Healthy Lifestyle

Be Sad

blog be sadWe all want to be happy, but the reality is that life is more complex than simply being happy all the time. Being human means we will experience a range of emotions - joy, sadness, anger, compassion, frustration, and so many more!

There is a richness that comes when we embrace all these emotions, but many people really fight against the difficult ones. Trying to avoid difficult emotions may seem wise, but the truth is we need to learn to embrace all of our emotions.

Researcher and author Brene Brown explains that “we can not selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

Let’s take some time to consider how to handle these difficult emotions and explore if we are dealing with them in a healthy way!


Difficult Emotions NOT Welcome

As a child many people are given the message that their difficult emotions are not acceptable. It may be that their parents didn’t recognize the child’s emotions. They were simply told to “look on the bright side” or to “be grateful” for what they had. Some parents were so disconnected from their own emotions, that they couldn’t provide a healthy role model on how to handle intense feelings. Still other children were outright ridiculed for showing “negative” emotions, even being told “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”

These techniques are often used as an attempt to shut down the child’s emotion when it is uncomfortable for the adult. Even well meaning parents may use them as ways to distract children from dealing with difficult emotions when the emotion feels too big to handle. But having a parent gently accept and guide their child through these big emotions, is an important step in teaching the child to regulate their own emotions. 

Without the ability to self regulate, people are often left either flooded by their emotions or trying to push the difficult emotions away. Being flooded by intense emotions can be really overwhelming, but pushing them away is damaging as well. When we “put on a happy face” before allowing ourselves to experience our emotions, we miss out on the valuable information those emotions are giving us.


Why Even Difficult Emotions Are Important

According to Psychiatrist Sheri Van Dijk, “emotions serve important functions and are very necessary, even though they can be really painful at times.” Emotions provide you with information, motivate you towards action, and help you communicate more effectively. 

Instead of numbing our emotions, counselor Hannah Rose says, “we must show up for all of our emotional experiences, no matter how painful they are, or they are destined to continue manifesting in our lives in different ways... Actively processing and allowing ourselves to show up for our emotions is what heals all wounds.”

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


Embracing All Emotions

Here are some ways that you can start intentionally trying to embrace your emotions today. 

  • Recognize your emotions - If it is easier start with the positive emotions, and begin noticing what you feel. Ask yourself what you are feeling throughout the day. Make yourself name the emotion. 
  • Notice your body - Emotions often manifest themselves physically. If you have trouble noticing your emotions, listen to your body. Is your throat tight? Are your shoulders tense? Does your head or stomach hurt? These things are clues that can help you notice what you are feeling.
  • Use a feelings chart - There are many feeling charts that provide some language around feelings. These can be very helpful for those who struggle to know how they feel. (A great one is the feeling wheel.)
  • Repeat gentle mantras - Using a mantra can be a great way to release some of the judgement you may have towards yourself when you experience negative emotions, so that you can begin to accept difficult emotions. (i.e. “My feelings matter,” “It’s okay not to be okay,” “This suffering is part of the human existence,” etc.)
  • Invite people you trust into your emotional world - We are often our own worst critics, judging ourselves for things we would lovingly accept in a friend. Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend who accepts and validates your emotions can be extremely helpful in learning to accept yourself.
  • Visualize emotions like a wave - Waves rise up, peak, and then dissipate on the shore line. Like waves, you can’t hold emotions back without a huge amount of effort, so learning to let them wash over you without resisting is a valuable skill. Just like the wave releases the energy it carries when it crashes against the shore, the emotions energy will settle after it washes over you.

If you find that these exercises are ineffective or bring up more emotion than you are comfortable handling on your own, you may want to consider getting some extra support. A good therapist is skilled at helping clients navigate their emotional world and learn to self regulate. (If you would like a referral to a good therapist, please don’t hesitate to ask.)



It is never too late to learn to accept all our emotions and listen to what they are telling us. Leaning into difficult emotions can be scary at first, but ignoring them can lead to all kinds of trouble - emotionally, relationally, and even physically. 

Dr. Jamie


Are You Sleep Deprived

blog are you sleep deprivedBetween work, activities, and family, life can feel pretty overwhelming. You may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, so there simply isn’t time to get a good night’s sleep. But sleep is one of the most fundamental functions we do each day. 

Without good sleep you will not only feel terrible, but you will begin to damage your body. So, how much sleep do you need, and how can you tell if you are getting enough? 

Let’s dive into that question and see what your body needs to function at its best.


Sleep Research

Researchers took a group of people, put them in a stimulus free room for 14-24 hours a day, and monitored their sleep. There were no clocks, so subjects didn’t know when they were going to bed or waking up. 

The first couple days of the study, sleep times averaged 12-20 hours per night! This seems to indicate that many of the subjects were in a “sleep debt” going into the study, meaning their bodies were trying to catch up from chronic undersleeping. 

Over a few days, the participants' sleep began to average approximately 8 hours a night (with some sleeping more, and some sleeping less).

Read more ...

What's Your Heart Telling You

blog what hearts telling youWhen we talk about stomach acid, most people think about unpleasant things such as acid reflux and heartburn. But what if stomach acid is actually our friend?

We need a fair bit of stomach acid to function properly, but many people never understand it’s job in the body. Low stomach acid can lead to a host of problems, including the dreaded heartburn.

Let’s listen to our heart(burn) and take a look at the important role stomach acid plays in digestion.


The Role of Stomach Acid

According to gut and digestive health nutritionist Caroline Peyton there are several reasons our body needs stomach acid.

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Listen to Your Gut

blog listen to your gutYour gut health is crucial to the overall health of your body! Hormone regulation, your immune system, and even your mental health are just a few things that are directly impacted by your gut health. 

If we want to know how healthy our gut is, all we have to do is listen to our body. Paying attention to our poop is a great way to tell how our digestion is doing. But many people don't know how to read the signs that their bodies are giving them.

Let’s take a look at this issue and learn what your poop is trying to tell you!

The Basics

Since we don’t often talk about poop we may not know if what we are experiencing is a sign of health. It is important to shake the awkwardness of the conversation, so that we can listen to the messages our body is sending us.

When we talk about poop, we will be looking at the form, frequency, color, and smell. Each of these aspects can give us insight into our digestive health. 

When we consider the form of our poop, one of my favorite charts is from the book “Practical Paleo.” Take a moment to look at the chart and consider what you tend to experience!

An Ideal Poop

Ideally, we will have smooth soft poop that doesn’t fall apart when the toilet is flushed. The poop should be a chocolatey brown color (like that of a Hersey bar). Bowel movements should not have a very strong odor or be difficult to wipe. 

Since bowel movements are one of the body’s ways of eliminating toxins, it is important to have one to three bowel movements consistently each day. It should not hurt to poop, and you shouldn’t have to strain.

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Three Connections

blog three connectionsThere are many things people know they must do if they want to be healthy: eat well, get adequate movement, refrain from smoking, and limit alcohol. But now we can add “enjoying social connections” to our list of healthy habits!

Research is showing that social connections have a major impact on both our mental and physical health. It is not hard to believe that those who feel more connected with others tend to struggle less with anxiety and depression. They also have higher self esteem, greater levels of empathy, trust others more, and tend to be more cooperative.

While the impact of social connections on emotional wellbeing may be expected, the extensive impact on physical health may come as a surprise to many. 

Let’s take a look at this dynamic so that you can lean into the benefits of social connections.


Social Connections Impact of Physical Health

According to Dr. Emma Seppala, the American Association for the Advancement of Science published a study that found that “a lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.”

A lack of social connections has been linked to obesity levels, inflammation, and hypertension. It may be shocking, but strong social connections actually improve your immune system and lead to a 50% increased chance of longevity. 

More research is needed to discover why social connections have such a dramatic impact on health, but the research is clear that social connections are extremely important if you want to live a long and healthy life.


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Bugs, Breathing, and Movement!

blog bugs breathing and movementWhat if I told you that the foundation to being fit and strong was so easy a baby could do it? It would be hard to believe, but it's true. And babies everywhere are doing it!  

Since we do not have to teach babies how to move - lift their head, rollover, or crawl - we typically don’t think about all that goes into their development. 

If we look closely, however, there is much that we can learn from the amazing process these little ones go through as they develop their ability to move.


Functional Movement

Research has found that the way a baby moves is the most efficient way to move. When we deviate from this type of movement we will not function at our best. 

Functional Progression exercises are modeled after babies and how they move, organize movement patterns, and learn to stabilize. They allow us to reestablish movement patterns so that they become natural again.  


Where to Begin - Diaphragmatic Breathing

Breathing properly is a foundational piece of movement. Unfortunately most adults do not breathe in a natural way. In fact, a pilot study of 96 people in 2003 that assessed breathing mechanics found that only 25% of people breathe properly. 

Using the wrong muscles to breathe can lead to a host of problems such as recurrent chronic fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, as well as many musculoskeletal symptoms.

If you are trying to make changes in the way that you breathe, it will take some time. But you can make real changes if you try to focus on your breathing technique at least once an hour. This video will show you what you should be doing to breathe properly.


fm breathing

Remember, this is the foundation for all the other functional movement exercises, so don’t skip this important step.


The Dead Bug

While you are learning to breathe properly again, you can also begin to engage your core in a specialized way. 

Take a moment to think about a baby laying on it’s back. Where are his legs? Where are her hands? They are in the air moving about. 

This next functional movement exercise, called the “dead bug,” mimics that type of movement.

fm dead bug


I am passionate about leading you to greater health! If you are interested in learning more about Functional Progression or would like to work with me to learn these movements give us a call 630-448-0255. 

Dr. Jamie


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  3. A Hidden Danger
  4. Take a Deep Breath! (No, Not Like That)
  5. Is Stress Making You NUTS?
  6. A Health Concern You May Be Overlooking
  7. Moving Through Difficult Emotions
  8. A Delicate Dance
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  12. It's That Time of Year Again
  13. Enjoying Winter Wonderlands
  14. Promising Research on Covid-19
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  18. An Easy Way to Improve Your Sleep
  19. Halloween (and Thanksgiving and Christmas OH MY)!
  20. A Word to the Wise as Cooler Days Approach
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  22. Leaning Into Difficult Emotions
  23. Back-to-School Wellness with Essential Oils
  24. Social Connection and Its Impact on Physical Health
  25. We've Still Got Your Back
  26. What Your Poop is Telling You!
  27. Is There a Right Way to Poop?
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