Welcome to the first edition of my newsletter on living with more ease, meaning, and fulfullment.
Suzanne Manser, PhD
Licensed Psychologist

Welcome to the first edition of my newsletter!

In each quarterly(ish) edition, you’ll find useful explanations, definitions, and strategies, as well as article, book, and podcast recommendations.

My intent is to bring more ease, self-acceptance, meaning, and fulfillment into our lives. I'm excited to share this with you!

For more frequent tips, join me on Instagram (@drsuzannemanser):

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Tool of the Day:
Taking In The Good


This is one of my favorites; I use it all the time. This strategy is used to increase the impact of the positive moments of your life.

First, a little background. We have a negativity bias: we tend to notice negative things more easily than positive things, and we tend to learn negative information more easily than positive. Our brains evolved that way for survival purposes. We had one chance to learn that a tiger was deadly, so our brains took that information in quickly and learned it well. However, we didn’t have to learn that a flower was not deadly with the same urgency, so our brains did not devote so much energy to positive information.

Fast forward to today. We are much quicker to take in criticisms than compliments. We are more likely to notice the minor inconveniences that pepper our day, rather than what goes well. Our brains still think we’re in danger of not surviving when something "negative" happens. This is one of those situations where it’s helpful to be smarter than your brain.

Rick Hanson, PhD did some research and came up with a strategy called Taking in the Good to help us correct this bias. He found that when a positive event happens, we have to actively “take it in” for 20-30 seconds for our brains to learn it like they automatically learn negative information.

So if you want to be impacted by a positive event (and who doesn’t??), you have to stop and take it in for half a minute. That means think about it, write about it, and/or keep feeling the feelings it evoked. Keep it alive in your mind. Here’s the extra helpful part: the more we use this tool, the more easily our brains will notice positive events on their own (thanks to neuroplasticity).

Try it: Intend to Take in the Good for the next 24 hours. First, think about what positive events look like in your life so that you are more likely to notice them when they arise. Then time 30 seconds a few times to get a feel for how long it is. Finally, start noticing and taking in.

Examples of positive events: seeing something beautiful; someone smiling at you; someone laughing at your joke; completing a task; being given a compliment; having fun; something going well; something that makes you smile.

Somewhat Random but Helpful
Science-Based Articles

Gut and Heart Signals Affect How We See Ourselves

No, Stress Isn’t Always Bad. Here’s How To Harness It.

Six Ways to Deal with Parental Burnout

The Science of Mindfulness

Eating Disorders Corner

“Food is not the enemy. Self-hate is.” — TheLoveYourselfChallenge

 This corner is devoted to addressing eating disorders, disordered eating, and body image. I have specialized in treating people with all of the above since 1999. It is a large part of my work and my heart. This corner is for those of us on the journey of disconnecting our worth from our size or what we eat.

Definition/Explanation of the Day:
Health At Every Size ® (HAES®)

Terms like “overweight” and “obese” are outdated. They’re based on the outdated and harmful weight-centered approach to treating patients. According to this approach, health can be assessed by assessing weight. This is why we get weighed at the doctor’s office. According to this approach, there is a weight, or a range of weights, at which you are deemed “healthy.” If you are above this range, your weight is automatically considered a health problem. Weight, not health, becomes the focus. (If you believe BMI to be a reasonable assessment of health, please read this.)

The weight-centered approach is not actually accurate, and it has created and perpetuated weight stigma and fatphobia. People in bigger bodies are judged and treated negatively – by family, friends, random strangers, and their doctors – based on their weight alone. Turns out, you can be healthy and fat. Just as you can be unhealthy and thin. Someone’s weight tells you nothing conclusive about their health, or anything else about them. Period.  

Health At Every Size ® (HAES®) offers an alternative, updated approach based on health, not weight. A HAES-informed professional recognizes that weight is not a problem and is not relevant to health. They understand weight stigma and do not recommend weight loss. They recommend healthy behaviors for patients in all body sizes, and they advocate body respect. HAES is strongly oriented toward social justice and focuses on policy change as well as individual patients.

There are 5 HAES principles: Weight Inclusivity, Health Enhancement, Respectful Care, Eating for Well-being, and Life Enhancing Movement. The focus is always on health and respect.

To Learn More about Health At Every Size …

Website: Get more information about HAES and the 5 principles.

Books: Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight (2010), Lindo Bacon, PhD and Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight (2014), Lindo Bacon, PhD & Lucy Aprhamor, PhD, RD

Podcasts: Try this episode of RD Real Talk – Registered Dietitians Keeping It Real for an explanation of HAES by Dr. Jennifer Guadiani.
For podcasts by HAES specialists, try Food Psych, with Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN and Don’t Salt My Game, with Laura Thomas, PHD.

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