A Great Tool for Stress

relax copyI will be the first to admit it: I don’t always react positively to stress.

I’ve always admired those who could stay calm while surrounded by complete chaos. You know the people I’m talking about: the ones who rush to any emergency clear-headed and immediately know what to do. The ones who exude a calm energy no matter what kind of craziness is happening around them.

I’ve never been that type. I have always been a bit more like a live wire where even the tiniest setback can turn my whole being into one big stress bomb. I’m more the type who climbs into bed at the first sign of trouble and stays there until whatever danger/stress/discomfort has passed (and then a bit longer just to be sure). I’m more the type who works myself into such a huge tizzy over anything remotely stressful that it takes me a long, long time to settle down and experience equilibrium again. 

As many of you know, my lack of stress management led me to severe adrenal fatigue. For years and years, I was constantly in fight or flight mode, and finally my adrenal glands told me one morning a year ago that they were done – that I was on my own – that they were going on an extended vacation. And I’ve been lying on the couch ever since.

It’s an interesting thing to be bedridden for this long. It’s brought up all sorts of things for me internally. I’ve had a lot of time to explore how I got to this space and why I got to this space and what I can do to get out of this space and finally coming to accept this space and be grateful for this space and allow myself simply to be in this space.

During this time, I’ve tried so many different gadgets and vitamins and healing techniques – anythingimages that would help me to feel better again. Some of them worked and others didn’t do much at all. One of these days, I’m going to put it all into an ebook for those who are also going through something similar with the hopes that it will help. But for now, I wanted to share a tool that I just recently came across that I already love and that is already helping me in huge ways. It’s called the emWave, and it’s a stress-management device that the HeartMath company created. 

This device was mentioned in almost every book on adrenal fatigue that I had read over the past year. I shied away from it for a couple of reasons: the price and also that it seemed too easy and simple. I wondered how this little gadget could truly help bring me from a place of stress to a place of calm.

But, a few weeks ago, it came up yet again in another book that I was reading, and something inside asked me to give it a try. So I did. And I’m so glad.

While I’m not a scientist and don’t know a ton about how it works or why it works, I do know that it measures your heart rate variability, which are the time-intervals between each heartbeat.

Here’s what HeartMath says about it:

Whenever we are stressed, these time-intervals become jagged and irregular, sending a chaotic pattern throughout our body. And we feel this: our body becomes tense. HeartMath has done a lot of research on the effect of emotions on our body and when we experience positive emotions such as care, gratitude, appreciation and compassion, those time-intervals in our Heart Rate Variability Pattern become very smooth and sine-wave like. This creates a much more orderly and balanced pattern in our internal systems, creating a state of coherence. We experience this as a more calm, harmonious state.

The emWave analyzes your heart rhythms for “coherence,” a term used by scientists to describe a highly efficient physiological state in which the nervous system, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems are working efficiently and harmoniously.

It has 3 lights: red, blue, and green. Red basically means that you’re in a stressed state, blue means that you’re moving up, and green means that you’re completely present and calm. There are two ways to use it: either by putting your thumb over the sensor or by wearing an ear piece that clips on to sense your heartbeat.

The first time I tried it, I was in a really good mood. It was the end of a great day, and I was feeling better than I had in months. I was happy to see that the light immediately went to green, and it stayed there for a few minutes. Until my cat attacked my other cat (something that unfortunately happens several times a day and is always really stressful). The light immediately went to red – showing how quickly one little incident could take me away from a place of peace. This part didn’t surprise me because I could feel how tense my body was. But what did surprise me is what happened next: normally, I would have stayed in that place and felt really angry about the fight and complain about it and get even more angry. But this time, I wanted to bring the light back to green – it became almost a game. And so I breathed along with the pacer that is part of the device and within just a minute or two I was back in the green.

I continued to test it out over the next few days. If I was in the green, I would think about something stressful to see if it would go down, which it always did. And then I would see how quickly I could bring it back to green again. If I started in the red, I would focus on my breath and watch it go up to blue and then green again once I was calm.

I put it on while working to see if I could remain in the green. And what surprised me was that work itself rarely was what stressed me out – I was almost always in a calm (green light) state when I was working. What brought me to a stressed (red light) state was when I left the present moment – when my thoughts traveled somewhere else (even for just a moment and even if the thought itself wasn’t negative or stressful). This insight has been huge for me since I’m such a multi-tasker. I’m the one who is constantly flipping between windows on my computer hundreds of times a day – doing something for a second and then switching to something else and then switching back. It turns out that my body doesn’t like all of this switching. If I stay on one task (even one that I’m not a huge fan of), I stay in the green.

I’m still in the early stages of learning about this fun tool and seeing how it can help me in the long term, but what I’ve seen already has been life changing. I’ve never been good at meditating – it’s just not a comfortable (or enjoyable) space for me to go to. But the emWave makes calming down a game – sort of a friendly competition within myself to see how quickly I can move into a calm state. (This may sound like a stressful way to do it, but it really feels fun for me!) I look forward to using it, and I always feel really good about myself and my ability to move into a calm state within a short period of time.

There are so many ways for us to minimize our stress. This is just one of the many techniques and tools. But I have to say that so far it’s one of the best that I’ve seen. I’m loving it, and it’s really helping me learn about my own reaction to stress and is helping me get to a calm state and stay there.

And hopefully, in time, I’ll find that staying in that state becomes much easier to do – much like the people I have always admired who just seem to have a positive reaction to stress. I’m hoping that this will be me soon, too. And that is definitely something to smile about (and feel at peace about).

If you would like to learn more about the emWave, you can click here.

I would also love to hear if you’ve tried it before! Feel free to share in the comments below what your experience has been. You can also feel free to share any other tools and techniques that you use to minimize your stress.

Hugs,

jodi

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Finding Peace Within the Chaos

spring field

The field before construction began.

My heart is heavy as I write this post. I’m looking out my back window and see mass destruction in what used to be a beautiful field that was a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful haven for those of us whose houses back up to it.

I’ve lived in this home for five years, and my husband and I have always felt so grateful that this was our view. We loved having this tranquil space that seemed to go on and on right in our own backyard. It created a buffer between us and the world – a place to be one with nature and ground ourselves. We knew that the day would eventually come when this view would become something very different – since planning for a subdivision has been in the works for quite some time, but it’s still a saddening shock to have a front-row seat to this chaos.

Construction began one week ago. We are now awakened each morning by the sound of bulldozers and banging and beeping. We have constant headaches from this never-ending noise that goes well into the evening. My husband’s outside “office” is no longer an option, and he’s had to move into my office for the time being (on the other side of the house) since even his inside office is too close to the noise.

I have been walking around in a daze of anger and sadness and powerlessness. I have cried many, many tears. And I have worked myself into such a tizzy that I have become physically ill with a fever and a sore throat, which certainly doesn’t feel good at all. And what I’m realizing, even in the midst of this frustration, is that this is one of those real-life situations where I get to put into action all that I’ve been theorizing about and teaching for years: I can focus on what isn’t working or what is working; I can appreciate all that I am still grateful for in my life; I can choose how I will respond to this situation; and I get to decide how and where I will find my own peace and happiness.

I’ve been so sad about the geese – my sweet friends who have lived in the field for many generations. I’ve worried that they wouldn’t be able to cope, and I wanted to somehow prevent them from feeling any pain.

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Two of our friends before construction started.

Yesterday, after the workers had left and we were sitting in our backyard enjoying the silence from all of the machinery, I looked over and saw about 20 geese sitting on the top of one of the dirt piles that had just been created. I was sickened by this scene of what I considered to be devastation, and my eyes started to fill with tears. But then I noticed that the geese didn’t seem sad at all. They were pecking around and finding the seeds that had most likely just been brought to the surface. They still had their families, their field (even if it looked a bit different), food, and water. They still had their home (at least for now). They weren’t concerned with where this construction would lead – with whether they would be able to cope with the destruction in the coming months or in the coming years – with whether they would have a home at all once it was all paved over and built on. They were just there – enjoying their time – just like any other day. They were focusing on what was working rather than what wasn’t.

And that is the lesson and insight that I am able to pull out of this upsetting situation. Yes, I’m upset. And yes, I’m sad. (Both of which are completely normal and understandable.) But, in order to take care of myself and my body and not continue to spiral into an even darker place, I’m going to do my best to take my cue from these beautiful, wise birds and focus on everything that is right in my world in this moment – because there certainly is a lot of positive energy surrounding me always.

Life doesn’t always go our way. Certainly not how we expect it to. And maybe that’s a good thing – because it’s in these moments where things aren’t “perfect” that we get to go a little deeper and find the kernels of good. We get to witness our own reactions, honor them, and then decide if we would like to change them moving forward. We get to learn so much about ourselves when things aren’t going “right.” That’s where the growth comes in. And I am thankful for that.

Do I wish that this were all happening differently and that the field could stay a field forever? Of course. But this is my reality, and I want to do whatever I can to honor my own needs and find some happiness within this current situation.

That feels right for me.

If you’re in the midst of your own hard situation, I hope that you’ll also be able to find even a tiny bit of peace and wisdom within it.

Hugs,

jodi

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In Praise of Shyness

embrace copy

I’ve seen something popping up a lot lately, and I have been going back and forth about whether I wanted to write about it and address it. I’ve decided that I just feel too passionately about it to let it lie.

There’s been a lot of press in recent years about introversion. A lot of great books have come out explaining more about it and helping each of us (whether we are introverted or not) understand what it’s like to walk through life with this wiring/chemistry/innate nature.

It will most likely come as no surprise when I share that I’m extremely introverted. I’ve been pretty public about it and have done interviews where I talked about it and really feel passionate about helping others be better able to understand this aspect of themselves and fully embrace it.

I love all of the press that it’s getting. I love that the stigma and misunderstandings around it seem to be lifting. And I love seeing more and more fellow introverts raising their flag and sharing with the world that they, too, are proud of it.

But what I don’t love is the wording that sometimes comes with it. You may have seen it since it’s in almost every explanation of what introversion is and what it isn’t. It usually reads something like this (overly dramatized for effect):

“Being introverted doesn’t mean that you’re shy (thank God!). It doesn’t mean that you are afraid of the world. It doesn’t mean that you cower around others or are hiding in your home 24/7. It doesn’t mean that you are a total absolute loser who can’t seem to get a grip on how to live in this world because you’re too freaked out by it. It doesn’t mean any of these things (Whew!). It just means that you refill your energy by being alone.”

I know that it’s true that you can be introverted and not be shy. It’s just the same as knowing that you can be introverted and also be male, female, a good singer, a horrible singer, a lovely person or a not-so-lovely person. But none of these other traits/characteristics ever seem to get mentioned with introversion, do they? Only shyness gets called out – over and over and over again. Introversion is seen as the trendy trait and shyness is seen as the trait that could be likened to the plague. And, as an introverted person who also happens to be shy, this tends to ruffle my feathers. 

I’ve always been shy – sometimes painfully so. I used to hide behind my mom’s pant legs when meeting new people and slowly peek out and quickly hide again in the safety of the fabric. I used to dread being called on in school – not because I didn’t know the answer but because I didn’t want all eyes to be on me.

In sixth grade I had to sing a solo in a recital. I was so nervous that I developed tiny blisters all of my hands the night before and begged my mom to let me skip it. Instead, she handed me a pair of gloves and sent me on my way. :)

In college, I based my classes on whether or not I would have to give a speech, and I took as many independent study courses as possible simply so I could avoid being in the classroom.

Throughout my life, I’ve been accused of being aloof or a snob simply because I wasn’t as talkative and stood back a bit when first meeting others. I’m not comfortable in crowds and will do my best to avoid them. When the doorbell rings, I tend to freeze and stay as quiet as possible until whoever is there leaves.

Because of the negative stigma attached to shyness, I used to try to push through it or ignore it or hide it. I felt “less than” in so many ways and wondered why I couldn’t just “buck up” already and be like everyone else.

Thankfully, I no longer feel this way. I now see my shyness (and all of my other qualities) as part of what makes me who I am. I see it as something to embrace rather than hide. I see it as a gift that I’ve been given to help me empathize with others and be extra sensitive and introspective and perceptive. I now know for sure that being shy is not a weakness. It is such a powerful strength. 

I hope upon all hopes that we can all just learn to embrace our whole selves – the socially accepted traits and also those that aren’t yet seen in a positive light. Because the more we do so, the better we’ll feel. But also the more permission we’ll give to others to do the same. And this ripple effect of self love will impact all of us in one way or another. We’ll walk a little taller and will shine our light a little more and will embrace exactly who we are and exactly who everyone is. It’s just the way it works. And it all starts with honoring each part of ourselves.

So yes. I’m introverted. And I’m also shy. And I’m so many other things as well – each of which come together to make me exactly who I am: a loving soul.

There are so many of us in the world who are innately shy and innately wonderful. And it’s my hope that we’ll embrace this trait and see it as the gift that it truly is. We’re doing such great things in the world – from the comfort of our own homes, behind our screens, and in whatever way feels right for us. And we’re truly making such a beautiful difference. I love that so much.

Hugs,

jodi

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Loving Support in Numbers

inspired copyAs many of you know, I have been healing from adrenal fatigue over the past nine months. It’s been a period filled with a wide array of emotions and experiences. I’ve been frustrated beyond belief at moments – just wishing that I could feel normal again. But it’s also been a time of such growth, and I’ve learned more about myself in this relatively short period than I had in my entire life.

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned is that it’s okay to let go, to trust, and to allow others to support me. I’ve always prided myself on being independent – on being able to take care of myself. And it’s so interesting to me that oftentimes the things we hold onto with such tight fists are the things that we most need to let go of in order to grow and expand and heal.

Allowing myself to be supported is a huge part of my healing journey, which hasn’t always been comfortable. Asking for help brings up all sorts of outdated beliefs within myself. And at first, asking brought on feelings of weakness and vulnerability. I felt like I should be able to handle it (whatever “it” might be) on my own. But… I was too tired to handle it on my own. I was too tired to keep my walls up. I was too tired to judge myself for this perceived weakness. And I began to open my heart up and let others in.

And boy did the floodgates open! The energetic healings and intuitive readings and health assessments and outpourings of love came rushing into my world and into my heart, and I felt supported in a way that I had never felt before. I realized that all of this time, I had always been surrounded by this love and support. I just hadn’t yet allowed myself to receive it. I had to let go and trust and stay open, which is what I’ve been focusing on. It’s been seriously life changing for me to take in all of this love, and I could write an entire book sharing about all of the beautiful offerings that have poured in.

For now, though, I want to tell you about one of these offerings: a numerology reading given to me by my friend, Toni Cay Snyder. It really helped me put into a larger picture sort of context how I got to this place of feeling so weakened and what I can do to feel strong again.

I will be completely honest and say that I don’t know a ton about numerology, other than it’s always seemed really interesting to me. Before this reading, I knew that we all have a life-path number, but I didn’t really know much beyond that. So I went into it with an open heart and the possibility of learning something new, which I certainly did.

I’ve known Toni for the past year, and every interaction that I’ve had with her has been so loving and positive. She is someone who really understands what it’s like to feel burned out and hopeless, and she knows how good it feels to empower yourself to follow your heart and live the life you were born to live.

Based on my name and birth date, Toni was able to share each piece of my life path – including the possible highs and the possible lows. It was uncanny how spot on she was, and she helped me better understand how I got to this place that I’m currently in and how I can get myself to where I want to go. I believe that nothing is wasted and that we can find something positive from every experience, and so this reading was great confirmation of that for me. I learned that there are two sides to each number – one that’s a higher vibration and one that’s a bit lower, and we get to decide which side we want to focus on. My thoughts have certainly been focusing on how tired I feel and how frustrated I am, and Toni’s reading helped me see that I can instead be focusing on all of the gifts that are coming from this current experience. Such a great reminder!

toni copyIt was a great reading, and I’m so grateful to Toni for it. If you are curious about your own numbers or about numerology in general, I highly recommend connecting with Toni to learn more.

She’s put together a free assessment where you can easily calculate your personal life path! 

This amazing worksheet is the first step to understanding your blocks, sticking points and limiting beliefs, as well as your unique strengths, talents and inner gifts.

Click here to receive this free worksheet!

And feel free to share below what experiences you’ve had with numerology!

Hugs,

jodi

Shaking Things Up

believeLast week, I did something that I had never done before: I invited 5 of the archangels into my home. A friend had just finished her time with them and asked if I wanted to host them for five days. I talk to my angels all of the time, and I was excited about the possibility of miracles occurring by having all of their loving energy here at one time. When my husband and I opened the door and welcomed them in, we both felt tingling sensations throughout our bodies. And I knew that they had arrived.

I wasn’t immune to the magic that angels can bring. Over the last few years, since I’ve opened my heart to them, I’ve received daily signs that they were standing by – always near me. I’ve had a stone and a necklace appear out of nowhere. I’ve had lights flicker and shadows appear and all sorts of other beautiful ways that they check in with me and let me know that they are surrounding me with their love. So while I had no idea what to expect during this time, I knew it was going to be an amazing five days. And I couldn’t wait to see and feel their magic. I was hoping for visions and concrete messages that were clear beyond clear.

The first day went by, and I didn’t feel them at all. Same with the second. By the third, I was starting to feel really frustrated and angry, and my skepticism returned and wondered if they were here at all. I wasn’t feeling any magic or miracles. If anything, life seemed a little more bleak than before they arrived. I felt extra tired and extra “off.”  I felt sick without actually being sick – spacey and lethargic and just blah. I was so angry with them for not showing up and angry at myself for believing that they would. I just was ready to call the entire experiment off and be done with it.

But something inside of me – deep, deep down – believed that they were here and believed that they were doing exactly what needed to be done to help me – even if I couldn’t see or feel it. And so I settled down a little bit and waited for whatever sign, message, or guidance I was meant to receive to appear and become clear.

At the end of the third day, I was on Facebook and saw that someone posted about the west coast having more earthquakes than ever before over a 2-day period. The article said that the entire coast shifted a bit, which was unheard of. I’m such a sensitive soul that this explained why I was feeling so off and blah and spacey and unsettled. The ground was literally moving underneath me.

I felt that this was somehow related to the message that I needed to hear from them, but I still wasn’t sure what it all meant. My husband said that I wanted a big sign that they were there – something huge. And what bigger sign than having the entire earth shake! But I felt that there was another piece to it, and the next morning it came to me. I needed a big shake-up in my life – things have stagnated so much for me over the last few years. And the angels came to help move things around and literally shake things up again.

I’ve been through so much over the last 5 years (grieving, illness, uncertainty, immense amounts of stress, moving, etc.), and I have created a cocoon that I could sort of hide in and lick my wounds. It was absolutely necessary to do this to allow me to heal, but I’ve been feeling lately that this cocoon has become a comfort zone and a crutch. I’ve been feeling that it’s time to prepare myself to fly again and really needed a kick in the pants in the form of a huge sign to get me to take action.

While I’m still working out the details within my heart about what “shaking things up” means for me, I know that it’s big. I know that it’s not just a few tweaks here and there, but more a life overhaul. I’m turning 40 in a couple of weeks, and the timing feels perfect to sort of start over in many ways – to hit the reset button and welcome a fresh start. It’s time. And I’m so thankful to the angels for sticking with me long enough to make sure I received this message. They are now on their way to others who are getting ready to welcome them into their homes, and my heart feels full that I got the chance to experience their love while they were here. I know that I can call upon them anytime, and I certainly will from now on. And I’ll be a little more trusting with them and a little more grateful for them as well. :)

I’ll definitely keep you posted on these changes as they become more clear to me. And I also want to invite you to see how you can shake things up in your own life as well! 

Hugs,

jodi

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