The Empowered Stepmom™️ | Biblical Boundaries, Habits, Mindset

Happiness is Overrated. How You Can Move From Anxiety to Alignment #211

February 01, 2024 Episode 211
The Empowered Stepmom™️ | Biblical Boundaries, Habits, Mindset
Happiness is Overrated. How You Can Move From Anxiety to Alignment #211
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Is it even possible to disrupt negative habit loops?  Want to learn how to do a bit of rewiring to get the outcomes you really want in your family? Whether you're challenged by the stepteens, or wanting to integrate a new workout plan that won't fizzle after just a few weeks, this episode is for you.

We'll break down cues, routines, and rewards with a heightened level of self-awareness that will have you celebrating your successes and kicking self-doubt to the curb!

🚀Ready?  Let's Go!

15 Minute Classic Convo Formula from #151
When x happens _______, I feel ______.  Will you meet with me for 15 minutes in the next two days so we can talk about this?

Last week's chit chat #210 - More habit loop excellence + practice!

Take Your Power Back & Reclaim Your Joy, FAST!
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Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:24

The Empowered Stepmom™| Biblical Boundaries, Habits, Mindset

Happiness is Overrated. How Self-Awareness Moves You From Anxiety to Alignment #211

 Jen Rogers

Have you found yourself saying I just want to be happy?

What's missing? You see, when we say what we want, it's often a generalization. I mean, happy is a relative term. What makes you happy may not make me or someone else happy. 


Say, if you're happy when you go skiing on a double black diamond slope, gliding down those blood-curdling mountain tops fashionably adorned in your bright-coral ski suit? I am out for sure! That would not make me happy. Well, the outfit I'd undoubtedly like. Coral is one of my favorite colors. 


Hey, you know what rhymes with happy? As I read that question aloud in preparing my episode, my husband overheard me and he said, “Crappy!” 


Goodness! Instead of asking what rhymes with happy, I'm asking you, “What is the meaning of happy?”


According to the book of Jen. Hey, that's me!...


Happy is highly overrated. It's a short-term fix, a hit or a high. Short-term means that long-term we’ll need something other than happy. If happy is a hit, there are a whole lot of misses, sis. And if happy is a high, why do we seem to experience so many lows? 


In this episode, number 211, of The Empowered Stepmom podcast, you'll walk away with your own definition of happy as you develop a deeper level of self-awareness. 


Today, I invite you to dwell on what you value as we focus on the good. If we want to implement habits at work, self-awareness is essential. 


First step: Say bye-bye to happy. Yes, sis, let's ditch the traditional happy, because happiness is a short-term, worldly fix. What's the fix? What do we do? 


Instead of happy, you guessed it! We replace it with joy. Joy, that's heaven on earth, and you can experience that right now, regardless of your circumstances. Now I hear you. I hear you. Those negative, limiting beliefs are coming over the airwaves loud and clear, despite the static on the line. 


Are you up to the challenge? Yes, yes, you can experience joy despite difficult disappointments, crucibles and crosses, tests and trials and hits and hurts. Are you ready to turn a frown upside down? 


First, we'll need to boldly boss around those limiting beliefs and get to the point where we can lock them up in the abyss instead of getting sucked into the world's temptations of avoidance, addiction, ignoring them or disengaging. Do you remember how we honed in on the Heart of the Habit Loop in last week's episode


A Holy Spirit nudge to me and to you to get our hearts right. First, that meant we set self-awareness on the shelf and focused on God's best for us and His role in our Habit Loops. This week you'll connect with your sweet self as you increase your self-awareness the first of those five components of emotional intelligence. 


We'll cover motivation, empathy, social skills and self-regulation in future episodes. For now, elevating our emotional intelligence is key to creating habit loops. 


You know those cues, routines and rewards that we want, and that's exactly why we took time last week to pray for our efforts as we practice new things, glorify God, use our gifts and celebrate life to the fullest. If you'd like to hear those five prayers again, be sure to scroll on back to last week's episode, number 210. And, as I often do, I will link it in the show notes for you. 


The mission of The Empowered Stepmom podcast is to elevate your emotional intelligence through the power of self-awareness, aligned with God's call for you as a woman of influence in your family, friendships and work. 


Hey, there! I am your hostess with the moistest, Jen Rogers, certified professional life coach, keynote speaker, change agent and lover of skiing on green circle, bunny hills, in fashionably colorful gear that keeps me snuggled and warm. 


My mission is to empower you to navigate the moguls of life. Keep your edges pointed in the same direction and when the going gets tough, I'll show you how to snow plow gracefully, because well, let's just say, the last time I was skiing, that triple flip, landing with my head in the snow and my skis in the air, was NOT planned. 


Yes, and…


Here I am ready to jump back on the chairlift, inhale the mountain air and practice, practice, practice to graduate from the bunny hill to the blue intermediate terrain and  beyond. I lovingly invite you to do the same. 


Just as there are different ratings of ski slopes, there are differing levels of boundaries you need, dependent upon the terrain, in your relationships. If you're experiencing tremendous conflict with a double black diamond X, it's definitely time to erect empowering boundaries to keep you safe. If you're about to begin this adventure we call stepfamily life, get equipped before the harrowing slopes push you over the edge. Get on over to to get started.


P.S. In today's episode, I'm going to share more about the Emotion Sensation Wheel. It's a powerful tool that my clients work with regularly because it helps us express what we're experiencing inside of our bodies. It's more than feelings. It's about being able to name the emotions. 


I've mentioned it already on several episodes and I was thinking, hey, I probably ought to share this with you. If you are not on the email list, if you are not receiving the Friday emails that go out inviting you to listen to this week's goodness in your earbuds, it's time to change that. Head on over to . Scroll down to the bottom of the page so you can get on our email list. Just click in the box that says you want love mail and you will get the powerful Emotion Sensation Wheel. Alright, let's dive into self-awareness. This week's episode number 211 of the Empowered Stepmom podcast. 


When is the last time that you thanked God for your hormones?


Straight up? Today is probably the first time I'm literally thanking God for them. Have you heard of the happy hormones? There are four serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins. Now, I'm not a scientist, nor do I play one on this podcast. I am, however, a woman after God's own heart. I view the study of hormones not as science per se, more as a study of the incredible creation known as man and woman. The intricacies of God's creation astound me. Those happy hormones, those God-created joy hormones. They harmonize with our habit loops. 


A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, I ran regularly. I built muscle, both physical and mental, to run longer races. I trained for them. I ran miles, inside and outside and in my sleep. Those endorphins, you know the runner's high? They're real. The question I have for you is: How do you get those feelings of a natural high without actually running? How do we relieve stress and pain through the power of the joy-filled hormone of endorphins? Let's revisit the cue routines and rewards inherent in our habit loops. 


Anxiety. It's a component of fear on the emotion-sensation wheel and we experience this emotion regularly. It can leave us feeling powerless, unwanted, inferior or scared. Let's face it. If you're on the hiking trails and encounter a bear, your anxiety meter measures an explosive, off-the-chart reading. Contrary to all the guidance, it tells you to NOT run. 


Scientifically speaking, moving your body does decrease muscle tension and it lowers the body's contribution to feeling anxious. Getting your heart rate up changes your brain chemistry and it increases the availability of those important anti-anxiety neurochemicals. Except…well, the bear will consider this game on, as your flight response is likely to trigger the bear's chase response. Now, if you can run faster than 30 miles per hour, run, baby run. If that's not your speed, follow the advice and stand your ground until the bear stops. Then slowly back away. Incidentally, all that, avoid being eaten by a bear advice… 


tells you to make yourself seem bigger, get louder, clap your hands, make all kinds of noise to scare him off. Maybe you could sing that song you learned when you were a little girl. 


If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands. Now I could keep going. If you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet, shout hooray. However, there is a reason why I podcast for living and my husband sings Goodness, what a squirrel – er - bear we chased there. 


Back to anxiety in the habit loop. Let's go deeper together. Snag your journal and hide in a closet if you must, so you can explore this with me. Let's start with the cue. 


What's the cue when you first feel anxiety? It could be your husband has an overnight trip scheduled, which means you'll be alone with your step kids, or a holiday is approaching, say a family birthday, and you begin to feel the tension in your body as you think about what's next or you reflect on what happened in the past and project it on the future. 


Take some time to sit with this cue. Write down all the evidence your brain brings to you. What's happening, how is your body physically reacting, what's going on in your brain? Now's a great time to press pause and write. If you are navigating life on the highway in your car right now, press the pause button and identify these things that you experience when you first get the cue of anxiety and stay them out loud to yourself. Really, your voice carries power, Sis. When you're ready, come on back to me. Welcome back! 


What's the routine you choose in response to your anxiety cue? If you find yourself the key planner in the house…number one, I love you. And number two, it can be dangerous to your family's overall health, especially if they are not the planning type. 


You might find yourself critically, and perhaps loudly, shouting at your hunka-hunka to ensure he can hear you well when you tell him he's stranding you with his kids and you don't think you'll survive. 


Or you might find yourself withdrawing and sucking it up, planning to endure any way possible. You dream up all kinds of scenarios, like an alien takeover of the kids, or all of a sudden, you approve a weeknight overnighter for the kids at their friend's house. Or you might just rationalize that sending them back to their mom's house isn't such a bad thing after all, except none of these things reduce the anxiousness that's been queued up inside of you. 


I have two prompts for you for journaling. First, I'll share a few things and then come back to the prompts so you can journal about them. Let's take into account the power of another God-given hormone, serotonin. It regulates several bodily functions. For our brainstorming in these journal prompts we're going to focus on this neurotransmitter regulating our mood. So how do you raise your serotonin? Well, you could eat lots of turkey, salmon, tofu and whole wheat bread. Maybe just go ahead and incorporate those on your grocery list. 


But as a behavioral response to a cue, movement is mood meant? M-o-o-d, dash, m-e-n-t. Yes, I just made it up. When you move, you release serotonin In the cues. Where you have time in between the cue and responding to it, you could choose to go for a brisk walk or put on some soothing music for a set time and then move forward. Or you could meditate or journal for a set time and then execute your planned behavioral response to the anxiety cue. 


I suppose, if we're getting technical, this is going to be a two-step behavioral response. The routine after the cue is first I'm going to go and meditate and then I'm going to come back and do this thing. 


One of the things I regularly share with my clients is what I call the classic 15-minute appointment that you schedule with your man. So the formula for the 15-minute classic convo is this when X happens, fill in the blank. I feel fill in the blank. Will you meet with me for 15 minutes in the next two days so we can talk about this? 


Here's what it looks like in real life:


Honey, I'd like to schedule 15 minutes with you in the next day or two to talk about your business trip, because I'm feeling a bit off about it. What time works for you? 


If you want to hear more about this classic convo framework, be sure to listen to episode number 151 from the 30-day prayer challenge. I've got a link for you in the show notes. It's short, sweet and, yes, an encouraging invitation for you to practice, practice, practice. 


All of this contributes to our self-awareness. When we are self-aware, we recognize the cue that sets us off. We raise our self-awareness, which in turn invites us to stay curious. What does happen? What's underneath the surface that has me responding this way, am I reminded of how things used to go down in a previous marriage? 


Do I shrink back from prior hurts? 


How can I stand firm now, despite the fact I may not have done so yesterday? 


This curiosity is actually a confidence builder, and when you build your confidence well, that rising self-awareness it's a dopamine hit to your brain, yet another joy-filled hormone God created for us. 


When we learn and grow, we get excited, and when we work through the heart of the hurt, we up-level our game and become more willing to take on greater challenges. 


Okay, back to the routine or behavior. Here are the two steps to get your ink flowing on those pretty journal pages as you think about the routine. Step number one: Identify the behavior or the routine you've chosen previously in response to your anxiety cue. Step number two: Brainstorm other alternatives, taking into consideration all the goodness that we just shared together. 


Push pause to reflect and when you're ready, come on back to me. 


So far, we've raised our self-awareness by getting specific about a cue and a behavior. In the process, we've celebrated God's joy-filled hormones too. 


Next up for today's work and make no mistake about it, this is work. If you haven't heard it today, let me be the first to congratulate you on taking time to build endurance and perseverance and grit. Sis, I'm so proud of you, really so proud of you!


Okay, next up, the reward. What is the reward? You're seeking better communication, a balance between the times you are alone with your stepkids for business trips, say you're in for X amount of times or you'd like to practice, evaluate and consult with your man after each trip. This is really starting with the end in mind. 


When you are self-aware, you begin to understand what you value most. In the frightening pace of the world, we can become disconnected with our own selves. That's why time with the Lord each day is critical to your self-awareness. 


You must first become God-aware.


Read and learn who God is, because, as his daughter, you'll learn about the riches he has placed within you. You do have giftings and talents and charisma and faith and joy and so much more. The happy of the world will not reveal these to you. The joy of the Lord does that. We know that every good and perfect gift comes from our heavenly Abba. 


The four joy-filled hormones serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin. They're the physical neurotransmitters within our bodies. Let's ensure we stay focused on the creator of those hormones, the creator whose joy is new every morning. 


He is your shield and your rear guard. His rewards, they are eternal. So here on earth, we are evaluating the rewards in our habit loops and the outcomes that we really want. 


So what outcome do you want? 


Take a few moments to journal about the end in mind. Sometimes, as we reflect on this, we come up with new ideas about some behaviors we can insert in between the cue and the reward, because we are curious. We know that what we choose first may not be the right fit, and that's okay. We will continue to iterate our way to awesome. 


All right, take the time to dwell on the goodness of the reward you are seeking and come on back to me when you are ready. 


How did it go? What reward do you want to practice for this specific habit loop? When you think about the process, the cue, routine and reward, what are you learning about yourself? 


Take a moment to journal new insights you are gleaning about your joy-powered emotions, our physical responses to cues, the choices we can make and one thing you want to take away from today's episode. When you're ready, come on back so we can celebrate your increased self-awareness together and I'll give you a sneak peek about what's coming up for next week's episode. 


Do you have a celebration coach? I don't exactly have a celebration coach yet. However, I have a great friend who reminds me regularly to celebrate my wins. How about you? Do you need a reminder to celebrate your wins?


If you worked through all the prompts in today's episode, congratulations. As I mentioned earlier, that is indeed hard work. You know how you get through hard work faster?


By working with a coach. 


If you're interested in getting a secret weapon in your back pocket or your front pocket, head on over to and let's explore what it would look like to celebrate your future successes together. It would absolutely be my honor to hear what you're learning, what you're experiencing, as you are bravely assessing what you want, what's important to you. 


On today's episode, we focused on increasing your self-awareness. The way that happens is by looking in the mirror and, to be honest, sometimes we don't like what we see. Here's the thing. It's okay, right where you are. What's not okay is for you to stay that way. 


In next week's episode, number 212 of the Empowered Stepmom podcast, I'll be sharing with you a guest interview so we can hear together how one small habit change can create an incredible difference in your life. I can't wait to share next week's episode with you. Special guest, I'm going to keep it a secret for now, so be sure you come back next week Thursday to listen to episode number 212


Hey, if today's episode helped you, encouraged you, blessed you, supported you, would you share it with a friend? And if you are feeling like you've got an extra special gift of love to give, head on over to your favorite podcasting platform and leave a five-star review? 


If you're on Apple, you'll read reviews like this one from Wright Jennifer. Now, wait a minute. What's so funny is how many Jennifers are in my life so interesting. 

Okay, wright, jennifer, she leaves a five-star review on Apple podcasts. 


Jen will tell you the steps to take. What is amazing about this podcast is that it takes a big problem you may be worried or freaked out about how to solve, like, say, anxiety and then Jen gives you actionable steps to actually navigate through it. It's like a good friend talking to you, motivating you, and never talking down to you. I'm not a stepmom, but the advice is still so good and I'm definitely recommending this one to the stepmoms. I know the anxiety episode is so good. 


Wright, jennifer, thank you so much for the five-star review on Apple. I so appreciate when you take the time to let me know how the podcast is landing for you. 


There's sometimes some blood, sweat and tears that goes on…Okay a lot of times, just like our stepmama role. There's a lot of work that goes into producing content that is designed to help you move forward. Keep moving forward, keep journaling. Keep your ears and your eyes and your hearts and your noses to in God's Word. That is where all the answers are.


Alright. God bless you and I will catch you next week!


Finding Joy and Self-Awareness
Managing Anxiety Through Habit Loop
Content Production and Moving Forward