Category: Journaling

Why make resolutions when a word will do?

Why make resolutions when a word will do?

It’s one month into a new year. Have you taken a moment to slow down and ponder what you want for the year ahead? New year’s resolutions have a reputation for being overwhelming and often unsustainable. Whether its because our expectations are unrealistic or we aim for too many changes at once or our motivations are misaligned, we often forget all those good intentions by this point…..the end of January.

I used to be fast out of the New Year’s gate gleefully clutching my list of resolutions. These were carefully considered but there were so MANY of them my brain couldn’t process let alone work with me to integrate them into my life. So, for the last few years I’ve become an enthusiast of choosing A WORD to represent my expectations, hopes and dreams of the year ahead.

There are no hard and fast rules

Sometimes I choose an over-riding theme (this year), other times a quality or way of thinking I want to nurture in myself.

This year I know many people have completely opted out of any kind of new year’s resolutions because through our shared pandemic experience we’ve learned that much of life is out of our control and plans can change abruptly.

Others have gone with a low expectation goal. I was talking to a friend last week and she said, “My goal for this year is to grow out my bangs.”  I still laugh about it. She has a very good chance of achieving!

One Month In

Here we are at the end of January. If you’ve already abandoned your resolutions or decided to dispense with the whole idea this year, why not give it another go and try a one-word resolution? It’s a no/low stress approach to framing the year.

Choosing a Word of the Year

How to go about choosing a word of the year? First, I nail down a theme. Ask yourself, What do I want to work on in the next year? How do I want to grow? Do I have dreams that are not yet realized? Consider these questions. Take note of ideas as they come up.

Drawing a blank?

Pay attention to the books you’re reading, to what others are saying, to the signs you see in the world around.  These can all become potential clues.

Journal random thoughts. Sometimes a word will show up repeatedly. If you don’t get an idea this way, consider turning to art to inspire. It doesn’t have to be writing, music, dance, painting collaging, sculpting, drawing, lettering all work – whatever feels most like you.

You can also gather with friends and make it a group activity (works virtually). Settle in with a stack of old magazine. Rip and tear images that speak to you. Then collage the images and words in a notebook doing your best to not overthink it. This should be fun and take you back to childhood art projects. Once this is done share page with friends. Talk through themes and patterns. Other perspectives can be just the thing to help the word appear.

Things to remember

Remember that words have many meanings and will look different for everyone.

Not all words work out and that once you choose your word remember it is not written in stone and it will change and morph throughout the year and even refine itself into something different.

Remember there is no ‘correct’ way to do this.

The power of Words

I came to understand the power of words when I ‘accidentally’ started doing what would later become the Oh My Word journaling method. Every day choosing a word representing who I wanted to be or how I wanted to feel….doodling it on the page…colouring it. It was the circuit breaker that helped me to begin managing my life long anxiety pattern, negative thought loops that had me spiraling down worm holes with alarming regularity.

What the experts say about WORDS

Words can change how we process life, according to researchers Andrew Newberg M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman who authored, Words Can Change Your Brain. More specifically positive words trigger physical, physiological and emotional changes as they alter the expression of genres, create new neutral pathways in the brain, trigger the production of feel good chemical and motivate us.

“By holding a positive optimistic word in our mind, we stimulate frontal lobe activity” the authors write in their aptly titled book. “This area includes specific language centers that connect directly to the motor cortex responsible for moving you into action.” We get out of our heads and into action.

That one little word can be more productive that a whole list of carefully considered resolutions.

Watch for it

The best part of the word of the year practice is remembering your word and seeing how it shows up for you over the year. You can do monthly check ins you can keep your word visible with post it notes throughout your home.

My Word of the Year

My word this year is a short phrase – go with the flow. It’s been my big takeaway the last couple years. I now know that adaptability, flexibility and resiliency are just as important as having laser focus on what I want and that the best laid plans…… (well, you know the rest). So far, I’m feeling good and must say a LOT more relaxed as I settle into each day.

PS? I draw and colour my word of the year once a month or so in my Oh My Word journal instead of leaving post it notes around my house. It keeps it top of mind and active in my life.

Don’t have an Oh, My Word journal yet?  You can get yours here.

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22 Ways To Feel Peaceful This Holiday Season

22 Ways To Feel Peaceful This Holiday Season

The holiday season is underway. While it can be a joyous time for some it can be full of stress, anxiety loneliness and grief for others. It’s times like these when an arsenal of tools and techniques to calm and settle comes in handy. So if the holidays have you on edge here are some tips you can use to ease into a state of calm and peace.


  1. Sip hot tea – Sipping hot tea is a simple way to engage your senses and get you grounded fast. As you sip pay attention to the scent, taste, warmth and the feel of it going down your throat.
  2. Give yourself a massage – Giving yourself a loving massage is an easy way to get out of your head and into your body. Choose a massage oil or lotion with a nice calming scent like lavender, chamomile, patchouli or jasmine. Massage your hands, lower arms and the bottoms of your feet Go further and engage in abhyanga. It’s an ayurvedic warm oil massage that you can do yourself. Here’s a great article on how to give a great head to toe self massage.
  3. Reach out and touch someone – Sometimes we just need to give or receive touch. Even cuddling a pet for 20 seconds is a great way to settle the nervous system. This elongated touch gives your nervous system a burst of oxytocin the bonding and belonging hormone.
  4. Move your body – A great way to get nervous energy out is to move your body in whatever way works for you. Walk, jog, hike, ride a bike…
  5. Spend time in nature– There’s something about being in nature that melts stressors. Being outside helps to break the rumination cycle and restore calm. Even if you live in an urban environment find a green space and breathe it in.A 2013 research study on mindful walking published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine noted participants with psychological distress who completed a mindful walking program displayed a reduction in stress and improved quality of life compared to those who didn’t do the program. How that for a quick go-to?
  6. Have a butterfly hug – So quick and easy and instantly grounds and settles. Here’s how.
  7. Look for color – Take a look around you and find everything that is blue, then repeat with green, yellow, red etc.…until you’re feeling calm. Its takes the focus off whatever is causing stress.
  8. Think of things that start with A, B, C…-Similar to looking for colors you can take the focus off stress by naming an animal that starts of A then one that starts with B, C etc. You can repeat this as any times as you need with different categories, like food, cities, names etc.
  9. Have a designated self-healing day – Start by setting your intention –today I choose to heal myself. Decide what you need to cultivate wellness and peace.  Is it solitude, time spent in reflection or in nature, journaling, receiving wellness treatments, reading, studying or ???
  10. Box Breathing – Inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4 hold at the bottom for 4. It’s a great breathing exercise if you want to be present but also calm.
  11. Take a deep breath – Take a deep breath moving the breath down to the diagram where you will feel your stomach rise. One simple breath can clear the mind. Try breathing as you walk or throughout the day as a refresher.
  12. Focus on all senses – This is an exercise often suggested for anxiety as it moves you out of your head where the stress originates. For example if you are eating focus first on look, smell, then texture, sound, and taste. If you are on a walk, what do you see, hear, smell, taste, feel?
  13. Take a cold or hot shower – Taking a cold or hot shower is another way to engage the body so you can get out of your head. A cold shower helps keep inflammation in check and helps to alleviate stress. A hot one can be warming and soothing.
  14. Break it down into steps-When you break a simple task down into steps it breaks the system of stressful thought by forcing the brain to focus on something else. Try breaking down brushing your teeth or tying shoes. Example pick up toothbrush. Pick up paste. Unscrew lid. Move too the brush to meet nozzle. Rest nozzle on toothbrush. Squeeze tube……
  15. Active meditation – Mediation doesn’t have to be sitting on a cushion with your eyes closed, any repetitive action can take you into a Zen like state calming the nervous system. Try vacuuming, running, chopping vegetables, kneading bread, knitting, etc…
  16. Tap into your artistic side – Drawing or doodling can help you calm down and regulate your nervous system. It’s another process that calms by getting you out of your head and into your heart. Try this…put pencil/pen on paper, don’t look at it, think of various emotions and move the pen accordingly. It’s interesting to see how different emotions look.
  17. Flood the body with serotonin – This neurotransmitter is known as one of the happy hormones. It influences our overall feelings of wellbeing. Soak up some sunlight or try light therapy or vitamin d supplements to bump up serotonin production.
  18. Give and receive hugs – A simple hug can decrease cortisol and increase serotonin. Have you ever had a bad day and really just needed a hug? There’s a reason for that. Physical touch such as hugging can help build connections with others and influence the production of serotonin, boosting mood, immunity and decreasing stress.
  19. Practice gratitude – Reflecting on things, people, opportunities, experiences and inherent strengths we have can have significant impact on our overall wellbeing and mental health as well as increasing the production of serotonin. The more regularly we practice gratitude the easier it is to spot the beauty in small things.
  20. Get a massage – Getting a massage contributes to an increase of dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. The rush of these chemicals in your body can make you feel relaxed and elated afterwards – post massage bliss is a real thing!
  21. Listen to music – Listening to music you like activates the pleasure center of the brain, which release dopamine and serotonin and helps to maintain high serotonin levels. Create a playlist and have it accessible and ready to go whenever you need it.
  22. Replace negative thought with positiveness – It’s a lot easier than it sounds. It’s the principle behind the Oh My Word journaling method. Simply choose a word that represents how you want to feel or who you want to be. Draw, print write or doodle it on the page and color. Bingo. You’ve created what scientists call a ‘thought interruption’. You’ve replaced a negative thought with this new positive one. The new thought creates new neural pathway and the brain begins to rewire itself based on your word! How cool is that!

Keeping ourselves balanced and centered is within reach. It doesn’t have to be onerous most strategies as you can see are easy and enjoyable. All is well. Wishing you peace this holiday season. xx


Sending heartfelt wishes for a calm, peaceful holiday.
10 Ways to Mindfully RESET

10 Ways to Mindfully RESET

At this time of year, after a few delightful months of summer sunshine we find the pace quickening and ourselves swept up in the hustle-and-bustle of Fall. Before the whispers of overwhelm set in take the time to mindfully reset before moving forward. This way Fall serves as an invigorating season and an overture for a new beginning.

Fall symbolizes new beginnings with mindful reset.

10 Ways to Mindfully Reset

1. TAKE A BREATH – Close your eyes and breathe making sure the exhale is twice as long as the inhale. This settles body and mind and allows for the release of what doesn’t serve you.


2. SLOW DOWN AND FOCUS NARROWLY – Ignore the inclination to be a world class multi-tasker. Be in the moment and focus on just one thing at a time. Not everything has to be done at high speed it leads to high stress levels and mistakes. Trust that you don’t need to stay in motion all the time. Create reset breaks every day to check in and let go of what doesn’t serve. Take timeout and just be.


3. CONNECT WITH YOUR SENSES – A couple of times a day stop and focus on engaging one sense at a time. It is a grounding practice and helps you to connect to your center and feel vital and strong.


4. GET OUTSIDE – Feel the crispness in the air, the rain on your face, the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin. It clears what is stuck or stagnant and reveals fresh new growth underneath.

Getting outside refreshes and brings you back to center.


5. CONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS – This is always a reminder of what is truly important and most meaningful in life.

Friends and family always align us with who we are and what is truly meaningful.


6. RELEASE – Let go of any worry and any thoughts that need clearing out. Remember that in order for worry to exist, we have to imagine that something bad might the reality is it hasn’t happened yet so this ‘bad thing is just a creation of our imagination. Understood this way, worry is a self-created state of needless fear. Breath …. release. It’s just a thought and thoughts can be released and changed.

Releasing worry and negative thought opens to positivity and what could be.

7. REFLECT – Take stock what you’ve learned and accomplished so far this year. What do you want to remember? Celebrate? – Ask yourself these questions and distill answers down to one sentence.

Distilling down to a simple sentence brings absolute clarity.



8. IMAGINE – Imagine a life of your own design. What matters most to you now? What parts of you are aching to step forward and lead? Distill down to simple sentences.


9. CHOOSE – Looking at what you’ve imagined, what will you choose for yourself? What will be a                 priority? What will you place at the center of your life?

10. RESET – Every day choose a one-word intention that supports who you want to be and what you want and then following the Oh MY Word daily ritual put it on the page. This is the key part of the practice because it moves what you desire from your head into your heart. This is where all change takes place. As you choose intentions every day you will start to see them made concrete in the experiences of the day. You will not have to stress or push through. You will be guided to your next step and the one after that.

One step will reveal the next.

Enjoy Fall with this mindful reset. Slow down, return to center and then with renewed energy gather the abundance in preparation of what is to come.

If you don’t have an OH MY WORD journal you can get one here:

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Paperback is now available at all online bookstores.



Your new normal – A joyful, mindful, balanced life

Your new normal – A joyful, mindful, balanced life

While summer isn’t usually the time when we think of fresh starts, this year the change of season comes in the midst of a big change in our lives – reentry into the world.

A joyful, mindful, balanced life

While some of us are gleefully running towards freedom and planning trips, get-togethers, celebrations and coffee dates the rest of us are choosing to hang back and approach reentry with slowness and caution.

Embracing celebrations
Hanging back

Whatever style we choose we won’t be ‘finding’ our ‘new normal’ but ‘creating’ it, in a way and at a pace we’re individually comfortable with. Our methods may differ but we share a common goal – a  joyful, mindful, balanced life.

Take stock

I recently read an analogy of the new normal being akin to moving out of your home for a time and then moving back in with all your stuff. Do you still like the house? Does it meet your needs? Does the furniture fit?  Have you outgrown it or is it time to downsize? Is it in need of a little update or a whole top to bottom reno?

This ‘new normal’ can be a bit daunting. What will yours look like?

If the whole thing is a bit overwhelming, try asking yourself a few questions.

What’s important to me now?

What feels good?

What did I learn in the last year?

What do I want to leave behind and what will I take forward?

Place these things in the center and live with them for a while before you make any changes.

You can delve deeper with questions like these:

Who am I now?

What do I want?

What am I longing for?

You might not know all the answers. Start with what you do know.

Write it down

This conveys the energy of your thoughts into something tangible, setting things in motion. Often when you see your ideas in print, you’re able to easily expand on them. Try a stream-of- conscious journaling (put pen to paper and capture thoughts). The best part of this style of journaling is that you don’t have to make sense of the random thoughts or even write so it can be reread, the purpose is simply to get it out of your head. You instantly feel lighter and it’s surprising what sticks with you long after you’re finished.

Make a vision board that represents your new normal

These are so cool, and they work! You can make one on card stock, poster board or any firm board material. You can also do it on the computer, but I’ve always liked the tactile approach.  Flip thru magazines or search online for images, words, phrases, quotes that represent how you want your life to look and feel. Cut them out. Glue on your board. Be creative and add doodles, paint, symbols. Put it away. Let it manifest. I always forget about mine and then sometime later I stumble on it and without fail the images and feelings expressed on the board are now in my life. Here’s how to make one.

A word a day

Choose a word every day that represents how you want to feel or who you want to be.  Draw, print, write or doodle it on the page. Colour it. Is there a specific quality that you want to be reflected in your new normal? Choose the same word day after day until you know it is a part of you and then move on to another word. I’ve been doing this for 8 years it began as ‘heart doodles’ before it ever became Oh My Word 5 minute daily journal.

Bravely moving forward

The more we give ourselves permission to set our own pace, to trust our own inner guide and to bravely move towards what is meaningful to us, the more we create a world where that is the ‘norm’.

May your new normal, be one that nurtures a joyful, mindful, balanced life and is anchored by what is meaningful to You.

Moving Forward With Intention

Moving Forward With Intention

We’re at a place we’ve never been before – the end of life as we knew it and the beginning of the life we create.

A new normal is on the horizon.  It was a necessary reset in a world that was spinning out of control but who could imagine a global pandemic affecting 7.7 billion people would trigger the shift.

Certain times in life have the power to shake us at our very core. This was one of them.

While the last year has been a time of despair, loss, grief and heartbreak it has also been an ‘awakening’ as we saw who we really were navigating one the toughest times of our lives.

A cataclysmic event

Cataclysmic life events give us a window to look at our lives in new ways. It’s like we’ve been put on a conveyor belt to a transformation. Not one of us are the same people we were a year ago.

How have you grown and changed? How have your values and priorities shifted?

Here’s what a few people I’ve recently talked to said:

“I know I’m becoming someone different. Focusing on the big picture instead of being caught up in small details. I’m thinking of how I can make my life more complete and what is the legacy I will leave behind.”

“I made my life complex. I thought that made it meaningful and me ‘successful’. I’m now paring everything down to its essence. I didn’t know there was such joy in simplicity.”

“I need so much less than I thought I did.”

“I now know what it is to live in the present. The control I thought I had was an illusion. I’m learning to let go and trust.”  

“I’m learning how to be happy.”

“I’m learning the difference between living and being truly alive.”

What a difference a pandemic makes.

The big question is how do we go forward?

This will be different for all of us. From my work with educators and organizations I learned that asking a good question can spark the thought that plants the seed that provides understanding and prompts action.  A new perspective to view ourselves and the world, clarify, simplify and guide our first step and every one thereafter.

Thought provoking questions provide path going forward.

The reflection process is just beginning. Take a look at the questions below. Ponder the ones that jump out to you. Some thoughts will come to mind right away, others will take time and need to percolate and simmer. When a thought/idea is fully formed you’ll have an A-HA moment and be able to move forward with ease and grace.

The beginning of the new life you create. One question at a time.

Who am I becoming?

How have I transformed in the last year?

How can I use this experience that has dramatically impacted me?

What are my inner needs?

List 3 values that have shifted.

List 3 priorities that have changed.

What is one positive change you have made during the pandemic?

What do I now believe about myself?

What is the biggest thing learned about myself?

Once you have clarity turn understanding into intention.

“Ever intention is a trigger for transformation. Intention compressed into words enfold magical power.” Deepak Chopra

An intention is like planting a seed for the qualities you aspire for in your life. Once you plant a seed you don’t know how it will grow but you trust that with care and attention it will grow into something beautiful and that it will manifest in your life through your attention, thoughts, and actions. Anchored in this you can move forward with clarity, energy and purpose.

Choosing intentions

What words support what you now know about yourself – who you are, what you want, how you want to live?

Every morning choose a one word intention to support your desires. Complete the sentence Today I choose to_____.

Making sure the word is in its active form.

Draw, print, write or doodle it n the page. Colour it.

With an intention chosen every morning you have moved forward and the new life you create is beginning.

Wrapping you in love,

Cheryl x

Don’t have an Oh, My Word journal yet?  You can get yours here.


OH MY WORD Journal – choose the thoughts you want to think.

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Do you want to play?

Do you want to play?

I’m knocking on your door. “Do you want to play?  Don’t think about it. Just come with me”.

“Think back to when you were 6. Remember what it was like to play? Really play.  Your whole self was completely immersed in whatever you were doing – imagining, making, building, creating. You explored, experimented got paint all over your face.  Not for a minute did you question if you were playing the ‘right’ way or if others would approve of how you were doing it. This was pure freedom. You were lost in the joy and the fun of it all.”

Yes…it’s coming back…you remember.  A smile starts to crack the seriousness of your grown-up face with the warm, wonderful memories.

 “THIS is how to approach your Oh, My Word daily page.”

“Huh?” You say.

I see the disconnect. The slightly furrowed brow and mildly perplexed look as you struggle to converge these two distinctly different times in life.

The Play Gap

Something happens when we become adults. With our adult sized responsibilities comes a seriousness that often leaves child-like playfulness in the dust. We gamely take on adulthood setting goals, hoping to move forward professionally and personally and achieve. We do everything to establish and maintain the forward momentum that we’re told is the key to a successful life. We dig in harder and get even more serious.  It’s easy to see how we can leave the child-like awe, wonder, curiosity and unabashed joy of play behind.

Channeling the Inner 6-year-old

But things are about to come full circle.  Oh, My Word journaling is most effective when the inner 6-year-old is brought out to play. With them leading the way pages are imbued with emotion, feeling and all kinds of surprises show up on the page. Those unexpected things translate to the chosen intentional words being imprinted in deeper more transformative ways.

But at this point the inner 6-year-old is pretty timid having been unceremoniously dismissed years and years ago for more mature pursuits.

How to gently coax this innately creative sprite to come out.

Arrange a Play Date

With your inner 6 year old that is. There are many ways to do this. Here’s one.

Take a trip to the local dollar store and buy journaling supplies from the Kids and Arts + Crafts sections.

Gotta love the dollar store!
You can’t imagine how much fun these are! But use brushes from the craft section:)
The Kids section is full of soooo many goodies!

Did you always love glitter? Buy some. Do wax crayons bring back warm fuzzy memories? Get some. How about brush markers? They’re fun. My personal favorite is water colour paints from the kids’ section and brushes from the craft section. The thing I love most about trips to the dollar store is that you can get a big bag of fun stuff for the cost of a large latte.

What next?

Bring your stuff home and start playing. Not in your journal just yet but in a sketch book (that’s at the dollar store too) or scraps of paper.  See what these goodies are like to work with. Explore. Experiment. What do they do? How do they work?

Try the paints with just a pinch of water and with different brushes. Mix paint colours. Try two brushes at once held like chopsticks.

Draw a few pictures paint and glitter them. Don’t know what to draw? Draw circles big, small, medium sized then turn them all into flowers or animals.  Paint and glitter these within an inch of their lives.

Turn your circles into flowers or animals or…?

I bet you can start to feel the 6-year-old coming out. To me it feels like a tickle on the inside. My whole body is abuzz with a new energy that wants … out!

“A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.”  Roald Dahl

The thing about play is that it is soooooo liberating. It moves us out of our heads and into our hearts.  It opens parts of us that have been shut off for years. Anxiety and stress are eased and suddenly joy is amplified. When we play, we often have unexpected insights into areas of our lives or solutions to  nagging problems will suddenly appear or we simply become more creative coming up with ideas we never have before.

“Deep meaning lies often in childish play.”  Johann Friedrich von Schiller

Most importantly it takes the Oh, My Word practice to the next level. Just watch the changes in your life start to accelerate.

Oh Boy…:)) I can feel it. Can you?


“I want to giggle myself to sleep each night and jump on the fluffy, comforting pillows of faith.”

Terri Guillemets

Don’t have an Oh, My Word journal yet?  You can get yours here.

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Book Depository UK

Paperback is now available at all online bookstores.



Tapping Your Superpowers

Tapping Your Superpowers

I’ve always believed in the superpowers we all have inside. Once tapped we can uncork our unbounded selves, live with joy and build a better world for everyone.

While we each have superpowers unique to us, we do share some common ones.

The Power of Choice + Intention

One of the greatest universal superpowers is choice. We all have the ability to choose who we will be in a given moment. We can choose to be intentional or reactive. An intention is a clear signal, and it represents the result we want. When we merge our superpower of choice with intention, we power the thoughts we think and the actions we take; they shape our lives.

“Every intention is a trigger for transformation.”  Deepak Chopra

When I first developed OH MY WORD journaling as a tool to help manage my anxiety, I was amazed that not only did I feel good, but that I could choose a one-word intention, draw and colour it on the page and then continue to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ it as the day unfolded. I was constantly reminded of what I’d chosen and how it felt to ‘be’ that.  I would even see evidence of my daily intention reflected in the experiences of the day. My life began to change.

Drawing and colouring my one word intention reminded me what it felt like to play, it opened my heart.

“Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power.” Deepak Chopra

Some kind of magic was happening here. How could a word on a page translate into my reality day after day and time after time? It was exciting if not a bit baffling. I diligently carried on, never missing a day, thinking if I did I might jinx it or my run of good ‘luck’ would be broken.

I didn’t need to worry because over time I came to understand the ‘magic’ was the marriage of 2 universal superpowers choice + intention. What they produced could be explained by science.

The Magic Explained

Every morning as I chose my intention and then made it tangible by drawing and colouring it, physiological changes were taking place.

My intention was chosen in my mind. Once I put it on the page, it moved from my intellect into my emotions. In this place everything changed, and the ‘magic’ happened. My body chemistry altered, I started to produce dopamine and serotonin, the magnetic field around me changed and most importantly I signaled my subconscious that I already had my intention, so my conscious mind went to work looking for opportunities, choices and actions to make it concrete. That’s why my intentions became my reality.

It Was So Simple

It was such a simple exercise considering all the activities and practices I’d tried over the years trying to manage my ever-present anxiety and become the person I was struggling to be.  I remembered the hundreds of affirmations I’d repeated or left for myself on bathroom mirrors, the workbooks I’d completed, the goals I had carefully and thoughtfully mapped out, the journals I’d filled with a flow of the conscious jumbled thoughts that were running my life. It all came down to tapping my superpowers of choice + intention and then spending few minutes putting the chosen intention on the page moving the thought from my head to my heart.

Developing Superpowers

This practice allowed me to cultivate and develop the superpowers that represented the person I wanted to be. The Powers of forgiveness, love, perseverance, resiliency, trust, empathy, compassion, creativity. I’m still developing superpowers, I do it every morning when I ask myself, Who do you want to be?

“The secret to changing your life is your intentions.  Wishing, hoping and goal setting cannot accomplish change without intention. What is needed is a shift from the inert energy of ‘wanting’ to the active energy of doing and intention.” Wayne Dyer

It’s really that simple.

If you don’t have an OH MY WORD journal you can get one here:

Barnes & Noble


Book Depository UK

Paperback is now available at all online bookstores.

The Winter of Joy and Renewal

The Winter of Joy and Renewal

“People in Alaska run to the windows and cheer when it snows!”

I could see the joy on my daughter’s face as she related what she’d seen.  She was a 3rd year medical student spending 4 weeks at a regional hospital in Anchorage. The people with their noses pressed to the glass were hospital staff and patients.

“Why is everyone so happy?” she asked.

“Because when it snows it means we can get outside and play!”

She laughed.

“In Vancouver, BC where I grew up people groan when they see snow, they think about having to shovel their walks, unbury their cars and the hazardous condition of the roads. Unless they’re heading to the ski hills, a big snowfall is viewed as a nuisance.”

But here in Anchorage, Alaska it was cause for celebration; it set everything aglitter and life opened up.

A different set of ‘lenses’ saw the snow in a completely different way.

New Lenses

Her story reminded me of this past year. In 2020 were all given a new set of lenses with which to view the world. While these lenses saw heartbreak, they also brought many wonderful things into sharp focus.

Joy in Small Things

Almost everyone I talk to (myself included) was surprised by the joy they found in small things. Things that hadn’t been noticed before or dismissed as nothing special. Suddenly viewed from these lenses they were magic.


Have you heard of the Danish word hygge? It’s not a word so much as a concept or way of being. Not translatable into English, it is essentially a coziness that evokes a feeling of contentment and joy. Hygge is a big, overstuffed chair, a weighted blanket and a good book. It’s drinking cocoa by a crackling fire and cuddling a pet or loved one, it’s the sun sparkling through the trees, new bursts of growth, a smiling face, having coffee with a friend socially distanced on a blanket in a park, watching a lazy turtle on a pond, a surprise phone call from a friend, the smell of baking wafting through the kitchen, the crunch of  the sourdough crust as the first cut is made, the dance of a candle flame. The joy button is pushed, and feelings of contentment warm the body and spirit.

Wintering provides access to Joy

I’m not going to endure the winter like I do year after year, I’m going to use it to rest rejuvenate and reflect. This winter I’m going to give myself full access to joy.

As we celebrate the new year and enter the winter season let’s look at it as British author Katherine May does. She released a book last year called – Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, and it’s a wonderful read. Wintering, according to May is not just a time of year. Everyone has their own personal winters, or seasons of difficulty in which we must nurture ourselves and our souls to come out better than we were upon entering them. Sometimes winters are in the summer. Other times, like last year, they begin in March and last for an unforeseeable length of time. Winters like those May speaks of are a time to welcome our hardships (they’re coming for us regardless, but embracing the cold makes them hurt a little bit less) and give ourselves the time and space we need to get to the other side.

In Wintering, May talks about the magical transformation trees in northern climates undergo: “the changes that take place in winter are a kind of alchemy, an enchantment performed by ordinary creatures to survive.”

Is it magic? No. It’s nature, it’s joy and it’s in you and it’s in me.

I received a holiday card in December, “kindness is like snow” it read, “it beautifies everything it covers.” This quote by Kahlil Gibran – accompanied by a man in a crown holding a robin while a goose and a fox have tea in the foreground-is the kind of specific beauty you can only find this time of year.

I intend to bask in it and let the cold, now and the darkness magnify the beauty all around me.

Start everyday with joy in your heart

Take a moment every morning to activate your joy center. Ask yourself – how I want to feel?  Take a deep breath and wait for the word to come into your consciousness. Once it does draw, write, print or doodle it on the the page in your OH MY WORD journal. Channel your inner 6-year old, colour it and make it beautiful.  You’ll feel the joy starting to bubble from within.

You have selected the lenses you will wear today. All your experiences and thoughts will be seen through these.

Have a joyful day.

Cheryl x

Don’t have an OH MY WORD journal yet? You can get one here.

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Please share with anyone you know who needs more Joy.


Is it anxiety, worry or stress?

Is it anxiety, worry or stress?

Is it anxiety, worry or stress?

They all tend to fall into a shared basket of maladies in the 21st century. Do you suffer from a triumvirate of all three or does one create major havoc in your life?

If that’s the case …. which one?

Is it anxiety, worry or stress?

The New York Times recently had a great article by Emma Pattee that explains the difference between anxiety, worry and stress. Since one or all affects most of us, I thought it would be great to offer a summary. You can read Pattee’s article here.

What’s WORRY?

Worry is characterized by being obsessive and repetitive. It’s when our minds ruminate and dwell on negative thoughts, uncertainties or things that could possibly go wrong. Melanie Greenberg, a clinical psychologist in Mill Valley, Calif and author of The Stress Proof Brain explains it this way, “worry is the cognitive component of anxiety. That means worry happens only in the mind and not in the body. When we worry it calms the brain down, it’s likely to cause us to problem solve or take action. Worry is a way for the brain to handle problems in order to keep us safe. Its only when we get stuck thinking about a problem that worry stops being functional and start becoming negative.”  

If you’ve been in the clutches of worry you know how tightly it can hang on and consume our thoughts.

Dr. Luana Marques an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and President of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests taking these steps to manage worry:

  1. Give yourself a worry budget and only allow yourself to worry for a specified amount of time (i.e. 20 minutes) when the time is up. Redirect your thoughts.
  2. When you’re worried push yourself to take action to move the thought out of your mind.
  3. Write your worries down. Studies show that 8-10 minutes of writing can calm repetitive thoughts.

What’s STRESS?

Stress is a physiological response to an external event like a deadline, doctor’s appointment or exam that exceeds the individual’s resources.

Stress used to be a natural response to a threat like a lion lurking nearby. Today we’re not faced with lions but traffic, work and relationship expectations and financial issues that fire up the limbic system and release adrenaline and cortisol which help activate the brain and body to deal with the threat. Symptoms of stress are a rapid heartbeat, clammy palms and shallow breathing. While it might feel good  at first as adrenaline floods the body and gives you a boost to reach a deadline or get to an appointment, it becomes chronic stress if your body stays in this fight-or-flight mode continuously. Chronic stress can lead to many health concerns like digestive issues, increased risk of heart disease and a weakening of the immune system. Try these to manage stress.

  1. Exercise is a way for your body to recover from the increased production of adrenaline and cortisol.
  2. Know what you can control and let go of what you can’t.


Anxiety is the culmination of both worry and stress. It is both cognitive and physiological. This means we experience anxiety in both mind and body. It takes worry and stress to the next level. Dr. Marques explains it this way, “anxiety in some ways is a response to a false alarm. An example would be you show up at work and someone gives you a look. You start to experience all the physiology of a stress response because you’re telling yourself that the boss is upset with you or that your job might be at risk. The blood is flowing, the adrenaline pumping and your body is in fight-or-flight but there is no predator nearby. The threat is in your mind.”

Dr Marques reminds us that there is a difference between feeling anxiety which can be a normal part of life and having an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder is a medical condition that may include stress and/or worry. Suggestions to manage simple anxiety.

  1. Limit Sugar, caffeine and alcohol
  2. Wiggle your toes – this kind of refocusing can calm you and break the anxiety loop.
  3. Distract yourself – go for a run, listen to music, cuddle a pet, or rub a piece of Velcro or velvet.


Worry happens in the mind.

Stress happens in the body.

Anxiety happens in both mind and body.

In small doses worry, stress and/or anxiety can be positive forces in our lives.  It is when it escalates and stops us from acting in healthy, positive ways that it becomes an issue that needs addressing.

OH MY WORD can be a helpful management tool for worry, stress anxiety.

OH MY WORD Journal can be helpful in managing anxiety, worry and stress.

OH MY WORD is a science backed, 5 minute daily journal that will help you transform negative thoughts, ease anxiety and worry and cultivate joy in your life.

  • Replaces negative thoughts with positive ones you choose thus redirecting the worry.
  • Positive thoughts flood the body with dopamine and serotonin diluting and effects of adrenaline and cortisol.
  • Creates a creative, mindful distraction from anxiety.

OH MY WORD Journal can be purchased here:

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Breathwork takes OH MY WORD practice deeper

Breathwork takes OH MY WORD practice deeper

I took my life back from the grip of anxiety with two strategies: journaling (in a novel way) and breathwork.

As someone who suffered from anxiety for most of my adult life, I was always on the lookout for strategies that would help me.

I felt like my life had been saved 6 years ago when I started doing ‘heart doodles’ which I would later become OH MY WORD – the insanely simple daily journal to intentionally become who you want to be.  With my daily intentional word, I was able to replace my disabling negative thoughts with positive ones I chose. I was in the driver’s seat of my life and my anxiety relegated to the locked trunk.  I was free to become the person I wanted to be living with ease and joy.

But that’s not where the story ends.

In the last 2 years I’ve added another strategy or rather I’ve learned a new skill which has taken my daily practice to an even deeper level.

 I learned to breathe.

I’d tried meditation it was a no-go

Years ago, doctors and therapists has encouraged me to try meditation as a way to disable anxiety. I tried it but when I’d sit down to meditate my thoughts would ramp up making endless lists, working to solve problems that hadn’t yet happened, chewing on the past and beating myself up over what I could have done better or even trying to figure out what to make for dinner.  The chatter was endless.

For someone with anxiety like myself meditation was a no-go.

My old breathing patterns

Like a lot of anxiety sufferers, I was a shallow, chest breather and a breath holder.  A double whammy! The way I was breathing was sending my sympathetic nervous system into overdrive activating the fight-or-flight response and filling my body with the stress hormone cortisol. My anxiety driven breathing patterns had put me in a continuous state of fight-or-flight, filled with cortisol and always on the run from tigers, bears and my own negative thoughts.

OK so a little bit of fear is good it can keep us safe but having too much of it is unhealthy for every part of body, mind, heart and spirit.

The new breathing

I didn’t fully understand how powerful breath was until I started doing yoga and learned about the ujjayi breath. It’s also called the ocean sounding breath and when I did it, I was always left with a sense of calm and ease.

How it works

When we engage in deep rhythmic, coherent breathing we activate the vagus nerve, turn on our parasympathetic nervous system and pump the brakes on anxiety and stress. As our physiology returns to its natural inherent state, our minds calm and our hearts open. We’re able to move the breath down from our chest and into our belly, breathing in an intention or a thought we want and breathing out thoughts, beliefs, memories or actions that we don’t want. After breathing this way, we feel good, more equipped to handle stress and anxiety melts away.

Breathwork is an active form of meditation

I did learn to meditate after all. Breathwork is like an active form of meditation. It  allowed me to consciously work my breath, bypassing the chattering (monkey) mind to enter a different state of awareness. What most people seek in meditation I was able to get by simply breathing. It allowed me to disconnect from the mind and reconnect with the body, energy and enter a different state of consciousness. This altered state enhanced my healing, clarity, peace and wholeness.

Here are some different breathing techniques to try:

The one I use

The one that I use every day is very simple. I take a long slow inhale in through my nose and exhale through my mouth out making sure the exhale is longer than the inhale. This sends the body into a more parasympathetic state, lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels and it can relieve feelings of depression. I sometimes count in 1-2-3-4- and out 1-2-3-4-5-6. I see a naturopath regularly and I was always telling her how my breathing practice was developing. She would conduct her own examination. She would stop me after one of our super animated conversations and say, “I’m going to take your blood pressure in one minute.” I would start breathing and she would test my blood pressure. She was always amazed at how low it was after just a minute of breathing.

The Ujjayi Breath

The ujjayi breath I mentioned earlier is where you breath in through your nose to a count of 4 –  hold at the top for a second – exhale through the nose (from the back of the throat producing an ocean sounding breath) to a count of  4 – hold at the base. Repeat. I often do this lying down with one hand on my belly so I can feel the rise and fall and one hand on my heart.

Box Breathing

Start by releasing all the air from your chest and hold your breath for 4 seconds, then breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds, the hold your breath for 4 seconds, then exhale out through the nose for 4 seconds. Repeat for 5 minutes to feel the effects.

 Relaxing breath from Dr Andrew Weil

Relaxing breath also known as 4-7-8 breath slows the heart rate and brings consciousness to the present moment. It also teaches the body how to take in less, release more and create space between inhales and exhales. By creating space between stimulus and response, this breath has a practical application in the stressful moments  we encounter on a daily basis.

How to do:

Start by releasing all the air from your chest and inhale through the nose for 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale out of the mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat the cycle up to 4 times.

Coherent breathing from Stephen Elliot

While our natural tendency is to breath at a rate of 2 or 3 seconds per breath, this controlled and conscious breathing which is common practice within yogic traditions) slows our inhales and exhales down to 4 seconds, then 5 seconds and beyond. The intention of this breath is to increase heart rate variability which calms the body and can affect heart rate, digestion, concentration, vitality, sleep and stress response.

How to do:

To start, focus on the natural rhythm of your breath to obtain a baseline length of each inhale and exhale. Then for 1 minute breath in for 4 seconds an exhale for 4 seconds. Then repeat for 5 seconds, then for 6 second and if you are able gradually expand to 10 seconds. Whatever elongated breath you work up to maintain it for 5 minutes to start and work your way up over time to 20 minutes.

Breathwork is available to everyone

Breathwork is available to everyone and can be very healing and restorative for people who dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, grief, sadness, anger or insomnia. But it’s also nourishing  for anyone who is looking to go deeper in their search of love, peace, gratitude, clarity, connection and insight in their life.

AAAAHHHHH…. hearty rate slows, blood pressure and cortisol levels drop. You feel a sense of peace.



Use breathwork to deepen your OH MY WORD practice. When you’re sitting at your desk, stuck in traffic, in line at the grocery store or at the bank. Breathe in your intentional word and breathe out your word. This moves your intention that much deeper into your mind and body.

Breathe into your intentional word.

Does anxiety and negative thought stop You from being the person you want to be and following your dreams? OH MY WORD is a science based, 5 minute, one-word daily journal that allows you to take charge of your life, become the person you want to be and live with joy and fulfillment.


Buy OH MY WORD here:


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