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Experience Life Magazine

Skinless Project Vlog: Gratitude

The Skinless Project founder Maaria Mozaffar shares her thoughts on the importance of practicing gratitude.

Maaria Mozaffar, Esq. is the founder of The Skinless Project, a company created to help women reach their highest potential personally and professionally.

Experience Life Magazine

Changing The Female Brain to Change The Female Body Experience

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What amazes me supporting women in their natural healing work to restore better function in their body, and come into a better relationship with their body, is how much as women we allow our minds to not trust our bodies.

When we’re coaching & supporting our E3 Energy Evolved members, sometimes I am so sad to read the emails from some of our members about how much they worry, question or criticize their own healing potential just as a natural way of how they think, when I know from experience how much more their bodies DESIRE to do for them in both healing & fat loss, but we allow our minds to sit in these negative blocked places.

Why as women do we allow our brains to constantly second guess, criticize, berate, talk negatively too, or create thoughts of mistrust in our bodies?

How do you think that is serving your goals of changing your body, because it’s not? It’s limiting your natural health and fat loss results, how you talk to your body with your mind.

Why is it that women as a gender and societal way of being and thinking we naturally knee-jerk into this most likely more than men, and who do you think has the power to reverse that trend for our daughters, and generations to come? (Hint: you’re reading this right now.)

What do you think would be possible if you committed to only speaking kind, caring, loving, limitless potential, trusting, belief-based thoughts to your body daily for even just 30 days?

Whether it’s a day I step onto a natural healing change program with my body, or the day I step onto a natural body transformation path as a competitive athlete, my MIND IS ALL IN to where I’m headed, & it 100% TRUSTS MY BODY.

Women, you want better results from your body? Start by assessing where you allow your mind to go each day about your body. Work towards questioning your body less & believing in your body more. Because your body hears EVERYTHING your mind says.

So please do this… MENTALLY DUMP all the thoughts your brain keeps saying to your body in the share box below…. let’s get real.

What are some of the “negative thoughts” that spin in your mind about your body, that are holding you back?

Dump them below, then choose a POSITIVE thought you commit to putting in its place for the next week, so you can give your body the permission & trust it needs to change & do its best work for you & stop blocking it with your mind.

Heather Dubé is a Natural Metabolic Recovery & Conditioning Specialists and one of the creators of the e3 Energy Evolved™ System | www.e3EnergyEvolved.com.

Experience Life Magazine

Impregnated With Love

A couple of weeks ago in Paris my husband and I saw a swoon-inducing Marc Chagall exhibition at the Musee du Luxembourg. On the wall in one of the rooms there was a stunning quote of his that read something to the affect that nothing makes much sense in our lives unless everything we do, feel, and think in body, mind, and spirit is impregnated with love.

How’s that for summing up the thrust and meaning of life? Pretty darn complete if you ask me!

But how did Chagall arrive at knowing this laser-sharp truth so deeply in himself, so thoroughly in his bones, that at the end of his life he chose to communicate this eloquent teaching and plea for impregnation in words, when his medium for decade upon decade had been his paintbrush?

First of all, we must acknowledge as with so many other great sages, how opposite of easy his life was. And how from his suffering, how from the proverbial abyss of agonizing mud sprang his amazing art, the most magical of lotuses.

His secret ingredient the whole way through: LOVE. As he grew and transformed as a painter, he offered up to our gazing grateful eyes his respect for and belief in love. Eventually, once he’d surpassed 80, he actually spoke out about this love, having by then so clearly mastered the maintenance of his beautifully sensitive, flung-wide heart.

What about you and me? We don’t have to wait until we’re 80-years-old, do we?

Shouldn’t we just dive in NOW, take Chagall’s lead, and fling open for good the doors of our yearning hearts, in the name of this unparalleled almighty love?

Let’s start here, this very minute, this very breath.

It is really this simple, utterly this available:

Step 1. Inhale. Invite in universal love, slowly, emphatically, and without edit.

Step 2. Let love swirl and percolate inside. Let it fill you without end. Bathe in it.

Step 3. Exhale. Release any cobwebs, rust, or residue that have kept your heart shut.

Step 4. Do it again.

On and on we go, breath by affectionate breath.

Love, and love, and more impregnating love!

(P.S. Here’s a hint: The beauty of this kind of sweet expansive pregnancy is that it never ever ends!)

Thank you Marc Chagall, for making everything in this world make a whole lot more sense.

With Love, Maggie

Experience Life Magazine

SUMMER STRESS DETOX! Week 4: Reboot & Realign, Step 8: Reconnect with Purpose

This blog is part of our “SUMMER STRESS DETOX!” Series

Time to clear your slate—and start the summer season refreshed and revitalized. To that end, Experience Life has partnered with meQuilibrium, the first-ever online stress management system, to bring you this 8-part series on detoxing mind, body, and spirit. You’ll discover strategies for everything from rethinking your diet to clearing clutter and shifting your stress response so that you can feel lighter, cleaner, and healthier than ever. (Learn more about the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!)

WEEK 4: REBOOT & REALIGN 

Step 8: Reconnect with Purpose

You did it! You’ve completed the four-week summer stress detox! You’ve cleaned out every aspect of your life—from food and fitness to your closets and your planner—even your relationships. You’ve worked hard to extricate yourself from the vice grip of bad foods, bad thoughts, bad habits, and bad mojo.

But removing the junk is only part of the job. The other part of a detox is putting measures in place to keep you on track—by reconnecting with your purpose and yourself.

Know this: When stress closes in, it’s hard to maintain perspective, let alone keep healthy habits in place. The point isn’t to just go back to where you were pre-detox, but to avoid lapsing under pressure. Here’s how.

Take stock of what worked. What change had the biggest impact on you throughout this process? Perhaps you’re already good at saying no to obligations—but not so good at turning down cookies—and the detox diet helped you shift your habits. Or, maybe you were already a clean eater but felt a big release when you tossed some old stuff. Pay attention to how great that felt—and make it a point to stick with that change.

Get—and stay—engaged. When you identify what changes were most significant for you, and focus on the effects, it’s easier to stick with them. In other words, what’s motivating you to continue your detoxing ways? A clearer head? Some significant weight loss? What has this process inspired you to do next?

Set a new goal. Maybe you were inspired by one change to make an even bigger one elsewhere in your life—whether in your relationships, your career, or your health. You can certainly do this four-week program over again, but in order to keep it vital and exciting, you need to set new goals for yourself. Maybe you want to try going vegetarian or gluten-free, based on how you felt during the detox. Consider these four weeks as you setting the stage for your next big change.

Tap into the group. Nothing helps you maintain momentum like support. So why go it alone? Enlist a few friends who want to detox their own diets or closets or relationships and stay accountable to each other.

Take time for yourself. Part of what allows you to grow and change is a willingness to seek a little solitude—regularly. This doesn’t mean locking yourself away for days or hours on end, which is probably not all that practical. But you can take some time away to regroup, to read, to write, to do the things that bring you back to yourself. No one can manage your stress for you, and checking in with yourself is key.

Want to make an even more dramatic change? Take the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!

Jan Bruce is CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium, the new digital coaching system for stress, which helps both individuals and corporations achieve measurable results in stress management and wellness.

Experience Life Magazine

SUMMER STRESS DETOX! Week 2: Revitalize: Step 3: Detox Your Diet for a Leaner, Lighter You

This post is part of our “Summer Stress Detox!” Series

Time to clear your slate—and start the summer season refreshed and revitalized. To that end, Experience Life has partnered with meQuilibrium, the first-ever online stress management system, to bring you this 8-part series on detoxing mind, body, and spirit. You’ll discover strategies for everything from rethinking your diet to clearing clutter and shifting your stress response so that you can feel lighter, cleaner, and healthier than ever. (Learn more about the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!

Any effort to detoxify and revitalize body and mind would be incomplete without attention to food. (There’s reason that a search for “detox diet” yields more than 12 million hits.) Truth is, what you’re eating every day matters.

“Think of implementing a detoxing diet as one of the most critical ways to de-stress your body and mind,” says Adam Perlman, M.D., integrative medicine expert and Chief Medical Officer of meQuilibrium. “I not only recommend this approach to my patients—I do it myself, regularly. It’s amazing how different you can feel when you change a few key habits.”

The basic premise of a detox diet is this: By removing irritants, allergens, preservatives, added sugars, and other problem foods, you can help restore balance to and de-stress the digestive tract.

For naturopathic physican and nutrition expert Dr. Brooke Kalanick, detoxing your diet isn’t just healthier—it can change everything. “Food is one of the biggest influences on your life,” she says. “It drives your hormones, your brain chemicals, your metabolism, and affects your energy and your mood.”

What do you get? “Digestion almost always dramatically improves, bloating goes down, and many people experience better energy, and some report clearer skin and better sleep, too,” says Kalanick. “What’s most empowering is learning that you don’t need the foods you previously thought you couldn’t live without.”

How Do You Know You Need It?

Doing a gentle detox every few months is a great way to clean up and clear out. Ask yourself the following:

  • How do I feel when I wake up in the morning? Groggy? Logey? Exhausted?
  • How do I feel at the end of the day? Depleted? Burned out?
  • What kinds of foods have I been eating, and how do I feel after I eat them?
  • What physical complaints keep surfacing (i.e., aching back, stiff neck, stomach trouble)?

Try a Gentle, Food-Based Detox Diet 

This whole-foods approach to detoxing is designed to de-stress your body, support digestion, and keep you feeling lighter and sharper. Try it for at least a week. You may never go back.

Foods to avoid. Gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, alcohol, added sugars, and factory farmed meat. It’s not that any one of these foods is inherently “bad” (though it depends on who you ask). Suffice it to say that for the purposes of detox, removing these common digestive irritants can be an eye-opening experience. “Taking out the junk, even for a week, can have remarkable effects,” says Kalanick. “For some, it’ll take six weeks or so for their systems to calm down.”

Focus on what you can eat. It’s easy to think, “there’s nothing I can eat!” but it’s more likely that you’ve been eating the same things for so long you forgot there were other options. Remember this isn’t meant to be a punishing deprivation diet. “I could list 30 different kinds of veggies and 10 different proteins—fish, bison, grass fed beef, free range chicken or turkey,” says Kalanick. “There’s a lot of food to eat! Put your attention on what you can eat, not what you can’t.”

Labels to look for. Organic, grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised, hormone-free, gluten-, soy- and dairy-free. “Cleaner foods are worth the money,” says Kalanick. Tip: Swap in almond or coconut milk in place of dairy for a delicious, smooth, soy-free substitute.

Think plants, not packages. Skip pre-packaged snack foods and opt for veggies, which do a lot of the heavy lifting in a detox diet. “They fill you up and aid in digestion, so all the gunk gets cleansed out,” says Kalanick. “Opt for liver-supporting foods like bitter greens, lemon, artichoke, beets, which support the detoxification process.”

Add a daily probiotic. Perlman suggests adding a probiotic to your daily regimen—specifically during detox. By repopulating your gut with healthy bacteria, you help your body more easily digest (read: extract nutrients from) the foods you eat. “Look for a dairy-free probiotic. As far as dosage, around 10-15 billion units is a good starting point,” says Perlman. “It sounds like a lot but remember there’s over 100 trillion bacteria in your gut.”

Don’t think of this as a “diet.” What’s most dangerously misleading about the detox idea is that it seems as if, in a few days, you can undo years of poor eating—enough to go back to those habits without consequence. Which is not the case. “A detox is not magic,” says Kalanick. If you go right back to pizza and french fries, she says, you will not have gained much. “When you eat crap, you feel like crap.”

Add old foods back in slowly. After a week or two of this detox diet, rather than revert to your old habits right away, add one food in every day or so to see how it makes you feel. When you do this one at a time, you’re apt to more quickly identify a negative reaction and its cause. Maybe one day you have milk in your cereal, and then some in your tea, and see how that feels. A few days later, you try some bread or pasta. Being hyperaware of how those foods affect you is part of the learning process.

Kickstart new habits. What did you discover during the detox, and what did you learn about how not eating certain foods affects you? Maybe you found that going off dairy helps your digestion, or that a gluten-free diet makes you feel more alert. Use that information to jumpstart better habits and begin a more copacetic relationship with food.

Want to make an even more dramatic change? Take the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!

Step 4: Revitalize Through Exercise

Terri Trespicio is editor of meQuilibrium, the first-ever online stress management program. 

Experience Life Magazine

SUMMER STRESS DETOX! Reassess and Remove: Step 2: Clear the Clutter

This blog is part of our “SUMMER STRESS DETOX!” Series.

Time to clear your slate—and start the summer season refreshed and revitalized. To that end, Experience Life has partnered with meQuilibrium, the first-ever online stress management system, to bring you this 8-part series on detoxing mind, body, and spirit. You’ll discover strategies for everything from rethinking your diet to clearing clutter and shifting your stress response so that you can feel lighter, cleaner, and healthier than ever. (Learn more about the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!

WEEK 1: REASSESS & REMOVE 

Step 2: Remove the Junk; Clear the Clutter

In step 1 of our month-long detox, you started to identify how thoughts are your #1 stress-inducing enemy, and how your response to your surroundings can make stress worse.

So let’s take a closer look at what is surrounding you, exactly.

Ask yourself the following:

  • How do I feel when I look around my home? My workspace?
  • What piles or other unaddressed items are taking up space?
  • What am I hanging onto that I no longer need or want, but have a hard time getting rid of?
  • What can I do to improve my working and living environments?

a pile of multi-colored folders with documents

Declutter—and Detox Your Space 

Taking some time early in the process to make some dramatic physical changes to your environment can kickstart your motivation. The immediate payoff of looking around your place and seeing a cleaner, more ordered space is incredibly energizing, as a detox should be, plus can make you feel far more in control of your home and your life.

Here’s how to get started.

  • Set a timer. You can start with a drawer, a closet, or one area of your home that seems to be a clutter magnet—but set a timer. Start with 20 minutes and keep moving.
  • Sort into three piles: Keep, Trash, and Donate. Whether it’s clothes you don’t wear or appliances you never use, figure out what to do with them and then make it a point to get them off the premises within two days. If you want to sell a few items on eBay or craigslist, post the ads immediately.
  • Let go of the things you don’t love. It sounds like common sense, and yet there are likely lots of space-eating objects in your home that were either expensive mistakes or unwanted gifts that you feel bad about tossing. This is precisely the kind of thing to get rid of. If it makes you feel bad every time you look at it, that’s a toxic drag on the psyche. Re-gift, donate, or sell to someone who will make good use of it.
  • Store it—temporarily. If you’re really on the fence about a few items, put them in a box in the garage or closet. If, after three months, you never seek it out, and can’t name what’s in it, out it goes.
  • Make the decision today. Most piles that gather on a desk or table are there because you haven’t made a choice as to what to do with them—and you’re procrastinating. Make today the day you do what you must to get the paperwork, recycled, shredded, or filed away.
  • Unsubscribe. Catalogs and magazines are big clutter culprits. Visit catalogchoice.org to unsubscribe from unwanted catalogs, and unsubscribe from e-newsletters you don’t read, or apply filters on your email so they don’t junk up the joint.
  • Do a digital cleanup. It may not take up the same kind of space as a pile of mail, but the digital clutter on your desktop or unsorted emails are also a drain on your energy and time. Spend 15 minutes a day this week sorting, discarding, and filing whatever’s taking up space on your computer so you can streamline your workday.

Step 3: Revitalize Your Diet

Want to make an even more dramatic change? Take the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!

Terri Trespicio is editor of meQuilibrium, the first-ever online stress management program. Find out more about how meQuilibrium can help you reduce your stress.

 

Experience Life Magazine

The Truth About How To Have A Good Marriage: 5 Unconventional Lessons

Yesterday was Ryan and my 8th wedding anniversary. This past weekend, while on a getaway to celebrate in San Diego, I said to him, “We made it, sweetums! We’re past the 7-year itch. Everything should be smooooth sailing from here.”

He knows I’m joking because, well, no relationship is ever perfect. I think the sooner you realize this, the happier you will be.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it’s worth noting again.

It’s easy to look at other people’s relationships and think they’ve got it made, but we all have our challenges. We all have our moments where we question if we’ve got what it takes to be one of those couples that hits that 50 year anniversary and beyond.

I look back on that day we stood on the alter and promised ‘til death do us part. We said we’d be there for each other in good times and in bad, and I realize… we were really young! I was 23 and Ryan was 25.

We had no idea what those promises truly meant. Fast-forward 8 years and I think we’ve got a pretty good idea, but we’re still learning. That said, over our time together, Ryan and I have gotten good at working with each other’s ebbs and flows.

We spent some time at the pool on Saturday, and over a plate of killer nachos and drinks (Stone Arrogant Bastard beer for him and a fresh-squeezed lime margarita for me), we boiled it down to 5 lessons that we think we’ve kinda-mastered during our time together.

how-to-have-a-good-marriage

Like I said, we’ve still got plenty of room to get better at this, and if we’re lucky, we’ve got plenty of years to keep working on it, but these are our 5 best “how to have a good marriage” tips.

Note: For the purposes of not having to say him/her a bazillion times, I will just use “him,” but know that all of these lessons apply to both the guys and us, ladies!

Without further adieu…

5 Unconventional Lessons For How to Have a Good Marriage

1. Ignore what you don’t like.

Whaaa??!! That’s right. Ignore it. We’ve all grown up learning how to point out the things that we don’t like because we think this is the best way to change them. Well in relationships, it’s actually quite the opposite.

Of course, communication is key (more on that in a minute), but after you’ve voiced your concerns, if it’s not something you want to keep happening, then there’s no need to keep bringing it up again and again.

The more attention you put on something, the more it keeps it alive.

And I’m not talking about just the little things (clip your toenails in bed… really?), because most times, the things that irritate us most about our partner are the things that deep down, irritate us about ourselves.

Early in our relationship, Ryan had this habit that whenever he was around “cheat” foods, he’d inhale it like a vacuum. He’d start on a bowl of chips and dip and wouldn’t stop until it was gone or start with one cookie, only to keep grabbing more until the whole plate was gone.

It was so hard for me to watch. Literally, I’d feel all wadded up inside just seeing him do it.

At the time, I thought it was because I wanted to help him and I knew that later on he’d wonder why he was having trouble losing weight or would get down on himself about it. But now I realize the reason why this was so irritating had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.

I was doing the same thing and was pissed off at myself for it, maybe not in the exact same way, but I definitely had my own binge behaviors with food.

Over time I learned to let it go. I stopped analyzing and worrying about what Ryan was doing and let him do his own thing, and instead I worked on myself.

And you know what, he found his way (and I did too). Today, he’s as much a teacher to me about food as I am to him. We both lead by example and help each other to be the healthiest versions of ourselves, not through repeatedly pointing out what each of us might be doing wrong, but rather by showing each other what it looks like to do it right and not make a big deal of it when we choose to do otherwise.

Focus on the good, forget the rest, and you’ll see that your relationship will start to fill up with lots of good… and negligible other stuff.

Note on a relationship where it’s clear it’s ending: Even in this case you want to ignore what you don’t like. Again, this sounds counter-intuitive, but you never want to leave a relationship because you want to get away from what you dislike about it.

As you make the decision to end the relationship from a place of knowing what you do want, you’ll be in your power, you’ll be clear-minded, and the next chapter of your life will be a lot more enjoyable than if you were to leave out of fear, judgment, anger, or resentment.

2. You can’t change people. Period.

Ryan and I met at a time when our lives (individually) were in a state of flux… super flux actually. We were still growing and figuring out who we wanted to be.

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that we were able to come together at such a shaky time and be such a good match, but maybe that’s why it worked so well.

Each of us has changed so much since that first day in 2001, when he walked through the door with his giant side-burns, flowered shirt, and aviators… okay, I guess some things stayed the same.

But, in all that change, we’ve supported each other as best as we could. We’ve taken some pretty big leaps of faith together—moving across the country without a solid plan, starting a business when we really had no experience running one, and through it all we kept the faith, in both ourselves, and in each other. And when one of us started to lose faith in our self, the other would step up and stand strong (see Lesson #3).

Now let’s not kid ourselves, of course there have been lots of things we wished we could change about each other.

For example, I can be EXTREMELY stubborn. Early in our relationship this would often lead to arguments because Ryan would have a really awesome idea, but I just wouldn’t be open to hearing it at first.

Eventually though, I’d come around and stop resisting. He figured this out and now he’ll share a really good idea, I initially say “no,” and then he says okay rather than arguing. Then he waits a few days, and most of the time I’ll come back to him and say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about your idea…” and am open to talking more about it.

He know he’s not going to change my mind by arguing with me, in fact, most times that makes me dig my heals in even harder. So, he let’s go. He doesn’t try to force it.

That can be one of the hardest things to do when you KNOW in your heart that your partner is being ridiculous, but whoa, is letting go good for your relationship.

Not forcing it and allowing your partner to be who he is, learn his lessons, and make his own choices is not only what allows him to become the best version of himself, but also allows you to disconnect your own happiness from what he’s up to.

Your happiness doesn’t rest in him changing something you think he needs to change. In other words, you can choose to be happy even if he doesn’t do what you want him to. Just let go and focus on the only thing that you CAN control—your choices and your reaction to him.

3. Communicate with more than your words.

Communication comes in more forms that just words. Like we’ve all heard, we need to voice our concerns, tell our partner what we’re thinking, and be open and honest.

Can I tell you how many times THIS has happened:

Viers #1: Hey, will you grab that thing and bring it over here. I need it real quick.
Viers #2: Silence….
Viers #1: Hey, can you grab that…
Viers #2: Hang on a sec! Let me finish what I’m doing and then I’ll bring it over. {cranky huff voice}

Now… a little verbal communication might have been helpful here, on the part of Viers #2. How was Viers #1 supposed to know what you were thinking?

Sound familiar?

But beyond this, we also communicate with our actions.

Do you want more shoulder massages? How often do you give shoulder massages?

Do you want more affection and romance? How often do you show affection and make an effort to be romantic?

Do you want your partner to tell you how hot you look? How often do you make an effort to feel hot?

It’s subtle, but it’s important. Communicate what you want by offering the signals of what you want. It’s not just about “giving to receive” it’s about the signals you are sending him.

If you’re sending the “I don’t get enough shoulder massages” signal, then nine times out of ten your resentment is not gonna get you a shoulder massage because overall you’re in a very contracted emotional state.

BUT if you offer some shoulder massages here and there from a place of love and support, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get some in return.

4. Don’t take it personally.

This is probably our biggest relationship nugget to offer. I know, it’s easier said than done but we all have our days. We all get snippy sometimes, and the better you get at not taking it personally, the:

  • Faster it will blow over.
  • Happier you will be.

What to do instead:

Let him be. Give him some space. Go do something else that gets your mind off of his crankiness and after a little while, I betcha he’ll work it out on his own and will come find you in a much better mood.

Make a funny. The best medicine really is laughter. When I am moody and Ryan knows it and does something silly, 90% of the time, I can’t help but laugh. It’s tough to remember what you were cranky about after a good giggle, isn’t it?

Refuse to see less than the best in him. We’re taught that we should try to be compassionate for other people, but I say different.

I don’t practice sympathy. My clients will tell you this. While on the surface, you might say this is tough love, I don’t see it that way. When people are down on themselves, upset, mad, sad, frustrated, depressed, etc… you feeling sorry for them or putting yourself in their shoes doesn’t help. It just plays into their victim mentality. It just feeds their negative feelings.

The most powerful thing you can do for your partner when he is in this kind of mental state is to (gently) remind him that he is more than this. Stand in your knowing of his strength, character, and all of the good things he has going for him.

He may not seem to appreciate this point of view at first (because when you’re sad or mad, all you want is for people to agree with you and tell you that you’re right), but that’s okay. In the long-run, he’ll thank you.

5. Never EVER sacrifice.

Everybody says a good marriage is about compromise, and it is, but here’s the thing. Don’t EVER do something for your partner out of sacrifice. If you are going to do something for him that isn’t what you’d have chosen had you not been in a relationship, you HAVE to make the decision out of love.

In other words, it makes you so happy to do this for him, because you love him that much, that it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. Instead, it feels like fun.

Anytime we ever do something for someone else out of sacrifice it only leads to one thing: resentment. And you know as well as I do that a good marriage is not built on that.

When you choose to do something that your partner wants… because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to… it feels totally different.

I have tons of examples for this, but let’s keep it simple. If you’re choosing between two movies to watch or what restaurant to go to for dinner, what makes for a better night:

When you sacrifice and do what your partner wants to do, which normally leads to you grumping about the movie being painfully terrible or not finding one single thing on the menu that you liked?

OR

Letting your partner choose and being happy about the excitement in his eye and treating it like adventure, having fun spending time together?

The answer seems pretty clear, but sometimes we get so stuck in our “what’s in it for me” mentality that it’s hard to choose our own happiness in the moment over proving a point.

Don’t worry about “getting yours,” you’ll get your payback, both in the long run, of getting to do things you want to do too, and in the short run, by choosing to have a fun night.

BONUS Good Marriage Trick

Okay, so in closing I have one final lesson, or trick, that always helps me when it feels like we’re in a rut.

I make a list of 5 things I appreciate about Ryan in my journal. It’s like magic! Anger or frustration turns to love.

Try it, and THEN try to be angry at your partner. It’s impossible!

When you get on a roll with a list of appreciation… all the things you love most about him, even if you have to start with something really small… your heart will be full of love and there won’t be any room for anger.

So those are my lessons. Now I want to hear yours. What have you learned about how to have a good marriage? SHARE in the comment section below!

And be sure to hit LIKE and SHARE this post with a friend who might appreciate these lessons!

 

Sheila Viers is an Emotional Eating Expert, Holistic Life Coach and co-founder of Live Well 360.

Experience Life Magazine

SUMMER STRESS DETOX! Rethink and Remove, Step 1: Start with Your Mind

This blog is part of our “SUMMER STRESS DETOX!” Series

Time to clear your slate—and start the summer season refreshed and revitalized. To that end, Experience Life has partnered with meQuilibrium, the first-ever online stress management system, to bring you this 8-part series on detoxing mind, body, and spirit. You’ll discover strategies for everything from rethinking your diet to clearing clutter and shifting your stress response so that you can feel lighter, cleaner, and healthier than ever. (Learn more about the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!

WEEK 1: RETHINK & REMOVE 

Step 1: Start with Your Mind

So you’re ready to clean house and start the summer on a lighter, brighter note. But you feel: Stressed, exhausted, blocked. Detoxing is not just about sucking down green juices (though that can be great, too). It’s about targeting the source of your stress—the greatest toxic force on your life.

Stress is not where you think it is. It’s not “out there.” It’s not your job, your relationship, your bank account. Your stress response may be triggered by an external circumstance, but the actual stress level is governed by your response to what happens. Not the other way around.

Young woman trying to block out a noise with her hands

Why Your Thoughts Are a Problem

Our research has shown us that the way you think about and perceive the world around you has far more to do with how resilient you are to stress—over and above childhood experiences, financial issues, you name it. Your brain is designed to keep churning out thoughts—and they’re not always your friends.

At meQ, we have a name for what keeps us stuck in stressful patterns: Thinking Traps. Until you can identify the trap you will remain snagged in it, making it harder for you to perceive situations clearly. When you can identify your own go-to method for processing information, you can free yourself from stress-inducing thought patterns.

Ask yourself the following questions to get a sense of how your thoughts are affecting your stress.

  • What do I keep obsessing over?
  • What do I feel optimistic about?
  • What do I feel pessimistic about and why?

Recognize any of these?

If only I were more organized life would be easier. 
I wish I were 20 pounds lighter. 
If I had more money, things would be different. 
Why can’t I eat better? 
What’s wrong with me? 

Your thoughts are quite often the enemy. They get in your way, they talk you down, they blame and shame and denigrate you. They make you frantic and tired and worried and restless. In short, they’re the reason you’re more stressed than you need to be.

The first step to detoxifying yourself of negative thoughts is to identify what trap you’re in, and see it for what it is.

Here are just a few examples of thinking traps you could be experiencing:

THINKING TRAPWE CALL THISWHAT IT IS
“It’s probably my fault. I’m such an idiot.” PersonalizingThe tendency to blame yourself when things go wrong.
“I know it’s her fault. She’s always messing things up for me.” ExternalizingThe tendency to blame others or circumstances when something goes wrong.
“I missed his birthday. I’m a bad friend.” OvergeneralizingJumping on thoughts about character flaws in yourself or others without the evidence to support it.
“This will ruin my career.” PessimismExaggerating the negative impact of an event

(Read more about how you’re thinking has you stressed.)

You can only stop something when you’re aware of it. So catch yourself the next time you hear yourself entertaining a thought that’s negative, counterproductive, and above all, untrue. Visualize yourself stepping out of that trap, and taking one step closer to a calmer, more centered you.

In the next few weeks, we’re going to help you explore and detoxify all areas of your life, to help you function better, think more clearly, and support your body inside and out. Let’s get started!

How Stressed Are You, Anyway?

It helps to have an idea of how stressed you are as you begin this process. At meQuilibrium, we have a comprehensive and free assessment you can take that charts your stress response across 28 factors and the four domains where stress occurs. It’s a great way to get a handle on where you need the most help, and you can also find out how meQ can shift your stress response.

Want to make an even more dramatic change? Take the 28-day summer stress detox challenge!

Step 2: Remove and Declutter. 

Jan Bruce is CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium, the new digital coaching system for stress, which helps both individuals and corporations achieve measurable results in stress management and wellness.

 

Experience Life Magazine

The Role of Vows

Lyon_sun

I am spending a lot of time at the moment studying and meditating on the role of vows in our lives, meaning I am in the midst of making much more intentional vows (or intimate declarations) towards making our world a brighter, more awakened place.

This has a lot to do with my recent trip/retreat back home to Northern California and the inspiration to deepen my commitment to Zen Buddhist practice that occurred rather wonderfully and organically while I was there. It also has a great deal to do with where I am in my personal life as devoted mama and wife, friend and confidante, student and practitioner, writer and guide, and so on.

Yes, recently I have been truly consumed with not only the impulse but with the more profound long-term question of how I can in earnest aspire to and become a greater light.

How might I ripple and radiate out from the closest most interior circles to the nether regions of the universe as an ever more welcoming, beaming, and loving presence?

I believe this is an essential question that all us sacred creatures share and contemplate with varying degrees of consciousness over the course of our lifetimes, as it is fundamentally about unearthing, then thriving from our inherently sweet, warm, and generous natures.

I mean, don’t you think this is sort of THE life question when it comes down to it? How we can ultimately support, soothe, inspire, and ignite more love and kindness here in ourselves, there in others, and everywhere in and around us all?

Sounds grand and utterly lofty, doesn’t it? Yet there is some serious, subtle, and soft inside work to be done in making the big outside wow stuff happen!

I am convinced that accessing and living in alignment with our unique and meaningful vows is a huge part of it. 

Feeling stymied by this project? Here is a sequence of hints at how you might discover and live with your own positive declarations:

  1. GET QUIET. Sit down and touch the stillness inside you. Open yourself to receive how in your heart of hearts you would like to live.
  2. COMMIT. Take note of the phrases that you intuit to be your life commitments and privately declare them to yourself. They may me about being better to you, or being a more compassionate companion, parent, coworker, etc. What really matters is that the vows come from your truest center.
  3. START SMALL. Let each dedicated vow arise in the simplest of acts, in how you speak to your kids or loved ones, how you cook your meals, mail a letter, walk the dog, or anything and everything else super mundane and everyday.
  4. EXPECT NOTHING. Don’t assume or look to gain a thing from living in accordance with and abiding by your vows. Just be present and allow them to steer your every move, no strings attached.
  5. RIDE THE WAVE. Experience the crests and falls of your life with your vows in place and observe how you feel.
  6. DEEPEN. In other words, go back to go. Lovingly reaffirm and recommit to your vows often, and keep on surfing it all…

My teacher Norman Fischer writes in his fantastic new book, Training in Compassion: “We would all like to serve others, to feel for others, to love others with everything we’ve got. We would all like to be a light for the world.”

Vows are at the crux of and provide the blissful foundation for making this possible. They literally illuminate the way. You game?

In light and loving kindness,

Maggie

 

Maggie Lyon is a writer on wellness and spirituality, a motivational speaker, and a holistic lifestyle consultant. 

Experience Life Magazine

3 Big Myths About Finding Your Calling

The pay was good. The job was interesting. My colleagues were lovely people.

I worked with a great team of bright women, worked for the good cause of helping organizations that helped those in need. I kept a busy schedule full of meetings, fundraisers and writing “important” documents.

In other words, I didn’t hate it there. I did good work and earned great marks for it.

But over time, life got a little gray, a little tiresome, and I found myself asking, “Is this all there is?”

I started looking for, listening for, my callings – the work, the artistic pursuits, the life I felt truly called to live.

Out of the pain and boredom with the status quo, I became a little more willing to listen to callings that had been whispering to me for a long time – callings that seemed unrealistic, frivolous, impossible.

Fast-forward several years later. I live a life much more guided by my callings, and my new career looks very different than my old one. I’m always endeavoring to become a woman centered enough, calm enough, trusting enough – to hear and lean into what is calling. Part of my work has become speaking, writing and teaching about how we can discover our callings, helping thousands of people to discover their own. I’ve become a kind of evangelist for listening to, trusting and following your callings. I believe there is work in this often dark and broken place that we are each meant to do.

Calling

There are three big myths, three big misunderstandings, we hold about callings, and they get in the way of us finding and pursuing the work that will bring us joy.

Myth #1: Callings are always about career.

We can get stuck thinking our callings have to do exclusively with our professional lives. Some callings do: you might feel a calling to a particular industry, career path or job.

But you might also feel a sense of calling about doing a particular volunteer activity or reclaiming a neglected creative hobby.

Callings also show up in “micro” form – the calls we feel to do little things, hour to hour, to bring more light and love into the world: a calling to support a particular person in need in your community, to create a beautiful birthday gathering for a particular person in your life, to mentor a certain child who could use some extra support.

What defines a calling is not that it has to do with your “professional work.” Callings have to do with your deeper work bringing light and love into the world. A calling is any “assignment” you get to bring light, love or healing into the world in some particular way.

Myth #2: You’ve only got one calling.

So many of us believe the false idea that we’ve each got only one calling. That keeps us waiting for the singular, mega-huge, perfect answer to the question, “What’s my calling?” We wait and we wait, with no answer feeling comprehensive or big or long-lasting enough. Or, we find an answer and then feel like failures – like we’ve got it wrong and wasted time – when that calling fades.

The truth is, callings evolve and end. We each receive many over a lifetime – and sometimes we receive many at once. That they end doesn’t make them any less real or significant.

The question isn’t “what’s my calling?” the question is “What’s calling me right now?”

Myth #3: If you are truly pursuing your calling, it will feel amazing!

There’s some truth to this: when we pursue our callings, there are moments of joy, bliss and creative flow. But it’s also true that we resist our callings! A part of each of us wants to run the other direction!

We feel like the task we are being called to is too huge, and we are sure we aren’t up for it. We dislike how callings upend our plans, and are unlikely to earn the approval of those around us.

All of this is important to know. Otherwise, it’s easy to mistake resistance, fear and discomfort as signals that whatever you are working on isn’t in fact your calling.

What changes for you if you begin listening not just for career callings, but for callings in the areas of your relationships, your volunteering, philanthropy or artistic pursuits as well?

What changes for you if you open up to the idea that you’ll receive many callings, and that callings evolve and end?

What changes for you if you accept that resistance, discomfort and wanting to run the other direction are telltale signs of being on track with your calling?

Tara Sophia Mohr is an expert on women’s leadership and well-being. She is the founder of the Playing Big women’s leadership program  and author of 10 Rules for Brilliant Women   – click here to get your free copy.  

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