Glen Alex Emotional Eating Las Vegas Nevada Living In Total Health EAT

Do You Reach for Comfort Foods When Distressed? Learn How to Stop Emotional Eating with EAT

About Emotional Eating

It is so easy to reach for candy or alcohol to feel better, whatever better is. Perhaps your work load is overwhelming so you have an extra glass of wine to take the edge off. Maybe your spouse isn’t paying enough positive attention to you and chocolate helps you ignore your loneliness for a while. Or you struggle to make ends meet, “…you have more month than money” as Jim Rohn said, and you eat extra helpings at dinner to calm your anxiety.

Emotional eating is not about satisfying physical hunger.
It is all about distracting self from emotional distress.

These are examples of emotional eating, using food and drink to comfort unpleasant emotions and stress, meaning that you consume food and drink solely to make you feel better and take your mind off of what is troubling to you. Emotional eating is not about satisfying physical hunger. It’s all about distracting self from emotional distress. Thus, emotional eating is also called stress eating.

 

Negative Effects of Emotional Eating

As emotional eating provides the short term distraction that you believe equals relief, it also creates many negative effects in the long term. Weight gain, cumulative stress, and unresolved emotional issues are just a few negatives resulting from comfort food and drink. To be clear, emotional eating is not about physical hunger. It is about masking or avoiding your negative and unpleasant emotional experiences.

And it’s about masking mine too. With all of my knowledge and experience in psychotherapy, I too have given in to dulling my emotional pain with food and/or drink. Allow me to share two examples from my life.

 

My Personal Struggles with Emotional Eating

Glen Alex working through grief and depression. las vegas, nv

In 2013, my brother Kenny succumbed to Prostate Cancer. He transitioned in my arms. Kenny’s death at such a young age hit me like an eye-less hurricane–there was no calm in that storm. The grief eventually gave way to the deepest depression I have ever experienced. And I drowned myself in food and booze for months. I just wanted to stop feeling the agonizing sorrow that greeted me every morning and put me to sleep every night. Needless to say that I gained weight and triggered negative processes in my body, revealed by labs and scans.

This picture was taken during my depression and all I see is my sadness.

More recently, my maternal aunt transitioned. I couldn’t attend the funeral that was held in another state. I was able, however, to watch her live-streamed funeral service. It was lovely; yet I was distraught. The depth of sadness I experienced while watching surprised me. Not being there to support my uncle and cousins was difficult. Wondering how lonely it must be, I empathized with another aunt who is the last living sibling of my mother. I broke down seeing my siblings who I haven’t seen in nearly two years because of the pandemic. And I lost it when my mother’s name was said during the reading of my aunt’s obituary. The sadness lingered long after I stopped sobbing. So I ate extra helpings of my otherwise healthy meal to take my mind off of my losses. The excess food bogged down and aggravated my digestive conditions.

 

Loss and Comfort Foods

My emotional eating seems to center around significant losses. I’m very resilient when it comes to everyday-type losses and normal life stress. The existential nature of death and big life shifts intensify my emotional experiences. I had to learn this about myself. And adjust. I was able to transform my overindulgence in comfort food and drink over an extended period after Kenny died to just one meal after my aunt’s funeral.

And I allowed myself to experience my sadness. Allowing it to be allowed it to release. Masking and avoiding pain only serve to strengthen it, make it last longer than necessary. Don’t get me wrong, sitting in sadness was not at all comfortable. However, accepting it as a normal human response to loss not only made it bearable, acceptance evoked confidence that I could handle my pain and would be okay.

Allowing it to be allowed it to release.

EAT

While intense sadness elicits my emotional eating, yours may have a different trigger— arguments with your significant other, trouble on your job, a stressful day, traffic. Whatever causes you to consume comfort food, you can strengthen your coping skills and improve how you manage negative and unpleasant emotional experiences.

Here’s how I did with EAT.

Evaluate

Ask yourself if you are eating to satisfy physical hunger. If the answer is no, then you are eating to mask emotion. Next, ask yourself “What am I avoiding?” It’s okay if you don’t have an answer. Just asking the question plants a reflective seed in your mind that may be enough to stop you from emotional eating in that moment and set you up to be more mindful about it in the future, and thereby limit, reduce, or eliminate emotional eating.

Act

Move your body. Physical movement is a great way to process and manage emotion. According to Tony Robbins, the secret to changing your state of mind (and emotions) is moving your body. Something as simple as jumping up and down a few times, walking around your space, or giving yourself a hug could reset your state of mind and shift your emotions. Action can also reduce or eliminate your need to satisfy your emotional hunger and be the catalyst for your intuition to give you pertinent information that will help you cope better and grow.

 

Transform

Convert your emotional hunger into empowerment. Emotional eating comes from a position of weakness, a lack of understanding of how powerful and capable you really are. You see, each of us are born with gifts, talents, and intuition. We already know how to navigate through life to get our needs met most appropriately and how to live full and joyful lives. This is strength. Somewhere along the way, unfortunately, we are led away from who we truly are and fall into unhealthy patterns such as this. Evaluating your emotional eating, moving your body, connecting with someone who supports your best, and being open to your intuition will naturally allow your emotions to be so they can release, transforming your emotional hunger and restoring your innate strength, empowering you to cope in healthy ways.

 

Manage Emotional Distress to Live More Fully, Joyfully

The purpose of consuming comfort food and drink during emotional upset is to avoid or mask the pain. Though it seems like a quick fix because it distracts you for a brief period, emotional eating does more harm than good. It causes health problems like unwanted weight gain. Also, the  unresolved distress and the stress required to suppress emotions do take their toll on how well your body and mind function, diminishing your experience of life. Employ my EAT strategy to better manage your emotional upsets so you may live more fully and more joyfully.

 

 

Do you need help coping with emotional distress? 

Living In Total Health is a great place to start! This total wellness guide covers all factors influence, providing insights and information that you can apply immediately. 
–Living In Total Health is available in hardcover and ebook. Click to order your copy.

Contact Glen to schedule your complimentary consultation
to identify and address your barriers to being 

Joyful. Connected. Confident. Complete.
Glen Alex, Living In Total Health, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner
Glen Alex, Living In Total Health, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner

5 Pillars of Total Health

What comes to mind when you think of the word health? If you’re like most people, that word immediately conjures up sweating in a gym and eating salads. Unfortunately, health is far too often defined by diet and exercise with the results limited by those two measures. Health, by the way, is so much more than shape and size. Total health is about the whole person.

Glen Alex, Living In Total Health, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner

We are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beings. Each aspect matters. Although it’s helpful to separate these pillars to focus on specific health issues, dismissing either is problematic because doing so denies our wholeness. Total health integrates all of who we are. Only then we can function at the highest level, laugh from the depths of our bellies, love from the bottoms of our hearts, and connect soul to soul.

…embrace your whole self to achieve total health so you can function, laugh, love, and connect fully.


THE PILLARS OF TOTAL HEALTH

The pillars of total health are not necessarily sequential. Because they are interdependent, health in any one pillar will positively impact health in the others. Therefore, they can be worked on in whatever order you decide is best for you.

Pillar 1: Physical Health

The physical aspect of total health is the most grounding. How each of us physically relates to the earth, the elements, and biology is crucial to overall health. Although what you eat and how active you are do significantly impact physical functioning, other measures are also just as important to physical health. Have you heard of anyone who had a healthy lifestyle suddenly fall ill?

Bob is an active man. He works out, rides his bike, and swims regularly. Bob and his wife also consume the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, and water. Then one day, Bob had a heart attack. Fortunately, he is recovering well.

While Bob did a great job with diet and exercise, his internal health went unnoticed. Bob’s cardiac issues could have been detected earlier with regular physical exams and diagnostics. These health tools assess what is going on inside the body. The superficial measures of calories in and calories out cannot.

In addition to getting physicals and diagnostics as indicated, being your own advocate to individualize your medical care is the X-factor in your health. Don’t just settle for whatever your provider says. Ask questions. Gather information. Seek a second opinion if necessary. Disclose specifics about your condition, situation, and experience. Your relationship with the provider is best as a collaboration and your proactive input is required for you to achieve your best health outcomes.

Pillar 2: Mental Health

During the pandemic, mental health received much needed attention. Perhaps now this undeniably crucial aspect of humanity will be addressed properly by policy makers because mental health issues can be caused by medical conditions, medication or other substances, trauma, and significant life events.

In cases where mental health issues are triggered by illness, substances, or trauma, medical intervention can be most effective. I recommend clients see their primary healthcare provider to rule out any physiological cause of their distress and to determine if medication therapy is appropriate to alleviate any debilitating symptoms caused by the mental health issue.

According to the CDC, depression and anxiety are the most common mental health issues that American adults face. Medical conditions aside, these two issues are directly related to paradigm. Your paradigm is the lens through which you view life. This lens is filtered by your mindset and beliefs about how life should be. Depression and anxiety set in when the reality of life and your beliefs differ. With depression, the belief is about what should have or should not have happened in the past. Anxiety poses the belief that the future will be bad.

If your experience of life is diminished by depression or anxiety, help is available. Psychotherapy helps you reframe and redefine your paradigm to be more realistic, to help you navigate life in a way that enhances your health and joy. Effective coping skills are also taught in psychotherapy. Medication coupled with talk therapy has shown significant improvements in these issues. So please, get help.

Pillar 3: Emotional Health

Life can be demanding. Situations can be stressful. Relationships can be challenging. Demands, stress, and challenges all elicit emotional reactions. Such emotions are sometimes powerful and overwhelming, enough to lead to poor choices, harmful outbursts, or overindulgence in food and/or substances.

Emotional health involves being able to manage emotional ups and downs in a way that you are able to maintain equilibrium and learn from the experience that triggered the emotions. Just waiting for the unpleasant ‘feelings’ to pass may seem the easiest thing to do. It will not, however, enhance your emotional health. In fact, ignoring your emotions, allowing them to fester, or acting out impulsively makes things worse because the situation that triggered your reaction remains unresolved and problematic.

Specific skills are required to achieve and maintain emotional health. Emoting with Intelligence is the skillset needed to recognize when you’re in the throes of emotion, contain it, reflect on its meaning, and make conscious choices about how to respond. This skillset enables you to navigate life’s upheavals and maintain emotional health, and is taught in the Emoting with Intelligence chapter of Living In Total Health.

Pillar 4: Spiritual Health

Living In Total Health defines spirituality as your connection to Love. For me, Love is the state from whence all creation comes. So how well you are connected to the Source, to your family and friends, to your community, and to your True Self determines your level of spiritual health.

Connection can manifest as oneness or unity and as intuition, which is an awareness ‘that passeth understanding’. Being at one or unified with another is pretty self-explanatory. Intuition, on the other hand, may not be. It is innate knowing and guidance that you and I are born with. Consider it a gift from the Source of life. Intuition contains all of the information each of us requires to get our needs met in the healthiest way and to experience joy on a regular basis.

Pillar 5: Healthy Boundaries

This pillar will surprise many. Most people only think of boundaries as saying no. They don’t get that healthy boundaries are so much more than that one word. Nor do they get that without healthy boundaries, achieving health in the other 4 pillars is nearly unattainable.

Boundaries are your innate alarm system designed to protect you from harmful forces. Your boundaries are also required for you to properly develop into your own unique self. As such, boundaries are the foundation of health and happiness. Without healthy boundaries, every area of your life can be negatively impacted.

Let’s look at a few ways that boundaries impact the other pillars of health.

Physical
The physical boundary involves what happens to your body.

  • Bodily sensations serve as warning signs when you are in physical danger
  • Inappropriate or unwanted touching can lead to depression, anxiety, self-loathing

Mental
The mental boundary involves agreements and expectations.

  • Unrealistic expectations set others up to fail you, which can cause you to question your self-worth when they let you down and lead to anger and depression
  • Overcommitting entails unrealistic agreements; agreeing to things you can’t realistically accomplish damages your credibility, causes you to avoid others, triggers anxiety and guilt

Emotional Health
The emotional boundary involves proper individuation, being your own person and not taking on the drama/chaos/baggage/issues of another person as if they are yours–not the same empathy.

  • You “lose” yourself to someone else and behave, speak, and react like the other person
  • Friends and family to tell you that you have changed and not for the better

Spiritual Health
The spiritual boundary involves being connected and following your intuition.

  • Ever say to yourself, “I should’ve followed my first mind” or something similar? …indicates that you ignored your intuition, which can lead to problems
  • Loneliness is the absence of meaningful connection to self, family, community, or purpose and is a big factor in depression and suicide

There are many more examples of how unhealthy boundaries affect total health. For more on healthy boundaries please read Living In Total Health, the 2021 Indie Book Award Winner for Health/Wellness and finalist in the Mind, Body, Spirit category. Living In Total Health is available on glenalex.com.

Glen Alex, Living In Total Health, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner

My life’s work is about total health. Of those who know me and my work in health, many still volunteer that they worked out or plan to do something active to assure me they’re on the path to health. This is great. Yet it is not enough. While total health often begins in the physical realm, true health requires the physical to be in concert with the other pillars. Mental, emotional, spiritual, and boundary health matter as much as the physical. So embrace your whole self to achieve total health so you can function, laugh, love, and connect fully.

Assess your boundary health with Glen’s Boundaries Questionnaire.
Visit glenalex.com to subscribe to receive the questionnaire for free, to learn information on Glen’s self-paced course, Healthy Boundaries for Overwhelmed Women, and to purchase Living In Total Health.

Glen Alex, Las Vegas, NV: How Poor Boundaries Inhibit Mental Wellness Blog

How Poor Boundaries Inhibit Mental Wellness

The Foundation of Mental Wellness

Healthy boundaries are the foundation of mental wellness. Boundaries are your innate, personal alarm system that is necessary for you to properly develop as a unique individual and for you to protect yourself from harm. You are designed to be and share who you truly are, expressing the special gift you were born with. There are many harmful forces in the world and your boundaries defend you against them. As such, healthy boundaries form the line where what you will and will not tolerate meet. Poor boundaries do not facilitate individuality or safety and inhibit mental wellness.

What is Mental Wellness?

How well your thoughts, emotions, and actions align with reality defines how mentally well you are. When what you think, when your emotional responsiveness, and when your behavior (choices) are in one accord with the way the world actually functions, not how you believe it should be, then your level of mental wellness will be high. The more attuned you are to reality, its pleasantries as well as its harshness, then the more healthy and realistic your existence is. You handle life’s ups and downs relatively well…going with the flow, learning as you go.

Mental wellness also involves being able to recognize your strengths and build upon them, to cope with life’s challenges and still experience joy, and to contribute to society via productive and meaningful works.

Healthy Boundaries Meet Mental Wellness
Healthy boundaries are based in reality. What is, not what was nor what if. Those who are stuck in the past or dwell on the future fare less well in the present and experience excessive disappointment, anger, anxiety, depression, and weakened self-confidence. The clarity in healthy boundaries promotes overall health and happiness and is directly linked to mental wellness.

Common Unhealthy Boundaries

Let’s look at examples of common unhealthy boundaries and how they impact mental wellness. Three common poor boundaries are unrealistic expectations, overcommitting, and oversharing.

Unrealistic Expectations
Perhaps the most underrated boundary is the mental boundary, which is about agreements. An agreement occurs when two or more people decide together how things will go—a business deal, a relationship, an event. This agreement provides a cooperative understanding between the individuals involved. Each person knows what to expect, realistically.

Alternatively, no agreement exists when one person assumes what another person will do, imposing an unrealistic and unspoken expectation on him or her. There is no conversation nor any communication about what the assumer wants. This unrealistic expectation sets the other person up to fail because he or she does not read minds and are therefore unable to give the assumer what s/he wishes for.

Unspoken and unrealistic expectations kill relationships. More than that, they lead the one who silently hopes for a specific outcome and who assumes the other person will deliver it to doubt their own worth. After all if they were important enough, then they would get what they want from the other person automatically. When the assumer does not get their way, then they may get angry or depressed and have unrealistic thoughts like I’m unlovable, Why doesn’t s/he love me?, What’s wrong with me?, I’m not good enough.

Unrealistic Commitments
Most people believe that boundaries are only about saying no. Though not true in all situations, saying no is definitely required to set healthy limits when appropriate. Life itself naturally imposes challenges and stress. Voluntarily compounding normal stress with overcommitting creates other issues. The unwillingness to decline requests and refuse to add to your already full plate leads to overwhelm, guilt, and low self-esteem.

The overwhelm produced by not communicating no, your line in the sand, when appropriate is ripe with a loss of control, which is laden with anxiety because you stress about getting it all done, knowing that you can’t do it all. And because you can’t do it all, you fail to follow through on promises which triggers guilt, damages your credibility, and wears you out.

Unrealistic Sharing
Do you or anyone you know think of themselves as “an open book”? Those who do tend to believe that sharing is caring, that by telling all about themselves they are engendering closeness, connection with others. I have met people who disclosed their most intimate secrets and desires within a few minutes of meeting me. Oversharing is off-putting to those with healthy boundaries. To those with poor boundaries, your oversharing is a way in to manipulate, to deceive, to get a way in for the sole purpose of getting what they want from you.

Oversharing is not caring. It communicates vulnerability, gullibility, and personal weakness to some. Those with poor boundaries are attracted to you because you give them all the information they need to take advantage of you. Abusers gain intel on how to worm their way in from your oversharing (telling too much). They use who you are against you to get what they want—sex, money, favors, etc.

The consequences of oversharing and being taken advantage of are hurt, anger, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, and/or depression.

Poor boundaries are harmful to your mental health. They make you vulnerable to dangerous forces in life and heap unnecessary stress upon you. Unrealistic expectations, overcommitting, and oversharing are a few examples of unhealthy boundaries. Some consequences of unhealthy boundaries include anxiety, depression, anger, and poor self-esteem.

Mental wellness is measured by a person’s connection to reality, to what is. Healthy boundaries are directly connected with mental wellness because they are based in reality. Your clarity about what you will and will not tolerate and making that line clear to others will offer you peace of mind, less stress, and enhance your mental wellness.

Assess your boundary health with Glen’s Boundaries Questionnaire.
Simply subscribe to receive it for free. Also visit glenalex.com for information on Glen’s self-paced course, Healthy Boundaries for Overwhelmed Women.

2021: Your Year of Resilience | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

2021: Your Year of Resilience

YIPPEE! 2020, the most horrific year the world has experienced, is over. Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief from the repeated traumas inflicted by the virus, by deaths due to abuses of power, by the creation and exacerbation of mental health issues, by increased domestic violence and suicides, and by the economic devastation of the shutdowns.

How were you affected in 2020?

2020: Let’s Not Repeat This History

Although we are happy that 2020 is history, it is a history we must be mindful to not repeat. It’s so easy to wish for something negative to go away or to get out of a painful situation like a bully boss or troubling neighbor or living with overbearing parents. When you wish, hope, and long for the absence of some problem without consciously intending or visualizing a more loving, more joyful, more meaningful experience, you actually invite in more of what you wish away. And that is how history is repeated.

Resilience Creates New Beginnings

The best way to create a new beginning instead of repeating the past is with resilience. It is so much more than getting away from unpleasantness. Simply wishing for 2020 to go away is not effective in moving toward a more positive, loving, and joyous experience of life. More than wishful thinking is required from each of us to move forward.

“[Resilience] is bouncing back and rising to a level higher than that prior to the issue. This malleability is about thriving, not just surviving.”

–Living In Total Health by Glen Alex

You Are Resilient

You have the capability to be resilient. It’s innate. And when you tap into it, you transcend your pain and trauma to move toward thrive. Even in response to the depression, anxiety, and stress evoked by 2020 events. Your resilience enables you to engage in life more fully, to experience successes and challenges and joys and love.

“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.”

–Living In Total Health by Glen Alex

In order to transform tragedy to triumph, being present to make decisions based on real-time information is an essential requirement of resilience.

Use ACASH to be Present and to Tap into Your Innate Resilience

You are naturally resilient. Here are a few tips for tapping into this innate skill set.

Acceptance

Instead of denying or avoiding the reality of your situation, acknowledge it. Ignoring the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual pain imposed by 2020, or any tragedy for that matter, only amplifies it rather than make it go away. Avoidance does not work longterm and is not healthy. Admitting to yourself that you are in debt, are struggling to provide for your or your family’s basic needs, or have to close the business that you worked hard to establish is a crucial step in achieving mental and emotional stability enough to move forward.

Acceptance is not failure nor is it an indictment of your character. Rather, you simply see what is as it is.

Control

Many depression and anxiety issues arise from lack of control. Depression involves looking backward in a way that either glorifies or laments the past while anxiety is about fear of what’s to come, which is gloomy and scary. Both depression and anxiety are about being out of control. However, you can’t control the past or the future. Your only power and control is in the here and now. So it is imperative to recognize that your control is in the present moment and focus each day on what you do control.

Though this may seem elementary, focusing on these elements of control are empowering and will enhance your mental and emotional health:

Make a list of what you do control

o What you eat and consume

o What activities you engage in

o What TV programs and movies you watch

o Who and what you listen to

o What you read

o The organization of your living space

Activity

You can still be active even though gyms may be closed and group activities cancelled. Available choices for moving your body to increase circulation, to expend nervous/anxious energy, and to retard depression include:

    • Mask up and walk/jog/hike a trail where permitted
    • Walk/run up and down the stairs in your home or building
    • Engage in free workouts on YouTube or other online sources
    • Dance to your favorite music
    • Sing along to your favorite songs
    • Work out in a park within safety protocols

Seek Help

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There is no shame in needing assistance, we all do from time to time. More than that, you cannot use the same mindset and behaviors that created your distress to resolve it. Keeping to yourself maintains or intensifies the negative patterns that led to your anguish. Therefore, getting input from someone who cares about your wellbeing can improve your outlook and open you up to a new and constructive mindset. And there are many virtual platforms available to receive therapy as well as free hotlines to speak with someone anonymously.

Help Others

Even during times of economic upheaval, you still can help those less fortunate. Sadly, there is always someone struggling more than you…foster children, displaced abused women and children, veterans with mental health issues, those homeless. Donating goods and clothing in good condition is very helpful to those in need. So find a 501(c)(3) charity that speaks to you or connect with someone you know personally and give away what you no longer need.

Resolve to Thrive

You have the natural ability to recover from the traumas of 2020. So set yourself up to thrive in 2021 by tapping into your propensity for resilience with ACASH—Acceptance, Control, Activity, Seek Help, Help Others. Doing so reconnects you to the present moment which empowers you to make real-time, conscious choices to restore your control and lead you to thrive in 2021.

“…to transform tragedy to triumph, being present to make decisions based on real-time information is an essential requirement of resilience.”

Create Your Best Health in 2021

Tap into your innate capability to be resilient with Living In Total Health, Your Total Wellness Guide

Timeless, Comprehensive Health Information and Insights

Living In Total Health discusses the components of resilience, a vital element in total health. Living In Total Health provides timeless information and insights for you to pave your way to total health and to be resilient. Living In total Health is a great gift for self and loved ones.

An Easy Read Delivering Indispensable Information on Health Essentials

Your total wellness guide, Living In Total Health, covers essentials for Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual health. Presented in an easy, quick-read style it is packed with valuable, practical health wisdom that can be immediately applied to help make 2021 your best, most healthy year ever!

2021 Special Limited Offer

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Gratitude is Key to Health | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Gratitude is Key to Health

For most people, gratitude is about giving thanks for possessions and blessings. For some other people, gratitude is a deeply spiritual experience in which they feel connected with God. And still others invoke gratefulness when something special happens. No matter how gratitude manifests in your life, know that being in a state of gratefulness can be tapped into at any time, even during difficulties. Even in 2020. And during this most traumatic year, gratitude continues to be key to health. There are significant physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health benefits attained from being grateful. When in the state of gratefulness, your total health is enhanced.

How do you manifest gratitude in your life?

Gratitude Brings Better Health

Mentally, being thankful repels negative thinking, depression, and anxiety. It is impossible to be sad or fearful or gloomy and grateful at the same time. Emotionally, gratitude is a natural high. The brain releases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin during the state of gratefulness. These feel good chemicals may also be responsible for improved physical symptoms. “Benefits associated with gratitude include better sleep, more exercise, reduced symptoms of physical pain, lower levels of inflammation, lower blood pressure and a host of other things we associate with better health,” said Glenn Fox.

“As gratitude grows, negativity goes.”
–Glen Alex

Gratitude and Spirit

Let me interject here that gratitude is much more profound than just saying “thank you”. It is a deep level of appreciation that puts you directly in touch with something greater than self. This is the spiritual aspect of gratitude. Spirituality for me is all about connection to God, to The Creator, to all there is. The state of gratefulness deepens your connection to self, to loved ones, to community, and ultimately to humanity. Gratefulness resonates at your core and is connective tissue to all there is.

It is impossible to be sad or fearful or gloomy and grateful at the same time.

3 Quick Tips to Gratitude

  1. Gratitude Gaze: Look around the room you are in. Select three objects you like. While gazing at them, think of how they add to your world and say “thank you”. For example, I am grateful for my sofa because it provides comfort for my refreshing naps.
  2. Gratitude journal: daily record what you are grateful for—family, lessons, finances, work, etc. For example, I am grateful for my health, my income, specific loved ones.
  3. Reframe Game
    • List the 3 negative terms you use the most.
      –For example, I don’t have…, My life sucks, I can’t.
    • Reframe them to express gratitude (generally the opposite).
      –For example: I have enough, I am happy to be alive, I am thankful for my abilities.
    • Rehearse (practice)

The state of gratefulness deepens your connection to self, to loved ones, to community, and ultimately to humanity.

Living In Total Health with Gratitude

Humans are blessed with the ability to choose. Each of us has the power to control our own thoughts and attention. I encourage you to exercise your ability to redirect your focus toward the beneficial. Even in 2020. Though society is still unsettled and uncertainty still on the horizon, you can experience and express gratitude. Your life, your family, your health, your ability to walk and talk, your ability to think, your breath are worthy of gratitude. Your overall health will be enhanced when you are in a state of gratefulness. And the more you express gratitude, the more you will have to be grateful for and have more experiences in which you are joyful, connected, confident, and complete.

Your Total Wellness Guide

Living In Total Health can help you live in gratitude and achieve total health. Living In Total Health provides timeless information and insights for you to pave your way to total health and gratitude. Living In total Health is a great gift for self and loved ones.

Whether you are starting a health improvement program for the very first time or you have years of personal health improvement experience, Living in Total Health is bound to offer new, valuable help in your quest to attain your optimal health.

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People in Pain | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

People In Pain

“People in pain hurt other people.” Susan L. Taylor’s words resonated with me when I watched her voice them years ago. It is true. Those who are suffering and unable or unwilling to cope hurt others. Many abusers were themselves abused. People who carry anger lash out. Those who are fearful can be controlling. So yes, it is wise to identify who they are and distance yourself. Susan also nailed it when she said, “Not everyone deserves a front row seat in your life.”

You see, you can love and have compassion for someone at arm’s length. They do not need to be in your home or in your head for you to respect their humanity.

The energy of your intention for them spans time and space and transcends the ego. So there is no need to put yourself in harm’s way to prove you care about someone.

Even in pain, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy people do not seek to harm. Imagine Mother Teresa flying a plane into a World Trade Center tower. Can you see Mahatma Gandhi opening fire on concert-goers from a Vegas strip hotel? How about Martin Luther King, Jr. as a serial killer? You can’t connect these individuals to such horrors, can you? I submit to you that while Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and MLK had their human flaws, they had enough balance in their lives to spread hope rather than usurp it like the actual perpetrators of human depravity have.

Balance is the key. You know that. This knowing is not new. Yet this eternal truth needs to be reiterated with regularity in our world that is currently experiencing frequently intense waves of fear, hatred, division, and mass terror. Balance is the key. Balance.

Living In Total Health is about integrating all aspects of you, a whole being, to achieve the highest level of health and to achieve the strongest base of balance possible. It is not about being perfectly healthy nor is it about weight or body shape. Being human entails fluctuations in health, happiness, harmony, strength, relationships, focus, etc. It is the integration of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, however, that creates equanimity and provides us the strength to weather and persevere through the storms of life, and endure with a functional level of equilibrium.

Stuff happens. Life throws curve balls. So tap in to your True self, your whole self, to utilize your innate ability to balance pain with joy, darkness with the light, the good with the bad. Then you will intuitively discern who to give your precious time and attention to and who to love from afar.

The total wellness guide, Living In Total Health, is your ticket to get off the popular myopic rollercoasters which propose that health is only about diet and exercise. True health is about the whole person and the balance between the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual aspects of self. Pursue total health and you will gain peace and calm that leads to better self-awareness, self-confidence, relationships, fitness, connection, and balance. You will reconnect with your True self and reach a higher level of existence that no one can affect with baseness.

You are unique. As Les Brown says “There is greatness within you.” And all of you matters. So now is the time for you to step into your wholeness to reach your highest level of health because humanity needs you to join the forces of healthy people who don’t inflict pain. Healthy people spread love.

Even during this time of the pandemic, civil unrest, and political iniquity, each of us is still capable of being as healthy as possible. When you take your health physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health to the next level, then you will naturally distance yourself from people in pain.

You can then become a super spreader of love because we need more Mother Teresas. We need more health.

Glen Alex

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World Interrupted | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

World Interrupted

Never in my lifetime did I think the world would stop. Sure, I’ve experienced moments when time stood still—the deaths of my twins, my mother, my father and two brothers. But that was just my personal world. Then came Rona. And the global shutdown.

Rona imposed death, destruction, and massive uncertainty. Lives were upended. Normalcy dismantled. Couple that with the worldwide social discord over the murder of unarmed and handcuffed George Floyd, captured on video by bystanders. Several earthquakes felt in Las Vegas. “What is happening?”

About four weeks into the shutdown, I had an epiphany. The introvert in me loved being at home when not working as an “essential”. I caught up on rest, reorganized my garage, got creative with The Glen Alex Show, and wrote more. While the accomplishments were time well spent, I still did not like my choices being taken away. Nor did I enjoy the inconsistent mandates based seemingly on political interests rather than science. Plus no tennis!?!?!? Frustration was my quarantine companion.

Then I saw the light. I am a thinker who is always in pursuit of a higher purpose for everything I do. So as I performed those rewarding tasks in my space, it opened my mind to see possibilities. For the past two years or so, I seriously reflected on my life and working 7 days per week knowing I couldn’t keep up that pace. Nor did I want to. In December 2019, my cousin asked on Facebook for a one-word intention for 2020.

Clarity. My intention for this year was to become clear about my goals and choices and results. While I don’t recall the exact moment of my breakthrough, I recognized it immediately. In order to achieve the balance I want in my life, something really important to me had to give. “Yes, this is what I need to do.”

An overwhelming peace settled throughout my being. I won’t say what I chose to give up because that is the most irrelevant part of my epiphany. The importance is the clarity I gained about the opportunity to make a change.

Rona caused so much pain and provided opportunity, as do all challenges. Rona provided the best time to step away because I was already away, for a month at that point. “Now is the time.”

Conditions are favorable for positive, lasting changes for us all. Order is always preceded by chaos. Recession gives rise to upturn. Thus collectively we can create a new world, one full of purpose and camaraderie and mutual respect of each other’s humanity.

Tennis may be the most appropriate blueprint for this shift. It is the love of my life because tennis always shows me what I do well, how good I can be, and what skills I need to develop to be better. Tennis presents challenges along with the provisions to grow through them.

The best results on court come from intention (visualization), practice (preparation), learning (skill development), and most importantly problem solving. Transfer the beauty of tennis to daily life. Set your intention. Prepare to actualize it. Learn coping skills to effectively deal with challenges. And make adjustments as needed.

It is my hope for all of us that we awaken to this opportunity, be ready to act upon it, and have the drive to see it through. Even when life is hard. Even when your world is interrupted.

Crimes Against Humanity | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Crimes Against Humanity

I wrote this blog in December 2018 and I am posting it again because it is still relevant. The United States specifically is knee-deep in darkness. Still.

I love crime dramas. The Closer, Criminal Minds, How To Get Away With Murder, The Purge, and every Law and Order Series. These shows delve into the human psyche, which I am passionate about, and demonstrate the depths of depravity unique to our species in an entertaining way. Macabre, I know.

Yet the acts performed on my favorite shows are not real. Those stories are made up and easy to walk away from. Besides being entertaining, crime dramas serve the purpose of allowing viewers to tap into their dark side and sublimate the accompanying impulses.

And while I dig exploration of the mind because I’ve always gravitated toward psychological underpinnings, I shudder at the reality of the harm we humans are capable of inflicting on each other. I am haunted by the brutality of rape, child abuse, domestic violence, killing of innocents, discrimination, and isms. They evoke pain. There is no entertainment value in such actions.

I cannot shake off beatings of anyone because of their race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. A mother killing her children and one lover ending the life of another weigh heavy on my heart. A man forcing himself on a woman with fists and genitalia provokes an emotional stew made of sadness and fear topped with rage.

I am equally impacted by the suffering of those victimized. Their traumatic experiences and untimely deaths seem so unnecessary to me. And painful, emotionally and spiritually. Please know that I am not naïve. I do understand the duality of human existence—good-bad, light-dark, right-wrong, black-white. However, my very human response to human-on-human violence is sadness because I empathize with those victimized. I have the ability put myself into another person’s shoes and experience what they experience…why I can’t stomach the true crime stories. Empathy…“It’s a blessing and a curse.” Adrian Monk

I am also disappointed and outraged that we have not done better. History, technology, heightened awareness are underutilized in improving our individual and collective experiences. What is the hold up?

We have been here before. Many times in human existence factions and fundamentalists and fascists and narcissists imposed their will on others violently. The internet, Youtube, and Facebook give us instant access to useful information. And all things spiritual are more mainstream.

So why haven’t we learned to treat each other better from history? Why haven’t we used technology to right wrongs? Why haven’t we lived the tenets of major religions and wisdom traditions and behave like we are all created equated and of the same Source?

What on earth is taking so long to end crimes against humanity?

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

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Living Mindfully | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Living Mindfully

If the word “mindfulness” conjures up thoughts of sitting in silence with mind empty, then you’re on the right track. Meditation can quiet the mind’s chatter, relegate the mind’s stream of consciousness to an attachment-free film strip, and deepen insight. Whether you use breathing techniques, mantras, movements, or guides in your practice, meditation brings about a profound sense of peace, relaxation, and the gift of connection. Yes, mindfulness is closely related with meditation.

“Mindfulness and meditation embody many similarities and can overlap, but the terms are not exactly interchangeable.”
–chopra.com

There is, however, another type of mindfulness of which I write. Self-awareness. Not to be confused with self-absorption or egocentrism nor any form of negative selfishness, self-awareness is being attuned to your thoughts, feelings, and actions–knowing what you experience internally and do at any given moment. This is not a trick! Every human being has the innate ability to tune in introspectively. Yet, not all do.

Many people are not self-aware, not present to their own experiences. Mindlessness is pervasive. It is attending to every little thing or nothing with a blank mind or being overwhelmed with mental prattling. If you have ever driven somewhere and could not remember the drive, then you were mindless. This has happened with me and I am thankful that I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else. If you have ever been told that you said or did something yet did not recall doing so, then you were mindless at that time too. Andy Bernay-Roman called mindlessness a trance state in The Mind/Body Connection.

“…in the trance state, “vegging” out and living unconsciously, the brain disengages from the senses and tunes into its own archive, the past. So today’s reactions are fueled by yesterday’s experiences. Which can be problematic, obviously. As with “choosing well,” the past need not control today’s decisions.”
–Glen Alex, Living In Total Health

Let me share my personal experience. My life’s work is about health because I believe healthy people—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—are more loving, more genuine, and less likely to intentionally harm self or others. It all began in childhood with boundaries. I was so enthralled by the nuance of interaction and took keen mental notes of when people smiled, when they cringed, and when emotional pain consumed their faces.

Boundaries came more into play as a teenager. The youngest of 10, I realized that healthy boundaries are crucial for personal health, wellbeing, and relationships, and learned to say “no” after experiencing mounting frustration from being taken advantage of by elders. I moved from watching to learning to experiencing to teaching matters of health.

During my health journey, I made conscious decisions about how I want to be treated and how I would treat others. Just saying so wasn’t enough, however. We all have said we would do something and it never materialized. Affirmative action required to meet the stated goal was missing. In order to live up to my personal commandments, I programmed myself to be aware of when I fell off my behavioral wagon.

It was a bit rough in the beginning, as I had to walk on awareness eggshells until the habit formed. When it did, by my late teens, I could pretty much recall words and phrases and actions that I delivered, in pretty much any situation. The level of self-awareness I carry daily is high, which requires a lot of energy. And totally worth the personal cost because being authentic and responsible and positively impacting humanity are external manifestations of my Personal Truth, my purpose.

Side note – my self-imposed self-awareness elevated my kinesthetic awareness as well. Not only am I aware of what my body is doing in space, I’m also attuned to what it is doing internally. During the initial visit with my new dentist at the time, I told him about my symptoms and treatments and responses and timelines in such a way that he called me a “genius” because of my connectedness to my existence.

My call to you is to take this one of many opportunities that the global health crisis offers to grow, ignoring all the political agendas. You can become mindful. Allow unhealthy and useless habits to fall away. Touching your face with dirty hands, quick wipe downs, no wipe down, saving time by not washing hands, sneezing and coughing openly are automatic behaviors that need to be laid to rest now and quite frankly should’ve been eons ago. For your own health. For the health of those around you.

Every challenge is married to the opportunity for personal growth. Seize this moment to start living consciously, mindfully. Eliminate automatic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that endanger your health and that of those you love. Your past is not your present and need not control your choices. Mindful self-awareness puts you in charge of what you think, feel, and do. Reprogram yourself to become more self-aware. The benefits will extend beyond this crisis.

Humanity needs you to be mindful. Now is that time.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

Need assistance coping with boundaries, stress, relationships, or recovering from a setback?

Book your complimentary Discovery Call now: www.glenalex.as.me/schedule.php