Category: Emotions

7 Primal Ways to Bridge the Parent Happiness Gap

Particularly when you’re a parent, October can be a transitional month. I remember feeling like we’d just gotten the kids settled in school and suddenly we were knee deep in extracurricular activities, class projects, parent-teacher conferences—and the holidays. On my more exhausted days, I felt like we were navigating a two-month bender of parties and concerts, costumes and events. On the one hand, it was fun to see the kids’ excitement. It made for good memories, but it also exacted an extended toll. When every week is “special,” it’s wearing. These days life is simpler on the family front, but every once in a while I’ll remember those more frenetic patches. It’s easy to be nostalgic on the other side of the dogged years, but I haven’t forgotten the harder truth of parenting. Sometimes it’s a slog through overwhelm, and research reflects that much. But does it need to be as heavy as we often make it?

Read More

How Expressing Your Emotions—or Not—Affects Your Health

A little bird told me the other day that it might not be a bad time to talk about the impact of emotions on our health—particularly our choice to express or not express them. I’ve heard people around me share that they’re worn out lately—that emotions have imposed a toll regardless of how well they keep their own in check. It got me thinking. Increasingly, researchers uncover the remarkable imbrication of mental and physical well-being. How we nourish or neglect our physical selves affects how we feel psychologically. Likewise, the emotional terrain we traverse throughout a day, in turn, elicits its own physiological feedback. Yet in this culture, there’s a certain esteem for the stiff upper lip. We restrain ourselves for the sake of others—our perception of their comfort and/or of their opinion of us. But are we sacrificing something in doing so? When does the polite instinct to suppress our emotions benefit us, and when does it backfire?

Read More

7 Ways to Deal with Food Anxiety

People frequently wax sentimental for what they call “simpler” days—presumably times when the rules were fewer and clearer, when choices weren’t so overwhelming, when demands were less and common sense was more prevalent. Eating, of course, is no exception to this. If you listen to the dominant voices in the social-media-marketing-medical culture, it’s enough to ruin your dinner and make you feel guilty for skipping breakfast (Don’t buy the guilt trip). We’re fed contradictory studies, warned of the latest threats lurking in our food supply, told every bite squashes the life out of another ecosystem, and led through fluorescent-lit warehouses filled with more food options and label claims than one person should ever be reasonably expected to handle. It’s exhausting, frustrating and on certain days defeating. So what’s a reasonable approach in an age when anxiety too often overtakes enjoyment of eating?

Read More

How to Accept Your Body After Significant Weight Loss

There are many meaningful reasons people go Primal: they want to improve their fitness, increase their longevity, feel younger, reverse lifestyle conditions, heal hormonal imbalances, enhance fertility, get off prescription medications, and lose fat. With regard to losing fat, some want to lose a good deal of it—to significantly alter their body composition. This goal, while it has the power to shift one’s entire health trajectory (not to mention life experience) may also be the most likely to come with unforeseen, even undesired results. I’m talking particularly about those who undergo dramatic transformations—the kind that can leave them feeling incredible, enjoying vitality, and (in particular) looking substantially different.

Read More

Primal Performance: How to Stay Cool Under Pressure

Think for a minute about how many times you felt pressure today—pressure to do something you were nervous to do, pressure to perform in the moment, pressure to make the right choice, pressure to take a big step toward a change or experience you want in your life? What was it like? I find pressure to be an intriguing concept. It certainly feels stressful, but it’s ultimately more than stress. Whereas stress at its core is really just a state of physical and/or emotional strain (generally in response to what we somehow perceive as challenging circumstances), it’s initially a response versus a force (but can become a force when chronic). As a result, stress is most essentially a reaction we can at times avoid or use any range of strategies to minimize or manage. Pressure, on the other hand, is more of an input, a force not just acting in us but on us, influencing and compelling us toward action, much like the concept in physics. The pressure we experience may come from outside expectations or from internal sources (e.g. perfectionism), but the net effect is the same: in one way or another, we’re called to act.

Read More

Don’t Be So Sure: Why Doubt Is an Essential Tool for Reaching Health Goals

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves around people who are absolutely hamstrung by their beliefs—whether about business or healthy eating, politics or fitness. Some people are overly sensitive or even overtly defensive when discussing them. Others might be congenial but simply shut down when the conversation turns to a “sacred” topic. But if conviction hampers them this much in social exchange, can you imagine how much it hampers them in the rest of their lives? Many of us tend to perceive certainty as a strength, but often it can cut us off from imagining a scope of better options. Over the years, people have invested so much time, energy and justification in their opinions that the cost to entertaining other possibilities seems too high. And that’s too bad. Because as the old saying goes, the only thing worse than making a mistake is to keep making it. That’s why today I want to talk about the value of doubt.

Read More

Latest Posts