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Feeling Good About Feeling Good: Part 1 – Dropping the Drama

I’ve been seeing an alarming trend a lot in clients, friends and myself. It seems like everyone feels just a little bit guilty when they are feeling good.  Somehow as humans we are a little bit unsure that we deserve to be happy, or healthy, or whole or generally unburdened.  There’s kind of a resting level of guilt, anxiety and martyrdom that everyone acknowledges, recognizes, and accepts as their due.

It’s not quite social acceptable to actually feel good, be optimistic or have a positive world view.  Although it is socially acceptable to put on a brave face, to soldier through, and to rally under pressure. But why? And more importantly, how do we stop buying into that ridiculously destructive collective insanity? We’ll make this a series, because I’m guessing we can talk a bit about it. 🙂

Feeling good about feeling good. Un-learn your story today to get a little breathing room in the feeling good department. Lovely photo from Renesis on wikimedia commons.

Feeling good about feeling good. Un-learn your story today to get a little breathing room in the feeling good department. Lovely photo from Renesis on wikimedia commons.

Step 1 to Feeling Good: Allowing Yourself The Benefits of Drama, Without the Drama.

Here’s the thing. You love drama. You will deny this, but at a fundamental level all humans do. You LOVE drama. You crave it (I do too). Here’s why:

  • Having drama means you’re important enough to have drama – this meets our craving for status, influence, recognition.
  • It means your lire is exciting in some way (even if it’s a bad way). Internally this has a lot of value for all of us humans – we like to have interesting things to talk about. This is also about status and recognition, but also just good socializing.
  • It means you have an excuse to be “too busy” to do the things you didn’t want to do anyway or to take on the extra projects/duties/responsibilities/crap that you didn’t want to take on anyway.This allows us a graceful way to say no, because saying no is really hard.
  • Drama gets sympathy points from everyone else, and on some level we all love both sympathizing with someone else, and also getting sympathy. This is sort of what makes us human, and a community. This meets a big need for care and community from the people around us.

So – the goal here is recognizing when we really have something going on and honor that – make time and space, take what we need and be human. Also to recognize when we’re just creating drama, exaggerating a situation, or making excuses. Sometimes there really is drama and that’s life, but lots of times there really isn’t and in those moments we can just drop it.  Differentiating can be incredibly difficult, but it’s so liberating to stop making excuses, gossiping about yourself and your problems, and just be.

Recognizing when you’re Creating Drama

If you can learn to let go of the story and find what you need in another way, then things do actually get a whole lot simpler. It becomes easy to answer the question “How are you?” with a “great” rather than a dramatic story about how bad/busy/stressed/tired/overworked/crazy/etc… you are. Or to answer the “how are you” question with a “crappy” if that’s the real answer.  There doesn’t have to be a story, sometimes it’s just crappy. But all in all, letting go of your story makes it easier to just feel good. To feel good about feeling good even. Here are some ways to recognize when you’re making something more difficult than it needs to be:

What is Your Story?

Sometimes there is a story that they (or I ) tell over and over in some version that becomes sort of routine.  It’s the story you don’t have to think about, you just tell, and it usually gets an emotional reaction – sympathy, moral outrage on your behalf, something.  Often it starts with a phrase like “You wouldn’t believe…” or “Guess what’s happening now…” or “Listen to this…” and the other person responds by emoting. In many ways we are mutually entertained by this, but we also kind of get stuck in the cycle of that being the way things are because we’re getting positive reinforcement. The relevant question to ask when you notice your story, is:

Is this the way I actually want to be in the world? Or am I perpetuating a story that doesn’t need to exist?

I’ll give you the example that I am working on letting go of – this is my “story”.

You wouldn’t believe how busy I am! I’ve really bitten off more than I can chew between [insert random obligation here] and [another random obligation] I feel like I hardly have any time at all. And now my boss is asking me to [yet another obligation].

My typical story is all about being busy. SO busy. SO VERY busy. And it’s usually told as a bid for sympathy and also a bit of a brag, all rolled into one. Which is recognizably absurd – I know. Ironically it has taken me years to notice that this is my story, and as much time to sort out why.  As it turns out it’s because I perceive my value in the world to be about the things I do – the activities and the accomplishments and the ways I’m productive in the world. So by being so busy, I”m also being “so valuable” (sort of sad, right?)

The most absurd part is that while I’m telling that story I continue to perpetuate it – I take on more projects, I say yes to the next random obligation, I sleep less and try to do more.  CLEARLY this is me creating my own drama and recognizing my story can help me to stop telling it.

Letting Go Of Your Story

To start letting go of your story you have to start to recognize what you personally get out of it. This is different for every person and requires some painful soul searching. Here’s the list of things I think I get from my story:

  • Value – by telling this story some part of me feels valuable – I’m doing things.
  • Emotional connection– other people express sympathy for my workload – it’s a way to know that people care about me and to feel connected.
  • Kudos – doing it all with a smile makes me “brave” or “good” or some other undefinable something.
  • Excuses – I get to say no with good reason to the things I really don’t want to do.  I Don’t even have to say “no” I can say “I would love to, but…”

For me letting go of this story means finding other ways to get or do those things, better ways. As absurd as it sounds this is actually deeply emotional work. For most people, the story that they tell is reflective of some deeply held beliefs about the world and their place in it, and it’s usually a kind of dysfunctional way of going about it.

  1. Recognize Your Story – this has to be the first step. You can’t change it unless you see what it is.  It’s harder than it looks and the best way to figure it out is to ask your friends. Not acquaintances, but the people who have known you for years. They will know your story right away and if you give them permission, they will usually be able to tell you.  Make sure you ask when you’re in an emotional place to actually hear them and not get defensive about what they say because it can be hard to hear.
  2. Pay Attention When You’re Telling It – start to notice what you feel when you’re telling your story.  Notice how the other person reacts and how that makes you feel. Check in to see if there are benefits that you get out of this.
  3. Build Your List of Things You Get From Your Story – you have to know what you’re getting out of it to be able to change it.
  4. One At A Time Find Other Ways to Get Those Things – this is the really hard part, and it will be different for every person. I”ve used a number of tools to separate my emotional feeling that my value is in what I do (not who I am) with the logical recognition that this doesn’t make sense. This has included Byron Katie’s “The Work,” hypnotherapy, meditation and a lot of personal contemplation (not to mention years of homeopathy and the occasional counselor thrown in there). It’s also included growing enough of a spine to learn to say no (we’ll do a whole post on that).
  5. Un-Learn Your Story – practice not telling your story. Recognize the situations when you would normally launch in, and don’t.  It feels awkward to not say it, it feels like there’s a weird conversational faux-pas happening, but just don’t give in. Practice first with friends and ask them to give you gentle reminders when you’re launching into your story.  Ask them to help you notice.
  6. Be Gentle With Yourself – this is far more difficult than you think it’s going to be.  It involves looking at your own most vulnerable pieces. The parts of you that learned something in childhood that your adult brain now has to sort through.
  7. Start Feeling Good about Feeling Good – this is what it’s all about.  You’re dropping your story so that you can let go of dysfunctional ways of getting what you need. This is about learning to feel good without using drama as a crutch. It’s about learning to feel good about feeling good and not letting guilt (about being happy) get in the way of actually being happy. We humans are crazy hairless monkeys, so we might as well enjoy it and not get all neurotic.

It can be tremendously liberating to let go of your story, but it also takes time. Just be gentle with yourself and ease your way into feeling good about feeling good.

Benefits of Lemon Water for Liver, Gallbladder and Energy

We’ve discussed lemons for skin health and beauty, but what about the awesome benefits of lemon water for your liver, your gallbladder and even your energy? Not to mention the zesty taste! Lemon water has this sort of ambiguously detox-y reputation on the interwebs.  Seems like a lot of people like the way it makes them feel, most people seem to feel it does something related to detox but isn’t sure quite what, and some people claim it’s the cure-all. I’m not going to ever call anything a cure-all because every person’s physiology is unique, but there are some things that are pretty universally good, and as it turns out having a nice, hot lemon water in the morning is one of those.

The benefits of lemon water make this little guy a superfood. Thanks to Evan Amos for the great photo.

The benefits of lemon water make this little guy a superfood. Thanks to Evan Amos for the great photo.

The Actual Benefits of Lemon Water


  • The acidity of lemon juice makes it a much-used cholagogue for herbalists and even the doctors of yore (yore has to be one of my favorite words – I couldn’t resist a chance to sneak it in there). Cholagogues promote the discharge of bile from the system, purging it downward.  In plain English, that means that when you eat or drink lemon or lemon juice it stimulates your body to release bile into your intestinal tract to pass through into the stool. Bile helps you to digest fats that you eat, and it also helps eliminate cholesterol and fat soluble toxins.  This makes lemon water a gentle detoxifier.
  • Just as a fun factoid, if you’re not sure if something is a good cholagogue (the new word of the day), just taste it.  Cholagogues are usually strongly sour or bitter and you can feel that little salivary gland at the back of your jaw start to freak out.  Lemons are all over this!
  • Your liver does much of it’s heavy lifting overnight while you sleep. In the morning there can be a back-log of toxins from the night before that your body would love to eliminate. To do that it honestly benefits pretty greatly from both the water – especially warm water, and the lemon juice itself.
  • Lemon juice may even stimulate healthy production of both bile and stomach acid and it was used historically to do just that, although there isn’t research out there to support this use.


  • In addition to the lemon, there’s the water and the water is actually key to this whole thing.  Detoxification, which is essentially cleaning, requires water just like every other washing job you’ve ever done.  Have you ever tried cleaning the dishes without water? Washing the car? Yup. All hinges on water.
  • Let’s face it – we all struggle for that 8-10 glasses of water we’re supposed to get every day. With lemon water at least one of them tastes good!

Think More Clearly

  • There is a strongly established link between getting enough water and using your brain effectively. The mountain of research on this link for adults is huge and there’s even research showing clearly this link in kiddos.
  • Essential oil of lemon, which is the lemon smell released by the lemon water, is also shown to improve mood and cognitive performance in adults, so double whammy.
  • Triple whammy! The bioflavenoids in citrus fruit are also shown to boost cognitive performance including nobilitin and hesperidin.

Lose Weight and Boost Heart Health

  • A study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that drinking more water boosts metabolism by about 30% for both men and women.  That is incredibly helpful! The study went on to say that people who drank 1.5 liters of water per day burn an additional 17,400 calories over a year just through this one simple step. That’s a weight loss of 5 pounds, just by drinking water.
  • An additional study on the lemon detox diet showed that adding lemon detox drink to a low calorie diet actually improves the cardiovascular benefits of that diet.  They compared three groups, one eating a normal diet, one eating a calorie restricted diet and one eating a calorie restricted diet plus lemon water sweetened with maple syrup. Both low calorie groups lost weight, lowered their insulin and reduced their waist-hip ratios but only the lemon water group showed improvements in cardiovascular inflammation.

Get Your Antioxidants

  • Lemon water from the recipe below has about 22 mg of vitamin C, or 36% of your daily value. It also has small amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E.
  • Citrus bioflavenoids are an incredibly diverse group of compounds that are high-powered antioxidants and every day there is new research emerging for compounds such as hesperidin, quercitin, rutin, nobilitin and there are literally hundreds of others that have yet to be researched.

Boost Your Happy

  • Lemon essential oil is one of the scents most associated with elevated mood.  It is stimulating to the energy but not agitating – it remains calming to the nerves. In short, it gives you the happy.

Not only that but one of the best benefits of lemon water is that you can drink this, and also your coffee. It doesn’t have caffeine and so won’t conflict at all with that beloved morning ritual. Now – if you want to enjoy the health benefits of lemon water, here’s a fantastic recipe:

Lemon Water Recipe

Juice from 1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon
Zest from the peel – just a few swipes will do
12-16 oz hot water (I prefer 16 to soften the tartness)
If you can’t tolerate the tartness then a little bit of raw honey

Mix it all together in your favorite mug and enjoy the lovely fresh smell, the tart wake-me-up taste and all those health benefits of lemon water. And no worries – you can still have a coffee or tea if you want without worrying about being over-caffeinated.