A Wall Of Gratitude

img_2842We’ll celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and are reminded to offer thanks for the ‘bounty’ in our lives; to reflect on the many blessings, and plant seeds for future prosperity.  Every year I encourage people in the practice to share something they are grateful for on our ‘wall of gratitude’ and it’s such a beautiful thing. It becomes so much more than just the act of writing the gratitude note, because when others read all the notes on the wall, they laugh, share a sentiment, and leave with a smile on their face.

Let’s remember that this holiday is not the only time we should be practicing gratitude.  It’s good for your health and something to be done on a daily basis!

Research shows the feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, love and caring enhance health. When you find one thing, however small, to be thankful for and hold that feeling for as little as 15-20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiological changes take place inside you:

~ Levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin decrease, supporting many organ systems and boosting your immune system

~ Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. Heart rhythms become more harmonious, affecting other organs and lifting your mood

~ Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues

People who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy when compared to those who do not.

“A Man becomes what he thinks about all day long.”~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

What you dwell upon expands. If you focus on what you don’t have, that’s all you will see. Focusing your thoughts on victories instead of defeats will help you develop an attitude of gratitude and a greater sense of self-worth.

Make gratitude part of your life by adopting more thankful thoughts or making the time to write them down. A powerful exercise is the use of gratitude journal to reflect on day-to-day success, or simply take a few minutes to think of 5 things you are grateful for in your life.  My sons and I do this at dinner every night. They aren’t always so eager to comply, but I won’t let them eat until they each share at least 3 things they are grateful for so that usually gets the conversation started!

Before you exit this post, right now, take a couple deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for. Once you start thinking about it, a funny thing happens, often you won’t stop at just 5….

ERM 018 Karla Findlay: Shifting Priorities, Learning To Let Go & Dropping The Overachiever Mindset!

FamKarla works in municipal government, teaches fitness and yoga, and just added entrepreneur to her resume by launching a plant-based meal delivery service highlighting local, organic ingredients.

She lives with her supportive partner and hilarious 3-year-old son, and on this episode we talked about how motherhood has helped her stop trying to be an overachiever, and shift her priorities to the things that are most important in her life.

Karla shared how her struggle with infertility affected her as a women, but that when she was ultimately able to let go of the emotional weight, the experience helped her develop more patience, and learn to just roll with life a little easier.  Karla also talks about being an early riser and taking time to take care of herself, her supportive partner and how they continue to build their relationship, and some of the family rituals that keep them all connected.  Fun episode – check it out!

ERM 017 Dr. Danielle Eaton: Leading By Example, Living Fully & The Pursuit of Freedom

IMG_0030Dr. Danielle Eaton is a Chiropractor in St. Louis, Missouri.  She’s also a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist.  Most of all, she’s a wife and mom to two little girls who are 5 and 2, and stepmom to a 13 year old step daughter.

Danielle is quite an accomplished woman! With a multitude of professional degrees, a teaching position at a Chiropractic college and a successful practice, she shares how after investing so much into her 10 year career and building up her private practice, she made the very big  decision to leave it all behind and focus on motherhood.

On this episode, Danielle gets candid about all the emotions that surfaced with that choice, how she worked through them, and ultimately how it has led her to now create a lifestyle that honours both her passion for her career and her passion for motherhood. Danielle also discusses her marriage, the tools she uses to keep herself connected to her values, and how she has learned to ‘enjoy the ride’ and live her life fully in every dimension.

Great insight on this interview today, check it out!

ERM 007 Lia Sonnenburg: Creating Boundaries, Building Confidence & Taking Care of Basic Needs

HeadShot_IMG_0238Dr. Lia Sonnenburg is a Naturopathic Doctor who has practiced in Collingwood for 6 years.  She’s a mother of two active, healthy and hilarious young boys under the age of 5.  She’s passionate about helping people reach their health goals using the ‘physiology prevails over pathology approach’.  By finding the root cause of the problem, the body can then do what it’s supposed to – naturally and faithfully.  Her specialties include pediatrics, oncology, digestion, women’s health and fertility but she ends up running a fairly busy general practice as well.

On this episode she talks about how motherhood has shaped her confidence as a woman, given her tremendous joy, how she juggles running a business with two young children, keeping her marriage healthy, and taking care of herself.  We also discussed some of the tips she gives her female patients, the importance of taking care of our basic needs, and how to create boundaries in your life for people’s opinions about how you raise your family.

Lia is a warm woman with lots of wisdom, you’ll hear it in her voice. Check out this episode!

ERM 005 Dr. Ali Miller: Being a Role Model for Girls, Peak Performance Strategies & Thriving in Chaos

aliDr. Ali Miller is a fifteen year chiropractic professional with a strong affinity for women’s and children’s health and family wellness. Dr. Ali leads a balanced chiropractic lifestyle incorporating exercise, clean eating and meditation. It is her mission to raise the level of health in her community and she thrives on sharing information and inspiring change. Dr. Ali and her rockstar husband Adam live in Bolton with their three well-adjusted daughters Riley, Bailey and Zoe. They are her everything.

On this episode we talked about how she balances her practice and the lives of her 3 girls, how she has kept her 22 year relationship with her husband strong, and the importance of taking care of herself and how workouts, connecting with friends,  are keys to making it all work.  She also shares some of her experience in dealing with her own fears as a woman, facing challenges within her family, and how she dealt with them and got through them stronger. I particularly loved how she grounds herself consistently in thinking about what kind of example she wants to set for her daughters, the kinds of experiences she wants to give them to know that they are capable as women and deserving of a great life.

ERM 004 Dr. Justine Blainey Broker: The Value of Competitive Sports, Daily Rituals & Working Hard For What You Believe In

IMG_2535At the early age of 12 years old, Justine Blainey learned that the price of a value held dear can be loneliness and friendship, despair and elation, endless work and useful work, and the sometime sadness tinged with satisfaction of a life lived well, a life lived to serve. Her beliefs became action and five court cases later, the Ontario Human Rights Code was amended to remove legislated inequality in sports, and Justine hit the ice with the boys. Justine has not sat on the pride of her past achievements. Justine continues to believe passionately in equality.

Now Dr. Justine Blainey-Broker, Doctor of Chiropractic, she has spoken internationally about chiropractic, health and well-being. She provides entrepreneurial advice and inspiration to thousands of Health Professionals and runs a busy family practice in Brampton, Ontario.

Justine is a passionate doctor, but she is also a devoted wife, and mother to two teenagers! On this episode she shares her ideas about motherhood, we also talked about the value of competitive sports in her life and for both her children,

She also shares some of her experience in fighting for equality in the hockey world as a youth, the impact of being an activist, how that shaped her as a woman and continues to influence her today.

Justine is a very busy woman, on this episode she also shares how she manages their family’s busy schedule, the value of a few key daily rituals for her, the importance of having a support team, and some of her strategies to keeping her marriage strong.

Justine is a dynamo, is a powerhouse, a hard worker with strong values – check out her interview!

Balanced?

Recently I was sitting at my local café, reading, planning my day. When it was time to get started on the responsibilities I had, I joked with an acquaintance how reluctant I was to leave, that it was so lovely sitting there, his comment was brilliant: 

“Give yourself a break. Enjoy the day. Whatever you have to do will all work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet – it’s not the end!”

I encourage you to balance time in your life for movement, healthy eating, nurturing relationships, getting enough rest, and playing.  You need all of these things in your life because you are a whole person, and because being healthy requires attention to all these areas.

Are the different facets of your life balanced?

Sure, there are times when some of our responsibilities dominate, when we must focus specifically on doing the best we can to manage everything.

Some days, weeks, months are more balanced than others. I think it’s important to look at the larger picture of our lives when reflecting on this topic.  When raising young children, juggling work or changes in career, helping aging parents, moving or renovating a property, life can become a little overwhelming, and sometimes very unbalanced. I can say this from personal experience, and from working with people for so many years.

Even during these stressful times we can always become aware, and try to make small changes if that’s all we can make. Do the best you can – a little will always be better than none at all.

Take a minute to consider the different parts of your life: social life, physical health, relationships, personal time, work/career happiness… and assess yourself. How much time are you giving to all these areas? 

If things are unbalanced, is it temporary given the stage of life you are in, or a constant challenge?

What can you do differently?

Do you need to shift your priorities?

How can you make a change, and what do you need to get started?

Where can you create more time in your life to support these other wishes you have?

We all have work responsibilities, family obligations and personal objectives. The key to healthy living is in balancing all of them every week, sometimes every day, and giving ourselves permission to do so. 

What’s Your Word For 2015?

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I love this concept and started to apply it about 10 years ago personally, and for the past 3 years we’ve been doing it within the practice – sharing our words on the wall which creates excitement, accountability, and inspires others!  It’s a great exercise to capture the intention of what you hope 2015 represents to you.

Think about your aspirations for 2015… What do you want for the year ahead? Is there an overriding theme that comes to mind for you? Can you sum up your intentions in a single word? I bet you can.

A great word can set the tone for your actions and keep you focused. A word can also serve as a reminder of what’s important when everyday ‘life stuff’ frustrates us. For example, when my sons were young and I wasn’t in practice, my word was “Nurture”. It reminded me of my focus on raising my sons and looking after myself. It allowed me to accept that my career aspirations would be fulfilled at a later date, and that the little boys in my kitchen were simply more important for the time being. In other years the words “Grow”, “Balance” and “Focus” have worked well for me.

A great word sets your intention and will help manifest the people, places, opportunities (and challenges!) to help you achieve your goals. A good friend recently shared her story of using theme words during the past few years. “Abundance” was her focus at one time and she grew her business substantially. “Love” was her focus another year, and she met the man she married. Metaphysics aside, what you focus on tends to happen! The simple act of awareness can powerfully keep you oriented towards actions that support your goals, and make you more likely to attract success.

A great word will capture the various parts of your life, such as your role within your family, your work, and yourself, and help you improve components of all of them. For example, the word ‘focus’ reminded me to complete certain projects with my work, but was also my reminder to be focused and present with my loved ones. Get it?

Your ‘word’ might come to mind easily. You may already have one that has been running through your thoughts repetitively, especially if you have set resolutions or goals for yourself. If not, carve out some time in your week to think about it. Sit quietly and reflect. Journal if it helps you sort out your thoughts, or, on a blank sheet of paper simply write down words that depict your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Something will pop out at you, or you may notice a pattern in the words you write down. The word you choose only has to make sense to you, and relate to something meaningful you’d like to achieve, so don’t over-think it!

Friends, colleagues, and people in my practice have often shared their words with me for added support and accountability. Here’s some of their theme words to get you started:

Relate, Believe, Focus, Simplify, Build, Mindful, Refresh,

Rejuvenate, Savor, Strength, Trust, Open, Healthy 

Once you have your ‘word’ write it down where you can see it regularly. Use it as a password so you have to consciously think about it many times a day. Place post-it notes all over your home if you need to. Get creative and do what works for you – and share your ideas!

One word is simple and easy to remember.  Pick one for yourself and let it shape the months to come.

Opposition From Others?

portraitsSadly, sometimes people share with me that as they become healthier, feel better, maybe even get more fit or lose weight, they are met with unwelcome comments and even criticism from others.

I get it.

Even with the growing awareness, research and success with Chiropractic care, there are still people who challenge our effectiveness and value. In my 12 years of practice this attitude hasn’t really changed, but it affects me less because what continues to grow is my own certainty about what we do, and the impact Chiropractors make on people’s lives because of the healing I get to witness every single day.

“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.” ~ Albert Einstein

Changing your level of health creates a huge positive impact in your life. It’s inevitable that a few obstacles may present themselves along the way, and these obstacles may come in the form of other people’s attitudes.

Competitors or others who may be jealous will try and bring you down. Family or friends around you will try to discourage you. You’ll hear comments that may make you question your own beliefs.

As your commitment to yourself and your health grows, it might change relationships with friends, partners, and even your family members.

Those who are the most frightened of change, holding on tightly to old habits, may become the loudest critics. Some may become jealous of your new levels of energy, your accomplishments, your appearance, and your physical abilities.

Criticism is often a coping mechanism of individuals afraid to grow, a defensive reaction that scared people use to protect themselves against change.

My advice? Be great anyway.

Honor yourself and your commitment to improvement. Fill yourself up with sense of fulfillment and happiness, choosing to spend your time, money and energy towards bettering yourself, and lead by example. The only thing you can take responsibility for is your own health and your own attitude, so focus your intentions on building a better you and let everyone else watch, and learn!

Gratitude & Your Health

ID-100204763With Canadian Thanksgiving and the fall harvest,  we are reminded to offer thanks for the ‘bounty’ in our lives; to reflect on the many blessings, and plant seeds for future abundance. Symbolic and beautiful….but let’s remember that this holiday is not the only time we should be practicing gratitude! Rather, it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle!

Research shows the feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, love and caring enhance health. When you find one thing, however small, to be thankful for and hold that feeling for as little as 15-20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiological changes take place inside you:

~ Levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin decrease, supporting many organ systems and boosting your immune system

~ Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. Heart rhythms become more harmonious, affecting other organs and lifting your mood

~ Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues

People who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy when compared to those who do not.

“A Man becomes what he thinks about all day long.”~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

What you dwell upon expands. If you focus on what you don’t have, that’s all you will see. Focusing your thoughts on victories instead of defeats will help you develop an attitude of gratitude and a greater sense of self-worth.

Make gratitude part of your life by adopting more thankful thoughts or making the time to write them down. A powerful exercise is the use of gratitude journal to reflect on day-to-day success, or simply take a few minutes to think of 5 things you are grateful for in your life.

Regardless of your current level of health, finances, or relationships, and what you may perceive as limitations to them…thinking, moping or complaining about them is not going to change anything! Find some small things to be happy about, and chances are your list will continue. Changing your thoughts will change your experiences, and this will change your life…

Before you exit this post, right now, take a couple deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for…I’ll bet you can’t stop at 5!