Tag Archives: self-esteem

How to Maximize Nature’s Body Benefits


by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Given that we are so big on exercising outdoors, here are 4 ways to maximize nature’s benefits:

  1. GET OUTSIDE! People who get outdoors have lower BMI’s (meaning they have less body fat) than those who don’t, according to a report in PLOS One. Getting outdoors also has a strong stabilizing effect on your body clock, which regulates metabolism and energy levels.
  2. MAKE QUICKY JAUNTS ALL DAY: A mere five minutes of being in fresh air can improve your mood and self-esteem, according to a study in Environmental Science and Technology. Your goal is to take a mini blue-sky break 3 to 4 times a day. Just looking at natural landscapes increases activity in the areas of the brain that control happy memories and stress reduction, found researchers from Chonnam University.
  3. LET YOURSELF FEEL CHILLY! As soon as you start to feel the cold, the weight-loss perks of outdoor time kick in!  Temperatures of 63 degrees and lower will both increase activity in brown fat (the “good” calorie-burning kind), and have been linked to reductions in total body fat, according to research from Japan and the Netherlands.
  4. EXERCISE IN FRESH AIR! Nature can motivate! When you exercise outdoors, you tend to work harder and feel more powerful than when you work out inside, a study in Psychology of Sports and Exercise reports. Your immunity gets a boost from outdoor activity, too: walking in wooded areas can even increase the function of cancer-fighting white blood cells, according to research from the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo.

I hope to see you this week, and if not, be sure to get outdoors!

Keep moving,

Ketchiff, Mirel. “Live Healthy: Slim, Happy, Calm,” Shape.

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The First Step: Be True to Yourself

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
-Howard Thurman

Point to Ponder:
Is your ego holding you back from anything?

Action Item:
As you consider your passions and making them a priority in 2014, do so without allowing your ego to cast a positive or negative light on them. Your passion just is, and as long as it doesn’t involve harming others, go for it and don’t look back!

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Have you ever taken a personality, skills or spiritual gifts test? I have taken two out of the three, and at the beginning of each test they always advise the following: “for best results answer each statement and question according to who you are, not who you would like to be or who you ought to be.”  Despite this prompt, I am always very tempted to answer inauthentically. For example, one of the spiritual gifts test questions was:  “I enjoy doing everyday tasks that support the various ministries of the church.”  Even though I don’t make this a priority and it’s is not on my enjoyment list, I felt like I should have answered with a strong “yes!” After all, shouldn’t I want to partake in everyday tasks that support the various missions of the church?… and even more, what kind of person does that make me if I don’t enjoy these types of tasks? Another example from the personality test was: “You know how to put every minute of your time to good purpose.” Again, I wanted to answer “‘absolutely yes” because I really want to be that person who excels in time management. After all, isn’t that the type of person who makes the best businessman or businesswoman? And, because I do get sidetracked, that must mean I’m a failure!

As difficult as it was to provide the accurate answers, I didn’t fudge the truth. But, instead of feeling good about the strengths and gifts I’ve been given, I judged myself, thought I should be better and even made assumptions about what it means that I’m not good at certain things. Of course any reasonable and rational person knows you can’t be good at everything, so why was I trying to answer ‘perfectly’ when there isn’t even a pass/fail or good/bad score? This is insane! I thought I liked myself?!

After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason why I was so concerned with giving the “right answers” was because of my ego — i.e. my sense of self-esteem or self importance (not to be confused with egotistical). And the more I thought about it, it dawned on me that it is most likely our ego that prevents us from being 100% authentic, embracing all of who we are, accepting others for who they are and fearlessly pursuing our passions. We may not even be aware that our ego is at play every minute of the day through thoughts, questions and judgements like: “what will my friends, parents, children, spouse and colleagues think?” “I should be better,” “This is bad,” “That is good,” “I am right,” “You are wrong,” etc.

A personal example is since becoming a mother, my social life (outside of iGnite) has gone from a level 100 to a 2. Even though my reprioritization is a necessary and healthy one, I am constantly having to fight my ego and make peace with the fact that I have to say “no” a lot. The truth is that I really want to be liked, and being included in things makes me feel important and boosts my self-esteem.

To suggest that we can eliminate our ego is unrealistic. Rather, the goal is to be aware of the influence our ego has on our judgements about ourselves and others, as well as on the decisions we make.



Learning to Shake It Off

Everybody’s got a past. The past does not equal the future unless you live there.
– Tony Robbins

Point to Ponder:
What words from the past are you hanging on to and allowing to limit the way you live your life?

Action Item:
Make it a goal to overcome the negative and hurtful words of other people and start living an uninhibited life.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Last week, while talking with a group of friends about our goals, we realized we had one thing in common: we were hanging on to negative comments from the past and allowing them to affect our self-esteem. Let me explain.

When I was in the third grade, I was definitely a chubster. My parents never told me I was anything but perfect, so I really didn’t think much of it. However, my opinion of myself changed after our neighbor looked right at me and said, “Well aren’t you a little fat thing!”  Granted, this comment was 28 years ago, however I still vividly remember how hurtful it was. And, despite being told I was too thin at different times in my life, her words have always played in my head and I often times have to give myself a body image pep talk.

As for my friends, one of them hasn’t worn shorts since junior high because she was once called “thunder thighs,” while another is paranoid about her forehead because one time, many, many years ago, she was told she had a big forehead! After talking to my friends about our ridiculous, yet real insecurities, we realized that we were allowing the words of other people affect how we feel about ourselves and essentially limit the way we live our lives. Therefore, we decided that one of our goals would be to shake off the comments of the past so we can start living for the future.

So, in the event you are struggling to determine a goal to set for yourself between now and Christmas, maybe consider shaking off a negative comment that is haunting your spirit and preventing you to live a full and free life. Not only do you deserve it, but your family, friends, and community deserve to see and experience the very best and uninhibited you!

What do YOU think? Share your stories & join the discussion by leaving a comment 



What a Toddlers Gymnastics Class Taught Me about the Confidence-Boosting Power of ‘YES!’

Say Yes More Than No

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”  – Joseph Campbell

Point to Ponder:

Do you tend to be more of a “yes” or a “no” person?

Action Item:

Say YES whenever you can. But when you can’t, don’t settle for a “no” — instead, suggest an alternative that you can say YES to!

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

Have you ever thought about the power of the words “yes” and “no?” I never had until I co-owned a non-competitive gymnastics business several years ago. Our gymnasts ranged from toddlers to preteens, and after every class we wanted each of them to leave with a positive experience and increased self-esteem. We wanted them to run out to their parents telling them how much fun they had and how great they had done, even if the only skill they performed was to “hop like a bunny” or to kick a coach in the face while doing a cartwheel — which happened a lot.

We also noticed in our parent/tot classes that the toddlers that were told “no” more often than “yes” by mom or dad were the ones who rebelled and misbehaved more often. On the other hand, the children that were corrected in a positive way, without being told “no” had an optimal experience, with both parent and tot leaving bonded and excited, rather than irritated and defeated.

Regardless of the age or skill level of each gymnast, when a skill was performed incorrectly or the coaches caught a foot in the face, we trained ourselves to smile and say “YES, great job! Now lets try it this way…” This response always increased the child’s confidence, and their progression rate would soar. It also made our coaching experience—an adventure, really—exceptional and joyful. We left feeling just as excited and eager to come back as the children did.

I learned so much about life and relationships during that time. The children transformed my mind and spirit in monumental ways. Saying “yes” to the children—and jumping on trampolines and doing donkey kicks while yelling “hee-haw”— changed me. I saw the children as blissfully unaware of the problems of adulthood, so purely passionate for activity, new experiences, and adventure. They motivated me to be more like them: enthusiastic about life. The more I embraced their spirit, the harder I laughed, the more fun I had at work, and the more rich my life became.

This week, I encourage you to practice saying “YES” to your children, spouse, significant other, friends, etc. and to consider carefully the times you say “no.” When you do have to say “no” to a request, I urge you to follow it with an enthusiastic alternative—something you can smile about, something you can say “YES” to. I have no doubt this will take you on a wonderful adventure, and leave you and those around you more satisfied and exhilarated.

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Mirror Mirror OFF the Wall

If you learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy.
– Kristin Chenoweth

Unfortunately, I cannot keep an organized office to save my life. I have all of the necessities that would allow me to do so; however, despite my ongoing efforts to make the office my official and inspirational space to work, I can’t seem to make it happen! Instead, my office has officially spilled over  into the closest room — our formal dining area. As a result of my disorganization, I am constantly shuffling through my piles trying to locate an important document, article, or reminder.

Last week and while in hot pursuit of finding a note, I saw a reminder on my bulletin board that I posted last fall. The note read, “No Mirrors/Negative Voices.” I immediately recalled the mind-blowing and introspective story I saw on 20/20. It featured Kjerstin Gruys, a 29-year-old PhD student in sociology and bride-to-be, who in an effort to boost her self-esteem and inspire others to stop focusing on external perfection, avoided her reflection for one whole year!

In the past, Kjerstin struggled with her body image and battled eating disorders. After reading the book Birth of Venus, she was inspired to “live life experiencing the world for itself instead of constantly reflecting on how you looked. It was a life where you could get away from yourself.” She also noted, “I kept coming back to this pattern of perfectionism and obsessing about my appearance, and I thought, if I can’t think myself out of this, then maybe I need to change something about my environment to force me to change. The project was to get rid of mirrors with the intention of focusing on everything else in my life.”

While many months have passed since seeing Kjerstin’s story, I vividly remember being more aware of how many times I looked at myself in the mirror, a reflection in a window, or in my rear-and side-view mirrors of my car. Honestly, the result was disturbing. I found myself being critical of my appearance, and when I acknowledged my truth, my truth told me that I was too concerned with the opinions and approval of others.

Do I think that avoiding mirrors and reflections for one whole year is extreme? Yes. But do I think we should care about our appearance? Of course. However, I think Kjerstin’s point is powerful and brings up the very important subject of self worth, self acceptance, and self love—despite our physicality or societal approval. Furthermore and regardless of age, I believe that the junior high girl in us all has the capacity to show her insecure face at any time, so it is important that we do what is necessary to suppress her — even if that means covering all mirrors. Not only do we owe the gift of high esteem and self-value to ourselves, but we owe this to our daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, husbands and future generations.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Point To Ponder:
Do you find yourself overly concerned or critical of your appearance and what others think?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Action Item:
Look at yourself in the mirror and tell a friend or loved one (each day) at least one thing you like about yourself and that you are good at. Rotate the attributes so they include physical, mental, and personality characteristics and skill sets.

To Your Health,


About Neissa

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WEEKLY JOURNAL: Breaking the Rules


“You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. “- Lucille Ball

This weekend my step-mom and I shared a laugh as she jovially mentioned all the ways I march to the beat of my own drum. She was predominately referencing my unique parenting styles. Until my son Durant was one year old, we bathed him in the kitchen sink, where we would also feed him baby food before he was able to eat solids. Yes, this is bizarre — but he was happy, I was not stressed and it worked for us. Now, twenty-five months old, he loves being naked and so I let him run free inside the house. Thankfully, he tells me when he needs to go “tee-tee.” When he does, I take him to the bathtub where he has an obviously large target. Yes, this is also not mainstream, but currently the toilet freaks him out. Eventually, we’ll make our way to the porcelain bowl, but until then I’m okay with ‘breaking the rules’ and will not think twice otherwise.

Next, and along the same lines, I recently saw an interview with the famous decorator, Nate Berkus. He referenced the importance of being confident enough to break decorating rules. In other words, just because a decorating book or article shows one opinion doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Rather, what’s most important is that you love what you have, that it reflects your style and that it makes you happy. All other opinions are irrelevant.

So, you are probably wondering where in the world am I going with a my weird parenting and decorating analogy…well, it’s all about loving yourself and being confident enough to go against the grain, break societal norms and follow your heart. For example, Nate also talked about making the mistake of accepting a television show offer, which naturally fed his ego and was of course financially rewarding; however, if he had initially taken the time to listen to and follow his heart he would have heard his spirit saying, “break the career ladder rules and say no.” As a result, he quickly became overwhelmed, his life spun out of control and his health was negatively effected.

Listening to and following your heart is tricky, especially in the fast-paced, over-stimulating and impulsive world we live in. It’s hard to turn down anything that may instantaneously feed our ego, provide a quick fix or appease everyone other than ourselves, and frankly, it’s not popular to say no. Personally, I cringe anytime I have to say no, even when I listen to my heart and am convicted in my decision (big or small). But, I’m figuring out that sometimes loving myself means saying no, and I’m okay with that, even if it means that my decision upsets or disappoints someone I deeply care for.

So, how will you break the rules and love yourself first? There are a million and one ways, but only you hold the key to your heart and can determine what is best for you and your life. I’m confident you’ll choose the habits, behaviors and choices that will positively feed your body, your mind, your spirit and then the lives of everyone around you.

Point To Ponder:
Do your daily habits, behaviors and choices reflect love for yourself, or love for everyone other than yourself?

Action Item:
Make a list of the habits, behaviors and choices you engage in that are in direct opposition to loving yourself.  Then, create a list of all the self-loving habits, behaviors and choices that you will begin making a priority.

by Neissa