Showing posts with label health coach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health coach. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Intentional Recovery

By Sara Scheller BSN, RN, CCRN, NBC-HWC
Integrative Nurse Health Coach

What thoughts come up if I ask you about your work-life balance? Work-life balance isn’t always about how much yoga you do or how often you take a week’s long vacation (although both of these are really important!). Work-life balance is more how often we are we allowing our mind to feel safe so that it can repair, recover and rest on a regular basis. If I told you that we need an equal amount of rest as we do work, would you believe me? 

Let’s begin by unraveling the idea of “work”. You can define work as your job or career, but what about all of the other work we do as human beings? Caring for others, tending to our household duties, and even some hobbies can be work! When we look at our job or career, is it something we enjoy? There is a saying that goes, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is something as simple as a mindset. Are we feeling like the work we do is fulfilling a need, serving a greater good, and connecting us with our purpose? This does not mean we have to do world changing things! I’ll share a story about a recent interaction I had with a diner waitress. On several occasions, I went out for a weekend breakfast at a local diner. It did not take long to notice this one waitress in particular. She always had a great big smile on her face that could easily light up a room and she almost floated through the restaurant with her energy as she happily asked if I needed a refill on my coffee. Observing her, I could tell she just loved what she did. I took a moment to affirm that to her, “I can’t help but notice you look like you really enjoy your job.” She replied, “I really do, I have been working here for more than 20 years and even in times of my life that were really difficult, this place always gave me a sense of joy.” Her energy was infectious and her attitude was so motivational. What if we change the way we look at the work we do in our lives? Are we doing something because we want to or we have to? How can we find moments of joy in the work we are doing in our lives?

Next, are you setting aside time to actually rest and recover? I know your first answer or at least thought is probably, “But where do I find the time?” What if you set an intention to actually make the time? It may not be easy, but I assure you it will be worth it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be scheduled, but don’t just set it aside for “someday” because we all know someday may never come. You should not be stressed out about sticking to your schedule to get rest in, because that defeats the whole purpose! Internally, can you recognize when your mind is on overload and you need to find a moment of calm? Deepak Chopra recommends using the STOP technique to insert a pause to combat the cycle of stress: first Stop, then Take 3 deep breaths and smile, Observe how you are feeling in the moment and Proceed with awareness. Recognize that there may be times you may have to grind to get the work done that you need to do, but there are still small moments you can insert a pause to keep you going in order to prevent burnout. Externally, what are you doing in your free time? One way to create balance is to do the opposite of what is causing the stress. For example, if you have a busy job where you have to be on your feet and you are physically drained, rest for you may look like lying down and reading a good book. Or if you work a desk job where you are sitting at a computer all day, maybe you need to be active like going for a walk or a run in nature. Also, are you prioritizing sleep? Physiologically, sleep is a time when our brain gets rid of toxins, allowing our brain and body to repair, recover, and prepare for the next day. So, a good night sleep may literally clear the mind. A 2011 study in Sleep reported insomnia to have an estimated cost to U.S. companies of more than $63 billion a year in lost productivity.  Furthermore, how are you fueling your body? Are you feeding your body and mind high quality, fresh, nutrient rich food? When we allow our brain’s parasympathetic nervous system (think opposite of our stress response) to operate, we are able to rest and digest. Our body can make optimal use of the food we feed it.

Balance is not an endpoint, it is ongoing. Just when you think you have it all worked out, something changes. The only constant in life is change, and how we handle or react to the change, the more we can build our resilience. When we practice tools to build our resilience it allows us to bounce back with more ease, preventing dis-ease. We believe practice makes progress, not perfect. In health coaching, we guide you to find what stress management practices you can use to build your resiliency. We look at what has worked for you in the past and we hold you accountable for consistently using your strengths to live your best life. Together, we can co-create a life where you feel empowered to manage your own health.

To learn more about health coaching, visit our website at HackensackMeridianHealth.org/IntegrativeMedicine or call 732-263-7999.   

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Summer Simplicity

By Kathleen Welshman RN-BC, BA, NBC-HWC
Integrative Nurse Health Coach

Summer reminds us of simpler times, being carefree, running barefoot on the beach or in the grass. Close your eyes and visualize that, what do you see? What feelings does that evoke? Hear the waves crashing on the beach, the seagulls chirping and the smell of salt air, the warm breeze on your face……aaah, yes, summer has arrived. Perhaps you have feelings of freedom and not a care in the world, if only for that moment. A simple time.

Warmer weather often means flip flops, shorts and tank tops. Minimal clothing for comfort. As we have moved into the season of summer, perhaps we can begin to look at what we can pare down, besides our clothing. What can we minimize and simplify in our life? Often stress comes from too much “stuff.” Clutter can take many forms, it is not just physical. It can be toxic relationships, unhealthy attachments, emotional baggage or anything that causes overwhelm. We can even clutter our minds with our own to-do lists. We have become a society that thinks “more is better” and “busy is best.” We are always on, always connected. But at what cost do we stay on that fast track? We often rush through tasks, trying to get them done, so we can go on to the next thing. Or rush to drive somewhere, so we can hurry to the next destination. Have you ever stopped to think about what madness this all is? At the end of the day there is often a feeling of pure exhaustion and stress.

We hear words like de-clutter, simplify, minimize, limit, edit, purge…….what does this all mean and what is the benefit? When asked what he wanted for Christmas this past year, my son’s response was, “We don’t need any more stuff mom, we want experiences.” Well this spoke volumes to me and led me to look more into the art of minimizing. There are many benefits to living a simpler life. You may find yourself feeling less stress, more at ease. Discover what’s important, what you value, what’s your passion and find more meaning and purpose in your life. Do what brings you joy! Perhaps spend less time online and really connect with those you love. Don’t forget to also spend time alone. Living more simply can help us to live more consciously, more deliberately, perhaps even a more purpose-driven life. What adds value to your life? Consider streamlining your life, your closets and your to-do list. The benefits will astound you!

Find inner simplicity. Create a peaceful calm, rather than chaotic confusion. Be aware of the calmness you feel when your surroundings and your head are clear of clutter. Simplify your goals; you will feel less stress and more successful as you meet each goal, one at a time! Be mindful. Be present. Be here now.

“Whatever the tasks, do them slowly and with ease, in mindfulness. Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention." --Thich Nhat Hanh

Visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/IntegrativeMedicine or call 732-263-7999 to learn more about Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine and our Five Pillars of Health & Well-Being.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Key to Unlocking an Enriching Life

By Marjorie Catone, BSN, RN, CCRN-CSC
Integrative Nurse Health Coach

I always thought my purpose in life was to be a mother. What could bring more joy to one’s life other than nurturing, raising and protecting your babies in a healthy and happy home? To carry an unborn child, to feel the tiny, miraculous movements from inside that nobody else in the world could feel. To connect with the spirit of a child who was about to uncover a world of their own. My life was complete with the birth of my second child. I had a fulfilling job where I was fortunate to work part-time in order to be home primarily to raise my children. My husband owned a thriving gym which was constantly expanding in space and popularity. I had a happy, loving marriage. What else more could I want?

Until, one day, something happened that changed my life forever. My only son, 20 months old, had passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly. I can remember the feelings that followed in the days and months that passed. Feelings of emptiness, loneliness, depression, confusion and the yearning to just hold him once again. The simplest things like getting out of bed in the morning, preparing meals, completing household tasks, attending friends and relatives parties all seemed unsatisfying, difficult and unbearable. However, I had my four-year-old daughter that needed me so I had a choice to make. I could continue to live with my head hanging low in the shadows of the days or use this crisis to thrive and live a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

Sometimes we find our life purpose when we are under a crisis such as an illness, death, divorce, retirement, or job loss. However, this crisis can become a catalyst for a purpose we never envisioned possible. Most of us tend to take life for granted and get lost in the busy and stressful days of the everyday hustle and bustle of life until a crisis wakes us up and forces us to ask some big questions. “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose in life?”, “What do I want to achieve while I am here?” We end up letting go of petty concerns, conflicts and the need for control and begin to truly realize that life is short and every moment is precious. At our lowest moments and times of suffering, our heartbreaking situations that arise cause us to revisit our stories which ultimately reawaken us and help us see life a little more clearly. Previous importance’s fade in significance. As the dust settles and the fog lifts, we begin to see the true importance of life.  

Research has shown that having an authentic purpose in life creates better health outcomes. It can be important to overall brain health and well-being and make you less prone to illness and disease and ultimately help you live a longer, happier, more fulfilling life. But, how do we find our purpose? We all want to leave an impact on the world, to leave our footprints behind, to contribute to the greater good, to what speaks to our soul. We all seek growth, knowledge, compassion, love and joy. However, we must ask ourselves, “What is our unique purpose in this world?” A great place to start is by searching our childhood and seeing the gifts that were instilled in us, our passions and values, and asking ourselves, “What gives our life meaning?” For many people, purpose can be as simple as having a family and children or it can be a fulfilling career that rewards us with its gratification. We also must be aware that purpose can change, as life changes and unfolds. As we grow, learn and mature, we become wiser. As challenges arise, we find that our purpose sees us through and sometimes during this challenge, purpose finds us and we must answer. The truth comes from within, buried deep within our souls.

Through unimaginable pain, struggle and hardship, I found a new meaning and purpose in my life. Not only do we grow physically, but we grow spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and socially. I have chosen to live a more simple life and have found joy in nature and in all those that I meet. I try and find the good in all humanity, even at times when I have lost all hope. I have learned to love more deeply and be present in each moment, especially with my family. I have become an advocate for my son Nicholas, who no longer has a voice in a world that is so large. Through tragedy, I found transformation and every day I fight to turn my unimaginable loss into a legacy. Sometimes, as our true-life purpose unfolds, our story connects with others and encourages them to find their higher meaning in life and to motivate them to be a better person. We all want to become the best we can be. Through self-awareness and reflection, our purpose unfolds. You already have it in you. However, you are the only one that possesses the key to an enriching life. So, I challenge you to unlock your story, your gifts and your curiosity and find your life’s purpose. Therefore, I leave you with some questions to ponder and perhaps write down in a journal.

1.) What is your reason for getting up in the morning?
2.) How do you contribute to the world?
3.) What special characteristics make you unique?
4.) How do others see you?
5.) Why are you here?

Visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/IntegrativeMedicine or call 732-263-7999 to learn more.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Summer Check-Up

By Pamela Jansky, RN-BC, CDE, HWC
Integrative Nurse Health Coach

Summer is upon us! I hope you are all enjoying the energy of this season! In the spring we talked about spring Renewal and the preparation that takes place as we begin our spring clean-up and plant our summer gardens. We talked about internal cleansing as well, and the importance of setting personalized, realistic and sustainable goals that can become new healthy habits so that you, like your garden, may remain vibrant and fruitful. As we said, “Motivation gets you started but habit keeps you going!” So let’s give ourselves a summer check-up!

If we started some new habits a few months ago, we should begin to see some growth and change in the same way we see our gardens grow and change. Perhaps you started moving more and doing some resistance training with the fruit of your labor being weight loss and muscle toning. You are eating cleaner and nourishing your body with more fruits and vegetables. You are feeling stronger and more energetic! How good does it feel to fit into your favorite summer clothes, or enjoy the new ones you are wearing? How satisfying is it to see more muscle tone in your arms with that sleeveless shirt? How much more are you enjoying summer activities with your increased strength and endurance? Best of all, how has this increased sense of well-being and vitality improved your life and relationships? Even better, you may feel motivated to set some new goals to build on your success and move to the next level. After all, in the rhythm of the seasons, it won’t be long before we start planning our fall planting beds so that we can enjoy the fruits of that season. Let’s keep the momentum going!
On the other hand, what if things did not go as planned? You set some awesome goals and had high expectations, but for one reason or another, you are not where you hoped you would be. Perhaps you started strong and your commitment fell off. Well, you are not alone. Many of us find it challenging to navigate through the business and seasons of life. Sometimes we have significant life altering events that get us off track. Often times it is simply a matter of re-learning self-care or perhaps our goals were not realistic and attainable. We are all unique and we may find there are any number of situations that present challenges to making sustainable change. Sometimes, it may seem too overwhelming to start, or we simply need some help in clarifying and setting our goals. Whatever the case may be, it’s never too late to change direction and move toward increasing wellness!

At Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, we offer a variety of services that support people in their journey to maximum health and well-being. As a Nurse Health Coach, we can partner with you and support you in personally identifying and addressing areas in which you may feel blocked or in need of change. A Nurse Health Coach can assist you in identifying your readiness to change and supporting you in setting personalized SMART Goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound. It is more important to set specific realistic goals that are achievable, that you can build upon, rather than goals that are so big you can’t even get started. Those goals must be client driven and have personal value.

Integrative health & medicine focuses on the whole person: mind, body, and spirit, while addressing our Five Pillars of Health & Well-Being. Whether it be Sleep, Activity, Purpose, Nutrition or Resilience, we have a team of practitioners that specialize in each area. We are here to support you in your health and wellness journey. Summer is a time to be more active and creative. A time to grow and flourish. A time to feel alive! Let’s keep up the momentum and live our best lives!

Visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/IntegrativeMedicine or call 732-263-7999 to learn more. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How to Really Know Your Health Coach


By Kathleen Welshman RN-BC, BA, NBC-HWC
Integrative Nurse Health Coach

Health Coach? Wellness Coach? Life Coach? All trendy titles these days that catch people’s attention. But, what do these titles mean and what is the education and credentialing behind them?  If you google “health coach”, you will find varying information from how to become a health coach to where you can find a local health coach.  Consumer be aware. Because this is a new field, anyone can hang a shingle out calling themselves a health or wellness coach.  This does not mean they have any formal training or expertise.  There are many folks out there calling themselves by these titles, some with very little, if any, educational background in the healthcare field.  At Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, we set the bar quite high.  All of our health coaches are Registered Nurses first. Our nurses have varying backgrounds and areas of expertise, all with at least 10-20+ years of nursing experience before becoming a health coach.  This background has given these nurses a solid foundation on which to build. 

Our registered nurse health coaches have all attended and graduated from coaching programs in “integrative health coaching,” not just “health coaching.”   Their knowledge in integrative approaches to health and well-being are based on evidence-based practices.  Our health coaches have attended programs at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The University of Arizona, Center for Integrative Medicine.  Both of these schools have met all the standards and requirements by the International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaches (ICHWC).  The ICHWC has joined with The National Board of Medical Examiners to develop a national standard for Health and Wellness Coaches.  They have set a measure of foundational competencies, knowledge, tasks, and skills essential to the practice of health and wellness coaching.  The application of coaching knowledge is assessed by the Health and Wellness Coach Certifying Exam.  Our health coaches have sat for the very first qualifying exam, have passed and are now National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches. They are among the elite, approximately 1,000 NBC-HWC in the country.  Add to this, the requirement of coaches at Hackensack Meridian Health, also are Registered Nurses.  So, when seeking out a coach to partner with on your wellness journey, do your research first and turn to Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine for highly qualified and credentialed RN/Health Coaches. 

Meet our health coaches and learn more about health coaching here. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Living Purposefully in the New Year

By Kathleen Welshman, RN-BC, BA, NBC-HWC
Integrative Nurse Health Coach

As we enter another new year, we often think of a new year’s resolution. What will I resolve to do this year? “New year, new you” is often a thought. This is a common time of year for people to join a gym, vow to lose weight and eat healthier. These are all great ideas and important to consider in terms of making healthier changes in our lives. BUT, have you ever stopped and thought about the reason behind these resolutions? What is the reason you want to lose weight or exercise more? Why do you want to be healthy? What is the driving force behind these ideas of change? Think about what is important in your life, your values and beliefs. Think about why you get out of bed in the morning!

At Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, we explore the Five Pillars of Health & Well-Being: sleep, activity, purpose, nutrition and resilience. Perhaps try a different approach to your new year’s resolution this year by exploring your purpose first. Purpose is what gives your life meaning, your reason for being. Purpose is the essence of who we are and what makes us unique. It is a source of direction and energy. By tapping into a clear sense of purpose, often everything else follows naturally.

Christine Whelan, Ph.D., author of The Big Picture: A Guide to Finding Your Purpose in Life, suggests you ask these questions:
  • What are my values? 
  • What are my strengths? 
  • Who do I want to impact? 
Then fill in the blanks: Because I value ___, I want to use my strengths for ___ to impact ___.

It is important to re-evaluate our purpose as we journey through life, as it may change at different phases of our lives and with changing life circumstances. As we change, our priorities and values shift; our confidence grows, may dissolve into doubt and return once again. When we make choices that are in line with our purpose or our values, it gives greater meaning to the reason we are doing something.

An integrative health coach can partner with you as you set small, achievable goals. With your purpose in mind, those goals are more likely to be sustainable. So as we journey into another new year, learn to embrace the “why” of purpose before selecting the “what” of your goals. Live intentionally – live ON PURPOSE. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to answer the question “Why do I get out of bed in the morning?”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Minding your Spirit


By Sara Scheller, BSN, RN, CPN, CCRN
Integrative Health Coach

What part does our spirit play into how we move through our life? Spirit is the essence of our being. It is what lights us up and makes us feel alive. We cannot see it, but we know it is there. Spirituality is not the same as religion but it is in religion; it is the connection to something bigger than us. One formal definition from a group of experts defines spirituality as, “…a dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity through which persons seek ultimate meaning, purpose and transcendence, and experience relationship to self, family, others, community, society, nature, and the significant or sacred. Spirituality is expressed through beliefs, values, traditions and practices.” (Puchalski et al., 2014). In an environment overrun by technology and constant stimulation, it is important now more than ever to have a connection to our human spirit because it can keep us grounded, motivated and living our lives on purpose. It can help us feel peace when we cannot answer some of the big why questions we have in our lives. It can help us heal when we are faced with challenges in our lives. So how do we build or improve our connection with our human spirit? Here are four ways to get started:
  1. Practice presence. We are human beings not human doings. Are you taking time to just be?When we are present, we are paying attention to what is happening in the here and now. We aren’t rehashing the past and we aren’t anticipating the future. It is estimated the average person only spends about 10% of their time in the present moment. If you find yourself in this category, start with the simple action of awareness. Are you aware of how often your mind is wandering in conversations with others, while driving in the car, or while taking a shower?When we take time to simply be present, we calm and balance our nervous system which can build our resilience and allow our mind and body to do what it knows how to do best. In doing so, we can tune into our body, mind and spirit, and what we truly need in order to live our best life.
  2. Live life on purpose. Do you know your purpose? Why are you here? Purpose is fundamental; it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. It’s what keeps us going when times get tough. It may change throughout our lives and even one simple moment can split our path and send us in an entirely new and different direction. When we know our purpose and we make choices in our lives that are aligned with that, we can develop a deeper sense of meaning that can keep our spirit alive.
  3. Get out in nature. Most of us probably spend the majority of our days inside. We are working, the weather isn’t ideal, or we are just too busy to get out. Did you know that exercising in nature can release hormones that make you happier and improve your overall well-being? Fresh air has more oxygen which can help our brains think more clearly. When we can appreciate the beauty in nature, we activate primal regions in our brain. Can you feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin and appreciate the unlimited view of the sky? Spending time in nature helps us connect with our spirit.
  4. Find support. Maybe you get in touch with your spirit in your community -- church, synagogue, ashram, or other religious structure or organization. Or maybe you feel more at one with your spirit in conversation with a friend or loved one. Caring for our spirit in this way is fulfilling one of our core human needs -- social connections. While alone time to reflect is also important, we were placed on this earth as social beings. Experiment to find a balance of alone time and together time with people who can support your spiritual needs.

  5. Studies show that spiritual distress often can have a negative impact on health. When we improve our spiritual well-being, it gives us an additional coping strategy to build our resilience and live a purposeful life. Spirituality can be found along the entire illness to wellness continuum; we can use it in times of illness and death, in times of great joy and thriving, or anywhere in between. At Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health and Medicine, we believe in caring for a whole person--body, mind and spirit. We follow a patient-centered, team approach to caring for our patients. Our five pillars of health and well-being include sleep, activity, purpose, nutrition and resilience. Call us for more information at 732-763-7999 or visit our website at HackensackMeridianHealth.org/IntegrativeMedicine.       

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

PREP: Pre-Hospital Empowerment Program


By Sara Scheller, BSN, RN, CPN, CCRN
Integrative Health Coach

If you knew you were going to the hospital for a planned surgery or procedure, how would you feel? Would you feel stressed, worried, and anxious or would you feel confident and empowered to be the driver of your healthcare experience? The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all hospital admission. This is a highly individualized, unique process. According to EMPATHie (empowering patients in the management of chronic diseases), “An empowered patient has control over the management of their condition in daily life. They take action to improve the quality of their life and have the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and self-awareness to adjust their behavior and to work in partnership with others where necessary, to achieve optimal well-being.” One benefit of having an expected hospital admission (for surgery or other procedure) is that you can plan for it! You may not know exactly what to expect, but you can create and build practices to help you self-regulate this process.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after adversity. Here are three ways to build more resilience with any challenge in your life:

1. Change your perspective, or how you look at things. You can shift to look at your experience as an opportunity to heal, learn, grow, and/or rest. We are born with a “negativity bias” or fear, vulnerability, and worry as a natural response to negative stimuli. But, you can leverage your ability to re-wire your brain through conscious efforts to find the good. According to Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” With support and practice, finding the good can become automatic, leading to more resiliency following tough times.

2. Find what activities or practices create balance or joy in your life. Lissa Rankin, M.D. in her book Mind Over Medicine encourages, “if you’re exposed to stressors you either can’t change or aren’t ready to change, you must prioritize activities that induce the relaxation response as a way to counterbalance the stresses in your life…creative expression, sexual release, being with people you love, spending time with your spiritual community, doing work that feeds your soul, and other relaxing activities such as laughter, playing with pets, journaling, prayer, napping, yoga, getting a massage, reading, singing, playing a musical instrument, gardening, cooking, Tai Chi, going for a walk, taking a hot bath, and enjoying nature.” If you aren’t sure which of these works to induce your relaxation response, try experimenting! Find what works for you.

3. Learn tools which you can practice on your own and/or with support, prior to your admission that you can use both during your hospitalization and in other challenging times of your life. These include mindfulness, 4-7-8 breathing, guided meditation, and other techniques where you can learn to become aware of how you are triggered and respond to stress. Once you become aware of this, you can use these tools to shift your body out of fight or flight. Allowing your body to shift into the relaxation response, you can rest and digest, reduce inflammation, and allow your body to heal naturally.

When you partner up with a health coach or other health care professional for support, you can become empowered to co-manage your health and well-being. You can be responsible for your own health, and tap into the resources of an expert creating a balance between self-management and shared decision-making. Through education and a holistic approach (mind, body and spirit), you can create a plan to optimize your body’s natural response to stress, allowing your body to work for you instead of against you.

PREP (Pre-Hospital Empowerment Program) assists you in preparing for a planned hospital admission for your surgery or procedure. To learn more, please email me at Sara.Scheller@HackensackMeridian.org.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Can Stress Be Beneficial?

By Sara Scheller, BSN, RN, CPN, CCRN
Integrative Health Coach

Does the word “stress” alone make you feel...stressed? Do you know that not all stress is bad? What if I were to tell you that how you view stress may have a greater impact on your health than the stress alone?

Stress serves an important purpose in humans. When a person experiences a real or perceived threat, the body prepares to act. Our heart rate increases, our blood vessels constrict, our mouth may feel dry, our muscles may feel tense and our pupils dilate. This stress response called “fight or flight” happens rather quickly - we may not be aware it even occurs - and takes time for our body to return to a normal resting state. When the fight or flight switch is turned on and stays on for long periods of time, inflammation occurs, our immune system response is decreased, and we may experience digestive issues which may lead to preventable chronic diseases like heart disease and obesity. So, should we try to avoid stress all together? Not necessarily!

Research has found that how we think about stress actually matters, as Kelly McGonigal has noted in her book, The Upside of Stress (2015). In fact, one study found a 43% increased risk of dying not from stress, but the, “belief that stress is actually bad for you.” The good news is that we have a built in mechanism for stress resilience called human connection. As our body secretes cortisol, it also secretes another stress hormone called oxytocin, known as the “cuddle hormone.” Ever notice that if something gets you fired up, you start talking about it? That is because the oxytocin motivates us to seek support. This hormone naturally protects us from the harmful effects of cortisol and helps us to recover faster.

As a health coach, we work together to develop tools to improve your relationship with stress. In our sessions, we practice these to initiate a relaxation response so that you can recover from the harmful effects of stress. If we can find ways to see your stress as something that is helpful, giving you a greater sense of purpose, or setting you up with better ways to handle difficult situations, we can actually change how your body reacts to stress and improve your stress resilience. We can improve your ability to bounce back so that you can handle challenges in a new found, healthy way.