The JOY Factor: Mindfulness, Compassion, Positive Psychology, Healing, Yoga

The JOY factor ­is a podcast dedicated to helping YOU create a path to Joyful Living each and every day.
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Dec 2, 2019

Hello and welcome to episode #26. My guest today  is Shari Scher, an inspiring woman who, while working in the public school system of Frederick County Maryland, saw that children of incarcerated parents and their families, needed help. Her efforts led to the formation Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership or COIPP. This non-profit is dedicated to giving children affected by incarceration a voice in the community, in the schools and in their families. 

Today’s show is brought to you by StoryWorth, a brilliant online service that helps your loved ones tell the story of their lives through thought-provoking questions about their memories and personal thoughts. Sign up today by going to You’ll get $20 off your first purchase! 

They say that one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to let them truly know you. In order to do this we have to give ourselves time to reflect, heal, give thanks and make meaning of our lives. 

 I don’t know about you but I can barely find time to make a healthy dinner let alone carve out quiet time to reflect on my life and legacy. That’s where Storyworth comes in. Each week, for a year, they send you a question about your life and at the end of the year you receive a beautiful hardbound book filled with your answers. 

My first question was “What were your favorite childhood toys”. I hadn’t thought about my giant brown suitcase full of Barbies in years so It was fun to go down memory lane and write about one of my childhood joys.   Answering the questions is as simple as hitting the reply button and I can’t wait to pass along a beautiful book to each of my children. Oh, and did I mention you can include photos in your book? Storyworth is genius and I think it should be at the top of everyone’s gift-giving list!

 Preserve and pass on memories with StoryWorth, the most meaningful gift for your family. I hope you love Storyworth as much as I do! Sign up today by going to You’ll get $20 off your first purchase! 

When a child has a voice that is heard and validated they are more likely to be protected from adverse childhood experiences like the fear that accompanies having a parent arrested.  Protective factors such as safe, stable and nurturing relationships can make all the difference when it comes to children becoming resilient and healthy adults. This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to support and nurture every parent’s ability to grow, learn and develop positive parenting skills. Another aspect of COIPP that truly tends to the needs of these children is the social connections aspect of the programming. Having the opportunity to make friends and experience social and cultural events strengthens social and emotional health. When we are emotionally strong, feel supported by our community and have people who care, we can tap into our joy factor! All children deserve to be worry free and consistently offered opportunities to experience joy in their everyday lives. I hope this episode has inspired you and that you find a little joy in your day! Thanks for listening and take care!

 What can the average person do to help children of incarcerated parents:

  1. Be non-judgmental. Parents love their children. 
  2. Greet children with interest and joy. Kids have better radar have better radar than many grown-ups. It takes little time to look in a child’s eyes and say, How are you?
  3. Help the caregiver of that child. 
  4. Respect the community from which they come and recognize that trauma impacts everyone. 

Resources mentioned on the show:

Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership COIPP

Girl Scouts Behind Bars

The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Child Welfare 

COIPP Community Partners

Curious Iguana

Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts



The Rabbit Listened by

The Dot

Sep 30, 2019

Welcome to Episode #25 of the JOY Factor podcast. Today’s show is brought to you by Care/Of. Everyone has a different path to personal health, and we're here to help you find yours. We believe in the power of technology, science, and human empathy to make the journey simpler. Let us help take care of you.

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Creating a Self-Care Map

When you hear the phrase “self-care”, what’s your first thought? what comes up for you? Just for a minute, notice your comfort level when the thought of taking care of yourself comes up. How do you define being good to yourself? What does it mean to you and when was the last time you thought about it? One thing is for certain, we can’t expand our capacity for a joyful life without having a lifestyle that is rooted in self-care.

So get comfortable and give yourself the time to listen to the show. We’re going to discuss a framework for starting a sustainable self-care practice and we’ll also be discussing 8 aspects of mind/body/spirit wellbeing. This will be more than enough information to help you create a personal map.

 Also, just a reminder that only you know what’s best for you. No one can define what that looks like but I’m hoping you will explore what you need and imagine how you might begin to implement some simple shifts in your day to day routine. So grab some paper and something to write with and we’ll take it away!

To start, let’s frame Sustainable Self-Care with 3 guiding principles.

Start Small, Stay Steady and Keep it sane.

I’m going to invite you to Just let these words sink in. Let any competing thoughts pass by and, just allow yourself to consider how you might bring these concepts alive in your life.

Start Small.

Tiny steps are better than no steps at all. There's no need for grand plans just small, consistent actions. With the right preparation, these little shifts can be woven into your daily life with just a few moments of effort on your part. What would it be like to take the smallest step possible? Small self-care steps can start anywhere or anytime. A few examples might include pausing to look at the moon, singing your favorite song out loud or breathing a little more deeply. Consider reaching out to friends you’ve lost touch with. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Look around and see what else might be possible for you. Start small.

Be Steady

Having the kind of steady aim you need to move in your intended direction requires organization and commitment. The best organizational tool I have is a calendar. I still forget things but You know what is on there? Self-Care time. Non-negotiable. Not always perfect but consistent. We’re talking about a few minutes a day. So, put your name on the calendar and a reminder on your phone. Tell a friend you can trust what you’re up to. Better yet, share this episode with someone who would make a great accountability partner. Be open to whatever might represent a gentle nudge toward keeping your date with yourself a and strengthening a growing sense of commitment toward practices you can easily maintain. No self-care map is complete without time.


Finally, the 3rd guiding principal...Make it Sane.

Making it sane means there’s a built-in, natural blend of effort and ease from the start. Let’s unpack these two concepts of effort and ease.

Make effort means Thinking through your plan and being realistic about your goals. It also means considering what you’re willing to release from your life in order to make room for new habits. A final aspect of effort is being aware of how you support your efforts and how you sabotage yourself. 

The other aspect of making it sane is ease. You don't have to do everything all at once. Ease is all about releasing, letting go and exploring your capacity to be flexible and open.  

I think another aspect of Ease is also taking the time to enjoy the process by adding some special touches to your practice. Music, creating a nice space for self-care, having a sense of humor and anything else that allows you to show kindness to yourself are all important aspects of ease. So, when you think of effort and ease bookending the principal of making it sane, what does that look like to you?

A word from our sponsor: CARE/OF vitamins

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Now that we’ve discussed these 3 guiding principals of sustainable self-care: Start Small, Stay steady and Keep it sane. Let’s talk about the different aspects of wellbeing. Pay attention to what comes up for you as each of these are described. Notice what’s already going well for you and be curious about whether you want to include any of these on your own self-care map.

Take a look at the Sustainable Self Care Wellness Inventory identify goals for your self-care map and let me know how it's going. 

1.Stress Resilience/Happiness Practices- This is all about having the tools to protect yourself from stress, creating a gratitude practice, valuing regularly celebrating good times and having a support system during bad times.

  • I respond to changes in my life with a positive attitude. 
  • I believe that I deserve to enjoy my life and feel happy. 
  • I have at least 5 people who support me when I’m having a hard time and help me celebrate when life is good.
  • When I face a life challenge, I feel confident that I handle the accompanying stress in a healthy way. 
  • I’m clear on my boundaries and say “no” when I need to. 
  • I set realistic goals for myself. 
  • I have a gratitude practice and regularly stop to give thanks for my life.
  • I keep a journal and use it to reflect on my life and put my thoughts on paper.


  • I get at least 30 minutes of exercise four times each week.
  • My dietary choices are healthy and good for me and I avoid eating after 8:00 p.m.
  • I consume at least 8 glasses of water daily.
  • I consume fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks per week.
  • I have a doctor or health care provider I trust and feel comfortable with.      
  • I take time to schedule a yearly physical and dental exam. 
  • I tend to my body through massage, reflexology, and/or yoga, other__________
  • I make a point of having a good belly laugh every day.



  • I have a clear sense of meaning and purpose in my life.
  • I am pleased with what I give back to the world.
  • I practice forgiveness toward myself and others.
  • I am part of a community that gives me meaning and purpose.
  • I have at least one creative pursuit I engage in regularly-drawing, painting, sculpting, music, poetry etc. 
  • I regularly seek out inspiration through literature, art or music.
  • I feel connected to something larger than myself. 
  • I have a spiritual practice that includes meditation, dream work, journaling, prayer, etc.


  • I work no more than 8 hours per day and do not take work home with me.
  • I have the training, background and tools to do my job well.
  • I feel good about my ability to communicate with others.
  • I stand up for what I believe in.
  • I set realistic goals for my life and consistently work toward reaching them.
  • I’m able to let go of mistakes I’ve made and know how to move on.
  • I spend my time and energy on things that really matter to me. 
  • I have mentors who offer me insight and guidance for my life and goals.


  • I feel good about the way I budget, spend and track my money.
  • I have good habits when it comes to managing my time and responsibilities.
  • My desk and workspace are organized and I can easily find what I need. 
  • I have little in my life that needs cleaning up or fixing.
  • I regularly set limits/boundaries and can say no when necessary.
  • I make time for self- reflection.
  • I feel good about the amount of free time I spend in front of a screen.
  • I have clarity around my vision, goals and daily tasks.
  • I am aware of how much I earn and where my money goes.


  • I feel that I am well attuned to the emotions and needs of my loved ones.
  • I have a network of friends on whom I can — and do — depend.
  • I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.
  • I give and receive affection regularly.
  • The people closest to me feel seen, heard and valued by me.
  • I share responsibility for household tasks in a manner that supports the relationship.
  • I am open to change and question my beliefs, values, and principles.
  • In my main relationship, each of us assumes goodwill about the other.


  • I attend to my core values on a regular basis.
  • Notice inner experience (e.g. listen to and recognize thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes and feelings)
  • I have a level of acceptance of my imperfections (self-compassion) and have the strength to let go of my fear and uncertainty.
  • I practice muscle relaxation, yoga, stretching, meditation or slow breathing. 
  • I am able to speak kindly and offer praise to myself appropriately.
  • I am able to deal with fear, guilt, and insecurity in a constructive way.
  • I have a positive image of my body.
  • I feel satisfied with where I am in my life. 


  • Joy and gratitude come easily to me, and I do things that bring me joy.
  • I enjoy getting out of bed most days, and look forward to the day.
  • I express my unique talents, strengths, passions, and dreams on a daily basis.
  • I feel good about the amount of fun I have in my life.
  • I am able to have fun and enjoy myself without drugs or alcohol.
  • When I wake up in the morning I feel rested and ready for the day.
  • I know how to wind down at the end of the day and look forward to relaxing.
  • I eagerly anticipate or think about future adventures I am planning.

So there you have it! You may have other aspects of self-care you’d like to include but hopefully, this information gets you inspired to sit down and reflect on what a sustainable self-care map looks like for you.

We’ll be talking more about self-care in the coming months because it really does form the foundation for more joy. Please drop by the JOY Factor Facebook Group to share your thoughts on today’s episode and tell us about your own self-care plans! Check out our show notes for more information on today’s show and please support the show by sharing it with a friend and leaving an honest rating and review on Facebook.  Thanks for listening and have a great day!

"For 25% off your first Care/of order, go to and enter JOYFACTOR." This episode is brought to you by Care/Of. 






Jun 18, 2019

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Hello and welcome to the JOY Factor Podcast episode number #24. My guest is Shane Birkel. Shane is a marriage and family therapist with a private practice just outside of Boston.He works primarily with couples and is a certified Relational Life Therapist
with Terry Real as his mentor.

Couples Therapist Couch  
Shane hosts a weekly podcast called the Couples Therapist Couch 
the practice of Couples Therapy.
Practice website:
Podcast website:

Many of the couples I see are seeking deeper intimacy and improved communication. Nothing can steal joy like an unfulfilling relationship but in order to feel satisfied and connected with our partner, we have to be connected to ourselves and have a sense of wholeness. Society’s definition of manhood forces men to make unconscious choices that often leave them disconnected from their capacity to be whole.  The good news is that things can get better when men are given the opportunity to consciously learn the skills needed to engage and learn what true intimacy is. There are many ways to start but today we’re talking about strategies for helping men build healthier self-esteem and stronger relationships.

Topics Discussed:

1. What is toxic masculinity and why does it matter?

2. What is healthy masculinity?

3. Why is healthy self-esteem so important?

4. The power of the feedback wheel.

5. The power in vulnerability and connection.

Shane's motto for life: "There’s never any excuse for harshness."

Resources Mentioned:

Gillette Razor Commercial

Terry Real 


Feb 25, 2019

This episode is brought to you by Care/Of. Take advantage of this month's special New Year offer! For 50 percent off your first month of personalized Care/of vitamins, go to and enter "joyfactor50".

Hello and welcome to episode #23 of the Joy Factor Podcast.

Today’s guest is one of my favorite yoga teachers, Lori Love.

Lori loves to incorporate pranayama (breath work), play and alignment into all of her classes.   A prana flow instructor for more 15 years, she is trained in the Shiva Rea lineage and earned her 500-hour yoga certification as an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist through the New Mexico School of Yoga.

Lori also holds certifications in yin and restorative yoga.  Additionally, she is a Power Pilates 600-hour apparatus-trained instructor.  Lori has a personal training designation, too, and has been known to swing a kettlebell (not in yoga classes!).

Lori holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and has worked in management, sales, and marketing.  She holds a life coaching certification from Soul Salt Academy. When Lori isn’t teaching, she’s happiest spending time with her three children and looking for the best hiking trails in the area.

Join us as she shares from her wealth of knowledge on all things yoga. Lori quietly shows up and sets the tone for others to put down their mat and develop a relationship with yoga and all that it can offer. Her style of teaching and the warmth, energy, patience, and generosity she brings to her classes make for a truly joyful experience. I found that talking with her was equally joyful and hope you enjoy the show!

Things we’re talking about:

  • Lori’s journey to becoming a yoga teacher
  • What brought her to the mat?
  • Joy role models
  • How yoga helps us strengthen our capacity to trust and make conscious choices?
  • How having a yoga practice enhances our ability to bring more joy into our lives.
  • The importance of showing up
  • Breath practices
  • Ayurvedic practices


Lori's Facebook Page 

Maria Garre 

A short guide to a happy life- Anna Quinlan

Cher slapping Nicholas Cage
The right Questions- Debbie Ford

Ayurvedic Practices

Using a Neti Pots

Nasya oil- oil for the nostril





Feb 11, 2019

Hello and welcome to the Joy Factor podcast. Today’s episode is brought to you by Lola. For 40% of all subscriptions, visit and enter promo code “Joy” when you subscribe!

Our show is all about helping people connect to their natural ability to bring joy alive in their lives. We all have the capacity for joy and as we’ve discussed before it doesn’t have to come on the heels of an event or an experience. It’s something we can bring alive with our intention, action and through consistent practice.

Sometimes though, life throws us curve balls and we end up stuck in ways that make it feel impossible to find relief from emotional or physical pain, let alone access joy. If you can relate to this, you’re not alone and I’m glad you’re tuning in today. One message I’d like to send is that no one has to suffer alone. Everyone deserves to have a support system. Just for a moment imagine that you’re seated at the head of a long table. The table represents your life and each chair represents someone who has earned the right to have a seat at your table. Who do you currently have and who do you need? No one can create the team for you but there is support in helping you fill your table with the people and resources that will strengthen your ability to enjoy your life.

Today we’re talking to somatic experiencing practitioner and yoga therapist, Alicia Barmon. She’s someone I’m proud to have at my table both as a friend and colleague. Did I mention my belief that everybody needs a therapist at their table? Well, get comfortable and enjoy my interview with Alicia. Her wisdom is sure to resonate with many and hopefully, you feel as hopeful and inspired by her words as I did. Enjoy the show.

Resources Mentioned on Today's Show

What Somatic Experiencing (SE) is and what to expect for this style of therapy. 

Founder of SE Peter Levine

Work of Buddhist teacher, author, nun and mother Pema Chodron 

Audio recording Martin Prechtel. Grief and praise. Understanding that stuck energy creates problems. 

Ph.D, psychologist, author, and teacher of meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening, Tara Brach 

 Sol Yoga

If you haven’t had a chance to share your thoughts on the show, there are many ways to rate and review:

If you haven’t had a chance to share your thoughts on the show, there are many ways to rate and review:

Would you mind taking a moment to complete a fast survey so we can better understand who our listeners are?


Jan 12, 2019

Hello and welcome to the Joy Factor Podcast! We’re 130,000+ downloads strong which is super exciting! Your ratings and reviews help the message of the show continue to be spread to those who need it the most so thank you!

If you haven’t had a chance to share your thoughts on the show, there are many ways to rate and review:

Would you mind taking a moment to complete a fast survey so we can better understand who our listeners are?

Today is episode 21 and I’m talking with Dr. Allison Bomba, a Maryland based psychologist who specializes in helping children navigate the grief process. Dr. Bomba brings hope and healing to children and families as they navigate the painful and confusing process of healing from a loss. Despite the seriousness of her work she’s still able to connect with her own joy factor and offers keen insight on how to help children recover after the death of a loved one.

Today we're exploring:

The most important lessons children teach us about grieving?

Worden’s 4 tasks of mourning

  • Accepting the reality of death.
  • Working through the pain of grief. 
  • Adjusting to a world in which the deceased person no longer lives.
  • Finding a way to maintain a connection with a deceased person.

Steps to support a grieving child:

Signs that a child needed counseling or some other intervention to handle the grief?

Dr. Bomba’s sources of personal inspiration 

If Dr. Bomba’s words resonated with you, know that you’re not alone. There is help out there. If you or someone you love is struggling with grief please reach out for support. You don’t have to do it alone. Taking it one step at a time you will be able to help yourself and your loved ones work through the pain, find ways to keep memories alive and begin healing together. 

Thanks for joining us today and take good care.


Sesame Street in Communities/Grief

National Alliance for Grieving Children

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital