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Category: Chronic Illness

After years of living a limited life with chronic illness, Kacie began to see a new chapter unfold. Tune in to hear how her story turned to hope and healing!

Healing Fibromyalgia & Lyme with Kacie Fleming

Chronic illness has this way of sneaking up on you, doesn’t it? Most of us could admit that the signs were there. Maybe they’ve even been there awhile.

But we keep covering the flashing lights or silencing the alarms.

We push through. We get things done in spite of the pain. Or we tell ourselves “this will pass.”

Until we can’t.

Until the symptoms become just enough to start calling some of the shots. Instead of pushing through, we find ourselves weighing out the costs of simple actions. Things we used to do without giving them a second thought.

Kacie’s story is all to relatable. And it begins with an all-too-familiar thought of “something’s just not right.”

From one diagnosis to another, as her list grew and pills were prescribed, she found herself in another world.

The land of chronic illness. A place where resting after a shower, canceling plans, and eating a limited diet was the new norm.

But her story didn’t end there. She pursued other opinions, holistic treatment, and opened her mind to a completely different approach to healing.

Her story is now one that is full of healing and hope for both herself and others – and she’s sharing her journey of how it’s all been unfolding today on the podcast!

She and I have both embarked on the DNRS program, which we’ll also be talking about during our chat. You won’t want to miss it if you’ve been considering learning more about neuroplasticity!

Listen in….

To listen to today’s episode, simply hit play below or subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

Connect with Kacie!

Visit her shops: Katya Valera Jewelry | Streetlights at Midnight

Connect on social media: Facebook | Instagram

Is it possible to heal chronic illness naturally? After receiving multiple diagnoses that could have meant living a life defined by illness, Kacie is sharing her story of how hope and healing have been unfolding in her life through treatments often overlooked (or unheard of). Click to listen!Healing chronic illness naturally with Kacie Fleming @kacie_kvFrom diagnoses to hope: Kacie's story of finding healing through methods most doctors might ignore may bring renewed hope to your own story. Click to listen in!

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What's it like being diagnosed with Painful Bladder Syndrome (Or IC) when you're much younger than the average patient? What alternative treatments are out there? Join me on the Wellness Crossing to hear Stephanie Mora's story of inspiration and bravery. Click here to listen!

Living with IC & Thinking Outside of the Box for Treatment

You never know what random connections or interactions will ignite an unexpected friendship do ya? I am living proof of that.

Some of the friends in my life have come from meeting in college, my small hometown connections, or church gatherings. But there’s been this growing group of friends that I’ve connected with in the land of the internet. Where many of the bonds have been formed from behind screens, but with much heart.

And today’s podcast guest is one of those beautiful souls.

A couple of years ago I’d entered a beauty giveaway Stephanie Mora was holding on her blog, Stephie Estie. And somehow the stars aligned and I WON! (I’m pretty sure it was the first time I’d won a blog giveaway. And this girl was wide eyed and giddy.)

But anywho, since that giveaway Stephanie and I have become dear friends. Over the last two years we’ve bonded over blogging and navigating our lives with chronic illness. And I’ve love how we encourage each other on our paths to living our best life in spite of symptoms.

Today I’m just so incredibly happy and honored to have her sharing her story on the podcast! She’s talking all about what it’s been like to be one of the young ones living with Interstitial Cystitis, her journey to diagnosis, and the unexpected form of treatment she began earlier this year.

This is the kind of chat I believe reminds us of our own humanity. How unnerving it can be to search for a diagnosis when you’re certain something isn’t quite right in your body. The lengthy process that is learning more about your specific condition. And finding treatment, hope and community to help you along the way.

Grab your favorite drink my friends and join Steph and I on the Wellness Crossing couch! To listen, simply hit PLAY below or find the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play!

 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Interstitial Cystitis Solution: A Holistic Plan for Healing Painful Symptoms, Resolving Bladder and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, and Taking Back Your Life (<—-affiliate link)

More about Stephanie…

Stephanie Mora is a southern California girl who fancies herself a Nancy Drew of skincare with a generous dose of compassion sprinkled in.  She was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis at the age of 20, which altered and helped shape her path later in life.  After graduating with a degree in English Literature, she decided to pursue her passion in skincare and became a licensed esthetician.  Fusing her love for both writing and beauty, she created her blog, Stephie Estie, where she writes about makeup, skincare, health and cosmetic chemistry.  

She is also now a proud owner of her own skincare practice in Hermosa Beach.  As someone who deals with chronic illness, Stephanie knows the importance of taking time to decompress from life’s daily demands and strives to bring a calming essence to her clients.  When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading, kickboxing, taking as many dance classes as she can and adding to her ever expanding lipstick collection.
Connect with Steph on Facebook | Instagram

Stephanie Mora: Thinking Outside the Box with Interstitial Cystitis Treatment

Living with interstitial cystitis at the young age of 30 undoubtedly has its challenges, but if you listen in to hear Stephanie's heart you are sure to leave inspired to rise above whatever circumstances you're facing. Join me to hear her story on the Wellness Crossing! Just click to listen.

Learn how an unexpected treatment is giving my friend Stephanie hope in her healing journey with interstitial cystitis (also known as Painful Bladder Syndrome). She's not about to let a diagnosis keep her from living her best life possible and her strength is something to aspire for! Click to tune in to this episode of the Wellness Crossing.

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Have you ever tried Reiki before? I recently had my first session and I'm talking with my Reiki healer today on the podcast! Tune in to hear Melani Schweder's healing story and how Reiki plays a role in her overall wellness.

Reiki: Pursuing Wellness of Body, Mind & Spirit

When you think of “wellness”, what first comes to mind?

Is it the food you eat? A practice of self care? Taking vitamins?

I know there was a time when wellness to me simply meant feeling healthy. I didn’t think much about what I ate, how I intentionally cared for my body, or the type of exercise I did. And I certainly didn’t think much about the role my emotional or spiritual health played into my overall wellness.

Well, let’s get one thing right: much has changed for me in this department.

I fully believe that the well being of my emotions, spirit, mind and body ALL play their part in my wellness. In helping me be the best version of me there is.

And on my personal exploration and discovery of what wellness truly means to me, I’ve opened my eyes and heart to a variety or healing modalities. From drastic diet changes that honor my specific needs to making intentional time for rest. I’ve experimented with exercise appropriate for my body and neuroplasticity practices for supporting brain health.

But more recently, I had my very first experience with Reiki energy healing. Reiki is something I had heard about and considered exploring for some time but kept putting it off. It’s a Japanese healing technique that was developed in in the 1920s. It’s a natural approach to healing on a spiritual, emotional and physical level and the more I read about it the more fascinated I became.

So I scheduled my first appointment for a distance Reiki session with Melani Schweder and had such a great first experience I scheduled a second. Today she’s joining me on the podcast to talk about her own healing journey, how Reiki has played a role in her wellness and how we can pursue wellness of body, mind & spirit.

To tune in, click below or visit the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play!

 

About Melani:

Melani Schweder is a Certified Health Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, and writer based in Denver, Colorado. She calls herself a chronic wellness advocate because she believes that even those with complex illnesses can live a life of joy and purpose. Her own healing adventures in Lyme Disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome helped her realize the importance of nutrition, mindfulness, and self-care, and she uses her own experiences to help others unlock their own innate healing potential. When she’s not working with clients, she’s usually playing with her dog River, whipping up something in the kitchen, or spending too much time on Instagram. You can see what she’s been up to at: www.abrighterwild.com

Connect with Melani on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Have you ever tried (or want to try) Reiki? Let me know in the comments!

eiki Healing- Pursuing wellness of body mind & spirit.Melani Schweder: Pusuing Wellness of the body, mind & spirit through Reiki energy healing. Click to tune in to The Wellness Crossing podcast and hear this episode!

Have you ever tried Reiki? In this podcast episode I'm chatting with Melani Schweder, a Reiki Master/Teacher who has seen the tangible benefits of Reiki in her own healing journey from Lyme disease. Click to listen in!

Melani is Reiki Master/Teacher and Primal Health coach specializing in helping people with complex illnesses. With her own personal experience of healing from Lyme disease, Melani talks about the unique approach she offers through her own experience and sensitivity to the complex nature of healing from chronic illness. Click to listen in on this podcast episode!

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In a world where the ill often are overlooked or feel invisible, it's so important that we learn to honor our true self. Kat & I are chatting on the podcast about what that looks like for us as we transition from illness to wellness. Click to listen in!

Honoring our True Self & Transitioning from Illness to Wellness

In these last few months of seeing my health begin to improve, I’ve found myself in unfamiliar territory. Much like there’s no road map for how to navigate the life of chronic illness, there’s most definitely not one for how to transition from illness to wellness.

So I’m often testing boundaries as I try and figure out how far this healing body can really take me. And while not every attempt has gone well, I am grateful for the courage it takes to both reach outside of my comfort zone and learn to rest.

But I’m also struggling with all kinds of emotions. Over how good it feels to enjoy more of life outside the home. And the tensions I can feel between embracing newfound healing and hurting for those I love deeply, still waiting for their own healing strides.

I’ve wrestled with the questions of “what next”. What to do with this blog, my creative passion, and my desire to help others on their healing journey. And now that wellness is entering the picture more and more, the more I wonder what the best next thing is.

For now, I’m giving myself plenty of room to process, explore, dream and create. While also making sure I emphasize healing every step of the way. Today’s podcast episode is of me doing that with one of the sweetest souls, Kat Woods.

Kat and I connected on Instagram in the last couple of years and have been healing from the same health challenge (#lyme). This was the first time we’ve spoken with each other off the screen and squares of Insta and we both agreed it was JUST the conversation we both needed.

Kat is a trained chef, an indie-cartoonist, and an all-around vibrant being. She began the blog, Hope Heal Cook, and has been inspiring and encouraging others with her beautiful nourishing meals. The way she has labored in love for her body’s nutrition is absolutely amazing. Just check out her feed and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve learned more about produce from her than anywhere else! Particularly how many fruits and veggies I didn’t know existed. 😉

Pull up a chair (or headphones) as we chat all about our individual journeys through healing. We’re unpacking how we’re learning to transition into a new “normal” and how Kat supports her body through diet.

Listen below or tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

Show Notes:

Be sure to check out Kat’s book “The AIP Instant Pot Cookbook“!

Find Kat on her blog, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Follow along and connect through the Hope Heal Collective Instagram feed!

 

How to support and honor your true self? Leave a note in the comments! I love hearing & learning from you!

 

Catch up on all the episodes of The Wellness Crossing Podcast by clicking here. 🙂

 

Kat Woods on the Wellness Crossing: Honoring our True Self and the unknown territory of transitioning from illness to wellness. Click to listen!

What does it look like to honor our true self while healing? Join Kat Woods and I on the podcast as we chat all about transitioning into wellness, how we are embracing our full selves and more! Click to tune in :)There's not a road map for figuring out how to transition back into wellness when you've been healing from a chronic illness. Today on The Wellness Crossing Podcast Kat Woods and I are chatting about our recent journeys of entering back into a new "norm" and what it looks like to honor our true selves in the process. Click to listen to the episode!

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Anyone else wish their patient experience with chronic illness could be valued the same as work experience? Well, WEGO Health is changing the game and recognizing the value that patients have to offer. Listen in as Natalie Hayden and I talk about her experience finding work through the WEGO Health Expert Platform and how YOU can too! Click here to tune into the podcast.

Putting Your Patient Experience to Work with WEGO Health: A Podcast Episode with Natalie Hayden

Did you know that your patient experience could be valued the same as work experience? Sound too good to be true?

Well, my friends, it’s time to believe it.

Today, Natalie Hayden and I are talking all about how she’s been putting her patient experience to work through the WEGO Health Expert Platform. And after living with Crohn’s for over a decade, this platform is now giving her a chance to put all of that experience to work!

And in this episode of The Wellness Crossing, she’s sharing how it can help YOU, too. So come join us over on the show to learn all about how you can share your experience – and get paid for it – through this new, exciting platform!

She’ll be unpacking how WEGO Health is giving her an outlet to support her family from home. As a wife and mother navigating the symptoms of Crohns, she understands the value that working from home brings!

Just click below to listen in on our chat!

 

 

Natalie Hayden: Lights, Camera, Crohns

A little more about Natalie:

Natalie (Sparacio) Hayden, 33, is a former TV news anchor with Crohn’s living in St. Louis. Her mission in life is to be an advocate for those battling inflammatory bowel disease and to show that a chronic illness doesn’t have to dull your sparkle. Natalie was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2005. Through the years she’s endured several hospitalizations, countless medications and flare ups. In August 2015, she underwent bowel resection surgery that involved the removal of 18 inches of her intestine. While it was a difficult chapter in her disease battle, it truly gave her a fresh start and enabled her to reach remission and have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Natalie and her husband welcomed their first child in March 2017.  Her blog, “Lights, Camera, Crohn’s: An Unobstructed View” covers everything from overcoming struggles to celebrating small victories. Natalie’s focus is to inspire others and connect with those battling IBD in an honest and transparent way. As a passionate health advocate and journalist, she strives to show that there is more to life than your diagnosis and illness.

Connect with Natalie Hayden:

Blog

Instagram

Resources mentioned:

 

What jobs have you found that offer you to work from home while healing from illness? Will you be checking out WEGO health’s Expert Platform?

 

Learn how the WEGO Health Patient Expert Platform can help you put your patient experience to work! Click to listen in to my chat with Natalie Hayden.
Interested in putting your patient experience to work? Check out the WEGO Health Expert Platform, which we're talking about on the Wellness Crossing Podcast today! Natalie Hayden is sharing her personal experience and tips on how to land yourself an assignment to work from home. Click to listen!Natalie Hayden is sharing all about the WEGO Health Expert Platform. How it's giving her a way to work from home AND use her years of patient experience in the process. Click to learn more!

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Often we view healing as a destination, something we wait to arrive at. But healing is more of a process, and one that I've been working hard on as I've been following the DNRS program. Click to read my 5-month update!

Healing is a Process: My 5-month DNRS Update

“So, are you, basically…all better?”

I sat quietly on the sofa, trying to figure out how to respond to the person who asked me. Have I been improving? Yes. Am I fully healed? No.

But I struggled, more so because, whether or not it’s intended, the question invites closure. Something we, as humans, really, really like. Don’t we?

To finally get that degree under our belt. Or discover a positive on the 11th pregnancy test. We want there to be an “end” to the waiting, a destination to arrive at. Because then, things will be better.

Yet…healing, in the context I’ve been learning to embrace it, has taught me there’s so much more depth in a journey rather than a destination.

Because for me, waiting to arrive at “fully well again” was a hope that faded fast. I found myself sitting in a place of acceptance, wanting to just be okay with a reality that sick was a new norm.

It gave me an odd sort of comfort. That I didn’t have to “fight”, and I could just “be”.

But then a few months ago a new treatment crossed my path that gave birth to a new experience in the realm of healing. It gave me a reason for letting go of the concept of “fighting” and empowered me to redefine what it looked like to actively heal.

And it gave me hope.

It’s been awhile since I’ve given any sort of update since starting the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, so I thought I’d do that today. Because while I’m still healing, I believe in celebrating the wins. Big or small. Of which I’ve experienced both!

My 5-month Update

In my last update, I listed off some of the improvements I’d seen in energy, pain and inflammation levels, fatigue, and dizziness. All of those improvements have remained or improved, but my walking distance has increased substantially!

As my legs have continued to grow stronger, I’ve enjoyed long (and often faster-paced) walks with my hubs. Which has been such a great thing! I walk to coffee shops or the farmer’s market without thinking twice. And several months ago that wouldn’t have been possible.

Summer has been another test for us to observe how well I’ve actually improved. And while I’m still improving in some areas, my overall experience in the summer heat is definitely better!

The temps here in southern Oregon have been hot at the peaks of each day, with a bit cooler evenings and mornings. But my body has been handling it so much better than it did the last few years.

Where before I would have felt like I’d pass out at any moment these last few summers, this year I am tolerating it much better. Instead of staying indoors, I can be out in the heat most days, soak up the sun’s rays, and even walk in moderate temperatures without fearing I’ll faint.

But I think my biggest accomplishment is that after 3 years of not driving I was able to get behind the wheel again! And starting back up with a manual again, at that, I’ll have you know. (The hubs said I picked it up quickly so I’m gonna throw in a not-so-humble-brag right here.) 😉

With driving comes another beautiful thing: more independence. And anyone who’s lived housebound for any stretch of time understands what a glorious gift that is!

Some of my other notable improvements include being able to travel several hour distances and sit in restaurants without earplugs (heck, just be around people without earplugs). It’s been so helpful to feel more comfortable in my skin with so many less symptoms grabbing my attention.

I feel happier, lighter, and more filled with hope than I had been in long, long time. Which is notable to me because I swear hope had become a foreign feeling to me. It felt like I couldn’t grab onto it fully no matter how hard I tried. (So I just might need to write a post about that and the connection I see with having an impaired limbic system…)

As grateful as I am for this healing, none of it came to me easily.

It didn’t just “happen” one day or sneak up on me. And I don’t believe it’s a miracle.

Why?

Because I’ve been been working hard, healing my lil’ ass off.

From taking care of my body with food, self-care, rest, and supplements over the last few years to the commitment I’ve made to retraining the neural pathways in my brain every day, I’ve worked for this. And the efforts are paying off.

Healing is like that for any of us, isn’t it? It takes time, effort, commitment. Belief it can happen and the support to help us pursue it.

True healing isn’t just something that appears all of a sudden. It’s not a one-and-done pursuit. For me, I believe my physical healing will reach a point where it’s no longer my main focus.

But I’ll forever be learning to pursue healing of body, mind and soul.

So whether you’re reading this because you were curious about DNRS or you wanted to fuel your own fire of hope that improvement is possible, or maybe you don’t even know why you clicked on this post in the first place…

Whatever the reason you’re here, I just want to leave you with this:  

I’m proud of you. I acknowledge your efforts and how hard you’re working on healing. And I believe things can get better. <3

Wanna know more about the DNRS program? You can check it out here. (<<<—aff link)

Over the past few months I've seen layers of healing begin to unfold as I've been following the DNRS program. I'm diving into just what the progress has looked like for me and why I'm releasing the idea of "fighting" my illness and choosing to lean in to the journey that is healing.

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In this episode of The Wellness Crossing, Kamilah Howard is opening up about what it was like being diagnosed with gluten intolerance and how she's learning to create a diet she actually enjoys! Click to listen in.

Gluten Intolerance and Finding a Diet You Enjoy: A Podcast Episode with Kamilah Howard

If you’ve ever been diagnosed with a condition of any kind, do you remember that moment? I’d take a guess that not only do you remember where you were, but you can likely remember the emotions that swelled up inside.

Perhaps you can even remember the thoughts you had, rather of relief or of fear. Maybe even the smell of the room, what you ate after your appointment.

For many of us, that moment can be defining. Sometimes it’s soothing to have an answer, but in some – even many – cases, the words attached to a diagnosis can send us into a tailspin.

But at the end of the day, we get to choose what we do with what we’ve been given. Yes, we process the natural emotions that arise, but then what? How do we find a way to move forward with action steps, heart and intention?

Today on The Wellness Crossing, I’m chatting with Kamilah Howard from Anchored in Health, who I’d be happy to have as a neighbor any day of the week!

She is an incredibly lovely health and wellness blogger living in Washington, DC. with a master of science in health communication. Today she’s talking about what it’s like navigating a diagnosis of gluten intolerance and how she’s learning to channel her energy into exploring new foods. And creating a diet that’s not only right for her, but that she enjoys.

Her love for finding ways to improve her overall health and wellness is contagious. And I’m really excited that we get to listen in and learn from her today!

Tune in as she shares nuggets of wisdom for learning how to support your body with a diet tailored to YOU!

You can also listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

Resources mentioned in today’s episode:

Michael Pollan’s books – http://michaelpollan.com/  and Netflix documentaries – In Defense of Food, Cooked

Intuitive Eating book (<—- affiliate link)

Connect with Kamilah

Blog

Instagram

Twitter

Have you come across new-to-you & healthy foods that you’re loving right now? Let me know in the comments!

Finding a diet you enjoy after being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance may not be an easy task, but it's one that Kamilah Howard has been determined to pursue. Her love for exploring new foods is contagious! Listen in and be inspired by her nuggets of wisdom for navigating gluten intolerance.

Anyone else find themselves overwhelmed by changing their diet after diagnosis? Listen is as Kamilah and I talk all about finding a diet you can enjoy, that works for YOU.

Kamilah Howard is unpacking how she's been creating a diet she enjoys after receiving a diagnosis of gluten intolerance. She's sharing the struggles that come with the territory and how she's putting her effort into exploring new foods and finding new things she loves to eat! Click to listen in and be inspired that you, too, can create a diet that's right for YOU.

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Learn more about neuroplasticity and the way it can help you reclaim your health. I'm sharing a few of the tools I've been learning to implement and how they can make an impact for you, too! Click to listen in!

The Wellness Crossing: NEW Podcast launch!

I’ve been planning and dreaming about launching a new podcast for a couple of months now. And today, I’m excited to say: it’s happening. Or rather, it’s HAPPENED!

Introducing: The Wellness Crossing Podcast.

(Cue radio announcer voice: now available on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!)

This podcast is designed to be a space where we can talk all things healing. A space to feel empowered and inspired to be our best advocate when it comes to wellness. As well as learn about new approaches to treatment, alternative therapies, and even the role the brain and energy plays into our health.

Each week we’ll dive into a new conversation related to wellness, healing or inspiration for rising above the challenges or hangups we may be facing. And I’ll be inviting various guests on to lend their insight and tools for how they pursue and prioritize healing.

Which brings us to today and the very first episode!

So if you’ve been following along here on the blog, you may have hear about the new treatment program I’ve been following. Now, it’s not a traditional treatment, in that it’s entirely done from home. And the responsibility lies entirely on the patient to implement.

Now, most treatments have at least some, if not a large reliance on the patience doing their part. But this treatment approach puts the full control on the one doing it because it involves retraining one’s neural pathways.

Weirded out yet? Stick with me….

The techniques center around the research of neuroplasticity, which basically means that “the brain can change itself.” Each technique and daily practice that you follow is designed to help you do just that.

And I’m living proof that it does, in fact, make a difference. Because quite literally, it’s been giving me back my life after years of living with a debilitating chronic illness.

So in this first episode of my new podcast launch, I’m sharing more about my experience with the Dynamic Neural Retraining Program (DNRS). I’m unpacking how I went from total skeptic to setting up camp in the land of Neuro Plastic City.

Healing is a journey that has been far from linear for me, but as I’ve seen huge shifts begin to unfold in my health I feel compelled to share what I’m learning. And it’s my hope that it helps support you on your own exploration of how to tap into the brain’s ability to heal.

So listen in to hear the whole story and learn how YOU can start to learn and implement neuroplasticity tools into your everyday, too!

 

Resources to check out:

(The following list includes affiliate links.)

Books by:

Norman Doidge
Joe Dispenza
Bruce Lipton

Neuroplasticity Tools:
Dynamic Neural Retraining System / DNRS
Brain Vibes – a FREE resource on my blog!

Tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

Have you ever tried incorporating neuroplasticity techniques into your routine?

Learn what it means to "retrain the brain" and how it's been helping me heal from chronic illness! Listen in as I share some of the tools I personally have been using to reclaim my health and how you can begin to implement them, too. Click to listen in!Implementing tools based in neuroplasticity has quite literally been changing my life. After years of living with chronic illness, I've been reclaiming my health and living a fuller life! Join me on the podcast as I share more of my journey and some resources for you to explore. Click here to listen.

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Learn how my new approach to the gratitude journal has reshaped the way I look at living the grateful life! Click to read more.

Living Gratitudes: A New Approach to the Gratitude Journal

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Growing up I always had a journal running. Sometimes it would sit for weeks without a single word hitting the page. Other times I’d write novels each night, processing all of the feels and every single tiny detail of my elementary school, junior high, and high school life.

You know, the important details. Like what I ate, who said what, what my wedding would look like and just how many dreams I had about how my life would unfold.

A few years ago the idea of a gratitude journal was brought up in a conversation after a friend had read the book, One Thousand Gifts. She mentioned how she had taken the idea and started her own journal, each day writing down a few things she was grateful for.

I would periodically follow suite in the years that followed. Purposing to write down a few things here and there throughout the week that brought a smile to my face. That made my heart sing. Things that were just plain pretty, funny, or enjoyable.

But last month I decided to take this idea of a gratitude journal and put a spin on it. Instead of merely writing things down each day, I would take a short Instagram story (a video of just a few seconds) and I would verbally share something I was grateful for that day.

So every day (okay, okay so I forgot one, but doubled up the next day) I would log in to my account and record my gratitude. And thus my #livinggratitudejournal was born.

It was an interesting experience because not only did I do it every day, but there were a few people who joined me! And I absolutely loved reading or hearing their entries. It inspired me to look differently at my own world, uncovering new things that I found I could find gratitude for.

So why spoken gratitude instead of writing?

Really, as I’ve been learning more about the art science of neuroplasticity techniques, I’ve seen how powerful engaging as many senses as possible can be for helping along positive change.

For example, writing down something I’m grateful for is great in and of itself. But what can it look like to take that even further? Our brains respond to patterns, emotion, neurochemicals – they’re constantly looking to us for reasons to establish truths. And they also are affected by words.

So if I want to establish a state of gratitude as an outlet for bringing my mind and body to a state of calm and healing, if even for a moment, engaging more than one of my senses in this practice of keeping a gratitude journal is like icing on the cake. AND sprinkles.

Of course, now I want cake. Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate for me in this dreamland, please.

But back to this learning business.

Where were we at? Ah, yes engaging more senses. So writing a list of things I’m thankful for essentially covers two senses.

First, it covers thought because if I’m writing it, I’m also thinking of it. At least for a brief few seconds. Second, it covers sight. Because obviously: ink on paper.

So adding in another layer, like speaking it out loud, brings even more depth to this act. And even more so when I stop and actually meditate on each gratitude.

 

Learn how to keep a LIVING gratitude journal: what it is and WHY it can make an even greater impact on your mood and mindset! Click to read more :)

A little practice exercise.

Allow me to put this idea into practice. I’ll start with this one for an example:

“I’m grateful I could walk around my neighborhood today.”

To be intentional with this I first have to have thought of the question “what am I grateful for today?” And then, naturally, I find myself searching for at least one answer.

Once I land on an answer, I can be intentional with my response. More than just stopping at the one sentence, I can pause before writing it down and think about why that particular thing came to mind. Did it bring up any good feelings? Did I see something beautiful on my walk? Or did I feel more connected to nature and less “stuck” inside?

Pulling out every little detail in my thoughts, really painting a picture of this thing I’m grateful for in my mind can help send my brain all those positive, good neurochemicals like dopamine or oxytocin.

Now, I can either scribble down a few words or I can spend a few extra seconds and write down all those good details in a journal. There’s no pressure to over-perform, this is about finding what works best for you. Do you need to write more than a few words to feel like you’ve connected to that gratitude? Or are you already feeling it after spending that short time meditating on all the deets? You do you, boo.

Finally, the speaking part. What I learned through having a commitment of doing it daily was that it challenged me to step a little outside of my comfort zone. But in a really good way. Because it shifted my focus each day for those few seconds onto something positive. Away from any negative lists or self-pity and toward cultivating a calm and appreciative state.

Living grateful

My Living Gratitude Journal was an exercise in learning to LIVE grateful. From noticing tiny buds on a walk to seeing improvements in my health. Improvements that I was challenged to focus on instead of the symptoms that were left unchanged.

And you know what? It felt dang good. It wasn’t always easy, but it always felt more hopeful to spend even a few seconds embracing a light-filled perspective.

Would you like to learn a few neuroplasticity tools to incorporate into your day that will help you support your brain as you heal? Then this free resource is for you, my friend!

This year I tried something new with the gratitude journal idea: I kept a LIVING journal! Click to find out more and learn how YOU keeping a living gratitude journal can help reshape your mindset and support your overall health.

 

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Shop the Lyme gift guide for apparel & accessories that spread hope & awareness! Click for more.

A Lyme Support & Awareness Gift Guide

Today I am beyond excited to share the creative work of some of the most fierce and lovely ladies I’ve been lucky enough to “meet” in the Lyme community. Their stories, talents, and vision all funnel toward the same positive message. And it is one of hope, courage, and compassion.

The wonder of the internet is that though I’ve never sat down and had coffee with any of these ladies, they’ve each had an impact on me. As they’ve shared their healing journeys and creative work, their strength and light have inspired and challenged me in some of the moments I needed it most. And I’m thrilled to share some love for them and their amazing talent here in this Lyme gift guide!

I’ve asked each of them to share a look at what led them to create their pieces, so enjoy hearing from the creators themselves!

Lauren Lovejoy
Lyme Warrior

Lyme Warrior Lyme Won't Sink Me V Neck and Warrior Bracelet

Lyme Warrior is a group of volunteers raising funds for Lyme research. With Lyme Disease being widely disregarded by the medical field, it is up to us to find a cure. It is one thing to fight for what’s right, but it takes amazing people to fight for what’s right while fighting Lyme.

You can find the Lyme Warrior shop here!

Melissa Cox
Lyme Don’t Kill My Vibe

Lyme Don't Kill My Vibe Unisex Tee and Flowy Yoga Tank

As an extension of my blog, Lipstick Warpaint, I created #LymeDontKillMyVibe, a hashtag primarily used on Instagram to spread positivity and awareness surrounding Lyme and associated conditions. The original design + slogan was created in 2014 almost 1 year after I was diagnosed with Lyme. At that time, there were very limited Lyme awareness apparel options that felt truly empowering.

I’m a huge hip hop fan and the slogan just came to me one day while listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe” back in 2013. It became a near-daily mantra, and one day I decided THIS needs to be a thing. I now have a second edition design which was created in December 2016 with the help of my Lyme fightin’ entrepreneur friend Elise Graham. What I love most about Lyme Don’t Kill My Vibe is it encompasses both strength and community. There are over 25,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag alone, and it feels like such a positive step toward reclaiming what healing means.

You can purchase them (with new items being added this summer!) at Lipstickwarpaint.org/shop or find me on Etsy

Kerissa B.
Tx Stitch

Lyme Disease Sucks Pin by TX Stitch

I never really felt like I was a creative person before Lyme. There’s something about being forced to be in bed that made my hands feel idle. I started cross stitching and created an Etsy shop and slowly expanded to have exactly 1 patch and 1 pin. I wanted to create something Lyme related that was simple but really told people that it’s not a great thing to have. Thus, the pin was born.

Kacie Fleming
Katya Valera Jewelry

Katya Valera Jewelry Rising Above Lyme Bar Necklace & Frame Necklace Collection

I’d been a fan of Kami’s RAL (Rising Above Lyme) phrase and shirt line since she first released the shirts a while back. Being the spontaneous creative that I am, the idea of collaborating with her for some RAL jewelry flashed through my brain one day, and I jumped right in and contacted her with my idea. Thankfully she loved it, and thus began a good couple months of planning and work!

Originally I envisioned frame necklaces that feature text images designed by Kami, and then I developed the idea for a piece that visually represents the phrase—the bar necklace. We then added a minimalist, very lime wedge-style piece, and the collection was complete. I’m so grateful to have gotten to work with Kami on this collection and to be able to help inspire and encourage others who are on a similar journey.

Shop Katya Valera here!

Chloe O’Neill
More Than Lyme

More Than Lyme Keep on Keepin' On Tee and Canvas Tote

No matter where you are right now, know that you are enough. No matter how scared you feel, know that you are not alone. No matter how often you feel like giving up, remember that you are strong enough to have made it this far, so why not choose to keep on keepin’ on?

Why not take all the adventures you’ve gone on, mishaps you’ve had, and pain you endured, and use them to create a full and happy life for yourself? A life where no matter how hard things have been, or are going to be, you know that tomorrow will be worth it. You know that you are worth it.

You know that you are enough.

Regardless of where you’re at, what you’re doing, or how you feel, remember that you’re more than your doubts, your fears, and illness that hides beneath your skin.

Click to shop MTL! A code that people can use for 15% off is SHAREYOURSTORY. 

Kami Lingren
Rising Above Lyme

Rising Above Lyme Tee and Graceful & Fierce Tank from Living Grace Shop. Click to shop!

Hey, that’s me! 😉 Last year I had the phrase “Rising Above Lyme” on repeat in the back of my mind. Partly because I think it’s so easy to find ourselves consumed by our health challenges. And understandably so. But I didn’t want my story to be solely defined as “sick”. So I created a shirt that would remind me that my life’s purpose and worth are not defined by my circumstances. Rather, by my conscious effort to engage my life in spite of them. And I wanted the message to inspire and validate others who were fiercely healing as well!

This year I added the Graceful and Fierce design, which I feel resonates so deeply with the essence I strive for. To fiercely love, heal, advocate and show compassion, but to also be gentle with ourselves and others as we live, learn and heal. And what a beautiful thing it is to embrace both in our lives.

You can find the entire Living Grace collection hereAnd use code RISING this month for 15% off your order!

Have you been dreaming of creating something to help raise awareness and hope? I hope this Lyme gift guide inspires you to embrace that dream and make it a reality!

Lyme Creatives Gift Guide for spreading Lyme disease awareness and support! Click to shop items created BY women healing from Lyme FOR others also healing!
Lyme Awareness Wear: Gifts and Apparel for those healing from Lyme Disease. Click to check out all of these amazing creatives!

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