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Navigating Life's Challenges: My Personal Journey

In my late 30’s, I found myself leading the fairly typical life of a devoted wife and mother. Always trying my best to support my husband, David, and our two young boys, Dylan and Benny, while working as a full-time therapist at a University in the northeast. My days were filled with clients, commuting, cleaning, cooking, school, homework, with frequent sports, playdates, birthday parties, kids’ doctor’s appointment, family visits, holiday hosting, and travel thrown in. Managing my simple day-to-day was not so simple. I stressed over nothing…and everything.

From Overwhelm to Empowerment: A Story of Resilience

At age 40, my handsome, intelligent, successful and strong husband, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer that had metastasized to his liver. We were beyond devastated. After months and months of tests, scans, surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, the doctors told us that David’s mass was inoperable and that he needed to get his affairs in order. Shortly after, my father passed away from congestive heart failure. My mom needed my support, David needed my support, my kids needed my support, all while I tried to mourn the loss of my father and fathom how my children and I would live without David. It was all too much.

The sadness, helplessness and stress that I felt was unrelenting. It pervaded my every thought. Every minute of every day and every sleepless night, I worried about what lied ahead. It was debilitating. In order for me to be there for David and my boys, I needed to learn how to calm myself, reduce my stress and gain clarity. I turned to yoga, and soon after, started a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training program. As I learned the core elements of yoga and meditation, I began to notice a decrease in my stress. I’d leave training feeling uplifted and peaceful. How could this be? How could I feel better when everything in my life was spiraling out of control? David and I then learned to meditate together. It helped to clear his mind, allowed him to focus on healing and connected us on a deeper level.

Discovering Peace Amidst Chaos: My Path to Mindfulness

As a trained clinical therapist, I quickly realized the power and benefits of mind-body medicine. I realized that certain activities, like mindfulness practice, activate a part of the brain which is responsible for calming us down. Even more amazing, I learned through this practice that I could change how I felt about stress, how I reacted to stressors and how to make more skillful choices in my life. That was a game changer! I was now able to control my emotions, alter negative thought patterns and focus on the things that mattered the most. For the first time in a long time, I felt in control of my life, but more importantly, I was in control of my perceptions and emotions. And it felt AMAZING. It changed how I practiced therapy and ultimately led me to develop my proprietary, 8-step Ripple Affect Life Coaching series which I’ve since taught to thousands of clients with proven results.

My handsome, intelligent, successful and strong husband just celebrated his 50th birthday. Through a mix of strong faith, modern medicine, radical surgery, diet, love and mindfulness, David’s terminal diagnosis has since become a bad memory. He’s been cancer-free for 10 years. Together, we celebrate and appreciate all the blessings that good health and a healthy mind can bring. Mindfulness practices saved me and that’s why I’m devoted to coaching others so they too can achieve awareness, mental clarity, emotional calm and balance. It is one of the most fulfilling aspects in my life. Join me to begin your inner journey to a healthier mind and life. Namaste.

Denise Zack, Author, Consultant, Life Coach, Mindfulness Expert, and Yoga Instructor.

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