I break that one down into smaller steps. Then I pick the step that needs to be done first and if I can't, then yes, I pick the hardest step. I start to work on that one and I forget all the other things on the lists until that one is done. When you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a specific food or a substance in the food as harmful. It responds by releasing an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize the allergy-causing food or food substance. The next time you eat even the smallest amount of that food, IgE antibodies sense it and signal your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, as well as other chemicals, into your bloodstream. One client of mine, for example, used to get headaches after certain meals. She finally figured out that it happened after eating her favorite seafood: shrimp. When she had allergy testing done, her allergic reaction to shrimp was significant. But she really didn't want to believe it. So she experimented and found out the truth for herself. Eat shrimp, get a headache. Eat more shrimp, get really sick. So now you have a foundation of how blood types and your immune system relate to what you eat. Let's bridge over to how to improve your wellness by creating your custom meal plan. As you read the next chapter, I believe you will have aha moments that will help you stop the yo-yo diets that you may have experienced for years and find a stable way to gain good health through eating. So, how to reverse an unhelpful dynamic? The best place to start building your confidence and self-esteem is from a position of strength. Instead of focusing on what you believe you can't do, focus on what you know you can do and what you know makes you feel good about yourself. There are a number of ways you can do this.

Think about the aspects of your life that matter to you, that you enjoy doing and do reasonably well. Those areas could be related to, for example, your work, family, friends, hobbies and interests and sports. They will be activities where you know what you're doing and like doing it. Doing something that you enjoy, and that you are good at, can help build your confidence and increase your self-esteem. Why? Because you not only believe these are things you like and do OK at, you know it too. When you reflect on the activity; when you think back over what you're doing and have been doing, you have positive thoughts about the activity and about yourself; you feel good about yourself. Dean, for example, is 34. One aspect of his life that's important to him is sport. In particular, football is important. It's something he enjoys and does quite well in. He feels confident and good about himself when he plays football. His friends are important too. Keeping in touch with his friends, doing things together and supporting each other is something he enjoys and is good at. Cognitive-behavioural therapy suggests that our thoughts, emotions and behaviours are all related to each other. Thoughts that are realistic and accurate tend to promote good mental health. On the other hand, thoughts that are unrealistic or inaccurate tend to increase suffering. In the same way, realistic thoughts and balanced emotions tend to lead to helpful actions. Finally, engaging in value-based actions or behaviours can encourage helpful thoughts and boost emotions. Addressing any one of these three areas of experience can influence the other two areas.

Everyone has thoughts that are automatic, because they have been practiced for many years. The brain creates strong neural pathways for certain thoughts that have been repeated over and over. Gaining awareness of the thoughts you have around pain can open opportunities to manage pain more skillfully. Do one thing; forget the rest. I keep doing small steps until I have completed the first of the five tasks; then I start on the next task from the four that are left. Actually, when I broke the first task into steps, I probably made yet another list, a list of those steps, but I still have my first list of five. Anytime I'm working on one thing, I need to forget about all the other things. They are on the list and will still be there when I finish this one thing. I repeat this whole process as necessary. What is referred to as the second layer asks participants to reflect upon how they are meeting experience, their relationship to what is being noticed, and how this might be different from how they usually pay attention, eat, move their body, and so forth. This question is also asking participants how paying attention mindfully is different. This is intended to help them recognize that there may be other ways to relate to experience than the ones they typically employ. While I'm working, I make sure to take some reasonable breaks. I don't tell myself that this is so urgent that I can't stop for a minute. The break helps me see that I'm not really overwhelmed. Without breaks my efficiency drops and I'll spend more time getting less done. But I also make sure I don't get involved in something else while I am on a break, especially compulsive computer games or starting on some other project. I limit the break to five minutes, ten max, and check the clock. While I'm on my break, it's OK to think about the project I'm working on, but I don't start thinking about the lists. Or when I do, I shift my mind to something else.

This example relates to thoughts and perception because the way people look at a situation often only takes into account a limited viewpoint. Finding other ways to look at the same situation or event can provide new options for how to feel and what to do. Sometimes there may be a way to look at an event that leads to less suffering and pain. By taking a broader view, you have more choices about how to respond to experiences. It is a common belief that, when certain events happen, they make you think and feel a certain way. For example, when you are stuck in a long line at a store, you may be accustomed to thinking "This is too slow!" and feeling frustrated. As you explore thoughts, you may notice that they tend to come with a value judgment, and you may discover that it is possible to think and feel differently about the same event. Here is an experiment to explore the tendency to judge experiences as good, bad or neutral: Imagine that a person's partner says that they want to end the relationship. At first glance, this event may seem to be negative, but is that the only way to view it? This example shows how the same event can be seen as positive, negative or neutral. This is good news, because if it is possible to feel different ways about events, then you do not have to wait for events to change in order to have different thoughts and feelings. After the first couple of sessions the question, "How might this be different?" is dropped, as participants develop an understanding of mindfulness and that another way of paying attention is being learned. From this point, the tracking of experience is emphasized by asking, "And then what happened? And then?" This form of inquiry stresses attention to the internal, sequential, unfolding nature of each moment. Its purpose is to increase the capacity of participants to stay close to their experience, track it, and recognize the relationship between its various components. These components consist of thoughts, emotions, body sensations, impulses to act, and behaviors. Now it's your time to pull out your binder or computer to answer questions that will help you formulate a food plan through a better understanding of your blood type and immune system. What is your understanding of how your blood type and immune system work? And what is the benefit for you? Do you know your blood type?

If so, what is it? If not, when do you plan to get your blood type information? What foods are you allergic to that you know of? Do you ever experience bloating, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms after eating a meal? Have you ever tried eliminating certain foods from your diet to see if you feel better? What was the result? Are you aware of the importance of collaborating with your healthcare professional before making any dietary changes--especially if you are on any medications? Chaya is a lawyer. She's good at her job and enjoys it. What really makes her feel good, though, is the voluntary work she does once a week with homeless young people. Chaya feels that she's really able to help the young people by listening and providing advice and information. Whenever you enjoy and do well in an area of your life that matters to you, you can feel good about yourself. You don't have to excel at an activity, you just need to like it and be good enough at it. What do you like doing? What do you enjoy? Maybe it's your job or an aspect of your job. Perhaps it's voluntary work that you do. Maybe it's an interest like cooking or baking, fishing, gardening or dancing. Are there activities in your life that bring you a sense of satisfaction? Make yourself aware of what those activities are so that you can develop your confidence and self-esteem from a position of strength.