How to lower levels of cortisol to elevate your health

Today’s post is a summary of my recent social media posts on how to lower levels of cortisol through nutrition and yoga. In my nutrition and wellness coaching practice, I help women who are struggling with hormonal imbalances expressing as missing periods, unexplained infertility, PCOS, PMS or hypothyroid symptoms. These are all caused by levels of hormones which are either higher or lower than they should normally be.

As all hormones interact within the body, when one is off this can cause a cascade effect throughout the whole system. One of the main root causes of all of the hormonal conditions above is an imbalance in cortisol. In particular, high cortisol can impact levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid hormones through the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. This hormonal system has impacts on our metabolic, reproductive and immune systems just to name a few!

What is the problem with cortisol?

Cortisol is well known as the stress hormone but it actually does an important job keeping us alive. It helps us to manage the stresses of daily life by raising blood sugar and blood pressure to get energy and oxygen to our cells and by modulating inflammation. We are designed to experience a peak of cortisol to wake us up in the morning as well as surges whenever we need to respond to an emergency. Towards the end of the day or once the stressor has passed, cortisol levels should drop allowing us to relax and sleep well.

The problem is when we experience high levels of physical or mental stress over a long period of time, our cortisol levels can remain chronically high. Our body remains in an alarm state and is hyper-vigilant, ready to respond to any attack or urgent situation. We feel agitated and anxious, we can’t sleep and our mood, energy, digestion, libido and fertility can all suffer as a result. We can also experience blood sugar instability, high blood pressure and accelerated aging – eek!

Signs of high cortisol

So how do we know when we might want to focus on ways to lower cortisol levels? Some of the most common signs of high cortisol levels are a rapid pulse, racing thoughts or a sense of restlessness and urgency. However, high cortisol can manifest a huge variety of physical, energetic and psychological symptoms including disturbances to your digestion, mood and sleep.

lower levels of cortisol signs

You can test your cortisol levels through a saliva test. But if you experience 5 or more of the signs above then it wouldn’t do any harm to focus on ways to reduce stress and lower levels of cortisol, regardless of whether you test or not.

Causes of high cortisol

As I mentioned earlier, cortisol is a stress hormone. It is released by our adrenal glands when they receive the signal that there is an emergency and we need to be on high alert. We usually relate stress to psychological factors such as work pressure, family issues, moving house or other worries. But stress can also be caused by other lifestyle factors, especially how we move, eat, think and breathe. Some of the top “sneaky stressors” that I see in my clients are:

  1. Eating inadequate energy (calories) to support their activities
  2. Restrictive dieting e.g. cutting out food groups, low fat, low carb, vegan
  3. Not eating regularly e.g. intermittent fasting or having long gaps between meals
  4. Excessive exercise especially cardio e.g. running, cycling
  5. Shallow or mouth breathing
  6. An overly active inner critic

Sometimes simple changes can really make a difference to our bodies’ experience of stress and help to reduce cortisol levels. Especially making sure we are eating enough nutritious food and OFTEN as well as moving, thinking and breathing in a way that keeps us out of fight or flight stress mode as much as possible.

Diet to lower levels of cortisol

When it comes to eating to support lower levels of cortisol, it is important to focus on lowering physical stress by nourishing your body as best as you can. This means letting go of strict diet rules, eating enough calories and making sure to support your body with the macro and micro-nutrients it needs to thrive. When we are under a lot of stress, our bodies burn though energy and specific nutrients faster than usual so it is important to make sure we are fueling and replenishing regularly.

Some of the key nutritional strategies I recommend to my clients for reducing stress are:

  • Consuming plenty of carbohydrates from natural sources e.g. fruits and roots
  • Making sure to eat magnesium rich foods or supplement with epsom salt baths or transdermal magnesium
  • Eating foods rich in B vitamins, particularly B5 and B6
  • Consuming oily fish such as sardines or salmon or adding in a high quality fish oil supplement

If you are following a low carb diet – forget it! Including plenty of natural carbohydrates and especially sugars from fruits, roots and honey will support your higher energy requirements during a stressful period and help to reduce physiological stress on your body from lack of energy. Giving your body the calories and carbohydrates it needs will help to lower cortisol levels and will also help to reduce cravings and over eating due to stress. Your body is smart and it sends those signals for a reason!

Adding in foods containing magnesium and B vitamins is also helpful as we burn through these important nutrients much faster when under stress. Foods containing magnesium include dark chocolate, sesame seeds and dark leafy greens. B vitamins can be found in dairy, legumes, meat and wholegrains. Cod liver oil is a good all round supplement that can reduce stress related inflammation and support mental health.

Yoga to lower levels of cortisol

Yoga and meditation are amazing ways to lower cortisol levels naturally. Moving and breathing in a way that reduces activity in the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system and activates the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system will lower stress in your body and mind. Below is a simple 20 minute sequence you can use daily in the evening after a stressful day or before bed to wind down and get a healing night’s sleep.

From left to right:

  1. Extended child’s pose – hold for 3 mins with forehead resting on the mat or a block or pillow

2/3 Cow pose/Cat pose – flow between these 2 poses for 1 min syncing with the breath

4. Legs up the wall – 5 mins with legs resting against the wall if possible

5. Reclining twist – 3 mins per side option to place a pillow under the knee for support

6. Savasana – 5 mins focusing on deep belly breathing

Practice this simple sequence regularly, focusing on slowing down and being present, to reduce cortisol levels naturally.

Lifestyle to lower cortisol

Implementing the simple strategies in this post is an amazing first step if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of high cortisol above. Other supportive activities for lowering cortisol include gentle walks in nature, listening to music, journaling, creative work or any other way you like to slow down, let go of busyness and be present.

It’s so easy in today’s world to get swept up in work, tasks, social media and to be constantly doing, learning and taking in more and more information. But our bodies were designed for a much slower pace of life and we have to honour that from time to time. This doesn’t mean that we have to abandon everything and go and live in the mountains far away from civilisation. It just means that we need to become aware of our bodies’ signals of stress and find small ways to ground ourselves and connect within daily.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Signs of spiritual awakening and personal growth

We have finally reached the final post of the Women’s Wellness Challenge 2022! So far we have covered nourishment of the layers of your being, connection to yourself, others and the world around you and cultivating compassion and wisdom. Today’s final post in the series is about signs of spiritual awakening, personal growth and self-actualisation.

What is self-actualisation?

Self-actualisation is defined as reaching your full potential as a human. I understand it to mean realising your purpose in life and then walking that path with confidence and humility. Once we have taken care of ourselves via all of the other steps I have shared in this challenge, we will feel nourished, energised, connected, compassionate and wise – ready to be of service to the world and reach our full potential.

One of the signs of spiritual awakening is realising our true self, connection with the divine and reaching our full potential. Self actualisation is at the very top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is the final stage of development we can reach after we have satisfied our needs to:

  1. Physical wellbeing i.e. food, water, sleep and warmth
  2. Feel safe and secure
  3. Feel connected and that we belong
  4. Experience self-esteem, status and achievement

I love this simple diagram from Simply Psychology which shows the different needs. I consider each layer as steps toward spiritual growth.

When can we see signs of spiritual awakening?

We can start to see signs of spiritual awakening at any of the layers. But is is harder to focus on “higher” aspects of life when we are struggling to meet our basic needs. If we are stuck in striving patterns because we don’t have enough food, money or security to feel safe, we are going to see the effects in our relationships and other endevours. I know I have certainly experienced this myself!

Self-actualisation is not something that is easily obtained but it is for sure something we can all aspire to. It’s so easy to become trapped by poor physical health, anxieties and fears that hold us back or stress-filled life situations which don’t leave time or energy for exploring our potential. Sometimes the best we can do is to try to create a nourishing life for ourselves and to make the most of each day.

Of course it’s important to acknowledge that many people in the world simply cannot meet even their basic needs. When we are living in a crisis (and it seems like there is one after the other across the world these days), we are simply in survival and reaction mode. But imagine how the world would be if everyone had access to good food, shelter, security and connection and could reach their highest potential!

What it means to grow spiritually

Depending who you speak to, growing spiritually can mean different things. To me, the first signs of spiritual awakening are starting to become aware and attuned to our inner world and our connection to the world around us. Spiritual growth also looks like moving beyond the mundane, ordinary aspects of life and starting to see the magic and beauty around us. Living spiritually means living with purpose rather than on auto pilot and finding meaning in the things that we do.

As we say in yoga, spiritual awakening or enlightenment is realising that “we are the awareness in which everything is arising”. This means we are not our bodies, our thoughts, feelings or our life circumstances but we are the witness to all of that as we experience in deep meditation when we move beyond the ego mind. Those who have chosen a particular religious path might see signs of spiritual awakening as becoming close to God, Christ or another religious figure.

Everything that I have shared in this series so far is a step along the way to becoming more awakened and growing spiritually. I think this is a path we are all walking in life whether we realise it or not. Some might walk faster and others prefer to take their time. There are some slight detours we might choose to take that lead us along slightly different routes but at the end of the day, the destination is the same: realising who we are deep inside and becoming stronger, more content and of service to the world in the process.

Signs of spiritual awakening

In their personal wellness course which inspired this challenge, Well College Global shared some signs that you may be awakening or growing spiritually.

  • Experiencing a shift or deepening into your values
  • Feel like you are living your life with intention and purpose
  • The desire to support others in some way
  • Stronger connection to nature or a higher power
  • Noticing synchronicities and symbols
  • Listening and trusting your intuition
  • Being drawn towards nourishing practices and lifestyles
  • Expressing gratitude and curiosity
  • Dreaming more vividly
  • Cultivating nourishing healthy relationships

Remember though, these are just ideas. Spiritual growth can of course look different and depends entirely on your beliefs and the path you choose to take.

Final note

So that is the end of the Women’s Wellness Challenge 2022! What I had originally intended to be a 5 week challenge has ended up as 2 months but I am glad that I gave it the extra time it needed. I hope you have enjoyed following along with this journey. If you did please like and share your favourite posts with friends and family who might benefit from them.

If you got something out of this series and you are interested in going deeper, I would love to support you! I offer nutrition consultations and health coaching services, both online and face to face here in Athens, Greece. My passion is to guide women like you to nourish your body and take care of your self to find true health, abundant energy and balanced hormones which I believe is the root of feeling well in our female bodies.

I use a combination of western nutrition, coaching psychology, Ayurveda and yoga to support you in connecting to your self and becoming the best version of you. These are the tools I used to heal myself from chronic anxiety, digestive issues and missing periods and I believe whole heartedly in the power of a healthy lifestyle. You can also read testimonials from my lovely clients.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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what intuition means

What intuition means and how to tune in

One of the most important things I say to all of my coaching clients is that I am not here to give you the answers, simply to guide you to find the answers within. The same goes when I am teaching yoga. I am there to signpost my students but at the end of the day they intuitively know their experience better than I ever could. In this post we will talk about what intuition means and how to tune into it’s messages.

What intuition means – the definition of intuition

A huge part of improving your wellbeing is developing the connection and trust in your intuition. The definition of intuition is:

“The ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.”

When I talk about what intuition means for your wellbeing, I am talking about those subtle messages that you receive which guide you to make the right choices for yourself. By this I don’t mean when you figure things out logically but rather the answers which come up when you find stillness and peace within. Of course there is a place for logical thinking too but when it comes to your own wellbeing, there are decisions which cannot be figured out in such a rational way.

Your intuition can be thought of as your hearts’ desires, your gut feelings or your animal instincts. These are the messages that arise from the deeper layers of your brain via your nervous system and are felt as energy and emotion rater than as verbalisations. There is no weighing up the pros and cons of actions or following of a particular rule. Instead there is a deep presence and consciousness which guides you.

what intuition means
Photo by Luca Nardone on

Intuition and the subconscious mind

This doesn’t mean that you are just acting on a whim though, your intuition is guided by:

  • Past experiences and memories
  • Deeply held knowledge from your lifetime and previous generations
  • Sensory awareness of the situation

It is just that rather than using your brain’s frontal cortex to calculate the potential outcomes in the moment, you let the subconscious mind find the solution for you just below the surface. It can feel like the answer arises from nowhere but in fact there is work going on behind the scenes just below not in your conscious awareness. this means you are more centered and less influenced by external factors.

What intuition means for your wellbeing

There are so many opinions in the world today that it can be easy to get caught up in the shoulds and shouldn’ts and forget that you have the power to make your own decisions. Whether this is in the area of relationships, work, family or even lifestyle choices like your diet and movement routine, there is always someone who will tell you that what you are doing is wrong and that their way is better.

We are all unique individuals with our own life story, personality and physical make up. There is no one in the world who can tell you what is right for you. Have you ever made a choice for yourself which seemed like the right thing to do based on logical thought and other people’s advice but to you it just felt wrong? What was the outcome of the situation? Maybe you thought afterwards “I knew I shouldn’t have done that” or “Why did I think that was a good idea?”.

How to develop your intuition

Without a strong connection and trust in your intuition, you can easily be swept along with whatever the trend of the day is, whether it works for you or not. Instead I encourage you to start to foster this relationship with your intuitive knowing. There are several ways you can develop connection with your intuition:

  • Regular meditation practice
  • Journaling using stream of consciousness technique
  • Exploring art, music or any creative outlet
  • Spending time alone
  • Practicing yoga to release and open the pelvis and heart (increasing the prana or energy flow to these areas)
  • Looking for symbols and synchronicities in your environment
  • Being in the natural world

Intuition is a power that grows the more you use it. As you make choices that feel in alignment with your inner knowing and things work out, you will start to gain more trust in these messages.

Today’s challenge: Digital detox to tune into your intuition

One thing that constantly distracts us from our inner knowing is technology. It’s so easy to turn to Google whenever we have a question or to head straight to Instagram when we need inspiration or YouTube for advice. But what if these things didn’t exist? How did humans find answers before technology arrived? Probably they sat with their puzzle for some time and let the answers come to them!

Our minds are amazing, creative, inspired, inventive tools that we don’t make the most of. It’s so easy to rely on external answers rather than listening to our intuition. So your challenge for today (or any day this week) is to try a digital detox from all devices. Observe how you feel and any urges to use technology that arise. If you have a question or problem to solve, sit with it and see what comes up.

See you in a few days for the last post of the Women’s Wellness Challenge series which is about energy and self actualisation!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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how do you find your purpose


How to use gratitude practice for ultimate wellbeing

Welcome back to the Women’s Wellness Challenge! I took a week break due to some personal challenges so we didn’t quite finish in January. But now we are back and ready to take on the fifth and final week of the challenge. Today’s post is about the importance of cultivating the a gratitude practice to experience transcendence to higher state of wellbeing.

It might sound a bit woo woo but transcendence is simply the quality of being able to go beyond normal limits or boundaries. When it comes to your wellbeing, I see transcendence as going beyond what is considered “normal” in society. It is the power of positive psychology which focuses on taking yourself from surviving to thriving rather than just aiming to relieve suffering. Gratitude practice is an important tool which can support you on this path without you having to make major changes in your life.

What does gratitude practice mean?

Gratitude is a positive feeling that we can experience ourselves or express to others. It is the state of feeling thankful for something or someone in your life or even for life itself! When we feel grateful, we focus on something good that we have and we allow those positive feelings to grow. Sometimes gratitude can be a powerful and overwhelming emotion which can even bring us to tears.

We can start a gratitude practice by priming ourselves to see and acknowledge the good things in our lives rather than only noticing the things we want to change. This can be easier said than done because as humans we naturally want to look for problems and find solutions! But there are some simple habits we can build which can help us to experience feelings of gratitude more often in our lives.

For example:

  • Being in the present moment during our daily tasks e.g. enjoying a cup of tea or the process of getting ready in the morning
  • Going out of our way to thank others in person or writing thank you notes when they do something for us (or just for being them!)
  • Visiting beautiful places in nature or in the area we live and truly soaking in the view
  • Taking a moment to connect with the food that we eat at every meal and appreciating how nature created it to sustain us
  • Showing gratitude for our physical bodies through self care routines, healthy eating and appropriate movement
  • Leaving positive reviews to support a company after a good experience with purchase or service
  • Writing a daily gratitude journal of the things we are thankful for
  • Practicing a gratitude meditation such as the one in today’s challenge

These are all small things we can start to build into our lives to help us to start to feel more grateful and appreciative of the good things we have. Shifting your attitude towards one of gratitude can create momentum and become an upward spiral of positive emotions. On the other hand, forgetting to be grateful can lead to feelings of lack, disappointment and dissatisfaction.

My recent experience with cultivating a gratitude practice

Recently I lost my way (as we all do from time to time) and found myself overly focusing on a couple of particular negative situations. Instead of appreciating the things I did have, I became overly attached to fixing what I thought was wrong with my life. I started to blame specific things for my negative mood and I felt like unless they changed, I could not feel well. I found myself justifying my feelings and indulging in my own pity party when in reality I needed some tough love!

My feelings of lack resulted in a decision which led me down a misaligned path. Only when it descended into chaos did I finally come full circle and realise how good things were to begin with. Nothing had changed except my perception. My experiences had changed my perspective and in the process I found a new sense of gratitude for my life situation. I didn’t even need to write a gratitude journal or gratitude practice mediation. Sometimes it is simply life that gives you the medicine you need.

Gratitude practice and positive emotions

Once I experienced this feeling of appreciation and gratitude, it was like a light came on inside of me. Where it had felt heavy and shadowy before was filed with a sense of lightness and ease. My physical and mental energy increased immediately, despite not having a good nights sleep, eating well or having time for my yoga practice over the last week. It really demonstrated to me the power of the emotional and mental bodies.

Research has showed gratitude is associated with improved mood, reduced stress, healthier relationships, more resilience, better sleep and lower inflammation – just to name a few! Cultivating feelings of gratitude for the beautiful things in our lives is therefore a natural medicine we can use to support our health and wellbeing at any time we choose. Sometimes it can feel difficult when our lives are not going the way that we wish they would. However, there is always something to hold on to and be grateful, no matter how small.

This little guy always gives me something to be happy about on challenging days!

Today’s challenge: Practice a gratitude meditation

Today’s simple task to immediately improve your wellbeing is to take 5-15 minutes to experience a gratitude practice meditation. Find a comfortable place to sit and listen to the guided meditation below. Observe your feelings before and after the practice then take a few moments to reflect and write down anything that came up for you. Listen to this guided mediation daily whenever you feel stuck in a rut and I guarantee you will at least feel a tiny bit better!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Could curiosity be the key to better wellbeing?

As a Women’s Wellness Coach, one of the key tools I learnt in my training was developing my curiosity. This means truly listening to my clients, encouraging them to go beyond the surface and encouraging them to ask the questions of themselves that will give them the solutions they are looking for to resolve their health challenges. As coaches (or therapists, counselors, etc.) we are not there to have all of the answers but rather to support and guide people as they walk along a path to healing and self-discovery.

In today’s post, I want to share about the importance of developing your own curiosity when it comes to your health and wellbeing journey.

The importance of curiosity on your wellbeing journey

We live in an age of information where we can find facts or others’ opinions at the click of the button. It is easier than ever to turn outside of ourselves for answers, whether that is through books, research, or listening to others’ social media stories of healing. We no longer trust ourselves and have forgotten how to tune into the wisdom of our own bodies.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek external information to support us. But it does become a problem if we blindly follow advice without taking a moment to check in with ourselves and ask “Does this feel right for me?” or “Is this really working?”. Without this simple act of curiosity, we can end up taking actions to support our health that actually hurt us in the long run.

For example:

  • Following a diet that doesn’t work for our constitution
  • Exercising in a way that leads to exhaustion or injury
  • Spending money on supplements that are harmful or at least a waste of money
  • Chasing goals that aren’t aligned with our true values

All of these things can be harmful to our wellbeing as we are acting out of alignment with what our body and spirit really needs. If your healthy lifestyle feels like a chore or a stress, it is time to get curious!

Ways to exercise your curiosity

Curiosity is a state of mind rather than a skill to be learned. We are all born as naturally curious beings. As babies and children we face the world with wonder and awe and we want to know what it is all about. We use our bodies and our senses to explore and experiment as we build our understanding of the way things work. We enjoy learning new things in school, are interesting in meeting new people and are fascinated by the natural world.

As we get older, our ideas about the world start to become more solid and fixed. We stop questioning so much and tend to believe that we know exactly how things are and what is possible. We can become stuck in a rut with daily routines that don’t always support us but have become easy and habitual. Until our health reaches a crisis, we might not notice that our lifestyle is having a negative impact on our health – because we don’t ask.

Becoming more curious can be as simple as asking questions like:

  1. What do I need right now to support the 5 layers of my being?
  2. How do I really feel about this life situation?
  3. How does my body-mind respond to this diet/exercise/routine?
  4. What truly interests me that I would like to learn more about
  5. Where/what can I explore that is new to me?

Curiosity can also support healthy relationships as we take the time to listen to our loved ones and learn about their feelings and experiences. It can be the antidote to judgement if we meet someone new. Without curiosity, we might write someone off before we get chance to really know them and miss out on a great friend or teacher. Everyone that we meet has an interesting story to tell, if we take the time to listen.

Checking in with your body

I meet so many women who have developed health issues, in particular hormonal imbalance because they didn’t listen to their body. If you have read my story, you will know this was the case for me too. Subtle signs such as tiredness, cravings, injuries, mood swings are our bodies’ way of telling us that something isn’t working. If we learn to notice these messages early on and course correct, we can support our bodies’ to stay in balance.

So as you make changes to support your health in the future, stay curious. Always check in and listen to your bodies’ response and take note of your:

  • Energy levels
  • Mood and emotional stability
  • Sleep quality
  • Digestive function
  • Libido
  • Strength and stamina
  • Skin and hair quality

When your lifestyle is balanced and in alignment for you, you will experience balance in all of these areas. If something feels off, ask yourself what needs to change? You might think you don’t have all of the answers but if you find quiet and stillness within, your intuition will guide you.

Today’s challenge: Get curious

Now we are in week 4 of the Women’s Wellness Challenge, it’s time to get curious and ask yourself what is working and what isn’t. Reflect back on everything you have learned and any changes you have made and truly ask yourself if you are on the right path. If you would like to do an-depth assessment of your wellbeing, check out the downloadable Wellbeing Questionnaire  to see how you are doing on the 6 areas of holistic health.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

  • Please like this post and share to support my business
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  • Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates and inspiration

Grow your wisdom to support your wellbeing

We have arrived at week 4 of the Women’s Wellness Challenge which is all about growing your wisdom. I hope you are enjoying the challenge so far, whether you are following along with me in January 2022 or you have found this post at some point in the future. This weeks’ topic of wisdom is an interesting one and I am so glad that Well College Global included it in their Personal Wellness course which inspired this challenge!

What does it mean to be wise?

The Cambridge English dictionary defines wisdom as:

The ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments”

In general, wise people are not simply those who have amassed large amounts of factual knowledge but they are those with real life experience, empathy and grace. Some famous wise people include:

  • Mother Theresa
  • Gandhi
  • Socrates
  • Winston Churchill
  • Lao Tzu

All of these people show wisdom in their own way, whether it is intellectual pursuits, philosophy, leadership or charity work. What they all have in common is the ability to read a situation and know what to do. They are usually action takers, change makers and creative thinkers.

Many religious or political leaders, scientists and activists could be called wise, but equally others in the same life role can be lacking in wisdom. Similarly, there are plenty of normal people who have developed wisdom during their life. This is one reason why it is so sad that we spend less time with the elderly nowadays. Older people have a huge amount of life experience and often have a lot of wisdom we can learn from – they have seen it all!

Why is wisdom important for your wellbeing?

When it comes to your wellbeing, having wisdom allows you to make decisions for your health which work for your individual body and your unique life circumstances. It means you will be less likely to get caught up in the next new health trend and end up harming your body.

Speaking personally, when I was younger I got caught up in many fad diets and unsustainable lifestyle habits in the name of “health”. It took me many years to develop the wisdom to be able to make truly healthy choices and to intuitively know when something is not right. This meant going against the grain, giving up diet culture and learning to listen within for guidance.

Wisdom helps you to find meaning an purpose in your life and to create strong, supportive communities. When we become wise, we realise what is truly important in life and can let go of anything that is not aligned, whether this is the belief that more money, less kilos or the perfect marriage will bring us fulfillment. We learn to be fascinated by the twists and turns of life and less caught up in perfecting the details.

Wisdom allows us to relax more into the flow of life. When we have the wisdom to know what we cannot change and accept it, our stress levels are hugely reduced. One of my favourite quotes is:

How can we grow our wisdom?

Research by Cop MacDonald shows two key ways to grow our wisdom:

  1. Via the influence of other wise beings.

    This includes the books that you read, the podcasts that you listen to, the art that you see as well as real life teachers, mentors and guides. In the peak of social media, this is more important than ever. Anyone can call themselves an “influencer” without having real wisdom or life experience. It’s up to you to use your intelligence, intuition and perceptive capacities to know what is good for you and what isn’t.

    I regularly carry out a social media clean up to make sure that the energy I am allowing in through these channels is in line with what I want and who I want to be. Some of the wise teachers I currently follow include Uma Dinsmore Tuli, Alexandra Pope, Dr Ray Peat, BKS Iyengar and Marianne Williamson. This doesn’t mean you should follow them too, but rather find your own teacher that can inspire and guide you on your path.

  2. Through wisdom building practices

    As well as learning from others, we can develop our own wisdom from within. One of the main ways to do this is simply through mindful living. By that I mean living with intention, purpose and with an awareness of your life experiences and how you can learn from them. In addition to daily mindfulness practice, formal practices of meditation, journaling and menstrual cycle awareness can help you to tune into your inner wisdom.

    Self-reflection is an important tool in yoga to tune into the physical sensations, energies, emotions and thoughts that arise in your experience during a practice. The same goes during any life event – pay close attention and it will always have something to teach you. It is so easy to live life in auto-pilot but only when we are truly present can we fully experience life and learn its’ lessons.

Today’s challenge: Who are your wise teachers?

I hope you enjoyed the first post of this week about wisdom and your wellbeing. Your mini task for today is to make a list of all of the teachers in your life that you consider wise. This can be people that you know in real life or those that you learn from through books or other media. Any one that you look up to and learn from can be considered your teacher.

Once you have your list, you can review it and see if there is anything missing to support the area of your wellbeing you wish to develop. If you get stuck, go back to the 5 areas of whole being nourishment to learn about the different layers of your human experience.

The rest of this week we will be focusing on specific ways to grow your wisdom including meditation, curiosity and having a light heart. If you’re interested, make sure to subscribe by email to be updated on the next post!

Over to you…

  • Comment: Who do you consider your wise teachers? I’d love to hear from you!
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what's the definition of compassion

How to choose compassion over judgement

Following on from the previous topic of self-compassion, today I want to talk about choosing compassion for others over judgement. Showing compassion has positive impacts on our wellbeing as individuals but also for society as a whole. It helps to strengthen our character and build resilient and connected communities which support our health and wellbeing.

Compassionate thoughts and behaviours help to:

  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Increase feelings of connectedness
  • Promote trust and bonding in relationships
  • Increase your overall happiness and wellbeing
  • Boost your life and work satisfaction

See Psychology Today: 20 Reasons Why Compassion Is So Important in Psychology

Why is judging others bad for our wellbeing?

On the other hand, judging others leads to conflict and separation. Instead of healthy and supportive communities, we create divided ones that feel unsafe and untrustworthy. Not only that, if we think unkindly about others, those thoughts remain inside of us. If we critise others, we are more likely to criticise ourselves and attract criticism from others too. Next time you feel like judging someone, ask yourself how you would feel in their situation? We are all part of common humanity and yet we have our individual differences and life circumstances which shape our beliefs and drive our behaviours.

When someone says something we don’t agree with, we can often mistake these feelings for a dislike of the person as a whole. They could be the kindest, most interesting person but if we disagree on a core level (e.g. religion, politics) we can disregard them and even feel hostile towards them. We are seeing this today with the “vaccine wars” with friends and neighbours becoming aggressive towards each other because they disagree on a fundamental level about this one thing. Such conflict is driven by fear and by not seeing the whole picture. We tend to focus in on the small things and forget the things that do connect us.

Can we become more compassionate?

Compassion is a natural trait that we are born with as a result of evolution. Children show compassion to different degrees but research shows that compassion is also a skill that can be learned and refined. There are many education programs aimed at increasing compassion amongst school children or in the workplace. The outcomes of these interventions show increased levels of compassion and wellbeing amongst the participants.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out this interesting report on compassion and wellbeing from the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion.

Ways to show more compassion to others

We don’t have to become Mother Theresa or Gandhi to receive the benefits of compassion for our own wellbeing and that of those around us. Small actions that we take daily can have a huge effect. Some ways in which we can show kindness compassion to others:

  • Truly listen to a friend (without distraction or interruption)
  • Smile and say hello to a neighbour
  • Volunteer for a local charity
  • Help an older relative with shopping or housework
  • Support a colleague with a difficult task at work
  • Celebrate and share the joy in others’ successes
  • Comfort someone going through a difficult time
  • Buy a hot drink for a homeless person
  • Donate old clothes to a charity
  • Adopt a stray animal and show it love

Sometimes it might feel like we don’t have time to show compassion. We are so busy with work, families and the thousands of other demands of modern day living. But simple acts of support and kindness to others will energise you and boost your mood, helping you to get these things done with a smile. In addition, as the old saying goes, what comes around goes around. If you offer compassion to others, they are more likely to behave compassionately towards you too.

Rather than a negative spiral of judgement and conflict, you will create a positive spiral of understanding and mutual support!

Today’s challenge: Random act of kindness

Today’s task to improve your wellbeing is to choose one small act of kindness you can do to show compassion to someone in your life. You can use the list above for ideas or think of your own. Pay attention to your feelings before and after – hopefully you will experience a boost in your mood and happiness as a result of showing kindness to another human!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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meditation for self compassion

Powerful meditation for self compassion

What does self-compassion mean?

Welcome to week three of the Women’s Wellness Challenge! Thank you again to Well College Global who have inspired this series. I hope you have enjoyed the first two weeks on the topics of nourishment and connection. This week, we will be talking all about compassion, starting with self compassion. I will share with you what this means, how to practice it and my favourite meditation for self compassion.

Compassion is important not only for our own wellbeing, but for the wellbeing of others and our society. With everything going on in the world at the moment, I think we could all do with a reminder to have more compassion! But what does this really mean? Compassion is the ability to have awareness and understanding of challenging emotions and the urge to do something about it.

This can include having empathy for others who are suffering and the desire to help them in some way. We can also show compassion for ourselves which is what I want to focus on today.


What does self compassion mean and why is it important?

Self compassion means being aware of our own emotions and responding with care and kindness. It also means listening to our needs and taking the time to meet them, rather than ignoring or judging them. Self compassion is a tool that we can use to support our wellbeing in difficult moments. It is a way of responding when life doesn’t exactly go to plan and prevents us from spiraling into self-hate if we don’t meet our own expectations.

Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher in the field of self compassion states:

“Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”

If you are lacking in self-compassion, you might find yourself often:

  • Blaming yourself when things go wrong
  • Criticizing parts of yourself
  • Being overly harsh towards yourself
  • Ruminating on past mistakes
  • Speaking unkindly to yourself

Experiencing these things on a regular basis will negatively affect your overall health and wellbeing. Particularly on a mental and emotional level but also physical as critical thoughts create tension which blocks the energy flow throughout your body. On the other hand, sowing yourself more compassion means you will respond in a more helpful manner when things go wrong, making you more resilient and able to bounce back.

You might also find this post helpful : Nourish your mind with kind thoughts

How to practice self compassion

The first step towards developing self compassion is becoming mindful of critical thoughts and not allowing them to take over. So often we live life in auto-pilot and our subconscious mind runs riot. We could be speaking harshly to ourselves all day long and not even notice because we are so used to it. Small comments like “I am so stupid” or “I never get anything right” might go unnoticed but it doesn’t mean they have no effect.

Starting to pay attention to how you think and speak to yourself can be challenging at first as you become aware of the hurtful things you say to yourself. But once you are aware, you have the power to change things. Replacing critical thoughts with more kind and understanding ones is not always easy but you do have this choice. It is important to remember your inherent worth as a human being and care for yourself as you would a friend or child in moments of need.

You can also practice self compassion by:

  • Using positive affirmations or mantras
  • Letting go of perfectionism and unrealistic ideals
  • Maintaining self-care rituals that nourish and relax you (more on that later in the week)
  • Practicing meditation for self compassion
  • Keeping a self compassion diary

Using these tools daily over a period of a few months can completely turn around your attitude towards yourself and enable you to live a life of balance and wellbeing!

My favourite meditation for self compassion

I want to share with you my favourite guided meditation for self compassion by the Mindful Movement on Youtube. Practice this meditation 1-2 times per week for a month and watch your relationship with yourself transform. Remember that this is not selfish! Showing kindness and compassion to others starts with offering these things to yourself.

Today’s challenge: Keep a self compassion journal

I recommended this task in my previous post on self-compassion but I will repeat it today as I think it is a very important exercise!

1. In carry a small notebook with you over a 24 hour period and whenever you notice a self-judgement (positive or negative) pop up, write it down, especially any judgements relating to your current health goals

2. At the end of the experiment, reflect on what you have written. How many times did you judge yourself? In what situations? Were your judgements mostly positive or negative?

If you find that you are often criticising yourself and your day is packed with negative self-talk, it’s maybe a good idea to focus on developing your self compassion. You can start by going through every negative item on your list and thinking of how you would respond if YOU were a coach and speaking to a client trying to improve their health. Developing your own inner coach or cheerleader is the most powerful thing you can do to reach any goal you have in life!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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The power of connecting with nature

To finish off week two of the Women’s Wellness Challenge, which is all about connection, I want to share the importance of connecting with nature for our wellbeing. Connecting with yourself, with others around you and with the natural environment are all essential elements of creating a healthy and balanced life. When we are feeling low or stuck in a rut, getting out into nature and remembering we are part of this greater whole can be just what we need to come back into alignment.

These days, it’s so easy to get caught up in the artificial environment we have created in cities and through technology. We can spend all day working in front of a computer and our leisure time on the phone or watching TV. If we aren’t careful, we can easily go a whole day without seeing the sun. Especially at this time of year in Northern Europe! However, making the effort to get out into nature, to feel the sun on our skin and breathe fresh air (i.e. life!) into our bodies is so important.

We are a part of nature

Despite being highly evolved beings, we are still a part of nature and our bodies are designed to operate within her cycles. We have our circadian rhythm which pushes us to be active during the day and sleep at night. We are also influenced by the lunar cycles, especially in the case of menstruating women who experience monthly cycles with phases which can align with the phases of the moon. Every year we experience several seasons that impact us in obvious and more subtle ways.

As much as we try to separate ourselves from nature and make our lives more convenient and predictable, we ultimate depend on it and remain part of it. We rely on natures’ eco-systems to provide the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. The energy from the suns’ rays brings life to our planet and to us humans too. Sunlight regulates our endocrine system and helps us to make vitamin D to keep our bones strong and preserve our immune system.

Nature represents the feminine energy that we all have within us that brings the qualities of surrender, flow and spontaneity. It reminds us not to take everything so seriously and to live in awe in the wonder that is our Earth. Not only that, but spending time in nature has been proven to improve our health by lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety and calming our nervous system. Distancing ourselves from our home, the natural environment, can leave us feeling lost and spiritually empty, whether we realise it or not.

Ways to connect with nature

The beautiful chaos of nature is the perfect antidote to the over-rational, linear lives that most of us live these days. If you feel like you need to connect with nature, here are a few simple ideas of how you can do so:

  • Watch the sun rise or set whenever you can
  • Ground your bare feet on the earth
  • Go walking in any natural environment you have access to such as the forest, mountain or beach
  • Watch out for wild animals in the area that you live
  • Take note of the changing phases of the moon
  • Go out on a clear night and look at the stars
  • Let go of artificial lights in the evening and try candles instead
  • Open the window and let in fresh air every morning
  • Try a weekend break in the countryside with no smartphones
  • Do a nature photoshoot in your local area
  • Plant a seed and watch it grow

If you have any other ways you like to connect with nature, please share in the comments below!

My natural world

I love going for daily walks in the local park and getting out to hike in the mountains or stroll along the beach whenever I can. With my partner we also like spending time with the garden and have been experimenting during the pandemic with growing our own food. There is nothing better than drinking fresh juice made with fruits you just picked from the tree. Or maybe building a salad with vegetables and herbs you watched grow from seeds. For me, it connects me to the magic of nature and makes me feel like a kid again

Today’s challenge: Get out into nature

Your challenge for today (and over the weekend as it is Friday!) is to pick at least one way to connect with nature and go out and do it. Even if it’s cold and rainy, get yourself out there and connect with Mother Earth. Pay attention to how you feel in the natural environment. Watch your breathing slow, your nerves soothe and a smile arrive on your face.

Over to you…

  • Comment: What is your favourite way to connect with nature?
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Nurture your connections with others

Yesterday, I shared about the importance of a strong connection with ourselves. Equally important is the connection we have with others in our lives. Having positive relationships helps us to feel supported, loved and like we belong which is extremely important for our wellbeing. Not only that, strong social connections improve your physical and mental health, reduce stress and help you to live a longer and healthier life.

Nurturing your relationships is therefore a key part of any journey to better wellness. Remember- no man (or woman) is an island!

Connecting with others

Nurturing your relationships isn’t necessarily about having lots of friends or an extreme social life. You don’t need to become an extrovert or a social butterfly to feel like you have a strong social network. Connecting with others can come in many different forms including:

  • Friends and family
  • Romantic relationships
  • Work or school colleagues
  • Sports teams or hobby groups
  • Neighbors, community groups
  • Religious community

Having a variety of social connections helps us to feel like we are part of a community. I’m sure you can all appreciate the importance of these connections after passing nearly two years of COVID restrictions. We have all spent more time alone or only with our closest ones during this period and many of our other connections have been cut off or extremely limited.

Personally, I moved abroad last year which meant leaving my friends and job behind. I also couldn’t take part in the hobbies I enjoy which dramatically changed my social life! I definitely realised the importance of having those strong social connections to help me feeling grounded. So this year I am determined to continue working on making new connections and strengthening the relationships I have made.

If you have been feeling alone or like you don’t belong in recent months, definitely try to implement some of the suggestions from this post.

How to feel more connected

  1. Make space for others

    It’s so easy these days to fill all of our time with work, daily chores, self-care plus TV and social media that we don’t have time for building our relationships. I know I have surely been guilty of this in the past! But strengthening connections with others takes time and energy. We are all so busy and life can be exhausting that we forget to make that phone call or arrange a meeting with friends. Equally at home, there are always dishes to be washed, clothes to be cleaned or meals to be prepared meaning that we don’t get as much quality time with our families and partners. But we have to be willing to put in the effort and prioritise time with loved ones. Let go of the need to do everything and realise that sometimes slowing down and creating space for others in your life is what is really important.

  2. Put yourself out there

    When it comes to making new social connections, there is no short cut. You simply have to put yourself out there! Don’t be afraid the awkwardness or worry about what people will think. Be ready to give invites and to say yes if people you meet invite you to do things. Sometimes this can feel difficult, especially if you have been spending more time than usual alone. But often all it takes is to get the ball rolling and find that social momentum. Why not try organising a local event such as a coffee morning, a hike or a trip to the theatre or cinema. Even if you don’t see yourself as an organiser, you might have a hidden talent! If this feels really uncomfortable, you can always find a local group or club and join one of their meetups. Social media is especially helpful for this and has been a lifesaver for me here in Athens!

  3. Be open-minded

    This one might seem obvious but it can be a barrier to going out and meeting others. If you are afraid you won’t meet people just like you or that you won’t fit in, you might not feel like putting yourself out there. But remember that not every person you meet has to become your best friend. It’s ok to go out and meet people with no expectations. You can simply enjoy being with other people and be curious about who their lives. Approaching people with an open mind and without making assumptions means you have many more options when it comes to making new connections. You never know, you might learn something unexpected or have an interesting story to tell! These days, we tend to over identify with our beliefs to the point that we judge others or can’t connect with them if they don’t think like we do. But life is much more fun when we embrace the variety of humanity and don’t limit our connections by age, gender, nationality, religion etc!

  4. Face to face is best

    It is amazing that we have so many options these days to connect with others. I don’t know what we would have done without video calls and zoom meetings during the pandemic! But this trend towards replacing “real” connections with virtual ones began way before the social distancing measures and have only been accelerated in the last couple of years. We prefer to text or email instead of calling or seeing someone face to face. We chat in groups on social media and never attend any of the in-person meetups. We can follow along with exercise classes online, work remotely and do our shopping online which means we never actually have to see anyone. These are all great and convenient options for when we need them but nothing beats the real thing! If you feel like you are missing some of these connections, try going out of your way to see people face to face, even if it takes more time or effort to do so.

Today’s challenge: Reflect on your connections

For today’s challenge I want you to grab your notepad or journal and map out your social connections. Include all the example I mentioned above plus any extras you can think of. Then rate your feelings of connection on a scale of 1-10. If you score 7 or below, ask yourself what you need to increase your rating. How can you make new connections or strengthen the connections you do have?

Write 1-3 commitments that you can make to yourself to improve your feelings of connectedness, whether it is to call a friend each week, arrange a weekly date night with your partner, organise a family dinner or join a community group. Create the space in your schedule and plan it in so that you don’t forget!

Over to you…

  • Comment: What is one thing you can do this week to improve your connection with others?
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