Wednesday, December 27, 2017

27 Healthy Eating Tips From Registered Dietitians For A Very Healthy New Year

Article c/o

27 Healthy Eating Tips From Registered Dietitians For A Very Healthy New Year

As a registered dietitian, my patients are full of healthy eating resolutions come January 1st. And I get it—this is a chance for a completely fresh start. But achieving your goals doesn't have to be boring or restrictive. In fact, it shouldn't be.

To help you start your new year with a bang, I checked in with 27 of my registered dietitian colleagues to get their best out-of-the-box-tips for healthy eating. Here is their advice on how to make 2017 your healthiest year yet. Hint: there are no diets involved, and that's for a reason: You're much more likely to make healthy eating part of a sustainable and healthy lifestyle when you don't feel restricted and when it fits into your life naturally. Registered dietitians know this—we know how hard it can be to do total overhauls, and we also know how unrealistic that is as an expectation. The key to healthy eating, in the new year and also all year long, is to make it an enjoyable and easy-enough experience that makes you feel good and becomes self-reinforcing. These tips should hit the right notes. Here's to a new year of healthy eating and feeling great!

1. Kick the strict, boring diet to the curb.
New Year’s resolutions often equate to adopting a strict diet, and boredom is one of the top reasons that we ditch those meal plans after a few weeks or months. Instead, focus on eating more healthy foods that you enjoy, and then mixing up those foods every week or so. Don't like kale? Leave it. Add in some spinach or romaine instead. This prevents boredom and helps you look forward to eating your meals and snacks. —Lauren Minchen, NYC-based RDN and founder of Lauren Minchen Nutrition and Golda Bar

2. Start a recipe club with friends.
Similar to a book club, start a recipe club with friends. Assign dishes (appetizer, salad, main meal, dessert) and meet once a month to enjoy good food and swap recipes. You can even focus on different types of meal plans each month (vegetarian, gluten-free etc.). Collect all of the recipe cards you make throughout the year and create a recipe book to give to friends and family over the holidays. —Malena Perdomo, MS, RD, and certified diabetes educator consultant, writer, cookbook author, spokesperson

3. Strategically leave healthy snacks around.
Create a healthy snack bag with non-perishable items and leave it in your car. Include healthy breakfast bars, nuts like almonds, and dried fruit as well as a bottle of water. This will ensure you always have a healthy snack wherever you go, and you won't be tempted to stop by a drive-through or convenience store when you get hungry. —Emily Cope, MS, RDN at

4. At home, keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit.
With less variety of fresh fruit during the winter months, eating frozen fruit is a great way to have your favorites year-round, and to make sure you get your recommended daily servings. Often times frozen fruit can be more nutritious than fresh fruit since it’s packaged shortly after being harvested. Throw a handful into your hot oatmeal or layer them with yogurt for a parfait—just make sure there isn't any added sugar. One of my favorite things to do is defrost ¼ cup of frozen berries, mash them up with the natural juices, and use as your own homemade ‘jam.’ —Maxine Yeung, a California-based RD, CPT and owner of The Wellness Whisk

5. Set SMART goals.
One very successful method for getting my clients to achieve their goals is using the SMART strategy. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, accountable, realistic, and time specific. For example: I am going to go to the gym at least three times a week for the first month, and during the second month my goal is to make it to the gym at least four times a week. You got this! —Hadis Ghoghaie Schertzer, RDN at Genesis Healthcare

6. And create goal checkpoints.
At the beginning of the year, schedule monthly, or weekly alerts on your phone to take 15 minutes to assess goal progress. Use these reminders as opportunities to reflect and to make any adjustments so that you keep moving forward. —Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, owner of Marisa Moore Nutrition

7. Focus on what you can eat, not what you cannot.
Instead of spending time and energy excluding foods you think are "bad," redirect your efforts to including more nutrient-rich foods and you will automatically crowd out the less healthy options. Start by trying to add one fruit and one vegetable to your daily intake. —Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, owner of Nutrition Starring You

8. Replace sugary drinks with water or seltzer.
Sugary beverages include sodas as well as iced tea, lemonade, juices, etc. Try drinking more water or seltzer instead—you can even add slices of your favorite fruit such as lemons, limes, oranges, berries, cucumbers, and even fresh mint. —Marie Keogh, MPH, RD, CDN, CLC, NYC-based dietitian at Mount Sinai Queens and Forest Hills Wellness

9. Make your food gorgeous.
Eating healthier starts with making healthy food more appetizing and worthy of display! Try storing produce in see-through containers in your fridge or in a pretty fruit bowl on the counter. Not only do we typically eat more of what we can see, but if it looks good, it can be one less barrier to making healthy happen. —Carlene Thomas RDN, LD, recipe developer, food stylist, and creator of Healthfully Ever After

10. Sit down and make a plan for the week.
Set aside 30 minutes each week to sit down with your calendar and plan the week ahead. Schedule your workouts, plan your meals, and make your shopping list. A little bit of planning on the front end not only saves you time throughout the week by cutting out the guesswork, but it also sets an intention for success. —Sarika Sewak MPH, RDN, Los Angeles-based dietitian and creator of Little Legumes Nutrition

11. Focus on eating a healthy, protein-rich breakfast.
Eat a breakfast rich in protein to help you feel full longer and have the energy you need to power through your day. Aiming for 25 to 30 grams of protein before noon can be easily accomplished—and equally delicious—when you pair a glass of milk with your eggs and avocado toast, or with your favorite fruit-topped overnight oats. Aim for protein sources that are also rich in other nutrients such as milk (8 grams of protein per cup plus nine other essential nutrients), nuts like almonds and pistachios are packed with protein, healthy fat, and fiber, or eggs (they’re also rich in lutein, choline, and certain B vitamins). —Holley Grainger, MS, RD, blogger at Holley Grainger Nutrition

12. If you have kiddos, get them involved in the kitchen.
Once a week, cook a meal with your children. Start from fresh, real foods. You'll be sharing precious time with them, teaching them about eating well, and enjoying a lovely meal together. —Katja Leccisi, MS, RDN, author of How To Feed Your Kids: Four Steps To Raising Healthy Eaters

13. Eat fish 2-3 times per week.
Most Americans aren’t eating enough seafood, which means they’re missing out on all the important benefits including improvements in heart health. Seafood can be enjoyed as part of a salad, in a taco, or even in your favorite pasta dish. —Kristen Smith, Atlanta-based registered dietitian specializing in weight management and family nutrition

14. And enjoy a cooked vegetable dish as a main course twice a week.
This is probably the single most important thing you can do to increase your intake of vegetables. Rather than trying to eat more and more salads, cook vegetables by roasting or stewing them with olive oil, onion, tomatoes, and herbs. Common vegetables to use are green beans, peas, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli. Accompany with cheese and a slice of whole wheat bread. —Elena Paravantes, RDN, Mediterranean diet consultant, HuffPo columnist and health editor at Olive Oil Times

15. Make being healthy a friendly contest, with rewards.
Put that new 2016 calendar to use by creating a fitness attendance contest among the people in your home, whether they are your spouse, roommate, or family. Come up with a system for marking on the calendar each time an individual completes a workout. The person who does the most workouts at the end of the month earns a prize, and aim to make the reward non-food related, such as a massage, manicure, or shopping spree. In the event of a tie, have a silly tiebreaker such as seeing who can do the most burpees in one minute or can hold a plank the longest. —Mandy Unanski Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, creator of Nutrition Nuptials

16. Be mindful of portions.
Sometimes when we exercise or lose a little bit of weight, we want to indulge in a high-calorie treat because we feel we’ve “earned it.” This can be a slippery slope that can interfere with your plans to eat healthy. Instead, be mindful of your portions and find other ways to reward yourself like getting yourself a massage, a new outfit, or just relaxing with a friend. —Atheer Yacoub, MS, RD, CDN, research dietitian at Columbia University, and director of operations at the nutrition scheduling service

17. And that includes loading your plate with lots of vegetables.
Try to fill half your plate with colorful seasonal fruits and vegetables, and then split the rest between lean protein and whole grains. This is a simple way to easily achieve variety, portion control, and helps to maximize your meal’s nutritional bang. —Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

18. Try your best to think ahead.
If you know you're going to have a busy day, prepare a smoothie first thing in the morning. Be sure to include the fruits or vegetables that might not be convenient to eat later in the day. When your schedule has you crazed and you're tempted to eat whatever sweets are around, you can simply have sips of your nutritious and delicious smoothie. By the end of the day, you've consumed extra fruits and veggies without going overboard on the sweets. —Jillian O'Neil, New York City-based registered dietitian

19. Make exercise a habit.
Let’s say you have a 30-minute lunch break, yet only use 15 minutes of it for eating. Head outdoors for the remaining 10-15 minutes and go for a power walk! If you can make this happen three or four workdays each week, you will quickly be tacking on almost a full hour of exercise! Small steps can make a big difference. —Jessica Corwin, MPH, RD, food and nutrition educator at Good Food For Kids

20. And wear that fitness tracker you received as a gift.

Wearing a fitness tracker may encourage you to get in some extra steps. Even if the step counts are not 100 percent accurate, pedometers have been shown) to motivate and increase physical activity. —Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, owner of Marisa Moore Nutrition

21. Consider the “fork trick” to prevent overeating.
Use your non-dominant hand when you eat. It naturally slows you down because you have to try and steady your food to get it to your mouth. And eat until you’re comfortably full. In other words, stop eating at the start of feeling full. —Lisa Musician, RD, LDN, founder and president of Food Allergy Dietitian, Inc

22. Eat organic when possible.
Think critically about where your food comes from: Ask yourself who produced it and under what conditions? Eating well in the new year isn’t just about calories and nutrients. It’s about the impact our food and farming choices have on our larger society and planet. I choose for myself, and recommend to others, organic food because it meets my criteria for helping to protect my family’s health, farm worker health, and that of the planet. —Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS, RD, host of nationally syndicated Food Sleuth Radio

23. And don't forget to be smart about eating out.
When eating out, preview the menu online ahead of time so you know what options will be available when you get there. That way you can make a healthy selection before you arrive and can avoid getting caught up with any in-the-moment temptations. —Annette Schottenfeld, MBA, RD, CDN, president of Nett Nutrition, Inc.

24. Treat yourself to some new gym gear.
My advice...Treat yourself! Put all those gift cards to good use and hit up the post-holiday sales for new gym gear. Whether it's a killer pair of powerlifting shoes, eye-catching graphic leggings, or a fresh new yoga mat, you're sure to be inspired to go out and accomplish your athletic endeavors. You deserve it. —Nicole Rodriguez, RDN, NASM-CPT featured contributor at

25. Then wear that gear often!
Schedule your exercise like it is an important appointment or date. If I have a class to go to, it is in my schedule! So when I have yoga on Wednesdays at 8 AM, seeing it on my schedule reminds me to set aside clothes the night before. And try scheduling different types of exercise (like yoga, Zumba, walking with friends, etc.) throughout the month to help prevent boredom. —Emma FogtMBA, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND

26. Go ahead and splurge every once in awhile.
Embrace and enjoy your favorite indulgence, whether it's chocolate cake, French fries, or a glass of wine. Instead of trying to ban them from your healthy kingdom, plan to enjoy them in moderation. Can you commit to enjoying French fries only once per week (instead of daily)? Then you're already making healthy changes for the New Year! —Carolyn O'Neil, MS RDN author of The Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon

27. And finally, remember…perfection isn't the goal.
Instead, create an intention each morning when you get up and have it be one that is easy and doable. You can be healthy 80 percent of the time and that still counts as perfectly healthy! —Chere Bork, MS RDN owner of Savor Your Life Today

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Friday, November 24, 2017

The One Thing No One Ever Says About Grieving

article c/o

(And a 4 step plan to move through your grief.)

Another way to say that you are grieving is that a part of you is stuck in a moment in time.

Sometimes the cause of the stuckness isn’t the grief itself, but the fact that you don’t even recognize that you’ve lost something and that you need to grieve.

Grief is a word that is used interchangeably with bereavement, but grief is not exclusively about the physical death of a person.

Grief doesn't fit in a box, either. Some forms of grief take years to work through, other types take a few solid months, some take a single moment of deep acknowledgement.

Everyone grieves differently and for different reasons, but one thing remains constant in the process. It's the one thing no one has ever said about grieving:

“I did it right on time.”

Grieving is marked by a lag, a delay, a freezing, “Wait. What just happened?”

Grieving is also not a linear process.

One moment you feel you’ve fully moved past something, the next moment it’s right back in front of your face.

That’s because grief is insidious, imposing and demands to be felt. Even if you’re able to somehow avoid it all day long, grief comes back to you in your sleep. It’s laying right on your heart as you wake up.

Grief doesn’t say, “I’ve been here long enough, I think it’s time for me to leave.”

No. Grief crowds the heart, eats up all your energy and chronically imposes upon your peace. But grief isn't some evil force that's only there to cause pain, grief is escorting up an even deeper feeling, a truth about your life, what you value and what you need. Perhaps how much you wanted something, how deeply you care about someone, how far you've come from where you were.

As Mark Nepo so beautifully puts it, "The pain was necessary to know the truth, but we don't have to keep the pain alive to keep the truth alive."

Still, grief isn’t necessarily a depression. People can be grieving and heartbroken about something and not even know it.

Here are some examples of events that cause grieving:

• A break up

• The selling of your childhood home

• What you always wanted but never got

• A person who died

• A person who is still alive but is electively absent in your life

• The loss of a dream

• Divorce

• Infertility

• Loving someone who is self-destructive

• The loss of a pet

• The end of a friendship

• Job loss or the end of a career

The typical route for grieving begins with denial, and that’s actually a good thing.

Ultimately, your defense mechanisms are there to protect you. Denial kicks in when it would otherwise be too overwhelming to feel it all at once. Ideally, denial slowly fades away and the grief is felt. (Ideally.)

More typically, you swallow your grief.

It comes up in small spurts when you’re not paying attention, then you numb yourself to it somehow, then it jumps up more forcefully, then you numb yourself more heavily.

That is the path of staying stuck in grief. The path loops. People lose themselves on that path.

Is there a better path?

The answer is yes. But you don’t have to walk it unless you choose to.

Some losses are so exquisitely painful, in a way that no one else could ever fully understand, that no one would fault you for staying in the loop.

If you do choose to get out of the disorienting, dizzying loop of grief, here are 4 ways to begin:

1. UNDERSTAND - That your heart is broken, even if it’s not visible to others.

Keep in mind that there's no ‘right way’ to grieve and that grieving is not a linear process.

Just because its been 6 months, 4 years, 15 years, whatever – none of that means anything to your grief. The clock starts when you begin to recognize your grief. In other words, when you genuinely begin to address what happened (or perhaps what never happened).

2. RECOGNIZE - Before you can grieve, you have to recognize that you need to grieve.

Something happened, or didn’t happen, that burdened you.

Ironically, when you’re burdened, something is given to you and taken away from you at the same time. What do you feel was taken from you? What do you feel you are burdened with? The answers to those questions help you recognize what you need to grieve.

3. TOUCH - You have to touch the loss (as well as all the anger, sadness, bitterness, resilience, compassion and any other feelings you encountered during your loss).

You're in touch with your grief when you make space for the feelings your loss brought into your life. It may feel counter-intuitive to go back to the feelings that you want so desperately to let go of, but there's simply no way to move through grief without making contact with it, without fully touching it, without fully feeling it.

You have to pick it up, hold it, feel the weight of it in your hands, on your heart and within your life. You have to feel the whole loss. Grief demands to be felt with an insistence that needs no sleep. You either allow yourself to encounter the feelings or you remain encased in a shell of yourself under a misguided sense of self-protection.

4. MOVE - The feeling of grief can linger for so long that you almost befriend the grief.

The grief becomes oddly soothing in its familiarity and its predictability. Dealing with the grief means letting go of this familiarity and moving towards something less predictable and less familiar, which is scary.

Still, if you want to genuinely address the grief, you have to continue to move through the peripheral, familiar parts of your grief and go right into the epicenter of your grief. As the classic hero's journey goes, you have to get inside the belly of the whale.There (and only there) you will find the door to the unpredictable pieces of life that are patiently waiting for you on the other side of your pain.


Understand your heart is broken.

Recognize why it’s broken.

Touch the grief.

Move towards the epicenter of your grief, as it's the only path to other side of your pain.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Art of Healing Trauma

Article c/o

The Art of Healing Trauma

Much of trauma healing is helping the nervous system become more “resilient.” Rather than spend a few hours or even days drowning in a state of terror, tension and nervousness after getting triggered, doing one or more of these exercises can help the nervous system shift into a different state sooner.

Each time you do an activity or exercise like the ones below, this teaches the nervous system to be more flexible and rebound from activation sooner.

Take Your Nervous System to the Gym

After some type of physical injury that leaves some of your muscles weak or atrophied, you may need to go to physical therapy and exercise the muscles to strengthen them again. After trauma, the nervous system is completely out of whack and the resiliency muscles, so to speak, are very weak. Practicing resiliency exercises on a regular basis is like going to a “Nervous System Gym” and exercising the healthy functions of your nervous system until they become strong once again.

In fact, going to a Trauma Resiliency Model or Somatic Experiencing therapist is kind of like seeing a Nervous System Physical Therapist or Nervous System Personal Trainer. When you see a regular Physical Therapist or Personal Trainer, they will give you homework to do in the gym or at home before the next week’s session. In the same way, if you go to therapy for trauma once a week, it’s good to also practice these things on your own between sessions to get those muscles worked out enough to improve your functionality over time.

Resiliency Building Skills to Practice for Trauma Recovery

1. Grounding
Feel your feet on the ground.
Feel gravity.
Feel the pressure of your body on what is supporting it.
Feel the texture of objects with your fingers.
Name details of what you touch, see, hear, smell and taste.

2. Tracking / Felt Sense
Place your attention on sensations in the body and monitor them for a period of time.
Describe them and notice when they change.
Stay with yourself even if something very uncomfortable comes up; be like Velcro.
Challenge yourself to stay present and in the moment.

3. Slowing / Titration
Deliberately slow down your emotions and disturbing body sensations, like slowing down the tempo of music.
Separate out and work on only a small bit of the emotions or sensations and leave the rest for later, like taking only one bite of the pie.

4. Resourcing
Create an imaginary Safe Place, or recall a safe, calming, comforting experience you had in your life.
Imagine you’re there and notice what you feel.

Know that you can always go to this place in your imagination if you need to calm yourself down.

5. Pendulation
Be deeply present with an area of your body feeling activation, such as terror, anger, panic, tension. Then move your attention to a place of neutrality or calm in your body. Very slowly go back and forth. Build your capacity to stay with the negative. Also build your capacity to feel positive things again and to stay with the positive.

6. Contact / Self-Holding Exercises
Put your hands on the parts of your body that feel difficult sensations (tension, discomfort). Notice how the hands feel when on the body. Notice how the body feels under the hands. Notice how the space in the body located between the hands feels.

7. Community
Socialize and participate in your community. Human connection builds resilience.

8. Presence
Practice placing your awareness on any emotion or sensation coming up inside you. Say towards it, “You are welcome here.” Stay with it in a loving, compassionate way.

9. Self-Acceptance
Work on reducing “should” thoughts about yourself. Allow yourself the space and time for your body, emotions and mind to embrace and pass through the processes they need to.

10. Self-Empathy
Practice being gentle with yourself. Practice self-empathy.


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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Nobody Processes Emotion: A PTSD Sufferer's Step-By-Step Guide for all Human Beings

Article c/o

Image result for nobody processes emotion
Every disease that we go through gives us a new understanding.

Each challenge is an opportunity for strength. Some challenges can inspire others and some can actually uncover riches that all people can draw upon and share. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and I’m begging everyone to use my tools.

I have been forced to address my emotional reality and to learn to process my emotions. As a result, my engaged presence and emotional intelligence has thrived in a way that has opened my eyes to a global epidemic of escapism and denial.

My version of PTSD, that I am on government disability for, is mainly described through explanations of social anxiety and agoraphobia. Those are pretty words. They even make me sound like a cute nervous little fellow. What is not described by those terms, and what is rarely described in public forums anywhere, is shaking until I puke or pass out or having to be taken to the hospital because I cannot stop seeing and feeling my head go through a glass window, which sheers my skin off.


The effect of my PTSD is obvious. It is obvious to me and everyone around me.

If I do not process my emotions in a calm, healthy manner I am a danger to myself and those around me. But the scary thing I found on this journey is that everyone is a danger to themselves and those around them if they do not process their emotions…it is just less obvious.

All panic, nervousness, anger and frustration is a physical emotional state that exists regardless of whether or not we address it. Many people can compartmentalize. Many can repress. Many can lie and say they’re doing fine. But when I looked at the emotional processing I was doing and then looked at everyone else? I realized no one was doing it.

No one was processing emotion. No one was observing their every emotional reaction and giving energy to consciously tend to it.

What I have been forced to learn to keep myself safe is a process. It is not abstract, it is tangible behavior with a step by step directive.

1) Experience an emotion. Observe the presence of a feeling.

2) Recognize the emotion.

a) Know that it is present.
b) If we’re practiced, figure out the characteristics of the emotion. 
(This takes years, and is not necessary to do all at once. Does the feeling have a quality? Is it comfortable or uncomfortable? Does it have a source in the present or is it triggered from the past?)

3) Allow the emotion. We must stop ourselves from running away and escaping the emotion. Say “this is the emotion I’m feeling and I’m just going to sit here like a boss and feel it for a minute, or as long as I can.”

4) We must take stock of our emotion to see if we are in a position to engage it fully, or if we have to set it aside for processing at the soonest convenience.

5) Engage the emotion. Walk up to it and shake its hand. Feel it. It is your body talking to you. Let it wash over you.

6) After it has finished with you, allow it to leave, and validate that the moment of the emotion has passed (this will give you confidence in all future moments where processing is difficult).

Every reaction we have is our body telling us something. It is a voice from within us begging for an audience, regardless of what our supposedly adult mind thinks of it. If we show up for ourselves in this way and get confident processing our emotions, we can be confident that when things are not going so well, the ones we love most are not going to have to pay for our lack of internal management skills.

When we think of the behaviors that make us cringe in society, from cruelty to carelessness, coldness to apathy, they all have a source in an emotion that someone does not know how to process. This is not symptomatic of evil, but of emotional ignorance. This ignorance is curable. Focusing on processing emotioncan change everyone’s lives. I know that it has changed mine and those I am in contact with virtually or otherwise.

I know what caused my PTSD, but I was always looking for “what I could do with it” that would help others.

This is it.

We observe ourselves and process emotion as it comes up. Then we notice that we aren’t being bossed around by our fear of discomfort. Then we get confident. Then we are able to respond rather than react. Then we are able to be present more often. Then our world starts spiraling and expanding beautifully rather than us feeling trapped and frightened by everything that makes us the least bit uncomfortable.

It can change the world. One emotion at a time.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Overcoming Mental Challenges, written by owner of Transcend, Loredana Trandu

Loredana Trandu: "Overcoming Mental Challenges" 

 Published on Thursday, 05 October 2017
 Written by Loredana Trandu, Transcend

The following are very timely thoughts from Licensed Psychotherapist and Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutritionist Loredana Trandu, of Transcend of Fairfield, about overcoming mental challenges...

It is important we recognize the connection between our minds and our bodies if we want to feel our best!

Overcoming mental challenges is just as important as the physical ones....sometimes tougher. Poor emotional/mental health can weaken the body's immune system. Also, when we feel stressed, anxious or upset, we tend not to take care of our health as well. We may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious food...and we may start abusing alcohol, tabacco, junk food or other drugs in an effort to self-sooth. We fall off the "fitness weapon" which, in turn, creates more emotional and mental imbalance, leading to unhealthy weight gain or loss, insomnia, high blood pressure, etc. It's a viscious cycle which can only be stopped if we stop viewing the mind and the body as two separate entities.

Mind-body training is a combination of fitness training, nutrition, meditation and psychotherapy! Yes, psychotherapy!

There is so much evidence that our thoughts, feelings and attitudes can affect our biological functioning and that what we do with our bodies can affect our mental state. Yet, there is still stigma and shame attached to mental and emotional issues. People tend to be embarrassed about going to see a psychotherapist and end up using their personal trainers as counselors in an attempt to receive the much needed emotional support.

The circumstances prime this to happen: Clients bare weaknesses and shortcomings, goals and hopes, while trainers — part cheerleader, part dictator — guide the journey. In this hyper-exposed state, it’s not surprising that a client might start to unload on the trainer some personal issues. While this may provide some temporary relief, not only will it sabotage your physical training but it will also keep you from overcoming your mental and emotional challenges.

In order to strengthen our mental and emotional muscles, we have to start viewing psychotherapy as an important part of fitness and exercise -- and nutrition as part of psychotherapy! They are not separate and we cannot feel the joyful mind-body connection we all crave if we continue to view them this way! 

So many times I work with psychotherapists who, in an effort to help their clients, start neglecting self-care, do not make time to exercise, eat an unhealthy lunch at their desk and go home to their families feeling physically depleted and mentally and emotionally drained. On the other hand, I have worked with trainers who have developed eating disorders, or exercise and drug addictions.

It's time to reinvent fitness and destigmatize psychotherapy. It's time to reunite mind training and body training. True fitness is freedom and it can only be attained by utilizing the mind body connection!


Loredana Trandu, LPC, NASM

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Transcend Mind-Body Training Redefines Psychotherapy

Transcend Mind-Body Training Redefines Psychotherapy 

It is important we recognize the connection between our minds and our bodies if we want to feel our best.

Overcoming mental challenges is just as tough and as important as the physical ones....sometimes tougher. Poor emotional/mental health can weaken the body's immune system. In addition, when we feel stressed, anxious, or upset we tend to not take care of our health as well. We may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious food...and we may start abusing alcohol, tobacco, junk food or other drugs in an effort to self-soothe. We fall off the "fitness weapon", which in turn creates more emotional and mental imbalance, leading to unhealthy weight gain or loss, insomnia, high blood pressure etc. It's a viscous cycle which can only be halted if we stop viewing the mind and the body as two separate entities.

Mind-body training is a combination of fitness training, nutrition, meditation and psychotherapy. Yes, psychotherapy!

There is so much evidence that our thoughts, feelings and attitudes can affect our biological functioning, and what we do with our bodies can affect our mental state. Yet, there is still stigma and shame attached to mental and emotional issues. People tend to be embarrassed about going to see a psychotherapist and end up using their personal trainers as counselors in an attempt to receive the much needed emotional support.

The circumstances prime this to happen: clients bare weaknesses and shortcomings, goals and hopes, while trainers—part cheerleader, part dictator—guide the journey. In this hyper-exposed state, it’s not surprising that a client might start to unload on the trainer some personal issues. While this may provide some temporary relief, not only will it sabotage your physical training but it will also keep you from overcoming your mental and emotional challenges.

In order to strengthen our mental and emotional muscles, we have to start viewing psychotherapy as a important part of fitness, exercise and nutrition. They are not separate and we cannot feel the joyful mind-body connection we all crave if we continue to view them this way!

So many times I work with psychotherapists who, in an effort to help their clients, start neglecting self-care, do not make time to exercise, eat an unhealthy lunch at their desk and go home to their families feeling physically depleted and mentally and emotionally drained. On the other hand, I have worked with trainers who have developed eating disorders, exercise or drug addiction.

It's time to reinvent fitness and de-stigmatize psychotherapy. It's time to reunite mind training and body training. True fitness is freedom, and it can only be attained by utilizing the mind body connection!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Stress Management Group at Transcend!

New Stress Management Meditation and Mindfulness Group will begin in September at Transcend!

Wednesday evenings at 7 pm, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11 & 10/18 

Only 10 spots available! 
there is a $50 non-refundable deposit to reserve your spot)

Proceeds will go to local charities.

If you are interested in learning how to meditate and use breathing techniques to alleviate stress symptoms in a safe and fun environment, please contact Loredana Trandu:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ride the Waves of Discomfort When Dealing with Stress

article c/o

Confronting a stressful situation is hard, but if you
go with the flow when dealing with stress, it may become easier.

Explore Uncomfortable Feelings

There it was, that nagging bright yellow Post-it note: "Call Sam." Sam was my former landlord, and he owed me a rental deposit, a decent amount of money I could put toward a mortgage payment. It had been months since I moved out, but I hadn't called, partly because Sam got angry so easily and partly because he had always made me feel like a six-year-old contending with the schoolyard bully. Just thinking about calling him filled me with anxiety.

Fortunately, after years of "riding the wave," a technique central to the practice of Kripalu Yoga, I had learned how to sit with and explore uncomfortable feelings. As I thought about the phone call, I deepened my breath and felt the tightness in my belly ease, only to be replaced by a sense of nausea, which turned into a feeling of helplessness, then dread. As these feelings intensified, I consciously relaxed my body and decided to welcome whatever showed up. Suddenly a thought popped into my head. "You have a rental contract. You'll be fine. Call him." This was no earth-shattering insight, but I immediately felt relieved and comfortable enough to call and negotiate with a clear mind and a relaxed body.

For more than a year I had dreaded making a 10-minute call. But by riding the waves of discomfort I was able to access a sense of inner balance and take on a challenge with more courage and confidence. I'd often practiced this technique while doing asanas to fully embrace the present; using it in my daily life helped me cultivate a sense of equanimity and poise.

Explore the Waves of Resistance and Discomfort

When the going gets tough, the tough may get going, but most of us sidestep unease by distracting ourselves with anger, numbness, work, or substances that temporarily relieve the pain. That's because we're well versed in resisting the present moment, especially when it's thick with difficult or unpleasant things.

Often you may feel this resistance as a wave of sensation and emotion. Some waves are small and mildly irritating. Others can feel like tidal waves, overwhelming you in a roiling pool of dread, fear, and anxiety.

When you start to feel this resistance, try to stay with it and witness the inner turmoil rather than get sucked into it. If you can successfully ride the waves of sensation and emotion, you'll arrive at a state of compassion and wisdom.

So how can you move from fear and anxiety to insight and freedom? The secret is paying attention to sensations and the feelings that accompany them. Each time you focus on your breath, each time you relax and listen to your feelings, you open yourself to the present.

When you simply witness your feelings instead of reacting to them, you allow your life to unfold organically and you open a doorway to greater sympathy and understanding. Most important, you develop your capacity to be free in an often challenging and turbulent world.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Chemistry of Addiction and The Gateway to Freedom

This article is excerpted and adapted from the recently published best-selling book “The Integrity Effect” by Melissa Joy Jonsson.

The Chemistry of Addiction and The Gateway to Freedom

Addictions as Distractions
“Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh yeah / It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough / You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love.” — Robert Palmer

Love. We are all addicted to love indeed. Not just the idea, not just the feeling, but the neurochemistry of love. The experience of love favorably changes our neurophysiology in both mind and body. When we experience love, our body produces its own natural opiates, endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters. Among these chemicals is oxytocin, often called our “love hormone” because of its crucial role in mother–child relationships, social bonding, and intimacy (oxytocin levels soar during sex).

Interestingly, oxytocin has also been shown to mitigate fear. When oxytocin is administered to people with certain anxiety disorders, activity declines in the amygdala—the primary fear center in the brain. As a result, people feel less fearful. Thus exogenous oxytocin, along with other fear-reducing compounds in clinical development, may eventually be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other fear-related conditions.

Addicted to Love
We are hard-wired for love. Our bodies crave love as much as oxygen and water. Many people do not realize that the neurochemistry produced through love is the same neurochemistry produced by the brain while engaging in addictive behaviors. Thus addiction may breed easily in a person starving for love. Love and addiction have the same initial chemical impact on the body–mind connection.

According to studies of the brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the sensation of love is processed in three areas of the brain.

Area 1: Ventral Tegmental Area (Dopamine). The first area is the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a clump of tissue in the brain’s lower regions that is the body’s central refinery for dopamine. Dopamine performs many functions but primarily regulates reward. Winning the lottery can produce a thrilling rush of dopamine. Remarkably, the VTA also becomes active when one feels the rush of cocaine.

Area Two: Nucleus Accumbens (Oxytocin). Thrill signals that start in the lower brain are then processed in the nucleus accumbens via dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. New mothers are flooded with oxytocin during labor and nursing, supporting a strong connection to their babies.

According to neuroscientists,
"this association between rewarding experiences and dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens initially caused many neuroscientists to believe the main role of the nucleus accumbens was in mediating reward. Thus, it is often implicated in addiction and the processes that lead to addiction.

However, since the initial links were made between the nucleus accumbens and reward, it has been discovered that dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens rise in response to both rewarding and aversive stimuli [emphasis added]. This finding led to a re-evaluation of the functions of the nucleus accumbens, and indeed of the functions of dopamine as a neurotransmitter. The most widely accepted perspective now is that dopamine levels don’t rise only during rewarding experiences but instead rise anytime we experience something that can be deemed either positive or negative.

Area 3: The Caudate Nuclei (Dopamine). The last major area for love signals in the brain are the caudate nuclei, a pair of structures on either side of the head, each about the size of a shrimp. It’s here that patterns and mundane habits, such as knowing how to drive a car or cook spaghetti, are stored.

CAU: Cause to Pause

The caudate nucleus integrates complex emotions and thoughts about love. The caudate nuclei (CAU) are all about making choices, but they are also connected to addictions because of their role in feeling pleasure, relief, and comfort. In many cases, the reason why a person may choose addiction can be buried in the unconscious, but the caudate nuclei of the brain may hold keys to the pattern. Interestingly, studies have shown that people who have damage to the CAU show repetitive and compulsive behavior. They will keep doing a thing over and over again, even though it’s unnecessary and doesn’t do them any good.

According to neuroscientists,
"the Caudate is also part of the Reward System. It lies in the middle of your head and looks a bit like a medium-sized shrimp—two shrimp, actually, as each hemisphere of the brain has its own Caudate. The caudate and other regions of the striatum have connections to the cerebral cortex, the top, multi-folded layer of the brain with which we do our thinking. It has connections, too, with memory areas and with the ventral-tegmental area VTA. Indeed, the Caudate integrates data from many brain regions. No part of the brain ever works alone, and love is no exception [emphasis added].

Researchers speculate that as all of our thoughts, feelings, and motivations associated with love assemble in the caudate, we experience states of bliss.

We Are All Addicts
To some extent, we are all addicts! We are all addicted to love, and when love is seemingly not available, we will reach for anything as a cheap substitute to produce the feel-good chemistry.

An addiction is something that causes psychological dependence, so it is a mental and cognitive problem in addition to a physical ailment.5 According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an addiction is classified as a dependence. Dependence is “characterized by compulsive, sometimes uncontrollable, behaviors that occur at the expense of other activities and intensify with repeated access.”

I define addiction as follows: all addictions are placeholders in awareness that represent an attempt to find True Authentic Self and simultaneously avoid it. The placeholder that the addiction pattern represents serves as a habituated strategy to avoid recognizing self as an infinitely whole, perfect, and limitless being that is having an experience of limitation.

The pattern as placeholder serves as a habituated strategy to look for fulfillment and acceptance of True Authentic Self in something outside of self that is inherently and incessantly empty. In this recognition, there is freedom to recondition awareness and embrace integrity. There is freedom to move from dis-ease to flow in total acceptance— and to choose anew.

Addicts are not the addictions; rather, these people are individuals in resonance with habituated, constricted containers of consciousness that perpetuate a behavioral loop.

Break the connection with the habit, establish resonance with a different, more useful placeholder that is a reflection of love, and the addictive pattern will transform, dissipate, subside, and cease naturally.

The addiction is a bit like looking in the mirror while simultaneously trying to look away. When mired in the addiction, we cannot see ourselves clearly.

To me, addictions are more like a two-way mirror aligned between our True Authentic Self and the addictive pattern. A two-way mirror is a mirror that is partially reflective and partially transparent. When one side of the mirror is brightly lit and the other is dark, it allows viewing from the darkened side, but not vice versa.

The addict sees the reflection of self as the mirror image of the addictive behaviors and cannot see anything else. What is reflected is based on the filters of what is being projected—addiction as confusion.

Conversely, the True Authentic Self can shine light on the addictive pattern and see clearly through the two-way mirror. True Authentic Self can see through the addiction to the truth of the essential self as love.

Love is the only placeholder worth keeping, and self-love is the gateway to freedom from all addictions. Love as the placeholder returns the power of choice and provides liberation from the shackles and confines of addictive patterns that subtract from our well-being.

To engage by compulsion is to cage without compassion. To engage by choice means the experience of the sum total self as a whole being is occurring without the addiction as placeholder. Addiction is not an addition to self. Addiction subtracts us from recognizing our own inherent completion as one love.

According to the preceding definition, we all may be addicted to something. Whether it is drugs, alcohol, food, sex, sugar, shopping, exercise, work, social media, chocolate, drama, or our own story, we are all looking for love, connection, and feelings of completion We are addicted to distractions as placeholders.

Certainly some addictions are more detrimental to our lives than others. Some addictions are even deemed healthy, such as exercise and work. Nonetheless, consider that there is no difference between addictions, as all are attempts to connect to self-love from a space of completion. The consequences and Ricochet Effects may be more pronounced with some addictions than with others, but the core impetus driving the placeholder of addiction is always the same: seeking love.

Sugar High
In many ways, we are conditioned for addictions from a young age.

Perhaps we would receive a Twinkie or Ding-Dong when we finished all our chores? Perhaps when mom was trying to get work done and we were hungry for attention, mom may have innocuously given us a sugar treat to buy herself some much-needed time. This reward system can prime our bodies for addiction as the mind gets double the love pleasure—a treat from mom and a treat for the body. However, treat or trick? Recent research has shown that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.

Both cocaine and sugar elevate dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens. Prolonged exposure to either causes down-regulation of the dopamine receptors, which means less dopamine becomes available. Over time, more sugar (or drugs) is required to attain normal dopamine levels. This means that, over time, we need processed sugar just to feel normal. We may even be allergic to sugar, which will make us crave it more. We crave what is not good for us too. Recall that dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens rise in response to both rewarding and aversive stimuli.

As we grow older, we may switch our addiction from sugar to drugs and alcohol, which might be more “socially acceptable” under the guise of peer pressure. Or perhaps we may continue to eat sugar and then diet to lose the weight, which could lead those more vulnerable to develop eating disorders. Or maybe carbs are what we crave. Perhaps we give up the sugar but add caffeine, as it helps us study and work. Or maybe we don’t think about the soda pop we consume as we spend a few hours playing video games online with friends we have never met.

Social Media Mania
Maybe we think we are clean and free of substance addictions, but we compulsively spend hours a day on Facebook, trolling our newsfeed and other people’s sites. We crave the attention we get from our posts and calibrate our self-worth and popularity based on how many likes we receive. Dopamine levels surge every time someone comments on our posts. We may even argue with people who have varying views and find it thrilling when we can get a rise out of a stranger whom we have the power to block.

Perhaps we are plugged in to social media all the time. But not without paying a price. How many real-life friends do we still socialize with in person? Do we substitute real intimacy for the virtual reality of addictive online connections?

A recent University of Copenhagen study suggests excessive use of social media can create feelings of envy. It particularly warns about the negative impact of “lurking” on social media without connecting with anyone. The study of more than one thousand participants says that “regular use of social networking such as Facebook can negatively affect your emotional well-being and satisfaction with life.”

Addicted to Drama, Misery, and Negative Attention
Negative attention is still attention, and as we learned earlier, the mind does not distinguish between rewarding stimuli and aversive stimuli before producing endorphins. The dopamine cascade will trigger either way.

Hence many are addicted to patterns that may not initially feel good but persist because of the chemistry that is produced as a result. For some, this can look like ongoing drama, perpetual misery, victimhood, or antagonism. We become addicted to the negative attention that feeds our physiology in the same way a drug rush might occur.

We can often set this up such that other people are the source of our problems. It’s their fault we have this drama, disappointment, misery, or discontent. As long as other people remain the perpetual source of our drama, disappointment, discontent, and dissatisfaction with our lives, other people will also remain the source of our peace, joy, happiness, personal power, and fulfillment.

Addiction to drama is false power created as a polarized reaction to feeling powerless. Drama drains our power no matter what role we may be playing back and forth, victim or perpetrator alike. All actors in the drama are directing life force away from the vortex of the heart into the push– pull linear dynamic of surrogate control. Drama is a tug-of-war with self, and that rope will eventually choke any sense of peace, joy, and semblance of unity with all parties involved. Nobody wins the drama game. Let go of the struggle. Choose to let go and play from the unified field of the heart . . . a drama-free zone.

Addicted to Company
Many of us are addicted to company. We are not OK being alone. It is important to be comfortable being alone.

I used to not be comfortable being alone and consequently chose compromising company. I would hang with people who were neglectful, selfish, narcissistic, and sometimes abusive rather than face my own fear of being alone. Often, as a means of distracting me from myself, I would choose friends who had various forms of addictions. If only I could help them, then I would somehow be OK, I reasoned. Invariably this codependency resulted in my feeling hurt, betrayed, abandoned, and used.

I learned to stop expecting reciprocal friendship (and love) from people immersed in their addictions. This is akin to expecting the addictions to love us back. Sometimes we need to know when to hold our friends accountable and when to walk away and love them from afar. Love people, not their addictions. Love yourself enough to say No More.

Once I was comfortable with being alone (after uncomfortably trying it), then I was able to connect honestly with myself and find the love that I was seeking, from within. Rather than loneliness, I met my new best friend—me.

We are naturally communal beings. However, to some extent, many have bought in to the WE experience at the expense of the individual I—as you and me completion unto I-self. We have by and large become addicted to company such that even the idea of being alone can put us in a tailspin, in a frenzy, or send us spiraling toward our chosen addictions.

Being alone is not the reason for addiction. Recent research with rats indicates otherwise. Rat Park was a study that demonstrated that rats in isolation were far more likely to become addicts than rats who lived in community. These interesting findings highlight the importance of connection in combating addiction . . . but we are not rats.

We are human beings capable of self-reflection. And we are not at war with addiction. We are at war with our deepest sense of self. It is our sense of self that needs liberating to embrace our own company.

Addiction is not what we are fighting. Rather, we are running from ourselves, often seeking refuge through the eyes of companions or community. It is perhaps only when we can authentically witness our selves, free from judgment and projections, that we find the freedom we are seeking.

Herein rests a key to transcending addictions: being alone and connecting to self. Then we can genuinely connect to others. For me, being alone was Be-in-gal-one. At first I thought gal was referring to my gender. But in fact gal was in reference to an old French word, gale, meaning “merriment.” Being alone meant being all one with merriment— Joy—undivided with the essence of ourselves as love in joy.

Traveling Solo
One the greatest ways to move beyond the distractions of our addictions is to take a trip anywhere with yourself. This trip can be a vacation away from your daily responsibilities for a weekend or a week at a time—or it can be for an hour a day. This trip can be lunch or dinner in a restaurant solo or a walk in the woods. Whatever you would normally do with another, just do it with yourself.

At first you may meet resistance, either your own excuses or excuses offered by those around you. As long as you are avoiding yourself through addictions to distractions, there will always be reasons why you can’t spend time with yourself. Here is an opportunity to move beyond the placeholder of the excuses into the graceholder of navigating solo.

The first time I traveled by myself, my family and friends were opposed to the idea. They threw out many reasons why they thought I should not go. It would have been easy to acquiesce to their excuses, but the reasons why were all a lie. Traveling with myself was an opportunity to get really clear on who I was, to get comfortable in my own skin and to recognize and appreciate my own company.

If I had known how wonderful solo time (and solo travel) would be in terms of connection to my heart, mind, and body, I would have done it years ago. Alone time is devoid of compromise, comparison, and competition. Completion is easy to recognize when we embrace being alone.

Being alone is hard for many people. Often we will reason this is because of our personality type. We “like” to be around people, as we are extroverts, we reason. Or “being with others is community.” Perhaps this is true, and perhaps our personality types and beliefs around community are simply schemas we have developed to justify avoiding being alone.

While connection to others may support freedom from addiction, it is connection to our True Authentic Self that supports the recognition of our inherent completion. Commit to a vacation from company. Travel solo in whatever way you can. It can be a few minutes each day, an hour, or a week. However you travel, know that you have the perfect companion—you. Journey into self-love and take a holiday as a whole day for the joy of being truly you . . . no matter how long that takes.

Addictions to Distractions
We are not broken, and neither are our choices. In many instances, we may make choices out of integrity with our inherent wholeness to find a return to wholeness. We may use addictions as distractions. We may choose addictions as a playground for making distinctions, to gain awareness about what we do not want, who we are not, and how we do not really want to behave. We can then leverage the playground as a springboard into clarity, to choose a different option, always available through heart–mind synthesis.

Shame Primes Addiction
Regardless of what your fix may be, almost all addictive behaviors carry components of shame. In fact, shame primes addiction.

A key to moving beyond any addictive pattern is to release all shame associated with the pattern. Addiction and shame often accompany each other, and it can be hard to decipher which comes first. We may feel shame and then reach for the addictive placeholder to feel better. Or we may feel ashamed of our addictive placeholder and therefore we reach for the placeholder again to mitigate the shame.

Shame is defined as a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong. Unfortunately, shame will trigger all emotions related to lack of self-worth and will leave us feeling not good enough, not worthy, and, most of all, not lovable.

Shame will actually trigger addictive behaviors as a strategy to avoid feeling self-recrimination. In some sense, we may be addicted to shame itself.

Please know there is nothing that anyone can ever do, nothing that you can do, that can stop you from being love. We can’t be anything else. Love is what we are. Heart-centered awareness and playing with placeholders can release the shame that binds us. Heart-centered awareness can open us to the self-love that eternally bonds us and offer freedom from addictions.

Ask for Help
Ask for help. Addictions create a sense of isolation and loneliness, which is different than connecting to self when alone as all-one. Seek support from others until you are comfortable solo. Connection with others who are supportive and nonjudgmental is an important component in the movement toward freedom.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Accepting & Using Your Intuition

Article c/o

The Beliefs That Are F***ing Up Your Intuition (And How To Fix Each)

We are all intuitive. This knowledge has been part of the spiritual conversation for a long time now. Ever since Sonia Choquette beautifully connected us to our sixth sense and Doreen Virtue heralded the age of angels and guides, we have become pretty comfortable with the idea that humans are capable of tuning in to that magical voice within.

But no matter how on board we are with our own intuitive power, the stark reality is most of us are still living lives that are a long way from where we want them to be, plagued by continual relationship drama, unending debt, and job dissatisfaction. What’s the deal with that? Is life crisis a symptom of misheard intuition? Is it always that hit and miss? Are we only intuitive sometimes, wandering around in a state of absolute uncertainty the rest?

The answer is that while there are things that are out of our control, creating a more uninterrupted connection to our intuition can help lead to a more tuned-in, turned-on, free-flowing life. Here are a few beliefs that might be messing with your intuition and how to reshape each:

1. We are choosing fear and pretending it is love. 
Intuition is intel from the unlimited Universe. It doesn’t deal in fear because seriously, what is fear to the vastness of the Universe? People deal with fear in their own lives all the time, pretending it is love more often than not. When we get an intuitive hit that guides us to leave a bad relationship, we might reject it because we are terrified of being alone. Instead, we’ll pretend that we love the other person so much it is worth staying in an unhappy or dysfunctional relationship. In truth, we are hiding from our fear and calling it love.

We need to be willing to look that fear in the face if we want to heed the call of our intuition. So how do we do this? Put simply, we have to escape our minds and focus on the intelligence that lies within our hearts. According to Gregg Braden, a "spiritual scientist," there is a cluster of around 40,000 neurons in the heart, and this expansive "heart brain" sends more information to the cranial brain than the other way around. We need to learn to defer to the wisdom of our heart by feeling. We need to learn to trust what we feel. Like all new paradigms, this can only be mastered with practice.

2. We are rocking low self-esteem.
When my clients and students tell me they can’t hear their intuition, what they're really saying is, "I don’t trust myself." What’s the point of hearing the answers to our life whispered to us across time and space if we don’t listen? If we make it about our self-esteem, we reject the support we are so worthy of hearing. We have to start with changing our belief about ourselves by noticing ourselves slipping into self-criticism and using discipline to pull ourselves back.

We must be willing to tune in to our intuition then have the courage to act on it.

3. We are afraid of change.
Oh my goodness, this is a biggie. These days, we live in a world that encourages us to lock things down so that nothing ever changes. We have insurance for everything to serve the false hope that we will never lose anything. Hell, we get married in the hopes that the other person will never leave us. We are terrified of change even though change is everything. Everything is always shifting, including our very own bodies. Nothing remains. And yet we react to change like it is death.

Our intuition is often inviting us to change things because they are not working out. Yet, even when we are down on our knees begging some higher power to help change the state of our affairs, we panic when that change comes. We prefer to stick with the shitty known than to leap into the unknown. We must be willing to tune into our intuition, then have the courage to act on it.

4. We are settling for normal.
What we perceive in the mirror when we check ourselves out is such a tiny part of what we really are. Unless we take the time to think of ourselves as more than just our physical bodies, we settle for a very mundane reality. We need to train ourselves to see beyond the dominant five senses by tuning in to our intuition and checking in with ourselves on a deeper level. Are we really here just to meet a boy/girl, get married, and reproduce? What else is possible? When we start to tune in to the really big picture, we free ourselves from the paradigm of normal.

We need to take a minute to educate ourselves about what we truly are made of (stardust, anyone?) and be willing to step up and surrender to our unlimited selves.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Truth About Depression Shall Set You Free

Article c/o

Escaping the Matrix of Depression

If life is meant to be joyful, why are we faced with a global pandemic of depression?

The combination of seven intense years as a crisis counselor in New York plus twenty years as an Awakening Life Coach allows me to offer you this insight – the truth about depression – and when you finally understand why you are depressed, you will have the power to free yourself from the invisible prison of disempowerment.

Firstly, do not let the “real” in reality fool you. Things are not what they seem to be. Despite how solid life appears, it is all just vibrating energy so perfectly choreographed that we can confidently call this dancing vibration “reality” or life. If you want to see the truth from a higher (more realistic) perspective, you will need to consider that it is our individual and collective Beliefs that turn vibration into tangible reality.

The Law of Belief
It is common knowledge that our beliefs directly manifest through our actions and reactions, but beliefs also communicate energetically with the quantum field and then materialize in physical reality. As the saying goes, “thoughts become things.” A single thought is not likely to manifest, but beliefs always do. It might be more accurate to say, “Beliefs become all things.” This means that everything in your life is a result of your beliefs – your beliefs create your reality.

When you understand how to use the Law of Belief, you have the power to create the life you desire. The problem is we have never been educated on how to consciously use the Law of Belief for our highest good. In fact, instead of being taught that we create reality through our beliefs, our younger selves were unknowingly programmed with three specific beliefs that collectively create disempowered human beings:

Unworthiness: you believe that your worth is dependent on proving that you are worthy.

Powerlessness: you believe that you have little or no power to control your life.

Victimhood: you believe that others can harm you in some way.

These three disempowering beliefs make up the invisible Matrix of Depression.

Once these beliefs are installed in our psyches, we unconsciously look for proof of their validity. Since life offers whatever we seek, we end up with an abundance of proof by means of experiences that make us feel unworthy, powerless or victimized. When one or more of these beliefs continue without relief, we become depressed.

As we have been drugged with delusion, we have been programmed to be depressed.

Disempowering Programs in The Matrix of Reality
When left unchallenged, deeply embedded beliefs become subconscious programs that run our lives, and unconsciously control behavior. These programs manifest as chronic negative thoughts and emotions and also as challenging experiences, such as failed relationships, financial hardship, illness etc….

Needless to say, beliefs of powerlessness, unworthiness and victimhood are all programs that operate our global society. Even if you are not depressed, these programs cause extreme disruption to the body, mind and spirit, and materialize as virtually every issue known to mankind. I have professionally coached people worldwide for the last 20 years, and every person I have ever worked with has suffered from one or more of these disempowering beliefs, and most of these same people would not even define themselves as depressed.

Virtually every problem in life is due to the fact that society is asleep under a heavy cloak of disempowerment.

These 3 disempowering programs are so prevalent in every aspect of our lives that we don’t even notice them, but once you learn to recognize them, everything becomes perfectly clear.

In order to understand how these programs got installed in our psyches, let’s look at the systems and institutions that run our world:

Educational Institution: installs the unworthiness program. From day one of school, we must pass tests and be evaluated for worth every step of the way.

Criminal System: installs the victimhood program. The criminal system is set up, not to deter criminals, but rather to create them, perpetuating victimhood.

Medical Institution: installs the powerlessness and victimhood programs, through the use of patient disempowerment.

Religion: installs the powerlessness and unworthiness programs. Most religions teach people that something “out there” has the power to choose their faith – with rewards for goodness and punishments for subjective sin.

Government: installs the powerlessness program, where the people depend on their “leaders” for laws and protection.

War: installs programs of victimhood, powerless and unworthiness.

Financial Institution: installs programs of unworthiness, powerlessness and victimhood.

Every one of these systems and institutions are designed to make us believe that we are powerless and at any moment we could be victimized. They program us to believe that our worth is dependent upon external sources and that we have to keep jumping through hoops in order to prove that we are worthy. Even when we feel worthy and powerful, there is always the fear that it can all be taken away – that at any moment we can lose everything – through economic collapse, sickness or war. There is no mystery as to how, or why, humanity is enslaved – every aspect of society is set up to mentally imprison us by means of hi-jacking our belief system.

We are in economic and environmental crisis because humanity is in a massive spiritual crisis.

The Bottom Line…
Who is really running the nuts and bolts of these systems? We are! We are the doctors, lawyers, teachers, clergy and sometimes even local politicians. We need to wake-up and stop following antiquated rules and programs that are intended to brainwash us to play unconscious roles in controlling those who look up to us and trust us. The broken system runs because we sustain it. Unsustainable systems eventually collapse.

As long as we seek external solutions to our problems and blame those who seem to be in control, we will never realize that it is our beliefs that project, create and attract the reality that we experience. The external chaos is a manifestation of your beliefs, and keeps you from finding the real cause of issues which lies within you, in the form of your own beliefs.

You have the absolute power to consciously create your life and no one can ever control you or manipulate your reality, unless you allow them.

The Truth Shall Set Us Free
We are led to believe that we are powerless minions under the rule of some elitist super-power. However, that is just part of the illusion. Even those representing this super power suffer from the same debilitating programs that we do – you cannot enslave another without enslaving yourself. From this grand view, there are no bad guys – everyone is just playing their roles in the game. Instead of blaming anyone and reinforcing the victimhood program, let’s wake-up and embrace a new paradigm that empowers all of humanity. As we free ourselves, we free those enslaving us.

Despite how it might seem, no one is imprisoning us or keeping us hostage. We have been imprisoning ourselves through the massive power of our own belief. We have been locked in a jail without walls or borders. It is invisible yet it is everywhere. It is an energy that surrounds us and invades our lives. We let it in willingly through the choices we make and the things we watch and listen to. We can’t see it, smell it or taste it because we cannot identify it. But once you know that it is there and what it is, you cannot ignore it, and this is the beginning of True Freedom.

It is easy to give away your power when you are asleep but impossible for anyone to take your power when you are awake. You don’t have to overcome depression – you just have to wake up. The opposite of depressed is awakened. This truth shall set you free.

Taking Our Power Back
Escaping the Matrix of Depression requires us to take our power back from unscrupulous sources.

This doesn’t mean rioting nor does it mean fighting against these systems. If your instinct is to accuse or lash out, you are going in the wrong direction which only gives power and energy to that which we are wanting to change. This is not a war – this is an awakening.

We are talking about taking our power back through a total rebellion of the mind.

In order to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery we must reclaim our beliefs. We must turn off those obnoxious disempowering programs that have been running us and our ancestors for countless centuries — maybe even longer.

Here is the open secret that will free you from the invisible prison of disempowerment:

No beliefs are true!

Every single belief is “make believe.”

It is the power of your belief that “makes” something true and materializes it in the world.

When you release these false and disempowering beliefs, the dysfunctions caused by the beliefs go away. A healthy functioning human-being knows his/her innate worth, intrinsic power, and ability to consciously create, and therefore does not unconsciously manifest ongoing issues or chronic depression. You are meant to live a joyous, healthy and abundant life. This is what you are awakening to!

The first step is to turn off the disempowering programs that are running you. You know that these programs are running if you experience frequent or strong feelings of powerlessness, unworthiness and/or victimhood, as well as chronic issues in relationships, health and/or finances.

Turning Off the Victimhood Program
Over the past few decades, many of us have worked through a great deal of victimhood issues, but the opposite of victim is not “survivor.” The opposite of victim is Conscious Creator. You are responsible for everything that happens in your life. No matter how it seems, you are never a victim. Every experience in your life is a perfect vibrational match. As long as you blame the outside world or the carelessness of others, you will stay disempowered and you will keep the victimhood program running. I’m not saying that you should cancel your insurance. I am saying, stop blaming others, and start taking responsibility for everything in your life – not from a space of shame or self-blame but rather from a space of pure empowerment. The more responsibility you take for your life, the more you will access your power to consciously create.

Turning Off the Unworthiness Program
In order to turn off the unworthiness program, you must get off the unworthiness wheel of mis-fortune, and you must simply own your worth and declare it for yourself, without needing proof that you are worthy.

Trying to prove your worth keeps the program running.

It is important that you meet your own emotional needs and stop seeking approval and acceptance from people who don’t have it to give. As long as you need the acceptance and approval of others, you will never know your intrinsic worth. Give to yourself what you seek from others, and you will begin to remember the truth of who you really are.

Turning Off the Powerlessness Program
You turn off the powerlessness program by taking your power back from everyone and everything. Stop depending on the legal system for justice, the police for protection, the medical system for healing, and schools for education. Become your own sovereign agent, and if you do use “the system,” do so consciously and make your own choices. Research new paradigms for healing, justice, community and education or invoke your imagination for creating new possibilities. Think for yourself and stop depending on the support and opinions of others. If you are not consciously creating your reality, you have given up control.

I personally suffered from chronic depression since I was a child. As I look back, it is so clear to me now, that I found my way up and out of depression, by working through issues of victimhood, unworthiness and powerlessness. I spent many years overcoming these debilitating beliefs – finally finding myself to be a conscious and joyful creator of my reality. I am sharing this now so that you can recognize the core dynamics of depression, and as a result, the process of your healing is quickened exponentially.

Reclaim Your Trust
The one thing that all these global systems and institutions have in common is that they keep us from trusting ourselves. Everywhere you look, the message is the same, “Don’t trust yourself.” You must trust authority figures to diagnosis, approve, reward and heal, as well as provide justice, safety, nutrition, and even water.

Here’s the thing, it has become painfully clear that we cannot rely on those whom we have carelessly trusted. Judges who “read the law out of the law,” doctors who get paid off by prescription companies, and governments who poison our food and water.

Do not despair – this is the greatest news ever! In the past, when the truth wasn’t so blatant, we could be complacent – we could stay asleep and give our power away without thinking much about it, but now, we know too much to close our eyes and bury our heads in the sand. There is no doubt that those institutions that we once trusted with our lives and the lives of our children can no longer be blindly trusted. Life, and everything in it, is begging us to reclaim our power from untrust-worthy sources and to empower ourselves with solutions that will transform and evolve humanity.

I know that it is easier said than done, as the disempowering programs are intrinsically designed to keep you from trusting yourself – forcing you to look to external sources for the answers to the problems that they created, and when you are tired and depressed, trusting yourself is the hardest thing to do, but you must do it anyway. You must find the part of you that knows how to access answers and solutions for yourself, and you must follow that inner guidance wherever it takes you.

Stop Seeking Proof
The purpose of life is to demonstrate your beliefs to you. If you like the feedback that life is giving you, keep believing as you do. If you don’t like the feedback, change the beliefs that are responsible for the undesirable feedback. Let’s be clear, the feedback is what life shows you through experiences and relationships – not what is told to you by others.

Right now your world may be giving you immense proof that you are unworthy, poor or powerless but that is only because life is demonstrating your past and current beliefs. It is normal to want proof before you can believe something different, but this misconception keeps you imprisoned in disempowering beliefs and the resulting experiences.

Do not ask, “Is this belief true?” as no belief is true until you make it true through the power of your belief.

Do ask, “Will this belief help to create what I desire in life?”
If the answer is no, scrap it. If the answer is yes, ride that train home!

As a Conscious Empowered Creator, you must choose beliefs that serve you without the need for proof. The proof is secondary. First believe, and then the proof will come – not the other way around. As the saying goes, “You will see it, when you believe it.”

In order to wake up from depression you must believe that you are unconditionally worthy and that you have the power to consciously create your life.

New Thoughts
You have the ability to create a new reality with your thoughts but in order to do so, you must have thoughts that can create a new reality. Your work is to create empowering thoughts and as you create better and better thoughts, you will create new empowering beliefs, ultimately reprogramming your subconscious mind – and manifesting in an enlightened reality.

This is the way of the spiritual warrior – we are here to break free of the invisible chains that have bound humanity. We are here to free ourselves and each other. One thought at a time.

There are many ways in which to turn off disempowering programs. Here are some simple yet powerful tools that when used consistently over a period of time will help you reclaim your mind:

“I AM” Statements
Whenever you say, “I AM” you invoke a belief. If you say, I am sick or poor, you are telling the quantum field to manifest sickness or poverty. Clean up your “I AM” statements and consciously develop “I AM” statements that support you, such as, I Am worthy, I Am abundant, I Am healthy.

Stop Judging
Self-judgment reinforces the programs of unworthiness and powerlessness. Don’t hide behind perfectionism either – it is just another sneaky name for self-judgment. Empowering self-talk will get you much closer to excellence than perfection ever could.

Your body is an incredible quantum computer that must be cared for and fine-tuned. You cannot wake-up from depression if your body is depleted. Now is the time to “get in your body” and feed your body what it needs most.

Mother Earth
“Mother Earth” remembers who you are, and if you allow her, she will wake you up. One of the best things that you can do is play in nature – swim in her oceans, climb her mountains or frolic with her furry friends. As you surrender to “play,” your inner being will begin to awaken.

Emotions are manifestations of beliefs, but you don’t need to know the cause of an emotion in order to release it. Just make sure that you allow an emotion to “process-through” to completion and you are not activating it only to push it back down. In other words, feel your feelings and allow time and space to really experience them.

Work with Love
Since all disempowering beliefs keep us from loving ourselves, it essential to express self-compassion. Self-love is an activation and will help you to remember who you really are. If self-love isn’t flowing, focus on anyone/anything that invokes your love.

Express Yourself
The more you express yourself, the more you will activate the free will of self-expression which helps to turn off these programs. Sing, dance, write, innovate and speak your truth!

When we are depressed, we automatically imagine all that we do not desire, but to overcome depression and turn off these debilitating programs, it is essential that you spend time every day imagining the life you really desire. The more you can imagine positive things in your life, without doubt or thoughts of unworthiness, the greater the shifts to your psyche and to your life.

There is nothing outside of you stronger or more powerful than what lies within.

The Moment is Now
Your moment of true empowerment is now. You have immense power to create the life you desire, but in order to access this power, you must first know that it is within you, and you must also master the mental technology of your mind that is responsible for creating your life. This means ridding your-self of disempowering beliefs and embracing the truth of who you really are. As you intentionally and consciously invoke the Law of Belief, you have the ability to free yourself from the invisible matrix of depression, and finally create the life you truly desire.

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