Why Afformations & Believing in Yourself Unlocks Your Success

I have been working through a new book, The Book of Afformations® by Noah St. John and this quote really stuck out for me.
“Your life is a reflection of the thought seeds you plant and give energy to.”

What You Appreciate, Appreciates!

For years I have followed the concept that what you appreciate, appreciates. Meaning. The thoughts you have, the things you come to appreciate in life, the things you give your energy to, will bring about MORE. So let’s say that you really appreciate your partner doing the little things in life. The more gratitude, the more you appreciate those acts of service, the more you will notice them showing up in your life. The same is true for your inner world. The more you appreciate certain behaviors or specific ways you show up in this world, the more you will notice yourself showing up in those ways.

INTRODUCTION of Afformations

This concept of AFFORMATIONS takes “what you appreciate, appreciates” a step further.
 
Let me ask you this, how many times have you asked yourself questions like these?
  • Why am I so unhappy?
  • Why can’t I lose weight?
  • Why is life so much easier for other people?
  • Why can’t I do anything right?
I think we have all been there. I think we have all asked these type of questions to ourselves. This is the negative thought gremlins at work. Judging you. Reminding you that you will never be enough. You will never be good enough, pretty enough, thing enough, smart enough, wealthy enough. You will never, ever, never, ever be enough.

You plant the thought seed, bring energy to it and that thought becomes your reality… choose wisely.

I have been at this mindset stuff for a long time. So… I know that your energy follows your thoughts. But I never considered hoe much more influential a question was then a statement. I have gone done the whole statements of affirmations for years; I even include this in part of my program because it works. What I didn’t know is how much more influential a question was than a statement. 
 You see… you get EXACTLY what you ask for- negative or positive. You ask yourself, “Why can’t I lose weight?” over and over and over again. And this becomes your reality. You come to know that no matter what you try, you always find it difficult to lose weight.” You are asking for exactly what you DON’T want. Interesting, right? 

Actions backed with seeds of fear and failure

Let’s look at it this way. What can’t I lose weight? If you grew up in an environment where maintaining weight was a struggle, then you would probably assume that losing weight is hard and that’s just the only way about it. Weight loss is hard. Weight loss is supposed to be a struggle. This is the way it is. Some people have it easy but weight loss is hard for me.
You tell yourself I want to lose weight. Your desire IS to lose weight. But the real belief you hold is that losing weight is hard and there’s no way I can do this. (you know, you’ve witnessed the struggle firsthand). 
Holding tight to this negative belief despite desiring more for yourself, your actions, the steps you would take to propel you forward would probably be actions enveloped in reluctance. You wouldn’t wholeheartedly act, you can’t wholeheartedly act, with feelings of reluctance and your result would reflect the lack of action.
I mean if you don’t have FULL faith in yourself, you don’t TRULY believe in yourself, your actions are going to be backed with… fear, anticipation of failure, done with the belief that it won’t work out. Wow. That’s not exactly the proactive actions that will propel you forward into the results you want. 
Actions backed with seeds of fear and failure will NEVER propel you into the results you desire.

 

how to Re-Wire Your Brain so you TRULY Believe in Yourself

So what do you do? How do you re-wire your brain to BELIEVE in yourself, motivating you to take the necessary ACTIONS to provide the RESULTS you have ALWAYS wanted for yourself?
Try this super easy change. Change your question!! Instead of “Why can’t I lose weight?”, ask yourself “Why is it so easy to lose weight?”
Seriously, that’s it! Ask yourself frequently and consistently, “Why is it so easy to lose weight?”
The idea is that the human brain is designed to answer a question when asked. So by asking yourself the question, your brain begins to scan for an answer and inspire you to take the necessary actions you need to take to get you the desired results. These answers bubble up and look a whole like “aha moments”.
So this week, try this. Write down the 1 question you struggle with the most. Write down the question your negative thought gremlins keep asking you over and over and over. Then write the reverse of that question. Write the question as if you already mastered it.
.
Why am I so happy?
What do I always have as much money as I need?
Why is it so easy for me to lose weight?
Why am I so successful in my career?
Why am I enough?
.
And then tell me how it goes! I am so interested in hearing about all of the goodness that bubbles up for you!
Love and goodness, Sarah

Change Your Language, Change Your Life

This is a fairly tall order, right?! Change you language, change your life? Really?!

I LOVE walking with my clients along their journey to better health. It’s soul nourishing for me (selfish I know) to be witness to the incredible transformation that takes place within them. I say within them because all BIG change happens from within. Yes, our bodies will naturally and intuitively transform as well… but the REAL change happens when the body and mind are healed and fully connected with one another.

 

The Science of Language

You see… your words literally shape your brain and the way the synapses in your brain allows neurons to communicate with each other. To take this one step further, Neurosceintist, Dr. Andrew Newberg, and communications expert,  Robert Waldman, authors of Words Can Change Your Brain, wrote this, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”

Not only do the words you use, spoken and unspoken, influence the way the neurons in your brain communicate with each other, a single word can influence the regulation of physical and emotional stress within your body. When you use negative language, your body does not produce the neurochemicals needed to manage stress.

The increased levels of physical and/or emotional stress manifests itself into all aspects of your life—influencing your behaviors, the way you view and approach your life, your self-esteem, your energy levels, and your body’s ability to properly function at the most basic level.

That’s HUGE. And that’s why REAL change, BIG change, happens from within. And this is why my focus is NOT on reducing your caloric intake to 1200 calories or the whole “tough nutritionist love” quotes like “losing weight is hard, being fat is hard, choose your hard!”. Just… ewww!

Depriving your body and mind of nourishment does NOT strengthen the frontal lobes of your brain, activating your motivational centers, and propelling you into doing the BIG work so that you can live your best life possible. Depriving your body and mind of nourishment shuts down your brain’s logic and reasoning centers, drastically reduces your body’s ability to function at the most basic, cellular level, and restricts the flow of information within the  body/mind conduit.

Negative thought gremlins at work

So…. here’s a short of list of how the negative thought gremlins go to work in us.

  • “On my cheat day…”
  • “I ate bad… I ate I horribly… “
  • “I had a bad meal”
  • “It was a bad day”
  • “I was bad”
  • “I was lazy”
  • “I’m terrible at this”
  • “I just can’t get it right”
  • “I’ll never get this”
  • “I had no self control”
  • “I made a bad decision”
  • “I should have”
  • “I shouldn’t have”
  • “I screwed up”
  • “I splurged”
  • “I wish I would have”
  • “I wish I wouldn’t have”
  • “This is impossible”
  • “I was so good and then”
  • “I need to”
  • “I tried so hard and nothing good came out of it”

 

Why these negative thought gremlins

Any of these sound familiar? Negative thought gremlins, negative self-talk, negative inner dialogue can be sneaky and pervasive. It doesn’t have to be full-on self-hate-talk like “you’re an idiot!” or “nobody will ever love you because you are fat… and ugly… and worthless!” to be self-destructive and to disconnect a healthy body/mind connection.

It can be as simple as “I made a bad decision and ordered a huge bacon cheeseburger instead of a salad. I just can’t get it together. I have no self-control.”

Here’s the deal, as a human, you are evolutionarily wired to focus on the “bad” in order to protect yourself from threatening situations. This is deeply rooted in your body’s primal need for safety and security, for protection; think mountain lion scenario.

And this is where the pervasiveness comes into play. The more your thought patterns trend negative and the more you ruminate about those negative situations in your head, the more effortlessly and alarmingly comfortable it will become for you to tap into more negative thoughts.

 

Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together

I use this phrase a LOT! In neuroscience, this expression illustrates the concept of neuroplasticity—the brains’ ability to adapt in response to frequency of experience. Here’s how it works. Each task requires a certain combination of neurons to fire for you to be able to successfully complete the task. As these neurons are learning to fire together, the task requires a lot of effort and brain power.

Think back to your childhood of when you first learned to ride a bike. You had to think about where your hands needed to be, how to rotate your legs to peddle, how to maintain balance. It required active thought… and a lot of it! But with continued effort and frequency, the neurons that were required to fire in tandem for you to successfully ride a bike, wired together to form automatic reflexes.

 

Change your language, Change your life

Remember how your brain is evolutionarily wired to focus on the “bad” in order to protect yourself from threatening situations. Well, changing your language and thought patterns is the first step to hard wiring your brain so that you can cultivate more peace and joy in your life. That’s HUGE!

Using positive words, speaking kindly to yourself, strengthens the frontal lobe of your brain, propels the motivational centers of your brain into action, builds resiliency, and rewires the neurons in your brain to form an automatic reflex for positive thought patterns. The human body continues to AMAZE me. This is why I got into this work in the first place… it’s truly incredible.

 

Action steps

Every coaching session I lead ends with personalized action steps to help my clients further propel themselves into the life they want to live. So here’s your action step if you want to start changing your language, re-wire your brain for positive thought patterns and transform the structure within your brain that influences your perception of yourself and how you show up in this world.

Interrupt the Pattern. 

When you recognize the negative thought gremlins at work, the negative thought pattern starts running through all of the ways you are unworthy or incapable, you have to interrupt the pattern.

Stop

Stop the script. Literally just stop the inner dialogue playing on repeat.

Change your energy

Pat your chest, go for a walk, splash water on your face, listen to a song. By changing your energy, you active different neurons in your brain… you know the ones that aren’t firing negative thought gremlins!

Change your language

Invalidate the negative thought gremlins with KIND words for yourself, loads of LOVE and a healthy dose of REALITY. Do those actually go together? Yup! So… the truth is even if you chose a cheeseburger over a salad, it doesn’t mean you have 0 self-control. The reality is that you have an enormous amount of self-control. Think about every. single. time you exercised self control throughout that day starting with not whacking the alarm clock off your nightstand! 😉 The reality is that you do have it together most of the time and you do make good choices. Remind yourself of this.

Change your language. Actively speak kindly to yourself, offering yourself loads of love and compassion and give yourself a healthy dosage of reality.

 

So much love and goodness, Sarah

Advent Calendar

Candy Free Advent Calendar

A candy free advent calendar is a great way to focus our minds and hearts on what truly matters this holiday season. In the Schneider house, the month of December is also the Month of Kindness and Service. We spend the month focusing on ways we can be kind to one another and serve our community.

Before you think I am taking the fun out of the Christmas Countdown by removing candy, hear me out!! I LOVE food and feel food should be celebrated! There is something truly special about slowing down and appreciating the role food has in our lives, gratitude to those who cultivate and harvest ingredients so that we may nourish ourselves, and the sheer joy and pleasure that bubbles up when we enjoy real, wholesome foods… especially when in community with the people we love. Just thinking about it makes my heart feel so full. At meal time we NEED to focus on the food we are eating and truly celebrate the meaning it has in our lives.

Focusing on the right stuff

And yet, with that being said, we need to evaluate times in our lives when we unintentionally focus on food when our focus and attention should be on the activity or event. Let me explain…

My 7 year old took an interest in playing soccer a few years ago and I volunteered to be “Team Mom”. Part of my official duties included setting up the signup sheet for snacks. Each Saturday the girls played a 45 minute game and parents would sign up to bring snacks to one of the games each season. Here’s the kicker. Pun very much intended! 😉 Each game, the girls would be given fruit at half-time and then some sort of sugary drink and processed food snack at the end of the game. The girls were more concerned about when snack time was than where the ball was on the field. And seriously, it was a 45 minute game; they were not nutritionally depleted! I even reminded my daughter after one of the games that her dance class and gymnastics class were both 45 minutes long, she drank only water… and SURVIVED! 😉 Soccer should have been the focus, not the food.

 

See where I am going with this?

Advent calendars have a special history. Advent has a Latin origin meaning ‘the coming,’ or more accurately, ‘coming towards”. Christians view Advent as a time to celebrate the “coming” of Jesus. Centuries ago, the importance of this event inspired many Christians to not only celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day but also in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It was and remains a time where Christians could prepare themselves and their families for the significance of Christmas. Before the production of Advent calendars, Christians would mark strokes on their doors with chalk or hang little pictures each day on the wall to simply remind themselves of the importance of Christmas, the importance of what was to come.

As much as I love food and feel food should be celebrated, I don’t think a piece of chocolate captures the true meaning of Advent. In fact, I think the addition of chocolate devalues the spirit of Christmas. Kids become more excited and fixated on the chocolate and lose sight of what really matters. So for that reason, I made this Candy Free Advent Calendar and our family really ENJOYS it!

And for those of you who don’t identify with the Christian faith but are interested in spreading a little kindness throughout the month of December, this is for you too! The world could use more joy and kindness regardless of religious affiliation. So please, keep reading!

 

This is a great idea, but….

You already bought the chocolate calendar? Don’t have the time to pull this together this year? Your kids will never go for this whole non candy advent thing? I get it! I have totally been there. The great thing about life is that it’s NOT all or nothing. There’s a huge messy middle where you can find what works best for you and your family with what you have going on!

So… You already bought the chocolate Advent calendar? OR Your kids are pretty much set on candy advent calendars?

Keep the chocolate! At least for this year… 😉 Here are some ideas that you can include with the chocolate. Then perhaps next year, you can ditch the chocolate and focus only on the activities rooted in the true Christmas spirit. Oh and before the kids gobble down that chocolate mindlessly, remind them to savor and enjoy each little nibble!

  • Do the Schneider Candy Free Advent Calendar in addition to the candy! I’ve included a calendar with all the activities below. And if you are feeling EXTRA crafty, I included an easy way to make a great Advent calendar that you can use year after year.
  • Take turns saying one kind thing each of you did for someone else that day. I held the elevator door for someone, I picked up a paper that someone dropped, I told a friend she looked beautiful… you get it!
  • Print off a kids advent devotional and read it as a family while eating the chocolate. Here’s a free one. Click here. 
Don’t have the time? Just can’t take on another thing right now?
  • Work in a few acts of service on the weekends when you do have a little time. Donate food to the local food bank. Donate toys to Toys for Tots. Sponsor a child at your church and have your kids help shop for them.
  • Commit to one activity a week. Just one! Well, that’s actually ends up being four… but who’s counting.
  • And if you just don’t have it in you to do an Advent calendar, that’s fine too! Christmas will STILL come!! The magic of Christmas will still be there come December 25th!
  • File this idea away for next year… or better yet sign up for my newsletter and I will send you this next year and you don’t have to remember a thing! But for this year… remember the holiday season is supposed to be enjoyable and if skipping an advent calendar limits stress in your home, than do that.
IF you DO have the time this year and are on board with this Candy Free Advent Calendar, KEEP READING!!

 

 The Schneider Candy free Advent Calendar

My girls LOVE our advent calendar because they get to look forward to doing something really special EVERY. SINGLE. DAY until Christmas. AND it’s FUN! There are three categories of “activities”: service to others, random acts of kindness, and family fun… and yes there are some treats included. It IS the Christmas Season!!

So… here’s our 2016 Advent Calendar. (shhh… each day is a surprise so the kids haven’t seen these yet!). Feel free to print this calendar image out and use it OR create your own.

I have to say the most fun we had last year was Candy Bombing the local Kroger parking lot. I wasn’t so sure about this one but it was a blast. I picked up 4 boxes of candy canes at the Dollar Store and attached little notes on them that said Merry Christmas- You Have Been Candy Bombed! It was so much fun and that was the first memory that flooded back for Miss 7 when we dusted off the Advent Calendar this year. Great family memories!!

 

Candy Free Advent Calendar

Click here to print.

 

A few tips for making this work!

  • Every year when I have a little extra time over the Thanksgiving holiday, I pull out our family calendar and then decide which day we will do each one. Activities that require more time are saved for the weekends and days we are strapped for time like “dance night”, I schedule something that can be done throughout the day at school. It’s all about reducing and limiting stress during the holiday season. This is supposed to be fun!!
  • If you don’t start on December 1, you can STILL DO THIS!!! Start on December 3rd, December 10th, December 22nd… Just make family memories and enjoy the holiday season by spreading joy!

make it special, make it your own

I am NOT crafty! My Mom and twin sister are the crafters of the family, BUT I did manage to pull this off myself. Big pat on the back for Sarah! haha This is super easy even for the craft deficient. I found this cute box that looks like a book and these tins at Michael’s.

Candy Free Advent Calendar

tins

 

 

 

 

 

I printed these super cute numbers for FREE (click the images to print) from Marla Meridith, cut them and glued them on with regular ol’ Elmer’s school glue. And the best part…they fit the tins perfectly!! I liked the idea of using a heartier container so they hold up year after year. I’m all for doing projects ONCE. Remember I am NOT a crafter! 😉

DIY: Freebie Christmas Advent Calendar on MarlaMeridith.com             DIY: Freebie Christmas Advent Calendar on MarlaMeridith.com

And voila! This is what The Schneider Advent “Calendar” looks like! The girls joyfully anticipate opening up a new tin each day to discover the fun activity of the day. Oh and I type up the “activities” on a word document and cut them out. Nothing fancy. In fact, I have a snack size ziplock bag where I keep adding to them so I don’t have to reprint each year. Lazy, maybe? I would like to refer to that as “resourceful”.

advent-calendar-opened

advent-calendar-3

 

 

 

 

 

I hope your family has a WONDERFUL Christmas and ENJOYS this Candy Free Advent Calendar!

Always with you, Sarah


Comment Below! Let me know what you think about a Candy Free Advent Calendar. Better yet, let me know what your kids think!!


 

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Thanksgiving- Eating Mindfully Holidays

3 Simple Strategies for Eating Mindfully and Celebrating Food & Holidays

My social media feed has been full of articles discussing tips and strategies on how to survive the upcoming cocktail parties and holiday feasts. I clicked through and read a few articles, but the more I started reading, the more unsettled and uneasy I felt. Why do we need to “survive” the holidays? Why do we need to “survive” food? Survive a bear attack? Yes, absolutely! But the holidays?  Food?

Food is to be celebrated. Food is to be enjoyed. Food is NOT the enemy. If we approach the Thanksgiving table as if food is the enemy, those articles are right, we won’t survive it. But if we approach the Thanksgiving table with gratitude and joy in our hearts, we are much more likely to not only eat mindfully, but ENJOY all the delicious foods without judgmental thoughts about ourselves.

I like to look at life through an evolutionary lens to see where we may have lost our way. Consider this. The first Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans was a celebration of gratitude for survival and good health. The infamous Squanto not only taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, fish and forge for indigenous plants, but he saved the English settlers from malnutrition and illness. The Thanksgiving table is not something we need to survive. The Thanksgiving table is the place where we come together to celebrate family, food and good health. Thanksgiving is the day we humbly reflect upon the abundance that saturates our lives and hearts.

So with that being said, I am not going to belittle the spirit of Thanksgiving by providing tips and strategies like: eat your dinner on a salad plate or fill your plate with salad and eat only thank you bites of the rich foods you have longed for all year. That is NOT embracing the spirit of Thanksgiving—celebrating food, abundance and good fortune.

GRatitude

Instead… this morning as you are preparing your Thanksgiving feast, let yourself fill up with immense gratitude. Gratitude is soul nourishing and a nourished soul leads to a nourished body. (Click here for the research on gratitude.)

If you really need a few strategies before sitting down to the Thanksgiving table, here are strategies… NourishYourLife.org style.

 

Holiday Strategies for Eating Mindfully and Celebrating Food

 

Enjoy the special foods you have waited all year to enjoy

Often times the foods that are most special to us, the foods that make Thanksgiving, well… Thanksgiving! are also the processed foods my family doesn’t eat regularly. You might be surprised to find that on a nutritionists’ Thanksgiving table this afternoon, we will enjoy the Kraft Watergate Salad- ie, the green fluffy stuff! This is not my favorite. Ick!

BUT, my husband and step-son LOVE this stuff and even as I was making it yesterday, completely bewildered how this “salad” was even concocted (seriously, non-dairy whipped topping, pistachio pudding powder and pineapple?!?!?!), I made it knowing it would bring a smile to their faces. You see my husband was an only child and would take the train to his grandmother’s every year alone for Thanksgiving. Oh how times have changed, right?! And this was one of his favorite Thanksgiving dishes that his grandmother would always make him. Having this “salad” on our table, makes Thanksgiving FEEL like Thanksgiving.

So… this year enjoy… REALLY enjoy some of those once a year processed foods that make the Thanksgiving table complete.  NO judgement. NO punishing thoughts. NO “bad” food versus “good” food”. NO inner bartering. Just enjoy the foods for the joy they bring.

say a blessing

First let me say, while my family practices Christianity, you do NOT have to be religious to say a blessing. I am simply referring to a display of gratitude for the Thanksgiving feast before you! When we remind ourselves of the blessings before us, we are more likely to eat mindfully and thoughtfully.

Eat mindfully

I know… I know! Eat Mindfully at Thanksgiving?!?! Yes, it’s absolutely possible!! Fill your plate with all of the goodness on the Thanksgiving table. If you are like my family, there are so many dishes that I can literally get a tablespoon of each, and my plate is loaded with goodness! While eating mindfully does require you to eat with some control and within limits, (when you eat mindfully, you eat until you are no longer hungry, not full), the focus is actually on the food! See you can get on board with this! Focus on the food. Focus on each bite. The tastes, the textures, the nuances. Eat mindfully by allowing yourself the joy of the food in front of you. And when you are joyfully eating and celebrating food and family alike, you will feel that sensation that fills your body, providing that gentle nudge that says, you have been filled. You are complete. No more food is needed.

Don’t forget to EAT

What? Who forgets to eat on Thanksgiving? This is a reminder for all of the cooks out there. Do NOT forget breakfast and/or lunch depending on when you are serving your Thanksgiving feast. Cooking requires energy! And you don’t want to be completely exhausted and depleted by the time you actually sit down to eat. When we are completely famished, we eat hurriedly and often too much. Eat regular meals before your Thanksgiving feast so that when you sit at the table, you can enjoy the foods mindfully and with great celebration!

HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Always with you, Sarah


Comment below: Let me know how eating mindfully worked for you today! I would love to hear of your successes and challenges. Have a blessed day!!


 

Mindfulness- Mindfulness at the Dinner Table- NourishYourLife.org

Mindfulness at the Dinner Table

For years I have heard this term “mindfulness” thrown around and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I would imagine meditating Buddhist monks and just couldn’t see how it applied to me. Then I heard the wonderful Dr. Brené Brown, a vulnerability and shame research professor at the University of Houston, explain it in a way that made sense.

She explained it in two words: “paying attention”. That’s it. If you pay attention to what you are sensing, feeling, experiencing in the present moment, You. Are. Practicing. Mindfulness. And to take it a step further, acceptance. This is the hard part; oh my, is this the hard part!

Not only do you have to pay attention to the present, but you have to come from a judgement free place. That means turning off the inner dialogue of what is “right” and “wrong” and just being present, allowing yourself to sense, feel, and experience everything…. EVERYTHING. And then accepting EVERYTHING without judgement and for what it is.

Brené’s words deeply resonated in me in the most visceral way, because this is one of the differences between disordered eating and healthy eating. Mindfulness! Paying attention! When you allow yourself to be fully present and engaged in the meal experience, WITHOUT judgement, without negative inner dialogue, you are giving yourself a tremendous gift of joy and fulfillment.

Applying Mindfulness to the Dinner table

For those of you who struggle with your relationship to food and to those who have been diagnosed with disordered eating, I am sure the idea of turning off the negative inner dialogue feels daunting and impossible.

But imagine, just for a moment, how it would feel if you were able to enjoy a meal with NO negative inner-dialogue. Imagine a meal experience WITHOUT inner bargaining, minimizing, numbing, rationalizing  or punishing thoughts. Imagine what it would feel like to sit at a table, fully conscious and aware, feeling joy and peace, thinking nothing other than gratitude and delighting in each bite.

This is possible. This is absolutely possible!

 Try This

Shift the inner dialogue from bargaining, minimizing, numbing, rationalizing  or punishing thoughts to approaching your meal with curiosity and child-like wonderment. Notice the colors, textures, tastes of each ingredient you are eating. Describe them to yourself. How do you feel throughout the meal?

REmember

  • Slow down
  • Breathe
  • Check in with yourself throughout the meal. How are you feeling?
  • Eat slowly and savor the nuances of each food.
  • Chew. Really chew!
  • Stop when you are no longer hungry.

Comment below! Let me know if how your mindfulness practices are working. Challenges? Successes? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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