Your roadmap to better health isn’t easy, but it is possible and worth more than everything you have. Have you ever heard the saying, “Health is wealth”? Or how about, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” There is truth in those sayings. Just ask anyone who has experienced a life-threatening emergency or has had a life-altering and debilitating illness or injury. In these situations, fear becomes real and it takes some people those very instances to wake up to the reality that when their health is under attack, they lose out on many important things in life. It’s incredibly frustrating and difficult to manage life in these states not just physically but also emotionally. You might be someone who is able to imagine this.Continue reading
The Revolution Has Begun. Really.
Literally, decades of time and experiences have lead me to this Revolution, and yet it feels like a blink of an eye. Before I get ahead of myself though, I need to tell you where it all began.
Throughout households across America, children started coming home from school to a house empty of adults. Upon entering they immediately turned the television set on and grabbed the processed packaged and yet so convenient snacks from the cupboard. Heck, a soda goes well with this also, so better grab that as well! The fast convenience food revolution began its path towards our destruction.
On televisions sets, commercials were directly marketing to children, alerting them of the next toy or snack they needed to have. Though, not all kids stayed watching. They found the new shiny thing – the internet. A place they can go to watch any video they like or read anything they stumble across before their parents walk into the room. That is certainly a scary thought, isn’t it?! Introducing the 1980s-2000s.
Now that I have your attention…I’ll name a few of the other issues that have since developed further and are grounds for joining the Revolution:
- Our physical beings and the widespread development of diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and other diseases related to poor diet, lifestyle, and lack of physical fitness.
- The American diet and the real cost to our health.
- Our emotions. The importance of emotional intelligence in our personal and professional relationships that aren’t brought to light in schools.
- Our medical system. For-profit health and the consequences of an industry led by insurance and pharmaceutical companies. We do not have a wellness industry, but rather an illness industry.
- Media, Marketing, Internet and Social Media
- People are stressed for time and are being bombarded by constant noise.
- Everyone’s an expert and yet no ones an actual expert.
- Values that are born out of consumerism/debt that cause depression and loneliness.
- Misinformation is everywhere regarding health & wellness.
- Body images portrayed as healthy, strong, or beautiful are giving false impressions and bad messages.
When I started down this journey, I began with nutritional therapy. It seemed like the right step as I was leaving a long culinary and restaurant career. After working with so many clients on their nutrition, I knew I wanted to create something more.
The first step was the decision to improve the quality of my life.
I decided to move from Las Vegas to the slower paced German town of New Braunfels, Texas. Who doesn’t like The Wurstfest!?
The second step to my journey was to change the concept of my business and then to also modify the approach that I’d been employing towards my clients. I had success with clients but I also realized that people become resistant when being told what to do when they don’t want to do it. It’s just natural. A person needs to learn the lessons for themselves to really learn them. My job is now of a coach. I’m here to guide you towards seeing your “truth” and to show you ways to get to where you decide you want to go.
Now, what I’m talking about is dealing with our overall well being. This means that I work with the little picture where it’s connected to the bigger picture of your health – through your mind, body, AND nutrition. Why? Because it is all connected, silly.
You see, working with your physical fitness won’t get you peak results unless we also work on your nutrition. You might be having problems with your weight due to your ideas surrounding food that you’ve always had. We would work together to help you change your thoughts into more positive and unlimited ones through the use of cognitive behavioral techniques (the mind). Do you see where I’m going here?!
The change to Revolution Wellness is the next logical step to my journey of learning and compassion for myself and to others. Come join the Revolution!
Are you thriving in your life? Thriving is all about growth, flourishing and prospering. The spring season reminds us of how nature thrives. However, when I look around most humans are not “thriving”.
Research on well-being concludes that only about 20% of adults have a strong sense of purpose and are fully satisfied with their lives. Less than 10% strongly believe their lives are ideal and most people are stressed out and burned out. Unfortunately, all of this stress harms biological function and increases susceptibility to chronic diseases.
To make matters worse, most people feel too depleted, mentally and physically, to create a healthy way of life that would make them feel better. A whopping less than 5% of adults engage in the health behaviors that actually prevent diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
People are not exercising regularly, maintaining healthy weight or enjoying plentiful fruits and veggies. Not only do people feel lousy physically and emotionally, but they are also dealing with chronic diseases that cost them financially.
While your doctor wants you to thrive, sadly they don’t have time to help you, other than to prescribe medicine and send you on your way, leaving you to figure out how to do it all by yourself. We know that there are other dedicated professionals who are well-trained to zoom in on one area such as fitness, nutrition, or emotional health. However, you are navigating the complex web of your life and now you are in pursuit of good health goals too. Who do you turn to when you feel overwhelmed by it all?
You cannot solve your problems with the same level of thiking that created them.
We also can’t improve health very well when we are in a stressed-out state. Instead, cultivating a thriving mind is necessary to attain a healthy body. Combining a whole-life focus with scientifically validated techniques to change your mind is the work of a well-trained health and wellness coach. Their work is now backed by more than 200 scientific studies.
In 2017, the ICHWC (The International Consortium of Health & Wellness Coaching) consulted widely, developed a broad consensus, created national standards, and formed a partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners in May 2016 to launch the program and certification in this exciting and growing field.
Here are some tactics to use to get you thriving:
Imagine a life of thriving
A first coaching step is to envision yourself engaged in a life of thriving. A personal vision is like setting a compass. It sets the direction and purpose for your mind-changing adventure. Perhaps you imagine a day where you are calm and energized, enjoying instead of dreading the overflow of work projects, while attending beautifully and creatively to one task at a time.
You are no longer feeling stuck in a chronic state of criticism or self doubt and are feeling grateful for what is good and what you have. Making time most days for physical activity feels good, and you are cooking and savoring delicious and healthy meals with your loved ones on most evenings.
Stretch your mind
The heart of a good coaching session is the mind-stretching part. It’s a creative process whereby your coach helps you experience an insight, or an “aha moment.” It could be a shift in perspective or discovery of a blind spot. Over time these small shifts add up to a whole new mindset, and you outgrow your old one.
The brain can grow new pathways, in fact about 1 millimeter a day. Over time those pathways enable new habits that make a big difference. Think about it, exercise calms you down. Good food energizes your brain. Now you can focus without distraction and you see more good than bad in yourself and others. Careful now, you might find out that your life is thriving!
While your mind stretches, so do your capacities. Your new neural pathways allow you to become more creative. You will find strengths and resources that were previously underemployed. You can now leverage positive feelings to balance your stress and and get more done, more quickly, and with more enjoyment.
Learn to coach yourself
What you learn from a wellness coach is how to coach yourself. You learn how to become a personal visionary. The most effective mix of your personal habits will help to develop your vision. Then, small daily experiments will lead you to discover your own personal formula. You will learn how to change your own mind, 1 millimeter at a time.
Now is the right time to engage a wellness coach to help boost you from merely surviving to a life of thriving. The cost is similar to a personal fitness trainer or nutritionist, many of whom also offer wellness coaching. Ask if your employer offers health and wellness coaching services.
If not now, when? Go for now. You will only regret it, if you never try.
If you’ve made it this far down on the page, we have an announcement coming soon! We are in the process of making some big changes! Check us out very soon to discover the new us!!
What is your definition of moderation in nutrition? One of the most common pieces of dieting advice is to eat “everything in moderation.” Apparently, people often have a skewed sense of what “moderation” means, says a new University of Georgia study. Researchers asked the study participants two questions:
1) How many cookies do you think you should eat in one sitting?
2) How many cookies would you consider to be a moderate serving?
Nearly 70 percent of the subjects defined a “moderate” serving as larger than what they thought they “should” eat. On average, people guessed you should eat only two cookies at a time—but that eating three cookies would pass for eating in moderation.
The researchers also surveyed the study participants about what kinds of junk food they preferred, and what they counted as a moderate portion size for each type of food.
Both findings came to the conclusion that the more someone liked a food, the more generous they would be with their definition of a moderate serving size!
The problem here is that moderation in nutrition is, admittedly, a vague concept. The definition merely says “avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior or political opinions”. It also lists synonyms like “self-restraint and self-discipline” leaving one open to a bit of interpretation, doesn’t it? Where does your self-restraint kick in compared to mine? That’s because it’s really an opinion and it’s woven into our self-control. That can be good or not so good, depending on where you fall on that scale.
The upside to it is that it’s a great way to avoid completely prohibiting certain foods. Research suggests may lead to disordered eating and weight gain. But without any concrete guidelines, what is moderation?!
It’s hard to tell whether you’re overeating or not.
Here’s a specific guideline to follow and it’s simple: Only 10 to 20 percent of your total daily calories should come from junk food. You know, eat what you want, but not everything you’ve ever wanted to eat.
You’ll want to plan ahead too.
For instance, you’re going to be particularly strategic about where your 10 to 20 percent goes, save it for breakfast or after a workout. Eat the meal in the morning and your body will use it as fuel as you go about your day. Post-workout is also a great time, as that’s when your metabolism is elevated and your body needs additional carbs and protein (even in the form of a slice of pizza if necessary).
Think of it this way, this means that you can order the pasta, but eat half and hold off on the bread. Share a dessert instead of having one to yourself. That will allow you to indulge—helping you to stick to your healthy eating plan in the long term—without overdoing it.
Find out how many calories you need in a day. For example, if you might need 2,500 calories, and 250 to 500 of those can come from whatever treats you want—no guilt necessary.
If you need some guidance on the concept of moderation in nutrition, I’d be happy to help! Many of our food choices are connected to habits, mistaken information, reward, emotional comfort, denial, and even possibly painful memories. I work with people who want to change their habits but find it more difficult than they realize.
What should you do if you want to eat healthier but have all the reasons and excuses not too? We all start with the best intentions: bookmarking healthier recipes, picking up kale and quinoa at the grocery store, and you’ve even bought one of those healthier Insta-Pots everyone’s been talking about!
Then something happens. You get slammed with a huge work project, you find yourself taking care of sick kids (or parents), or you spend all day running errands. Whatever the reason, life often leaves us no time or energy to prepare meals. What happens then? Do you decide to hit a drive-thru or phone for a pizza, which leaves you feeling bloated and discouraged about ever eating healthy again?
Common Obstacles You May Have
These may be some of the reasons that you can’t eat healthier:
- You don’t have time.
- It’s not anything you believe is important.
- You’re starving and grab what is convenient.
- You don’t do any planning until you’re hungry.
- You cook for you and your family and they are picky eaters.
- Your cooking skills are lacking and nothing ever tastes very good.
- You don’t have a wide variety of things you can cook.
- You eat out a lot because of the people at work with.
- It’s too hard to cook for yourself and so much easier to just buy something.
- Other things seem more important, so you don’t spend the time or energy thinking about food.
- You don’t enjoy grocery shopping.
- Cooking for yourself seems like too much trouble.
- And so on…
Where To Start
Pick two of these healthier alternatives each week:
- Drink water all week and nothing else
- Drink tea (any kind, but unsweetened)
- Eat veggies as a snack (with hummus if you like) – carrots, broccoli pieces, cauliflower, cucumber
- Eat fruits & raw nuts as a snack
- Have a vegetable as a side dish during at least one of your meals
- Add some nuts, berries and/or ground flaxseeds to your usual breakfast (cereal or oats, for example)
- Let’s take one example: you’re going to eat carrots & hummus or an apple and almond butter for afternoon snacks this week.
Take ten minutes to rid your home and office of all junk foods. Go through the fridge and pantry and toss out cookies, candy, chips, pastries, ice cream, etc. Then, buy one or two healthier snacks to replace them.
Healthy Restaurant Options
Look for healthier alternatives at the places you normally eat or find other places that have good healthy alternatives. Many restaurants now offer lighter fare on their menus, often with calorie counts. Take a look at restaurant menus online to see which ones provide the best options before you head out.
Then consider these tips when ordering:
Eat a small salad or broth-based soup first. It’s a nutritious and filling start to your meal that will help you consume fewer calories overall. Drink a glass of lemon water before beginning your meal.
Choose veggie-based entrees or those with baked, broiled or grilled fish or skinless chicken. Look for meals that aren’t greasy or oily. For example, instead of ordering cheese-covered chicken enchiladas, get the grilled chicken or grilled fish tacos. Choose foods without creamy sauces or heavy gravies. Ask to substitute veggies or a salad rather than have fries, coleslaw or butter-laden mashed potatoes.
Portions served at restaurants can be too big. See if smaller portions are available. Restaurants often offer “half” salads or sandwiches upon request. Or, take home one-third to half of the meal. Do it before you begin eating, this will remove your temptation to eat more. If you crave dessert, opt for fresh fruit or sorbet it’s healthier!
Better Fast-Food Choices
Eating fast food doesn’t mean you have to down a fatty cheeseburger and salty fries. There are a variety of menu options where you can find healthier picks. Many fast-food restaurants also have their menus, with calorie counts online.
Smart, quick and easy meals are places where you have more control over what goes into your order. At a sandwich shop, it’s easy to make healthy adjustments such as extra veggies and whole wheat or whole grain bread. (Plus, they also often have salads and soups.)
Ethnic eateries that offer build-your-own bowls, vegetarian options or grilled meat and vegetable plates are good bets, too.
But if you’re passing through a traditional drive-thru, keep these tips in mind:
- Avoid fried food (e.g., french fries, onion rings, chicken strips, and nuggets).
- A grilled skinless chicken breast is lower in saturated fat than a burger.
- A burger without the bun – will limit bad carbs.
- Order the smallest sizes — don’t “supersize” anything. Ordering the kid’s menu version of your favorite fast food can give you the taste you crave with far fewer calories.
- Skip calorie-heavy sides and toppings.
- Bypass all sugary drinks in favor of water or unsweetened tea.
Convenient Home-Cooked Meal Kits
If the time it takes to find recipes, plan what you’re going to eat for a week and grocery shop is what’s holding you back from eating healthier meals at home, there’s an easy solution: try meal subscription boxes.
There are tons of different companies that box up multiple meals’ worth of groceries and deliver them to your house each week. The cost is more than if you did the meal planning and shopping for yourself, but many find the convenience worth it. You can save some money though, by not buying ingredients that go unused and sit in the fridge just to go in the garbage.
Whether you’re dining out or eating in, it’s important to think about a balanced diet. That means making sure you’re getting a good mix of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy low-fat dairy.
With such a wide range of convenient meal options available — and the information you need to make smart, heart-healthy choices — you can feel good about what you eat even when life gets busy.
Use A Recipe Service
Lots of grocery stores are offering home delivery these days, and many of them have complete weekly meal plans you can sign up for. You get the exact groceries you need for the recipes on the plan, and instructions for how to pull them together.
The majority of your diet should come from nutrient-dense foods that let you accomplish more with less. Avoid sugar and empty calories, instead, focus on making sure each snack and meal packs as much punch as possible. Remember, you’re going for fueling your body and mind so you can accomplish more.
As tempting as it can be to indulge in a happy hour drink after work, it’s one of the worst ways to add calories to your diet. Sorry. While the occasional drink or two won’t hurt, it’s important to moderate your alcohol consumption, especially if the rest of your diet is severely lacking.
If you take care of your mind and body, you’ll find you’re more productive and have more energy throughout the day. You’ll also keep yourself healthy, which will allow you to avoid visits to the doctor and ongoing illnesses. When you take care of yourself, it is not just your health that benefits — your business will too.
Most of us know that hanging onto anger or guilt is a difficult and usually unhappy endeavor. Even though forgiving someone is something we have usually been taught is a good thing. How often do you forgive yourself though? Let’s look out how to forgive yourself and move forward.
We tend to think of our lives as moving through time.
Beginning with our past, moving to our present and looking toward a future. What if forgiveness meant letting go of our own past or the past that we have created in our heads? It feels pretty difficult and rather uneasy, doesn’t it?
When we forgive ourselves, we’re trying to release something that almost feels like it is part of us. That’s because we are releasing who we were in the moment that we did whatever it was. When we forgive what someone else has done, in a sense it can feel easier. We’re releasing a part of our past that isn’t essentially who we feel we are. So, how do you forgive yourself and move forward?
To release the part of your past that you need to forgive, it’s helpful to remember that we’re all doing the best we can at any moment. If you had known that your action would cause pain to others or yourself, you probably wouldn’t have done it, right? And even if you knew that you were causing damage at the time, you had no idea how much you would regret it in the future.
To many of us, seeing ourselves as flawed feels quite vulnerable and even scary. We’re basically wired to survive while trying to avoid mistakes at all costs, and when we do make a misstep, our first impulse is to hide it. In order to forgive ourselves, we first have to admit to ourselves that we blew it. We have to take ownership and acknowledge the flaw or mistake—and that feels almost counter to our sense of survival!
Isn’t it difficult to admit we were wrong sometimes?
The more practice you have the easier it feels though. Isn’t that wonderful?! It means your mistakes are actually a good thing! There you go! Forgiveness!
It’s helpful to remember that mistakes, failures, and even incredibly stupid acts are part of being human. It’s how we learn and grow. If you’re never embarrassed or wrong and if you never make a mistake, you’re probably staying within a pretty narrow comfort zone and not really growing much.
Appreciate your missteps for what they are, a good thing. A lesson learned and a chance for you to make positive changes in your future.
You’re overlooking a huge piece of your health and don’t even know it.
You crush it a the gym at least twice a week. You make chiropractor appointments, dental cleanings, eye exams, and yearly visits to your doctor. Heck, you may even get your nails done every couple of weeks and your hair styled once a month. There are some who get weekly or monthly massages to eliminate their sore stressed bodies. Chances are there is one important appointment that you’re not making for yourself – a visit with a nutritionist.
A Nutritionist is an expert and you’re not.
You might be thinking that nutritionists are only needed if you find out you have diabetes or your doctor recommends it. You might even say, “professional athletes or bodybuilders need nutritionists, but not me”. The reality is much different than this though. One of the most important things that keeps a body running is something most of us do at least 3-4 times every single day of life (eating) – yet we give little thought to what we put into our bodies and what it does to them over time.
You can do it yourself…again and yet again.
When you have a cavity in your tooth, you go to the dentist to have it fixed. The pain in your mouth tells you that this problem needs to be fixed now! Your body feels fine…sure you’ve put on 15 pounds since the baby was born and never got rid of it, but why go to someone to fix it? All you need to do is go on another diet and walk more. Right?
Not exactly, packing on weight over time is a symptom of usually one thing, that you’ve been consuming too many calories for the amount of energy you need. Most likely this is a habit for you. Extra calories equal extra fat. But here’s the problem, this isn’t your first diet. This diet is just one of many you’ve been on. You know how to get the weight off because you always have. Then time goes on, and you gain it back. Don’t you? People who go on diet after diet after diet, aren’t doing themselves any favors. In fact, what they have is an eating disorder.
Nutritionists are experts of the digestive system.
Look at it this way, what an ophthalmologist does for your eyes, a nutritionist does to keep your digestive system and body running smoothly, all the while making sure you’re getting the proper nutrients and helping you tailor an eating plan that works best for you.
Everybody should make an appointment with a nutritionist at least twice a year. Especially, if there are the telltale signs like these:
- You’re having skin issues or allergy symptoms.
- You are irregular.
- You’ve tried every diet out there and are waiting for the next big one
- You get heartburn and acid reflux
- You’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, or diabetes
- You’re doing everything right, and you still can’t lose weight
- You’ve decided to train for a marathon and don’t know what to eat
- You’re constantly thinking about food
- You overeat or binge when you feel emotional
- You have mood swings or energy crashes during the day
- You want babies
- You just had a baby
- You crave carbohydrates or sugar
- Sleeping throughout the night has become a problem
- You don’t want to feed your family processed foods, but who has the time?!
Integrity and Self Esteem do go hand in hand and is often thought of as moral uprightness and steadfastness—making the “good” choices, doing the “right thing.” In fact, it is far more than that. Integrity is actually a phenomenon in and of itself. It has to do with authenticity—being true to ourselves—and it is the foundation for power and effectiveness. It is a home, an anchor, a continuing commitment—a way of being and acting that shapes who we are.
Integrity resides in the ability to constitute yourself as your word, to be true to your principles, and ultimately, be true to yourself. You’ll learn that integrity is not constrained by, nor does it reside in, rules, prescriptions, or imposed demands. Integrity creates an environment of freedom, power, and joy.
When we act in line with our personal values, we act with integrity.
If we behave in a way that conflicts with our values, we respect ourselves less and our self-esteem suffers.
This means we need to know first what our own personal values are, which may take some time and experience.
If we value honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness, for example, then we ask ourselves: Am I honest with myself and with others? Do I keep my promises? Can others count on me?
More important to ask is: do my words and behavior match?
It’s one thing to say the “right” thing and another to put it into action. Many people talk about honesty, fairness, and commitment but to actually keep one’s word, stick up for other people and honor commitments when it is hard to do so or when others may not agree with you is much harder.
You may find yourself coming up with a white lie to a friend, in order not to hurt their feelings; make commitments to yourself of what you will get done, then find yourself procrastinating; or failing to say how you really feel in order to keep peace and harmony…
The way out of this conundrum is to move through the negative messages. To challenge the messages you’ve learned and figured out what is true and what needs to be healed.
- knowing yourself is more difficult.
- being honest with yourself is harder.
- self-deception, repressive coping styles, re-imaging stories are all rabbit holes we can fall into.
- it becomes harder to say, “that you don’t want to be the person I just was”, and even harder if we actually practice to never act that way again.
The beauty of acknowledging personal integrity is that it is also a way of allowing yourself to acknowledge your imperfections with less and less judgment.
It is the only way to own your hard-earned self-esteem and become more fully who you need to be.
We need to remember that this is a PRACTICE. As we aspire to be honest, reliable, and trustworthy and live up to our values more and more, we increase our self-esteem. As part of the process, we invariably run into situations where it becomes difficult to practice our values and we occasionally fail. When you become frustrated with yourself and you’re not doing what you would like to be doing or something isn’t working out the way you thought it would, you have a choice to make.
You always have three different options:
- Go down the road of blaming and shaming yourself which results in feeling like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you.
- Blame others which results in getting angry and not being able to see your choices.
- You can open yourself up to looking at the situation as multifaceted. There are many ways to look at a situation and interpret what’s happened. You might find a different reason than you thought and that can lead to thinking about problems in new ways. You can look at where you’re responsible and where you’re not and what you need to do to improve the situation.
Option 3 gives you an opportunity to grow. It gives you the space to see a situation from multiple viewpoints and perhaps come up with a creative solution.
What do we do then?
- We own the fact that we did what we did without beating ourselves up (self-acceptance).
- We seek to understand why we did what we did (with self-compassion).
- If others are involved, we acknowledge to the other person the harm we have done.
- Take action to make amends for the harm we have done.
- Firmly commit to behaving differently in the future.
Without all these steps, we continue to feel guilty over some wrong behavior, even though it may have happened years ago.
In practicing personal integrity, we raise our self-esteem (see how integrity and self-esteem go hand in hand?). We may not be able to do it perfectly, but that’s okay. If we set our intention, do the best we can and strive to improve, we increase our self-respect. In the process, we might realize that some of the values we held no longer serve us or are not as important as we previously believed.
What are your most important values? (being honest, never promising unless you are certain you can do something, etc)
Give yourself 5 minutes every day to answer the questions:
Are my goals, attitude, and actions in alignment with my personal integrity? How might this affect my self-esteem?
Where are the places I need to re-adjust and step more fully into whom I’m meant to be?
Integrity is difficult, but the expansiveness that results from it IS worth the trouble.
Take the time to “get on the right side” of yourself. Your relationship with yourself is worth it and your relationship with others will grow too.
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
We are sad to be leaving our partnership with David Barton Gym but very excited to experience all the newness in our new home at Revolution Wellness in New Braunfels, Texas!
are now also available through your membership at
Located in Tivoli Village 410 S. Rampart, Ste 200, Las Vegas, NV 89145
If you’re not already a member of David Barton Gym, check them out here: DBG
Then, go to the gym and ask for the General Manager – Ryan. He will give you an amazing tour and probably let you try out the gym!
In addition to many other great perks you will receive when signing up for a membership, you will also receive a FREE 1/2 hour consultation from EatRightLife!
Living in our stories. Horror stories. Love stories. Crime stories. Fairy tales. Myths. Science Fiction…The Avengers… they all help us form our beliefs and values. They shape our fears and dreams. They help us decide how we want to fall in love, what we think is fair, how we wish we could fly like a superhero and how to negotiate the world. We are in fact story-making, story-devouring creatures, and our personal stories often rule us.
Master storytellers of the ages have used their words to arouse emotions and teach lessons. Some say that Jesus told some pretty memorable tales to make his points. The Buddha also taught through a parable. Philosophers often times wield parables to make sense of chaos. Poets from Homer to the Beatniks reach feverish pitches, playing, explaining, and instructing. It is an art form.
Stories have shaped the lives of listeners and readers through the ages, and we are hardwired in our cultures for them to have this very effect.
Just like stories we read or watch on the news, the stories we tell ourselves and others about our lives influence our emotions. We are living in our stories. The more often we repeat our stories, the more powerful its impact on the way we feel. Tell a story that makes you feel bad and well…you feel bad. Give a version that is encouraging, and you are filled with hope.
Since we live in a land of stories of our own creation, we have the option to invent a new story. We can generate mindful, compassionate, insightful stories that fill us with support, confidence, and peace. Make outlandish stories that make us laugh instead of becoming angry! Start celebrating, seeing, and inventing the stories that bring us joy within each moment. Living in our stories doesn’t have to be all bad.
Everything we experience emotionally comes to us by way of a story we interpret. While many of us would like to believe that we live in ‘the real world,’ a world of concrete, stone, wood, and metal, that’s only true in the strictly physical sense. Psychologically, we live in a different world, one that’s created for us inside our head, a world that’s infused with meaning at every level. These are where our stories are created.
The worst part…
Without conscious intervention, we can get caught up in a web of our own spinning – living in our stories. We forget that we are the author of our stories. The stories are merely traps we’ve created. The truth is, we can get out at any time, but we don’t know it!
Different parts of the brain get fired up depending on what a story is about. If someone mentions food, the sensory cortex lights up. If a character is running in their minds, the motor cortex is alerted. Our brains respond to the story we tell as if there is no other story available.
The unthinking mind really likes gossip because it feeds the big blue story monster (“Num num num. Me want stories,” ~we are story-making machines monsters!). Negative gossip offers a temporary fix but no joy. A healthier idea is to turn the mind to stories of gratitude and appreciation.
Feelings are created by stories according to how we interpret those stories. Maybe your boss is unreasonable and your child’s teacher doesn’t see that your child is just being a child, your client doesn’t respect your time, or your friends are mean. Guess what? These are all stories: emotion-generating stories. You are always living in your stories.
So how do we let go of these negative stories?
Great news! We can pick among the stories we tell ourselves and ask, “Does this even matter?” or “Is this even real at this moment? Does it really count?” Often the answers are no, and we can turn toward our wiser self for new thoughts and better stories. We cannot change how others see the world or how they treat us, only how we respond in return.
Have you ever wanted to invite someone to coffee but decided not to even ask because you believed the person would probably be busy? Or this scenario, where you actually asked and then follow up with, “You’re probably too busy, and if you can’t go I totally understand!”. Think about this for a second. Did you really know if they were too busy? Maybe they were busy, but also looking for any reason to get away and your’s would have been the perfect excuse?! The lesson here is that you just told yourself a story and then answered it for someone else. Now, who lives in Fairy Tale land?!
Recently a friend of mine was talking about her health in terms of some scary future limitations it MIGHT bring to her. I reminded her that she really doesn’t know what will happen and it doesn’t make any sense to worry about something that might or might not happen in the future. Unless of course, she was a time-traveling alien that did know the future?! Nah, just more stories.
Since we live in a land of stories of our own creation…
We have the option to invent a new story. Generate mindful, compassionate, insightful stories that fill us with support, confidence, and peace. Start celebrating, seeing, and inventing the stories that will bring us joy in each moment.
Let’s create the dramas we want and make stories as wonderful as the world is full of wonder.