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









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Jul 27, 2022

Today’s Show

Hello, and welcome to episode 35 The JOY Factor. My guest today is trauma specialist and substance abuse counselor Stephanie Snyder. You can read more about Stephanie’s background here

Listen in as Stephanie shares her unique perspective on joy and healing as it relates to substance addiction and recovery.

What We’ll Learn

  • Healing is a mind, body and soul experience.
  • When someone starts the journey of healing and goes from surviving to thriving they are able to see joy and beauty in the little things and eventually the bigger things! 
  • A recovery saying Stephanie references: I can hear the birds sing again. You have recovered enough and have healed enough that you can hear things that are outside of yourself instead of only being able to focus on what’s going on inside of you. 
  • Questions to consider when considering getting help.
  • We need to speak out against mental health stigmas. Labels dehumanize people. 
  • Treatment success depends on having safe, non-judgmental space to address the fear and intimidation clients may feel.
  • Recovery and the development of self-worth develops in phases.
  • Families need to heal together. It’s not just one person, the whole family unit is impacted. 
  • Society has put so many expectations on parents. The first thing to help parents understand: This is not your fault. 
  • Our children learn how to cope with things not just through the family unit but from other things they’re surrounded by in society.
  • A few considerations regarding medicinal marijuana use.
  • Child’s brain is still developing until 21. Just like with alcohol and cigarettes, there’s a legal age and biological factors that need to be factored in. 
  • Very important to educate yourself before you engage in any kind of medicine based treatment.
  • You can’t advocate for yourself and learn how to take care of yourself if you don’t know what’s going into your body. 
  • Consult a professional and educate yourself. 
  • Medical grade and CBD products are very different from street marijuana. 
  • The amount of fentanyl on the streets is scary. Very easily absorbed through the skin. 
  • If someone is considering medical marijuana I advocate for them to do it the safe, legal way and not just buy it off the street. 

Favorite quote:

“My goal is to do better than I did yesterday.”


Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration

Know the risks of marijuana

National Institute on Drug Abuse 

Trauma Informed Substance Abuse Treatment


Thank you for Listening

It is a true honor to bring this podcast to you and I am so grateful that you took the time to listen. If you enjoyed the show, please share it with your friends and family. The JOY Factor Podcast

Do you have a second to complete this brief listener survey? It helps our show track who is listening so we can create topics of interest to you!


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?

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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

We want to learn who our listeners are! Please take a moment and fill out this quick survey:

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 


Jan 1, 2018

Hello and welcome to episode #17 of the JOY Factor Podcast. It’s good to be here with you today and I think you’re going to enjoy this episode. I recently enjoyed a reiki session with Judy and her energy truly is special. Enjoy the show!

Judy Buchanan is an entrepreneur, Certified Medical Reiki Master, public speaker, retired U.S. Army solider, wife and mother of two. Her passion is to empower women to safely release trauma, anxiety, grief and pain so they can feel better and thrive. Judy provides Reiki treatments, Reiki classes, supports holistic workshops and retreats as well as provides lectures to educate her community.

Judy Buchanan has attained the level of Karuna Reiki Master through the International Center for Reiki Training (IRCT) and the Okuden level of Jikiden Reiki®. Certification in Medical Reiki through Raven Keyes Medical Reiki International. Certification in Sacred Childbirth with Reiki through Rev. Cori Nielsen. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW), and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Judy spent 20+ years in the U.S. Army as Medical Service Corps Officer. Her military journey came with many adventures, friendship, and accomplishment as well as many struggles and obstacles. Judy can relate to the stressors working parents, service members, and dual military couples experience while raising a family. Like many other service members, she has been on both sides of deployment: the soldier who deployed and the family member at home taking care of the children while their spouse is away.

For many years, Judy experienced many significant health challenges and pain due to her response to high levels of stress. Her desire to heal was the catalyst to explore many complementary medicine techniques. She made great improvements from several different types of holistic therapies but Reiki was different. After having her first Reiki treatment, she knew immediately she needed to learn Reiki and share this amazing therapy with others. When we restore peace and harmony to our body, mind, spirit, or to a situation, we open the pathway so healing can occur. She has been a student of holistic therapies for more than a decade and believes education is a fundamental means of empowering others.

Judy educates our community by providing lectures on Reiki and its benefits as well as encouraging others to explore many complementary therapies to heal. She supports the Frederick County Library System Adult Education Program, Maryland State Wellness at Work Program/ Frederick Chamber of Commerce 5 Pillar of Health Lecture Series, Frederick Community Hospital Employee Health and Wellness Program, Fort Detrick United States Army Medical Materiel Development Agency’s Stress-Free Zone, and Frederick Community College Employee Wellness Fair.

Judy’s passion is realized through the development of her practice where she provides Reiki treatments and training classes to clients, and through community contribution by providing Reiki treatments to cancer patients and staff at the Frederick Memorial Hospital Cancer Center.  She also volunteers with Veterans Team Recovery Immersion Process (VETRIIP) a non-profit organization located in Texas and Operation Second Chance located in Maryland providing women veterans with Reiki treatments and stress reduction techniques to provide comfort, as well as pain and stress relief.  

Contact Information: facebook: @judybuchananenergy

Judy's Joy Tips!

How to define my joy factor?  Gratitude is the key to happiness


Don’t worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi

Online Resources to create Joy: Kari Samuels Intuitive Counselor and Happiness Coach

James Corden’s Karpool Karaoke – Cracks me up  

Music – i.e. my JOY JAM:

Feeling Good – Michael Buble

Brave – Sara Bareilles

Unconditionally- Katy Perry

We are family – Sister Sledge

You are not alone – Marie Miller

Happy – Pharrell Williams

Good to be Alive – Any Grammer

Rise – Katy Perry

Favorite book:  The Travelers Gift - Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success by – Andy Andrews

 The lesson pertaining to happiness in The Travelers Gift:

Today I will choose to be happy – Anne Frank

           Our very lives are fashioned by choice. First, we make choices. Then our choices make us.