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How To Deal With Negative Thoughts And Emotions

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Emotions are a normal part of life. I don’t think it’s normal to be happy all the time. It’s natural to feel depression, anxiety, sadness, grief, and anger at certain times in our lives. What I have found is that often it’s not the negative emotions that are bad, it’s that we don’t deal with them and let them linger in our minds.

Here are some things which have helped me when I haven’t been feeling great. I hope they help you, too.

1. No feeling is ‘wrong’.
There seems to be a common belief that negative emotions are “bad”, that we shouldn’t get angry, lose our temper, or ever get upset. Here’s the thing, though – our emotions are there for a reason. It’s natural for us to be angry or sad, the important thing is to find a healthy way of letting them all out, including the ones we have considered ‘bad’.

2. Emotions are always telling us something.
Hiding somewhere beneath the surface, we might feel not good enough, unsupported, or perhaps be grieving the loss of something or someone important to us. Listen to those feelings, and respond compassionately. If something is bothering you, ask yourself why. You’ll often find it’s something deeper than what you envisioned initially; and once you get to the root of the cause, it’s always easier to remedy.

3. Give yourself what you need.
Whether it’s a day on the couch with your favorite tv show or movie, snuggling up in bed with a good book, a hot cup of tea, or a warm bath – you know what you need. Slow down and take some time to do what nourishes you. The world won’t stop if you have a day off and relax. We live in a society of gritting your teeth and ‘getting on with it’, but self care is necessary. Taking time to slow down and listen to your soul and body may seem like it will be counter-productive, but I promise if you incorporate this into your lifestyle, it will work out better for you in the long run. I promise.

4. Crying is good. 

So many people respond to someone crying with “don’t cry”. They think they’re being helpful, but it’s commonly said because crying makes them feel uncomfortable. Think back to times when you’ve cried and how you felt afterwards. Chances are you felt better – lighter and relieved. Let yourself cry; it’s not a weakness – it’s a natural release and you’ll pretty much always feel better afterwards.

5. All feelings pass.
You’ve heard it before, and it’s such an important quote to me that I have it engraved on a ring I wear as a reminder – this, too, shall pass. It’s true, though, it may not feel like it, but all things pass. Happiness won’t last, and neither will negative feelings. Emotions are energy in motion. So the best we can do is feel them, and allow them. It’s okay to not feel happy every day. You’re human. But by the same token, it’s not normal to feel sadness and despair every day. If this is the case, I encourage you to see a doctor or a therapist.

6. A suppressed emotion will only get worse.
When you try to ignore a feeling, it’ll only get more intense and urgent as time goes on. It’s much easier to let the emotion out than try to push it down and hide it. If you keep forcing it away, eventually it’ll become a volcano inside you and will have to erupt; most likely scalding the ones you love most.

7. It’s normal to go through a range of different emotions during a day.
Have you noticed how pets can go from laying in the corner looking depressed, to bright and perky all within the hour? We all go through a range of emotions. We are trying to fit into this society where many believe they are ‘too busy to feel bad’. It is both normal and natural to experience an array of different emotions on a daily basis. You’re not crazy, you’re human.

8. Emotions are energy in motion.

So get moving. Walk and talk with someone you love, or even better – buy a punching bag or take up running, weight training or yoga. Whatever makes you feel good and gives you the release you need. Find something to channel your negative emotions into. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you can hit a pillow if it makes you feel better. Find passive ways to get your aggression out. Physical release is powerful, and finding a healthy way to let your emotions out without hurting anyone, including yourself, is a tremendously helpful gift to have.

9. Give yourself space to feel what you feel.
Walk away if you’re angry. Take some time out. Allow space for your sadness; if that means cancelling your afternoon plans and curling up with a movie, do that. Let yourself really feel what you need to feel, knowing it’ll pass once it’s done.

10. Substance only masks the issue. 
If you’re over-eating/having a cigarette/drinking alcohol/popping pills every time you start to feel something you don’t want to feel, you’ll end up with a habit on your hands. You likely won’t feel any happier and your feelings will be more intense when you’re not on the substance. It’s a band-aid solution and you know it. If there’s something unhealthy you do when you’re upset, try asking yourself what you’re feeling before you indulge. Simply asking and answering honestly is a big step to success.

11. Get outside.
Nature is balancing; allow it to balance you. Take your shoes off and walk in the grass or sand. Or just take your lunch to the park. Get outside when you usually wouldn’t. You’ll feel much better for it.

 

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Little Things Can Make All The Difference

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 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…” Galatians 6:10

We’ve all heard of the butterfly effect; the idea that small causes can have large effects.

One powerful example of the “butterfly effect” is drawn from a true story that has had far reaching effects for all of mankind.

One day in the countryside of Scotland, a poor farmer was toiling in his field when suddenly he heard a cry for help. Startled, he recognized someone was in trouble and the plea was coming from a nearby bog. Immediately he dropped what he was doing and ran to the source of the plea. When he located the voice calling for help, he stumbled upon a terrified boy up to his waist in black muck, screaming and sinking deeper and deeper into the bog as each minute passed.

The farmer calmly retrieved ropes from nearby, pulled the boy out of the bog and saved his life.

The next day, an elegantly dressed nobleman arrived at the farmers small and simple home. When the nobleman stepped out of his carriage, he introduced himself as the father of the boy the farmer had saved.

Emotionally, the nobleman thanked the farmer and asked to repay the farmer for saving his son’s life. The farmer waved off the offer and informed the nobleman he could not accept payment for doing what was right.   

At that moment, the nobleman asked if the farmer had a son in which the farmer replied he did. Subsequently, the nobleman insisted he provide the farmers son an education on par with that he would provide his own son. Upon leaving the farmers house, the nobleman told the farmer, “if the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.”

The nobleman’s prediction concerning the farmers son proved to be prophetic.

True to the nobleman’s word, the farmers son attended the best schools in the world and eventually graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. More importantly, he went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time?

Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman?

Lord Randolph Churchill.

His son’s name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

 

It’s easy to get into the mindset of, “My life makes no difference” or “What impact do I have on the world? I’m just one person. No one notices me.” But what can we learn from this story? Little things can have a huge impact. Here is a partial list of things that the Bible says we should do for one another:

  • watch over one another
  • pray for one another
  • be friendly and hospitable
  • be patient with one another
  • bear with other’s faults and weaknesses
  • forgive one another
  • comfort one another
  • build up and encourage others
  • be happy for people when they are blessed
  • believe the best of one another
  • meet people’s needs

Love has many ways it can be seen. These are all simple things we can do if we are willing to take the time to do them. A kind word, a smile or a helping hand can go a long way and you never know what impact you may be having on someone’s life.

God wants us to be a blessing to others, and even the little things can mean a lot. Begin to look for opportunities to be a blessing and God will use those blessings to further His kingdom.

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8 Tips To Save Money On Healthy Food

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Photo: Thrive Market

A lot of people think that you can’t eat healthy on a budget. Well I’m here to tell you it’s possible if you shop smart! You can be on a tight budget while still eating nourishing, nutrient packed foods. Here’s a few tips to get you started on the road to wellness!

1. Make a shopping list.

You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s the foundation of smart shopping—make a list! Writing out a shopping list before you leave for the grocery store will save you both time and money. When you have specific recipes in mind, you’ll buy only what you need and avoid making impulse purchases.

2. Shop from the bulk bins.

The average American family throws out $640 of food each year simply because it spoiled before they were able to eat it. When you buy in bulk, you can purchase as much or as little of an ingredient as you need. Buying spices, grains or beans in bulk is an especially big money saver.

3. Order groceries online.

Another great way to avoid buying things you don’t need is by using a service like Instacart. They have partnered with quite a few stores so you can buy from multiple places at once and then get it delivered directly to your door within 2 hours. I’ve been using this service a lot lately due to my limited mobility and it has become a life saver. No more driving from store to store trying to find the best deal. And don’t forget Amazon and Vitacost are also great choices for pantry staples or bulk items like toilet paper that you use everyday.

4. Try big-box stores.

You might think that being healthy or plant-based closes the door on big-box discounts, like good old Costco or Sam’s. Not even close! You can totally make that membership count. In addition to loads of budget-friendly, organic produce, you can get great deals on pricey items like hemp seeds, cooking oils, and nut butters. I’ve even been able to get loads of fresh pressed green juices at a fraction of the cost of juice bars.

5. Watch the sale days and flyers.

Almost every store has an online sales flyer, and many include coupons. Before you make your shopping list for the week, check ahead for what’s on sale and take advantage. For example, Whole Foods has a different item from a different department on sale every Friday. Even if you don’t make Fridays your full-blown shopping day, you can still check to see if you can score any goodies at a bargain.

6. Follow your local stores online.

Subscribing to your local grocery store’s email newsletter can help you be your most frugal self. They’re chock-full of specials and coupons that can save you money on healthy ingredients. If you spend more time on social media than email, opt to keep up with store specials via Facebook or Instagram. If there’s a bargain to be had, you’ll be there!

7. Get produce in peak season.

Buying in-season produce is not only delicious—it’s also easy on your wallet. Fresh and ripe usually means there’s a discount to keep that produce moving. Plan your meals with the season in mind to make the most of your grocery budget.

8. Batch cook and freeze.

Batch cooking is a great way to eat healthy, delicious, inexpensive meals every day of the week. Once you get in a flow of prepping your meals for the entire week in one day, freezing is your next best friend. It’s one of the best things you can do to avoid eating out and making extra trips to the grocery store. Plan your meals and freeze the rest in perfectly portioned containers to stay on budget.

Do you have any tips or tricks for saving money on groceries? I’d love to hear!

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8 Ways To Simplify Your Life and Live Minimally

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Life can be crazy sometimes. We juggle jobs, paying bills, planning for the future, reaching our dreams and all the other little things that we deal with everyday.

Wouldn’t it be nice to simplify things? And I don’t mean making huge life changes, but small changes can sometimes make a big difference with our daily stress.

Living simple can make you happier, feel more in control of life, and helps you to enjoy the small things. Simple living means different things to all of us, but in general it means getting rid of the extra noise in our life so that you can have more time to enjoy what you love.

The suggestions below are just basic guidelines and won’t be for everyone. Just do what you think is best for your life and try to get rid of things that aren’t important to you.

Tips to simplify your life

 

1. Automate your finances

There are a lot of things you can have automated. Your paychecks can be direct deposited, your bills can be on auto-pay, you can even having recurring monthly transfers to your savings account so you can start working on building up that emergency fund. The point is, make life easier by making sure your bills are paid on time every month.

2. Don’t just organize, declutter and downsize!

Being unorganized can waste a ton of our time, causes stress and sometimes late fees if you can’t find that bill you’ve been meaning to pay (see number 1). But don’t just organize- declutter and downsize! A lot of us make the mistake that we need to go to the store and buy fancy organizational supplies to get our lives in order, but in reality, we’re just organizing clutter. Take time to go through the things you own and decide what you really need and love.

Decluttering and downsizing will-

  • Save time cleaning. The less stuff you have, the less there is to clean.
  • Save time on maintenance. Not owning as much means less time spent on maintaining and repairing those items.
  • Saves money. You don’t need as big of a home to hold all your stuff which means, less utility bills, less insurance costs, less money spent on repairs.

3. Put reminders in your phone or on a calendar

Make life easier by not trying to remember when your next appointment is, when a bill is due or what you needed to buy at the grocery store. It only takes a minute to put a reminder in your phone or on a calendar. Setup reminders for things like-

  • to do lists
  • work tasks that need to get done
  • bill due dates
  • errands that need to be done
  • appointments
  • medicine that needs to be taken

4. Become debt free

Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, cars, mortgage or any other debt you’ve created, paying it off will free you from the stress of having those things hanging over your head every month. Debt causes a ton of stress. So get serious once and for all and decide to take control of your financial life. Make a budget and learn to live on less every month. Stick to a grocery budget, stop buying all the “little” things like your daily Starbucks coffee that add up quickly, stop online shopping when you’re bored, shop with a purpose. Only buy what you need and learn to look for sales and coupons before purchasing things.

You’ll be surprised how much money you can save by watching where every dollar you spend every month goes. There are a lot of things that you can cut out of your life to get you to the financial goal of being debt free. It’s worth the sacrifice now to have freedom from debt!

5. Spend less time on social media

The average person spends many hours a week on various social media sites. Between Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other sites, it can be quite easy to waste away your day.

Plus it has been shown in many studies that social media can have a negative impact on your mental health. We see the fabulous lives that everyone else is posting online from vacations in exotic lands, exciting jobs, weddings, babies, and we tend to get jealous thinking that everyone else gets to live these fabulous lives that we don’t get to live. Step back, take a break and realize that we’re only seeing a small portion of their lives. They have bad days too and we can’t compare ourselves to them. But if it’s affecting your mental health, it’s ok to walk away from social media whether temporarily or permanently. Trust me, you won’t miss it.

6. Watch less tv

There is such a thing as too much tv. The average person watches 35 hours of tv a week. Imagine what you could be doing with that time! Even better, get rid of cable all together which not only will save you money but will help you break the tv habit. So get outside, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, learn a new hobby. You may find something new that you love to do!

7. Downsize your closet

The less clothing choices you have, the less decision fatigue you will get trying to figure out what to wear. Go through everything you own and be brutal. Keep only what you love and what fits you well and get rid of everything else. You can also make some extra cash selling what you don’t keep!

8. Find free things to do to entertain yourself

You don’t have to spend money to have fun. If you’re trying to get out of debt or just trying to not spend as much money every month, there’s plenty of activities you can do to keep busy that don’t cost money. Get books and movies from the library, go to a museum on their free days, get outside and have a picnic or go for a walk. Your city will usually have a guide online of free things to do every weekend too!

 

These are just a few tips on how to simplify your life. Do you have any tips for what you do to live simpler? I’d love to hear!

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Declutter, Destress and Simplify

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As a naturopathic doctor and a chronic illness patient, I look at all the different factors that can contribute to chronic and autoimmune diseases. A lot of those underlying factors are hormonal and physiological in nature, but another, often overlooked piece of the puzzle to your physical health is your mental and emotional stress levels.

Our modern lives can be so busy and hectic sometimes that the lack of “breathing room” increases our stress and negatively impacts our health and our relationships with others.

The average American spends more than 34 hours a week watching television and that’s without even mentioning time on computers and cellphones!

Just as we have to detox our bodies, we also need to detox our lives of the chronic stressors that are raising blood pressure, blood sugar and wrecking our health.

The truth is that we can’t be the best versions of ourselves if we don’t create calming space in our lives. Restoring balance during our day enables us to breathe again. Here are a few easy tips to help unclutter your life and bring in a much-needed breath of fresh air:

 Force some cellphone-free time

We are constantly connected to our cell phones. Choose a time of day to just step away from the phone even if it’s just for an hour and do something you enjoy.

Take some time before responding

Resist the new cultural norm to be pressured into answering emails and texts right away. They can wait.

Don’t start and end your day with electronics and social media

The amount of times we find ourselves unconsciously, mindlessly checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be alarming. Bookend your day with calming activities like a walk outside or reading a book.

Try having a day when you go electronics-free

Take a weekend off from electronics. Put away the cell phone and tablets, stop watching tv and do something else!
Clean out your closet of clothes that you haven’t worn in at least a year 
If you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re probably not going to be needing it any time soon. Purge your closet and make a little extra cash by selling them online or at a consignment store.
Give yourself a social media-free week
Give yourself a social media cleanse and see what you do with your time when you don’t have to check the “Likes” of your witty status updates or extremely flattering selfie. If you like how you feel after one week, maybe you need another!
Leave your work at work
When you’re home, refuel yourself by being present with the ones you love.
Cut down on the time you watch television

When you say you’re “getting behind on your shows” with the same conviction as “I need to get healthy” or “I need to spend more time with my family”, it’s a problem. When the DVR is filled and watching TV becomes another job to keep up with, go on a TV detox. Instead of taking your vacation days to catch up on your shows, try reducing the shows you “need” to watch that are cluttering your life.

Limiting the clutter and noise in your life will release you to live the free life you were meant to live. Breathing room will only come into your life when it is intentionally built into your schedule. Waiting for the day when your less stressed and busy won’t happen on its own.