…Seek the good in everything. If you have an unpleasant task to complete, instead of procrastinating, find a way to make it enjoyable to you. I used to put off doing my taxes each year until the very last minute which would create self-imposed stress. Yes, I would get my taxes done in record time, but at the cost of having to experience frustration, negative self-talk and needless stress for both myself and my family. Once I decided to see the good in breaking this task down into bite size pieces, it was easy to complete it much sooner and with months to spare. Noticing how happy I was once it was done and even happier when tax day came, knowing I had alleviated myself of unnecessary stress was a key factor to my wellbeing. I also use this habit of seeing the good in every conversation I have. We can never know what someone else is experiencing deep down and when others get angry, sarcastic or even aloof, I allow them space to process without taking their mood personally. We all have ‘off’ days and a little compassion can make all the difference.
Many ancient traditions around the world believe ‘wellbeing’ or ‘bienestar’ is a state of harmony within ourselves and our world, where we are in balance mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Colleen Elaine.
Board Certified Hypnotist and Reiki Level II Practitioner, Colleen Elaine reconnects those in the fray with their zest for life. Merging her expert skills and intuitive abilities, Colleen guides and compassionately supports clients in regaining the lost or unaccepted parts of the self which may be holding them back from living fully. Colleen is a speaker with Women Speakers Association, an Expert Instructor for Inspired Living University™, bestselling coauthor, and contributor to Aspire Magazine. Learn more at https://www.Colleenelaine.com
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?
Of course Sonia, I would love to! I am one of 4 children and my family moved from Michigan to Florida when I was 6 years old and I’ve been here ever since. I remember driving across the bridge approaching Clearwater Beach and being in awe of the glistening water and the palm trees swaying in the breeze — I knew I was ‘home’ as I heard angels singing in my head, even though I had never been there before. I grew up loving nature, fashion, feng shui and anything to do with energy and human potential. I have always been fascinated with observing people and family dynamics, wondering what made each of them ‘tick’, react or respond in the ways they did.
What or who inspired you to pursue a career in helping others? We’d love to hear the story.
I remember being in high school and hearing about the Peace Corp as well as seeing Mother Teresa on TV and the movie of Ghandi. I was inspired by mission work yet could not imagine being able to travel to other countries at that point in my life since I was always told, by my parents, to go to school and get a good job. Having a felt sense of grace and gratitude when I helped others, I knew that I was destined for some type of service career. I fell into a career as a real estate appraiser right out of high school and did that for over 30 years before finding and delving into the magical world of hypnotherapy. With a passion for personal development, I spent countless years being my own guinea pig to find what was most effective in healing my own childhood trauma before I felt ready to step into a space of helping others heal as a career — hence, healing the ‘perfectionist’ part of me.
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?
Absolutely, yes! I’m so glad you asked, this is my favorite question. When I was around 9 or 10 years old, my brother, sisters and I spent the weekdays of summer at an outdoor camp at our elementary school. There was a park director named Debbie that I really admired — she was funny, bold and comfortably confident in herself. During the summer there were many activities from playing cards and various field trips to group sports and mental challenges. I was reserved and shy and reluctant to participate in many of the activities. Debbie was very encouraging of me to try out every activity and always cheered me on, giving me the boost of confidence I needed to get off the sidelines and partake in the fun.
At the end of the summer, there was a banquet and I remember walking in and seeing a table full of trophies and one was much taller than all the others. My brother and I walked over to the table and on the tallest trophy, was my name and the words “Outstanding Participant.” I was glowing at that moment and feeling so accomplished as I had never received any award nor had I anticipated receiving one at summer camp. My inner spark was ignited and I won that trophy again the following year, then my family moved to another part of town. That memory is always at the forefront of my mind when I need encouragement to step out of my comfort zone. I continue to say a silent prayer of gratitude to Debbie for seeing and believing in me, what I could not see and believe in myself. That has shaped how I want to serve others, as we often only need one person to believe in us to ignite our spark.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of pursuing your passion? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
Certainly. I had a new client that wanted a hypnotherapy session to release his sugar addiction. We spoke briefly about the issue and triggers over the phone, as I always do before a scheduling the session, and I then outlined his transformational script to assist me during his session. Well, once I regressed him back to the root cause of his obsession with sweets, it came out that he was using sweets to cover up a deeper issue — erectile dysfunction. Needless to say, my prep work was out the window and I had to use what was showing up in the moment to craft a new transformational recording for him on the fly. My big takeaway was that you never know what lies beneath a presenting problem until you tap into the subconscious mind for the truth — the body never lies. I learned that I can’t always know the direction a session will take and to be willing to flow with whatever shows up. As an avid researcher, organizer and planner, I had to overcome my compulsion to know and control.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
My favorite “Life Lesson Quote” is “You are always only one choice away from changing your life” — I live and work by this quote as I wholeheartedly believe that just one committed choice can change everything. I learned this by example when my family was going through tumultuous times when a family member was struggling with addiction. That experience was the turning point for me to be honest with how I was showing up or not for my family and to make the choice to put my priorities in order of what I valued most — my family relationships.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Another excellent question! I am currently working on a virtual program that will be a transformational journey to improve family relationships through self-exploratory/self-mastery work. When one person changes on the inside, they reflect that change on the exterior, thus everything and everyone around them changes as a result. I have firsthand experience with this transformative work and am looking forward to helping many families heal from past trauma, betrayal, disempowering patterns or ancestral wounds. Publishing my first solo book — Journey to Wholeness: How One Choice Changed Everything, is also a top priority for me this year as well as ramping up my YouTube channel with informative and inspirational videos and seeking more speaking opportunities.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In my writing, I talk about cultivating wellbeing habits in our lives, in order to be strong, vibrant and powerful co-creators of a better society. What we create is a reflection of how we think and feel. When we get back to a state of wellbeing and begin to create from that place, the outside world will reflect this state of wellbeing. Let’s dive deeper into this together. Based on your experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
I would love to! One good habit that can lead to optimum mental wellbeing is to embrace the fact that there is only one thing we ever really have control over — our thoughts! Since we all are bombarded with over 70,000 thoughts per day, it can be difficult to realize that we have the power to say yes or no to any thought that presents itself. Since we are all energy, we are feeling and sensing the energy of others all the time and that includes the thoughts of others. As such, we may not realize that the thoughts we are thinking are not our own and that we can let them go because we absolutely DO have that power. I would encourage your readers to experiment with this by becoming the observer of their thoughts for an entire day. Each time a thought presents itself ask: Is this thought mine? Do I accept it or believe it? Does it serve me or can I let it go and think a better thought? Our free will was meant to assist each of us in deciphering what is true and correct for each of us, individually, because what is true for me may not be true for you. I have learned so much about my inner thoughts by performing this exercise which makes it so much easier to know when someone else’s thought is infiltrating my mind.
A second good habit is to be mindful of your breathing. Have you ever noticed all of a sudden that you were holding your breath — maybe during an intense movie scene or even during a networking meeting? Becoming more mindful of your breathing patterns can have a powerfully positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Noticing when your breathing becomes shallow or when you hold your breath can shed light on what is triggering stress for you.
I realized this crucial benefit once when I was experiencing severe headaches and while driving over a bridge, found a blackness coming from the back of my head and across my eyes for a few seconds. It was a scary situation to be driving and unable to see, especially over the ocean! I realized that in the minute leading up to that moment, I had been holding my breath and most likely exacerbating my headache to the point of nearly blacking out. I had this experience a few more times before I learned to become aware of my body’s consistent need for oxygen, especially in times of stress. No medical cause was ever found for my issue and I can happily say that I have never experienced the headaches or near black outs since. I attribute this to becoming aware of what was triggering me to hold my breath and my resulting commitment to breathing deeply and mindfully for optimum wellness.
The third good habit would be to seek the good in everything. If you have an unpleasant task to complete, instead of procrastinating, find a way to make it enjoyable to you. I used to put off doing my taxes each year until the very last minute which would create self-imposed stress. Yes, I would get my taxes done in record time, but at the cost of having to experience frustration, negative self-talk and needless stress for both myself and my family. Once I decided to see the good in breaking this task down into bite size pieces, it was easy to complete it much sooner and with months to spare. Noticing how happy I was once it was done and even happier when tax day came, knowing I had alleviated myself of unnecessary stress was a key factor to my wellbeing. I also use this habit of seeing the good in every conversation I have. We can never know what someone else is experiencing deep down and when others get angry, sarcastic or even aloof, I allow them space to process without taking their mood personally. We all have ‘off’ days and a little compassion can make all the difference.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
Oh yes, I love meditation. My favorite practice is to sit outside in nature. I have a lovely area in my backyard that my husband and I have named ‘the grotto’ where I sit amidst the trees, close my eyes and just allow myself to be in a place of peace and ask ‘what guidance do I most need right now?’ I then just sit in the silence with my ears open to hear, my mind open to receive and all my senses taking in the experience (a gentle breeze, birds chirping, the smell of blooming gardenias or sometimes hearing a lawn mower in the distance — its all good!) I sit until I have received my answer which could be anything from a word or phrase to a feeling of contentment. Just ‘being’ in nature is a beautiful meditation itself while receiving an answer or guidance is the icing on the cake.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
Yes, the first good habit for optimum physical wellbeing would be to stay hydrated with lots of clean, fresh water. The body is designed to heal itself naturally and if it is not sufficiently and consistently hydrated, it cannot functional optimally. This is my #1 habit for optimum physical wellbeing because ITS THAT IMPORTANT! Our bodies are mostly water so when we are not drinking enough, our organs, our brain and internal workings cannot function properly to maintain homeostasis. It is our job therefore, to stay hydrated with water and nourished with good nutrition. I rarely get thirsty and have learned that if you do get thirsty, you are already dehydrated. It has been a constant challenge for me to drink enough water each day so I use a 32 ounce water bottle with me so I can keep track of my intake.
The second good habit I would recommend is to move your body every day. It doesn’t matter if you choose to walk, run, dance, play tennis or wrestle with your kids — the point is to move your body, all of it and have fun while you move. The age old saying ‘use it or lose it’ is true — just 2 weeks of laying in bed can cause your muscles to atrophy. I would also suggest using your non-dominant side more often by writing with the non-dominant hand, putting the non-dominant leg into your pants first while getting dressed, brush your teeth with the other hand and use all your moving parts equally to maintain proper balance over time. As we age, losing balance is one of the first things we notice, especially with our necks and heads becoming forward-extended due to the habit of looking at computer screens or cell phones. Be mindful of your posture and pull both shoulders back, stand tall, stretch your body daily and keep your eyes on the horizon — your body will thank you by staying balanced and flexible every time you treat it with care and respect by lovingly moving it. I learned this the hard way after two auto accidents within 6 months of each other left me with serious back and neck pain. Moving my body again and stretching both sides equally allowed by muscles to become more balanced as allowing one side of my body to over-compensate for the other had caused a host of other problems over time.
Finally, the third habit I would recommend is to maintain a habit of getting a good night’s sleep. Your body repairs itself while you sleep and if you aren’t getting good sleep, your body will be unable to replenish itself for optimal physical wellbeing. Hypnosis meditations for sleep are a great way to unwind your mind, relax your body and allow sleep to come to you easily. I love making custom recordings for my clients who are having difficultly getting restful sleep — it makes all the difference in the world to wake up feeling well rested with recharged energy. Too many nights with interrupted or little sleep lowers the immune system and it is vital to our physical wellbeing to keep our immune system in optimum shape for our health and vitality. I learned this well after I spent a year with insomnia, awakening each night to thoughts and emotions that were bubbling up to be processed. I also learned that creating the perfect sleep environment by removing electronics, clutter or anything that doesn’t feel conducive to your idea of the perfect sleep environment is paramount. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for rest and revitalization!
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 some great ways to begin to integrate it into our lives?
My favorite way to integrate healthy eating is to think about how my body will feel after I eat a particular food. I know that my body does not feel well after I eat sugary foods, heavy restaurant entrees, or fast food. So, I choose to extremely limit those foods because I want to feel good in my body. I love eating organic fruits and vegetables, healthy ‘Buddha’ bowls (a grain, beans or meat for protein, , fresh veggies and a drizzle of olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice), grilled meat (lucky for me, my husband is somewhat of a ‘Grill Master’), fresh salads and I always make my own salad dressings with a variety of oils, citrus juice and spices. If you aren’t great in the kitchen and tend to eat out a lot, my suggestion is to start slowly by making healthy meals at home a few nights a week and get the whole family involved in the process. There are so many recipes, videos and how-to’s available that the possibilities are endless. All you need to do is COMMIT to changing one habit and begin a new healthier one. Before you know it, you and your body will love the healthier habit and you may shed some weight and learn a new skill or passion in the process. Win-Win!!
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
My first good habit for optimum emotional wellbeing is to have a good self-care practice. Creating a personalized self-care practice is all about filling up your cup. We all give so much of our time and energy to others and we cannot give from an empty cup so you must fill yours first and to do that, you have to know what brings you peace, feelings of wellbeing and serenity. For me, that looks like space in my home where I can retreat to read a book or just be silent; essential oils to add to a hot bath or a diffuser; oracle or tarot cards to do a guided reading; a journal to express my thoughts and feelings and music that helps me process feelings and emotions or gets me up and moving my body.
My second habit would be having a trusted friend to speak to without fear of judgement, one who listens and holds space for your innermost thoughts to be heard, felt and supported. If you have never had such a friend, a journal is a great way to express yourself. Either way, optimum emotional wellbeing is enhanced by the ability to be honest with yourself and witnessed by another or merely to vent when you need to let off some emotional steam. I have both, a best friend from high school that loves me unconditionally and a journal that expresses all of me as a whole person; the parts I love and the parts I am still working on loving.
Thirdly, the habit of checking in with yourself daily by asking, ‘how am I feeling?’ Oftentimes, we get stuck in our heads or logical minds and out of touch with our body, feelings and emotions. We ‘think’ we are ok yet an outburst, tears or a heightened tone of voice may say otherwise. Left unattended, our emotions act out through our words and physical movements. Over time, unprocessed emotions can lead to physical ailments or even illness and disease because emotional energy gets trapped in our body when we don’t allow the emotions to move through us. A personal example of this for me was having two frozen shoulders — 3 years apart (feeling the weight of the world and never asking for help) and two hernia repair surgeries within the same year (broken relationships). Obviously, it took me two go-rounds with each injury to learn to better process my emotions.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellbeing? We’d love to hear it.
Smiling is one of my super-powers! I have often been told I have a great smile and I know the power that a smile can bring to someone’s day. Even if I am not feeling particularly good, just putting a smile on my face gets my facial muscles moving which tells my brain that there is goodness in the world. I highly recommend smiling in the mirror at yourself first thing in the morning while repeating an affirmation — ‘hello beautiful’ or ‘good morning sunshine, it’s going to be a great day!’ Do it every day right after you brush your teeth in the morning!
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellbeing? Please share a story or example for each.
One good habit that can lead to optimum spiritual wellbeing is taking time every day to appreciate life; appreciate your body, the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food that nourishes your body, the clothing that adorns your body, the home where you live, the trees that provide your oxygen, etc. We often get so wrapped up in our daily tasks that we forget to take the time to thank our Creator and truly appreciate being alive. Just a simple ‘thank you for my life’ is enough. My daily prayer of appreciation begins with the sunrise — ‘thank you for this brand new, beautiful day filled with infinite potential.’
Another good habit is to connect with a power greater than yourself whether that be through observing nature, a creative practice like art or dance, a chanting meditation or even savoring a meal made from organic ingredients. Anything that expands your consciousness toward unity with all that is will nurture your spiritual wellbeing. You could even just close your eyes and imagine yourself floating in the galaxy amidst the stars and planets. I practice this habit at bedtime by reminding myself that I am limitless potential as I imagine all the possibilities — this makes for interesting dreams sometimes!
A third good habit would be cultivating a relationship with your guardian angels (yes, we all come to earth with many of them), one or more of the archangels, spirit guides or God, the Universe or whomever you wish to call your higher power. There are so many helpful beings available for us at anytime and all we have to do is — ask and it is given. Speak to one or more angels or guides and speak often — you will receive answers, guidance, help or whatever it is you need for your highest good. Cultivating a relationship with Spirit is a beautiful practice that will serve you all the days of your life and beyond. We can all benefit from our unseen friends. I like to call mine in every time I get in my car — asking for safety and protection in my travels as well as that for everyone on the road with me so that we all reach our destinations timely and safely.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate overall wellbeing?
I sure do. Nature reminds us that everything is constantly changing and growing. A seed needs fertile soil, lots of water and sunlight to grow, as do we. Our minds are the fertile soil, thus what we allow into our minds, water with intention and shine light on with focus, determines the nature of the person we become. Without all the ingredients, life can feel like a drought, a tsunami or a barren desert. Nature also teaches us to be flexible with the changing seasons, to shed what has served its purpose and to welcome opportunities for growth in order to cultivate overall wellbeing. There is an ebb and flow to all of life and learning to respond rather than react to the natural rhythm promotes ultimate wellbeing.
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.
The movement I am compelled to bring is to cultivate a loving and accepting relationship with yourself — to love, respect, trust and become the person you were designed to be by your Creator without the constraints of past programming and societal conditioning molding you into someone you are not. It seems to be an epidemic, to allow ourselves to be programmed by media and advertising or familial or social conditioning — betraying our inner most thoughts, feelings and desires in the process. As we long for something greater in life than what we have experienced thus far, we get to midlife before the pressures of it all rise to the surface to be released. We seek to find the truth of who we really are and if we could just allow children to develop their innate skills and talents earlier in life without having to conform to a broken education system or the pressures of what is deemed ‘socially acceptable’, the world would be a beautiful melting pot of creative souls using their gifts and talents to serve the greater good of humanity.
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 in 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 🙂
Well, of course Sir Richard Branson is at the top of my list, I admire his multi-faceted talents and relaxed composure in building successful businesses and brands based on his ideals and principles and not what society dictated as a norm. I would be enthralled to hear about his funniest experiences and the most challenging moments of his life. I would also love to have a meal with Matt Kahn as I recently watched an interview with him by Lee Harris and learned that Matt loves to cook. I admire his organic growth in developing his gifts and talents and I aspire to do the same. He is spiritual, intuitive, a proponent for being and loving your unique self and is a great cook to boot — make me one of your fabulous meals Matt Kahn while I soak up your wisdom like a velvety bearnaise over eggs benedict with smoked salmon!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I can be found on the web and social media here:
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.
Thank you so much Sonia, it has been a pleasure indeed!