CBM Blog



We have taken on the #100happydays challenge. The objective is to take at least one picture a day of something that makes you happy and post it to social media.  It is a new kind of reflection and exploration for us. We are able to praise the small things and most importantly smile!

Waking up every morning this past week knowing we had to capture at least one happy moment completely changed our perspectives. We were constantly on the look out for happy things- things that make you smile, bring joy, warm your heart, and sometimes bring a giggle or a sigh. One thing we noticed… the intention brought mindfulness and a more consistent note of positivity. The days went by in a similar fashion as they do but we were more present. Small things made us stop and feel gratitude. We were able to expect good things to happen at least once in a day. These moments of happiness are simple and by no means will we end them when our 100 days are up…

Up for the “challenge”? JOIN US>>

Here’s our last week:

#100happydays Week 1 20140126_145023_resized IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0005 IMG_0006 IMG_0007 IMG_0008 IMG_0009 IMG_0010 IMG_0011 IMG_0012 IMG_0013 20140126_105306

Should you really?

I should do this, that, go there, get that done, be this weight, look this way, have this, not do that…. how overwhelming.


In this weeks smiling, exploring, praising and reflecting this article offered much enlightenment. “Should”. We tend to measure our selves by our own extremes. The words “should”, “always”, “must”, “have to”, “never”, “suppose to” are very common in our own self- talk and the discussions we have with ourselves about goals we have set, and standards we aim to reach. Using this language with ourselves we are doomed for failure OR we have already failed. But who said we should, we were suppose to? We are usually the ones who set the standard.

“ I should be losing more weight”

“ I should have gone to ….”

“ I’m suppose to be faster by now”

“ I should have been done with this years ago”

“ I never get it right”

“ I always mess this this up”

“ I will always be fat”

and on and on and on…..


Using the extreme is daunting and painfully degrading. It ’s irrational, as Albert Ellis would say- “stop muster bating yourself” ( We should have set our goal to reflect last year…. well we did not. So here we are. There is still today and tomorrow, but most importantly right now. In this past week as we set our goals it was easy to instantly become overwhelmed with another thing “to do”. That is when it was time to take a step back, breathe, and evaluate our own self standards.


Goals are meant for self-improvement- we set them to feel better. Smiling, exploring, praising, and reflecting are smaller tasks than the four words seem to be. Make them small and adjustable. We usually go by “SMART”- Specific, measurable, action plan, results oriented and time bound”. We were able to break our lofty sounding Smile, Explore, Praise, and Reflect


Smile- one small muscle move in our face. When difficult- close your eyes and think of something or someone your are close to. Or think of a memory that made you laugh- no matter how long ago. Instead of saying- “I should smile more” reframe: “ It feels nice to smile, I can try it more often”


Explore- Walk to a different bus or train stop. Try a new coffee place. Look up a new recipe. Take a different route to work. Try a new yoga class… Try meditating… explore your body. Switch it up from- “I should go out more” to “ I might enjoy trying something new”


Praise- yourself! Reward yourself for smiling and exploring. Treat yourself to a day of rest or a morning to sleep in for accomplishing a goal. Take yourself out dancing or to a movie. Take time to reflect on gratitude and appreciation. Praise a friend for a recent accomplishment or for just being your friend.

I should have gotten that done”, instead “I was able to do this and when I finish this I will do this for myself”


Reflect- Write something, anything. Keep a journal or don’t. You can draw, take notes on your phone, in a book you are reading, or close your eyes and listen to your thoughts- see what happens. Try to start small by writing down 1-3 positive things that happened that day. Maybe start with one affirmation in the morning “I am _____” “loved”, “strong”…

Pay attention to when you were harsh on yourself. Reframe in your reflection from “should” to something more rational, realistic, and simple it might help you smile, explore, pray, and reflect more!


No need to be demanding on yourself. Take it simple and easy. Enjoy yourself in the process.

Eleanor Rooselvelt

Celebrating happiness with a new year

With the year of 2013 behind us, we look back appreciating the lessons we learned and growth we experienced. The benefits from our personal and career challenges are prominent in our 2014 goals as we aim to


1. Explore- everyday. Something new or something scary.

2. Smile- looking for the positives in every day and every moment as we defeat the tendency to jump to negative conclusions.

3. Praise- rewarding ourselves with self-love and care for achieving small goals.

4. Reflect- Aiming to write more, gain perspective, and knowledge as we explore, smile, and praise…and then share!


It’s taken half a month but here goes nothing…. They say its January 17th when resolutions start to die so we thought we’d start today.



Run Test – Life Test?

On your mark, get set, GO. 13 minutes and it’s over. That’s what I told myself for the 2 days before I was to complete the test. 13 minutes of pushing my legs, lungs, and heart. Mind over matter. This 300 yard shuttle run test could possibly be the most mentally daunting task that I have had to accomplish.


This happens before every run test that I do. For two days before the test my anxiety levels rise. The night before consists of me tossing and turning because I can only think about the times. I think to myself, I have to make good times; it has to be competitive with my teammates. If I do poorly on this it will reflect on my work ethic.


The more I think about the stress that comes with the test, the more negative thoughts come to my head. I begin to mentally talk myself out of doing the sprints. At this point I stop myself. Who am I getting these times for? Yes I have to get good times for my coaches, but what about me? I forget the main reason why I am doing. I want to get in shape to be at my peak performance. There is no way I can get to my peak performance if I’m worried about impressing someone else. At this point my goal is to get in shape for myself.


This is how I practice my own mindfulness. I try to catch myself at any negative thoughts and switch it around. I begin to think realistically of what this run test means. It is about improvement and pushing myself. If I am pushing myself I know that I am on my way to getting in the proper shape. In a corny sense, a run test is like life. In life you go through periods of pain. You just have to remember that you will get through it. Be aware of what is happening around you and step up to make it better. It is up to you to take what is difficult and put your best effort to make it better.  The pain from run tests will end, I just have to push through and give it everything I’ve got.


This morning I set my toe up to the line, I counted down in my head, and I ran with everything I had. It was hard and I was tired, but I got through it. More hard work lies ahead.


Living now.

After spending a week on “river time” I let my life become too busy to reflect. Instead of using my experience of pure mindfulness for a week to enhance my self-awareness upon returning to the city, I jumped right back into hectic. Scheduling appointments, checking my phone impulsively, worrying about finances, planning out my days to the half hour, waiting last minute to catch a bus and rushing, procrastinating on busy administrative work, worrying about things I can’t control, looking far ahead, straying away from self-reflection and losing sleep. Then I revisited some pictures…

I spent seven days in the Grand Canyon in early June with a diverse clan of people from all different parts of the country, in different careers, with an array of experience in life. We rafted 90 miles down the Colorado River before hiking out on the Bright Angel Trail. The whole trip consisted of waking up at sunrise, having coffee and breakfast, packing up camp, rafting a few miles, stopping to hike or lunch, rafting some more, hiking and exploring some more, and stopping for the night for dinner, stories, jokes, and sleeping under the stars to wake at sunrise again. There was no cell phone service, and no one had to know what time it was. We woke when the sun woke us, we ate when our stomachs wanted food and our body needed energy, we rode the rapids as they came and we soaked up history, culture, and each others’ company. It was the first time I experienced true mindfulness. There was no use for thinking about the past or future, and when it did creep in, it only took the action of opening up your eyes to the old rock walls around you.

Grand Canyon hike Grand Canyon Rafting and Fishing

Being back in the city it is all too easy to be consumed by the “what if”. We tend to focus on things that might happen, what people might think or how to please them. We get wrapped up in what others are doing on our instagram feeds, facebook, and twitter. All in fun of course but when do we take the time to unplug and be in the moment, soaking up the now?

Unplugging is beneficial for your health. I am able to unplug during exercise when physical effort is felt and my mind is quiet, however what I had in the canyon was peace of mind at rest as well. Stress can wreck more than havoc on your sleeping schedule- it can cause weight gain, skin irritations, high blood pressure, relationship tension,immune deficiency, and procrastination. A busy mind is not always a productive mind. Healthy living requires being active and eating well, but also being present and managing stress to be at ease and productive. One of CBM’s favorite blogs has an array of techniques and skills to enhance mindfulness for healthy living. Its always a nice refresher to visit Mind Body Green  . Check them out for some tips on stress management.

Night Sky on the Colorado

A night under the stars

The Student-Athlete

Hello followers of Chicago CBM! My name is Molly Hulseman and I have recently joined the CBM staff. I will be helping out with the media outlets for CBM. Currently I am a junior biology/psychology major at Loyola University Maryland, and I play on their division I lacrosse team.

I have played sports my entire life, but it has only been in the past three or four years where I realized how mental sports can truly be. My mental game was a large part of my high school success.  As a current college athlete for a program that plays at the highest level, it is most important for me to mentally control my game. My goal for every time I go out onto the practice field is to be at my peak performance.

As a student athlete, I strive to perform in the classroom and on the field to the best of my abilities.  I have a desire to be mentally and physically ready for any challenge that crosses my path. This summer going into my junior year marks the halfway point to this incredible journey that is college as an athlete. As I start the summer workout packet I think about my mental state of the game. For my friends, summer is their time to have fun away from school, but for me it is time for me to focus on what I want to achieve in these next two years of lacrosse. My freshmen year marked a focused state of mind, while my sophomore year was all about distractions. I could not mentally prepare myself for the work that needed to be done. I want to be able to leave my work from the past years and focus on the present. The work starts now physically and mentally. I want to go back to the focus I had freshman year in hopes of contributing to a championship team.

Everything is better under the lights, even conditioning! This shot was taken during our 2013 spring pre-season. I look at this picture when I need motivation in my workouts. It reminds me to work for my team. We are all in this together.

A coach once told me that proper nutrition is 50% of the battle of getting to my peak performance. It is crucial to remember that sport and health go hand-in-hand. Certain “barriers” hold us back from reaching our top performance when it comes to health. Weight, stress, and injury management are common areas of improvement. This is where CBM can help. I want to be able to help people reach their maximum potential, and I know CBM can help them do it. CBM can help you as an athlete reach your full potential on the field as well as off the field.

I look forward to working with Chicago CBM because their ideals coincide with my ideals as an athlete. CBM helps to create a foundation from which to live. Sports psychology goes deeper than the sport. It goes into the soul of the individual. CBM has already taught me new ways I can go about my lacrosse workouts. I rethink my goals and motivations in order to be the best that I can be. How can CBM help you?


Promise Yourself- C. Larson

Blue Ridge Mountains and Rainbow

“Promise Yourself…

To be so strong that nothing

can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity

to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel

that there is something in them

To look at the sunny side of everything

and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,

and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others

as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past

and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times

and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself

that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,

and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,

not in loud words but great deeds.

To live in faith that the whole world is on your side

so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”

-C. Larson

Papa Joe did it.


“Papa Joe Aviance Lost 250 lbs on the ’99 cent Diet’”


This is not just another successful weight loss story, its a testimonial for the one excuse that seems to always work- “it’s too expensive”. The best part about Papa Joe’s weight loss journey is, he made it work for him. When we remove ourselves from the overwhelming and seemingly impossible task of change we are able see clearly. Weight loss CAN be simple if we are willing to be creative, committed, and open to the process.

Proof: Anyone can do it and remember to KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid).

I often use the analogy of a straight up hill climb vs. a slow steady switch back to the summit. Many people look at weight loss as if it were the equivalent of scaling up Mt. Everest. In order to make it safely up a mountain the trail is a slow and steady climb to the top with stops for fueling up, checking the map, and checking in on our energy levels. Before starting the climb up the mountain we set goals for pace, prepare and plan for food, water, breaks, and the route we are going to take. Not every group can afford a guide, or crazy expensive trail mix and high end supplements…. So next time you are standing at the bottom of your weight loss (when you feel your heaviest, you are negative, and self-conscious) step back and plan your slow steady ascent up the trail. Pack your bag with things you can afford, plan your journey with realistic milestones and landmarks. If it makes sense to you, is affordable, fits with your schedule, and is beneficial to your health it will be attainable.

Beach Body or Healthy Body


As the weather starts to warm up, the side walks become more crowded and plans of boating, beaching, and vacationing are added to the calender, a small sense of anxiety creeps in about putting on a bathing suit. Its the season of last minute dieting and crunch time (no pun intended) for getting “fit”. As health is our primary mission as practitioners for our clients and ourselves, we too can get caught in the madness of what our real goal is. Health has a different definition for each individual but things that can make it blurry are numbers on the scale, how clothes you love look on others, what we see in the mirror, “health” tips…from pintrest, facebook, twitter etc. Why is it so hard to aim for healthy and so easy to set our sights and expectations for slim, skinny, and the unreachable perfect?

We propose a challenge. This summer, lets set our focus towards action, socially responsible causes that make us feel good, engaging in fun social events, becoming mindful about nutrition and fitness. Overall lets respect our bodies and find comfort, meditation, and enjoyment in our emotional, physical and mental health.

Here is what is on our TO DO list:

  1. Volunteer
  2. Participate in an organized charitable event (races, obstacle courses, walks, city initiatives)
  3. Get at least 30 minutes of activity in a day
  4. Eat for fuel and nutritional value (no crazy restrictions or pills needed, just food from mother earth!)
  5. Soak up some Vitamin D
  6. Take time to breathe, relax, and meditate 
  7. Constantly evaluate and set short and long term goals ( and write them down, or tell a friend!)
  8. Ask for help
  9. Reflect on the positive
  10. Find comfort in uncomfort- take risks and seek the reward (sometimes a sense of accomplishment can feel like a million bucks).

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We want to feel good about ourselves; we want to be our ideal size, weight, have healthy relationships, eat right, and sleep right. Unfortunately there is not one way. Life can be lived focused on a beach body or your beach body can come from enjoying an active, healthy and fulfilled lifestyle.

Ragnar Relay: Cape Cod 2013

12 runners, 192 miles, 2 days, no sleep.

What an experience. I can confidently say I will definitely do this again.

I participated in the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay this past weekend. I went into the weekend with butterflies and no idea what to expect. I was excited to experience a new world of running with a team of my friends and friends of friends. Our team was a mixture of runners, athletes, and non-runners. We surpassed all of our own expectations and were the fifth team to cross the finish line. Our time was 24:51:40.

A Ragnar is a distance relay race, conquered by a team of 6 (Ultras) or a team of 12. This race started in Hull, MA and circled the cape all the way up to Provincetown. On a team of 12, each runner runs three separate legs of the race, all different distances. There are two vans, one with the first six runners and another with the last six. There are 36 exchanges where runners exchange by the passing of a slap bracelet. The vans follow the runners, stop to cheer, and drop off the next runner at the following exchange. The vans meet at exchanges 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 to start the next legs.

Me and the woods

Just me, the road, and the woods

The best part about it?… It was another one of my “personal research projects”- running is almost 95% mental. I had known the length of my legs for months leading up to the race, I had looked over a training guide, but never followed it. My training consisted of running at least three times a week and trying to get in a long one once a week. I became more nervous as it approached but all I was excited about was the experience, the team, and knew when it came down to it I would be too competitive to let the team down. Which is exactly what happened. I didn’t run with music, I sung songs in my head; I focused on the finish, someone was there waiting for me and depending on me; I had a team dedicated to cheering me on, even when I couldn’t see them I knew they were rooting for me; I focused on runners ahead of me and challenged myself to pass them; I was in it for fun, but I wanted to see how far I could push myself. Most of all I was able to re focus my attention to the environment, I wanted to soak up where I was, my ability to finish, my appreciation of the team that was with me, and the camaraderie of all the Ragnars participating.



Our team had a 9:30 am start, but my first run started around 4:15pm. I was in the 2nd van so we did not start till exchange 6. My first run was 8.8 miles and 4 of the miles were on a highway (no van support). Around my fourth mile a man with a South African accent slowly passed me and told me he had been trying to catch me for some time. He stayed within 50 yards in front of me for the rest of the time. As I approached the “1 mile left” sign I shouted to him, “finish strong!”. He became my “rabbit”. He was the target I was aiming to reach and with the help of his encouragement to catch up I was able to meet him and sprint the last mile. My next leg was 5.6 miles and started around 12:02 when my teammate made it to the exchange after her 5.6 mile run. It was a completely different run- pitch black, head lamp on my head, reflective vest, colder weather, less runners in my route, and physically my legs felt numb. I focused on finishing the whole time. I counted my feet, “1, 2, 1, 2” as they hit the ground. I couldn’t see mush ahead of me so I focused on the ground lit in my headlamp and visualized my foot strokes making the next 5 feet visible. I had some rest and by 7:15(ish) my teammate finished her 3rd leg and I was off on my 7.2 uphill run. I caught myself saying how miserable it was but when it came I reframed. My legs became mechanical and I pictured flipping a switch to make the machine run,  took the challenge of the hill as if it were my last obstacle before I could say I completed the Ragnar. I looked around to all the coniferous forest surrounding me and was so grateful to be able to experience a new place. I went through the girls’ stories from Girl Rising, and ran for each of them. It was a long uphill climb and the downhill hurt more physically, but once I made it to the 1 mile mark I let my legs take over.


Fifth team to cross the finish line!

Fifth team to cross the finish line!


It’s amazing how many games you can play in your head before you find the zone. But its a great question to always ask yourself what or who do you run for? I am so grateful for my legs, my team, and my experience. I will definitely be looking into more Ragnars and more adventures. My “research” experience continues to help me develop personally, physically, and professionally.