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Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to understand, connect with, and express their own emotions appropriately while understanding, connecting to, and acknowledging the emotions of others—appropriately.

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Emotional Intelligence Begins with Self-Awareness

We must identify emotions and interpret them accurately within ourselves first and foremost. If we are misreading our own emotions, then chances are we are also misreading the emotions of others. We often make the mistake of assuming others feel the same as we do in a situation. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

This can be especially dangerous for an empath, as we operate from the assumption that everyone has the same level of empathy as us. In reality, many lack the ability to feel empathy at all, and our own empathetic nature makes up a target for such people.  

Many who lack emotional intelligence are out of touch with their emotions and are completely unaware. Disconnecting from emotions is a common coping strategy that can serve us in a crisis or traumatic situation, but it becomes debilitating in the realm of human connection if we never learn to reconnect with them. Even if we can see our disconnectedness from our emotions, we are rarely able to see to the full extent to which we have numbed out.

When we are out of touch with our own emotions, we may struggle to make healthy choices, experience ongoing health issues, and have difficulty relating to and supporting the emotional needs of others.

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Cultivating Self-Awareness

Below are just some thought-provoking topics to ponder in your quest for self-awareness and emotional intelligence. When working with coaching clients, the exercises I utilize are more in-depth, but digging too deep solo can be a dangerous endeavor. Take a few moments to identify a few things listed below and see where it takes you!

Before you begin the following exercise, take a moment to get centered. If at any point you feel stuck or simply cannot identify any of the suggestions or answer a question, pause. Take a break, move on, and return to this exercise later. This exercise can be especially frustrating if you struggle with alexithymia, which is a common characteristic of Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as PTSD. Please be kind to yourself and never, EVER judge an emotion. (more on that later) And most importantly, remember that you do not need to venture on this journey alone…

Identify

  • Any physical or emotional sensations you experience while doing something you enjoy.
  • Any physical or emotional sensations you experience while doing something you dislike.
  • Any physical or emotional sensations you experience when you are angry.
  • Any anger or resentment you may be holding in and explain the cause. 
  • Actions you take or behaviors you have when you are feeling sad or down.
  • Do you believe your approach to navigating these feelings has been helpful or a hindrance?
  • The last time you felt a sense of relief and explain why.
  • Emotions and any physical sensations you feel when you are in conflict with someone.
  • How you handle conflict with others and identify any patterns in outcomes.
  • Where in your body do you feel physical sensations from stress, and describe them.
  • Any frustrations you may be experiencing and explain the perceived cause. 
  • Three things you often worry about and identify what the cause is.
  • When you have a perceived problem, describe how you typically respond.
  • The last time you got upset and the cause.
  • Fears have kept you stuck, and what you believe may help you to move past them. 
  • One change you could make to eliminate some stress in your life and explain why. 
  • Why you haven’t made the above change already?
  • Something you have felt insecure about, and identify where that comes from.
  • A time you had your feelings hurt and explain what happened. 
  • The last thing you did that made you feel good. 
  • The last time you had a breakdown or a breakthrough, and what the result was.
  • What are you most at peace with about yourself or your life, and explain why?
  • One way you could bring more peace into your life.
  • The last time you felt confident, and explain why. 
  • The last time you felt anxious, and explain why.
  • List three things you feel grateful for today and why.
  • One of the most emotionally painful things to happen to you, and how you coped with it.
  • How you feel around people who have a strong sense of self.
  • List five things you have learned about yourself from this exercise.
  • List five things you would like to explore further.

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Life Coaching · Nutriton Coaching · Recovery Coaching · Wellness Coaching

Food Addiction, Weight Loss, and Life Coaching

You “eat clean” 80% of the time, exercise 5-7 days a week, don’t smoke, and you only drink on special occasions. Every Thanksgiving you even do a 5k Turkey Trot, and you not only participate in New Year’s weight-loss challenges, you CRUSH THEM every time.

Weight loss isn’t the problem for you. Keeping the weight off is another story.  If you KNOW how to lead a healthy lifestyle, to eat healthy and lean down, why is it you struggle to maintain a healthy weight?

BREATHE! –> You are not alone!

We live in a society that is FILLED with information and high expectations. We are doers. We see a problem, we take action, we learn how to fix it, we roll up our sleeves and go full force into “fixing it”…and we expect it to be “fixed” indefinitely.

Treating obesity as a problem to “fix” IS the problem.

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You are not a machine…

Being overweight is a symptom of a much larger, far more complicated issue, and lack of knowledge rarely has anything to do with it. (refer to Weight Loss Coaching for more) Treating obesity as a problem to “fix” IS the problem.

If you know alcohol, cigarettes, soda, fast food, pizza, chips, fried foods, baked goods and the like are doing nothing positive for your body, but you are compelled to ingest them, chances are the root of your problem has more to do with your emotions and deep-seeded self-defeating thought processes than your intellect.

Our relationship with food begins on our first day of life. We cry. We get food. We feel better. How that relationship evolves over the course of a lifetime is very complicated. The connection between food and our emotions is powerful. We are human beings – not human doings. When you are too busy “doing” and not taking time to “be,” we accumulate decades of unprocessed feelings. We lose touch with how we feel and how to feel; this is the root of the problem.

Stuffing our faces with calorie-rich, carb-rich, sweet, salty, and fatty foods is how we keep those feelings stuffed. These foods can be just as intoxicating and mind-numbing as any pharmaceutical – they are legal, readily available, and socially acceptable. These substances provide us with the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to mentally and emotionally check-out and the consequences they afflict us with distract us from ever having to acknowledge what is taking place. It is the perfect storm for a life of self-destruction and denial.

OK, so now I know what the real problem is…
just tell me how to fix it!

Patience Grasshopper

A mind and soul filled with repressed and suppressed feelings and emotions is a dangerous place to go alone. You can’t fix your thinking with your own thinking. That is why you need a Life Coach to navigate you through this minefield and help you reach higher ground.

With that said, you may be wondering why I’m not suggesting counseling.

How is Life Coaching different than therapy?

A Life Coach doesn’t diagnose or treat disorders and diseases of the mind. Life Coaching is about honoring you as a person and your ability to heal and solve your own issues with guidance and direction – to meet you where you are and build you up to where you want to be.

You know you better than anyone else. A Life Coach can help you see things from a different perspective and walk you through the mental blocks that are holding you back from becoming the person you want to be and living the life you long to live. Coaching is about helping you actualize and set goals, develop a plan of action and support you along the way.

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Open the Door to Sustained Weight Loss

If you are one of those people who struggle to lose weight or keep the weight off long-term, Life Coaching may be the key to achieving and sustaining weight loss.

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Try Different, Not Harder

Oftentimes, when faced with a problem, we venture to solve it in a specific way. When that doesn’t work, we typically continue trying to solve the same problem in the exact same way…only harder.

We get frustrated. We try harder. We get more frustrated. We try way harder.

The whole approach is about as successful as crossing the finish line on a hamster wheel. The only way to stop is by hitting a wall.

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These valiant efforts take place in all areas of our lives, including relationships. With about the same success rate as we would have trying to fix a broken object with the wrong tools. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Sure you can roll up your sleeves, utilize a myriad of tools and apply relentless efforts to shape that square peg to fit into the round hole. However, the more fitting (pun intended) solution would be to insert said peg into its corresponding hole.

At times it is appropriate to not to give up and to try harder. More often, the better route would be to let go, embrace acceptance and surrender. Miraculously the latter approach typically yields the desired results, without such an effort.

If something doesn’t work or doesn’t flow, maybe life is trying to tell you something. There is always a lesson to be learned in every life experience. Unfortunately, it isn’t always as glaringly obvious as a flashing neon sign.

…or NOT! Brains over brawn is an underrated approach.

Sometimes, the signs are subtle.

Sometimes something not working IS the sign!

If you find yourself struggling too much—Let Go. If you are venturing down a path of insanity by unsuccessful repeated efforts, you may be taking a wrong turn. 

Learn to recognize when something isn’t working. Let go, and let the path reveal itself to you. Answers and solutions emerge more clearly in the still of surrender as opposed to furious efforts.

If you are feeling stuck and the answers have not become clear to you, I would love to help you gain clarity and insight.

CLICK HERE to connect with me!

Nutriton Coaching · Wellness Coaching

Small But Mighty Chia Seeds

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

When you hear Chia, you may recall the Chia Pet jingle from infomercials years ago, and funnily enough, this is actually the very same seed used to make the funky sprouted home décor. I’m here to fill you in on how these little seeds are even better when you eat them.

So what’s so great about Chia seeds?

First of all, they contain all nine amino acids our body needs, making them a complete protein source. If that wasn’t enough, they are also jam packed with fiber. Incorporating foods high in fiber into your daily meals can help to lower cholesterol levels, as well as aiding in the regulation of blood sugar to help provide sustained energy throughout the day. Chia’s high fiber content will also keep you feeling full because it takes the body longer to break down.

If you are still hesitant about trying these wonderful seeds, consider starting small. Just one ounce (a little under 2 tablespoons) of Chia seeds packs 11 grams of fiber, over 4 grams of protein per serving, and over fifteen percent of the daily recommendation for calcium, iron, and magnesium. That’s a lot of goodness packed into one tiny seed!

These little seeds are quite versatile and can be incorporated into sweet and savory dishes.

You can use them to add a nice crunch to a salad, over yogurt, cereal, desserts and whatever else you would like to add a little crunch to. If crunchy isn’t your thing I have some good news for you too.

A unique quality of Chia seeds is their ability to absorb up to nine times their weight in liquid. They take on a gelatinous quality that allows them to act as a thickener in a variety of foods like jams, smoothies, and popsicles. Chia is also the star of many faux ‘pudding’ recipes gaining popularity, in which a choice of milk (coconut, almond, etc), sweetener, and toppings are combined with Chia. The seeds absorb the liquid and become a healthier alternative to desserts and breakfast parfaits while maintaining the thick satisfying texture.

Below I have included a few simple recipes for Strawberry Chia Jam, a basic Chia ‘Pudding’, and a perfect Summer Popsicle where a small amount of Chia is used to thicken and improve texture. All these recipes are open to customization based on your tastes, more or less sweetener, using seasonal toppings, fruits, nuts, seeds, or even cocoa powder are all possible ways to make these recipes your own. Have fun with these little seeds!

Sunshine Ice Pops

Ingredients:

  • ½ C Orange Juice
  • ½ C Coconut Milk
  • 1 C Mango
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients. Let sit 15 minutes to thicken. Freeze.

Strawberry Chia Jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 C Strawberries
  • 2 Tbs Applesauce
  • 2 Tbs Chia Seeds

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients. Chill at least 1 ½ hours. Enjoy.

Chia Pudding

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 C Coconut Milk
  • ½ C Chia Seeds
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ C (or less) maple syrup (or sweetener)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  • If you do not wish to keep the seeds whole, blend the entire mixture, and then chill for a few hours or overnight. If you wish to leave the seeds whole you can blend all other ingredients and then add the seeds and mix to combine.
Addiction · Life Coaching · Recovery Coaching · Relationship Coaching · Wellness Coaching

How To Let Go

If you have ever struggled with fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, guilt, shame, and/or obsessions you know how challenging it can be to “Let Go.” These emotions are so toxic, yet they often cling to us like velcro.

No worries if you get tripped up—I have an easy fix for you that doesn’t involve a martini glass, and you can do this with your kids!

Letting Go is the Key to Happiness!

Holding on takes you out of the present moment and robs you of experiencing the good in life. We find all sorts of things to cling to; positions, people, jobs, relationships, addictions, obsessions, outcomes.

Letting Go is the magic ingredient most people forget to practice on their quest to work the Law of Attraction into fruition. A vision board full of dreams, aspirations, goals, and desires is useless if you fail to let go and trust the universe will provide. Holding onto any anxious energy you have surrounding your wishes and your worries will only prevent or delay the outcome you desire.

By “Letting Go” we allow space for the universe to do its thing. We free our minds from the relentless voice telling us we have missed the mark, aren’t good enough, aren’t measuring up, aren’t there yet… that we want more, need more, crave more.

It’s easy to see why we strive to let go of our worries as toxic emotions and relationships keep us stuck. But what about Letting Go of our wishes?

The answer is simple—> Letting Go is the key to happiness!

Of course, you also need a dash of gratitude and dollop of willingness…but the combination of those 3 ingredients is undoubtedly the recipe for happiness.

Letting Go, is an act of faith! Faith in the universe, God, Mother Nature…the Greater Good; whatever you chose to believe in. It doesn’t even matter what you believe in, all that matters is that you believe!

How To Let Go

I’m going to jump into this part with the ASSumption you already know how to identify what you are feeling. While that sounds like a no-brainer, it can be challenging and perplexing for some. That’s another blurb though.

This part can be as fun or no-frills as you like. The most important this is, you do it. OFTEN.

All you have to do is write down what Wishes and Worries are at the forefront of your mind, body, and soul. It doesn’t have to be a PowerPoint Presentation or Ven Diagram. You only need to write one word if you like. A feeling, the name of a person, a concern, obsession, craving, circumstance, wish, hope, dream… Just get it out, write it down, and now we are going to Let It Go. Literally and figuratively.

Ok, so this is the fun part! How you “Let It Go” can be any number of ways.

Examples of Letting Go On the Fly:

  • You are at work and you begin fantasizing about stapling a gossipy co-workers mouth shut, write said co-worker’s name down on a Post-It and put it in the shredder.
  • When visiting your in-laws’ house a judgey aunt starts force-feeding you unsolicited parenting advice, lock yourself in the bathroom for 3 minutes, write her name on a square of TP and flush it.  
  • Pulling into a parking lot after being run off the road by a crotchety, cantankerous, inconsiderate driver, park your car, jot “asshole driver” down on a gum wrapper, discard something gross into it and dispose of it. Then move onto the next part of your day.

Example of Letting Go As a Daily Practice:

Try to work this simple step into your morning routine. For even more efficacy, do it in the evenings as well.

Write Down Your Wishes and Worries On Paper.
Place Your Paper in a Jar or Box
Move on with your day…

I prefer to use paper, pens, and vessels that bring me joy when I use them, but it doesn’t have to be fancy. The Dollar Store is a great place to get small sheets of note paper, notepads, and fun pens and pencils. They also have a myriad of boxes, vases, and pots, jars, glasses and the like to choose from. For more fabulous paraphernalia, take a trip to Michaels, Hobby Lobby or a craft store.

You can use Mason Jars, candle votives, empty tissue boxes or any fun container. You can decorate and label them if you wish. If you are more religious, feel free to call your vessels a God Box or label them “Hope and Faith.” Do whatever will encourage you to practice this often.

One thing I enjoy doing is to save the notes I have written. I love reading through some the pages from the past to reflect and revel in how much has changed. Looking back on all the things I stressed out over boosts my faith when I see how things have worked out. Once I “Let Go” and let God do the work for me, things happen almost effortlessly.

 

For some, this whole concept may sound a little hokey, but I promise you that it works! I highly recommend you give it a whirl. What do you have to lose?