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I am happy to address any topic related to emotional, spiritual, or physical well-being. Just send me a quick email to share your ideas with me. Or reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram.

Monika Whitmore - Emotional Wellness Coach

hello@monikawhitmore.com

(816) 392-3034

Fear

I was recently faced with a very difficult decision regarding the direction of a new business venture. Alfred and I have been working toward opening a coffee shop near our home. The idea grew and evolved into more of a health-conscious coffee shop/restaurant combo. I wanted to create a trendy yet warm, welcoming space where people could come connect over great coffee and fresh, delicious food. I was going to have a meeting room where I could host workshops and masterminds. We had the space all picked out. The layout drawn out.

 

We had support from so many people. It was unbelievable. The collaborative spirit of the local Kansas City restaurant industry is phenomenal. This business idea had been in the works for several months. We invested A LOT of time and energy and of course some money as well.  

 

And then some very significant concerns were brought to our attention by our attorney. I didn’t want to quit because it was hard. Or because I was afraid of failure. I never doubted that with enough passion, this concept was destined for success. 

 

I’ve done enough personal development work to know that fear is an essential ingredient for growth and expansion. And over the course of those few months, fear came up A LOT. But my mantra was: as long as I’m equal parts excited and terrified, I know I’m on the right path. And then the scales tipped. 

 

After hearing from our attorney, I think I got really honest with myself about the time and energetic commitment this new adventure would require of both of us. Alfred and I value our free time, possibly more than anything. And I knew this additional business would take a toll on our relationship…with each other and with our family. So we took some time to reflect on our priorities and ultimately decided not to move forward with the coffee shop. 

 

At first I had a hard time distinguishing whether we were making this decision from a place of fear or if something else was driving us. But what I came to realize was that LOVE was the driving force. Love for each other and the life we want to create together. And I can always come to terms with a decision made from love. 

 

It would’ve been easy to chalk this whole thing up as a failure, as a waste of time and resources. But that’s not how I roll. Instead, I looked for the lessons (and there were many!). I also recognized there were things about the process that excited me…the creative energy of making something out of nothing. The project management aspects. The attention to detail. And once I identified those things, I decided to look for ways to infuse them into my current coaching business. And I’m excited to say, the unfolding has already begun…and it’s beautiful. I’m designing and decorating a home office where I can meet with clients and I’m putting more energy into planning a retreat that will be held this spring. 

 

When you’re faced with a difficult decision, I challenge you to look for the driving force. Is it fear or is it love?

Emotional Freedom

One of the most beautiful side effects of investing time and energy in our own emotional wellness is the effect it has on our relationships.

For me, it's important to recognize that the people on the other side of my relationships didn't actually change, I did. And more specifically, the way I THINK did.

I've always felt very close and connected to my children. But after fully stepping into what I refer to as "emotional freedom," I've seen those relationships truly blossom. I'm more present to their interests and needs. We talk about things on a deeper level. We connect in more profound ways.

I no longer blame them for making me feel frustrated or overwhelmed. That's on me. And how I choose to respond to any given situation. When they don't do something I ask them to do, I recognize that the thoughts I'm having about it are what's causing me to feel the way I do.

No one can MAKE YOU feel any emotion. There's real power in accepting that statement as truth. Instead of blaming someone else for how I feel, I've learned to get curious anytime I start to feel an emotion I'd consider negative. I take a close look at what I'm thinking. Crappy thoughts = crappy feeling. Change your thoughts, change your feeling.

So many of us are stuck in emotional childhood. Stuck in a place of reacting to situations from a place of fear, hurt, or anger.

On the other side of emotional childhood is emotional adulthood. Not many people are taught how to feel, so don't beat yourself up if you're someone who feels stuck in emotional childhood.

But please hear me when I say: there is a way out.

Want to explore the world of emotional adulthood? Reach out to me to schedule a free consultation. I'm happy to help guide you on this journey to freedom.

An Exciting Announcement

I am SUPER excited to announce...

I created a new Facebook group. It's called Emotional Wellness Connection.

This group is a safe place for people to discuss topics related to emotional health and wellness. It is a community focused on hope, healing, and support.

After spending half of my life (18 whole years) believing I was destined to a life plagued by symptoms of depression and anxiety, I now long to be an example of what is possible. My emotional wellness journey has been brutiful (brutally beautiful). I've released attachment to the thoughts, actions, and opinions of others. I listen to and honor my inner voice. And I absolutely LOVE working with people who ready to take these brave steps as well.

This group may be a good fit for you if:

You have suffered from or are currently suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety AND

You want to take an active role in your health and wellness journey AND

You are open to natural, holistic ways to be, grow, and evolve.

This group is NOT a good fit for you if:

You identify as a victim to your circumstances and emotions.

You prefer to complain about your situation as opposed to learn from it.

You are not open to new viewpoints.

Members must agree to be supportive and respectful. Absolutely no harassment or bullying will be tolerated. Each week, there will be themed days.

  • Motivation Monday

  • Transformation Tuesday

  • Wellness Wednesday

  • Thankful Thursday

  • Fun Friday

No matter where you are on your emotional wellness journey, if you're looking for support or to support others, YOU belong. YOU are welcome here.

Click here to learn more or to join Emotional Wellness Connection.

Dissecting Diet Culture

As I sat down to write this blog, I realized that I’ve ALMOST written on this subject five different times. The truth is, I feel torn on how to balance my feelings on the subject. 

On one hand, I despise the pressure so many people in our society feel about looking a certain way, fitting a certain mold. I don’t even need to explain this any further because the standard of beauty has been so ingrained in us from every direction, from every media outlet. You ALL know what I’m talking about.  

On the other hand, I recognize our nation is facing an obesity epidemic that impacts the physical and emotional wellbeing of millions of people.

On one hand, I know I should never judge another person’s situation because you truly never know what they’re going through. 

On the other hand, I know there are so many people who want help with issues such as emotional overeating, but feel stuck and helpless. I’ve been there and it’s scary. And I needed help to get through it.

Are you seeing my dilemma? Nevertheless, when I get quiet and listen to my inner voice, I know the answer is always rooted in love and compassion. But only 100% of the time (love you, Byron Katie)! More on that in a bit!

First, let me share my definition of diet culture as the pervasive belief that thinness is equal to worthiness, success, and beauty. Diet culture encourages you to change your body based on the lie that you’ll feel sexier, happier, more successful when you’re smaller. The fact is, if you don’t do the inner work, NOTHING you do to change your outer appearance will help. 

The only way to feel sexier, happier, and more successful is to have sexier, happier, and more successful thoughts about yourself. And that’s possible at any size. It may be hard in the beginning, but I promise, it’s possible (and one of my favorite things to work with my clients to master).

Diet culture is also FULL of judgements. Some direct, others more subtle. Here’s a seemingly harmless example. You see a friend you haven’t seen in months. You say, “Wow, you look great! You’ve lost so much weight!” Whether you realize it or not, you just made the connection that weight loss = great. The unspoken counter message is that weight gain = bad.

Think about the impact this has on children, whose developing brains are being programmed with these messages.  

Below, I’m going to share with you some of my observations about diet culture and offer some alternative ways to think about food, exercise, and overall wellbeing. 

Diet culture: Hyper-focus on food. Food controls your day. You obsess about food you’ve already eaten, what you are currently eating, and what you’ll eat next. 

Instead: Thoroughly enjoy food when you’re eating. Focus your attention on more important things when you’re not eating. If your mind wanders to food, notice it, and consciously shift your attention to what you are doing in the present moment.

Diet culture: Labels foods as either good or bad. This sets you up to make “good” choices and “bad” choices all day long. Your worth is often tied to these choices.

Instead: Think about food as fuel and nourishment for our bodies. 

Diet culture: Exercise is a tool for weight loss. It should be difficult and painful in order to be effective.

Instead: Exercise is a tool for emotional wellbeing. Find a form that you enjoy.

Diet culture: Masks judgement about other people’s bodies and life choices as concern for their health. 

Instead: Remind yourself that you can never truly know what another person is going through. Also: Other people’s bodies are none of your concern.

Diet culture: Compliments people on weight loss.

Instead: Compliment people on their beautiful smile. How they light up a room. How helpful they’ve been. 

Diet culture: Celebrates hard work, deprivation, sacrifice, and willpower.

Instead: Celebrate choices that align with your inner voice or your core values.

Diet culture: Encourages you to change your body to fit societal standards.

Instead: Focus on your emotional wellbeing, healing inner wounds, and reconnecting with your inner strength. Inner turmoil will not be resolved with a smaller body.

Has something I’ve shared here today resonated with you? If so, please let me know!

And if you’d like more information about working with me one-on-one, please email me at hello@monikawhitmore.com or call me at: (816) 392-3034. 

Are you living your life on auto-pilot?

Before you answer, let me tell you what the research says: YOU ARE. 

 

Unless you are making a concerted effort to live every day of your life with intention, you are falling victim to the power of your primal brain. 

 

Most likely, you are going through your day, reacting to things as they occur. Making decisions based on preprogrammed information, stories you have created in your mind. 

 

Living life on auto-pilot helps your brain conserve energy because it doesn’t have to work so hard. The brain LOVES structure and routine because it’s familiar and safe. And your primal brain’s primary job is to keep you safe. So…good job, primal brain! 

 

If you decide to break out of your comfort zone, your primal brain will be sure to send you all kinds of warning signs. Abort mission! Danger ahead! However, knowing these warning signs are designed to protect you can actually help you move forward. You can acknowledge them for what they are: a protective mechanism. Some suggest even having a little chat with your primal brain. It may go a little something like this: “Thanks, primal brain, for keeping me safe. But I’ve got this! Your job here is done. I’m going to use my prefrontal cortex now, to continue moving ahead, out of auto-pilot and toward my goal!”

 

Thankfully, as humans, we have access to another part of our brains that helps us rationalize, plan, and strategize. It’s called the prefrontal cortex, and it’s the part of our brain that allows us to question our preprogrammed thoughts, to challenge our habitual thinking and doing.

 

Now, my question to you is this: if you continue living the way you’ve always lived, if you keep playing it safe, what opportunities will you miss out on? What goals won’t you reach? Or even set for yourself? Will you continue to settle for an “OK” life when deep down you know something greater is possible?

 

If you’d like some help deciding what changes you’d like to make or someone to help keep you accountable, I’m your gal. Reach out to me any way you’d like. Facebook, Instagram, email, phone. Let’s connect!

It's Time to Reclaim Your Life

Does this sound familiar?

You wake up 30 minutes late because you hit snooze a few too many times (everyone does that though, right?). Your morning is hectic, rushed. You find yourself yelling at the kids to hurry up while shoving a couple of donuts in your mouth that they left sitting on the counter.

You rush out the door, drop off the kids, only to find yourself sitting in standstill rush hour traffic. Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe what you’re feeling behind the wheel. Rage is more like it. You’re flipping people off and getting flipped off all while listening to the fear-mongering, depressing news on the radio.

You arrive to work late, frazzled, and feeling stressed before you even get started on your overflowing inbox. You open your email to find that you’re definitely behind. 132 emails behind, to be exact.

You have lunch delivered because there’s no way you can get away for even 15 minutes. You have a report due by 3PM!

But you’re still working on it at 5:00 and the kids need to be picked up by 5:30. You’re scrambling to get out the door so you won’t have to pay the late pick up fees (again).

You find yourself back in rush hour traffic, frantically screaming at the person in front of you who also happens to be at a complete standstill.

Then when you finally get to the daycare, your kids get one look at you, turn around, and run the other way. Can you blame them?

NOW, CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS?

Your alarm goes off and you willingly wake up, feeling refreshed and well-rested. You lay in bed a few extra minutes bringing to mind the things you’re grateful for. One of those things is your favorite blend of coffee that is waiting for you in your kitchen! 

You walk into the kitchen to find your kids eating the well-balanced breakfast you showed them how to prepare. You join them at the table and talk about the day ahead.

You have just the right amount of time to get yourself ready, grab your lunch, and head out the door.

After you drop off the kids, you put on your favorite podcast and soak up all the positive energy you can, setting yourself up for an empowered, productive day at the office. 

Your inbox is full but that’s OK because you are motivated and understand that you’re only one human being, doing the best you can with what you have. You talk to your boss about the report that’s due at 3PM and she graciously agrees to give you an extension so you can offer your best work.

It’s lunch time. You understand the importance of stepping away from your desk to eat the delicious lunch you packed for yourself. You recharge, refuel, and get back at it!

You remain engaged and focused throughout the afternoon. You feel energized by the value you’re adding to your agency. You support your co-workers and they support you.

You leave work on time, something you’ve committed to doing every day. You take a moment to feel grateful for a work environment that supports balanced living. 

You look forward to your drive home. There may be a lot of traffic, but that just means more time to listen to your favorite podcast. You now see car time as “me time,” and you’ve seen how investing time in yourself overflows into every area of your life. 

You arrive to pick up your kids. They see you, with a big smile on your face, and they come running toward you for a big hug.

Sound too good to be true? I PROMISE YOU. THIS KIND OF MAGIC IS POSSIBLE! Want to work toward your perfect day? Click HERE to sign up for a 100% free, no obligation 60 minute coaching session. It’s time to reclaim your life! Let’s do this together.

Hate filling out forms? Send me a quick email at hello@monikawhitmore.com or call me at (816) 392-3034.

Embracing Change

I was definitely not planning on using the DSM-5...as a laptop booster.

But sometimes plans change. And I choose to believe our paths are always preparing us for what’s next, even if we’re not aware of it. Even if we don’t really KNOW what’s next.

The reality is I didn’t need a master’s degree in clinical social work in order to do the work I’m now doing. However, I believe a solid understanding of mental illness makes me a better emotional wellness coach. And I LOVE coaching! 

But here’s the thing, friends. I also want to help change how we think about and therefore treat mental health. I am fascinated with learning about the root causes of feeling mentally and emotionally unwell, specifically in regard to depression and anxiety. 

We know there is not a single cause. In fact, the mainstream understanding is that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors at play. But how much of each? And what can we do about them? Is healing possible? 

As I’ve mentioned before, I DO NOT believe we were designed to suffer. I do believe it’s possible to heal and grow. 

So, what if we started thinking about the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety as indicators from our body that something is off. That we need to pay attention and make some changes in our lives.

Please hear me when I say: I’m not here to discredit the real-ness of mental illness. NOPE. Not in the least. I’m here to offer a different perspective, and more importantly…hope for healing. 

Emotional Wellness Manifesto

When I decided to become a life coach, I could have went a million different directions with my practice. However, it didn’t take long for me to hone in on an area that I’m extremely passionate about: emotional wellness. 

I decided I wanted to help people FEEL better, because when you FEEL better you can DO better. And I believe life is about DOING things. The more fun things, the better! 

I DON’T believe we were put on this earth to suffer.
I DO believe we were put on this earth to experience love, to grow, have fun, and evolve.

I DON’T believe we have to continue believing our childhood programming (call it hardwiring, our subconscious, but whatever you wanna call it, believe me…it’s there!).
I DO believe we can start to identify, challenge, and rewrite what we want to believe about ourselves, others, and the world.

I DON’T believe we give enough attention to maintaining emotional wellness but rather focus on trying to “fix” things once they are broken.
I DO believe in the power of mindfulness, living life with intention, and keeping a positive perspective.

I DON’T believe most human beings are as connected as they would like to believe.
I DO believe in the power of authentic human interaction, the importance of meaningful work, connection to nature, and the significance of hope in a brighter future.

I DON’T believe tolerating our lives is honoring our ourselves or a higher power.
I DO believe you are capable of more.

What is it like to work with me?

Three words: exploratory, transformative, fun.

Exploratory: When I start working with new clients, I take time to genuinely get to know them. I look at what’s working well in their lives and what’s not. I ask questions that get at the heart of their thought patterns and belief systems without dwelling on the past itself. 

I encourage my clients to get curious about the results they have been getting in their lives. Together, we explore how their thoughts have been creating their feelings which ultimately drive their actions (or inactions).

Thinking THOUGHTS that you’re inadequate? Betcha you’re FEELING inadequate. When you’re feeling inadequate I doubt you feel like DOING much of anything, because it probably won’t be good enough. RESULT: further evidence that you’re inadequate. 

I help clients break this cycle. We explore how they want to feel and work backward to find thoughts that will better serve them on their journey. We look at how they want to show up in their lives and how they will need to FEEL in order to honor that desire.

Transformative: I would never suggest I know what is best for another person. However I love working with people to uncover what they truly want in life and addressing the blocks that are keeping them from creating their best life. 

When I work with clients, we create goals and a plan of action. We address obstacles that will inevitably show up and strategize how to deal with those challenges in the moment.

We practice thinking better thoughts. We celebrate successes and plan for the future…all while intentionally finding joy in the present moment. 

Hands down, the most fulfilling part of my job is seeing clients embrace the power of their minds and using that power to create better lives for themselves.

Fun: I am committed to the belief that life is supposed to be FUN! 

I encourage my clients to look for opportunities to laugh, play, and create. I ask them to purposefully have more fun and not take life too seriously.

Even tasks they’ve deemed tedious or boring, I challenge them to consider how to make them more fun. Make it a game! Crank up some music! Find reasons to be grateful for the task at hand! It’s pretty hard to be grateful and pissed off at the same time. 

Here’s the thing. When it’s all said and done, you’re more likely to regret the things you didn’t do than the things you did do. So I say…choose fun!

Wherever you go...there you are.

There is some debate on the original author of this quote and a number of ways to interpret its meaning. Here’s my interpretation:

 

You can’t outrun your thoughts. 

 

I just got back from a lovely vacation in the mountains. It was equal parts active and relaxing. I used to think of vacations as a way to escape my regular (unfulfilling life). You may be able to relate to how those vacations went down: long, boring drives, heated debates on where to eat, what to do, when to do it. Irritability and frustration all around! I may have physically escaped my home but I definitely didn’t escape my stressed out, overwhelmed mind.

 

Fast forward to this vacation.

 

One major difference involves a shift in mindset. Instead of thinking of this trip as an escape, I chose to view it as a change in scenery, an opportunity to broaden my experiences. And that I did! I soaked up every ounce of mountain air and had as much fun as I possibly could! 

 

On this trip, I enjoyed the journey, not just the destination…meaning I had fun on the 9 hour drive (each way!). I listened to a mysterious podcast series, read a great book, listened to music, and had good conversation with my partner. These days I want to make the most of every experience, because why not?!?  Are the kids still saying YOLO these days? 

 

Honestly, there’s no need for me to run from anything or anyone (including myself) these days. And that’s a very nice feeling.

 

Want to learn how to start making these shifts in your life? Reach out and ask me how! 

Do Your Chores - #relationshipgoals

About a year or so ago I started a new personal practice when it comes to household tasks. To say it has brought me (and my partner) a significant amount of peace would be a huge understatement.

Basically, it goes something like this:

If I see something that needs to be done around the house, I only complete it from a place of love. Otherwise, I STRAIGHT UP leave it. 

 

Dirty socks on the floor? Made peace with them.

Piles of unfolded laundry on the bed? Made peace with them.

Dirty dishes in the sink? Made peace with them.

 

“Wait,” you may say. “How can I make peace with dirty dishes? Especially since I’ve done them the past 5 nights and *insert partner/roommate’s name here* hasn’t done them since who-the-hell-knows-when?!?” 

Here’s how: learn to either love ‘em or leave ‘em! 

I recommend you leave ‘em until you can do one of two things:

1.    Wash them from a place of peace and love

2.    Work out an agreement with your partner/roommate

“What’s this agreement you speak of?”

So glad you asked!

Instead of setting yourself up for failure by having an (often unspoken) expectation that another human being will do exactly what you want them to do, exactly when you want them to do it, make an agreement.

The conversation may go a little something like this: 

“Hey, partner/roommate. Can we come up with some kind of plan for keeping up on the dishes? Something we can both agree on?” 

Then you hash out a plan. Because that’s what grown-ups do.

Some people find that simply asking another person, in a kind, loving manner, to complete a task works just as well. I’ll leave the experimentation process up to you.

“But what happens when said partner/roommate doesn’t hold up their end of the agreement?” 

Then LEAVE THE DAMN DISHES ALONE. Or wash them from a place of love. A place that believes things like, “they were probably just too busy” or “they probably just forgot.”

However, whatever you do, DO NOT wash those dishes from a place of anger or frustration. You DO NOT need that kind of negativity in your life. 

Things that help me enjoy my household tasks:

·     Listening to music or inspiring podcasts while completing them

·     Focusing on how grateful I am to have those things in my life – my house, my clothes, my dishes, etc.  

·     Doing something that puts me in my happy place before tackling the task

I challenge you to try this! It might just change your life (and your relationship). 

Living with Intention

How you show up in your life may be something you’ve never really thought about. You may go about your day reacting to things as they come up without giving much attention to the way you respond. You may feel like your life is happening to you.

I call this living on autopilot and I don’t recommend it! How you show up in any situation is ALWAYS your choice.

I believe there is transformative power in living life on purpose.

Here’s a practice for you to try.

Write down three adjectives that describe how you want to show up in your life. Examples may include: calm, courageous, helpful, cheerful, energetic, friendly, peaceful.

Now under each word write three things you can do this upcoming week that will support your conscious decision to show up that way in your life. See how many of those things you can accomplish in a week. Notice how you feel when you complete them.

It's time to shift out of autopilot and in to a life with greater fulfillment and purpose!