HEALTHY DECISION MAKING: Nancy Westaway on Nurture Yourself
This week our focus on the WONDER Compass shifts to Nurture Yourself. What follows is an insightful post by founder of AEHappy Nancy Westaway (photo above), who helps people “learn, practice, and integrate happiness into their daily lives.” I invite you to sink into a comfy spot with your favorite warm beverage and journal. You’ll want to take notes, jot down a few journal prompts, and then write! xoxo Ginny
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Nurture, the verb, means to care for and encourage the growth and development of; and the noun is the follow link process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.
Why should we nurture ourselves along life’s journey, especially during the dark times?
People often try to fill an emotional void with quick instant satisfaction of food, and, whether unhealthy or too much, the pleasure is short lived. What follows is a long list of negative emotions we feel we can further avoid by eating more food.
We know why we eat: because it makes us feel good. But what we lack is knowing how to change bad habits into good ones and make the right decisions for our health and happiness.
Plain and simple, we don’t have the tools we need to make healthy decisions.
All important decisions—are based on predictions about how the different options will make us feel.
Daniel Gilbert (Wilson & Gilbert, 2003)
But before we can talk about how to make healthy decisions, we need to talk about emotions and limiting beliefs.
Emotions and Limiting Beliefs
The key thing to remember about emotions—rather they are positive or negative—is that they have a positive intent. What I mean by this is that all emotions are vital—we need them. But the more time we spend in negative emotions, the more negative our decision-making.
Limiting beliefs are anything you identify as negative, like thoughts, or beliefs, anything that keeps you from your desired core feelings, or keeps you from your goal of happiness, and keeps you in an unhealthy state in one or more areas of your life.
Emotions and limiting beliefs about our lifestyle habits, our readiness to change, and our support systems are what often stand in the way of nurturing ourselves–not a lack of basic nutritional information, which we can easily learn.
So, the best place to start for learning about your Limiting Beliefs regarding Nurturing and Nutrition is simply to ask yourself the following questions. Note: Hesitation or a maybe is considered a No.
- I know what it feels like to nurture myself—yes or no?
- I deserve to nurture myself—yes or no?
- I allow myself to nurture myself—yes or no?
- I know what it feels like to eat healthy food—yes or no?
- I deserve eat healthy food—yes or no?
- I allow myself healthy food—yes or no?
- I know what it feels like to be healthy—yes or no?
Identifying how something feels—like, if you deserve to nurture yourself, or allow yourself to nurture yourself—often cracks open inner knowledge about yourself and your needs. You may not even be aware of these feelings until you do this simple exercise.
Now, take a look at your “No” answers. It is here, in the knowledge of what you need, where healing and true nurturing thrives.
So how can you turn the ‘No” into ‘Yes’?
Distinguishing what you need, will help you to change No to Yes. Therefore, the next step is to make a new list, titled ‘I Need’. This seems simple, yet most people I work with come back with something that looks more like a To-do list resembling the following:
- I need to eat better
- I need to get organized
- I need to go to sleep earlier
- I need to laugh more
- I need to stop doing…. and so on.
But what they really need is:
- I need healthier food habits
- I need better planning
- I need more sleep
- I need laughter
- I need joy
- I need love etc.
So the next step it to change the To-do list to a true I Need list. From there you can move on to an I Have list in order to compare and shore up what is truly missing or in need of change.
An example of this would be:
I need laughter – You ask yourself “Do I have laughter?” and if the answer is Yes, you add to your list with I have laughter. If the answer is yes, but I need more, then you make note of this being something you want to address. The same goes if the answer is ‘No’.
For my clients, I always make sure to return the original limiting beliefs list to map their progress. You can do the same by keeping your original questions and answers in a journal, revisiting them as often as you feel necessary for your own progress. You should only be focusing of behaviors: the things you have direct control over, the habits you should be practicing on a daily basis.
This shift in focus becomes the basis for healthy decision-making which is perhaps the best way to nurture ourselves.
The above are a just few things to get your started.
Remember, real change happens when you make subtle shifts, have willingness, commitment, and define what feels right.
Learn. Practice. Integrate.
PS: One more little thing….
After each session with my clients, I always ask them the same 10 questions. Some use them as a daily practice or for opening communication with loved ones such as their children. I’ve provided them below to help you on your journey to nurturing and wellness.
- What did you learn today?
- What made you laugh today?
- What surprised you today?
- What made you proud today?
- What loving action did you do for someone today?
- What loving action did someone do for you?
- What do you feel especially grateful about today?
- What did you do today to move a little closer to a goal/dream?
- How did you stretch yourself further today?
- What made you feel excited/inspired today?
Nancy Westaway is a Licensed NLP Master Practitioner and Community & Workplace Traumatologist with a background in Exercise Science, who embraces Fitness, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Wellness into her coaching practice. During her 20+ years in the Information Technology realm, Nancy kept her love of fitness close by maintaining her role as a personal trainer.
Since 2010, Nancy has dedicated her full attention and efforts, her exceptional communication skills, and her love of exercise and helping others, in the direction of Wellness through Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching. She is the Founder/Team Lead at AEHappy.com, where you can visit to learn more.
(Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). Affective forecasting. Advances in experimental social psychology, 35, 345-411.Gilbert, D. (2009). Stumbling on happiness. New York: Vintage Canada.) Daniel Gilbert is a Harvard psychologist and professor, author of New York Time’s bestselling book “Stumbling on Happiness” (which has been translated into more than 30 languages), and his TED talk, “The surprising science of happiness” has received more than 11 million views. Learn More here > www.danielgilbert.com