If you’re a parent of a teenager, this is for you.

brave body love michelle hess
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Brave Body Love – You’re invited!

It’s normal to be in and out of love with your body, considering the world that we live in. It makes sense to feel discomfort living in this culture that thrives on feeding your body dissatisfaction–otherwise how could the diet industry be a multi-BILLION dollar one?

Of course, it is easier to thrive in this society when you fit the stereotypical beauty standards of the day.  Instead, most of us are challenged to acknowledge and accept our bodies for the miracles that they are, knowing that “your body is a wonderland” in the truest sense.

Once that can happen…Love Follows.

Easier said than done, you say? True.

Body Image is a factor within your whole self-esteem, how you view yourself. This is about who you are BEING. It’s not really about the size or lumpiness quotient of your thighs! If you are struggling in your career and making money easily, this could very well be tied to how you see yourself; what it feels like for you to be you. Who you are being impacts EVERY area of your life.

Your self-image impacts how much you put yourself out there, how confident you are in your profession, the types of opportunities and challenges you say, “Yes” too; how much money you make, how much support you allow in your life–basically how you let yourself RECEIVE.

Your body image is part of your overall self-esteem. One is not without the other. Your body is the vehicle that projects your image of yourself out into the world.

Changing your body acceptance is about transforming consciousness in a radical way. It’s about discovering your sabotaging beliefs and aligning yourself with your deepest desires.

Here’s the secret:

Psst…It isn’t really about your body (even though it is all about your body!)

At the core of all that is your desire to be loved.

The power of love is the only thing that can truly pull you out of that pit of self-loathing that conveniently shows up every time you wish it wouldn’t. (Kinda like that ex that pulls you down by showing up when you are vulnerable and lonely…)

Brave Body Love is a chance for you to discover new ways to be. Our team of experts and teachers are here to expand your mind, shift your perspective, offer different possibilities and even some facts you might not have know about body acceptance, nutrition or fitness. But mainly it is about you finding you again. Finding the freedom you’ve been missing in your life due to preoccupation with your perceived faults.

Take some time to re-discover your awesomeness and dream again.

For more info go to BraveBodyLove.com

P.S.  This is a FREE online conference with 32 amazing speakers. All we are missing is you!

 

 

there is always hope
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[Video] Lori Petro teaches the single best strategy for gaining your child’s respect

Watch this quick video from Lori Petro on gaining your child’s respect:

For the whole post, visit this page.

Journaling prompts for teens
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[Day 15] 5 Journaling Prompts to Enhance Emotional Intelligence in Teenagers

 

Journaling prompts for teens

Today is the half-way mark of the blog challenge. Woohoo! The goal: repurpose a previous post. So here’s one from a while back that I’ve enhanced.

This article is for teenagers and/or anyone who wants to increase their self awareness and ability to process and express their feelings in a more calm and balanced way.

The teenage years are an especially tumultuous period (as you know) and a critical time to focus on emotional intelligence (if you can start sooner, by all means, do so. My son is 3 and he labels his feelings and always feels better after doing so). Though challenging, these years can be seen as a series of beautiful opportunities for learning and growth for the entire family.

Many issues teens face are due to lack of self awareness and/or emotional intelligence. It’s not something that’s taught in schools – but it should be. When we feel out of control, we lose our power of choice. It becomes increasingly harder to decide upon what we want because our emotions have taken over. And when they run our lives, we no longer have a say.

So often we want something better – we talk about it, dream about it and long for change, but our emotions won’t allow us. They say “whoa whoa whoa wait stop.” But the magic happens when we listen and actively seek the gift within each moment of emotional turmoil – not by staying stuck in it and not by ignoring it, but by choosing to send our deepest love and compassion to ourselves. That’s when everything changes.

Here are 5 journaling prompts (to be used in this order) to help you do just that.

First, recognize your triggers. Ask yourself questions like…

What makes me angry?

What am I afraid of?

When someone said this I felt ______________.

This emotion feels like ____________.

I feel it in my _____________. (throat, chest, stomach, etc)

Anything that will allow you to connect with the feeling so you can release it.

Accept it. Don’t make anyone right or wrong and don’t believe you deserve to feel bad.

Ask yourself “What can I learn from this?”

Forgive yourself.

Write down everything you need to forgive yourself for. And everything you need to forgive others for.

Empathize.

Know you aren’t the only person who feels bad. Others handle things differently and it doesn’t make them wrong.

Write down what you think the other person (or people) are experiencing.

Choose something new.

Get creative with what you want. Write down how you want to feel and why.

For example: I want to feel empowered because when I do I feel like I can conquer the world and I can be who I really am.

As you take the time to go through these prompts on a regular basis, you open yourself up to new possibilities and interactions with others that weren’t previously available. When you are able to connect with and accept all of who you are, you will no longer need to dance between the extremes. You’ll feel more in control of your experience and will therefore feel calm and confident in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.

I’d love to hear how it goes. Please share your comments and insights in the comments box below.

there is always hope
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How being yourself changes everything (includes 3 journaling prompts)

What if we started each day telling ourselves, “have fun and be yourself”. Or “trust yourself. You’re going to do the right thing”?

Or be yourself and the rest will follow.

Or be yourself and everything will fall into place.

Or everything you need is already inside of you.

How different would your days be if you stopped focusing on all the things you think you do wrong and instead chose to focus on all the things you already are?

Notice I ended the sentence at are. Not all the things you are doing. All the things you are. All the things that make you who who are. Because while it’s great to feel a sense of accomplishment, if you need that to love yourself then you’re not doing it for the right reason.

It’s so easy to put conditions on love – especially when it comes to loving ourselves.

“I’ll only like myself when I complete this task or I’ll only give myself a break once I’ve reached xyz goal.”

While I absolutely believe in setting and accomplishing goals, I believe loving ourselves despite our accomplishments or perceived lack thereof is by far the most important (and difficult) skill to master.

This conditional love all started when we were very young. People (especially our parents) attempted to fix or control us so they didn’t have to feel bad. It was easier. And it was all they knew.

But by diligently practicing something new we can create new patterns that serve the greater good for all.

One person changing can positively impact the entire family. This became evident to me a few days ago when I had a conversation with my mom I never thought I’d have.

I felt like all the work I’ve done on myself throughout the years – though lonely and seemingly futile at times – actually made a difference.

She talked to me the way I always wished she would have. She let me speak. She listened. And while we have had many conversations like this in the past several years, this one felt much more powerful.

Because I stopped fighting and surrendered.

She was herself.

And I was just me.

If someone would have told me this were possible when I was a teenager I would have probably rolled my eyes and said, “yeah right.”

Which might be what you’re thinking too. Because when you’re in it, it’s much harder to see a way out of it.

But keep the faith.

And if you only take one thing away from this, let it be this:

The greatest thing you can ever do for you is to tell yourself who you are is okay.

Even if no one else ever sees it, you have to know it.

And when you do, miracles will happen.

 

I will leave you with a few journaling prompts that’ll help you peer into how you’ve been treating yourself and what you can do to start being kinder to you. Remember: be honest with yourself.

1. In what ways are you not treating yourself the way you’d like others to treat you?

2. In what ways do you deny who you are for the sake of other people?

3. What is one thing you can do right now to be kind to yourself?

 

As always, I welcome your questions and comments below.

self-injury awareness day
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Teenage Cutting: Why We Cut

This post is intended not just for young people struggling with self-harm, but for their family members and friends who don’t understand why the person they love is cutting. Here it goes.

The question I get most often is the question I most hated being asked when I was cutting myself.

“Why?”

I would get defensive and build up a wall around me and have an “as if you don’t know” attitude. But really, nobody did know.

No one knew what went on in my head. From what they could tell everything was “normal” (most cutters are so masterful at this they even begin to deceive themselves, convincing themselves everything is okay, when clearly it’s not) but I felt like I was dying inside. I had something to share and something to say, but I didn’t.

I was afraid of what people would say. I was especially afraid of what my parents would say. I felt like I needed to be okay for things to be okay. Like the fate of the entire universe rested upon me being the perfect daughter. They had enough to deal with and I didn’t want to burden them with my problems. I didn’t want to cause another fight. I didn’t want to be in the middle. So I kept quiet.

They never intentionally made me feel this way, but when there isn’t any communication and everyone in the household is shut down, what do you do?

You rush to find a way to make the pain end. You try to distract yourself.

Or, you cut.

We all have ways we anesthetize ourselves. Whether it be with food, drugs, alcohol, sex, you name it.

No one wants to feel horrible, but truly the only way to release or change or shift a feeling, is it to actually feel it rather than try to numb the pain.

But you’re still wondering,

“Is is just for attention?”

Yes and no. For the teenagers who are cutting, they want you, someone, anyone to know how bad they are hurting, but are terrified of confrontation. Terrified they will be made wrong for feeling what they feel. Terrified they will be rejected.

It’s easier to just cut.

This isn’t to blame. It’s to bring light to the situation. There are barriers to break down. Things to be said. And forgiveness that needs to take place.

Whether you are the one cutting or the one watching this happen, you absolutely have to get help. Cutting in itself is very serious, but it is a symptom of lack of self-expression, self-love and the inability to process emotions. You must find someone who can serve as a bridge, who will listen to both sides and help your teen recognize the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that have led her (or him) to this behavior.

As I tell my clients, this won’t last forever and you don’t have to do this alone. There are people out there to support you and your kids, myself included. I know how disheartening it is to try seemingly everything and still be going through this.

But you are going to get through it.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to enter your name and email address in the box to the right (below if you’re on a tablet or other mobile device) of this post to receive the “5 Keys to Help Teens Break the Self-Harm Cycle.”

self-worth in teenagers
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Helping kids connect to who they really are

In my last post, I mentioned “helping kids connect to who they really are” as an antidote for bullying.

I’d like to go a bit deeper into this today.

self-worth in teenagers

As adults who are interacting with young people, the best thing we can do is model healthy self-worth. When we are accepting ourselves, we interact with others from a place of love and empowerment. And when we demonstrate this to our kids, they get to see what healthy boundaries look like.

From a very young age we are taught to seek others’ approval and to always look outside for instruction and validation.

But what if we would have been taught early on to love ourselves first?

When we are in alignment, others can feel it and treat us differently. The following steps will not only allow you to connect to yourself, but you can use them to help others connect to themselves too.

1.Get in your body

We spend so much time in our head allowing our thoughts to dictate who we are. A belief is just a thought we think over and over again until we begin to accept it as truth. The more time you can spend in your body, the sooner you will be able to tell the difference between the you you’ve always thought you were and the you you really are.

The best and easiest remedy for getting into your body?

Breathe art

Imagine your breath filling every area of your body. Allow it to go all the way down into your feet until you feel a strong connection to the ground beneath you.

2.Notice, feel and express what you need to in order to feel better

We have a tendency to hold onto things because we are either in denial or feel we don’t have the right to feel what we feel. We’ve been told “you shouldn’t feel that way.” Truth is, you have every right to feel what you feel. Even if no one else has the same reaction or emotion come up in the same situation, you do. And it’s okay. Maybe you’re more sensitive. Maybe you’re just wired differently. Whatever the case, it’s alright. Just notice and be okay with whatever comes up.

Then, find a way to get it all out. Some suggestions:

  • Write
  • Walk
  • Do EFT (watch a quick into to EFT here)
  • Cry
  • Shake it out (like how puppies do after they’ve just had a bath)

The idea is to give yourself full permission to feel and express anything and everything you need to feel better.

3. Decide what kind of day you’d like to have

When you know what you want and focus on it with faith, your situation has to improve. You are a powerful creator and you create with your every thought. When you are in alignment and everything else is out of the way (or when you “get out of your own way”) anything is possible.

Imagine how you’d like your interactions with your friends and family to go. See yourself handling each situation with grace and ease as you know your own value and worth.

We so quickly and easily hand our power over to others, but we don’t have to.

You are powerful and you know exactly what you need to do.

When you know this and embody this, others will feel it. The people who are “bullying” you will leave you alone as if by magic.

What if all this was just to get you to see how amazing you are?

How has an unpleasant situation actually strengthened you as a person? Please share in the comments section below.
helping someone who self-harms
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Helping someone who self-harms (part two)

helping someone who self-harms

This is part two of helping someone who self-harms. The first post can be found here.

Despite what many think, most teens who self-harm don’t really want to hurt themselves. They just want to stop feeling the immense pressure and loneliness that comes from not feeling safe to express who they are. The most common reason anyone self-injures is as a last resort. There is literally no other option available in the moment someone makes this decision.

When they feel like they need to be okay so you’ll be okay this creates increased pressure and anxiety and makes the urge to cut even stronger.

As a parent or someone who is working with a teenager who is self-injuring, of course you want them to stop. But here’s the thing: they want to stop too. It just becomes such a natural response to stress – the go-to thing and in fact the only thing that brings relief.

Yes, it’s a bad decision. Yes you want them to stop. But the cutting is here to show you something. Where is your child not feeling safe to express his/her feelings?

Be willing to explore this. And be willing to go through your own feelings about the situation.

Do you feel like you’ve done everything and start to question your parenting and wonder what went wrong? When did this happen? Why did this happen? These questions and the thoughts that follow generally bring you to a place of needing to fix it right now, but let me tell you something:

It’s less about what you do and more about who you are when you’re with your son or daughter. They want you to see them for who they are not what’s happening to them. The more you can do this and the more things you can find to appreciate about your teen, the faster his or her recovery will be.

You have to accept and surrender to the fact that he or she is not okay. And you also have to know it’s not your fault. Absolutely create a plan to keep your teen safe, but when it comes to talking about it, don’t press.

Here are three things to do instead:
1. Acknowledge

Say something like, “it’s good to see you,” or “how was your day?” (don’t ask “did you have a good day?” – keep the questions open ended), or “You look upset. Would you like to talk about it?” Be okay if they say no and make sure to say this out loud. Possibly even say something like “Well that makes me feel ________, but I understand and respect your decisions. You make good decisions and I know you’ll find a positive way to express it if you need to. I’m here if you need anything.”

2. Listen

Be willing to hear what your teen has to say without offering advice or trying to fix. Make sure to try to make eye contact. If they don’t want to look at you, let that be okay.

3. Appreciate

Deliberately look for things to appreciate about your teenager. Find and focus on all the little things your teen does well. It could be anything from the way they handled a situation to doing the dishes without you having to ask a thousand times. Even if it was 999 times, focus on the improvement.

Ultimately this is a collaborative effort where all parties must learn how to cope, communicate with and appreciate one another. You’re in this together and can start to change the family dynamic. I know you’re going to get through this.

Journal prompts to explore
For parents: What fears do you have as a parent? Where are you taking responsibility for these fears? In what areas aren’t you?
For teens: What is the feeling that most often leads to you cutting? 
How can you allow yourself to experience this feeling without needing to cut? i.e. Write about it, talk to someone about it, scream into a pillow, etc. In other words how can you express this feeling in a way that doesn’t hurt you?
Would you like additional support from me? Sign up for a free consultation below.

Teens go here.

Parents/Teachers/Counselors go here.

Space is limited so please take advantage of this offer as soon as possible.

 

Questions or comments? Submit them using the form below.

 

What not to say to someone who self-injures.
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How to REALLY Help Someone Who Struggles with Self-Harm

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people (therapists, counselors, support group facilitators, parents, etc.) ask me about how to help someone who self-harms.

So, here are some things you should know.

  • Most cutters are highly intelligent and extremely sensitive.
  • Many don’t do it in an effort to end their life, but rather, to end their pain.
  • There are, unfortunately, people and websites that are pro self-harm (this is NOT one of those websites and I am NOT one of those people).
  • Self-mutilation is an addiction, and should be treated as such.

And here are some materials to use. Starting with, the top 5 things to never say to someone who self-injures:

What not to say to someone who self-injures.

Next, 5 things you should say instead:

What to say to someone who self-injures.

Take time to know and understand what the person who is cutting is going through.

And listen.

See this person as whole and send your love and compassion. I promise, he or she will be able to feel it.

If you are the one who is self-mutilating, I made this for you to print out (therapists and support group facilitators you can print these out to use in your sessions):

Self-harm worksheet

It’s okay to ask for help. In fact, please do so. Don’t keep it to yourself. I know you feel like no one understands you, but they never will if you’re not willing to let them. Believe it or not, the people around you are just as scared as you are.

Here’s mine as an example:

Tell me you love me.

Here’s another one for you to print out and use:

Things to do instead of cutting

It’s important to know what to do when you feel the urge to cut. When you’re in that state you’re not always rational so having something physical to have on you or in a place where you can see it will remind you that you have other options available.

Here’s mine (feel free to steal some ideas from it):

My list of things to do instead of cutting.

That’s it for now. I hope this is useful!

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions.

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Love Exists in All Moments

When in doubt, use this affirmation.

eyeloveyou

Decide to look for love within you and all around you.

Start by finding one thing you love.

Maybe it’s a song.

Or an exchange of words.

Or a smile.

You can find love in your darkest moments.

And I encourage you to do so.

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7 Do’s and Don’ts for Estrogen Dominance

This one’s for the ladies.

And for the dudes who love the ladies.

Hormonal imbalance.

Aka if you so much as look at me I will punch you in the face.

But I won’t.

Because that’s not how I roll.

I usually internalized it because I thought there was something wrong with me.

And there was.

With my body.

Not me.

That took a minute for me to fully understand.

I found a state of equilibrium through diet and herbs prior to giving birth to Adin, but if there’s one thing that will mess with balance it’s that.

And so my panic attacks returned.

You see stress and lack of sleep exasperate such conditions.

You’re not crazy.

It’s a real thing.

Others things that make it worse:

1. Pesticides

2. Animal products

3. Drugs/alcohol

4. Anything that taxes your liver

5. Refined crizzap

6. Soy products

7. Plastics

Thankfully I knew all this so I wasn’t doing those 7. For me it was just finding a way to reduce my stress and manage my time and energy.

Bottom line for mums.

Come up with a plan and find support to execute said plan.

Ask for help.

Be okay with the fact that you’re not super mom (you are though!)

Supermoms are supermoms because of who they are not what they do.

In addition:

1. Get your probiotic on

2. Get your cruciferous vegetable on (Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, etc.)

3. Get your walk on (I used to take thank you walks in the summer which not only got my circulation going, but raised my vibration because I was only focusing on things I was thankful for)

4. Get your magnesium on (I use ionic fizz)

5. Get your journal time on (changes your point of focus and helps you remember it’s just your hormones)

6. Get your meditation on

7. Get your Glee on. Sing loudly.

 

I hope this helps you!

Mucho love,

Me.

p.s. You’ve got this.