With autoimmune disease, many of us choose healing diets to reduce inflammation and live healthier lives. When we first make this change, we’re very focused on the foods we’re no longer eating, and it’s common to say “I can’t eat that” when those foods are offered. Have you ever heard the saying: “Be careful what you say because your body is listening?” It’s true! And our hearts and minds are listening too. Words matter – whether we say them out loud or in our thoughts – and there’s a big difference between the phrase “I can’t” and “I choose”. One is negative and one is positive. That may seem like a small thing, but it can actually have a big impact. I dive into the details in this article.
+ Mindset Articles
Harness the mind-body connection for autoimmune health! And if you’re an audio learner, check out my podcasts on the same theme.
Can you go a day without complaining? When I first heard of this challenge, I thought to myself: “Oooh! That sounds really hard!” Yet I don’t see myself as a negative person. I have a daily gratitude practice, and it was born from my darkest days with rheumatoid arthritis. When pain seemed to be my whole world, I needed to find a way to still see beauty. That gratitude practice saved me. But that doesn’t mean I have a perfect mindset. I definitely complain. I think most people do. Complaining feels good in the moment, but research shows it increases stress and harms health long-term. So, how can we break the habit? In this article, I share how.
If you feel overwhelmed in the face of suffering, you aren’t weak, you’re human. If you also have autoimmune disease, you have a body that’s more sensitive to stress which means autoimmune flares might arise alongside. If you have a history of trauma (which is common for people with autoimmune disease), world traumas might feel especially intense, layered on top of your own experiences. So, overwhelm is natural, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Here’s a step-by-side guide to feeling grounded, replenished, and able to support yourself and others again.
Research shows that affirmations can help people cope with life’s challenges, an important skill when living with chronic illness. They boost problem-solving in stressful situations, and they lead to better health choices as well. There is a risk with affirmations, however. Sometimes they backfire. In that circumstance, your brain disagrees so strongly with the affirmation that it strengthens your negative thoughts instead. Has that happened to you? If yes, you’re not alone. In this article, I share tips for quieting your inner critic. I also teach my favorite technique for overcoming the mind’s resistance to affirmations – Iffirmations!
This is the project I’ve been working on for the past few years, and I’m so excited to share it with you! What is a healing mindset? Simply put, it’s the practice of harnessing the anti-inflammatory power of our minds to support autoimmune health. It’s realizing that some thoughts and behaviors ramp up inflammation and others tone it down. This book is a roadmap to doing less of the former and more of the latter. Inside, you’ll find over 90 mind-body techniques written specifically for people with autoimmune disease. It also includes beginner tips, advanced troubleshooting, and testimonials by fellow autoimmune warriors who have felt the power of the mind-body connection in their own lives (including me)!
Did you know that digestion starts in the brain? When we don’t pay attention to our meals and instead multi-task at mealtime, or eat under stress, our digestion becomes suppressed. This can lead to uncomfortable gastroinstestinal symptoms and also increase food intolerance. In this article, I share simple ways to harness the mind-body connection to not only digest your meals better, but enjoy them more too!
As many of you know, trauma increases the risk of developing autoimmune disease, and it can also increase the severity of symptoms. It changes the way your brain is wired and can trap your body in an inflammatory cycle. This online course uses neuroscience, expressive writing, and mind-body techniques to rewire your brain for health. The creator is Donna Jackson Nakazawa, a leading expert on the science of the mind-body connection and its effect on the immune system. She condenses 30 years of expertise into this transformative program.
When I think of a healthy holiday, I think of so many things: autoimmune health, celebration, self-compassion, stress resilience, and social connection. Yet the holidays are sometimes the opposite of these things! What is a mantra? It’s simply a statement of intention. How do you want to spend your holiday season? I’ve come up with 5 to inspire us.
Autoimmune flares can fill us with strong emotions alongside our physical symptoms, but did you also know that strong emotions can cause autoimmune flares? Mood boosts can be a wonderful daily practice. Not only do they help us through our darkest moments, but they also harness the anti-inflammatory power of the mind-body connection. Our goal isn’t to eliminate challenging emotions altogether; they’re part of the human experience. These techniques simply help us ride those waves with less suffering and greater health overall.
When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it felt like a personal failure – not just to me, but also to many people who knew me. “But you’re so health-conscious! How did this happen?” The unspoken words I heard were, “What did you do to cause this?” And that question has popped into my head at each step of this journey that I couldn’t control. In case you’ve ever felt the same, I want you to know this.
If you subscribe to my newsletter, you know that I often include a “Belly Laugh of the Week” – for good reason! Even in our darkest moments, laughter can take us by surprise and soothe not only our soul but also our body. How does this work? The physical act of laughing releases endorphins – chemicals in our bodies that are called “nature’s narcotics.” They can give us a feeling of euphoria and even relieve pain. Laughter also reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), and even makes our memory sharper. Goodbye brain fog! Living with autoimmunity is hard, and sometimes laughter feels out of our reach. Yet, those are the moments when we need laughter the most. So, today I offer you a laughter roundup.
Being diagnosed with autoimmune disease is overwhelming, and when we discover the healing potential of the paleo lifestyle, we can clutch it like a lifeline. It’s natural to learn all we can about ancestral diet, sleep, stress, epigenetics, the gut-brain connection, evolutionary biology, gene mutations, etc., in our efforts to heal. The question is this: When does research turn into obsession? When does it start to hurt instead of help?
The paleo autoimmune protocol is a powerful tool for healing, but it’s also a restrictive diet. Food is an emotional experience for us all, but if you struggle with eating disorders, that’s even more true. I’ve gotten emails from readers asking how they can navigate the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) without triggering disordered eating behaviors of their past. I’ve also seen conversations in the AIP Facebook groups that hint at some people using the AIP as an excuse to eat less. I’ve personally experienced fear of food, once I learned how it can exacerbate my autoimmune disease. My goal with this blog is to help us heal in every way. Today, I talk with Stefani Ruper, an expert on disordered eating, on how we can navigate the autoimmune protocol in a way that’s healthy both physically and psychologically.
Research shows that sadness increases our perception of pain, depression increases inflammation, stress can make you sick, and anxiety affects immune function. That’s the power of the mind-body connection. In this post, I write about EFT: a simple process for releasing negative emotions that may be holding back our healing progress. It’s also a technique that can be used in daily life as well. It can help dispel fear, anxiety, grief – any emotion we are struggling to let go. People even use it in airports to get over fear of flying. Have you used EFT in your own life? How has it helped you?
Did you know that once a week, I turn off my computer and hide my iphone in the garage? For 24 hours, I don’t have access to social media, email, or the internet. It may sound crazy to you, but it’s the most peaceful day of my week. I’ve been doing this for years, and I highly recommend it! If life seems stressful and busy, this is an amazing technique for slowing time down again.
Heartmath is a biofeedback technique where we can see our heart rhythm in real time, and track how it changes based on stress vs. relaxation. In this blog post, I share my first experience with it, including the graphs of my own changing heart rhythm. I also tested out various visualizations. Are you curious which was the most effective?
Learn how HeartMath taps the power of emotion to support our healing, instead of detracting from it.
So, your mind is full of thoughts 24 hours a day, and you cannot imagine being able to clear that crazy head. Sitting still makes you restless, and silence kind of freaks you out. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Every meditator for centuries has felt that way at the beginning. We’re all born with “monkey minds.” The key is to re-frame meditation in your mind, lower your expectations and release the pressure that comes with that word. Here are 10 ways to get started, as well as information on why it’s such a powerful healing tool.