How Food Affects Your Mood

In the 1600s, René Descartes wanted to dissect cadavers for his scientific studies. At the time, human dissection was not allowed because the prevailing religion of the time believed that damaging the body would also damage the soul. Descartes used science, philosophy, and religion to change this belief and gained access to cadavers. His ideas eventually led people to the philosophy of Mind-Body Dualism, which says that emotional, mental, and physical health (mind-body) are completely separate (dualism). 

Today, we know that our emotional, mental, and physical health are inseparable. This blog series will explore the ways our emotional, mental, and physical health are connected, and how we can use this to our advantage as we strive for better health.

Food affects the way we feel. We know that. We’ve all experienced food comas after Thanksgiving, or “highs” after sugary foods. But how does the quality of the food we eat affect our emotions? What if we eat fast food? What if we eat vegetables? 

Penn State University recently conducted a study involving 44 college students who ate meals heavy in calories, sodium, and saturated fat, and they reported more negative moods two days later. Additional research also shows that after people eat typical fast food, like greasy burgers and fries, they feel more depressed. Other foods did the same, including doughnuts, muffins, croissants, and other commercially baked foods. 

On the positive side, research also shows that after people eat a healthy, Mediterranean-style meal, like fish, vegetables and fruit, they have more energy.

While researching for this blog, we learned a surprising fact: personality can affect what you eat. To quote an article by Dr. Deanna Minich,an internationally-recognized teacher, author, scientist, speaker, and artist:

“An interesting publication in the journal Appetite brought to light many findings about one’s personality and eating: (1) Individuals who are open minded to new experiences consumed more fruit, vegetables and salad, and less meat and soft drinks; (2) Those who consider themselves easygoing and agreeable tended to eat less meat; (3) Conscientious people were more likely to consume greater amounts of fruit, and less meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened soft drinks. (4) People with neurotic tendencies were more prone to consuming sweet and savory foods.

“This food-mood connection likely comes from the effects of certain nutrients and foods on neurotransmitters, including consuming the neurotransmitters themselves. There are also important precursors to neurotransmitters you must ensure you have in sufficient amounts for a healthy brain and communication throughout your body.”

There are many ways that food affects how we feel:

  • Fast food increases our risk for depression
  • Just two days of eating unhealthy meals can give us more negative moods
  • Boredom and poor emotional coping skills can cause us to eat even if we’re not hungry
  • Personality can affect what we eat
  • Being in a good mood can make us overeat
  • How we feel emotionally can alter the way food tastes to us
  • Nutritious foods help us improve our emotional health
  • Good sleep can help us avoid binge eating and depression

How can you use this knowledge to change your life?

Notice your mood, and notice what you’re eating. Avoid processed foods in favor of fruits, vegetables, a variety of nuts, wild-caught fish, and lean meats. 

Eat only if you’re hungry. Notice if you’re bored, and don’t to eat out of boredom. Instead, spend time doing things you love with people you care about.

Be aware of how your personality affects your eating habits. If you’re a stress eater, do some breathing exercises throughout the day to stay relaxed.

Notice your emotions. If you tend to use good things and a good mood as a reason to celebrate with food, or if you use bad days as an excuse to binge eat, notice your extremes and try to avoid overeating.

Eat like you’re Mediterranean. Mediterranean-style foods, rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish, and legumes can help to protect us against depression and negative moods. This applies to meals and snacks!

Sleep well. When we’re exhausted, we tend to eat sugar and caffeine. As much as you can, have a healthy sleep routine to improve your health, emotions, and eating habits. 

Learn more about how food affects your mood!


How Music Affects Your Health

In the 1600s, René Descartes wanted to dissect cadavers for his scientific studies. At the time, human dissection was not allowed because the prevailing religion of the time believed that damaging the body would also damage the soul. Descartes used science, philosophy, and religion to change this belief and gained access to cadavers. His ideas eventually led people to the philosophy of Mind-Body Dualism, which says that emotional, mental, and physical health (mind-body) are completely separate (dualism). 

Today, we know that our emotional, mental, and physical health are inseparable. This blog series will explore the ways our emotional, mental, and physical health are connected, and how we can use this to our advantage as we strive for better health.

Have you noticed that hearing an upbeat song can make you feel happy? Or that fast-paced music will help us push harder when we exercise? Or that a specific song brings to mind a memory, no matter how long ago that memory was?

The human mind has the innate ability to distinguish between noise and music. Almost all of the human brain shows a response to music, making scientists believe that there is much more to music and its effects than we realize. 

Research is ongoing, but most experts agree on the following ways that music improves our healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. As said by Peter Terry and Costas Karageorghis, sports researchers, “Music has the capacity to capture attention, lift spirits, generate emotion, change or regulate mood, evoke memories, increase work output, reduce inhibitions, and encourage rhythmic movement – all of which have potential applications in sport and exercise,” and, we would argue, in life overall.

Better Mood – When we hear music that we like, our brains release dopamine, a neurochemical that makes us feel good. 

Less Stress – Relaxing music — low pitch, slow tempo, no lyrics — decreases anxiety and stress. In studies, researchers have turned on relaxing music during medical procedures (dental, surgery, colonoscopy, etc.) and seen positive results.

Enhanced Comfort – Music therapy is good for coping, communication, and expressing feelings like loneliness, anger, and fear among patients with serious illnesses or needing end-of-life care.

Less Anxiety – Research shows that cancer patients who listen to music, along with their usual care, had less anxiety than cancer patients who only received the usual care.

Better Exercise – Music can improve our aerobic exercise, heightening our physical stimulation and mental awareness. These changes improve overall exercise performance during studies.

Heightened Cognition – Music improves recall and metal abilities for patients with Alzheimer’s.

Less Pain – Research demonstrates that patients who listen to music before, during, or after surgical operations experienced less pain and were more satisfied with the results of their procedure.

Better Memory – Repetitive melodies and rhythms allow our brains to form specific patterns that improve our memories. In one study, stroke survivors listened to music during their therapy sessions and had better verbal memory and focus and less confusion.

Relaxes Premature Babies – Researchers believe that lullabies and live music could improve vital signs, sucking patterns, and feeding behaviors in premature babies. 

Less Autism Spectrum Disorder – Many children with autism spectrum disorder have better communication responses, attention skills, and social responses when they receive music therapy.

Improved Immune Response – Music helps us produce more immunoglobulin A (an antibody in the mucous system’s immunity) and natural killer cell counts, which attack and kill germs and bacteria. 

Clearly, listening to music improves our health mentally, emotionally, and physically. When do you listen to music? Never underestimate the power of what you put in your ears! 


Health Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

In the 1600s, René Descartes wanted to dissect cadavers for his scientific studies. At the time, human dissection was not allowed because the prevailing religion of the time believed that damaging the body would also damage the soul. Descartes used science, philosophy, and religion to change this belief and gained access to cadavers. His ideas eventually led people to the philosophy of Mind-Body Dualism, which says that emotional, mental, and physical health (mind-body) are completely separate (dualism). 

Today, we know that our emotional, mental, and physical health are inseparable. This blog series will explore the ways our emotional, mental, and physical health are connected, and how we can use this to our advantage as we strive for better health.

We’ve heard it all before: exercise is good for you. And it’s true. But what if one simple change could dramatically improve the benefits you already get from exercise? What about the health benefits of exercising outdoors?

Exercising outside, called “green exercise,” joins physical fitness with the mental- and emotional-boosting effects of being outside. Exactly how does this work? 

Better Mood

Green exercise improves mental health more than indoor exercise does. Outdoor exercise decreases depression and anger and improves mood. Experts attribute this to sunshine’s vitamin D and cleaner air. Another factor is the varied terrain in nature, forcing us to exercise harder than we otherwise would, giving us more endorphins. Regardless of whether you’re in your backyard for HIIT, yoga, or a 10-minute walk, try it out! 

Better Self-Esteem

Just five minutes of green exercise boost self-esteem. The effects were most profound nearby water or greenery, but any place outside works well. For the best gains, use low- or moderate-intensity activity instead of high-intensity. Try cycling, walking, gardening, hiking, or camping outside. Because the outdoors have a variety of terrain, we feel more challenged, and therefore more accomplished. When we walk to the top of a hill (instead of an inclined treadmill), we feel like conquerors, and we take that accomplished feeling with us.

Better Brain Training

Exercising outdoors forces us to pay attention to our surroundings. Whether it’s the changing terrain, walking along a beach, running up a hill, our minds need to be more aware than when we’re at the gym. This added training helps our brains stay young and alert.

Better Financially

Gyms are expensive, and nature is free. Outdoor spaces, like neighborhood streets, sidewalks, or local parks, are free to the public, and they’re great places to exercise. Exercising outdoors will save money, and since money is one of the biggest stresses in adult life, it will save some mental and emotional heartache, too.

Better Access

No more stress of driving through traffic, maneuvering through crowded locker rooms, or trying to park in dark parking garages. Local areas typically have many tracks, hills, or venues for residents to take advantage of. Some towns even have outdoor exercise equipment free to users.

Better with Nature

Many of us have office jobs that keep us indoors for eight or more hours every day. Then we come home, and depending on our lifestyles, stay inside our homes. We are disconnected from nature. Green exercise gives us the opportunity to reconnect with the world around us, whether we notice some wildlife, smile at a stranger, greet a neighbor, or set up a specific time to meet friends. Exercising outdoors connects us to nature, makes us more appreciative of our world’s natural beauty, and helps us feel grounded.

Better with Others

When we exercise outdoors in our local communities, we meet people we otherwise wouldn’t know. These greater social connects allow us to develop positive relationships, and positive relationships are a huge indicator of overall health. Schedule a time to meet with friends, or take a moment to greet a fellow exerciser at the park. You just might make a new friend! If you’re a family person, take your loved ones outside with you. Listen to their stories. Develop better relationships. Get to know them. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is to put down your phone and go for a walk.


The Words We Use: How They Make or Break

How often do you think about your words and how they affect you and the world around you? If you’re like us, probably not very often. Thankfully, there are academics who can do the research for us!

Think About Framework and Language

According to linguistics academics, the framing of our words can make all the difference. If we use words with negative connotations, images, experiences, or associations, then we’ll see the entire phrase or conversation negatively, whether or not the context was negative.

If you’re trying to get your point across, don’t use language from the opposing side. It’s like us telling you “Don’t think of a purple giraffe!” Of course the only thing you can think of is a purple giraffe! Using language opposite from your purpose will only cancel out what you’re trying to say. Instead, create your own perspectives and figure out what language you want to use to express your ideas.

What This Means for Your Health and Wellness

Framework and opposing language can shape everything we say and do, even when it comes to our health. When you face a stressful situation, do you instantly see all the ways it could go wrong? What about the ways it could go right? Depending on your mindset, you can make stress much more stressful than it actually is.

Take time to evaluate your framework, and how that view might be bringing you down. How much of your framework is your own? How much have you adopted from others? Think about the kind of person you want to be, and work backward from there: what steps do you need to take today to because that person in the future?

As for language, When you talk about exercising, do you say “I have to work out today”? There’s a lot of research (see here and here) that proves saying “have to” about something — anything! — makes us feel negatively. So let’s change it. If we say “I get to work out today,” we instantly change the outlook to an opportunity instead of an obligation. Do you “have to” take your vitamin C? No, you “get” to!

Language applies to more than our words. If you’re trying to make a new habit of exercising every day, and you set a reminder on your phone, what ringtone do you use for the reminder? Does it sound upbeat and positive, or is it a melody from a sad love song? What does that reminder say to you about exercising?

None of this is deceitful. It’s just a different framework and language than what you’re used to. Selling an item with a “95% effective rate” will certainly be more successful than selling an item with a “5% failure rate.” Don’t manipulate to gain your way — just use your own language to express your unique beliefs, and use your own framework to do it.

Changes Start Now

So how can you begin changing your words today? Let’s start small — “I get to go to work today,” “I get to make dinner for my family tonight” — and see what even a little change can do for our lives.

For more information about making positive changes to your life through health and wellness, make an appointment with our naturopathic doctor and therapeutic massage therapist. We can’t wait to meet you!

Forearm Massage

In November 2018, Dan Rupp, our therapeutic massage therapist at Natures Trail Wellness Center, attended a class about forearm massage. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the class lasted for 16 hours over two full days, but the benefits have been long-lasting for Dan and his clients.

Forearm massage is exactly what it sounds like — practitioners use their forearms to massage and help their clients heal better and faster. Large, strong, or tight muscles can be difficult to release using just fingers, thumbs, and hands. The hips (where the body has some of its strongest and largest muscles), the shoulders (which hold a lot of tension in our modern, desk-job society), and the back and lower back are all ideal for forearm massage.

Specifically, “I have found this to be very beneficial with reducing sciatic issues, lower back pain, thoracic and shoulder pain,” Dan said.

Dan wasted no time in implementing his new knowledge about forearm massage, using the new technique on clients the first week of December 2018. Both Dan and his clients saw the benefits almost instantly!

Because forearm massage has more power, Dan can use leverage inside of muscle force to massage tight muscles. Whereas the smaller muscles in the hands can grow weary over time, the stronger forearms can continuously hold steady pressure.

“I can now incorporate the new technique to have steady pressure for a longer period of time,” Dan said, “which is resulting in greater muscle relaxation.”

Dan can also use this technique to massage a larger surface area, releasing muscles in less time. This allows the muscles to relax even further and helps deep-tissue work to become more efficient and less painful for the client.

“One client mentioned the procedure to be less painful while she’s on the table, plus more effective long-term,” Dan said.

Are you curious about how forearm massage can help you reach the next level in your health? Schedule an appointment with Dan Rupp to experience the benefits for yourself!


The Best Natural Cleaners for Your Home

As you prepare menus for the upcoming holiday season — how is it November already?! — you’re probably also cleaning. No amount of from-scratch recipes will cancel out the impact of grimy bathrooms or kitchens on your guests. And so we face a cleaning conundrum: what are the best natural cleaners?

It’s unfortunate that the most popular, and incorrectly assumed to be the most effective, cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that are bad for our health. With most cleaning products, it’s dangerous to breathe in the fumes, not to mention the hormone-disrupting chemicals in almost all major cleaners. We strongly recommend using only natural, organic cleaners in your home.

As you transition from chemical cleaning products to natural, organic, ecofriendly cleaning products, be aware of what you’re buying. There aren’t any federal regulations for organic cleaners — in fact, there aren’t even requirements forcing companies to list their ingredients, so many manufacturers slip in harsh chemicals without adding them to the label.

For most dirt and grime, we recommend mixing white vinegar with baking soda and a splash of lemon juice, but If you don’t want to DIY your home cleaners, here are some of the best natural cleaning products we’ve found. (And they won’t break your budget!)

Better Life All-Purpose Cleaner

This cleaner is plant based and just as effective as chemical cleaners.

$11 at Amazon

Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

This scrubbing powder is perfect for jobs that need a tougher clean than baking soda can provide. Bon Ami has been around for years, and its simple list of ingredients will put your mind at ease.

$2 at Bed Bath & Beyond

$7 at Amazon

Green Works All Purpose Cleaner Spray

Even though it’s produced by the Clorox company, there aren’t harsh smells or dangerous chemicals in this all-purpose spray.

$3 at Target

$3 at Walmart

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

This soap is all all-purpose as it gets. You can use it for a body wash, a dish soap, or a floor scrubber. Some people even use it to brush their teeth. Follow dilution directions — you’ll be surprised how long the 40 oz. bottle will last!

$19 at Amazon

Essential Shield Multi-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner

Available at Nature’s Sunshine Products, this cleaner is for a variety of surfaces. This concentrated formula lasts for a long time, and it doesn’t have synthetic fragrances or colors, parabens, or acids. Plus it smells great!

$26.25 at Nature’s Sunshine

Sunshine Concentrate Cleaner

This is an all-purpose cleaner for dirt, grease, and grime — and it doesn’t contain broates, phosphates, or acids. We use ours in the kitchen, laundry, outdoor equipment, body wash, hand soap, and more. Follow the dilution directions to make it last even longer. Add your own essential oils to choose your scent!

$13.80 at Nature’s Sunshine

Ecover Zero Dish Soap

This dish soap will remove the grease and grime from your dishes without harming you or the environment. (And Amazon sells a six pack!)

$22 at Amazon

White House Foods Cleaning Vinegar

For clean wooden floors, white vinegar is your best option. Holiday visitors will marvel at your sparkly clean floors, and bare feet won’t absorb chemical residue from a traditional cleaner.

$12 at Amazon

Truce Wood Cleaner

For wood floors that need a little extra TLC, this cleaner includes olive oil to keep the wood moisturized and smooth. Many people also use this for windowsills or furniture.

$12 at Amazon

Ecover Toilet-Bowl Cleaner

We’re turning back to ecover for the top-ranking toilet bowl cleaner. Kill germs, scrub away, and enjoy a clean home without any niggling worries.

$13 at Amazon

Ecos Glass Cleaner

Buy a six-pack of this product from Amazon to clean your windows. There aren’t any VOCs, and you won’t be able to tell the difference between Ecos and Windex.

$19 at Amazon

Do you have any go-to natural cleaners? Please share your thoughts with us!

Practical Lifestyle Tips

Did you know that there are some basic healthy lifestyle tips that you can follow to make the biggest difference in your life? Living healthily may sound complicated at times — fitness, nutrition, hormones, sleep, relationships, meditation, supplements, not to mention the barrage of information coming at us from the Internet — but there are a handful of steps to take to sustain a healthy lifestyle for years to come. And the best news is that these steps are easy to add to your routines, keeping healthy as simple as possible.


Did you know that just the act of smiling can improve your mood? “Laughter is the best medicine,” it’s true, but if your workday is too stressful for a good belly laugh, just smile.

  • Each time you go to the restroom at work, use that time as a reminder to smile, whether it’s at yourself in the mirror or at a coworker in the hallway.
  • When life has drained you, spend an evening watching a funny movie or TV show, or read a book that’s guaranteed to give you the giggles.
  • Find comedians you enjoy on YouTube, and instead of complaining with your coworkers over lunch, listen to some funny stories and jokes; you’ll feel better for it.


Keeping fit doesn’t always mean spending an hour a day at the gym. It doesn’t necessarily mean running a marathon, rushing through high intensity interval training (HIIT), standing on your chin in yoga, or any other fitness achievements that sound like superhuman feats. If you can do all — or any! — of those things, all the more credit to you. For the rest of us humans, there are some small ways to fit more activity into our days:

  • Play with your pet more than normal; play fetch with your dog or drag string through the house for your cat.
  • If you have small children, toss them into the air. You’ll enjoy their laughter, and your arms will get a little workout, too.
  • Take the stairs, park far away in the grocery lot, or climb a tree with your kids.


In an ideal world, finding 20 minutes in your day for meditation would be easy. In reality, there are schedules to keep up with. But meditation doesn’t really have any rules — it’s any moment that you take to be fully present. That sounds much easier than designing a corner of the house as a meditation sanctuary, right? Meditate while you

  • Wash the dishes
  • Commute to and from work
  • Cook dinner
  • Rock your toddler to sleep
  • Vacuum the carpet
  • Repair the car


When we make healthy habits simple, we make those habits much more sustainable. Going from no physical activity to a marathon, or changing from fast food on a daily basis to the ketogenic diet, are admirable goals, but not everyone can immediately keep up that drastic of a change. Keep these tips in mind, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle!

Podcasts to Inspire Healthy Living

Did you know that podcasts are becoming more and more popular? In 2018, 48 million people listened to podcasts on a weekly basis. This figure is 6 million more than 2017. Compare this to NFL Sunday Night Football, one of the most-watched television programs, which has 20 million viewers.

Are you one of the 48 million people who listen to podcasts every week? We definitely count ourselves in that statistic — we love podcasts! From current events, to science or math, to arts; from thoughtful to hilarious; from informative to entertaining; there’s something for everyone to learn.

Below are a few of our favorite health podcasts. Are any of these your favorites, too?


Color Can Heal Your Life! Podcast with Dr. Deanna Minich

In this podcast, Dr. Deanna Minich interviews experts in the field of functional medicine and health. Her variety topics include color therapy, nutrition, sound healing, migraines, community, and creativity. Her informative discussions focus on all the positives of healthy living and its far-reaching impacts on our lives, our loved ones, and our communities.


Smart People Podcast

In the Smart People Podcast, interviewers Chris Stemp and Jon Rojas speak with experts about stress, the Wim Hof method, finances, family life, creative approaches to success, and more. As we know, health is about more that exercising and fitness — it’s about gratitude and peace with ourselves, our loved ones, and our lifestyles — and this podcast provides listeners with the tools to do exactly that.


Run to the Top

Stephanie Atwood (and previously Sinéad Haughy) interview experts in running, health, and tech to learn the tips and tricks that are key to sustaining a positive running lifestyle. If you’re not a runner, don’t worry. There is much advice in this podcast that applies to all walks of life, whether athletically, healthily, or professionally.


The Coach Jenny Show

The Coach Jenny Show is also running-based, but the interviews broaden to topics like the Appalachian Trail, cycling with e-bikes, hydration advice, nutrition, and even the egoscue method. If you’re encouraged by listening to stories of people who have thrived while facing difficult circumstances, this podcast is for you!


The Melissa Ambrossini Show

Melissa Ambrossini is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in Australia and is the author of Mastering Your Mean Girl. Her self-help message is full of positivity, so if you’re having a rough day at work, tune in for an Australian accent and encouraging message. Her podcast includes conversations about gut health, visualization, EMF, trials, relationships, and mindsets. Let us know what you think!


The Ultimate Health Podcast

Dr. Jesse Chappus (a chiropractor) and Marni Wasserman (a nutritionist) discuss the ultimate health topics with experts in the field. From nutrition to emotional health to spring cleaning, Jesse and Marni use their backgrounds and their interviewees’ experiences to bring health theories into the practical application of healthy living.


More Healthy Living at Nature’s Trail Wellness Center

For more information about growing your own healthy lifestyle, schedule an appointment with us at Nature’s Trail Wellness Center! Our naturopathic doctor and certified therapeutic massage therapist are eager to help you achieve vitality.



Making Yourself a Priority During the Holidays

Welcome to our official summer! It’s a busy time of year, and with the holidays, school and work vacations, and fun days in the sunshine, it can feel like every weekend is another wedding, graduation, or holiday celebration. With all this excitement, it’s important to remember to make yourself – meaning your health – a priority.


Get Enough Sleep

Fewer hours of darkness doesn’t mean you can thrive on less sleep. You may be able to survive on just six hours of good rest each night, but it won’t last long. Studies show that sleep helps your mental clarity, your memory, your creativity, your mood (depression rates increase as sleeping time decreases), and your physical health. Plan your days the best you can to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day – don’t hesitate to set an evening alarm for when it’s time to wind down – and make your bedroom a sleep oasis.


Keep Moving

We’re about halfway through 2018, and for some of us, that means our fitness goals from January feel far away. Think creatively about the best way for you to exercise despite the heat and humidity. Maybe that means budgeting just $10 a month in a Planet Fitness membership to exercise in air conditioning. Perhaps you can rearrange your basement so you have a cooler space for exercising. In some cases, you may need to set your alarm earlier to exercise before the humidity makes your legs feel heavy. No matter what holiday is this weekend, making your fitness a priority will make you a better spouse, parent, sibling, and friend.


Eat Healthy

Hosting or attending celebrations can feel overwhelming and discouraging if you’re gluten free, dairy free, or working on your overall nutrition. Even though the solution will take a little planning, it will be worth the effort: if you’re hosting, plan a meal that meets your standards, and ask your guests to bring affordable, easy sides or drinks that fit within your nutrition needs; if you’re a guest, offer to bring a dish or drink to ease the host’s workload and to have food that you can eat, too.


Make It Simple

Regardless of the obstacles you face this summer, when it comes to celebrations, holidays, and vacations, simplicity is more important. If you eat a slice of cake and drink a glass of champagne at your best friend’s wedding, it’s okay. Focus on making a memory and enjoying the flavor instead of stressing about it. No matter how much you sleep, how much you exercise, or what you eat, stress and frustration will undo all of your work for a healthier life. Keep it simple, give thanks for the warm weather, and enjoy your summer!

How to Increase Harmonious Passion in Your Life

When people have harmonious passion about something in their lives, this passion feels at harmony with the other parts of their lifestyles; when people have obsessive passion about something, this passion feels uncontrollable, conflicting, unstable, and negative.

Interestingly enough, even though obsessive passion may seem beneficial at times, it is actually harmful — and people with obsessive passion are much more likely to experience burnout. Harmonious passion works with the “flow” you want for your life, with you feeling fully present and immersed in the moment, which is a significant contributor to overall happiness and success. Sadly, obsessive passion cuts off “flow,” decreasing your overall happiness and success, no matter what that obsessive passion is about.


Clearly it is better to have harmonious passion and not obsessive passion — obsessive passion is very rarely a positive influence — so how can you tell the difference? We all have a little harmonious and obsessive passion in our lives, but what if obsessive passion is taking over your life? How do you stop it?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How’s your energy?
  • Do you feel positive and enthusiastic about your passion?
  • If your self is a percentage chart, how much of a percentage does your passion take?
  • Is your self image positive or negative?
  • Do you use words like “should” and “must,” or words like “want to” and “can’t wait to”?
  • Do you feel satisfied outside of pursuing what you’re passionate about?
  • Are you able to “flow” regularly, where you feel absorbed in your present task?

If your answers are mostly “no,” then you may have an obsessive passion.


To realign any obsessive passion you may have with a harmonious passion, take a few action steps. Making room for more than a single goal, habit, career, or lifestyle is healthy for everyone involved — you and your loved ones.

Proactively Take Breaks

Make yourself stop engaging in what you’re passionate about. If you’re addicted to fitness, make yourself take one to two rest days each week, and fill that time with a different kind of activity. Have a movie night with your friends, take an art class, or visit a tourist attraction in your hometown.

Set Clear Boundaries

If you never set boundaries, obsessive passion overtakes your life to the point of upsetting you. If your obsessive passion over your diet causes you to binge eat sweets on a regular basis, remove the temptation by setting aside one night each week where you can eat a single dessert, whether it’s a cupcake or an ice cream cone. Having a balanced relationship with food is more important than a number on a scale!

Change Your Mind

To achieve harmonious passions, “fake it ‘til you make it.” Instead of thinking “should” and “must,” tell yourself you “want” to walk a 5k. It may feel hypocritical at first, but over time, your new mindset will feel natural.

Learn Something New

Allow yourself to take a break from what you’re obsessively passionate about to pursue something else. Dust off your violin skills, build a birdhouse, or call your friends more often. Having space for other outlets and interests will give you more peace of mind and also give you a refreshed perspective on creating harmonious passion for your initial goal.


There are many examples of people who have shown extraordinary talent and could have given in to obsessive passion, but they didn’t, and they were better for it. Many professional athletes have an outlet that they use to balance out their practice time. Albert Einstein was known to play the violin when he needed a break from solving equations, and he would return, mentally refreshed. Yo-Yo Ma decided to postpone his career to learn more about the world around him, and even though he received a D+ in music history at Harvard, he is one of the best cellists in history for more than his talent but also for his character.

All areas of life can act as sounding boards and refueling stations for our greatest interests, and this includes a healthy lifestyle. Let’s replace our obsessive passions, whether they’re nutrition, fitness, goals, careers, or anything in between, to develop harmonious passions that improve ourselves and our places in the world.

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Build Healthy Habits With Nature’s Trail Wellness Center

To learn more about some of the best ways to approach nutrition and fitness, make an appointment with us at Nature’s Trail Wellness Center. We look forward to working with you!