Notice Anything Strange Lately?

Something strange is happening…

Last week I watched as a young woman stumbled up a flight of stairs because she couldn’t take her eyes off her phone. I sat next to a man in church whose pocket vibrated repeatedly the entire hour. And my wellness clients’ ability to get through an entire coaching session without looking at a screen of some kind is much more a struggle than it was ten years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting in judgement here. I understand the pull. I can scroll through FaceBook “for a few minutes” only to wake up thirty minutes later feeling weirdly anxious. My body and brain give me red flags but I don’t always listen.

Research is discovering more and more about why these tiny devices are so addictive. If we hope to live rich, full lives we’ve got to make some important choices.

I’m certainly not planning on ditching my phone, mind you. Just this week I FaceTimed with sweet MayMay in Seattle, watched our son’s soccer team win a game out west, and got photos in real-time from Bob in the Dominican Republic. I love how connected we can be even though we’re scattered.

But here’s the thing…I really don’t want to wake up a few years from now and realize I’ve wasted precious time staring at my dang phone, and I know I could if I don’t make some careful choices now.

I’ve been working on some safeguards and a personal key question that can help me make a decision easily when I’m clearly headed into cellphone-zombie-land.

I’ve got it boiled down to this so far:

Is this phone activity making me more awake to the life and love I want, or less?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

As a wellness coach I see firsthand that often all it takes is one small change to jump start a whole cascade of other big changes in our lives. With this in mind let’s consider a one week experiment – something that can open up some fresh spaces for us without too much work.

Look over the choices below and pick one – or design your own. One new thing for one week. That’s all.

Take your pick:

  • Take a week’s vacation from Facebook.
  • Turn off all phone notifications – no rings, dings or pings.
  • Declare mealtime and/or bedtime phone free.
  • Don’t check or answer work messages after work. Inform co-workers so they don’t think you’re dead.
  • Add something fun to your week that requires no technology. Leave the phone at home for this activity. Walk, swing, read a real book in a hammock, ride your bike. Do this fun thing 3 times this week for 10 minutes.

Then reflect on your week and identify a few valuable take-aways and any next-steps you might want to take as a result of your observations.

I’m going to join you – and I would dearly love to hear what you discover…

PS – Don’t miss this 9 minute TED talk: Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy


Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

Where Is Your Mind Taking Your Body?

blogLet’s take a vacation…an imagination-vacation. Envision yourself living in your body at the weight and health you want. Imagine that you feel as wonderfully fit as you want to feel – right now. You have plenty of energy. You feel light in your body. You feel great in your clothes. You’re not stressing over food. You’ve discovered the lifestyle that makes you feel fantastic and you’re living it.

Close your eyes for a few minutes and soak up the joy of feeling this good.

Now imagine how you’re eating in this scenario. What kinds of foods are you enjoying? What quality? What amount?

My guess is that you’re enjoying a beautiful array of fresh foods. When I ask people to take this mental journey they almost always describe eating a rich variety of scrumptious whole foods. In fact, I’ve never had anyone describe a steady diet of heavy meals, fast food or grazing on snacks all day while living out their dream of vibrant health. We instinctively know what it takes to feel great.

This brings up an important point. Where is your focus? Diets have taught us to focus on the number on the scale, exact count of calories or fat grams, our thighs, our size…scrutinize and criticize. And to what end? This focus has given us crazy food behavior, anxious feelings and, for most of us, weight gain.

Focusing on problems is draining. It stalls forward momentum, or worse.

Now go back to your imagination exercise. What would happen if you focused on feeling great? On high energy, on positive ideas, on feeling agile, flexible, strong, on eating and sleeping and moving in a way that makes you feel vibrant?

Focusing on what causes you to flourish is invigorating and empowering.

We know this instinctively: we naturally drift toward what we are focusing on.

So today. Right now. Acknowledge what you’ve been focusing on. Decide what you want your focus to be. You’re in charge. You’re free to choose your own inner dialogue. Then, someday soon that imagination-vacation will not be imaginary…

Close your eyes and think on that.

What's Your Positivity Ratio?

satA reasonable amount of life satisfaction. We all want it. We all need it.

But did you know that 80% of us* are not living with a healthy level of positivity? This makes it hard to access our innate resilience, confidence and grit so we can make the changes we want to make. Without a reasonable amount of positivity we feel stuck in the muck. We don’t think we have what it takes to follow through (even though we do).

When our positivity is low we have a tendency to focus on our obstacles rather than our strengths. Being problem-focused is a constant drain. However, focusing on what’s working, the things you’re grateful for, and the things that cause you to thrive – is invigorating!

Here are a few ways to increase your positivity:

  • Identify what causes you to thrive and build more of that into your life. What makes you flourish? Where do you feel most alive and engaged? What energizes you?
  • Savor the moment –Being present for the beauty and meaning in this moment (especially the ordinary ones) is a rich practice to develop…a life enhancer that is greatly underestimated in our frenetic culture.
  • Find the silver lining in your challenges and obstacles. Take off the negative glasses and put on some positive ones. Being able to see things from a new perspective is powerful – and essential.
  • Develop resilience around your disappointments. We can summon the courage (and find the help if need be) to explore past the pain of our disappointments. Inevitably, when one door closes another opens somewhere else. What do you know now that you could not have known if things had gone “as planned”?
  • Play. Everyday do something that refreshes and replenishes you, even if just for ten minutes. Unfurrow your brow, relax your jaw, turn responsibility “off”  and enjoy something that’s really fun for you.

As we do the good work of nurturing our positivity, it will grow, and with it our joy of living will be free to flourish!

*test your positivity ratio: 

You & Your Body’s Noble Gift to the World!

happy2Our image saturated culture gives us one clear and shallow message over and over again: Look perfect. That’s all, just perfect. Oh…and young. Yes. Young too.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to those younger than ourselves is the gift of highly valuing our body at every age and stage. For them to see us age gracefully, embrace and enjoy our wrinkles and changes, walk with confidence and joy, laugh easily, and stay as active and vibrant as each year will allow – to intentionally choose not to give off the distinct message that we wish we were “young again”—this is a profound gift to the next generations.

         Flaunt your fifties and sixties.
         Enjoy your seventies and eighties with reckless abandon.
         Be proud of your nineties and beyond.
         Make ’em wish they were YOUR age!

A dear friend of mine passed away at 114. She embraced each year with gusto. Knowing her has had a profound effect on me! May we also pass on the priceless legacy of joy and gratitude at every age, inside and out. Those coming behind us just might escape the badgering of the relentless media if they see us, in large numbers, growing more vibrant and alive and at peace with ourselves with each passing year.

It’s not about the number on the scale or the year on your birth certificate. It is about your genuine, grateful joy and the sincere, intentional care of the one mind, body and soul you’ve been given.

This is our noble work.

5 Peaceful Eating Tips for Your Christmas

xmasIt’s the week of Christmas – such a beautiful (and food-filled and hectic and stressful) time of year.

It’s hard to fully enjoy the season if you’re preoccupied with eating – so as we go into this holy-day week let’s remember a few things:

  • You can and should enjoy the food you eat.
  • There is nothing you have to overeat in order to enjoy it fully.
  • Do not eat anything in secret. You don’t have to.
  • Savoring each bite slowly is the best way to eat less and enjoy more.
  • If the idea of dieting in January starts to come up (so you can feel good about eating mindlessly right now) – just remember that it will work about as well as it did all the other years you tried it.

Enough is a feast!

May you enjoy yours.