How to Handle and Release Sadness

For the record, it’s totally okay to feel sad…or any emotion, for that matter. But we don’t want to dwell in sadness forever, because that can lead to us missing out on life or making certain changes in our lives that would make us feel better.

Here are some tips (that I use too!) to help you move through sadness, feel better, and make positive changes in your life:

1. Know that it’s okay to feel sad. We live in a society that tends to shame us for feeling anything but happy and “okay” so that we can be productive members of the world. We tend not to talk about deep, “dark” emotions…which doesn’t exactly help us move through them; silencing those emotions can actually make them fester. So, tell yourself, “I’m sad right now and that’s okay.” Or, “I feel sad right now and that’s the right way to feel.” I learned this from the amazing Alison Leipzig.

2. Be gentle with yourself. You’re already sad, so don’t make it worse by being mad at yourself for feeling that way. Instead, treat and speak to yourself with gentleness. Treat yourself like you’re caring for a very sweet child (or an adorable pet!). Take a shower. Go to bed early. Tell yourself that you love yourself (“I know you’re sad, and I love you so much”). Drink some water or tea. Listen to music that relaxes you (y’all know how much I love Malibu). Have a phone date with a friend.

3. Feel your feelings. Releasing sadness–truly releasing it and not just putting a band-aid on it–requires you to actually feel your sadness. Let yourself cry or mope around for a little while. Journal about how you feel. Talk to one of your friends. Meditate for 5 minutes. Hang out with your sadness. Don’t push it away or think/talk/eat/shop/work over it. When you do that, the sadness never actually goes away, and in fact, it gets worse. Don’t be afraid of it. Just feel sad.

4. Do small, productive things. It’s crucial to feel your sadness, and it’s also crucial to not dwell in it forever. Doing small, productive things can help you take positive action in your life without sadness taking over and debilitating you (though it is okay to let the sadness take over for a little while). When I’m sad, I clean my bedroom so that it’s more peaceful and sanctuary-like. I make my bed, organize my clothes, and light a candle. Sometimes I make a smoothie to have for breakfast the next morning. Other small, productive things include returning emails, paying a bill, putting gas in your car, or doing the dishes.

Bottom line? It’s okay to feel sad, and it’s crucial that you know sadness is temporary. There are things you can do to help release your sadness, and you also have to trust that your sadness will pass, and life will go on.

Body Acceptance and Feminism

As you know, I talk a lot about the political side of body image–the ways that our society and diet culture convince us that manipulating our bodies so that they meet the “ideal” body type will give us love, acceptance, and amazing lives. Man this stuff gets me going!

Men certainly feel pressure to make their bodies look a certain way, and they do experience the mental and physical turmoil that often accompanies that pressure.

But…things are a little different, a little darker, when that societal pressure targets women.

First of all, much more of the diet industry is targeted toward female consumers. What does that say? It says that our society believes that a women’s worth comes mainly from her beauty and her ability to live up to the societal “ideal” of beauty, which absolutely includes thinness. Men are socialized to believe that their worth mostly comes from professional achievement and success, intelligence, and stuff like that. It’s not great that men are boxed in either, but their box is at least a little bigger and more flexible than the box that women are in. We’re supposed to look a very specific way–THIN.

Second of all, achieving that societal ideal of female beauty takes a lot of time, money, energy, and even sanity. For centuries, women have been ordered or encouraged to “stay small” financially, professionally, and spiritually. And today, in 2017, we’re STILL socialized to be small in all types of ways. Some women feel like they need to lose weight in order to get a promotion (and studies have shown that thinner women advance further in their careers than larger women). Thinness is even lauded in some religions as some form of willpower or fortitude. It’s cray.

By refusing to support the diet industry, accepting our bodies the way they are now, and fueling our bodies with the food, exercise, and pursuits that make us feel amazing and powerful, we’re participating in a form of political resistance. We’re saying, “Here I am, world, a woman who accepts and takes care of the body I have, and lives the life of my dreams no matter what size I am!”

Are you fired up about body acceptance and feminism? If you are, then I want you to do two things:

1. Join my Facebook group, Body Positive Rebels, where you get regular body image tips from me, and where we talk a lot about the political side of body image, food, etc.

2. Grab my Body Confidence Workshop, an audio that guides you to feel great in the body you have now, take care of your health, and refocus your time and energy on accomplishing your personal, academic, and professional goals! Here’s the link again: http://thehappycollegegirl.com/downloads/the-body-confidence-workshop-and-bonus/.

You got this body confidence stuff!

Weight Loss Does NOT Have To Be Your Goal This Summer

When I was in high school and college, I would always freak out at the start of summer because I felt too big and disgusting to wear summer clothes and bathing suits. My goal for the season would be to work out as much as possible and go on some “diet,” whether that was cutting out sugar, going vegan, eating like a Parisian or Mediterranean woman, or some other type of food manipulation. I wouldn’t work out or alter my food to increase my sense of well-being or overall health. I did it to get thinner.

After only a few days or weeks, I would feel so deprived that I would hide in my house, binge eat like crazy, feel even more disgusting, and usher in an entire summer of food and body chaos. Sound familiar?

If you tend to freak out at the thought of getting into your summer clothes or if you set weight loss goals for the summer, then I want you to know that there’s a different way to feel good in your body and take care of your health. Aaand fun fact–I created it here!

Real talk. Setting weight loss goals for the summer probably hasn’t worked for you…because you keep setting them every year. Also, you’re reading this blog post, so you’re probably looking for another way to live a fulfilling life without having to deal with body and food chaos! That’s why I created The Body Confidence Workshop.

You can TOTALLY live a kick-ass, happy life where you feel peaceful and confident in your own body, and maintain your health at the same time.

End your body and food chaos once and for all. Grab my workshop (and free gift!) right here.

How to Stop Hating Your Body

I’m crazy excited because my Body Confidence workshop is now FOR SALE! 

If you’re tired of hating your body and going to crazytown around food then this workshop will help you, babe.

I’ll teach you everything you need to know about getting confident in the body you have NOW, taking care of your health, and creating a kick-ass life for yourself!

Aaaand when you buy the workshop, you’ll get an extra gift to help you clear out those negative body image thoughts that circulate in your head all day long, make you feel like crap, and drive you to binge eat, overeat, and restrict.

It IS possible to feel great in your own skin WHILE taking care of your health. I’mma show you how. To get the workshop and free gift, click here!

How To Have Authentic Relationships

At a conference I attended a few weeks ago, I learned about the concept of self-monitoring, a personality trait characterized by being able to adapt your words and actions to a particular situation or person. We all possess this trait in varying degrees. Someone with a high-degree of self-monitoring typically asks themselves (consciously or unconsciously), “What does this situation/person want me to be and how can I be that person?” or “How should I behave in this situation?” while someone with a low-degree of self-monitoring typically asks themselves, “Who am I and how can I be me in this situation?” Neither is good or bad.

While learning about this concept, I realized that I have a high degree of self-monitoring, which helps me make friends easily, network, and feel comfortable in a variety of social situations.

BUT I’ve also realized that being so concerned with the needs of another situation or person hinders me from really being myself in relationships. Sometimes I’m more concerned about being liked or making other people feel comfortable that I don’t act or speak authentically and honestly–I just become who I think the other person wants me to be.

This has led me to create some relationships wherein I’m not 100% honest about my own feelings and needs…which has cultivated resentment inside of me. I think, “Why can that person just say and do whatever they want and I can’t?”

Know what I mean?

It’s totally great and beneficial to adapt your words and actions to the needs of a situation or person to an extent. But when you stop listening and acting on your own needs and desires, that’s when you begin to create unfulfilling relationships and feel resentful that the other person can be themselves and you can’t be yourself.

If you’re getting tired of not being yourself because you’re worried that someone won’t like or accept you, use these tips to create more authenticity in your relationships:

1. Be present when you speak to someone. The next time you’re speaking to someone and you catch yourself thinking about the future, past, or something random, take a few deep breaths, and come back to the person in front of you/on the other end of the phone. Focus on what they are saying. Authenticity lives in the present moment, so once you’re present and focused on someone, it’ll be much easier for you to be yourself…and you’ll get a fresh perspective on them, too.

2. Try the 3-second rule. Remember this? The 3-second rule asks you to pause briefly before saying something. These few moments help you be more present and intentional when you speak–so that you can make what comes out of your mouth really matter.

3. Ask yourself this question. If you feel yourself shifting into fake or inauthentic mode in a conversation, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “How am I showing up right now?” This question helps you step out of yourself for a moment, take stock of what you’re saying/doing, and make a shift to something more authentic.

4. Get to know the REAL you. We’re bombarded with messages about how someone of our age/looks/gender/job/etc. should act or live. But all of that’s bullsh*t if you’re not happy or don’t have fulfilling relationships. Get to know who you actually are instead of looking to other people or forms of media to tell you. Spend a few quiet moments in the morning and at night just with yourself. Journal. Stretch. Meditate. Have a dance party. Connecting with your true self will help you be that person in your relationships.

Remember, adapting yourself to the needs of a situation or person, or self-monitoring, isn’t an inherently bad thing. In fact, it’s needed and good for us to do that. But when you stifle your own needs, and worry that someone won’t like who you really are, that’s when relationships begin to lose their authenticity and level of fulfillment. These tips can help!

Why Forgive?

As you know, forgiveness has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m still taking the forgiveness process one day at a time because part of me wants to hold onto resentment and hurt from past situations with friends, coworkers, bosses, boyfriends, and relatives. And honestly, part of me wants to hang onto that resentment and hurt because I don’t want to let those people off the hook for what they did or said to me. Can you relate to that feeling?

But here’s the thing. Forgiveness isn’t about the people who we may feel wronged or hurt by. Forgiveness is for us. As Deepak Chopra says, “Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves.” We don’t forgive because we condone someone else’s behavior or words. We don’t forgive because we want to remove responsibility from that person and make them feel better.

We forgive because we want to feel better. We forgive because we want our lives to be happier and more peaceful.

We don’t have to worry about that other person at all. All that forgiveness asks of us is to let go of our anger, resentment, and hurt…because it drains our energy, makes it harder for us to be vulnerable and authentic with others, and doesn’t change what happened anyway.

Forgiveness offers us a beautiful opportunity to clear out that stale resentment, anger, and hurt, and welcome happiness, peace, and ease. And when we’re in that happy, peaceful place, we attract more good things into our lives. We can let those people we’re resenting be on their own path; we don’t have to worry about how they feel or what they’re doing. We can relax and just worry about creating a peaceful, happy life for ourselves.

I think if we view forgiveness as a gift we give to ourselves, as something that will make our own lives better, then we’ll be motivated to forgive, and then experience all of the amazing things forgiveness has to offer us!

Forgiveness is tricky, and I’m still figuring it out a day at a time. If you’re in the same boat, hopefully this post helps you out!

Why It’s Okay To Eat Your Feelings

Writing to you from the west coast! Dude, the west coast is so pretty and cool. AND YOU GET 3 HOURS OF EXTRA TIME. Amazing.

This body positive and food post is inspired by Isabel Foxen Duke (the master of overcoming binge eating and food obsession) and my amazing nutritionist.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend who was feeling upset and a little ashamed that she’s been eating a larger amount of “unhealthy” food lately because she’s been stressed out. That’s a totally normal thing to feel…but it’s problematic and dangerous.

When we judge ourselves for eating a certain way, i.e. the way my friend was judging herself about her temporary larger intake of “unhealthy” food, we make ourselves wrong, shameful, and unworthy in some way. And when we’re in that unworthy, ashamed place, we tend to do one of two things: we keep overeating because we just feel bad about ourselves, or we launch into a diet or food restriction/manipulation of some kind…which ultimately backfires and can lead us to binge eating or more and more periods of overeating. Either way, feeling ashamed about our behavior around food promotes food and body chaos.

If you get down on yourself for overeating or even just eating something “unhealthy,” I want you to take a different approach—so that you really deal with your emotions instead of dealing with them exclusively by eating.

The next time you start to judge yourself for whatever you just ate (or are currently eating), I want you to take a big inhale and exhale (conscious breath gets you out of your head) and say to yourself, “It’s totally okay that I’m eating this/ate this.” Or, “It’s totally okay that I’m emotionally eating or binge eating right now.” When you make your behavior “okay” or acceptable, you remove the shame that you (and society) usually put on yourself…which makes that food or behavior around food less charged and therefore less appealing or satisfying in some way. When you remove the shame around it, you have the mental space to also deal with the emotion that’s causing you to eat.

From a moral standpoint, binge eating or overeating is neither good nor bad. Food is neither good nor bad—even when you’re eating it for emotional reasons. When you start viewing food and your behavior around food as more neutral, you’ll find that food becomes just one of the many ways you can deal with your emotions, and that you can face and work through your emotions, too.

This is a heady topic. I’m asking you to flip the way you’ve been taught to think about food, your body, and emotions. But if you want to stop eating over your emotions and actually deal with them, you have to start with believing that eating over your emotions isn’t wrong in the first place.

3 Keys to Forgiveness

Forgiveness has been on my mind lately and man is it a tricky subject. Of course forgiving others or a situation or ourselves is the “spiritually evolved” thing to do, but it’s f*cking hard. And it’s easy to think that forgiving something means that the same thing will happen to us again, or that if we forgive someone, they have to be part of our lives. Ug.

Forgiveness is complicated, and I’m still figuring out what it means to me. But there are a few people and situations in my life that have been replaying in my head over and over–so much so that they’re decreasing the quality of my life. Replaying those old scenarios drains my energy, affects my other relationships, and pushes away other good things that are trying to come to me. So I’m thinking it’s time work my forgiveness muscle.

Take a second right now and think about one person (maybe it’s yourself?) or situation that is circulating in your head all the time and not making you feel any better at all.

I just started my journey with forgiveness, but in part thanks to the amazing Gabrielle Bernstein, I’ve learned 3 things that will help us ease into forgiveness and experience peace and freedom. Check it:

1. Willingness. The very first step to forgiving someone or something is to be willing to forgive. You have to want the peace, freedom, and happiness that result from forgiveness more than hanging on to your hurt, anger, or resentment. Even if you’re just slightly open to forgiveness, that’s enough to get the process going. When you catch yourself replaying that old scenario or conversation that you’re resenting, just say to yourself (I do this out loud), “I’m open to forgiving,” “I’m willing to forgive this situation/person/myself,” or “I don’t need to hang onto this. I’m open to releasing this.”

2. Face your feelings. It’s crucial to be willing to forgive, but you can’t just slap a prayer or mantra over your feelings and expect to experience true and lasting peace. You have to face the pain, hurt, anger, etc. that you experienced because of the situation you’re resenting. Most of the time, when we think about a situation or person who triggers us, we push it down or distract ourselves so we don’t have to feel it. But that just keeps those feelings alive and silently torturing us. In the forgiveness process, we have to acknowledge how a certain situation made us feel instead of running away. Then the feelings will move through us and leave us for good, never haunting us again. So whenever you experience an emotion because of that person/situation, just take a deep breath, notice where you feel it in your body, and breathe through it or journal, stretch, cry, etc. Feel your feelings with the intention that you’re moving towards forgiveness, and thus peace, freedom, and happiness.

3. Give it up. The best and most relieving part of this whole process is that we don’t have to take some major action. We simply have to surrender that situation or person and our feelings about them to God or The Universe. We don’t have to worry about what the forgiveness will look like, how our lives may or may not change, or whether we’ll actually be able to forgive. We just have to take it one day at a time, be willing to forgive, and feel our feelings along the way. God/The Universe will handle it from there.

Forgiveness is a process, and I’m still figuring it out. But if we want to experience more peace and ease in our lives, and attract wonderful, high-vibe things, then we have to consider forgiving the people and situations that are haunting us and keeping us stuck in fear, resentment, hurt, and anger.

What Thoughts Are Holding You Hostage?

Last week, I got into the Easter spirit by dying eggs with a dear friend and wearing my bunny ears to dinner with my family and May.

In church a few mornings ago (I know, when do I ever talk about what I learned in church??), we talked about the things that hold us hostage–the situations, people, world events, inner beliefs, or thought patterns that trigger us. These are the things that take us out of the present moment, fester inside of us, and make us feel angry, resentful, unforgiving, sad, and disconnected from ourselves, our inner peace, and God/The Universe/Source.

When we’re in that angry/resentful/disconnected state, we tend to do things that exacerbate those emotions and hurt ourselves or others even more.

I tend to get taken hostage when I’m driving. I’ll be behind the wheel and then thoughts about past situations involving former friends, bosses, and romantic partners seep in and fill me with rage, resentment, and hurt. So when the car in front of me is going too slow, or when another car cuts me off…what do you think I do? Do I peacefully change lanes or slow down to let someone in? No! I honk my horn like crazy and shout obscenities, which endangers myself, endangers others, and doesn’t even make me feel better!

That’s the thing. Even when we’re in that emotional state and take a somewhat destructive action, we don’t even feel a release or feel peaceful at all. When we’re taken hostage, honking our horns, cursing someone out, or snapping at someone doesn’t give us what we’re really look for. We’re looking for a way out, a way back to inner peace or a way to restore our connection with God. Taking that quick, negative action doesn’t get us there. Taking a breath, saying a quick prayer, wishing someone well, finding gratitude in something–all of those things return us to peace…and makes us more powerful. So when that past situation, person, or negative inner belief comes to the surface again, it’ll have less and less power over us, and then will eventually stop bothering us.

The next time something tries to take you hostage, all you have to do is just recognize that you’re being taken out of the present moment. Simply recognizing when you’re being taken hostage will give you power. Then, you can choose what to do with whatever is bothering you. Maybe you take a few deep breaths. Maybe you drink some water. Maybe you journal or pray or vent to a friend. These things will help return you to inner peace quickly–so that you take action from that space and live with ease.

Then, no matter what anyone does or says to you, you’ll still be chilled out and happy!

There’s a new 3-Second Rule in town…

A couple weeks ago, I attended a Disney/Batman themed wedding. And on Thursday night, I taught a body image workshop for UMD CHAARG at my alma mater. It was amazing!

Alright I have to out myself. The girl behind The Happy College Girl has been pretty…angry, judgmental, snippy, and negative lately. Aside from all of the crazy sh*t going on the world right now/always, there are some things in my own life that I really let get under my skin. In fact, I’m stewing about something RIGHT NOW.

Ug and when I’m in that mad, resentful place, I tend to say really mean things to and about other people. My voice takes on a harsh tone and I use all kinds of foul language. Other people get exhausted by me. My mind and body get tense and anxious. And the situation or people I’m mad at don’t get better. In fact, all of that anger and resentment just hooks me into that situation/person even more…and then it’s even harder for me to make peace with it. Gah!

Can you relate to feeling so angry and resentful at a person or situation that you say something really mean or snippy in the moment?

It’s so easy to let a person or situation trigger us into saying or doing something impulsive. But when we say or do that thing, we only feel slightly better. Then we get hooked into the situation even more and it takes us even longer to experience happiness and peace.

I’m not totally sure how to stop myself from saying or doing something impulsive out of anger…or from letting anger and resentment overtake me and ruin my whole day (or just part of my day). But I know it affects other people, doesn’t make them feel good, doesn’t make me feel good, and doesn’t do anything to move me forward.

That’s why I’ve decided to experiment with the 3-Second Rule–not the one that allows you to eat food that’s been on the floor for three seconds or less. This 3-Second Rule requires you to wait three seconds before speaking. The next time you’re having a conversation and you’re about to say something (even if it’s totally positive or benign), count 1, 2, 3, and then speak. I like this rule because it gives us a few moments to decide whether what we’re about to say will make ourselves and our conversation partners feel good and/or will move us forward in some way.

Then, no matter what we say, whether it’s that impulsive thing we were going to say anyway, or whether we’ve filtered it a bit, at least we took those crucial moments to think before we speak.

I think that the 3-Second Rule can help us be less reactive to people and situations so that we experience more peace, ease, and happiness in our lives.