Which Wolf Are You Feeding?

One of my favorite stories is the “Two Wolves” parable. An old Cherokee chief told his grandson that there was a fight going on inside of him between two wolves — an evil wolf, and a good wolf. He explained to his grandson that everyone has this same fight going on inside of them, between our negative traits and our positive traits. When the little boy asked which wolf will win the fight, the chief replied, “The one you feed.”

We all have this fight going on — but nowadays, it tends to be between our anxious wolf, and our trusting wolf. We have both an anxious, critical, downspiraling voice, and a trusting, optimistic, calming one. Everyday, every moment, we have a choice. It has to be a conscious choice of feeding the voice that will support us, while ignoring the other one. For example, I was recently talking to a young girl who is dating and trying to find work she loves, and she said to me, “Everytime I go for an interview or go on a date, I have this disappointing negative mindset that I’ll never find work I love, or someone that’s right for me. I have trouble getting up and keeping my enthusiasm going.”  I asked her to make a list of all the things that are working in her life — starting with her health her heart beating, her lungs allowing her to take a breathe, her Master’s degree that she just completed, and her creative mind. Right there and then, we started to write a list of all the things that she takes for granted for herself. I reminded her, “So many things are working. But you’re pushing your timing, and you’re judging the fact that things have not yet fallen into place.”

This is something we all do. When things aren’t going the way we want them to go, we automatically move into our feelings of anxiety, judgment, and worry — and inevitably projects into our future.

What we need in these moments of negative flooding, is a consistent practice that reinforces the positive. This practice is paramount to any person’s success and well-being. Even when we say we’re sad or worried or lonely, we’re feeding the nasty wolf. We need to make a habit to feed the wolf that is wholesome, loving, self-supporting, and trusting. Here are three keys to help you reset:

1. Think of 5 things that went right today

Get a pen and paper, or find a friend who you can verbalize it to. Either way, it’s crucial to remind ourselves of the good things in our lives. Our voice carries power and our unconscious hears what we are saying, so by recording the good things in our lives, we start to put the unconscious on the right track. Do it before bed. It will set you up for your next day, or do it whenever you find a moment to pause.

2. Make an active list

Write a list of what you would like more of. Be specific — in your finances, your relationships, your health, your creative work, your social life, and in your overall expansion of your life. Start anchoring what you want more of, and record it with a pen and paper. You have to inform your unconscious of what you want, so it can bring it to you. It’s like setting your sails to go to your destination.

3. Get an accountability buddy

You’ll need a support system that you can rely on when your bad wolf is speaking to you, and howling. Get a support buddy that will help you feed the other wolf, so your bad wolf ends up dying of starvation (wouldn’t that be wonderful?)

If there’s one thing my mother imparted to me and my sister when we were young, it was that even when things looked like they were not working out, it was essential to trust that life was for us, and trust that we are not alone, and that there is a plan for all of us. I grew up knowing that no matter what, we have to trust ourselves, and the universe, and know that the force is working with us and for us. So get your good wolf to howl that to you, day, noon, and night!

Please share with us how you tame your bad wolf, and feed your trusting wolf! And remember, you are the master of your own wolves!


Learn more from Agapi on her website or her Instagram.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

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Are You Suffering From “Not Good Enough Syndrome”?

Have you ever been in a room with people who know more than you? Or with people who are more accomplished than you are? And you felt that you were lacking in some way? You might have been feeling symptoms of what I like to call “NGES”  — Not Good Enough Syndrome. When we’re surrounded by others who have more than we do, we tend to compare ourselves, and start to feel less than. In these moments, it’s important that we learn to reframe how we see ourselves in comparison to our surroundings. You can be in a room where people know more than you do, or are further ahead in their careers than you are, but that doesn’t take away from who you are, and what you have. We need to start reprogramming the very human feeling that who we are is not enough.

I don’t believe in the concept of original sin, but I believe in the concept of original human condition. The minute we are born and we take our first breath, this conditioning enters us that says “I’m not good enough.” It’s hidden in our unconscious. As a child, you might not experience it as intensely because you’re still living in the freedom of your childhood innocence and you’re so connected to your spirit. At some point, we start to question who we are, what we’ll become, and how we’ll find our footing in the world. And unfortunately, there’s no one around singing to you, “Que sera, sera.”

Depending on the “life cards” you’ve been dealt with, some are blessed with an upbringing that injects them with positive reinforcement, and some are challenged with the opposite — with negative affirmations. We all have teachers and parents that influence us. And unfortunately, the majority of people are not encouraged positively. We are often told we have to try harder, not to rock the boat, or to speak up — and we are compared to others. This reinforces our insecurities that we’re not good enough. Then, we withdraw our precious creative energy, stop trusting ourselves, and we cloak ourselves in negative self-perception. This ends up with us living in a world of scarcity. And we think, if we achieved more or had more, we would feel that we are enough. But when we think that way, our bucket becomes a bottomless pit with a leak at the bottom. No matter how much money we make or how many milestones we hit, we never feel the sense of fullness within ourselves.

Personally, I was brought up with parents who so encouraged me to be fully myself, and loved me for me, but my talents were different than my sister’s, who was an honors student. I always excelled in the arts, dancing, and acting. They never compared us to each other. I ended up going to a prestigious acting school in London, and when I graduated and went to Hollywood to pursue my acting career, but I faced a series of rejections. Somehow, everyone always said, “You’re so talented, but we don’t know what to do with you.” I started to feel that there was something wrong with me, but I had to shift my mindset. I had to backtrack and find my core, my sense of self, and find out what I wanted to do with me when Hollywood didn’t know what to do with me, and thus started the process of my healing. (If you want to read more of my story, I wrote about it explicitly in Unbinding the Heart.)

NGES is very common, and it manifests in several ways. For example, you work long hours, and you let go of the important things for your well-being, like your sleep, your nutrition, and your physical self-care. You have a constant feeling that you’re missing out on social events that you’re not invited to. When you’re not surrounded by people, you feel disconnected and lonely. What you’re really missing is the connection with yourself. You’re quick to compare yourself to people on Instagram and feel that others are living better lives than you are. Basically, you’re robbed of your joy and your internal happiness. If you feel any of these things, it’s time to look inward and start reversing the lies you’ve been telling yourself. Over time, you’ll start carving time for yourself to do the things that nurture you, because you’ll feel deserving of doing what you love.

These symptoms hold you back from your potential, and it’s up to us to shift our mindset. Here are three daily steps you can take to start feeling full in who you are:

1. Track when you first started feeling that you’re not enough

Was it an internal dialogue? A comparison to someone else? An impact from a parent or sibling or teacher or friend? Something you read in a magazine or saw online? What made you think you’re less than? Get a journal (I personally believe pen to paper unlocks the unconscious, unless you prefer the computer!) and write down all of those feelings — even the ones that surprise you.

2. Take a few minutes for self-care each day

Take a few minutes to meditate (whatever that means for you!) and shift your mindset so that you can be empowered to take on your day. You can start by listening to this meditation from my audio version of Wake Up to the Joy of You, which can help you feel more confident in yourself and be bold. And you can download all 33 of my meditations, all with different positive messages.

3. Adopt a daily mantra

Each day for 30 days, give yourself a positive affirmation that you write down first thing in the morning, to remind yourself that you are more than enough. For example, here’s one of my favorites: “I release the need to do more, be more, have more, in order to feel enough.” It’s about programming the unconscious, to get you to anchor the feeling that you are worthy and deserving.


Learn more from Agapi on her website or her Instagram.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

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Why Bringing Your Heart to the Table Is the Key to Your Well-being

John Mackey, the founder and CEO of Whole Foods has a quote I love: “It’s time we brought our hearts out of the closet.” Being raised Greek, our hearts were never in the closet to begin with. It’s wasn’t until I went to study in London that I had to relearn how to trust my heart as a young adult. (The Brits are known for many wonderful things, but they’re also known for censoring their emotions — unless it’s at the theater!) The Greeks live by giving themselves permission to feel the range of their feelings. If you’re upset, be upset. If you’re jealous, say it. If you’re sad, cry. When you feel lonely, call someone and tell them. And when you’re happy, share it with those around you — spread your joy!

The great comedian Mel Brooks has a great saying that is so relevant when we talk about leading with our heartfelt expressions. He said, “If you’re alive, make some noise.” It’s imperative that we encourage one another to feel our feelings — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and find ways to communicate them. In the Greek culture, we don’t have the habit of going to therapists — we have one another. We share just about everything with our friends and relatives unconditionally. It’s very cathartic to put it all out there. Tapping into the intelligence, resilience, and mightiness of our hearts, is the best remedy for stress. I’m not talking about the emotional heart that has its own range and ups and downs. I’m talking about the essence of who we are — the spiritual heart that’s connected to the source of our being.

If you’ve ever done yoga, you know that when you enter the savasana pose, the teacher tells us to open and soften our hearts. I always encourage people, when they come out of savasana, to hug someone. It’s easy to roll up your mat and go about your day, forgetting to connect with someone else, but yoga means oneness — and as much as you can have oneness with yourself, we also need to reinforce our oneness with one another.

It’s funny how we often feel ashamed to be completely open with our hearts, so we put up barriers so that we’re not seen — but this actually creates a separation and loneliness. We need to remind one another that we can reach a sense of oneness so effortlessly just by listening to each other. We need to create a safe place for compassion, and need to embrace each other without judgement, both physically and metaphorically. It’s said that when we hug, we release oxytocin, which makes you feel better. It’s very therapeutic and healing. You can be as healthy as you want, and eat only organic foods and green juices, meditate, and stick to a fitness regimen — but if your heart is not open, you’re still going to feel that something is missing. What might be missing is YOU. That’s why it’s important to bring yourself to the table as you are going about your day. Connect with your heart. Find it. Let it have its own voice.

Why then, do we hold back from one of the most powerful assets we’ve been invested with? By simply being present with our hearts, we have the ability to comfort and heal one another. Most people do not know that the heart has 40,000 neurons that are highly intelligent and intuitive, and they connect us to our wisdom, our intuition and our intelligence. So, if you have a judgment sitting there under your heart, telling you you’re not good enough, let me just remind you that you are amazing — as Bruno Mars says, “just the way you are!”

It’s up to you to give yourself permission to be who you are, and then surround yourself with people who make you feel safe — those who can allow you to be your vulnerable self, and share all of the things that make us human. Only then will we find the calm within the storm. It is the most beautiful journey you will ever embark on, and it will leave you feeling that you matter, and that no matter what, you’re enough.

If you’re struggling to bring your heart to the table, start with these two small Microsteps:

Make one meaningful connection

Today, when you ask someone how they are, truly listen, even beneath the “I’m fine.” Go a little deeper, and find out what might be concerning them or exciting them that day. What might they share with a little more encouragement?

Express your truth

If you’re in a meeting, or in a conversation while out to dinner, and there’s something you’d like to express, give yourself permission to express what’s on your heart. Express your truth without fear, and notice how liberating that feels.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. How can we help support one another be more open with our hearts? What areas do you need support?  Share with me how you bring your own heart to the table.


Learn more from Agapi on her website or her Instagram.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

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Why Making Yourself a Priority is Key for Your Success

Last week, I was getting ready for an international trip that demanded a lot of preparation. When I got up in the morning, I grabbed my regular dose of coffee, and jump right into my to-do list — answering emails, packing my suitcase, making calls, and running around from one thing to the other on autopilot.

A few hours later, I began to feel my energy dip, and I started to feel overwhelmed. I hadn’t showered, hadn’t had breakfast, and hadn’t exercised or meditated. I found myself getting irritated, and something inside me — the better part of myself — shouted at me, “Stop running around, go shower, have breakfast, walk around the block, and then come back and continue your packing.”

It was such a major a pattern interruption. I had no choice but to do all that. (Plus, I put on my favorite lipstick that always brightens my day!) When I came back to what I had to do, I felt way more energized, more centered, and yes — even more joyful to keep preparing for my trip.

It dawned on me more than any other time in the past that the excuses we make for ourselves to not do the things that energize us and make us feel our best, are exactly that — excuses. When we tell ourselves we don’t have time to do the things that make us feel centered and clear-headed, we’re giving ourselves a strong message that we’re not as important as our tasks. Somehow, we’re wired backwards. We’re telling ourselves we don’t deserve to make time for what helps us thrive — and then we end up feeling depleted, stressed, irritated, and ultimately running on empty.

When we take time to reconnect with ourselves, however works best for each one of us, we feel like we have a buffer from everything else we have to face that day. Taking that time for myself was my armor to the stress of the upcoming trip. I felt like there was a little cushion between me and my stress. It was much more manageable, and everything after that felt effortless.

In my book Waking Up to the Joy Of You, I wrote a chapter called “Knowing Your Linchpin.” A linchpin refers to the small pin passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position. When that linchpin is out of place, the entire structure falls apart. Similarly, if you’re neglecting the one thing you have to do everyday for your well-being — for your wheels to stay in position — the rest of your day can actually fall apart. So instead, you reach for that extra cup of coffee, a muffin, or anything that will give you a false sense of comfort.

Making ourselves a priority should be a primary law, like gravity. So, here are my three tips that can help you override your old pattern, and replace it with the power of choosing you everyday:

Schedule the time

Whatever you need to do to feel your best, identify it, write it down, and put your name next to it. For example, “Rebecca’s time to go to the gym, meditate, stretch, and make her favorite smoothie.” By scheduling the time in your calendar, you won’t be able to use the excuse that you don’t have the time. It’s right there in front of you! You make the time for you, just like you would make the time for someone else.

Find a support buddy

I’ve found that having a friend involved in your daily self ritual is key if you want to follow through with them. Recently, my 27-year-old niece, Isabella, has been my support buddy. She texts me everyday, asking me to let her know what time I’m doing my workout. She keeps reminding me very lovingly until the end of the day. By sharing your obstacles with someone you trust, you have someone to report to, and that helps on the days you tell yourself you’re too tired, or too busy. Think of this person as your “Thrive Buddy.”

Think of it as a primary law

Self-care sounds like an indulgence, but if you reframe your thinking to see it as a natural, non-negotiable part of your day, you’ll see that it’s not as complicated as you thought. When we tell ourselves we can’t afford to take the time, we end up spiraling into a self-defeating cycle, where we judge ourselves and fill our minds with negative self-talk. Instead, rethink what self-care means. The busiest, most successful people in the world thrive by taking time for themselves, from Michelle Obama to Richard Branson. (Michelle Obama worked out religiously everyday, and got those biceps we all recognize. I always wondered what time she had to wake up to carve that into her schedule!) It’s about expanding to the reality that there’s plenty of time, and that our excuses are lies that we’re telling ourselves. Trust me — whether it’s five minutes or an hour, you’ll thank yourself for honoring what gives you the vitality to master your day.

So, now it’s up to you. Find a buddy, schedule the time, and thank yourself for making yourself a priority. You deserve it. And share your results with us!

Learn more from Agapi on her website or her Instagram.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Agapi StassinopolousWhy Making Yourself a Priority is Key for Your Success
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