions, but essentially it’s a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. It’s not necessarily a specific belief system or religion, but comes from your connection with yourself, with others and with your purpose or meaning in life.
Some people find spirituality in religious services, church membership, prayer, belief in God or a higher power. For many, spirituality is found in nature, art, music, writing, gardening, animals or spending time with others that you connect with (community).
However you define spirituality, know that it has numerous benefits for stress relief and overall mental wellbeing. Having a sense of purpose and defining what’s most important allows you to focus less on the unimportant things and eliminate stress.
The belief that there’s a higher power allows you to realize you’re not responsible for everything that happens and you can surrender that “control”.
Cultivating more spirituality into your life brings more peace and calm and helps you cope with stress better.
In closing, it’s worth the effort
It takes some effort to manage constant sources of stress, or to reduce your chronic stress and become a more balanced person, but take it from me, it’s so worth it. It took almost 2 years for me to find the right help and support during my first health crisis.
My main message for you is to not let your stress get out of control, and get the help and support you need to manage as soon as possible. Make it a priority before it’s too late.
Try using the tools and strategies suggested above. And if you’re struggling on your own, find a professional who can provide the guidance, support and accountability to aid in your success.
Stress is a normal part of life. There’s good stress, bad stress, and then really bad stress: the chronic kind. Chronic stress is very serious. Left unchecked, it can lead to poor job performance, sleeping problems and major health issues – or worse.
Let’s have a moment of silence for your chronic stress. It was there for a reason. It made you aware of an imbalance in your life, and now you can move past it to a better state for your health, wellbeing and success.
[Not sure if you’re experiencing chronic stress? Below in this post is a quiz to find out.]
Is your chronic stress still alive and kicking, and causing all kinds of havoc for you emotionally, mentally, and physically? Not quite past it yet but ready to put it to rest?
Below are some ways you can start taking back control and start feeling better again.
The different types of stress: the good, the bad and the really bad
There are 3 different types of stress: the good, the bad and the really bad.
The good stress is called eustress. It’s a positive form of stress that has a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional wellbeing.
This positive stress happens when you’re promoted, or given a new work project you were competing for, or during a vacation.
Anytime you stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone, which is a good thing for your growth and personal development, you’ll experience eustress. You may not be consciously aware of it, but it happens.
Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals our body produces, are released. It’s exciting and fulfilling, but the feelings can also be a bit challenging and unsettling.
This type of stress helps you to develop and stay emotionally and mentally balanced due to the positive feelings you’ll experience. Eustress also supports your physical body too, like when you work out, lift weights or finish a challenging hike.
The second type of stress, the bad stress, is called distress. It’s defined by Merriam-Webster as pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind.
It is the body’s response to changes that are creating a demand on it. We experience physical changes as part of this “fight or flight” response, like the release of stress hormones (e.g., cortisol), and an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, and respiration rate.
In addition to the physical changes, distress taxes your resources on all levels: mentally, emotionally, energetically, and even spiritually. It can lead to poor performance, mental fog and confusion, scattered thoughts, or a feelings of anxiety or depression.
The really bad type of stress, the third type is chronic stress. It is when distress continues for a prolonged period of time, typically 21 days or longer, but the timing varies from person to person. It can be shorter or longer depending on the stressor and how much you can tolerate.
This biological response to the challenging and demanding situations that are a regular part of our life is normal, but becomes dangerous when it continues for this prolonged period of time.
This long-term activation of the stress-response system – and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones – can disrupt almost all your body’s processes, putting you at an increased risk of physical and mental/emotional health problems.
It can go on long-term because we either ignore or push down the negative effects of it. For example, one of my clients worked in a demanding environment. She was so busy working on the next new “emergency” and feeling under pressure to deliver results on time and under budget, that weeks went by while she ignored the burning sensation in her stomach every time she ate or drank something.
Working together we made the connection of her stomach pain to the work stress. She had a vacation planned and to no one’s surprise, her burning stomach went away during that time away from work.
The consequences of chronic stress can be much more serious than my client’s, she recognized and made the connection early on, before her burning stomach could escalate to a serious health problem or illness.
Like in my personal case when I worked in Corporate Human Resources, I was ignoring my chronic stress and thought I could push through it. I thought that things would get better tomorrow, or in a few days.
That never happened. I remember the work demands seemed to lessen, but that was temporary, and before I could take a breath, the next new “fire” was screaming to be put out.
That chronic stress led to physical symptoms that I ignored for months. My body was trying to get me to slow down and make some changes, with excruciating joint pain, lethargy, body aches, night sweats, shortness of breath, sleep issues and digestive problems – all of these things on a daily basis.
This eventually led to a serious inflammatory disease that finally got my attention. The scariness of a health crisis was the turning point for me to re-evaluate my chronic stress, and start making changes to address the root cause.
My only regret is that I didn’t get the help and support I needed sooner.
That’s another reason for getting help, and getting it quickly: chronic stress can lead to a feeling of overwhelm and make the situation seem hopeless if it goes on for months or years.
The right professional to partner with can bring a whole new perspective and viewpoint along with support to start seeing positive shifts.
Do you have chronic stress?
It’s critical to recognize the signs of chronic stress and to take the necessary steps to remove it from your life – to have that moment of silence for it.
Additionally, stay present and mindful, and pay attention to the bad stress in your life, and any physical, mental or emotional symptoms because of it. How long does it last? How frequently does it occur?
If it’s been going on for weeks or months without any improvement, and you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed and like things are out of control, take back control and address it like your life depends on it, because it does.
Here are three ways to take back control and start feeling better
1) Get organized and start setting limits. It’s okay to say no.
Make a list of all your commitments and projects and identify the ones you absolutely must do and the non-essential ones that can be removed, delayed, or delegated.
My previous corporate career was very demanding with new priorities every day. As the tasks and expected deliverables kept coming in, instead of just adding them to the list and beginning to feel like I was drowning and out of control, I took control.
I would review these new items with my manager, in relation to the others. Specifically asking which were the top priorities to work on immediately and which would have to be delegated, delayed, etc. Setting these expectations and being clear on a regular basis was key to keeping things organized and in control.
For personal non-work commitments, you may want to postpone non-critical items like volunteer activities or home-improvement projects until a later time. Or, delegate or hire someone to take the pressure off of you.
One of my clients would get stressed about not having the time to keep a clean home. She would get mad because her husband and children wouldn’t help clean.
She found the perfect solution in hiring a cleaning service to clean on a regular basis. The cost was well worth it; she has more time for priorities and for quality time with her family, and feels more in control and less stressed.
Most importantly, remember that it’s okay to say no and to set limits.
Don’t accept any more commitments until you feel that your stress is under control. And don’t feel guilty about it – your wellbeing and health is of the utmost importance.
2) Commit to one simple change.
To increase eustice, or good stress, and keep distress at bay, learn how to set professional and personal goals that are challenging and realistic. Track your progress to hold yourself accountable.
Your one simple goal, or change, may be adding in some regular physical activity a few times a week – exercise is a great stress buster.
Or you may want to enhance the quality of your sleep and can commit to getting at least 7 hours a night of good quality sleep.
3) Get support from family, friends and professionals.
When I was so sick, I sought help from the typical sources: doctors and health specialists. Fortunately, after going the standard healthcare route and becoming increasing hopeless in finding a diagnosis and treatment, I began sharing my struggle with close friends and family who in turn led me to some alternative health specialists and therapies (energy healing, naturopathic medicine, plant-based supplements, meditation) that worked for me and helped in my recovery.
In most cases, even more support is needed and a professional coaching relationship could be the solution for you. With a good coaching relationship, you have an unbiased professional devoted to their clients’ progress and wellbeing.
It’s a different dynamic than support from family and friends, who may think they are helping but they might be biased, incapable, or too close to you to help.
Take action now
Trust me, from someone who’s been there and learned – if you think you’re experiencing uncontrolled chronic stress, please take action now to address it.
Take one small step to start, and before you know it you’ll be able to look back like I can now, and see how far you’ve come.
Back in my corporate days, employee engagement was a big deal – and it still is today. As a Human Resources Business Partner, every year I partnered with Gallup and company leaders to run employee surveys, track metrics, and create and implement engagement programs with the goal to increase our employee engagement.
A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow. Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace survey finds striking differences between the most engaged workplaces and ones that aren’t, specifically: 21% greater profitability, 17% greater productivity, 41% less absenteeism and 24% less turnover. Gallup also reports in that same survey that 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Said in another way, only 15% of employees are engaged.
I think about employee engagement in a holistic way – looking at the employee as a whole person, not just the one that comes to work.
Human beings are complex, and multiple factors should be taken into consideration when looking to improve engagement including health, wellbeing, relationships, and finances. Because of my experience with chronic stress and burn-out, both personally and with helping others struggling, I know the impact that stress can have on engagement.
Think about it: when you’re under a lot of pressure, are you making the best choices or acting the same as you would when at ease? Even now, when I’m under a tight timeline to get something done, I can sometimes get short with colleagues and feel some unwanted anger and anxiety creeping in.
Too often at companies I worked for and with current coaching clients, I see conflict in the workplace due to the pressures of a fast-paced and toxic environment. The pressure and subsequent stress seemed to change the people and their typical behavior for the worse. They’d lash out, yell, get angry, and have to apologize later (some never did). It’s not the best behavior in a professional work environment, or any environment really.
Recognizing employees comprehensively, as complete people, is a great approach to increasing engagement. In fact, some companies are beginning to evolve their workplace wellness to address stress and provide unique all-encompassing offerings. For example, the company Asana has “nap rooms” where employees can de-stress and recharge. They also offer mentor programs that provide coaching, along with monthly workshops with different health-themed focuses like an immunity boost workshop before flu season.
Intuit’s program offers meditation and mindfulness classes as reimbursable expenses as well as incentives for employees engaging in stress-reduction habits, like practicing breathing exercises, taking walks or listening to calming music. Their website provides mindfulness resources and employees see “mindful moment” tips on the whiteboards in the conference rooms.
If you’re not fortunate enough to work at a company that provides these types of trailblazing programs, you still have options. If you’re in a leadership role, you can suggest bringing similar initiatives to your workplace, reinforcing the importance of high employee engagement and its impact on profitability.
Or you can personally pursue any of the examples above, like taking a walk, mindfulness classes, working with a coach or mentor, listening to calming music – until your company provides them. Yes, it would be better to have it included and paid for by your employer. But if you value your wellbeing, you’ll find the time and money.
We all can benefit from learning more about increasing engagement and taking steps to increase it. Prioritizing and supporting employees’ success at work, and our own success overall as people, is key.