Thursday, September 12, 2013


As a cognitive therapist I help my clients understand that our thoughts are directly connected to our emotions; we feel what we think.  But, it's not just our mindset or thoughts that create how we feel,  it's also the F factor: FOOD. Not just the food we feed our bodies, but also the food we feed our spirits. It's how we feed the areas in our lives that matter; areas like our relationships, our family and friends, our careers, our personal growth and contribution to others. All these areas are vitally important when it comes to the state of our emotional well being. When we neglect them we die inside, or we may feel we are just existing wondering if there is more.  But when we nourish these areas of life it feeds our hearts and minds and we thrive!

Food that we eat and food for our soul go hand in hand. Consider times when life was not going well. Did you ever use food for comfort? If you're like most of us you have. And what's "comfort food" anyway? You know, those high carb, sugary and salty goodies that we all crave now and again especially when there's excess stress in our lives. The problem is it's a perpetuating cycle. Because of today's hectic lifestyle, the stress often leads to going for the junk food that doesn't serve us and that typically leads to crashing and burning which makes us go for more junk. The ups and downs in blood sugar creates turmoil for your emotional state. This may commonly show up with intensified feelings of anger, nervous tension, frustration, which in turn creates turmoil in your relationships, your job, your motivation... Round and round we go; our nerves go up and down, and sometimes so does the scale. Sound familiar? So yes, we feel what we eat!

Hey you know what? I am certainly not perfect. Perfect is boring and stupid anyway!  Food IS meant to be enjoyed and celebrated too! But, I know that there is a food and mood connection and understanding the F Factor is vital in becoming truly emotionally fit.

Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R is a certified cognitive therapist, strategic interventionist, relationship educator, board certified health coach and soon to be author. 

Check out her websites and grab your free report:   
5 Mistakes You Don't Want to Make (Includes Bonus Recipes!)


Looking for a snack that's quick and easy to make, good for your body AND good for your brain too? Here is my trail mix that will make you happy and healthy.

Here's Why: 

Research shows that nuts and seeds just might boost your brainpower and balance your moods.
According to Professor James Duke, many varieties of seeds and nuts contain tryptophan, an important amino acid that the brain converts to serotonin. Roasted pumpkin seeds and dry sunflower seeds are an excellent source of tryptophan, making them a safe, natural way to relive mild depression and insomnia. Additionally, sunflower seeds are high in thiamine, an important B vitamin for memory and cognitive function.
Coconut oil provides an alternative fuel source that the brain can use to work optimally once again.

Raw sunflower seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds
Dried cranberries
Coconut flakes (unsweetened)

Toast the raw seeds in a non stick skillet on low to med flame. Keep the pan moving and tossing; it will only take a few minutes to get them golden brown.
Mix in the dried cranberries and coconut flakes.

Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R is a certified cognitive therapist, strategic interventionist, relationship educator, board certified health coach and soon to be author. 

Check out her websites and grab your free report:
 5 Mistakes You Don't Want to Make (Includes Bonus Recipes!)

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Today's Q&A is on a personal note. I get asked now and again why I decided to become a counselor, and why I specialize in anxiety?

At the risk of sounding cliche I must admit yes, counseling was my calling. Seriously, it called for me since age 17. I have a distinct memory of talking with a girl my age, an acquaintance at best, and she was sharing with me struggles and challenges she was going through.  I don't remember what I said or did, but I do remember her thanking me and saying very genuinely that I should be a counselor. That stuck with me always. So if this post should ever find you, thank you too! You affirmed for me what I only sensed was true.

I held on to that dream, but I didn't pursue it.  My story was that I had a public speaking phobia and that I was not smart enough so I couldn't possibly go to college. I did try, but was told that I didn't take the right classes; just more evidence that I was right.  Instead I went through life working various jobs. Some I loved, some not so much.  I became a hair stylist and dreamed of being a stylist to the stars! But, I didn't think I was good enough and of course, the best part was talking to the person in my chair about their life. I worked in factories, grocery stores, a vet hospital; all the while trying to find my groove.

My dream would literally not leave me. I was plagued with recurring dreams of walking down the hallways of my high school crying because I missed out on higher education.  I wanted to be a counselor for battered women and teen girls so, to compensate I became an advocate at the Victim's Resource Center. I loved it and I envied people who did this for a living! But again, always thinking: "I can't because..."  I had a million reasons.

Turning 30 was the turning point. I decided it was now or never. The pain of not pursuing my destiny was more painful than any anxiety right?  Besides, I will do what I do best, AVOID! I will avoid the classes that required public speaking, and if worse comes to worse I will have no problem accepting a zero for an assignment. As long as I get a C- that's all I need. I will figure it out like I always had since 1st grade!

So, I closed my eyes and jumped out of my comfort zone... WAY OUT!  I unexpectedly experienced anxiety that I never felt before and did not know one could feel! And THAT, my friends is why I now specialize in anxiety.
My new story today is that my anxiety challenge was a gift. Instead of it being something that happened to me, I now see it as something that happened for me. I needed to breakout of my prison cell. The prison cell that I now know that I created. Since then I have accomplished things I never would have imagined and if you personally know me I bet we can converse about 1 or 100 terrifying moments of my phobic past!  Do I ever experience anxiety today? YES of course I do!  But, now I know that anxiety is not the scary monster it wants me to think it is.

I sometimes still dream at night of walking down the halls of my high school, but now instead of crying I'm just on to my next class.

Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R is a certified cognitive therapist, strategic interventionist, relationship educator, board certified health coach and soon to be author. 
Learn more about Peg and her services: