The challenge of saying “no” and “YES!”

One of the best stress management strategies I know, is the ability to say “no” to things that do not give me energy. 

In my business, early on I realized that I did not like accounting, bill paying and reconciling.  But these tasks are very important for any business, so it was one of the first things that I delegated.  Over the years, I have learned to very politely and graciously say no to many solicitors and sales people, selling whatever.  I typically take the time to hear the sales pitch, take a moment to think if this is something I would be interested in looking into, if not, I politely decline.  Being able to be decisive and say “no” quickly has saved me a lot of time, energy and money. 

I also use this principle a lot in my personal life when it comes to volunteering, and social engagements.  Over time, I have learned to minimize the time that I spend with people that I don’t relate to, or that I don’t enjoy spending time with.  I have also realized that I generally don’t like big and loud parties and venues, as it is hard to connect to people.   I would prefer a quiet dinner with 4-6 friends over large parties. 

Recently, it feels like I have been saying “yes” to a lot of different things.  I volunteered to raise money to buy and deliver 1000 apples to a local Middle School, I co-host a monthly lunch group of women, I am a mentor through Colorado Youth at Risk all of this is on top of managing The Wellness Center and the family.  All in all, I feel like my plate is pretty full.   When my plate gets full, it is always a good time for me to ask myself… are all the things I am saying “yes” to fulfilling me in some way?  Or are the things draining me?  Overall, I would say that even if my plate is full, it is full with things that I feel passion for and that have filled my bucket and ultimately give me hope for the future. 

If you want to increase your happiness level, one of the best things you can do is volunteer your time; amazingly simple, yet so hard to implement in our busy lives.  I have found being a mentor through Colorado Youth at Risk (link:, while a big time commitment, spending time with my mentee has been very fulfilling, as I can see the impact I am making on a person.    

I do look forward to turning things off for a month to summer, just to reset, rejuvenate and refuel.  In many ways… life is a marathon, but even ultra-athletes need time to recover.  Life is more like a relay, we can carry the baton for a while, but at some point we have to hand it off, and eventually we will pick it up again. 

Life is all about saying “No” to the right things so you have space to say “Yes” to the right things. 

In Health,

10 Habits of Being a Happy Mother

I will admit it. I am a self-help junkie. I love reading personal development books and now that I am a mother that still hasn’t changed. I just finished reading the book, The 10 Habits of Healthy Mothers, by Meg Meeker. It served as a reminder of how to live a rich, peaceful and simple life. The habits I have heard before, it is even more important that I remind myself to stay focused on what is important in life and to live in the present moment.

Here are the 10 habits:
1) Understand your value as a Mother and/or an individual
2) Maintain a strong support system
3) Value and practice faith
4) Say no to competition
5) Create a healthy relationship with money
6) Make time for solitude
7) Give and get love in healthy ways
8) Live more simply
9) Let go of fear
10) Cultivate hope

Remember life is too short to waste it on worrying, gossip and stressing out. One of the most important things that I have learned in my lifetime is to not compare myself to others. This is extremely hard! Especially in a culture that is constantly making comparisons and marketing that makes us feel inadequate with what we have. Cultivate the feeling of gratitude each day of your life, and be grateful for all the little things we experience and have on a daily basis.

Happy Mother’s Day!

12 Months of Wellness | Month 5 – Breath & Chiropractic


Welcome to month five of our 12 Months of Wellness. We are so thrilled that you are taking these monthly steps to improve your overall wellness. If you are just now being introduced to our 12 Months of Wellness you can find the full series here.

Our breath is so much more than just an automatic response to keep us oxygenated and alive. Our breath is the simplest tool we have to calm our physical, emotional and mental states. Next time you’re running late, feeling stressed at work or anxious about an upcoming event tune into your body. You’re likely to notice that your heart is racing and your breathing is short and high in your chest. This is because you are in a heightened stress response and your body is on high alert.

The quickest way to relax your nervous system is through conscious breathing practices. This can be as simple as focusing on your breath and consciously taking several slow, deep breaths, fully filling your lungs.

The 4-7-8 Relaxation Breath, recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, is a technique to help you relax, quiet your mind and even fall asleep easily. This practice is simple, doesn’t take much time and it’s free, so try it next time you need to calm you nerves.

The 4-7-8 Relaxation Breath technique:

  1. Exhale all of your breath through your mouth.
  2. Inhale through your nose to the count of 4.
  3. Hold your breath to the count of 7.
  4. Exhale audibly through your mouth for the count of 8.
  5. Repeat this several times and notice how it helps you relax.

Breath and Chiropractic

You may wonder what the connection is between breath and chiropractic. Well, both actually have a direct effect on the health and function of the nervous system and can affect our ability to heal, as well as feel balanced and calm.

Often times, our breath can even be a gauge for our spinal wellness. When our spine is out of balance, we may experience a shortness of breath caused by a stress response. A misaligned vertebrae at the base of our skull can create pressure on our brain causing the release of stress hormones, putting us in a flight or flight response. Chiropractic adjustments relieve pressure and help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our natural state of relaxation.

Use this months downloadable worksheet to tune into your breath and set intentions to address any issues you may be experiencing.

Here are my intentions so you can see how simple this can be:





If you commit to a regular conscious breathing practice and still find yourself anxious and out of sorts it may be time to visit a Chiropractor. Click here to read more on Chiropractic Care.


Gratitude is a muscle… don’t forget to exercise it

I don’t know if it is the way our brains are wired, but for some reason it is so hard to appreciate something until you lose it.  When things become part of our daily routine, we take these things for granted.  Things as simple as, running water that comes to our home in a limitless supply, electricity, the internet, cell phones etc.  It isn’t until we lose things or people that we come to appreciate them.  

For me, I am always trying to be grateful for my health.  Many times, people treat their cars better than they treat their bodies.   When we feel good and have energy we take our health for granted.  It isn’t until we encounter some type of health crisis that we wake up to the fact that having good health and energy is the ultimate gift in life.

When you don’t feel good, and are struggling to get through the day, your quality of life really suffers.  When you are in constant pain, I know you can wonder is life worth living.  Today, I am here to remind you, that your body is a temple.   It gives you the strength to not only survive the day, but to thrive.  It gives you the motivation to work hard and enjoy life.   Remember, that nothing is worth sacrificing your health for.  If you are overstressed, overworked and not taking care of yourself, take a moment to reflect on what your life would  feel like if you were to create more spaciousness.  If you created time for you, to eat healthy, to exercise, to have down time just doing nothing, sounds amazing right?

I know many of us work to enjoy our life, eating out, going to concerts, filling our home with new furniture, buying new clothes etc. etc.  Could you imagine living a more simple life, with a smaller home or even being in an apartment?  The tradeoff would be greater financial and time margin to focus on yourself, not having to do things that are costly.  Instead it is about reading books, taking long walks or hikes, learning new recipes and cooking more at home.  Spending time with friends and enjoying good company over a cup of tea.  Click here to read more on living a simple and uncomplicated life. 

Here is to your health!  Celebrate it every day!


The Secret to Successful Athletic Training – Stretching and Sports Massage

Movement-1000Whether you are a professional or amateur athlete, or simply a weekend warrior – when you train (i.e. run, bike, lift weights, swim, etc) you are putting stress on your muscles in order to build strength, stamina, and endurance for your particular sport. This process of building up and breaking down muscles causes them to become tight and short, which restricts circulation and creates muscular imbalances. All of these conditions are a normal byproduct of training but all need to be nurtured in order to enhance performance and prevent injury.

Cause and Effect of Conditions

  • Tight muscles – Muscles move our bones by the connective tissue (fascia) that envelopes and connects them to our bones via tendons. Chronically tight muscles can put excessive stress on our tendons which can lead to tendinitis, and in some cases tendon pulls and tears which can put an athlete out for weeks if not months.
  • Restricted circulation – Muscles are made of microscopic fibers surrounded by tiny capillaries that nourish the muscle with blood. If they become too tight the blood flow is greatly decreased, cutting off the supply of oxygen and glycogen to the muscle. Without proper fuel, the muscle(s) simply can’t perform properly.
  • Muscular imbalances – There are two types of muscles – slow twitch (postural) and fast twitch (movers). The former metabolizes fuel for long sustained efforts, and when stressed tends to shorten. Fast twitch muscle fibers utilize higher amounts of oxygen than slow twitch fibers to produce quick bursts of energy and tend to weaken under stress. This juxtaposition causes an imbalance in opposing muscle groups and an inefficiency in the way the body works. It is very important to restore balance by lengthening short/tight muscles and re-energize weakened ones in order to maximize their capacity.

Simple Solution

Massage treatment

Massage treatment

In order to compete and/or perform at your very best, all athletes (from amateurs to professionals) have to address the issues above. The good news is there are two incredibly simple solutions – stretching and massage.

Stretching is an often overlooked, yet essential component of training, especially in new and amateur athletes. They tend to be focused on the “no pain, no gain” aspect and want to push their bodies to the limit. This IS part of training and the other part is recovering and taking care of themselves, which includes spending almost as much time stretching and lengthening your muscles as you do strengthening them.

Sports massage should also play an important role in all training plans. You invest hours of time and energy, and copious amounts of money on gear, coaches, travel and more. Massage is part of this investment. It is like having an insurance policy that your body will operate well so you can have an optimal performance. Some people think of massage as a very passive and pampering type of activity. Sports massage is far from this stereotype for the client is actively participating in the session.  During a sport massage session the client is ask to engage specific muscle groups  to activate our bodies natural reflexes and responses to  achieve  a deeper therapeutic stretch.    Also movement and resistant by the client is used to enhance the effectiveness of traditional massage strokes to achieve an optimal result.

Both stretching and massage help bring your muscles back to a state where they can operate most efficiently from a physiological and structural standpoint. When they are lengthened and pliable, blood flows freely and they are able to work effectively and efficiently.

And most importantly, your massage can enhance your body awareness, alerting you to potential problem areas, before they turn into real issues that would affect your ability to train and compete.

Don’t forget about the diaphragm

The diaphragm is the muscle that we engaged every time we breathe and like any other muscle it is susceptible to dysfunction.  If it is not operating efficiently, your body is running on low octane rather than high octane fuel. Getting regular massage work on this area can enhance your lung capacity!

For more information about Sports Massage call The Wellness Center Today! 303-357-9355


Transformation is found in the slow and steady… the power of fasting and cleansing

I am on day 4 of the Isagenix 11 day cleanse.  Today, was our second fasting day.  A fasting day is a day that we only consume liquids and minimal snacks.   I have done this cleanse many times, each time it has been hard, but in the end always worth the struggle and work.  This time around, I am feeling very zen and calm.   I don’t have any strong emotions towards eating certain foods, and no main cravings are rearing their nasty heads. 

As I sip my cleanse for life (liquid Isagenix cleansing agent), my senses feel more awakened.  When I smell food I feel my stomach growl, but I am able to easily say “no.”  Typically cleansing and fasting is a mental game, it is game of letting go of impulsivity and ultimately control over what we put in our bodies. We live in a culture of abundance and instant gratification… where typically we can get any kind of food we want 24/7.  Fasting is not only a physical purging, but a mental purging of those foods we have become addicted to… the ones that are the hardest to let go of.  Cleansing and fasting is about losing weight and improving your health,.  There is another side benefit that comes with restriction and discipline.   It helps you become a stronger person, it gives you more “grit” to weather the storms of everyday life.   It also builds your confidence level, once you complete a cleanse or fast, others challenges don’t seem as daunting.  We are stronger than we think!

I have definitely come a long way… when I did my first Isagenix cleanse 10 plus years ago, I was detoxing off of sugar and candy, and believe me I feel off the ban wagon and cheated, but you just keep going, if you fall off just be kind to yourself and start again.  That is the best thing we can do for ourselves, don’t dwell on the things you did wrong… instead focus on getting back on track.  Over the past 10 years after many cleanses and learning to eat more healthy… my taste buds have changed drastically.  I no longer eat a lot of candy or consume a lot of sugar.  In many ways this cleanse has been the easiest for me since I didn’t need to change my diet drastically or cut back on anything addictive.  Once again… I have been cleansing for 10 plus years.  If you are cleansing for the first time, please be gentle with yourself.  We have to honor where we are in our own process and life.

Personal transformation is a process that is slow and steady.  Anything worth doing, whether it is saving money, losing weight, getting healthy, building a business, growing friendships and marriages, the process is slow and steady.   There is something in our humanness that rebels against slow, mundane and steady.  Instead we want fast, exciting and instant.   Ultimate joy is found through the discipline of slow and steady.

Today, I celebrate the discipline found through cleansing and fasting.  When things seem hard in life and you want to take the easy road… remember you will reap amazing benefits if you remember to take things slow and steady.  In the process be kind and gentle with yourself, do your best at that moment.  Things will only get better and easier.

To your health!

Sharon Hwang

5 benefits of Fasting and Cleansing:

1)      Changes the function of cells, genes and hormones.   The body induces cellular repair processes, flushing out wastes in your system.

2)      Lose weight and belly fat.  When you fast, insulin levels drop significantly, this facilitates fat burning.

3)      You can reduce insulin resistance, lowering your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  Fasting has been shown to have major benefits for insulin resistance.

4)      Fasting can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, improving your overall immune system.  Oxidative stress accelerates the aging process and increases inflammation.

5)      Fasting brings great awareness, helps you break your addiction to eating certain food and helps people feel more connected to life and brings a more clear sense of awareness in your surroundings.


12 Months of Wellness | Month 4 – Sleep & Acupuncture


Welcome to month four of our 12 Months of Wellness. We want to congratulate you if you’ve made it this far. If you are just now being introduced to our 12 Months of Wellness you can find the entire series here.

This month we are helping you understand the connection between sleep, stress and overall well-being. We invite you to check in with your sleep patterns and make some minor changes to your day if you find yourself ever having trouble sleeping.

Most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at one time in their lives. An estimated 30%-50% of the general population are affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia. The concern is if you don’t address short term sleeplessness it may develop into chronic insomnia.

Some signs of insomnia and sleeplessness:

  • You lay in bed for hours, feeling tired but unable to fall asleep
  • You toss and turn when you sleep at night
  • You have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep
  • You feel lethargic and groggy after you wake up

In our fast-paced lifestyles, stress can often cause us to give up sleep in order to catch up on work or other responsibilities. This can cause us problems when trying to fall asleep and many of us reach for over the counter or prescription sleep aids which only put a band-aid on the problem, rather than address the root of the cause.

Many of the causes of short-term sleeplessness and insomnia are similar and they include:

  • Changes in work schedule
  • Jet lag
  • Excessive or unpleasant noise
  • Uncomfortable room temperature (too hot or too cold)
  • Stressful situations in life (exam preparation, loss of a loved one, unemployment, divorce, or separation)
  • Presence of an acute medical or surgical illness or hospitalization
  • Withdrawal from drug, alcohol, sedative, or stimulant medications
  • Insomnia related to high altitude (mountains)
  • Long hours at a computer screen

Tips to help you sleep better:

  • Keep a consistent sleeping schedule
  • Keep your room completely dark and quiet
  • Maintain the temperature of your room not hotter than 70 degrees
  • Find ways to reduce your stress levels like warm baths and meditation
  • Receive Acupuncture treatments
  • Eliminate the use of back lit screens several hours before bed

How Acupuncture can help to improve your sleep:

Acupuncture is effective in treating stress induced sleep issues by balancing the endocrine/hormone regulated activities. Chronic stress causes our stress hormones to become hyperactive, this in turn suppresses our feedback hormone. Acupuncture helps to regulate the endocrine system by needling acu-points selected for the insomnia and our bodies adjust the feedback system and normal sleeping are patterns restored.

Sleep problems due to medication and some other physiological causes span from circadian rhythm disorders, sleep-wake imbalance, to a variety of medical conditions are more complex to treat. This will take a longer period of time to treat the underlying conditions and causes of the sleep issues.

You do not have to put up with sleepless nights. Simple changes in your daily habits like getting to bed at the same time every night and turning off the computer and tv screen well before bed can resolve short-term sleeplessness and restore your much needed rest. Use this months downloadable worksheet to assess your sleeping patterns and set intentions to get a better night’s sleep.

Here are my intentions so you can see how simple this can be:





Dr. Tsai is our on-site Acupuncturist and she can help you with any sleeping issues you may be experiencing. Remember short term sleep problems can develop into chronic insomnia, schedule a session today. Click here to learn more about Dr. Tsai.

Click here for more information on sleep and insomnia.


Time to let go of things that are out of your control…

One thing that I have learned over the years is that you should only stress over the things you can control.  Which let’s be honest, are very few things in life. 

Control for many of us is a security blanket, it helps us feel safe.  When we can control our environments, what we eat, our bodies, our friends, our communities etc.  Then we can live the illusion that we are happy and secure.  The biggest growth opportunities come from when we are out of our comfort zones and have very little “control” of our physical environment.  That is when you really realize how “secure” you are in your own sense of self.

For me, this unintended personal growth opportunity came to me when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal in the mid-1990s.  I was in my early twenties and thought I was a self-confident young woman.  I believed I was going to make a huge difference in Nepal.  When in reality, I went through a major melt down and Nepal had a much bigger impact on myself personally than what I did for the Nepali people.

About a year into my service, I became obsessed with my body.  I had very limited diet of rice, lentils and vegetables, and ironically I was gaining weight.  This is very common with a high carb diet for women vs the men were losing weight and being sent canisters of peanut butter to supplement their diets.

In America, we are obsessed with our bodies, especially women.   I know that today, there is more of an emphasis on “healthy” eating, but this can be taken to extremes with the primary motivation being to maintain a certain body and weight.  In Nepal, being bigger and robust was a sign of wealth and bigger women were actually considered beautiful.  Many times people would compliment me, by saying I was so “moto” which means “fat” in Nepali.  Obviously that sentence did not bode well for my American raised brain.

I realized… that I was a confident woman when I could control my environment and weight.  Suddenly, in a place where I had very little control I was self-loathing and depressed.  Essentially crying everyday wondering why I was so obsessed with my weight in a third world country that I had come to help.

This was a HUGE wake up call.  It was ultimately the best thing that happened in my life, as I reflect back today.

What got me through this, you wonder?  It was a visit from my family.  My entire immediate family came to visit me in Nepal.  While I was trying my hardest to put on a smile, because I didn’t want to let my family know that I was vulnerable, sad and depressed.  My father completely saw through it.  As I was walking with him one day through a field of grasses, he stopped and faced me and started crying.  He started shedding the tears that I had been shedding since I arrived in Nepal.

Just to understand the magnitude of this, I had only seen my father cry twice before this: when my grandmother passed away and then later when my grandfather passed.  My father rarely showed emotions.  For him to “feel” my pain, and for me to make him cry, was a profound experience for me.  I am not sure if it was the love he showed towards me, or the realization that we are all interconnected on this Earth.   Suddenly, I got out of my own way.  Realizing that I was inflicting pain on my father, gave me a deeper sense of self, it took me out of my own self-obsessed thoughts and instead gave me more compassion for myself.  It gave me the strength and courage to finish my service in Nepal and then to travel to India by myself for 2 months.  My obsession with my weight and body was replaced by a deep love of who I was at my core.  I gained a new respect for my body, no matter what the weight, shape or color.

I am huge advocate of the Peace Corps Service.  Know that if you do join, you will come back a changed person, for the good.  Peace Corps is good for America and Americans.

Few lessons I learned from my Peace Corps service:

  • Life is too short and precious to waste your life energy on things that don’t serve you.
  • Trust that everything happens for a reason.
  • Don’t stress out about things you cannot control, especially other people’s actions.
  • Do focus your energies on moving things that you are passionate about forwards.
  • Volunteer your time and energy… it helps you get out of your own head when you help others.

What things do you need to let go of?

In Health,


The Abundance Code

Recently I have been thinking a lot about abundance and having enough.  I grew up as a first generation Chinese American.  Both my parents immigrated here from Taiwan back in the late 1960s.  We grew up in a modest home, living a middle class lifestyle.  Our main summer vacation was our annual road trip to Lake McConaughy in Nebraska where we either camped or stayed in a cabin.   One of my father’s passions was to fish, so he enjoyed catching striped bass in the lake, while we enjoyed waterskiing, and swimming.

I don’t recall a feeling of lack growing up, there was also not a feeling of extreme luxury or excess.  My parents were very practical, but believed in spending money on the things they valued.

Many of their practical spending habits got passed down to me, which is a good thing since for most of my adult life up until recently I have never made a lot of money.  For the first 10 years of owning The Wellness Center, I was typically taking out loans to survive and living as simply as possible, and pouring money into the business to keep it afloat.  I wasn’t until 2012 that I was able to pay off all of the debt associated with the business.Even through my 20s and into my 30s I never had a feeling of lack or not having enough.  I took time to do the things that I loved most, which is seeing my family and friends and traveling.  I took many international trips to Bali, the Philippines, China, Thailand, Taiwan and Canada.  To save money for traveling, I had to say “no” to consumer culture.  Typically I bought everything used at garage sales, consignment shops or Craig’s List, and I still do today.  I didn’t buy my first new car until 2012.  These habits of living “frugally” have allowed me, even during lean times to feel abundant.

So now, as The Wellness Center continues to grow and prosper, I feel it is even more important that I invest and reward those that contribute to its success.  What shocks me, is that the top Executives of our health insurance companies are paid millions each year, while health insurance premiums are sky rocketing.  It feels like these CEOs are coming more from a place of “lack” than abundance when it comes to running these health insurance companies.

“Aetna (AET) CEO Mark Bertolini received $17.3 million in 2015, the most recent year for which compensation has been reported. Cigna CEO David Cordani made the same amount. UnitedHealth (UNH) CEO Stephen Hemsley had total compensation of $14.5 million, while Anthem (ANTM) CEO Joseph Swedish received $13.6 million. Humana CEO Bruce Broussard received $10.3 million.” Source: CNNMoney (New York) First published March 7, 2017: 11:55 AM ET

Abundance is truly an inward process, but marketing and materialism make it hard for many Americans to stay the course.  It is too easy to spend money on things we truly don’t need that do not add anything to our lives, but instead give us an instant sense of gratification. For me abundance has never been about making a lot of money.  Instead it is about the abundance of time, good health, clean water, fresh air and the freedom to control your future.

Wishing you all the abundance the world has to offer.

In health,

Check out this new documentary: The Abundance Code

12 Months of Wellness  |  Month 3 – Nutrition


This month we encourage you to set some intentions around healthy nutrition. What we ingest has a direct and sometimes profound impact on how we feel, how our body resists disease and ages over the years. Start tuning into how food can support your heart and soul, what you want to fuel your body with and why, and make choices based on what feels right for you and your body type.

There are so many philosophies in the nutrition field and it can be overwhelming to keep up with the latest fads and research. That’s why we suggest you start with an intention to make small shifts in your diet. This will help you follow through long-term and see huge benefits in the way you look and feel.

The Mayo Clinic talks about a “Heart-Healthy Diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease” that is a great place to start when making small changes to your diet. They outline the following topics with some great basic information. Please read the article with an open mind and remember our two-cents to this rather Western perspective.

  1. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol – of course, but don’t get suckered by the gimmicky products promising to reduce cholesterol like Benecol Promise Margarine. Yuck. Olive oil and even butter (used sparingly) are better choices.
  2. Choose low-fat protein sources – but skip the fat free dairy and soy products all together.
  3. Eat more vegetables and fruits – FRESH fruits and vegetables that is. High heats during canning can turn these gems into nutrient-less mush.
  4. Select whole grains – The words “whole grains” have been bastardized by cereal and other packaged food advertisers. We are talking about the actual whole grains of brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, oats.
  5. Reduce the sodium in your food – by NOT eating foods laden with salt like most processed items including canned, boxed, frozen and otherwise.
  6. Control your portion size – basic but true.
  7. Plan ahead: Create daily/weekly menus – fabulous for keeping you on track and abreast of what you have already consumed over the course of a week
  8. Allow yourself an occasional treat – such a great way to stay balanced and not in a place of deprivation

Changing your eating habits can be tough. Make sure you are kind to yourself and set your intentions at an attainable level. Maybe include a new step every few weeks so you are continually working towards a goal. Download this month’s intention setting guide to set healthy nutrition intentions for yourself.

Here are my intentions so you can see how simple this can be:





Page 1 of 2812345...1020...Last »