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Healthy Lifestyle

Brene Brown on Wholehearted Living

10 guideposts for wholehearted living


“Wholeheartedness is like a North Star. You can never get there, but you know when you are headed the right way.” - Brene Brown


Brene Brown is a researcher and social worker best known for her work on shame, vulnerability, and living a wholehearted life. She is a compelling storyteller which allows her to make these deep concepts accessible in an enjoyable way. 

In her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead she explores 10 guideposts to living wholeheartedly. 

Brown says, “wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think - no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough! It’s going to bed at night thinking; yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. Wholehearted living is not a one-time choice; it is a process. In fact, I believe it’s the journey of a lifetime.”


Cultivating the Positive

Brown create the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living based upon her research and the people she found who were living in a wholehearted way. Each guidepost has something positive to cultivate as well as something that must be released. As the term guidepost implies, the goal is to be heading in the right direction, not achieving some level of perfection.

This week we will look into cultivating the positive aspects of living a wholehearted life and next week we will focus on things we must release. (For a sneak peak of what we need to let go of look at the graphic below). Intentionally developing practices around these principles will lead you towards embracing a more wholehearted way of living.

Wholehearted Living Cultivate














• Authenticity 

Brown says, “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be, and embracing who we actually are.”

• Self-Compassion

According mindfulness and self-compassion expert Kristen Neff, self care includes self-kindness, an awareness of our common humanity, and practicing mindfulness. (For great resources on self-compassion check out Neff’s website.)

• A Resilient Spirit

Resilience has to do with a “tolerance for discomfort.” We must be able to do tough things, go through tough situations, and feel tough emotions. 

• Gratitude & Joy 

Brown found that the most joyful people developed a gratitude practice. (Check out this blog post for more about Authentic Gratitude in Difficult Times.)

• Intuition & Trusting Faith

As Brown says, “Intuition is not a single way of knowing…it’s our ability to hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we have developed knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith, and reason.”

• Creativity

According to Brown, “There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.” 

• Play & Rest 

Dr. Staurt Brown, who leads the National Institute for Play, states “play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy, helps us navigate complex social groups, and is at the core of creativity and innovation.”

• Calm & Stillness 

Brene Brown defines calm as “creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity.”

• Meaningful Work

Using our unique talents and gifts to create a meaningful work environment and bring them to the world is both powerful and vulnerable.

• Laughter, Song, and Dance

Brown explains that “Laughter, song, and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly matters when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration or healing: We are not alone.”


While inspiring, these concepts are not always easy to implement. It takes courage to move towards this way of living, since these concepts require embracing vulnerability. Everyone must decide for themselves if the benefits are worth the risks. 

For myself, I tend to believe Brown when she declares:


“Wholeheartedness is hard. But not fully living our lives is much harder. And much more dangerous.”


Dr. Jamie


Top Fitness Picks

Top Fitness PicksWhile I was an active child, I have never been a super athletic person. Working out and staying fit does not come easy to me. Because of this, it is especially important for me to find the right type of workout at the right kind of gym. 

In the past I have tried places that did not give enough guidance, made me feel intimidated, or even shamed me for not keeping up. This was discouraging and at times dangerous. (Like the time I was told to just try a 60 lb deadlift, when they knew I had never lifted before!)

But I have also had a handful of incredible experiences. Though these experiences were very different in style, they had a few things in common. Both gyms provided adequate guidance, encouraged me to work at my own pace, and celebrate my achievements. The instructors created a nurturing, positive environment where it was safe to take risks and grow. 

Two of the best gyms that I have found are H4 Fitness in Wheaton/Geneva and Mindful Movements in Glen Ellyn! 


H4 Training

Nexus by definition is a means of connection between members of a group or things in a series; link; bond. To us the name Nexus truly defines what our small group training is all about and that is a bond and connection. -Hank, owner and trainer

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Calling All Lifelong Learners: A peek Into Dr. Jamie's Audible Library

A Passion for Learning 

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”― Henry Ford 


I love growing in my knowledge and never want to stop learning! With a fairly demanding schedule it has been important for me to be creative in the way I do this. Listening to audio-books is a great way to immerse myself in new ideas while driving and has allowed me to explore many topics.

This week I’ll share with you some of the books I have been listening to lately. Perhaps it will inspire you to read one of these books, or explore a topic you’ve been meaning to look into.

The books range in authors from doctors to navy seals. The topics cover leadership, healing, and vulnerability. But each of these authors is passionate about their story, making for a compelling read!




reading essentialismEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

“The Way of the Essentialist isn't about getting more done in less time. It's about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.

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When Keeping Your Mouth Shut Has Health Benefits!

nose breathingThere is one situation where most experts agree it is best to keep your mouth shut. No, it's not when you have a strong opinion or disagree with a friend. It's simply when you are breathing!

We all know that we need oxygen to survive, but does it really matter if we get that oxygen breathing through our mouth or nose? According to many experts, it does.

Let’s look at the claim that nose breathing is the best way to get your oxygen and explore ways to get the most out of your breath!


Why Nose Breathing Is Best

Science has found many benefits of nose breathing over mouth breathing that most people are not aware of, including:

  • Filtering - the cilia in our nose acts as a filter, purifying the air of particles. Further down the respiratory tract, the mucus lined windpipe continues to trap particles before they get to our lungs.
  • Regulating - the nasal passages regulate the humidity and temperature of the air we breathe.
  • Absorbing Oxygen - the paranasal sinuses produce nitric oxide, a gas that can increase your lungs ability to absorb oxygen by 10-25%.
  • Immune Response - nitric oxide also has anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-bacterial properties.

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Authentic Gratitude in Difficult Times

Gratitude Week 2Last week’s blog looked at the benefits of creating a gratitude practice and explored many ideas for starting one. While some of you were ready to jump into a gratitude practice, the very thought of gratitude may have made others of you want to scream! 


Gratitude & Denial Are Not the Same Thing

Thinking about gratefulness doesn’t seem to make sense when you are hurting. That’s okay! If life has been difficult recently, you may be struggling with all kinds of painful emotions. There is a reason you feel the way you do, and pushing these difficult emotions aside is not our goal. 

In fact, denying our difficult emotions can actually have a negative effect on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It is important to allow yourself to lean into these painful emotions and accept them without judgement. 

Leaning into difficult emotions and not avoiding them can actually open you up to a whole new experience.  According to Brene Brown, “mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.” 

Since we know that putting on a happy face and forcing gratefulness will not help us in the long run, let’s explore how to lean into gratefulness while honoring the hard aspects of our lives!

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A Simple Practice With Huge Health Benefits

Gratitude 1Would you be interested in a simple practice that research has found to be beneficial for your physical, psychological, and social well-being? What if I told you this practice was free, did not take much time, and could be done in the privacy of your own home?

Some of you may have already guessed that we are talking about creating a Gratitude Practice. A Gratitude Practice is different than having an "attitude of gratitude" or "looking on the bright side of things."

Let's explore the benefits of this practice and how to start one, but first let's talk about why many people cringe at the thought of gratitude! 


Why Many People Don't Like Gratitude Practices

With study after study showing the impact that gratitude has on both physical and emotional wellbeing, implementing a gratitude practice could be in our best interest. While practicing gratitude has many benefits, at times it can feel like we are just being asked to “look on the bright side”.


In truth, gratitude must be held in tension with the reality of life. It is crucial to lean into moments of both gratefulness and suffering.

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