Allison Woodley: “Practice Self-love”

I used to be a perfect example of someone who was overly focused on just one area. I wanted to lose weight, fit into a size 0, and I thought that would make me happy. I thought that to do that I needed the perfect diet, to work out every day, twice a day, to […]

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I used to be a perfect example of someone who was overly focused on just one area. I wanted to lose weight, fit into a size 0, and I thought that would make me happy. I thought that to do that I needed the perfect diet, to work out every day, twice a day, to always get 8–9 hours of sleep a night, and that if I did all that then I’d reach my goal — then I’d be happy. The problem was that no matter how hard I worked I couldn’t reach and maintain my goal weight. It was so frustrating, and it led to more self-resentment. I felt like such a failure. I was embarrassed to be the one friend, who was always on a diet but at the same time always looked the same and never changed!

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allison Woodley.

Allison Woodley is a health & happiness mentor, fitness expert, and author of the book the Unicorn Syndrome — Stop trying to be unique. You already are. Allison’s distinct approach to creating a healthy lifestyle goes beyond diet and exercise and deep into emotional and spiritual intelligence. Before starting her business and after nearly a decade of working in the advertising industry, she felt called to start helping women create health and healing in their lives. Now she dedicates her life to helping women transform from the inside out (spirit-mind-body).

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Thank you for this opportunity! When I was a kid, I loved being the center of attention. I grew up in a small town, I was the youngest of three siblings, and I was raised in a happy home. When I was little, I always loved playing pretended and putting on a show by myself, just singing, dancing, or even acting. I was never shy in front of the camera, I loved being bold, brave, and just MYSELF!

Then somewhere along the lines, I became pretty shy, and quiet. When I was a teenager, I was self-counions of my body and always felt the need to lose weight. In my early twenties, I struggle up and down with disordered eating. There were times when I was happy and confident and then there were times when I felt angry and upset with how my body looked.

I felt upset and alone until I discovered fitness. When I hit rock bottom I reached out for help. I got the guidance I needed, learned about nutrition, fitness and then completely transformed my life. After just four months of lifting weights and training in the gym, I was hooked. Once I got into the habit of this new lifestyle, I didn’t only start to feel stronger physically, I felt stronger mentally. Above all the biggest lesson I learned in my fitness journey was the lesson of self-love. Weight loss, physical transformation, and body confidence aren’t about diet and exercise, it’s about self-love, emotional wellness, mental wellness, and spiritual wellness.

My fitness journey wasn’t complete after only four months of it. Although I lost 20lbs and competed in my first bodybuilding competition I didn’t learn the lesson or self-love or even start to understand the concept of spiritual wellness until years after. After my first competition, I gained the weight back, struggled with binge eating, and went through many highs and lows. Everyone thinks fitness is a linear journey, that you get fit and stay fit. It’s not that way for most women and I feel called to share my story so other women can know that they aren’t alone, that there it gets better and that they can do it too.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My path to pursuing my career as a business owner and coach wasn’t linear either. After getting my degree in Creative Advertising at University, I decided I wanted to become a Personal Trainer. I got hired at a huge gym in downtown Toronto before even completing my PT certification. I just jumped and went for it. In hindsight, it might have been a little too quickly. I was still going through my own mental and physical transformation and had so much to learn. I didn’t know who I was. I see now I was putting on a mask (metaphorically), I was trying to copy and be like the other women in fitness who I admired so much. When I did this, I lost who I was. Between the pressure of making sales and feeling self-doubt, I quit and got a job in the advertising industry.

Even as I built a successful and incredible career in advertising, working at award-winning agencies, I continued to pursue my passion for health and fitness. I continued to build muscle and body confidence and eventually competed again in my second natural bodybuilding competition. It was my sister-in-law, Ale Diaz, who inspired me to get into bodybuilding. She is a UFE Pro bodybuilder, personal trainer, and an award-winning author. One day, I went to watch her at one of her competitions. I looked up at her and with tears in my eyes and my heart full of more hope than I could ever imagine I knew that if she could do it (go from overweight/depressed to super fit!) then I could do it too. It was that moment of inspiration that I’ve never let go of since.

After working in advertising and pursuing fitness as a passion, I hit a point in my career where I wasn’t happy. Everything was “fine”, but nothing was miraculous. I had nothing to complain or be upset about but I felt a knowing deep inside that I wasn’t living my best life. It was only three years ago when I start to get into personal and spiritual growth and development. Through that journey, I started discovering that there was so much more to wellness than just the physical. I could finally see that my health was also impacted by my emotions, mindset, and spirituality. I realized that the four dimensions of health; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual we’re the keys to creating a healthy, happy and abundant body and life.

I became a certified Pure DreamLife Coach and a Pure Spiritual Intelligence ambassador through a great friend and mentor, James MacNeil. These teachings gave me the tools, philosophies, and knowledge to transform in a new way, beyond just the physical. I now use them to guide my clients through their unique journeys.

Now that I had the tools, I still wasn’t sure how to start helping people. I had no idea how to start a business. Luckily, the more connected I was spiritually the more I trusted the Universe to show me the way, and it did. I was still working my 9–5 job in advertising when the pandemic happened but was let go from that company in March 2020. I was instantly hit with a wave of gratitude and a gentle knowing that this was happening for me and not to me. I had no idea why or what was going to happen next, but I knew I didn’t need to worry.

The next day, I was presented with a business opportunity that gave me the business tools and strategies I needed to learn how to start, grow and scale my own business. A business where I could be my own boss, design my days, choose who I work with, share health, lead others, and do it from anywhere in the world. My amazing friend and mentor Jen Szpigiel shared, invited, and showed me how I could make it happen and that was the start. The next month I launched my online health & wellness business.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I agree full-heartedly! You cannot achieve success alone. I am so grateful for the many mentors I’ve had already that have helped me in fitness, spirituality, and business; Ale Diaz, Omar Arvizu, James MacNeil, Jen Szpigiel, and Rebecca Cafiero.

Above all, there is one person who has been by my side supporting me every step of the way, my husband, Rodrigo Diaz Mercado. He has always encouraged me to go for it. He brings only love and never any doubt. It’s really hard to find someone these days who has that level of support and trust in you. I am beyond grateful for him every day of my life.

When I was frustrated about how my body looked and I didn’t know where to start Rodrigo encouraged me to reach out to Ale and Omar for help. I never would have asked if he hadn’t given me a BIG push.

When I thought about becoming a personal trainer, Rodrigo and I were still dating at the time, and he lent me the money to pay for the additional advanced functional training certification that I wanted to take. We made a payment plan, and I did pay him back!

When I decided to compete in my first and then my second bodybuilding competitions, he helped me prep all of my meals and went with me to the gym at 8 pm even after a long day at work. I usually couldn’t get him to come to the gym with me at 4:30 am, but he helped pushed me out of bed on the days I didn’t want to go.

When I decided to start my dream of having a health & wellness business, he saw my vision supported me 100%. It doesn’t get any more loving and supportive than that!

Self-doubt is the killer of dreams. It can get in the heads of even the best athletes and most successful people. We can learn tool that helps us turn it around, but we sometimes just need someone who understands us, has our back and can help us see what we can’t see. When we’re in the process of pursuing a goal some days our vision is cloudy. It’s like the sky. Not every day is a clear blue day, but the sky is always blue. It’s in these moments that we need someone who loves, respects, and supports us no matter what. Behind every powerful person is a supportive friend.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?

I started running and doing home workouts from magazines as a teenager but didn’t start to feel confident in my body until I started lifting weights. I was never fast or very coordinated when it came to sports, but I’ve always enjoyed being active and moving my body. When I started lifting weights I learned quickly, and it felt very natural to me. I developed a strong mind-muscle connection and before I knew it I was able to lift heavyweights. I started to notice I was sometimes lifting more weight than some of the men in the gym! I felt good about that.

My husband and I joke all the time that I’m stronger than him, although you’d never be able to tell by looking at us. I am 5’3 120lbs and he’s 5’9 165lbs. But I can squat and deadlift much more than him — not to brag!

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I love reading, but I wasn’t always an avid reader. Two years ago I started reading personal development and self-help books to gain knowledge and learn more about myself and how to become a better person for everyone around me. I fell in love with many great books and got the courage to start writing a book of my own! It’s called The Unicorn Syndrome — Stop trying to be unique. You already are. In my book, I speak about cultivating wellness habits in all four dimensions of our lives, mental wellness, physical wellness, emotional wellness, & spiritual wellness.It’ll be launching this summer. You can visit my website to learn more about it.

To answer your question, there are so many books and great authors who have impacted me in my journey. The book that has impacted me the most is the book Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza. This book helped me to question my beliefs and the way I saw things to be. It helped me see life in a new way. It challenged me and pushed me towards my awakening. The most eye-opening part of this book was the real-life stories of miraculous healings and transformations — things I never believed could be possible. What I loved most is that Dr. Joe Dispenza demystifies the mystical and explains through quantum physics and epigenetics how the universe works.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

It was many years ago that I heard this quote for the first time and it’s always stuck with me. It was this, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” — Buddha

Before I became a coach, and even before I discovered fitness, I had no idea how powerful my thoughts were. I was living life but not aware of what I was even thinking all day long. I had no idea that most of my thoughts were the same, negative, limiting, and repetitive thoughts playing in my head on repeat. No wonder, I couldn’t transform my body, or experience self-love, I was constantly putting myself down and doubting myself. It was a pattern and what you think you attract. I was attracting the same experience over and over.

I don’t think the majority of people are aware of what they are thinking all day long. Most people run on autopilot. This concept of becoming what we think, and our thoughts influencing our actions changed the way I saw myself. It made me realize that I was spending too much time thinking about what I didn’t like about my body and zero time thinking about what I liked about it. When I started to change my thoughts and started focusing on what I liked about my body and how I wanted to feel, I started to transform. When I started to think and feel what it would be like to have a healthy and beautiful body that became my reality!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

The biggest and most exciting project I’m working on right now is the launch of my first book! The Unicorn Syndrome — Stop trying to be unique. You already are. Never in my life did I ever believe I could write a book, and that’s one of the reasons why finishing and publishing it is so important to me. Not only for me but all the women out there who are just like me. I want to show them that they can do it too. We are all unique and there is only ever going to be ONE of you. The world needs to hear your story.

I was a shy, introverted girl who was self-conscious in her body because I wasn’t confident in who I was. I was trying to be like someone else. I didn’t know how to embrace who I truly was. The message I want to share with my book is the one I needed to hear years ago. The Unicorn Syndrome is the spell we’re all under that makes us believe we’re not good enough. It causes us to judge and compare our bodies to someone else. When you have The Unicorn Syndrome, no matter what you do you don’t feel good in your skin because you’re striving to copy someone other Unicorn’s uniqueness.

In my book, I speak about what I call the four dimensions of health, which are Physical health, Intellectual health, Emotional health, and Spiritual health. The process I teach my client through one-on-one coaching is how to transform from the inside out. This transformational process involves all four dimensions and applying them in a way that’s unique to you — because you are a unique spiritual being. There is only one of you. Don’t die a copy.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series, we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

There are four areas of our lives that require attention if we want to cultivate wellness. I like to refer to these areas as dimensions, but some call them areas or pillars. Whatever you call them, together they make up a holistic approach to health. We often think of the human body as just that, a body and a mind. But science and spirituality have proven that we are more than just that. That is why understanding all four dimensions of your being is critical if you want to transform any part of your life, including your health, your weight, your wealth, your career, and even your relationships.

I used to be a perfect example of someone who was overly focused on just one area. I wanted to lose weight, fit into a size 0, and I thought that would make me happy. I thought that to do that I needed the perfect diet, to work out every day, twice a day, to always get 8–9 hours of sleep a night, and that if I did all that then I’d reach my goal — then I’d be happy. The problem was that no matter how hard I worked I couldn’t reach and maintain my goal weight. It was so frustrating, and it led to more self-resentment. I felt like such a failure. I was embarrassed to be the one friend, who was always on a diet but at the same time always looked the same and never changed!

Through studying other successful people and through my research I learned about the other three areas/dimensions of health. I tried many different practices and combinations that eventually led me to create a harmoniously healthy mind and body. To do this I started with my morning routine. If you want to transform your day then wake up before the sun and create your day. Don’t wait for your day to happen to you or you’ll spend your life watching it pass you by.

My morning routine includes a healthy habit from each of the four areas. To create one of your own try my signature method The Daily-80. Daily-80 includes a balance of all four dimensions broken out into 20-minute power intervals. Imagine if you took just 80 minutes a day and spent it on time to cultivate wellness?

To do the Daily-80 break your morning into 4 20-minute intervals. Each interval will be devoted to one of the four dimensions of health; Physical, Mental/Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual. The order is up to you, my preference is to work from the inside out.

Starting with spiritual health devote 20 minutes to a spiritual practice. This can be whatever feels good to you. It can be transcendental meditation, breathwork, reading scripture, pray, or visualization. My favorite is meditation followed by a visualization practice.

Journal for 20-minutes. One of the best emotional healing exercises for emotional health is daily journaling. You can use a journal prompt to get into it or allow yourself to free write two full pages of whatever is on your heart.

Many of us stop learning after we finish school, but life still has so much to teach us. There are many ways in which we can take care of our mental health every day. I love to read and listen to podcasts, but I don’t read or listen to fiction, or the news I try my best to consume content that teaches me something new or inspires me. An easy and powerful way to create a new mental health habit is by taking 20 minutes in the morning to consume something of interest to you that will help you learn and grow. I love listening to podcasts like; The School of Greatness podcast by Lewis Howes, Becoming Iconic by Jen Szpigiel, and Becoming You by Rebecca Cafiero.

For the last 20 minutes get moving for physical health. After you work on your spiritual, emotional, and mental health then you are in a place to take proper care of your body. Do a type of activity you enjoy. Do a workout, hot yoga, run, or even walk slowly in nature with bare feet. Just move your body in a way that feels good for you. If you don’t love it don’t make yourself do it.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

In 2020, when the pandemic happened and all the gyms closed, I had to find a new way to exercise. And like everyone else, I also had to find a new way to deal with being home 24/7. One of the many things that I found helped me get through that time was meditation and yin yoga. While the world outside me was chaos, I knew I had the power to at least control the world within me; my emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

If you’re not familiar with it, yin yoga involves holding very simple poses for 3–5 minutes. If you ever try holding a pose for a long time, it can be pretty uncomfortable. What I found with this yoga practice was that I was able to calm my mind and find peace. After each session, my body felt more stretched out and relaxed in ways that I’d never felt before. This feels amazing because after holding a static stretch for 90 seconds you move from superficial tissue into the deep fascia tissue and that’s why the release feels so good.

Yin yoga is a gentle reminder that we are not human doings we are human beings. If we’re constantly living in busy and active energy, one that is all about trying to do everything, getting to a goal, the promotion, then we are not living a balanced, harmonious life. Yin yoga helps restore that balance.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

If you want to create optimal physical wellness in your life my number one advice is that it’s an inside-out job. Your body is a reflection of your thoughts. If you want to be physically well you need to cultivate that from the inside out. Once you are aligned in these area’s then physical wellness happens as a direct result. It’s the law of cause and effect.

When most people think of habits to create physical wellness they usually think about diet, exercise, and maybe sleep. While those three things are key to physical health, they are not the full picture. I found that when I was so obsessed with my diet and exercise, trying to lose weight, but could never reach my goal. It was extremely frustrating! I hear from women all the time that they feel the same way. They feel like they’ve done and tried it all and yet nothing seems to last. It’s why I’ve created my elite 1:1 coaching program to show them how to create their dream body through a spiritual fitness process that focuses on these four areas of health.

The following three spiritual and mental habits will ultimately lead you to discover the best way for you to create optimal health.

Practice Self-love— The first good habit to help move you towards optimum physical wellness is practicing self-love. To do this try mirror work. Mirror work is extremely powerful. Any easy way to start is by setting aside 2–3 minutes in the morning to just look at yourself in the mirror, in the eyes, without any judgment. Then say positive loving thoughts (or affirmations) to yourself. When you get triggered and think thoughts like “I’m not thin enough”, “I’m too fat”, “I hate my arms”, reframe these self-sabotaging judgments. Doing this may trigger some old pain and limiting beliefs but by becoming aware that this is your inner dialog, then you can start to reframe and change it. You can then take back your power by consciously changing your thoughts. The more you do this the more you create a new habit of loving yourself for who you are, exactly as you are.

Visualize yourself as HER — In the first coaching session with all my Elite one-on-one clients, I walk them through a guided visualization. For most women, this is the first time that they’ve ever done something like this, so it often causes a huge shift in them immediately. You can do this on your own, it’s like a type of meditation. To start, find a quiet, place where you will not be interrupted. To do this you’re going to forget about your current state of health, what your body currently looks like, and with your eyes closed you’re going to imagine yourself one year into the future and you’re going to start creating a story that you want to experience. I used to visualize myself on stage at a bodybuilding competition and being at the beach on vacation. The most important thing is to not have any judgment of your visualization, your mind might try to tell you it’s not real or it might ask “but how” — just ignore those thoughts and keep imagining. Eventually, it will become your reality.

Don’t restrict yourself from the foods you love–This third habit is a mindset shift that can help you make better, more sustainable choices when it comes to food. Before you consume just ask yourself, “Is this moving me closer or further away from how I want to feel?” The problem with most diets is the whole idea that you have to restrict yourself from the foods you love to lose weight. That’s not the way it needs to be!

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

I’m so glad you asked that question because I was the pickiest eater when I was younger. I hated vegetables, most fruits, and many common foods that most children will eat. I was a picky eater up until my early 20’s. The biggest block that I see other people have that prevents them from taking information and integrating is the limiting beliefs that they have.

Most people assume since I eat so well now that I’ve always been that way, but I haven’t. It takes just changing one habit, one day at a time. Over time you create a lifestyle transformation. There are so many different ways to eat healthily, it’s not about doing them all. It’s about discovering and doing what works for you. But it’s hard to create a new habit of being a healthy person if inherently you believe you are unhealthy. That there is a limiting belief.

When I first became a personal trainer, I was preparing for my first bodybuilding bikini show. I was eager and excited about this new lifestyle I was creating. I had committed to transforming and I went all-in (to the best of my abilities — I was not perfect!). That huge commitment taught me the power of self-discipline and it was through self-discipline that I was able to control and change my old beliefs and habits. I created a new version of myself.

After I lost weight, I had lots of people ask me how I did it. I tried to give my friends the perfect diet and exercise formula, but I quickly saw that it was too hard for them to follow. I didn’t know then what I know now about beliefs and habits. Our habits are our daily actions, they shape and create the story of our lives and the identity of who we think we are. Dr. Joe Dispenza says in the book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, “The Greatest Habit You Can Ever Break Is the Habit of Being Yourself.” If you can break the habit of thinking that you are a picky eater, or unhealthy then you will start to create a new version of yourself. At any moment of any day, you have the power to change what you believe.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Emotional wellness is about processing your emotions and your heart center. All humans, or at least MOST of us have some sort of emotional trauma from our past. When these strong emotions go undealt with or are repressed, they create emotional wounds that live within the body. Clearing out these experiences is healing. It’s very common, and science is now studying this to uncover the link between negative emotions and physical illness. Therefore, if you want to achieve physical wellness, you must create good emotional wellness habits.

My three favorite emotional wellness habits are forgiveness letters, doing a judgment detox, and journaling.

Forgiveness Letters — Unforgiveness is the greatest trap to keep you from the wellness you desire and deserve. So many of us still give things power that happened once, and yet we’ve relived that moment 500 times. Forgiveness letters are a very healing way to process those past emotions. Spiritual strength is not measured by how much you can hold onto, it’s measured by how much you can release.

The following forgiveness exercise is one that I take my clients through. Take 5 minutes and write down the people who you need to forgive to move forward into a happier and healthier life. Write down everyone who comes to mind, big or small, don’t judge the thought, and don’t forget to include yourself.

To complete this exercise schedule time one day to work through this list by writing forgiveness letters to everyone. You will NOT send these private letters. Do not show or share with anyone. You will likely want to burn them after. This is a powerful exercise to regain your power and move on.

Judgment Detox — The next emotional wellness habit that you can start practicing right now is living a judgment-free life. Gabrielle Bernstein says in her book Judgment Detox, “We are all innocent children who became deeply traumatized. We are afraid of love, and we use judgment to protect ourselves.” Ultimately, love is the antidote to judgment. Love heals all. You cannot judge another or judge yourself and feel love at the same time. To start a judgment detox, make a list of all the judgments you’ve ever had about yourself and anyone else. Then answer these questions for each, what or whom, and I judging, how does this judgment make me feel? Why do I feel justified in this judgment? And what moment in my life triggered me to feel justified in this judgment? Don’t discredit the seemingly minor judgments because you may discover a bigger pattern at work. Once you discover the patterns then the healing can begin.

Journaling — This is a powerful and often underestimated tool to help create emotional wellbeing. I’ve always loved to journal my thoughts and it wasn’t until recently that I realized that it was my way of processing how I was feeling. It’s a good habit to get into setting a time and having a devoted notebook just for journaling. Some days you may not want to do it or may not know what to write but often those days when you do it anyway, you feel the best after.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

Yes, our body language plays a huge role in how we feel and our overall emotional wellness. Have you ever looked at a sunset or an adorable little puppy and not smiled? Have you ever genuinely smiled and still felt bad? Not likely.

Very similar to posture when you sit up and pull your shoulders back you feel more confident than if you are slouched over with your head down.

I think doing the things you love, things that make you smile will help to will improve your emotional wellness. This doesn’t mean that if you are feeling bad that you should force a smile until you feel better. When you are feeling bad that is perfectly ok. It’s natural to feel good and bad emotions. What matters is how long you choose to stay in that negative feeling. Have a list of twenty things you can go to when you are in a bad mood, that will make you smile. It might be putting on your favorite song and dancing around the room, or cooking a favorite meal.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Spiritual wellness is the path to optimal wellness. When you connect yourself spiritually to the unlimited possibilities of infinite potential you can be, do and have anything you desire. Spiritual wellness to me is about transcending time, space, and matter.

Most of us have lost connection with our spiritual nature. While growing up we learned to believe that we live in a purely physical world. Even if you don’t see yourself as a spiritual person you have probably had moments in your life when you felt an incredible connection to nature or something greater. What if you were not a human being having a spiritual experience, but you were a spiritual being having a human experience?

Spiritual connection — Create time every day to connect spiritually. The purpose is to eventually remain connected all day long. If you have an incredibly spiritual practice but then you’re miserable all day at your job, then you’re not cultivating wellness. The way you create a connection is entirely up to you. A great way to start is through meditation. You can start by doing a guided body scan mediation to help you relax into a peaceful state between sleep and awake. Once in that state you want to be, feel and listen. Sometimes I feel something from within me like a spiritual whisper from my future self. I often hear those when I’m looking for guidance in life.

Bedtime imagination — Get into the habit of imagining the healthy, and strong body that you want to have right before you fall asleep. This is because the doorway to the unconscious mind opens when you’re between sleep and wakefulness. Imagining while in this state will impress what you want on your unconscious mind as your sleep. You must be in the consciousness of being or having that which you want to be or have before you drop off to sleep. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination.

Gratitude List — Appreciation and gratitude can be a powerful practice to help you feel happy and to attract more health and happiness into your life experience. Making a simple gratitude practice part of your daily routine can be life-changing. To create a new gratitude habit, start with making a list of five things you feel thankful for every morning. It’s a great way to set the tone for your day. It always reminds me of how incredibly blessed I already am, and even though I have desires for new experiences, I already have so much to be thankful for.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Nature is healing and a very powerful way to cultivate spiritual wellness. I made it my mission this last winter to get outside for walks even when it was cold and snowy. Staying stuck inside the house for days on end was draining my energy. I know a lot of people can relate to that.

I fell in love with running because when I ran by the lake and through the forests, I felt free. The combination of the running and the water was very healing for me. When I was in a low place mentally, running out in nature kept my soul spark alive. I could have been feeling terrible about my body but when I went out to run I’d instantly feel better. I think running out in nature helped me to heal my relationship with my body greatly.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’d love to help inspire and motivate a generation of women to embrace self-love and to understand how to transform from the inside out through spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical wellness. I’d love to see a world where the headlines on the magazines and social media aren’t about the perfect diet or exercise plan or how to lose 20lbs in 10 days, or even “how to beat the bloat!” But instead, they are about how to tune into your inner being to cultivate power, strength, and optimal wellness.

Imagine a tribe of women who celebrate when they see another woman living in her truth and embracing her beauty rather than feeling insecure because of it. I see a world where women don’t need to wear a mask of false identity. They are free from the illusion of the Unicorn Syndrome. They are free to be who they truly are inside and out. They embrace their unique inner and outer beauty and in doing so they inspire others to do the same. I can see this creating such a powerful energy that it changes the world and makes it a more beautiful and loving place to live.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

There are so many incredible people, how can I choose just one? I’d love to have a private brunch with Stephanie Buttermore @stephanie_buttermore. I’ve been following her journey on social media for a few years now. She does things differently and goes against the grain of what typical fitness influencers do. I love how real, vulnerable and authentic she is. I watched her document her “all-in” journey for a whole year, and it inspired and amazed me in so many ways. I’d love to talk with her and pick her brain on all thing’s fitness, body image, self-love, and building a brand with influence on social media.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you for reading. If anything resonated with you I’d love to hear from you get to know you over on Instagram! Follow me @allison.woodley

I have a special surprise for you over at there you can download a free copy of my ebook; Healing Through Self-Love.

You can get more goodies and weekly videos inside my Healthy & Happy Facebook Community, everyone is welcome:

Lastly, you can find free resources and ways to work with me at

Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

Thank you so much! I appreciate the opportunity. It’s been a pleasure.

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