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stress-emotional-eating

Stop Stress Eating with These 3 Simple Steps

Do you often eat as a reaction to stress, anxiety, and other unwelcome feelings? Do you turn to high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” to cope with negative emotions? Discover why you stress eat in the first place, why it works, and some simple steps for doing some damage control.

Some say it’s “stress eating.” Others call it “self-medicating.” Psychologists describe it as “emotional eating.” Whatever words are used, if you often (over)eat to self-soothe negative feelings such as boredom, stress, anxiety, or anger—in other words, for reasons other than hunger and having a healthy appetite—it’s likely you’re a stress eater. Not only does stress eating increase your odds of overeating, my own original research on overeating reveals that Emotional Eating is the #1 predictor of overeating and becoming overweight or obese.1,2

Here’s what stress eating might look like:

For Ann, stress-related overeating episodes often start after work, especially when she’s on deadline with a large project. First, she visits her local supermarket to buy a bag of potato chips, a pint of her favorite ice cream, and a bar of creamy dark chocolate. Then she heads home, changes into comfortable clothes, and turns on the TV. Settling into bed surrounded by her favorite comfort foods—and sometimes, a glass of red wine—Ann begins what she describes as “zoning out”—eating until she feels calmer—often to the point of falling in and out of sleep well before bedtime.

All the while, Ann remains vaguely anxious and distressed about her workload, and dependent on food to manage her darker moods. And she’s concerned her stress eating is keeping her overweight. At the same time, on a not-quite-conscious level, she senses the chips and chocolate allay her anxiety in some way. And she’s right: High-sugar, high-fat, high-carb food (products) do indeed relieve emotional tension. Here’s why.

The Food-Mood Connection

The idea that the food you eat can actually medicate your mood and vice versa—that your mood may motivate you to make certain food choices—was given the scientific stamp of approval in the 1970s when Judith Wurtman, PhD, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uncovered a fascinating facet of the emotional eating enigma. Call it nutritional neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, or the study of food and mood, Wurtman launched a new field of nutrition research that has confirmed what many of us know intuitively: what you eat affects your mind and mood, your tendency to pile on pounds, even the quality of your life.

What Wurtman discovered is this: About twenty minutes after you eat a carbohydrate-rich food (such as bread, potatoes, cookies, or cake), your brain releases a naturally occurring substance called serotonin; in turn, you feel more relaxed and calm. Want to feel more perky? Consume a lean, high-protein food such as fish, and the substance that’s released (norepinephrine) lets you feel more awake and energetic (unlike the kick you get from caffeine, you’re not stimulated, just more alert). And certain fats in food end up as endorphins—substances in the brain that produce pleasurable feelings.3 More recent research, specifically on stress eating, reveals that women under stress experience strong sugar cravings that lead to overeating high-carb, high-sugar foods.4

The Food-Mood Syndrome: It Can Be a Vicious Cycle

Here is where the food-mood link really gets interesting. Since Wurtman’s discovery about the food-mood connection, we also know that the sugary, sweet, or crunchy and fried processed food products that emotional eaters most often choose to get a serotonin high actually contribute to deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals that can cause your emotions to plummet, leading to a serious case of the doldrums.

In this way, the food-mood syndrome can become a vicious emotional cycle. You’re feeling down, so you reach for, say, a prepackaged brownie. Sure, the brownie’s sugar and white-flour carb content will soothe and calm you, but its high sugar content has a hidden side effect: it actually depletes some nutrients that could help combat depression. In other words, the sweet concoction may somehow soothe your soul, but isn’t it ironic that at the same time, it may also contribute to anxiety, depression, and other unpleasant emotions?

3 Smart Steps to Stop Stress Eating

Want to get the mood-calming, feel-good benefits of serotonin without the vitamin and mood-robbing downside inherent in high-sugar, highly processed foods? Here are three smart, simple, proactive steps you can take to curtail stress-related overeating episodes—without the downside.

Be “B” wise. From dreary doldrums to a deeper depression, various B vitamins—including B1, B2, niacin, folate, and B12—can help you bust the blues. But most B-family relatives are processed out of refined foods, such as white flour. To help defeat depression, “B” wise and consider some especially good B-abundant blues busters found in unprocessed, unrefined grains (oats, millet, brown rice, etc.), fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. Consuming vitamin B–rich greens such as spinach are especially good for overcoming overeating.

Shake the sugar habit. Consuming a lot of refined white sugar both damages and destroys B vitamins in the body; in this way, it contributes to deficiencies. Cut down on, or eliminate sugar from your diet, and depression often lifts—although why this is so isn’t well understood. One theory is that the “high” a person derives from sugar is due to elevated glucose (blood sugar) and feel-good endorphins, which produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Conversely, when a diet is low in sugar and high in B vitamins, levels of B vitamins, glucose, and endorphins remain stable, reducing odds of depression.

Sip some tea. Consuming too much alcohol to relax and de-stress can cause the loss of certain B vitamins—and deficiencies of vitamins B6 and niacin, especially, can bring you down. Not only does excessive alcohol consumption reduce the absorption of B vitamins, but it also contributes to protein and mineral deficiencies. The operative words here are “too much” and “excessive,” meaning, the tipping point is different for different people. Consider this: In place of wine to de-stress, try sipping some soothing herbal tea.

Stopping Stress Eating

The science that studies nutrients in the foods we consume, and the way they influence our brain chemistry and emotions, provides a peek into how food and the mind and body work together. By being aware of whether you “feel” like eating to assuage stress or to appease a healthy appetite, each food you choose to eat may be looked at as an opportunity to fine-tune your moods and emotions, while nourishing your body.

In other words, the key to being a success at stopping stress eating is making a commitment to eating for feel-good feelings, when you have a healthy, authentic appetite for food, and when you’re anticipating the pleasure and experience of true mind-body nourishment.

 

Article originally printed on integrativeeating.com. Reprinted with permission from Deborah Kesten. 


Deborah Kesten, M.P.H., is an award-winning author, specializing in preventing and reversing obesity and heart disease. Her expertise includes the influence of epigenetics and diet on health, Lifestyle Medicine, and research on the Whole Person Integrative Eating dietary lifestyle to treat overeating, overweight, and obesity. She and her husband, behavioral scientist Larry Scherwitz, Ph.D., collaborate on research and writing projects. Her latest book, “Whole Person Integrative Eating” was named the “Winner” in the Health category by the 2020 Book Excellence Awards.

 

References:

  1. Larry Scherwitz and Deborah Kesten, “Seven Eating Styles Linked to Overeating, Over- weight, and Obesity,” Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 1, no. 5 (2005): 342–59.
  2. Deborah Kesten and Larry Scherwitz, “Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Program for Treating Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity,” Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal 14, no. 5 (October/November 2015): 42–50.
  3. Judith J. Wurtman, Managing Your Mind and Mood through Food (New York: Rawson Associ- ates, 1986).
  4. Danielle Marques, et al, “Sweet craving and ghrelin and leptin levels in women during stress” Appetite, Vol 80, September 1, 2014, 264-270.
sun-behind-the-storm

Interesting Times for Interested People

So, we are all shut in our homes and are not supposed to go to work, movies, or restaurants to dine in, and we can’t even watch live sports on TV. Life is so bad, and unfair… or is it?

I have decided to look at the bright side of this event, and see it as an opportunity. While many are not in my particular position, and are actually out of job and income due to this pandemic, I want you to reframe it. Change the paradigm of this being a negative, to this being a time for catching up, reflecting, and perhaps actually changing yourself.

We all have parts of our lives that need attention. In today’s current society, it is basically impossible to be all things to all people, including ourselves. We must try to balance job, family, social contact, social media, our own diet, hobbies, medical attention, our education — professionally or otherwise, our spirituality, and even our environment. Having balance in a variety of areas is true wellness! We are often so busy teaching and preaching the benefits of fitness and wellness to others, we deny it to ourselves. I remember doing a self-survey several decades ago by some program discussing the “wellness wheel”, which many of you have probably heard of. The survey was showing areas that needed attention. (Back then I had a very lop-sided wheel, and it is not much better now.) The wheel consisted of a mnemonic (6 components. It has shifted slightly in past few decades, but the pneumonic still works well: SPICES.

Old Wellness Areas New Wellness Areas
S-ocial Social – all interactions with people outside of ourselves
P-hysical Physical – our physiological status
I-ntellectual Intellectual – includes cognitive and emotional health
C-ognitive Career – includes educational and skill acquisition and financial health
E-motional Environmental (could include emotional) – clean, organized?
S-piritual Spiritual – interactions with entities beyond people

I want to use this as a time to clean up many things that have been neglected — both around my house and inside “my house”, my physical body and mental space. I may even use this opportunity to shift my professional pursuits away from academic teaching to wellness coaching. Maybe I can chat on the phone more, spend time with my daughter, or spend more time cooking or reading. Whatever it is, start doing it now!

If nothing else, this has opened the world’s eyes to the need to stay healthy. It has shown people the need to be sanitary and practice good old-fashioned health care techniques, like washing hands and not running out of toilet paper! (Sorry, had to throw that one in!)

As an educator in both physical health and medical applications, we are perfectly positioned to show the communities we live in how to harness the power of exercise for both preventative and rehabilitation purposes. I have learned many new applications for teaching online and most people are focused on coming together for the “greater good”, and this is a breath of fresh air.

Good luck and stay healthy as you address the holistic health agenda in our society.


Dr. Mark P. Kelly has been involved with the health and fitness field for more than 30 years. He has been a research scientist for universities and many infomercial projects. He has spoken nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics and currently speaks on the use of exercise for clinical purposes and exercise’s impact on the brain. Mark is a teacher in colleges and universities in Orange County, CA., where Principle-Centered Health- Corporate Wellness & Safety operates.

deep-breathing

How to Stay on Top of the Game and Not be Vulnerable in Hectic Times

There are a lot of uncertainties currently.  We may feel confused, anxious and fearful — which may lower the frequency of our EMF (1) and our defenses. A depressed immune system is more likely to get sick with anything, not just the Coronavirus. Take this time positively, as a way to be introspective and find new things to do for yourself, your career and relationships. Obstacles are like gifts because without them, life would stagnate. Obstacles create evolution in our lives, taking us to the next level.

Protect yourself physically and mentally

Keep up good hygiene by washing hands when you touch surfaces that could have been touched by others — door handles, street light buttons, credit cards, gas nozzles. Use common sense. You can carry an alcohol spray bottle to spray surfaces and your car floor. Antibacterial can be used also but it is loaded with chemicals. If you go to public bathrooms and have to touch handles, use a paper towel to open doors and then trash it. Try to use your elbows instead of your hands when you can.

Maintain regular positive conversations and support with your friends and family, even if it’s on the phone. It’s not good to be isolated when you have to stay home. Communicate with positive people and not those who only speak negatively or with fear, especially if you are empathetic. This will keep your vibrations high.

There are 2 main things with scientific evidence that you can do to maintain your high vibes and feel calm – which will help your immune system.

1. Meditation & Deep breathing:                        

When challenges are high, our emotions are also high and the situation becomes chaotic.

Our the body doesn’t know the difference between real danger ( i.e., being in war or being chased by a jaguar) and an imaginary one (i.e., not meeting a deadline, final exams, arriving late to a class). So, we can control these emotions as to not create more chaotic ones. Acute stress from these situations raises our cortisol levels, affects our cells and overall health. The mind gets blurry with a lot of thoughts and you cannot see the solution.

We don’t have to repress the situation but be aware and start controlling our breath. CONTROLLING OUR BREATH, concentrating in equal inhales and equal exhales, the body and the cells will understand they are safe and there is time to heal. The body will know that there is no way we are in a dangerous situation,  that it is time to relax, that we are safe, we are healing and we open our energies to receive better answers for our life choices.

Exercise:

Sit in a quiet area and concentrate on your breath. Start with 2 inhales and 2 exhales for one minute, then pass to 3 inhales and 3 exhales for 2 minutes,  then 4 inhales and 4 exhales for 2 minutes, until at least 6 minutes — or the most you can do. Observe how the more you concentrate on your breath, the less thoughts come to your brain.

Difference between deep breathing and shallow breathing

SHALLOW BREATHING is superficial breathing using only the lungs. The lungs have a limited air capacity contrary to what we think. This is the everyday breathing pattern we use in this fast paced society. It is the cause of stress, ailments, panic attacks, asthma, pneumonias, hyperventilation and many more problems. It makes stress a habit. It reduces the production of white blood cells that defend our bodies from external organisms that weaken the immune system. It also tightens the back, neck and shoulder muscles causing back pain and headaches.

DEEP BREATHING (2) is done using the diaphragm and the abdomen, which have more capacity for storing oxygen than the lungs. It is the breathing of babies. You inhale with a controlled rhythmic pattern (Pranayama). Retention of the air, exhalation and deep breathing every time, as practiced by the Yogis, can reverse health conditions, strengthen the immune system, lower high blood pressure,  alleviate heart conditions, muscle pain and respiratory conditions, like asthma and bronchitis.

Exercise:

Sit or lay down in a quiet area and put your hands on top of your diaphragm. Feel the diaphragm expanding as the air is filling your abdominal cavity like a balloon and then exhale feeling the air leaving the cavity. This will utilize the best amount of oxygen, keep thoughts away and relax the whole body. Do it for at least 5 minutes or the most you can do. Increase time progressively.

Maintaining the same breathing pattern concentrate on each part of your body especially where you feel pain or tension. Imagine a white light while you inhale and release. Visualize the tension leaving your body and evaporating.

2. Physical exercise and your immune system                                                                      

Gyms closed? No excuse to not keep or bodies moving. Exercise has something no other medicine can provide. When you move you are telling the cells, “I am alive, I am strong”. Even if we are not doing it consciously, our subconscious mind picks up the exercise habit and incorporates it as a pattern. This can change our subconscious from “I am weak” to “I am strong”. Thoughts can shape our whole body and our cells will benefit tremendously.

If you have to stay indoors, you can use any equipment you have to do at least 20-30 minutes of cardio to work on your strength and abs. You can see some ideas on my YouTube channel.

If you can go outdoors bike, hike, walk and run at beaches and parks.  The open environment is safer than indoors, especially because you can maintain the distance from others easily. You can do any routine or use my Beachblast video that can be done anywhere – in a park, at the beach or in a pool.  It combines cardio drills, core strength, pilates for abs and legs followed by relaxing Yoga posses.


Graciela Perez is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Personal Trainer, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Aquatic Specialist, CETI Cancer Exercise Specialist, Health & Wellness Coach and Energy Healer. She’s been helping people reaching their health and fitness goals since 2003. Visit her website, hollywoodfitness.org

Resources

(1) EMF: Electro Magnetic Field is the energy that surrounds our bodies and it is influenced by our thoughts and emotions. Our thoughts and emotions can pass to our EMF and can shape matter (the body, cells and how healthy we are). If we are in fear, this negative emotion will affect EMF (our energy) and affect our body’s immune system. For more info on Energy Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952118/

(2) For deep breathing:

woman-video-chatting

Social Distancing – Not Social Isolation: Coaching for Connectedness

We all still need each other. Even in the age of COVID-19, our health continues to depend upon healthy supportive relationships. Our coach training company, Real Balance 1 has always stressed what we call Coaching for Connectedness.  We‘ve seen lifestyle improvement occur and last more often when people receive support for the changes they are making to live healthier lives.  When a coaching client sets up an action step we ask “Who/what else can help support you in this?”. Research on what makes health behavior last points primarily to two factors: a shift in self-concept and community support. (2)   It’s also a well-established fact that people who are more socially isolated have significantly higher rates of all major chronic illnesses. (3)

Our challenge in the midst of a pandemic situation is how we distance from each other while remaining connected to each other. Yes, follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing. We can still greet each other with elbow bumps, and then go for a walk, a bike ride, a cruise in kayaks, etc., and continue to avoid the proximity that puts us at any risk. We can connect via phone and receive the nourishment of live, interactive conversation that texting and e-mail don’t quite match. We can climb on board a web-based platform such as Zoom and Skype where we are face-to-face for our conversation. We also have all sorts of apps such as Facetime, WeChat, and many more that allow us to have face-to-face interaction for live conversations.

As coaches we can continue to work remotely with our clients, as the majority of coaching is already done. As we do, explore the feelings that the changes brought about by social distancing are bringing out in your clients. Empathize. Explore. When people talk about their fears, the intensity of those fears almost always lessens. As people become less afraid, their thinking improves. They aren’t so quick to jump into dismissive all-or-none thinking. They are then able to engage in strategic thinking with their coach to find unique solutions to staying healthy.

  • The fitness center is shut down. How can you shift to working out at home? Use stretch bands. Modify a spare room into a place to do Yoga, floor exercises, etc. Spring brings better weather allowing more cardio outdoors.
  • Do more outdoor exercise/activity with other people – just keep your proper distance.
  • Encourage clients to find new ways to electronically visit their friends, grandchildren, and others. Play online games together.
  • Check in with your clients to make sure they have CDC information/WHO information about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. (5,6)

Take heart at how people are showing concern for each other during this time. Younger people who are at somewhat less risk are engaging in social distancing, handwashing, etc. not only for themselves, but for the older and more vulnerable people who could be affected by the contact they are having. People in neighborhood chatlines are volunteering to go pick up groceries and prescriptions for older or more sickly neighbors. Hopefully what will come out of all of this is a greater sense of how we are all in this together. Distancing does not mean isolating. The truism of wellness pioneer Jack Travis is still valid: Connection is the Currency of Wellness.

Be well and stay well!


Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC, NBW-HWC – A psychologist with over twenty-five years of clinical work, and more than 23 years as a professional wellness coach, Dr. Arloski is one of the key developers of the field of health & wellness coaching. He is the author of Wellness Coaching For Lasting Lifestyle Change, 2nd Ed., and Masterful Health & Wellness Coaching: Deepening Your Craft.  His company, Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc., has trained over 9,000 health & wellness coaches worldwide www.realbalance.com.

References

  1. https://realbalance.com
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753403/  
  3. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
  5. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

This article was published on Dr. Arloski’s blog. Reprinted with permission.

silhouette-of-man-touching-woman-against-sunset-sky-256807

The Fundamental Principle, Part 2: Consumerism

In the next five minutes prepare to have your life changed forever. First however, a recap from yesterday’s article. It was discussed that when you were born, there was undoubtedly a dream for your life. It was discussed that the dream was for YOU to become the BEST version of yourself. I then discussed how friendships play a vital role. To summarize, if your friends don’t encourage you to become the best version of yourself, it is likely neither of you are truly friends to one another.

I strongly believe another antagonist on your quest to become the “best version” of yourself is consumerism. Society, since the day you were born, has been working tirelessly to deliver you the message that the way to become the best version of yourself is to go out and get what you want. Society wants you to believe that there is scarcity and that your relevance is tied to what you have. It wants you to think you are incomplete without a huge house, fancy car, the latest clothes, and the best technology. Society does it’s best to tell you day in and day out that the path to happiness is through material things. How does that seem to be working? Take a look at society as a whole.

I have studied the results of this mythical thinking and here is what I have come up with. This thinking leads to sleepless nights, jealousy, anxiety, financial ruin, anger, and a mindset among many children that I am better than you because I have more. Just take a look at the news for about five minutes and see if this analysis isn’t spot on. You will find you can never get enough of what you don’t need.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to share with you a path I have found to be wildly more productive. There was a mother and a daughter in my wellness facility earlier; the mother was in a back room working on her midsection. Her 3-year-old daughter went over to the water fountain and began to fill up two cups. I asked her why two cups? With a huge smile and acting completely on her own, she explained to me that her mother must be thirsty and was bringing her a cup of water all the while beaming with this gigantic smile. To put it quite simply, she was truly happy. It was a priceless moment. At 3, she understood what most people age 20 and above are clueless about, as society has fed them a huge lie. as a dream for your life to become the best version of yourself and all of the clues were present from that beginning moment. I will give you a mnemonic device to help you remember the clues and to completely reshape your life: P.I.E.S. Say to yourself I am going to eat “PIES” every day to be the best version, except we aren’t talking about the sugary kind here.

  • P stands for physical needs. For instance, if you aren’t breathing, drinking water, and eating lots of nutritional foods, you probably won’t become the best version of yourself.
  • I stands for intellectual needs. For example, if the books you are reading, television shows you are watching, and music you are listening to don’t inspire (breath life into) you, you probably won’t become the best version of yourself. Isn’t it disgusting that most children know about Harry Potter or Eminem versus the truly great leaders of our history?
  • E stands for emotional needs. It has been proven time and time again that people who focus in on quality relationships are the happiest. Quit loving halfway and quit spending more time stressed about a job that might spit you out versus loving your family and friends. This will be a repeated theme and side note in all my talks. If you have to have a few drinks after work, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE. If your job requires you to drink and be out late at night to “seal the deal” you are in the wrong place. Lastly on this point, take a moment to remember 9/11. The people who chillingly knew they weren’t going to be spending another day on this Earth reached out to loved ones. In reaching out, it was to share messages of love and caring. They weren’t calls to the stockbroker to check account balances. Don’t wait till it’s too late to get this.
  • S stands for spiritual needs and this ties into my earlier story about the girl and her water. Our meaning here is tied into what we do for others. Our spiritual side is an understanding of anything worth doing are the things we do for others.

Spend the next 30 days hitting one thing from each of the PIES and get back with me and tell me your life hasn’t endured a major positive shift. I would love to hear from you about how you are becoming the best version of yourself.

Register for Jonathan’s free webinar, “Your Essential Purpose


Jonathan Dunn is a Senior Coach at Floyd Consulting where he helps leaders and businesses reach the best-versions-of-themselves. Jonathan coaches individuals and corporate teams to become fully engaged in their lives and work in order to achieve greater success and fulfillment. Floyd’s vision is to make work fun and engaging for as many people as possible, by delivering world-class training and creating dynamic cultures that lead to thriving businesses that are profitable, scalable, and sustainable. Jonathan’s passion and enthusiasm for helping people achieve their dreams is undeniable. His unique ability to connect and engage his clients in the pursuit of their best lives is one of a kind.

walking in woods

The Fundamental Principle, Part 1: Friendships

I was recently asked by somebody who is incredibly special in my life how I am always in such a positive mood… why I am always so happy. She was flat out interested in how I was able to achieve such a state. Now that we had known one another for over eight months, she was well aware it was not an act.

After answering her as eloquently as I could, I decided this would be some incredibly valuable information to share. Over the course of the next two articles, I will be breaking it down. Today, I will start with the segment I feel is one of the most important; Friendships. Please as you read it, don’t hate on me, but ask yourself if there just might be some truth to it. Ask yourself if your life seems to keep repeating itself. If some of the same issues keep coming up, an area to look at is friends.

When you were born there was a fundamental principle that existed…a dream for your life so to speak. Everything in your life will make sense once you understand this. The dream for your life is that you become the best version of yourself. The dream in no way shape or form is that you become a second rate version of yourself. This leads me to friends.

I want you to go home tonight and make a list of all your friends. After you have made this list, ask yourself, “How many of these people are my true friends.” This will make sense when asking yourself “Am I in alignment with the dream for my life of becoming the best version of me.” Your true friends will encourage, challenge, and inspire you to this end. A true friend will hold you to a higher standard. They are hard to find and are typically never “sheeple.” Don’t be upset when you find the list to be shrinking and shrinking. I made the decision in 2008 I wanted to be surrounded by love and by people who genuinely cared about me. I had to consistently ask myself if I was that person. It has been a daily habit to become that person and the rewards have been great. Every day ask yourself, “Am I helping my friends become the best version and are they helping me become?”

In case you are confused the following are examples of people who probably need to be crossed off the list. That is unless, of course, you like insanity in your lives. Non-friends encourage you to be a second rate version of yourself. Misery loves company! The following are examples of non-friends:

  1. Your social time with them consistently involves drinking or overindulging. If you have to drink to reveal yourself, seek counseling. That is not how life was intended and can create co-dependency. Your best version isn’t hungover or vomiting.
  2. They allow you to whine and complain every day about how bad your life is instead of encouraging you.
  3. They abuse substances.
  4. They create drama. Friendships and family should be safe places of love. Set boundaries and run from the ones who aren’t safe.
  5. Friends always observe “Genshai.” This is a term I learned from Kevin Hall, Author of “Aspire.” It has been a game-changer. It means never treat anyone including yourself in a manner that will make them feel small. Stick to this 100%, don’t accept anything less and watch what happens.
  6. Friends don’t encourage hedonism, minimalism, or individualism.

It has been said many times that courage is the one skill that holds you back from where you truly want to be. I believe this. Do you have the courage to weed out the non-friends from the real friends? If the answer to the earlier question on do you help those around you become the best version and do they help you become the best version ends with a no, it is time to take a hard look in the mirror and possibly move on. Concentrate on quality and not quantity. In the next article, I will be covering what I consider to be the next largest hindrance to happiness, consumerism. If you are interested in becoming the best version of yourself or enhancing your corporate culture, I would be happy to chat with you. Are you becoming the best version?

Part Two to this article tomorrow!

Register for Jonathan’s free webinar, “Your Essential Purpose


Jonathan Dunn is a Senior Coach at Floyd Consulting where he helps leaders and businesses reach the best-versions-of-themselves. Jonathan coaches individuals and corporate teams to become fully engaged in their lives and work in order to achieve greater success and fulfillment. Floyd’s vision is to make work fun and engaging for as many people as possible, by delivering world-class training and creating dynamic cultures that lead to thriving businesses that are profitable, scalable, and sustainable. Jonathan’s passion and enthusiasm for helping people achieve their dreams is undeniable. His unique ability to connect and engage his clients in the pursuit of their best lives is one of a kind.

man in window

Could Emotional Patterns Make Us More Susceptible To Cancer?

There is a lot of research, clinical data and statistics related to cancer – types, causes, and treatments – available to anyone interested in looking them up. There are, of course, the usual suspects /causes of cancer (more on that later). But there could be a case made out to look beyond the obvious. Scratch deeply and look below the surface. There is another omnipresent trigger we lug around and don’t give this Machiavellian it’s due. It coexists as both cause and effect, feeds off us, is often suppressed, and is usually the last to be addressed, if at all.

‘Unaddressed and unresolved emotions’.

The source of these could be singular, or more likely, multiple. Cracking or crumbling relationships, pressures of work (often tied up with a sense of ‘worth’ & ‘success’), irritants at home (from the mundane to the serious), overwhelming sense of responsibilities as a spouse, parent, child, maintaining a lifestyle, etc. come to mind easily. This tangle slowly and silently claws away at body, mind and soul. Some may immediately label it ‘Stress’. But this emotional web can manifest in other physio-psychological avatars too. It is silent and deadly. It attacks all systems- skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, etc. All organ systems on one hand, and cognitive and emotional on the other, interfering with and impairing our quality of living and coping abilities. While one needs to clearly distinguish and recognize medical reasons for what they are, the truth is, this silent trigger is omnipotent. Abstract though it may seem, emotions wield the power to mess with our tangible systems. They have the capability of producing unwanted, negative, and damaging results in the human body. Sometimes, drastically so.

SHOULD WE BE LOOKING MORE SERIOUSLY AT OUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH IN OUR BATTLE AGAINST CANCER?

A long, relaxed conversation with a cancer survivor friend brought this aspect to the fore yet again. He has overcome cancer twice and tried all treatments – mainstream and alternate, including adopting a complete lifestyle change which most of us can only aspire to. But there remains an unaddressed issue. After years spent on this journey of cancer, getting on and off track, he calmly mentioned this point in relation to his experience of it. It was interesting to hear him analyze his own life experiences. Aware of what’s impacting him (acknowledging the source of his emotional drain), he recognizes the need let it go, and admits that he hasn’t been able to yet. Driven by his emotional moorings, he hasn’t been able to sever this source of recurring negativity in his life despite nudging by family, friends, healers and a few doctors.

He further went on to calmly say that till such time as he lets go, he is not fighting the root causes of cancer completely. (I say ’causes’ so as not to make an oversimplified case of cancer triggers, especially in relation to emotional health, nor is it my intention to present this as a thought in conflict with medical advice or challenge it.) He intends to seriously weigh the worthiness of continuing with this emotional baggage and its impact on his body.

DOES THIS MATTER?

He isn’t the first person – or the last – to have mentioned this connection. There is something more than pure abstraction at play here. And it’s worth acknowledging the elephant in the room. We are, after all, feeding it and it is rolling its weight all over us. Emotions impact us and negative emotions more so. Our bodies respond in myriad ways trying to combat it. Labored breathing, racing/irregular heart beat (cardiovascular), tight muscles (muscular), tingling in fingers/toes (neural), aches and pains (skeletal and muscular), compromised digestion, high/low blood pressure (other body systems)… these are just some common perceptible symptoms and responses to our altered emotional states. We have all experienced them to varying degrees and at different points in our lives. Not to mention what happens to our (emotional) responses and thought process.
It becomes a cause of concern when this altered state continues for a longer period of time. The body appears to adapt and these symptoms become silent and internal in nature. The impact, meanwhile, continues on a wider, cellular level, and various manifestations of this silent aggressor may emerge over a period of time, including possibly, as cancer.

SHOULD WE EMPOWER OURSELVES BETTER?

Does it mean all cancers are somehow the result of negative emotions or negative emotions will always lead to cancer? There is no definite, categorical ‘Yes’ as an answer. But, it could prove helpful investigating and addressing how our underlying emotive states may be leaving us exposed to greater possibility of serious health conditions, including cancer, along with all other clinical causes. As a precautionary tool, I reckon paying attention to emotional health plays a rather important role. We know that a healthy and fit lifestyle has so many advantages in serving as prevention for many health conditions. ‘Fitness’ needs to encompass emotional and mental health (strength and fortitude) too, by constantly sieving out the negative and enhancing the positive. It requires acknowledgement and working upon, with a conscious approach. As a cancer coping mechanism, focusing on positive emotional health and reducing negative (draining/sapping/unhappy/stressful/fearful) emotions plays a powerful role.

Emotions have the power to alter the human state at the conscious and subconscious levels. They can be an ally or a foe in our battle against ill health. They have the ability to align internal systems/processes to either facilitate or hinder external efforts.

So while one may refrain from an outright ‘yes’ to the question raised above, one cannot say an outright ‘no’ either. As science discovers deeper working of the human ecosystem, it is increasingly revealing the intertwining of our emotive state with our physical one.

Humans are emotional beings.

We cannot challenge it nor ignore the fabric that differentiates us. When one goes against the basic grain it creates friction. Prioritizing striving for a residual state of positive emotional health needs a deliberate plan and push. It is not easy. But neither is cancer nor its treatment. Using different techniques to spot and train our emotions, create emotional alchemy, makes sense now more than ever before, with different types of cancers spiraling and affecting all age groups, sometimes with the known triggers missing.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” –C. G. Jung

Originally printed on bodyinmotion.in. Reprinted with permission.


Vani Pahwa is a Functional Fitness specialist with over fifteen years of experience, and cutting-edge certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally recognized fitness institutes. She is also a Cancer Exercise Specialist (perhaps one of the first in the country). Sought after for her multi-disciplinary fitness modules and expertise, Vani has conducted fitness workshops for leading corporate houses, conditioning and training camps for various sports communities, training programs for coaches, personal training programs for CEOs of multi-nationals, athletes, junior and senior sports professionals among others. Her combination of specialties, client profile and range, and extensive work experience makes her unique in the country. She is the founder of Body in Motion.

** If interested in further research on the topic you may read up related links including:

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The Power of Purpose

I have Parkinson’s. I call it “accelerated aging” because it is a progressive neurologic disorder that simulates aging. On my bad days, I feel ten to twenty years older than I am.

For your information, a bad day, for me, has me struggle to get out of bed specifically having to focus all my energy on one arm and then the other arm to just move enough to get my bed cover off my body in hopes of coming up with a strategy to get out of bed and to the bathroom in time. I stressfully drive to the gym and at least show up to the one-hour fitness class. I put on boxing gloves to hit the bag and my arms don’t respond to what my mind is commanding that they do. But I show up. I then go home and walk around my house because I cannot find a comfortable place to sit. Medical marijuana allows me to sit, but makes work, household chores (if fact, almost everything) impossible. The term of art for this phenomenon is “off periods.”

What I can say is that, when I am doing something purposeful, I somehow am able to muster the strength and, yes, courage to get up on stage and provide inspiration to my audience. I love standing in front of a group and provide words of wisdom that help others to change their behavior. It is how I “make a difference.”



For example, I just traveled from Sarasota, Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, attended a reception Tuesday night, attended breakfast with the Medical Science Liaison Society on Wednesday, did a 45 minute inspirational talk, attended much of the conference, enjoyed the Awards banquet, went out late with a group of attendees, went to be late, got up early on Thursday and travelled back to Florida. The thing is that I was on the whole time. I had my slower moments, but was able to summon the energy to stay engaged the whole time. I call it the “power of purpose.” It happens to me every time that I have an engagement. I also call it “staying engaged.”

By way of a second real-life example, last Tuesday, I flew to New York City, On Wednesday, I attended my father’s induction into the High School Athletics Hall of Fame. On Thursday, I was in the audience of the Wendy Williams Show, talk about the power of positivity waiting in line with some pumped up people at 7:00 am. On Friday, I took a train 2 hours each way to inspire about 100 individuals at the Mid-Hudson Parkinson’s Association. Finally, on Sunday, my wife and I threw her mother an 80th surprise birthday party. We flew back Tuesday and I was useless for several days. My point is that you can summon the energy to overcome anything for a finite period of time if it is in line with your purpose.

Stay Engaged. Fulfill your Purpose. Make a Difference. Have Faith.


John Baumann is a 17 year veteran of Parkinson’s who has demonstrated the desire and discipline to continue to have an amazing life. He exemplifies the word “resilience” starting out as an attorney, then, after getting the news that he has Parkinson’s, continuing to practice for ten more years while getting prepared to fulfill his lifelong dreams of teaching at a University, writing a book on success, and finding his life’s purpose as an inspirational speaker. John graduated from the University of Massachusetts and Cornell Law School. He worked for Exxon for 10 years before accepting the position of General Counsel of Steel Technologies. John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2002 when he was 41 years old. Since being diagnosed, he has taught law at the University of Louisville, College of Business, written a book entitled, Decide Success: You Ain’t Dead Yet, and delivered over 100 keynote presentations.