With autoimmune disease, we’ve been told our body is attacking us, and it’s common to feel betrayed by our bodies and at war with ourselves. How can we foster self-love instead?

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Episode 202: Self-Love Workbook with Dr. Shainna Ali

When you have autoimmune disease, it’s common to feel disconnected from your body and even betrayed by your body. Yet we live in our bodies, so this creates a complicated relationship with ourselves. Instead of self-love, we might end up feeling self-hate. How can we change that? How does self-love, or the lack of self-love, impact our wellbeing, both mentally and physically? My guest today is Dr. Shainna Ali, a mental health counselor, educator, and advocate. She is also the author of the Self-Love Workbook series. They are practical guides with concrete action steps. They go beyond a misty view of self-love and teach skills we can apply in our daily lives.

Episode 186: How to Ask for Help with Kalene Khan

Human beings depend on each other. Sometimes we give help, and sometimes we receive it, but many of us are much more comfortable in the giving role. Autoimmune disease can turn the tables quickly. Suddenly, we’re in a position where we need help more often. If we were the caregivers before, how do we navigate this change in identity? How do we face the fears that may arise – of vulnerability, feeling weak, being seen as a burden, or people saying no? If you took pride in your independence, do you feel shame if you need help? There are gifts that come with learning to receive: a deeper intimacy in relationships, a greater sense of self-compassion, a more expansive sense of identity, and a stronger connection with humanity. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy transformation. My guest is Kalene Khan, a licensed therapist who specializes in self-compassion. She helps people learn to be as kind to themselves as they are to others. She is our guide for this conversation today.

Episode 181: Overcoming Bias with Anu Gupta

One thing I love about the autoimmune community in general and the Phoenix Helix community specifically is that we care deeply about each other. We lift each other up, with the goal of living our healthiest and happiest lives. Health involves both self-care and community care, and today’s podcast is a blend of the two. I’ve talked about the impact of racism in two prior podcasts. Episode 153 focused on racism in healthcare. Episode 178 focused on racial trauma. In both episodes I mentioned that overcoming our own unconscious biases can be a powerful first step in helping overcome racism within our society. There is much beyond our control, but this is something we can change. We’re approaching this conversation with love rather than judgment. My guest is Anu Gupta. He’s developed a compassion-based, scientific approach to overcoming bias and addressing the root causes of racism and other inequalities within our culture. He is a research scientist and educator, and simply a warm, wise and wonderful person.

Episode 180: Body Image and Autoimmune Disease

With an autoimmune diagnosis, we are told that we have a disease for which there is no cure. It can be shocking and immediately change how we see ourselves. It’s not uncommon to feel betrayed by our bodies. Symptoms can also dramatically change our abilities, impacting careers, hobbies, and roles within families. Many of us go through an identity crisis – no longer feeling like the person we were before. Then there’s the impact of having a visible vs. invisible illness. Some autoimmune diseases change our physical appearance and how others interact with us. Whereas others have symptoms that are hidden, often inspiring disbelief in the pain that can’t be seen. Today, four people with autoimmune disease (including myself) share our experiences with how our body image has changed since diagnosis

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Episode 167: Why New Year’s Resolutions Often Fail with Dr. Shainna Ali

With autoimmune disease, habits have a big impact on our health, yet 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Why is this so? Should we give up? Or are there things we can do to make us more likely to succeed, whether we make a resolution on January 1st or any other day of the year? That’s the topic of our podcast today. My guest is Dr. Shainna Ali, a mental health counselor, educator, and advocate. She’s an expert at helping people make positive changes in their lives, and be compassionate with themselves while they do it.

Perfectionism with Dr. Judy Tsafrir

Episode 161: Perfectionism with Dr. Judy Tsafrir

Often, perfectionism is seen as a positive trait. What’s wrong with striving for excellence? Nothing, but there’s a difference between healthy striving and perfectionism. Healthy striving is a self-compassionate mindset that allows for mistakes, learns from them, sets challenging but achievable goals, and adapts as needed. Perfectionism fears failure, despises mistakes, sets unattainable goals, and feels shame and self-judgement when those impossible goals aren’t met. When you apply perfectionism to autoimmune disease, your diagnosis may feel like your fault, and every flare may feel like a failure. You may believe that if you just lived your life perfectly, you could cure yourself. I am a recovering perfectionist, so I have felt all of these things. Don’t judge yourself if you have felt this way, too. In this podcast, we explore the connection between autoimmune disease and perfectionism. My guest is Dr. Judy Tsafrir, a holistic psychiatrist who approaches mental health from a functional medicine perspective. She strives to treat root causes in her practice, rather than just symptoms.

You Are Not a Failure

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.

Episode 106: From Victim to Empowered with Sarah Kolman

We all find ourselves in victim mode once in a while, especially when life is hard. There is a time and place for throwing ourselves a pity party. The key is not getting stuck in that pattern. How do we identify signs that we are in a victim mindset, and how can we shift to feeling empowered, strong and hopeful again? My guest today is Sarah Kolman, an expert in psychoneuroimmunology, the science of how our thoughts and emotions affect immune and autoimmune health.

Episode 85: Best Of – Overcoming Self-Sabotage with Dr. Judy Tsafrir and Rory Linehan

This is one of my favorite episodes from Season 1 of this podcast. It’s a timeless topic. Sometimes, we make poor diet and lifestyle choices, even knowing that it will cause us pain. In this episode, we answer the question: “Why do we do this?” And we also offer a variety of ways to overcome this pattern. Dr. Judy Tsafrir is a psychiatrist who specializes in nutritional approaches to healing. She’ll be teaching us what’s going on in our bodies and brains, when we sabotage our own health. Rory Linehan is the blogger behind The Paleo PI. He has personal experience overcoming self-sabotage and will be sharing his story.

Episode 80: Self-Compassion with Dr. Kristin Neff

With autoimmune disease, we’ve been told that our body is literally attacking itself. It’s common to feel betrayed by our bodies, furious with our bodies, and at war with ourselves. That’s not a healing state. However, making the shift to self-love doesn’t always come easily, especially when we’re suffering. The good news is that self-compassion can be learned, and it supports our health in multiple ways, not just mentally and emotionally but also physically. This podcast goes into all the details, including beginner steps and a guided self-compassion meditation. My guest is Dr. Kristin Neff. She has been teaching self-compassion and leading the research in this field for the past 15 years.

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