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How to be Your Own Shaman

Living In Total Health requires that you integrate your wholeness and your individuality into any health regimen. Inherent in this process is taking responsibility for your health—your choices and the consequent outcomes.

Your choices include, but are not limited to, what you eat and drink, your activity level, your mindset, your relationships, how you respond to challenges and difficulties, how you promote sleep, your utilization of health care, and how you personalize your own path to health.

“When you give your body the right tools, it knows how to be well.”
–Jane Barlow Christensen, Master Herbalist, Author of Be Your Own Shaman

Herbs and Natural Healing

Be aware that your choices also include credible alternative health care in addition to traditional medicine. One very credible alternative medicine practice is natural healing via herbal remedies. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, humans have used herbs to treat diseases and maintain health for thousands of years. And MountSinai.org says that when “used correctly, herbs can help treat a variety of conditions, and in some cases, may have fewer side effects than some conventional medications.”

Please note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate herbs and supplements. Therefore, products are not allowed to claim to treat specific conditions.

Recommendations for Using Herbs

As for herbs, I believe that nature’s remedies work when administered properly and that you can Be Your Own Shaman

Below are my recommendations for using herbs to enhance your total health.

1) Do your own research. Check out the product quality and the integrity of the company that produces the herb. Not all products are created equal and some companies don’t care much about the quality of their product. While it’s okay to attend to the opinion of ‘experts’, it’s even more impactful to learn the information for yourself. This is my recommendation for all areas of health because there is NO one-size-fits-all approach to any level of health.

2) Follow the product instructions or consult an herbal professional. While your individuality matters in total health, altering the instructions right off the bat without knowing how the herbs effect you may do more harm than good. So if you want to personalize any herbal remedy, then please consult a professional herbalist.

3) Listen to your body. The human body is wise and communicates regularly about what works for it and what does not work for it. Understanding what your body is communicating requires you to be present to your experience. So if you experience nausea, dizziness, rash, headache, upset stomach, sneezing, watery eyes, or other negative symptoms after consuming the herbs, then stop taking it and consult with a health care professional.

4) Make the appropriate lifestyle changes. Many chronic diseases like diabetes, IBS, chronic pain, and hypertension are impacted by diet, activity level, stress, and mindset. Herbs alone, just like medication alone, will not ‘fix’ some physical issues that most hope for because lifestyle issues are in play. Neither medication nor herbs will fix any condition that is created by and/or reinforced by lifestyle factors.

 

Herbal remedies can work for you to improve and maintain your health as a viable alternative to traditional medicine. Yet, your active participation is crucial to how herbs benefit you and your overall health. To that end, you control many variables in your own health. By doing your research, following product instructions, consulting an herbal professional, listening to your body, and making the lifestyle choices to promote health, you can Be Your Own Shaman.

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How to Cure the Virus of Indifference

Sadly, humans have not learned from the pandemic. I’m sure you recall that the Corona virus inflicted death, destruction, and massive uncertainty around the globe. People’s lives, routines, and normal sense of security were upended. Add to that the record number of natural disasters, the worldwide social discord over the video-taped murder of an unarmed man by police, and political unrest. A regular thought of mine in 2020 was, “What is happening?”

“We could have cured indifference.”
–Glen Alex

The hate that people and groups hurled at one another over disagreement was salient. The absence of empathy and the staunch refusal to listen to one another with any modicum of openness led me to realize that indifference was the virus. Still, I had hope for humanity.

 

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A Golden Opportunity

Even though Rona caused so much pain and exposed the dark side of humans, the shutdowns provided us with a golden opportunity, as do all challenges. The ashes strewn about by the fires of the pandemic gave us humans the chance to learn and grow individually, and to create a healthier collective. As unrealistic as it seemed, personal and social conditions in 2020 were favorable for positive, lasting changes for us all because order is always preceded by chaos.

We could have collectively created a new world order, one full of loving purpose, genuine camaraderie, and mutual respect of each other’s humanity. We could have cured indifference.

“People who are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually balanced do not intentionally harm self or others.”
–Glen Alex
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Instead, it was business as usual when the global pause button was released. Play involved the resumption of hateful and harmful acts toward self and others. People blamed everyone else for their own mistakes and failures. Police brutality was caught on camera, again. Those who don’t meet performance criteria cheat the process. Modern day slavery is at an all-time high. “What is happening?” and “Why have we squandered the redo life offered us?”

I want better for myself, for you, for humanity. We can do better. And I must say that if more of us were Living In Total Health, then there would be less pain, suffering, and oppression in the world because people who are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually balanced do not intentionally harm self or others. It is my hope, still, for all of us to awaken to our windows of opportunity to improve and have the courage to act upon them.

 

What You Can do to Cure Indifference

You may ask yourself, “What can I do about the world?” Well, you can start with recognizing that your choices do impact the collective. So keep reading for simple action steps you can take to advance the state of humanity.

1. Identify your locus of control, which is your personal realm of control and responsibility. Trying to fix another person’s problems, trying to govern their choices, and trying to control their outcomes gets overwhelming. Such efforts set you up for failure, anxiety, and depression. Individually, you can’t change another person, stop the war in Ukraine, or end homelessness.

However, you can control what you eat, drink, read, buy, pay attention to, and vote for. You also control your behavior, your activities, and who you spend time with.

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2. Take care of yourself. While self-care is within your locus of control, it’s useful to focus on it because tending to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health establishes your foundation upon which to build authenticity and resilience. Get adequate rest, nourish with the right foods for you, surround yourself with loving and supportive people, strengthen your boundaries, and seek help from professionals when needed. The healthier you are, the better choices you make.

3. Be present. Align your mind with your body in the here-and-now, in the present moment. This is also called mindfulness. With mindfulness comes your power and control. You are then open to insights and guidance from your intuition, you are more deeply aware of what’s happening within and outside of you, and you tap into your innate strengths.

4. Develop empathy. Seeking to understand rather than being understood evokes empathy and respect for the humanity in others. Empathy deepens human connection and, I believe, can cure indifference. The more connected you are to another human being, then the more you understand the loving interdependence that binds us all to each other.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
― Stephen R. Covey

Taking these action steps will enhance your life and positively contribute to humanity. When you exercise your locus of control, have good self-care, are mindful, and have empathy, you empower yourself. And that leads to you treating yourself and others well, which positively benefits the collective.

Even when your life is hard, even when you are stressed out, and even when things aren’t going your way do your part to improve the state of humanity. Together you and I can cure the virus of indifference.

Glen Alex, Champion of Equality, tennis player, tennis fan, health advocate, author, Living In Total Health, Indie Book Award Winner, Book Excellence Award Winner, The Glen Alex Show, Positive Change Podcast Winner, US Open, Billie Jean King, Venus Williams

Champions of Equality

Do What You Love; Rewards Follow

It was my honor and privilege to represent the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Intermountain at the inaugural Champions of Equality event, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of equal prize money at the US Open. Though it was a huge surprise, it’s very validating to be acknowledged for years of my charitable work with beginners and restarters, my tennis fundraisers, and for my volunteering on the Parks & Recreation, Rules, and Diversity & Inclusion Committees. I accepted the invitation to attend as an Honoree immediately.

Boy, I’m so glad I did! The experience exceeded my expectations. I knew the event would be impactful with hearing Billie Jean King and Venus Williams talk about equality–the challenges, the successes, and the work still to do. However, I could not foresee how special and historical it all would be.

I could not foresee how special and historical it all would be.
Glen Alex

Let me back up to the beginning. The event kicked off with a meet and greet in the Player Garden behind Arthur Ashe stadium. The ambiance was created with beautiful patio furniture, high tops, bars, and delicious hors d’oeuvres. Oh, and the DJ who looked like a super model played high energy music. I met other USTA section nominees and women champions of equality in the corporate world. Another perk was having the opportunity to see players come and go plus reconnecting with WTA staff, coaches, and commentators I knew from my days working with the WTA and the Bryan Brothers.

We USTA section representatives received beautiful glass awards honoring our passion for tennis and dedication to equality plus tickets to the women’s semifinals matches after the event. Bonus…a picture with Billie Jean.

Glen Alex, Clinical Social Worker, Wellth Counseling, Living In Total Health, Author, Host of The Glen Alex Show, Indie Book Award Winner, Book Excellence Award Winner, Positive Change Podcast Award Winner

The Equality Discussion

After the meet and greet, we all gathered in the Player Interview Room where broadcast journalist Christiane Amanpour lead the equality discussion with trailblazing Grand Slam Champion Billie Jean, 7-time Grand Slam Singles Champion Venus Williams, and Telva McGruder, General Motors’ Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. Every time I hear Billie Jean speak, I am amazed at her drive and passion for what is right. Even though she faced tremendous adversity, Billie Jean continued the fight for equality. Her clear and vivid way of communicating is moving and empowering.

Venus Williams’ fight for equality is a continuation, albeit a modernization, of Billie Jeans’ efforts. Most tennis fans don’t know that Venus was instrumental in the WTA partnering with supplement sponsors to enhance the health and wellbeing of players. And I don’t think enough has been said about what Venus has done to bring about equal prize money at Wimbledon and the French Open.

It was a pleasure to see Billie Jean and Venus again, as I met Billie Jean in Indian Wells and Venus when I worked with the Bryan Bros. Telva McGruder shared very interesting information about GM’s decades’ long efforts in leveling the equal pay playing field. She also talked about corporations in general doing more to equalize humanity.

Glen Alex, Clinical Social Worker, Wellth Counseling, Living In Total Health, Author, Host of The Glen Alex Show, Indie Book Award Winner, Book Excellence Award Winner, Positive Change Podcast Award Winner, Venus Williams, Grand Slam Champion
“Pressure is a privilege.”
–Billie Jean King

Do What You Love

The inaugural Champions of Equality event was amazing—from the meet and greet, photo op, award, to the equality discussion. Billie Jean, Venus, and Telva are champions in tennis and in life, and have inspired me to do more work to grow tennis and to do more to level the playing field in humanity. Thank you USTA Intermountain and the Nevada District for rewarding my love of tennis and my efforts to grow the game. There is more to come.

Do what you love.

The rewards will follow.

Glen Alex, Author, Clinical Social Worker, USTA Nevada, USTA Intermountain, Champions of Equality, Indie Book Award Winner, Book Excellence Award Winner, The Glen Alex Show, Positive Change Podcast Award Winner, Billie Jean King, Venus Williams, US Open, Equal Pay
courage

Courage in Healing

Inexplicably, I’m having difficulty putting my thoughts about courage on paper. I usually get into a nice writing flow when it comes to topics I’m passionate about. Courage is one of them. Healing is another. Though not so easy this time.

Is it because I’m uncertain about writing from an intellectual perspective? Because I’m thinking of too many elements? Or is it fear of not being clear enough? Alas, I forge ahead despite not knowing why I block. So I will start here.

Courage vs Fear

As a Clinical Social Worker, I work with adults who suffer from depression and/or anxiety. These conditions typically stem from unresolved family-of-origin, relationship, grief, and self-worth issues. Whatever the root cause, mental and emotional issues require courage to heal.

Many situations trigger fear. Skydiving evokes fear of plummeting to earth and dying. An interview brings up fear of not getting the job. Fear of looking stupid or dumb arises when speaking in public, even in social settings. And working through painful and troubling experiences stirs up layers of fear.

So what does fear have to do with courage? Well, they are very connected. Some think that courage is the absence of fear. It is not. Courage involves being aware of and even experiencing fear in the face of appropriate action to be taken and taking that action anyway. Skydivers skydive. Jobseekers interview. People speak–socially, publicly. Those in pain heal.

It’s easy to lump what’s realistic with the unrealistic into one nebulous monster, blurring the truth of who you truly are.

Healing Pain

When it comes to mental and emotional health, processing, working through, and ultimately healing pain and trauma requires courage. You see, a certain identity of self gets imprinted when going through such experiences. That identity usually includes, but is not limited to, self-blame, self-loathing, shame, dread for the future, helplessness, hopelessness, and escape via substances, overspending, poor self-care and sometimes suicide.

The fear is in the unpacking of traumatic events. Clients are afraid that pulling back the layers of their pain will reveal that they truly are unworthy, deserved the trauma, and/or are unlovable—that the imprint is true 💯 percent. And others will then see their defective, gaping hole inside. While the fear of being these things paralyzes people and stunts their human growth, it is a false prophet.

Healing starts with facing this façade of self-hatred and internalized dejection. Then breaking the façade down to discern the realistic aspects of your pain from the unrealistic ones to lead to a deeper understanding of self and your experiences. 

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“Courage is required to unpack your pain, release the negative imprint, and create a new, healthier identity for yourself.”
–Glen Alex

False Identity

It’s easy to lump what’s realistic with the unrealistic into one nebulous monster, blurring the truth of who you truly are.

For example, a client who was sexually abused in childhood by an adult cousin believes he caused it to happen because something was wrong with him. The reality is he was not the problem. There was something very wrong with his perverted cousin.

In another example, a client blamed herself for her husband’s abusiveness. She told herself that if she were a better woman and a lovable person, then she would not provoke him to hit her and she would do everything right. The reality? She is not responsible for his behavior, no human is perfect, and abusers choose to abuse, no matter the circumstance.

Whether your experience involves abuse or other trauma, the courage in healing is about acknowledging and releasing the faulty imprint born out of pain, discerning what is real and what isn’t, and reconnecting with the truth that you are worthy and lovable and human.

Yes, this process can be frightening because courage does contain an element of risk–the risk of letting go of the identity you accepted and lived up to. It’s a risk worth taking because the payoff is no longer seeing or treating yourself as damaged and defective. 

Courage Within You

To evoke your innate courage to heal, SPeLL it.

S


eek help

Asking for help is strength, not weakness. Speaking with a professional psychotherapist or a supportive friend who understands the power of listening can enable you to make peace with your past and strengthen your coping skills for life challenges going forward. If you could heal alone–without guidance, support, or resources, then you would already be healed.

P


resence

Start where you are, not where you should be. Many people so want to be there now and choose to ignore the steps required in the here and now to get there. Attune to your life as it exists in this moment, identify the healthy changes you want to make (how you want your life to be), then take the first step.

Start wherever you are. Acknowledging that I was stuck with writing this blog grounded me in the present moment and opened me up to let the writing flow begin.

L


earn in Action

Anxiety demands perfection and pressures you to know exactly how to and guarantee success. So much pressure to do the impossible! Being human requires learning on the job. Experience is the teacher. While we can gather as much information as possible to get started, we can’t know everything upfront nor control the outcome. What we can do is learn as we go, adjusting to strategies that work and letting go of those that don’t. Learning is in the doing.

L


ight Bulb

Aha moments bring non-judgmental understanding that resonates deeply within. These light bulbs also include clarity about you, your personal truth and worth, and can lead you to the next step. Aha’s occur when you are open to perspectives that belie the imprint, are present, and allow yourself to learn. Seeking help, being present, and learning in the doing help you learn to be you.

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You can heal. Seek help, be Present, Learn in the doing, and be aware of Light bulbs to arouse your courage to heal because healing is the right thing to do. So be afraid and do it anyway.

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L.O.V.E.

What is love to you? Many people regard love as a feeling, a warm fuzzy in the cockles of the heart. This feeling typically represents connection to a person or object, with intensity that varies according to who or what is involved.

What is love to you?


In romantic love, a bouquet, jewelry, and words represent how one partner feels about the other. It’s as if love is infused in the object. With familial love, the meaning tends to fall on the quantity of attention, rather than the quality of it. If a parent pays more attention to a needier child, then the sibling may interpret that as being unloved and unlovable. When it comes to humanity, this type of love is unfortunately measured by conformity to narrowly defined standards of being. And self-love is oft aligned with and measured by the objects, attention, and approval one receives from others.

When I think of love, I think of a state of being; existence. Love is like air…in it, surrounded by it, taking it in at all times.

“Imagine being wrapped in a warm blanket of support and acceptance every moment of every day. As with air, this experience of love is always accessible.”
–Living In Total Health

Love is the experience of breathing. The depth of breath changes from time to time. Some moments are filled with shallow, chest breaths–superficial or inhibited experience of love. Other moments involve deep breathing—full inhale and complete exhale, absorbing connectedness like a sponge.

You see, the feeling of love occurs when we choose to attune to it and breathe it in. The Bee Gees asked, “How deep is your love?” My answer is, it’s as deep as your breath. Having difficulty attuning and experiencing love? Keep in mind, that love is ignited by action.

“Love is a verb.”
–Stephen Covey

Contrary to popular belief, love is not a noun, a thing to behold. Again, love is an experience that requires active engagement…action. So to feel love, BID. Please note that while the experience of love is enhanced by those who nurture and support your best, love is always available to you.

B


e Present

I refer to being present, mindful awareness, often, in my life, on The Glen Alex Show, and with clients. Being present is connective in a most powerful way. You are present when your mind and body are in the same time and space, and are aligned with reality. Being present can also be experienced as a pinpoint focus, being absorbed by a single topic or task so that distractions don’t exist. When present, you have the most power and control over your life and your experience. You can then consciously breathe and feel love.

“…maximize connection to self and life by being present.
Attune the mind with the body
and the body with the mind.
You will experience more control and power than imaginable.”
–Living In Total Health

I


dentify

Make conscious note of activities and situations that bring you joy. It may be music, writing, crafting, snuggling, yoga, meditation, etc. Your conscious note of things that bring you joy is a list of caring behaviors that are small acts of kindness for self. The intrinsic value of activities such as these is in your engagement in them. No external approval needed. Incorporate joyful activities in your life daily to increase your baseline level of love and connection.

One of my clients has a very busy life with work and family. She instills joy into her life with a hot bath or Jacuzzi soak nightly.

D


o

Perform caring behaviors for yourself even if you don’t ‘feel like it’. And lean in during especially stressful moments in your life. Unfortunately, many people stop doing the things that make them feel good when the going gets tough. I say that “the going” softens when you experience joy and connect with the love that surrounds you at all times. So as Nike says, “Just do it!”

Love surrounds and is accessible for you 24/7. The choice is yours and does not require objects, attention nor approval from others. Simply BID on it.

 

Need assistance with feeling love and connection? Then visit glenalex.com to order your copy of Living In Total Health from our Amazon Distributor and get a complimentary consultation with Glen.

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5 Tips for Living in Balance during the Holidays

At this time of year, everyone is supposed to be joyful. Yet, holiday stress can override your authentic experience of love and joy. So this episode of The Glen Alex Show is on managing holiday stress!

As a clinical Social Worker I work with adults who experience anxiety & depression in multiple areas of their lives–home, relationships, work, school, etc. Much of the stress and pressure and disappointment that cause discontent is due to poor boundaries. The unwillingness to say “no” when appropriate, overcommitting, unspoken or unrealistic expectations, telling all about self or someone else create enough difficulty normally.

Much of the stress and pressure and disappointment that cause discontent is due to poor boundaries.

And those boundary issues get amplified during this time, during the holidays because there is a lot of external pressure to live and be and do and spend a certain way in order to measure up some false sense of happiness.

Have you ever had high hopes for the holidays and found yourself seriously disappointed, in over your head financially, or emotionally drained afterward? Me too! It’s far too common for holiday stress to overwhelm and ruin the experience of spending time with loved ones, throwing you out of balance.

Because I want you to be joyful, connected, confident, and complete, I have 5 tips for you to live in balance during the holidays. If you want more information about interpersonal boundaries specifically, then check out the Nov 3rd episode of The Glen Alex Show on glenalex.com

5 Tips

TIP #1: CLARITY

During work on boundaries with a client, she asked me, “How do I communicate my boundaries?” Because boundaries are flexible and contextual, not the walls as so many think, to answer her question I needed to know, “What do you want to communicate?”

A puzzled look crossed her face as she considered what her boundaries are. You see, the ‘what’ comes before the ‘how’. Not vice versa. My client needed clarity. You need to be clear about your boundaries before you can communicate them. Otherwise, you communicate uncertainty, opening the door to someone else’s interpretation of your needs.

As a reminder…boundaries are your line in the sand, the line where what you will and will not tolerate meet. So clarifying your boundaries that are specific to the holidays involves asking yourself:

What’s my budget? Who will I buy for? Will I host? How many guests? Who are the guests?

Keep in mind that your holiday boundaries can be ranges. For example, you may set your budget at $1000-1200 or 15-20 guests. You don’t have to be exact and can allow for some flexibility. Yet, the more clear you are about your boundaries, what you will and will not tolerate, and incorporate that into your planning then the smoother things will flow for you and your loved ones.

And the more clarity you have about your line in the sand, then you minimize overcommitting, unspoken and unrealistic expectations that can lead to feelings of guilt, failure, self-loathing, depression, anxiety.

SO BE CLEAR.

TIP #2: COMMUNICATION

Once clear about your boundaries, then you can communicate them to your loved ones.

“We’re on a tight budget this year, so you may not get a gift.”
“Our home is small so we’re limiting guests to 20.”

Not speaking up negatively impacts relationships. Unspoken and unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment, anger, and self-pity–wondering why no one cares what you want.

Unspoken and unrealistic expectations are setups for failure. If you secretly wish or hope for others to read your mind and to automatically provide what you want, then they will likely fail. This speaks to the mental boundary, which is about agreements and expectations. If you don’t have an actual agreement, yes let’s cap spending at $2000 (for example), then everything else is an unspoken or unrealistic expectation.

So speak your truth and give others the realistic opportunity to assist in your health and happiness. You won’t always get your way even when you speak up, yet opening the lines of communication is usually beneficial for relationships.

TIP #3: SELF-CARE

Taking care of yourself is required for living in balance during regular times. Self-care is so much more needed when there’s an extra demand and extra stress like during the holidays. While it’s easy to sacrifice and put your needs aside at this time, doing so can have negative consequences that last beyond the holidays. Here are 4 simple ways to elevate your self-care:

Sleep/Rest
Although you may stay up later cooking, shopping or socializing, sleep and rest lay the foundation for balance. Sleep deprivation diminishes focus, memory, digestion, emotional stability, and more. So consider taking power naps to refresh.

Nutrients
Fuel and nourish your body with proper nutrients. Counter the excess consumption of pastries, candy, alcoholic and sugary drinks with good nutrients. Some even suggest taking extra vitamins during stressful times. And you already know which foods energize and nourish you.

Massage
Make time for a therapeutic massage! There are so many studies showing that massage benefits every area of health–physical tension, enhanced relaxation, improved sleep/rest, digestion, blood pressure, and so many more benefit. Massage doesn’t take a lot of time; you can book a 30 minute table or chair massage to reap the benefits.

Support
Healthy and loving connections are very important in well-being. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need to vent, then reach out to that one person who supports what’s best for you, the person who really listens to you and who gives you honest feedback.

Self-care will definitely help you live in balance during this season.

TIP #4: GRATITUDE

Gratitude enhances health. Period. Gratitude deepens your connection to life and aligns you with your wholeness. Take a moment during the holidays to recognize, acknowledge, and be thankful for all the goodness and blessings in your life. You see, it’s really difficult if not impossible to be in a state of gratitude and be stressed or anxious or depressed.

TIP #5: GIVE

Helping those less fortunate than you is a great way to regain perspective. Because even though things don’t always go your way, giving to others is connective. And healthy connection to others is healing and nurturing. You can donate money, time, goods, or resources to a charity or someone that resonates with you.

Giving to others taps into human connectedness and restores balance.

Living in balance during the holidays is possible. All that is required is for you to be clear about your boundaries, communicate your boundaries, elevate your self-care, be in gratitude, and give to others.
Follow these tips and you set yourself up to have the most joyful and loving holiday season ever.

Glen Alex, The Glen Alex Show, Living In Total Health, holiday stress, 5 tips for living in balance during the holidays, mental health, anxiety, depression
Zen Stones-Balance

How Do You Measure Wellness?

What does it mean to you to be well? Most people I’ve conversed with about wellness said it is the absence of illness. Wondering if you agree…

Being free of illness or disease is about the physical, which is just one aspect of total health. Ignoring or minimizing the other aspects of health—mental, emotional, spiritual—severely comprises your wholeness and your wellness.

Focusing on any one at the exclusion or minimization of the others
can cause you to be unwell.

 

Interdependent Elements of Health

Each human being, including you, is a unique and dynamic creature comprised of all of these elements. Focusing on any one at the exclusion or minimization of the others can cause you to be unwell. Physical illness, anxiety and/or depression, being dramatic or chaotic, and disconnection from self, loved ones, community, or Creator are examples of how being unwell presents.

Thus wellness for me, because my life’s work is about total health, is the balance between the interdependent aspects of health—the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. When one aspect is below par, then one or more of the other ones step up to compensate, to maintain the delicate balance needed to function optimally and to experience joy.

For example, I have food allergies and digestive issues. So when my colon gets overwhelmed, my energy is so concentrated in my lower abdomen that my ability to focus and move physically are significantly hampered. Once during a tennis practice match, my abdomen felt so weighted that my reactions to the ball were super slow and it felt like I was running in heavy platform shoes. It did not go well. Yet, my deep resonating enthusiasm for tennis enabled me to smile and laugh and be present still.

Wellness is about your wholeness and the equilibrium between mind, body, and spirit. Your wholeness is represented by the 5 pillars of health, which are interdependent. Health in any one pillar positively impacts health in the others. The pillars of health are not sequential, so you can work on each in whatever order you decide is best for you and your path to wellness.

5 Pillars of Health

Below is a brief overview of each pillar. You can read more about total health and wellness in Living in Total Health, the 2021 Indie Book Award Winner for Health & Wellness and Finalist in the Mind, Body, Spirit category.

Physical Wellness
Your physical health is reflected by how you relate to the earth, to the elements, to biology, and the other pillars of health. These components of the physical involve nourishing your body, engaging in activities, getting adequate sleep, and getting regular physicals and labs to know what’s happening on the inside of your body. Please note that physical health is far more than just diet and exercise.

Sedentary and fast paced lifestyles and poor nutrition and inadequate sleep can negatively impact the other pillars. Such effects include diminished immune functioning, difficulty focusing, being easily irritated, feeling on-edge, relationship issues, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

 

Mental Wellness
According to the CDC, the most common mental health issues among American adults are depression and anxiety. That’s right, most people experience them more so than the severe mental illnesses shown on the news. Life and intrapersonal stressors coupled with inadequate coping skills can lead to anxiousness and depressed mood. And by the way, depression and anxiety contribute to or trigger health conditions like high blood pressure and weaken your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to viruses and other pathogens.

Seeking help from professional mental health providers, your medical doctor, or your primary healthcare provider can help you learn how to cope better with stress, grief, trauma, and other matters that hinder you from achieving your best mental health.


Emotional Wellness
Emotion regulation is critical to total health. Managing life’s emotional ups and downs in a way that enables you to maintain a healthy balance and learn from the experience that triggered the emotions is emotional wellness. It may seem that the easiest thing to do is to wait for the ‘negative feelings’ to pass or to ignore them. However, ignoring your emotions, allowing them to fester, or lashing out at others does not enhance your emotional health. Either one of those actions, in fact, makes things worse–the situation that triggered your reaction remains unresolved and problematic.

The goal is to manage and control your emotions, to regulate them. Allowing them to control you damages the other pillars—sleep and appetite disturbance, unstable relationships, excessive worry, loneliness, disconnection from your Personal Truth.


Spiritual Wellness
How well connected you are to your Personal Truth, to your family, to your community, and to your Creator defines your spiritual health. Living mindfully in the present moment enables your intuition, your innate Knowing, to guide you to profound understandings and to the best choices available to you at any given moment. This deepens your experience of joy and your relationship to self and others.

The absence of joy and authentic love will most certainly lead to depression, anxiety, illness, anger, and/or aggressiveness which negatively impact the physical, mental, and emotional pillars of health.


Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are the foundation of health and happiness. Without them, achieving health in the other 4 pillars is improbable. You see, boundaries are your innate alarm system designed to protect you from harmful forces and boundaries are necessary for you to properly develop into your own unique self. You will not receive warning signals from your intuition when you’re in danger and you will be enmeshed with others if your boundaries are unhealthy.

Every aspect of health is heavily influenced by boundaries. They protect the integrity of your person by alerting you when physical/mental/emotional/spiritual danger is near, when your agreements are broken, when your expectations are unrealistic, when you lose yourself in another person, and when you are not living your Personal Truth.

3 Wellness Resources

1. Read Living in Total Health, Reconnecting with Your Wellth, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner for Health & Wellness and Finalist in the Mind, Body, Spirit category It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook on glenalex.com.

2. Tune in to The Glen Alex Show, broadcast live on the Bold Brave TV Network on Thursdays @ 1:00 PM PST / 4:00 PM EST. Catch the replays on glenalex.com.

3. Read Glen’s health blogs on glenalex.com. All elements of health are covered.

 

Wellness is the compete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.
–Greg Anderson

 

As you can see, wellness is not the absence of illness or challenges. Wellness is the balance between your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves that enables you to meet life challenges while you experience life with joy and enthusiasm.

Focusing on one aspect of self at the exclusion of the others leaves room for
dis-ease…physical illness, depression, anxiety, loss of self, or existential angst. So spare yourself these unnecessary struggles and choose to nurture your total health. Life will present enough challenges to you. Accept your wholeness and strive to integrate all of who are to be well.

glen alex, living in total health, glenalex.com, clinical social worker, self talk, blog, the glen alex show, las vegas, nevada

5 Self Talk To-dos to Enhance Your Mental and Overall Health

Did you know that how you speak to yourself affects your mental and overall health? You’re probably thinking, Yeah, right! Hey, I do understand your skepticism. After all, your internal conversations are just your private thoughts and don’t really effect anything or anyone else. That is incorrect. Your self talk impacts every area of your life.

Self Talk: Repetitive Negativity 

So we’re on the same page, self talk involves the thoughts that you repeat to yourself on the regular. Those thoughts can be positive, negative, or neutral. They are, however, typically negative, as we humans have a Negativity Bias. That is, we are 5x more likely to pay attention to things negative than positive. Negativity Bias actively seeks out what’s wrong or gravitates toward adverse events and experiences. Either way, this innate filter is all about the negative and shows up in what you think, in your choices, and ultimately your circumstances.

…we tend to think the same negative things over and over and over.

There is more. According to Cleveland Clinic, we humans process about 70,000 thoughts per day! How many of these thoughts are you actually conscious of? One, five, ten percent? Not much at all. Add to this, 80-90% of the 70K thoughts are negative and repetitive. So we tend to think the same negative things over and over and over.

Most people live unconsciously, meaning they are on autopilot and are not consciously aware of what they are doing, thinking, or feeling at any given moment. That autopilot is made of archived memories. You see, the subconscious stores every single experience you’ve ever had. So when on autopilot, your decisions are made based on your history and not on present-moment awareness. Your internal dialogue is no different.

“…most of our beliefs were unconsciously created based on our
interpretations of painful and pleasurable experiences in our past.”
–Tony Robbins

Negative Self Talk & Mental Health

Wow! That’s deep, I know. So if I have the same negative thoughts every day that I’m not aware of then what can I do about them? I am so glad you asked. You can learn to manage your thoughts and thereby improve your mental and overall health. By the way, your thinking patterns reflect and reinforce your beliefs about yourself and the world.

Negative self talk is pervasive in anxiety and depression, and your body hears everything you think and responds accordingly. One of the core principals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves changing faulty, distorted, and unrealistic thinking to effectively improve mental health and overall functioning in every area of life.

glen alex, living in total health, the glen alex show, cognitive triangle, clinical social worker, cbt, self talk, mental health

When unconscious and on autopilot, automatic irrational thinking leads to automatic irrational emotions which lead to automatic poor choices, resulting in unwanted outcomes. The reverse is also true. Realistic and rational cognitions promote present moment awareness, appropriate emotion, and choices based on real-time information, which lead to better results. You must be conscious and not on autopilot to be present.

Self Talk To-dos

The 5 steps below will assist you in improving your self talk so you may interpret (think about) events and experiences in a way that supports and empowers you.

1.

Awaken.
Increase your awareness of the dominant thoughts that run through your mind. Adopt an objective posture, as if you’re watching the notions slide by like a film strip.

Observing your thoughts teaches you about you, deepens your connection to self, and allows for honest reflection that promotes healthy change. The key in this process is observation without judging yourself or your thoughts. You are not stupid, lazy, or weak because of the habitual thoughts that live inside your head.

Remember that your mindset (beliefs and thoughts) developed unconsciously. You waking up and becoming conscious gives you the best opportunity to change the beliefs and thoughts that don’t empower you to make healthy changes.

2.

Don’t be fooled.
Thoughts are not facts. So don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are expressions of your beliefs and tools to help you navigate life effectively. Fact check your automatic thoughts to discern which are distorted and unrealistic and which are realistic and healthy. Then you’ll know which thoughts to give energy to.

3.

Reframe.
Change your thoughts, change your outcomes, change your life. Once aware of your dominant negative thoughts, you can then reframe them. Keep in mind that Negativity Bias and other forms of distorted thinking trigger your emotional responses. Some say that thoughts actually create emotions.

Think of your least favorite person. Did that arouse anger or fear? Did your skin crawl?

Now think of your favorite food. Did you get warm fuzzies? Feel loved? Happy?

Thoughts have that power. Another example is repeat each statement below to yourself, take a beat, then scan your body and mind for how each one impacts you:

Statement 1: What’s wrong with me, things never work out?

Statement 2: I’m sorry this didn’t work out for me, maybe next time.

Hopefully, you felt the difference triggered by each statement and can understand how reframing your negative thoughts changes your emotional experiences.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
–Wayne Dyer

4.

Be your own best friend.
Surely if your best friend was having a difficult time, you would offer them supportive and encouraging words. Yes? Of course! The language we use when speaking to those we genuinely love goes something like this:

You can manage this. You’re stronger than you think. You’re doing the best you can.

Simply apply this language to yourself and be your own best friend.

5.

Meditate.
Real-time information is the most accurate and only available in the present moment. Benefits of meditation include reduced stress and enhanced sleep. Meditation also promotes mindfulness, present moment awareness. And the more conscious you are of what you’re thinking, feeling, and doing at any given time, the better equipped you’ll be to make the most appropriate choices for yourself.

In addition, meditation can help you increase self-awareness and learn more about your dominant thoughts. There are many sources available that teach meditation, like apps, videos, and classes.

 

Self talk impacts every area of your life. The effects are positive or negative. Unfortunately, human beings are prone to Negativity Bias and tend to see themselves and the world through that lens. However, you can learn to manage your thoughts and reframe them to increase positives in your life. Use the 5 Self Talk To-dos to enhance your mental, emotional, and overall health.

glen alex, lcsw, author, living in total health, las vegas, nevada, support systems, mental health, online support groups, the glen alex show

Why Mental Health and Wellness Require a Support System

Let’s be clear…humans are interconnected and require loving support systems to thrive. No one makes it alone. It’s unfortunate that far too many people believe they have to, they need to tough it out alone because asking for help is weakness. Allow me to offer you a more productive, constructive, and positive perspective. It actually takes inner strength to ask for and accept help.

“You can’t achieve anything entirely by yourself. There’s a support system that is a basic requirement of human existence. To be happy and successful on earth, you just have to have people that you rely on.”
Michael Schur

Support System Needed

Humans are social creatures and need other people, a support system. None of us are in this alone, though it may feel that way at times. And the extreme social isolation imposed upon us by the pandemic triggered more loneliness, more depression, more anxiety and more mental health issues in general.

The shutdowns exposed our interdependence and need for social contact and support. Even those of us who wanted to seek help were denied. Yet whenever we go against Human Nature, we suffer psychologically which impacts every other aspect of health, including the physical and spiritual. We need a healthy, loving support system to thrive.


Humans are social creatures and need other people, a support system.

glen alex, author, living in total health, lcsw, support systems, mental health, humans, social, the glen alex show

Support for Your Mental Health

It’s imperative that you surround yourself with people who genuinely have your best interest at heart. Please note that your support system can include family, friends, religious leaders, and mental health providers. What matters more than relation is connection and authenticity. For example, family members can be imposing and only seek their desires for you while a coworker listens to you without judgement.

“There are support systems for any life challenge.” 
–Tracey Thomas, PsyD, Circles Group Facilitator Liaison

Help is Available

One positive result of the pandemic is increased awareness of mental health issues and resources. Now there are many more options for help, including teletherapy and online support groups. Learn more about them on The Glen Alex Show with guest Tracey Thomas from Circles. The Glen Alex Show is available on YouTube, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and wherever you get you podcasts.

You are not alone. Help is available for any life challenge you may face. Reach out to find the right support system for you, whether it be family, friend, support group. Keep in mind that your support system may shift depending on the challenge you face. For example, four friends were my support system during the severe depression I experienced a few years ago and a sister was my rock when my twin girls died. Someone is there for you, it’s just a matter of you asking for and accepting help.

Everyone needs a support system for mental health.

glen alex, living in total health, resilience, the glen alex show, wellth counselor, las vegas, nevada

Resilience: How to Bounce Back and Thrive

Ever have a bad or negative experience? Had your plans, goals, or dreams setback by someone or some circumstance? Maybe you were overlooked for a promotion or lost your job. Perhaps you’re going through a breakup or divorce. Could be that your car broke down, another mishap in your life.

Of course you’ve had your share of negatives. Unpleasant challenges are a natural part of the human experience. None of us are immune. And yes, some events are more painful and enduring than others. Still, it’s not what happens to us so much as it is how we respond to what happens.

“Resilience is our ability to bounce back from life’s challenges and unforeseen difficulties, providing mental protection from emotional and mental disorders.
–Michael Rutter

Your Innate Resilience

Resilience is the way to respond to loss, defeat, failure, and disappointment so that you learn and grow through the experience. Simply defined, resilience is the ability to recover from difficult and challenging events. For me, resilience is a skillset that enables you to navigate physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual distress to recover from setbacks and to transcend them so you can thrive.

And get this, you are already resilient. It is innate. Take a moment and consider the daily upsets you experience. Getting stuck in traffic, a friend showing up late or not at all, and the sink stopping up are examples of the smaller challenges you may face regularly. Yet, you work through those difficulties naturally. Seeing the issue for what it is, problem solving, and moving forward are skills you employ to cope with the smaller negative events.

The process is similar when it comes to the big upsets in life like shutdowns, the death of a loved one, or a major car accident. Even though the larger challenges are accompanied by a higher level of anxiety or depression, your innate resilience skillset is still the ticket to dealing with and transcending the negative experience, and growing stronger through it all.

Glen Alex, Living in Total Health, Wellth Counselor, Laughter, Happy, Healthy, Resilience, Las Vegas, Nevada

A.M.CASH

Somehow, you disconnected from your innate ability for resilience. This skillset remains within you still; it’s just a matter of reconnecting to it. To learn more about your innate resilience, checkout The Glen Alex Show episode and simply utilize the A.M.CASH method below to assist you in open up to your innate resilience.

A


CCEPTANCE

Recovery and healing start with acceptance. Being realistic about your situation can be difficult and painful. Yet, ignoring reality or sweeping it under the rug only makes it worse and more dreadful. Accepting the way things are for you is not resignation or giving up. Acceptance gives you clarity, which in and of itself, is empowering.

M


INDSET

Many people believe that happiness and joy mean having no problems. This belief is unrealistic and make stressful and challenging events, which are normal human experiences, more painful. Shifting your mindset to recognize that such experiences are learning opportunities designed to strengthen your coping skills, reveal your options, and improve your life.

C


ONTROL

Negative and difficult events tend to strip away a sense of personal control. Loss of control is a huge component of anxiety and depression. One of the best strategies to restore personal control is to focus on what you can do. It’s the small everyday things we have power over that make the biggest difference. Managing what you can is empowering. Some daily activities of control that we take for granted include:
• What you eat
• When you sleep
• What you feed your mind (read, watch, listen to, etc.)
• Who you spend time with (other than children, coworkers, etc.)
• How active you are

A


CTIVITY
Physical movement is one of the fastest and most effective ways to change a negative emotional state and disrupt negative self-talk. Being active burns negative energy, redirects your mind, and releases endorphins. Mindset shifts often occur during physical activity.

S


EEK HELP
There is no shame in asking for help. Everyone needs additional support and guidance from time to time. And seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Acknowledging and accepting that you need more coping skills is empowering because they lead you to grow personally.

H


ELP OTHERS
Helping others is an amazing way to gain a new perspective while supporting another human being who has fallen on hard times. As you genuinely open your heart to someone struggling by donating used goods, money, or time expands your mindset. Then you will see new points of view and options, which can strengthen your resolve and resilience.

“Resilient people turn the tragic into a learning experience. They collect valuable information from their suffering so they may live better, be better, and move on and upward.”
– Glen Alex, Living In Total Health

 

Life happens. When you face setbacks and challenges that are inherent in the Human Condition, you can recover and thrive. Tapping into your innate ability to be resilient enables you to move through life’s obstacles in such a way that you learn from them and grow through the process, keeping anxiety and depression at bay. Utilize the A.M.CASH method to ignite your natural resilience skillset. And thrive.