The Four Wings of Personal Growth Lessons on self-love, self-awareness, self-care and self-empowerment

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Mandalas and Self-Discovery

Welcome to today's Self-Discovery Challenge.

You will be creating three different mandalas. One will represent your past, one your present, and the other your future.  

General guidelines for this project:
  1. Do not plan out what you are going to do in advance. Let yourself tap into your creativity, imagination, and subconscious.
  2. Use whatever materials you have around the house. You can use pens, pencils, watercolors, paint, markers, coloring pencils, crayons or pastels.
  3. Have fun. You can spread this out and work on one mandala a day. Whatever inspires you. 
  4. When choosing colors, go with what inspires you. There are no rules.
  5. Use any symbols or designs that speak to you. 
  6. Remember, it is the process that is important and not the outcome.  

Questions to help inspire you as you immerse yourself in the process.

Past and Present Mandalas:
  • What memories come up?
  • What colors come up?
  • What emotions come up?
  • What events come up?
  • What relationships come up?
  • What places come up?
  • What music comes up?
  • What lessons come up?

Future Mandala or Vision Mandala:

Now your future mandala is a bit different than the two others. You will use the discoveries you made while creating the past and future mandalas to inspire your vision for the future. 

  • What emotions do you want to cultivate moving forward?
  • What values do you want to embody?
  • What goals and aspirations do you want to accomplish?
  • What colors most represent your desired future?
  • What symbols, music, and objects most reflect your desired future?
  • What kind of relationships do you want to have?
  • What strengths do you want to explore?
  • What qualities do you want to embody?

Ways you can use your mandalas for further reflection and self-discovery:
  • Prompts for journaling.
  • Points of reference for meditations and visualizations.
  • Affirmations.
  • Items of inspiration in your sacred space.
  • Pieces of art for decorating your home and adding personal touches.

Please feel free to share your mandalas on my Facebook page.  I will start a thread with mine and you can simply add yours to the comment section.

Link to post your Mandala

Have an awesome day!
Stay well and stay safe!
Joanne πŸ’—

Printable Mandalas:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Setting Your Intention

Carolyn Myss, the author of "Anatomy of the Spirit," uses the terms threads and dominos to define the possible outcomes at this time of crisis.

She defines the two as follows:

·      The familiar things we can expect to fall.
·      All the things we are going to lose from this.

·      The things that will go forward and will be born from this.

She points out that we are responsible for generating the threads.  These will be created by how we decide to cope and process this challenging experience.

To support ourselves in participating as individuals in generating these threads, I invite each of us to set our "Intention" for moving forward through this unprecedented time in our lives.

What is an intention?

It is a mental and spiritual mindset that involves a commitment to how you want to show up in the world.  It is your personal "credo."   Your statement of the beliefs or aims which will guide your behavior in the coming months.

How do you bring forth your intention?

1.     Give yourself the time and space you need to generate your intention:
a.     Find a quiet, inspiring space in your house or outside, weather permitting.
b.     Set aside at least 45 minutes.
c.     Start with 5 to 10 minutes of quiet relaxation or meditation.

2.     Use the following questions to inspire you:
a.     Who do I want to be during these challenging times?
b.     If I was experiencing this crisis as a movie, how would the heroin behave?  In what ways do I want to emulate that behavior?
c.     What do I want to learn from this?

Now use your insights to write out your intention using the template below.  An intention is most powerful when stated in the positive.

Here is my intention.  You can use it as inspiration in setting your own.

During these challenging times, I commit to:

·      Treating myself and others with kindness, compassion, and gratitude.
·      Spending my time doing things that motivate and inspire me and others.

Once you have written out your intention, place it somewhere where you will see it and be reminded of this promise you have made to yourself.

A good practice is to read out your intention as an affirmation, at least once a day.  Doing this first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day.

It also sends your intention out into the universe in the same way a prayer would.  The universe loves to support us when we commit to positive actions.  It often does this by giving us strength and courage when we most need it.

You are offering an incredible gift to yourself and your fellow humans.  As each of us commits to generating threads, we are creating a synergy that will change our world in beautiful and unexpected ways.

Love and support.
Joanne πŸ’—

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Self-Discovery Project

"There is no greater journey than the one that 
you must take to discover all of the mysteries that lie within you."  
Michelle Sandlin

Welcome to the "Self-Discovery Project".  I am so excited to embark on this magical journey with you.  I know that if you commit to doing the exercises and reflections suggested in the next few weeks, you will uncover some new and fun things about yourself.  The journey through self-knowledge and self-awareness can sometimes be challenging.  You should be proud of yourself for being courageous enough to give this a go.  

What are some of the benefits of doing this type of work?

You will learn to connect with yourself and you will find out just how awesome you really are. 

As you start to spend quality time with yourself you we learn to enjoy your own company.

Sometimes, you will discover things about yourself you don't like.  That is perfectly normal.  We all have a dark side.  When you confront your dark side, you are giving yourself the possibility of reaching beyond your limits, and that is where the magic happens.

You will begin to unpack what you are passionate about and that has the potential of adding more meaning and purpose to your life.

You will develop your ability to make decisions that are in alignment with your true self.

You will be in a better position to set clear boundaries for yourself.

You will give yourself the tools necessary to create new opportunities for growth and success.

And really....the sky is the limit when you start down this path.  I can tell you from experience that it is one of,  if not the, most important and exciting thing you will ever do for yourself. 

I have no idea how long this journey will last or where it will take us.  Along the way, we will share in many similar experiences but many discoveries will be personal to each of us.  That's ok!
Stay as long as you like!  Do what feels right for you! 

What you will need on your journey...

A childlike curiosity, your imagination and an attitude of fun and gratitude.
And most importantly a strong sense of love and compassion for yourself.

Let's begin.

Below are the refection prompts for your self-discovery collage.  I've included the document in pdf format, so feel free to save or print a copy.

For detailed instructions on how to complete this project,  please go to

Damselfly Transformations Youtube

Love and gratitude!
Joanne  πŸ’—

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Self-Care : Now More Than Ever!

So much information has been shared in the past week or so.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m finding myself glued to my television, binging on news, trying to keep up with the latest developments.

My focus is not what it usually is, and I feel myself moving away from my self-care routine and priorities.  This is an easy thing to do when things get chaotic and we are not sure what to expect next.

When things get tough, we don’t always do what is best for us and we can easily turn to self-sabotaging behaviour.  So today, I am making a public commitment to my own self-care.  I am doing this via this blog, hoping to encourage and inspire others to do the same.  When our children are sad, anxious or fearful we cradle them with love and compassion.  I am inviting you to do the same for yourself.  I guarantee that in doing so you will be in a much better position to extend that love and compassion to your neighbours and loved ones.

I share with you my commitment to my own self-care, inviting you to write out your own commitment and share it with the rest of us in the comment section below. 

My Self-Care Commitment:

I commit to feeding my body healthy, nutritious foods.  I commit to drinking plenty of water. I commit to walking or doing a session of yoga every day.

I commit to journaling my thoughts in order to remain mindful of how I am taking care of me right now.  I commit to reading inspiring books, to give me strength and focus.

I commit to honouring my creativity by expressing it in ways I enjoy; cooking, writing and painting.

I commit to being mindful of my spending and planning for the possible difficult months ahead.

I commit to connecting with my online communities in order to support myself and others. I commit to asking for support when I need it. I commit to working on being supportive and positive in my communications and exchanges.

I commit to remaining mindful of my emotions, to not suppress them and listen to the messages they are giving me.  I commit to taking responsibility for my emotional needs.

I commit to this self-care plan because I am worthy of it and I take responsibility for my well being.  I invite you to do the same.

Love and support.

Joanne πŸ’— 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Self-Hypnosis - My Experience

In this week’s blog, I wanted to share something that happened to me this past week. Fair warning, this might strike some of you as silly woohoo stuff. 😜

For approximately the past six to seven years, I have been using what I guess would be called hypnotherapy, for improving my moods, thoughts and beliefs. I use this app in particular by Andrew Johnson. I’ve linked the site below so you can check it out. I use others also, but there is something about his technique, style and voice that works for me.

His recordings use a combination of relaxation therapy, clinical hypnotherapy, meditation and mindfulness.

I listen to these recordings as I am falling asleep. I do this for a very specific reason. I am trying to increase my chances of entering an alpha and/or theta state.
Let me explain. We all have 5 brain wave frequencies and they are associated with different states of being:
Beta (12 – 27 HZ)): alert and focused activity (wakefulness), thinking, excitement.
Gamma (27 Hz and up): heightened perception, learning, problem solving, cognitive processing.
Alpha (8 – 12Hz): state of physical and mental relaxation

Theta (3-8 Hz): light sleep or deep relaxation; daydreaming and REM dream state; ideal for self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy

Delta ( less than 3 Hz): deep dreamless sleep

Apparently, when we enter the lower brain wave frequencies of alpha and theta, suggestions made during hypnotherapy can bypass our critical mind and alter our unconscious thoughts and beliefs. And that is what I am trying to accomplish. My goal is to replace outdated limiting thoughts and beliefs with ones that are positive and empowering.

It has been suggested that even if you fall asleep, your subconscious mind receives the ideas proposed by the hypnotherapist or self-hypnosis recordings.

Now, the reason I've been using this technique off and on for over 6 years is because I have found that when I do, I feel better. My mood seems to improve and I'm often more successful at accomplishing my goals.

But what happened last week kind of took it to a new level....

I had been listening to three different tracks on the app, one on motivation, one on self-belief and one on positivity. I set it up so that it keeps looping and playing automatically and stops after about an hour. I usually never make it through all the tracks without falling asleep. Most of the time, I get so relaxed listening to his voice that I fall asleep within 10 minutes.

Now, when I use these apps, I don't spend my days analyzing whether they are having an impact or not. I just go about my business and sometimes I have an AH! HA! moment and realize something has shifted or changed.

And I had a pretty significant AH! HA! moment a few days ago.

During the last week of February, I had a burst of inspiration and decided to reorganize my living space and create a working area for myself. Now for over 5 years, I had gotten into the habit of working, sitting on my sofa, hunched over my computer set on a small, round coffee table.
But all of a sudden on that particular day, I looked at my foldable dinning table against the wall and thought "Why don't I turn that into a desk?" I had purchased these super comfy cute chairs at Pier One when I moved in but I had put them away in another room. I decided that one of them would make a perfect chair to work in. I added a pillow so it would be just the right height for when I was working at my computer. I got a desk mat to put on the desk, and took out my organizers and pens and everything I needed to be productive. I was like a little girl organizing a doll house. I love my new spot. It's where I write this blog now and I am getting so much work done. I remember thinking, wow! I am having a great week. I feel so motivated.
My old space!

My new space!

And I seriously never connected the dots to the hypnosis.
And then this happened....
One night I was listening to my app and I could not fall asleep. For this reason, I was able to consciously hear and be aware of, word for word what was being said. Now, I am being 100% honest when I write, that up to that point, I had no conscious awareness of hearing the following narration.
Here it is:
“I want you to create a space for success. And inner space, just for you. For building successful habits, thoughts and behaviours. In this space, you will need a desk to work on and a chair. Create the desk and chair now. What is the desk made of? What colour is it? What is the chair made of? What colour is it? Make sure it is comfortable. Sit down now at your desk. Make sure you are sitting comfortably. What do you need on your desk? Make sure you have what you need on your desk. Make sure you have everything you need to be productive and driven and successful whilst remaining relaxed, calm and centered.”

Personally, I was mind blown by this experience. I do believe that we can use strategies to reprogram our brain and that self-hypnosis can be one of those strategies. I use these apps because I believe they work. I had always noticed an improvement in my thinking and mood when I listened to them on a regular basis. But, I had never experienced such a concrete, observable impact on my behaviour.
I could dismiss the entire thing and tell myself it was an irrelevant coincidence. But I am not going to do that. My story is anecdotal and does not prove that self-hypnosis does work. But it is my experience and I trust it.
If you are at all curious, try it for yourself! πŸ˜‰

Lots of Love

Joanne πŸ’—

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Story of the Dragonfly

This story is an old fable.  I'm not sure of its origin but apparently the most 
notable version is by Doris Stickney in her book, "Waterbugs and Dragonflies".

It is a story of hope for those who have experienced the grief of losing a loved one.
I feel it also speaks to the challenges of personal transformation and the reality of sometimes having to let go of our old lives in order to discover a new and more joyous one.

Let me know how it resonates with You?

Joanne πŸ’—

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Understanding Willpower

Our quest for self-care can often lead us to the realization that a certain habit or behaviour is not in our best interest and needs to change.   And more often than not, we resort to willpower as a strategy for making this happen.  Study after study have shown a strong correlation between willpower and success.

In the American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America survey, survey participants regularly cite lack of willpower as the No 1 reason for not following through on a decision to change a behaviour.

We can really be hard on ourselves when it comes to willpower.  When we don't succeed, we tend to beat ourselves up and tell ourselves we have bad self-control and are just not strong enough to resist temptation.  But a better understanding of willpower can go a long way to helping us better use this elusive resource and reach our goals.

An increasingly important body of evidence suggests that willpower could be a finite resource.  

This idea was first suggested in 1998, in a study by Roy Baumeister, where it was shown that subjects repeatedly expected to draw on willpower to resist an enticing treat were drained of willpower for subsequent situations.  Since then many proponents of what is called “willpower depletion” point to a growing number of studies indicating that willpower is comparable to a muscle that becomes fatigued with overuse.

Our brain uses glucose when we are exerting willpower or self-control.  The more and longer we are depending on self-control the more glucose we are using.  As glucose decreases, so does our self-control. (Gailliot, M. T., Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Maner, J. K., Plant, E. A., Tice, D. M., Brewer, L. E., & Schmeichel, B. J. (2007).)

Other studies have shown that what we believe about willpower, for example whether we think we have it or not, influences or level of self-control.  
Mood, mindset, attitude and motivation can also be contributing factors.  An excellent book that dives into some of these ideas is Mindset : The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D..

So how can we use what is known about willpower to increase our own self-control and reach our goals.

Here are a few suggestions:

Cultivate positive moods and attitudes.

Mood and attitude influence levels of willpower and self-control, so it is worth spending a little time and energy focusing on positive ones.  If you want to be joyful, peaceful, happy and enthusiastic you have to spend your time creating those qualities in your life.  Spend time with positive people, watch inspiring movies and avoid negative self-talk and gossip. 

Become mindful of your core beliefs and work on changing limiting ones.

What do you believe about your ability to be successful?  Are you internally or externally motivated?
What beliefs do you have around the behaviour you are trying to change?  Who do you want to become?  What do you believe about yourself?  
Answering these types of questions can help you unpack beliefs that might in fact be depleting your willpower reserves.

Avoid people pleasing behaviour.

Studies have shown "that people who feel obligated to exert self-control or willpower are more depleted than those who are driven by their own desires and goals."  (American Psychological Association,  2012). 

Maintain steady blood-glucose levels.

The brain uses glucose as fuel for cognitive functions, which is key to maintaining willpower.  Eating healthy, regular snacks can help avoid crashes in blood-glucose.  

Be kind to yourself.

Don't over exert yourself and set yourself up for willpower depletion.  Work on one goal at a time.
If you know you are going to have a difficult day, set up priorities and make sure you give yourself the care you need.  Work on the most important things first.  
You can do everything you want.....but you can't do it all at once. Pace yourself!

For more information and resources on this topic and others, check out the following links.

Create an awesome week!

Joanne πŸ’—

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Ultimate Self-Care

In today's blog, I'm going to dive a bit deeper into my own personal definition of ultimate self-care.

Now, of course I did not invent the concept and I don't claim to have done so.  But, I have spent the past year exploring the topic and I've learned a few things about what it means to take responsibility for our own self-care and just what that might look like in our day to day lives.

Here are a few key elements of ultimate self-care:

"It is explored within a context of deep meaning and purpose."

Ultimate self-care is not simply about attending to our emotional,  physical and material needs.  It is about connecting to our truth, our core values and our personal power in order to take full responsibility and ownership of our time on this planet.  As we explore the 6 focus areas (physical, mental, social, emotional, financial and spiritual) of our life from this perspective, we begin to understand our limits yes, but most of all we begin to realize the full extent of our ability to become the true Master of our life.  We learn to value a mindset that allows us to develop an internal locus of control which, in my opinion is key to our success and happiness.

All this can seem daunting at first. There are many layers to uncover and a lot of unpacking to do.  This is not a process for the faint-hearted.  But it can be an incredibly exciting and exhilarating life long journey of self-discovery, that allows us to fully and completely embrace every experience of our life.

Wikipedia offers the following philosophical definition of self-care. "Self-care refers to the care and cultivation of self in a comprehensive sense - focusing in on the soul and knowledge of self."
As we explore this concept of self-care in our life, we are exploring the very essence of what it means to be human.  We are exploring the intimate connection between the Self and Life itself.

As we cultivate Ultimate Self-Care, we open ourselves up to universal co-creation.  The universe responds when we take accountability of our life.  We know we are aligned with this process when we start noticing serendipitous events that support our intentions.

So, how do you even begin this journey?

The first step is embracing the "Ultimate Self-Care" philosophy and mindset by:

  • Opening yourself up to the possibility of becoming the Master of your own life.
  • Opening yourself up to greater self-awareness and knowledge.
  • Opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and living your life.
And above all...beginning from where your are right now, with childlike curiosity and non-judgment. 

For more information and resources on how to explore the concept of "Ultimate Self-Care",  click on the following link.

Monthly newsletter and Resources

Create an awesome week!
Joanne πŸ’—

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Asking For What You Want

I just finished listening to The Aladdin Factor, How To Ask For What You Want - And Get it, by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. 

When I first bought this book, I was convinced I wouldn't like it for some reason. Something about the title rubbed me the wrong way.  Sometimes, I buy a book and can't wait to dive into it and other times I buy a book just because I feel it's something I probably should read as a coach and personal growth enthusiast.  This time, the motivation was the latter.

But, as it turns out, it ended up being one of my favourite reads in a while. Many of the ideas felt new to me and as I read the book I found myself making some pretty significant shifts around my beliefs when it comes to asking for I want.  Something I didn't realize I needed.

I love it when a book does that!!

When I was a teenager, I distinctly remember being impressed by my brother's ability to be absolutely relentless when it came to asking my mother for something he wanted.  I have this distinct memory of standing in the kitchen of the home we grew up in and watching him in action.  He would just keep on repeating his request and the words "pleeeeease Mom", until my mother finally broke down and acquiesced.  I envied him in those moments.  It felt to me like he had some kind of super power reserved only for boys.  You see, as a "girl",  I was convinced that asking, especially in an incessant way, was absolutely inappropriate.  Good, polite, people pleasing girls didn't ask for what they needed.  And asking for a want!!!  Come on!!  Selfish, selfish, selfish! No! A girl's super power lied in her ability to determine what others wanted and needed and finding ways of meeting those needs and wants. 

Isn't that kind of the way we were raised ladies?

This book made me realize how maybe, us gals need to take a closer look at this idea of "Asking For What We Want"!

I would suggest that when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we have two major challenges ahead of us.  Learning to say no, and on the flip side of that, asking for what we want.  The two, are intimately related and their relationship can be the cause of great aggravation in our lives and the lives of those around us.

As women, we are nurturers, taught to be self-sacrificing and to take care of others.  This is "who" we believe ourselves to be.  And I put forward that a patriarchal society has reinforced this belief and identity to a point that is fundamentally detrimental to our mental, emotional and physical well being. I challenge that this identity is not in our best interest and that it is our responsibility to change it.  I am not claiming we should completely eliminate our nurturing side but I am suggesting that we balance care of others with care of self.

I am convinced that this belief or sense of identity is why I was so uncomfortable with the book's title.  The idea of asking for I wanted created what James Clear calls, in his book Atomic Habits, an "identity conflict."

Identity conflict, as defined by this author, occurs when a desired or expressed behaviour is in direct conflict with a belief, perceived identity or self-image.  From the information I've gathered as a coach and self-care workshop facilitator, I feel pretty confident in saying that many women feel this identity conflict when presented with the idea of asking for what they want.

The good news is, we can change and resolve this inner conflict.  How?  First we choose a new identity.  That might seem like an insurmountable task but all it really means is answering the following questions, "Who am I?"  or "Who do I Want to Become?"
Now, in the context of asking for what we want, the answer to these questions might be something along these lines,  "I am worthy.  I am a woman who does not hesitate to ask for what I need and want."

The next step, is behaving in alignment with this new identity.  That means starting to ask for what we want and need, and doing it often!!

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear points out that "Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become."  As the number of votes in favour of your preferred identity increases so does the strength of this identity.

WARNING...when you start doing this, guilt will rear it's ugly head. And when it does, I want you to celebrate!!  It means you are pissing off your old, unwanted identity.  The one that wants you to continue believing you should put yourself last.
When we start changing our beliefs about who we are, it can cause cognitive dissonance.  We have to be mindful not to automatically assume that guilt is indicative of us actually having done something wrong.  Sometimes guilt is simply a by-product of doing something we are not use to doing or that goes against a limiting core belief, one that is not in our best interest.

So here is what I challenge you to do in the next 7 days.  I want you to find every possible opportunity to ask for something you want and need.  Make it interesting,  push the envelope, ask for things you would not normally expect to get.
Here are some questions you can answer in your journal in order to get the most out of this exercise:

  1. What feelings came up for me when asking for what I wanted?
  2. What surprises did I get?
  3. How did other people react to this new me?
  4. What challenges did I have in doing this?
  5. How can I support myself in learning this new skill moving forward?
Now, it's important to point out that you won't always get yeses to your requests.  But I guarantee that you will get a lot more of what makes you happy if you try.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

If you are interested in learning more about asking for what you want, I highly recommend Jack Canfield's book. 

Create an awesome week!
Joanne πŸ’—

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Dry January

For anyone who has checked out my book suggestions for this month,  you know that they all related to the topic of alcohol. A topic inspired by what is now know as Dry January,  a public health campaign, started in the UK, encouraging people to abstain from alcohol for the month of January.  The idea has now spread worldwide and many people choose to take a break from alcohol during this period.

If you missed dry January, not a problem.  If you google it,  there are alcohol free campaigns, put on, almost every month, by a variety of organizations.  

Why is this trend becoming more and more popular?  

Alcohol has become a huge part of our culture,  80% of Canadians drink alcohol.  And while there are many articles circulating that endorse the benefits of alcohol,  more and more studies are showing just how harmful it can be to our health.  

"The best available current evidence suggests that consumption of alcohol (chemically known as ethanol) does not improve health. Previous assertions that low or moderate consumption of alcohol improved health have been deprecated by more careful and complete meta-analysis." Wikipedia

Now, my intention in writing this blog is not to encourage everyone to completely stop drinking. But I am encouraging all of us to start applying our critical thinking skills to this idea that alcohol and life are almost synonymous.  

You know what I mean:
Party = alcohol, dinner out = alcohol, weddings = alcohol, graduation = alcohol, fun = alcohol, funeral = alcohol, stress = alcohol, relaxation = alcohol... I could go on indefinitely. 

What I am suggesting is that we look at our own relationship with alcohol and really get brutally honest about wether it is enhancing our lives or getting in the way of our "Best Life?".  I know for a fact that there are many people out there, who are quietly and shamefully worrying about their alcohol consumption, and others who are simply curious about whether it is getting in the way of reaching their goals.  

Damselfly Transformations Self-Care Model
When you think about it, we live in a world where "not drinking" is "not normal."  I don't know about you but that feels really odd to me...but maybe it's just me.

So for the sake of playing the devil's advocate, today, I am going to present you with the benefits of eliminating alcohol form your least for a given period of time.

Since one of my areas of expertise as a life coach is Self-care, I will be doing that from the perspective of my Self-Care Model.

Now, I have added some secondary sources to this list of benefits but if you are interested in learning more, please either contact me directly or join me in the "28 Day Alcohol Free Inquiry".

  • Better sleep.
  • Easier weight loss.
  • Increased motivation for exercising and maintaining healthy eating habits.
  • Increased clarity, allowing us to make better decisions when it comes to our over all health.
  • Increase in libido and quality of intimacy.
  • Decrease in anxiety and depression.
There are many reasons why drinking can slow down weight loss.  One, it can lead to an increase in appetite both during and after drinking.  This is due to fluctuating hormone levels as well as decreased liver function.  Anyone, who drinks regularly or more then what is recommended, can be sabotaging their weight loss efforts without realizing it.  For more on this check out the following podcast by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind.

Annie Grace - Podcast - Alcohol Can Make You Fat

  • Increased clarity and cognitive function.
  • Increased motivation and ability to make productive, life-enhancing choices.
  • Increased ability for developing mindfulness and self-awareness practices.
  • Increased motivation for learning and growing.
Short term and long term use of alcohol, impairs proper functioning of the prefrontal-cortex, which is the part of the brain that allows us to make informed choices and decisions.  Alcohol use, can also make you prone to emotional reactivity.  It is not rare for individuals to see a substantial increase in decision making and emotional intelligence skills after just one month without alcohol.
  • Stronger more authentic connections with others.
  • Increased ability for empathy and compassion.
  • Increased motivation for connecting with new people and social situations.
  • Increased ability for conflict resolution and problem-solving.
  • Increased intimacy.
Many people turn to alcohol in social situation in order to take the edge off, relax and feel more laid back.  The truth is that alcohol numbs are senses.  Numbing our senses, actually disconnects us from others because we are less able to read social cues and more likely to behave from a place of emotional reactivity.

How To Socialize Without Alcohol

  • Increased ability and motivation to align our behaviour and goals with our core values.
  • Increased ability to identify those core values.
  • Increased ability and motivation to find purpose and meaning in our lives.
Have you ever realized, after a night of drinking, that you had done something that went against your core values and beliefs. (or maybe someone reminded you because you blacked it out)  Have you ever used alcohol in order to feel numb enough to do something you otherwise would not have done?  We will often jokingly, blame the alcohol, and say it's no big deal, but in the end, we often feel a strong cognitive dissonance concerning our alcohol induced behaviour.  That, it my opinion, is worth looking into. 

  • Increased motivation and time to focus on financial goals.
  • Increase in ability to prioritize spending.
  • And obviously, the money spent on alcohol can be spent elsewhere.
If your drinking a bottle of wine a week, you are spending anywhere between 12$ to 30$ a week, which adds up to 48$ to 120$ a month.  Might not seem like much, but if you're drinking more then that or drinking a more expensive type of alcohol, it can add up.  The question to ask is "Would spending the money elsewhere increase my quality of life?"
Watch the following video and notice what people are saying when justifying the amount they spend on alcohol.  Many of them mention, that it allows them to have fun and spend time with friends.
My question would be...why can't they hang out with friends and have fun without spending 300$ on drinks??  Just a thought!

  • Increased ability to develop strong emotional intelligence competencies and skills.
  • Increased ability to manage emotions, recognize emotions and work through challenges.
  • Decrease in anxiety and depression.
  • Increased ability to find pleasure through other activities such as hobbies, creative projects, reading...etc.
When we drink our brain's reward circuits are flooded with dopamine.  This creates the high we are reaching for when we reach for a drink.  Unfortunately, when this effect wears off, it causes a rapid decrease in dopamine, leaving us feeling depressed and miserable, motivating us to have another drink.  This is what can lead to addiction and the jury is still out on who is actually more prone to this then others.  What we do no for sure is that alcohol is an addictive substance.  
Also, when we drink regularly, our brain adapts to this strong surge in dopamine.  This actually, over time, decreases our ability to find pleasure in other activities other then drinking.  That's why at some point, our brain might give us a very strong message that it's a better idea to stay home and drink instead of going for a walk on the beach with a friend.  

This Naked Mind - Dopamine and alcohol

You might be thinking....really?  come on!!!  ALL those benefits from not drinking?
One: I've done quite a bit of research on the subject.
Two: I can vouch for this from my own experience and that of others who have shared their experience with me.

Here's a challenge.....TRY IT!!  Try going alcohol free for 29 days!
Wether you consider yourself a low, moderate or heavy might learn a few things!!

Have an awesome Sunday!