Top 10 Myths About Marriage

Building a long-term marriage is difficult..right?


At the same time, the rewards for building a good quality, long-term marriage are enormous.   Many couples lack the tools on how to build a good quality, long-term marriage. 


The popular culture’s myths are one type of potentially dangerous blueprint for marriage.  They suggest not only the wrong kind of plan for building a good quality marriage, they also promote life goals that are questionable at best.  Such myths are half-truths that contain elements of truth and can be extremely powerful. 


People rarely question the truth of these marriage myths, choosing instead to think of them as eternal genuineness.


Why do people buy into these myths?


Because they are unable to see marriage for what it is.  An ever-changing relationship between two ever-changing human beings.  Life circumstances change.  Life changes are a fact of life.  As a result, marriage must also be adaptive and ever-changing. 


Consider some of the following myths about marriage.  Then ask yourself which myth applies to you.  Think about how your belief in those myths may be hurting your marriage. 


Myth #1:  Changing a Relationship Requires Two People

Reality?  The only person you can change is you!


Many people believe to create change in a relationship both persons must be motivated to change.  Therefore, they believe no real change can occur unless both parties are committed to work hard on their relationship. 


You can predict what happens next.


The person who believes the relationship needs to change spends most of his or her time trying to motivate his/her partner to change.  In the end?  This becomes the effort to change the partner. 


Here is the truth.  If one person in the relationship changes and acts differently, then the relationship will have to change as a result. 


Myth #2:  If I Just Try Harder, I Can Change My Partner

We’ve just looked at the fact that changes come first by changing yourself.  Most people secretly harbor this second marriage myth.  They believe if only they tried harder, or became more creative, or developed a new strategy they will be able to change their partner. 


Most couples that have been married for any significant length of time will chuckle at this one.  Even as they chuckle, they may still entertain the fantasy they can change each other.  Secretly, most couples are convinced if their spouse can be persuaded to change, then the marriage will change. 


All is happy. 


Those people who believe this myth hope and pray for the “enlightenment” of their spouse.  Deep down they are waiting for the day when their spouse “sees the light” and then becomes the ideal spouse whom they have longed for. 


They hope to convert their spouse into the fantasy person they would like as their spouse.  When this fantasy is articulated, it actually sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it? 


Yet may couples buy into it and work hard to create this type of change. 


Myth #3:  My Spouse Will Be Everything To Me

Marriage Myth #3 suggests in the process of romantic spouse selection we can pick a partner who is our everything to us. 


What are they hoping for?


They are hoping their choice of a spouse, in the midst of intense infatuation and high sexual energy, will provide them with a life partner who will be everything to them…sexual partner, best friend, nurturer of their kiddos, breadwinner or financial supporter…the list could go on and on. 


Pretty tall order…


Those who cling to this myth, the disappointment will be enormous. 


Because …myth #3 fuels a belief system that causes them to interpret their marriage with increased negativity. 


Myth #4:  My Partner Should Meet All My Needs

When you read Marriage Myth #4 it sounds ridiculous…right?


How can your partner be expected to meet all your needs?  Often, without realizing it, we become deeply hurt when our partner does not meet all of our needs. 


We are not aware of how powerful our expectations really are.


This myth moves to a deeper level in relation to myth #3.  We tend to believe our relationship needs are simple. 


We need companionship, sex, conversation, or any number of combinations.  It certainly can be difficult enough to get some of those needs met in relationships. 


Some of our needs are not so obvious. 


If you have received little positive affirmation or validation growing up as I have, deep hurts remain.  Such hurt follows into our marriage.  On some conscious level, we may hope our partner will provide us with the positive validations that are missing when we were young.   


Or, if you grew up in a toxic environment.  It is likely you will have a strong need to feel emotionally and physically safe.   Or may long for a nurturing relationship where all your needs will be met. 


As if you were still a child. 


But…any degree of minor marital conflict may be interpreted by you as a sign that you are not really safe.  You might create emotional distance with your spouse as a result. 


The problem?  We are often not aware of our needs.  Nor are we aware that we unconsciously expect our partner to meet them for us.  Sound familiar?


Myth #5:  Marriage Should Not Be a Lot of Work

Too often, couples begin their life together in love.  With great idealism. A strong sense of romance.


They come back from their honeymoon eager to build their lives together with the understanding there will be a few “hiccups in the road” along the way. 


They believe “love will conquer all.”  They may think building a relationship between two people from two different families is not a difficult task. 


Several years ago when my adopted dad and step-mom met my future in-laws, my step-mom chose to share, “This marriage will never work.  They are from two different worlds.” 


Fast forward thirty-two years later.   With A LOT of hard work, we learned how to mesh our two different worlds and make it work.


Myth #6:  Marriage is a Constant:  It Doesn’t Change

Too often couples assume that once they marry and work out some kinks and differences, then all is good.  And smooth.  And ever after. 


Marriage Myth #6 assumes once a couple achieves a good marriage, and gets to really know each other, and then they can coast. 


Reality?  Marriage and marital roles must shift constantly. 




Because couples go through life cycles crises.  They must deal with aging parents.  Growing kiddos.  They must move through career changes, health changes, and loss changes. 


Tough stuff. 


Nothing stays the same.  The only constant is change itself.  What does that mean?


It means couples need to constantly shift and reinvent themselves.  Those who buy into the myth that marriage is constant are in for a rude awakening. 


Healthy marriages require debunking this myth and realizing good marital health requires adaption and change. 


Myth #7:  Love Is a Feeling

What really happens when couples fall in love? 


Are they deeply in love with their partner early in their dating years?


Probably not.  In fact, they barely know their partner.  They are experiencing a high level of romantic infatuation, along with healthy doses of lust. 


Are these things negative?


Obviously not.  They are wonderful.  They do not last forever.  


In Relationship Rescue:  Couples Coaching at Bella, when couples describe falling in love, they more often then not describe the feeling they receive as they perceive themselves.








They may be more “in love” with this feeling than in love with the person they are about to marry.   Often they are in love with the feeling of falling in love. 


Reality?  Although love is a wonderful feeling, it is also an act of will.  Like anything worth having in life, a good marriage takes time.  A good marriage takes energy.  A good marriage takes work. 


How does couples keep that loving feeling?  Choosing to adapt and to focus on changing yourself as the need arises.  


These are keys to keep that loving feeling. 


Myth #8:  My Ideal Soul Mate Is Out There

This myth holds “out there somewhere is my ideal soul mate.  All I have to do is find that person, and I will fall madly in love and live happily ever after.”


Like Chandler and Monica. 


Phoebe thinks her boyfriend is better suited for Monica than Chandler.   Chandler doesn’t believe in soul mates.  


Monica doesn’t believe in soul mates either.  She believes her and Chandler fell in love and work hard at their relationship.  Some days…they work really hard!


Many women have a Prince Charming fantasy and their Prince Charming will be much more loving then their present spouse.  The solution to this problem?  The problem is seen as outside the self.


Deep stuff here.  Stay with me. 


When you believe this myth, in relation to focusing on what you can do to change yourself within the current relationship, or what you might be doing that makes loving you difficult, your focus becomes finding your perfect soul mate. 


What is not so clearly stated is that your happiness is contingent on someone outside of yourself.  It is not surprising so few marriages which began as affairs don’t last.   



Myth #9:  My Marriage Will Be Healthy if It Is Like (or Unlike) My Parents’ Marriage

If you grew up in a family without divorce or separation, you have one blueprint to consult when you embark on marriage.  The blueprint is likely to be what you remember of your parents’ marriage.


If, on the other hand, as a child and youth, you lived in different households as a result of divorce and remarriage, you may have had several models.  These models or model become a type of blueprint for marriage.


You may have hated your parents’ marriage or divorce.  You may have vowed to do something different or you may have admired their marriage and hoped your marriage would be similar.  


Either way, while you were growing up, you began internalizing your model of marriage as a result of observing one marriage or several. 


Reality?   Imitating your parents’ or stepparents’ marriage will be problematic.   Even in abusive marriages there may have been occasions when a fleeting respect was present between spouses, a respect that could be mirrored and expended upon in your own marriage. 


On the other hand?  Even if your parents’ marriage appeared to be perfect, it is not necessarily a model that will work for you. 


Trying to create a marriage relationship that is the opposite of our parents’ marriage rarely works.  In our reactive attempts to build marriages that are opposite our parents’ marriage, often we find that despite our best intentions we end up repeating familiar patterns.  


Myth #10:  Only a Large Change Can Transform a Marriage

When a marriage becomes overly conflicted, couples begin to think only a large change can transform a marriage.  They think of it as a miracle will happen and transform their marriage. 


They work and breathe toward a total transformation.  This process adds to frustrations and disappointments. 


If you are hoping for change in your marriage, I believe Relationship Rescue:  Couples Coaching can help. 


But…it will only help if you start by taking small steps.  These steps include trying to change yourself. 


Too many people stop there.  They focus on whether the miracle is possible and will totally transform their marriage. 


The result? 


They forget the next logical question is, “What would you be doing differently if such a miracle had occurred?”


Notice the focus is on changing yourself.


What could be a way you could do pretending the miracle happened? 


Remember this.  Small changes lead to larger changes.


The best way to change a marriage?  One small step at a time. 


People do not run marathons by deciding to take up running and signing up to run a marathon the following week…right?    They train one mile at a time.  Over time their fitness level improves and at some point, they may be able to run a marathon. 


Similar to marriage, focusing on small, progressive changes in your marriage, you can create an environment that will lead to larger and more profound changes. 


You can’t get there in one step.  But you will get there. 


Which myth can you identify with?  What is it about that myth you can identify with?


Which myth or myths best describes the way you view your own marriage or partnership? 


Conflict is unavoidable, even in the best of relationships.  Relationship Rescue:  Couples at Bella ADHD & Life Coaching is a concrete relationship coaching program that helps partners get rid of past regrets and achieve results in relationships. 


Discover more about Relationship Rescue:  Couples Coaching (in person and virtual coaching offered) at


Loretta Holmes, MA  CMHWC is the founder of Bella ADHD & Life Coaching and her great passion is bringing healing to people who have been through a traumatic/stressful experience.  She helps clients and families to find clarity in their live so they can stop the self doubt and overcome their fears. 


6 Hacks To Manage Negative Thoughts In The Moment

We agree negative thoughts contribute to our anxiety...right? 


A technique known as “thought stopping” which involves snapping a rubber band or taking some other action each time you have a negative thought, has gathered some interest over the years.  The logic behind this technique is that you can train yourself to stop having negative thoughts.  




Unfortunately, it may do the opposite and lead to increase negative thinking, as you constantly remain cautious for errant thoughts.   Your goal should not be to eliminate all negative thoughts, but rather learn to manage them better.


Like annoying pop-up advertisements on many websites, negative thoughts will always arise.  But you don’t need to give them your attention. 


Below are 6 Hacks To Manage Negative Thinking In The Moment. 


1.      Just A Thought.  Label your thought as just a thought and not a fact.  For example, tell yourself, “I am having the thought that I am afraid to give this presentation in front of my colleagues.”  This helps to distance yourself and be more objective. 


2.      Reduce A Thought’s Power.  Imagine saying your thought in a funny voice or singing it to the tune of your favorite song on your playlist.  Your thought will seem absurd in this context and its power will be reduced.


3.      Be Proactive.  Counteract your negative thought in a proactive way.  If you are worried about failing at your job, make a list of your accomplishments at work. 


4.     Evaluate The Thought.  Ask yourself, “Is this thought true, important, or helpful?”  Identifying thoughts as unhelpful will allow you to distance yourself from them.


5.      Detach From The Thought.  Imagine yourself writing the thought on a piece of paper and sending it away as a message in a bottle.  Watch as the thought floats away from you. 


6.      Set Aside A Time To Worry.  Set aside a time in the future to deal with worrying thoughts so that you can let go of them in the present.


At this time, I invite you to do two things. 


1.    Make peace with your past and focus on being in the present.  Whatever impact anxiety has had on you in the past, be it from stopping you from leaving your home or preventing you from pursuing a career, recognize you don’t have to continue to dwell on what has happened.


2.   If you’re done trying to build a live you dream of with a bunch of strategies that might work for someone else but aren’t working for you and if you’re ready to actual trust yourself and create the life you want to live, here’s what to do.  Use the link below, tell me a little about your situation and we’ll book a Discovery Call.  On that call, I’ll map out for you exactly how you can understand your anxiety and set action-oriented goals. 



Discovery Call Link


Loretta Holmes, MA  CMHWC is the founder and ADHD/LIfe Coach at Bella ADHD & Life Coaching.  She helps clients gain clarity in their life so they can stop self doubt and overcome their fears.  Discover more about Anxiety Coaching at 

7 Hacks To Reach Your #2018 Goals

It’s January.  January 23.

New Year.  New You.  

Blah.  Blah.  Blah. 

It’s that time of year when goals are created and set in motion. 

Only there’s a problem.  The goals that were created last year? Well, perhaps they are buried somewhere in your journal.  Or perhaps in your notes on your iPhone. 

So, how bad do you want to achieve your goals this year? 

On a scale of 1 – 10, 1 being not so much and 10 meaning YES! I want to achieve my goals, how badly to you want to see the outcome of your hard work? 

Let’s start fresh in 2018 and begin with 7 Hacks To Reach Your #2018 Goals.

1. Review Last Year’s Goals 

Did you achieve them?  What went right? What didn’t go right? How do you feel about those goals now?

If you still want to achieve that goal, what could you do differently to have a better outcome?

As you think about each of the goals you want to set this year, look at your answers to the questions. Are this year’s goals the same as last year’s goals?

If they are the same goals, what is different this year that makes setting that same goal a good idea?

2. Get Clear On Your Why

What is your “why” when setting your goals?

How will it change your life?

What are you going to do to get there?

If this isn’t a goal YOU want, but you’re setting it because you think you’re supposed to, or because someone has told you this is a goal you need, your chances of goal success are slim. It doesn’t matter what the goal is, if you aren’t completely invested in achieving it and don’t have clarity, it’s not a good goal for you. Spend some time reflecting on this part so that you’re clear on the why.

If these goals are important to your life, what are you going to do differently this year that will allow you to achieve these goals?

Do you need to work with a mentor, coach or advisor to help you achieve this goal? Are there skills or training you need that you didn’t have or have access to last year? Are there resources available that weren’t previously? If it was a matter of time, is there now the necessary time in your schedule or will you be able and willing to create that time so you can be successful in pursuit of your goal?

What’s involved in achieving this goal? How are going to commit to whatever so you will achieve your goal?

Good goals involve sacrifice, hard work and change.

Persistency and commitment is key.

How will achieving this goal change your life? What will this change in your life look like? Write out your vision of your life once this goal is achieved in as much detail as you can envision. How will you accept this change in your life? If you aren’t ready for this change, you may not be ready for this goal.

Goals should not just be about what you want to have, but also what you want to experience, share, give and become.

3. Write Goals In The Present Tense

State your goals as if you have already achieved them. Use the phrase “I am…” whenever you can. These are two powerful words, which can define your identity.

Write your goals in positive language. Instead of “I will lose 25 pounds” try “I am feeling healthy and happy at 140 pounds.” (or whatever your goal weight is.)

Don’t set goals to STOP doing something. Figure out what good habit you want to replace that bad habit with and use that as your goal.  Instead of “I will stop smoking” try “I am happily a non-smoker.” Our brains respond much better to positive language than negative language.

4. Make Your Goal A Stretch

Your goal should be a stretch, just beyond your current grasp. There’s nothing wrong with having a great big moonshot pie-in-the-sky goal, but to achieve it, break it down into smaller goals that stretch just beyond your reach. Setting challenging goals can increase your motivation, self-confidence and skills, but setting goals that are so far beyond your reach that they frustrate you can have the opposite effect.

Remember, the point is to set goals you can obtain.

5.  Use Visualization And Affirmations

Having visual and verbal reminders of your goals can be a huge boost to your success. Use words and images that represent the achievement of your goal and what it will mean to you. Mount them on a poster board and post it where you will see it every single day. Include images of yourself or your family when possible to personalize it.

A Vision Board is a powerful tool to show intent with your goals.  A Vision Board is a way of creating clarity around the life you want to create for yourself.  By choosing a series of powerful, meaningful images and affixing them to a display that you look at multiple times every day, you focus your attention on what matters to you most and make that your destination.  

An affirmation is your goal statement written as if it has already occurred. Post these next to your vision board where you can see them and repeat them out loud multiple times each day. As you do this, your brain becomes used to thinking that having achieved this goal is just the way life is, and it helps keep your brain working on how you can achieve this goal.

6.  Get An Accountability Partner

Select the right person to share your goals with: a life coach, a mentor, a parent, a close friend, someone who will support you, encourage you, and hold your vision for you. Someone who will hold your feet to the fire and not buy your excuses about why you can’t do it. If your spouse/partner/best friend isn’t going to hold you accountable, find someone else to help you.

7.  Celebrate Your Victories 

Whether it's a milestone goal or a small goal, make the celebration part of the planning.  It's not enough to acknowledge your goals and move on to the next goal.  Our brains like pleasure.  And our brains like celebrations.  Don't you?!

When we teach our brains to associate achieving and creating success with pleasure and happiness, it will become easier to develop the habit of achieving your outcomes. 


I can’t guarantee that you’ll achieve your goals this year, that part is up to you. But I can promise you that if you follow these 7 Hacks—and follow through—you will be able to set goals you can achieve this year.

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.” —Mark Victor Hansen


Life isn't always easy.  And sometimes life gets in the way. 


Sometimes even the strongest humans amongst us need a little bit of coaching to help work through some of life's most challenging problems.  Whether you are struggling with setting goals, anxiety, relationships, life transitions, stress or any other issue, you should know there is hope for tomorrow.  


My Renew You! Love Your Life Coaching Program may be for you.


Renew You! Love Your Life Coaching Program is a powerful combination of inspirational coaching sessions that will help you reconnect to yourself, get re-energized, clear out the mental clutter, set awesome goals and LOVE YOUR LIFE! 


I have pulled together all of the best information I've shared with several clients over the months, proven tools and techniques, and the power of coaching and group synergy.  


If you are interested in becoming a better, happier, more fulfilled you, I'd love to work with you every step of the way.  Learn more at Renew You! Love Your Life! 


Loretta Holmes, MA  CMHWC

ADHD & Life Coach



Everything Your Need To Know About Life Coaching verses Counseling

Gosh…often I am ask, “Loretta, what is the difference between life coaching and therapy?’’s time you got our answer! 


Though all humans could find both Coaching and Therapy helpful at the same point in their lives, how could one decide which is most appropriate at a specific time in his or her life?  By gaining a deeper understanding of what the differences are between Coaching and Counseling, one may determine which form of help is best for him or her.


Counseling is often times conducted for the use of revisiting one’s past and finding healing from his or her wounds. Many humans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Multiple Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and many other disorders. These disorders commonly result from issues in a client’s childhood or early adult life.


Childhood messages are powerful..wouldn’t you agree? 


The way that many people cope with disorders, stressors, anxiety, depression, and grief depends on the person, but many people will react in the form of eating disorders, anxiety disorders, anger, frustration, avoidance, or other coping tactics. The goal of counseling is for clients to recover from their past wounds and move towards a lifestyle of healing, finding freedom from their pain.


Additionally, therapists diagnose and provide professional expertise and guideline.  Life Coaches help clients identify the challenges, and then work in a partnership with clients to obtain their goals.


Coaching is a helpful method that looks toward the future.  Life Coaching is for humans who desire to see improvement and beneficial change in their lives. 


Rather than healing from the past, life coaching looks forward and may ask the following questions: 

  • "What is missing in your life right now?"
  • "What would you like as a goal if you new you could not fail?"
  • "If you were FULLY to live your life, what is the first change you could start to make?"
  • "What do you gain for staying stuck?"
  • "If you secretly knew what was holding you back, what would it be?"

Life Coaching strives to make challenging goals and meet those goals by utilizing intense accountability and motivation.  Coaches often work with specific humans depending upon their personal goals.  Some humans may seek coaching for guidance in the biz world, growth in family/friend relationships, or even to reach their potential for health and wellness.  Coaching can be conducted on countless different topics, but it always looks toward the future and the goals clients have set. 


Here at Bella, coaching is focused on the present and the future.  We work on four areas with clients:


            ·  Defining Goals
·  Formulating a plan that will use the client’s skills

            ·  Holding the client accountable for progress

            ·  Providing a structure, encouragement and support


Through coaching, clients can learn how to use healthy and helpful ways of navigating through life.

The Cell Phone Case Studies You'll Never Forget

I have a confession to make. 


I am struggling to break my cell phone addiction. 


Just like many of my other individual and group coaching clients.


Maybe even just like you.  Maybe just like Lilly.  Lilly wants to get to her college class on time.  That’s a pipe dream when she is posting on Snapchat and Instagram instead of getting her term paper done. 


Or perhaps just like Brad.  Brad wants to spend time with his twin toddlers and wife in the evening.  Except, binging on YouTube Videos sucks all his attention. 


Gwen wants to get to the office earlier so she can finish some tasks before her chatty colleagues arrive.  Too bad she loses this opportunity.  Why?  Because she scrolls through Facebook and Twitter and checks her email two or three times before getting out of bed.


Our patterns are all similar. We waste too much time on our phones.  Right?


I mindlessly watch Friends on Netflix in the evening instead of doing more inspiring things.  Chatting with my family. Riding my bike. Walking Riley (my super cute Goldendoodle) on beautiful sandy beaches in my lake front town while enjoying breathtaking sunsets. 


The bigger reason my cell phone addiction disturbs me besides wasting time is there’s a bigger reason.  I want to break my cell phone addiction.  Because it feels like an addiction.  When I pay attention I’m aware of a magnetic urge to pick up my phone.  My cell phone has become an extension of my hand. 


Is your cell phone a true addiction?  I don’t know.  But what I do know is this.  I know our cell phones light up the neurotransmitters in our brains.  The human with the ADHD brain is always on the lookout for a dopamine boost.  Right? 


As I observe humans wondering through life staring at their phones…I know this NOT just an ADHD thing.  It’s a human thing.  We are missing the life that is unfolding around us because we are staring at a screen.


My mission isn’t to solve the world’s problems.  My mission is to coach humans affected by ADHD and Anxiety discover and live a kick ass life. 


That starts with staying present.  Staying mindful. 


In next week’s blog, I’ll share my favorite tips to help you and I break our cell phone addiction. 


This week…I would like you to notice how your cell phone impacts your life.  How does it help?  How does it rob you from living the kick ass life you want to life?  Do you experience a magnetic pull?  How does that make you feel?


Don’t get me wrong.  Technology can be an amazing support tool for those who are affected by ADHD and anxiety. 


But…if your cell phone has become an addiction, it may be time to break the habit and begin living your kick ass life!


Bella ADHD & Life Coaching can help you discover your kick ass life!  Learn more about our coaching programs at


Swim. Bike. Crash.

The Vineland Aquabike Race now owned by Ironman snakes across Californias Napa Valley Wine Country with beautiful scenery covering a distance of 2.4 miles of swimming in the Russian River and 112 miles featuring gentle rollers as athletes cycle through the famous wine country and quaint towns.  

It’s considered to be perfect to the level of challenge by seasoned Aquabikers and triathletes alike who are used to racing across the hottest, hilliest terrains on the planet.

In 2012 I decided to complete in the Vineman Full Distance Aquabike.  

Bike. Swim. Done. 

I was not your average athlete; in fact I was not your average anything. I dabbled in my first swim lesson at my local YMCA - Terrified of Water just 9 months before this Aquabike Event.

I knew I had high levels of stamina, but this was another matter altogether because most of the entrants were super fit swimmers and cyclists in their prime.

I was 48 years old with little competitive experience.

However, the one thing I possessed was a burning belief that I could, and would, complete the race. I didn’t have any self-limiting beliefs. 


It was a cool morning at 4:30am in Napa Valley when I turned up wearing yoga pants, a bright green jacket and orange flip-flops, inviting cheers from my husband and children.  Yet, the air was cool and the Russian River was warm.  The transition area along the riverbank looked like a horror film – steam rising from the river as the sun was rising over the horizon.  

The race started and, to nobody’s surprise I was soon lagging behind the seasoned swimmers. 

I had a very strange way of swimming that meant I barely rotated my hips with each stroke and moved forward looking more like a sleeping snail than a seasoned swimmer.

Half way through the bike stage, I remarkably took the lead in my age group and 10th overall. 

Rather than stopping for the traditional special needs (nutrition is placed in athletes special need bags and placed on the course) break that most endurance athletes took part in, I took a fraction of the time the others took and just kept going eating a Payday straight out of a wrapper as I cycled to give my legs and mind needed energy.

By the 90-mile mark, much to the amazement of myself, I had built up a substantial lead among athletes in my age group.  

It was an impressive performance but I was inevitably going to relinquish this lead when I needed to stop for a nutrition break.

Only I never needed to do so.

I was driven by the belief that I could rest for as long as I wanted once the race was over.

I did the unexpected in finishing the Aquabike. 

But I did the truly remarkable in not just winning my age group, it, but gathering a staggering 10-minute arrival after the overall winner. 

I decided what was possible for me.  Not my family. Not my friend. Not even society as a whole.  I set the parameters in my life and I set my own beliefs about what I could achieve.

Suddenly others realized what was possible and started to believe that if I could do it, so could they.

They didn’t suddenly increase their stamina overnight, but they did increase their belief in what was possible.

I was a confident athlete, even after 20+ consecutive failures.

Two years later, I pedaled to the Michigan Masters Time Trial Championship.  I made the national Aquabike ranking as 1st in Michigan, 2nd in the Midwest and 13th in the nation.

Then, the unthinkable happened. 

I was on a training ride.  A tan pick up truck passed me as I was going downhill at 26 mph.  The driver of the truck took a sharp right and turned right in front of me.  

I felt like a Superhero flying in the air.  Until my face planted on the cement.  My face looked like something out of a horror film. I thought my back was fractured.  I thought my beloved racing bike was shattered. 

My husband asked me.  My friends asked me.  My training pals asked me.  Loretta Anne, how did you get back on the bike?  I mean, how did you continue to swim and bike and make the ranking again as an Aquabiker?

How did you swim after struggling so long in the water?


How did you overcome your fears?


Well, I am a believer.  If had missed so many opportunities to learn from other swimmers and cyclists, how could I fail?  


I can think and believe any way I want to. 


And guess what?


So can you.

Loretta Anne Holmes, MA  CMHWC is an ADHD & Life Coach at Bella ADHD & Life Coaching.  Loretta Anne coaches humans affected by ADHD & Anxiety discover their kick ass life.  Discover your kick ass life at

You'll be glad you did! 

4 Books I Loved In Summer of 2017


It’s that time of year again–time to reflect on all things learned and loved. Here are some of the books that have enriched my summer of 2017.


And if you love reading, please leave a comment below and let me know which books YOU have loved this summer.


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11 Ways To Live A Kick Ass Life Without Depression

Holy smokes. 

The other day I saw a report that said one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 take antidepressants. 

Not too long ago..I was one of the 10. 

My biological mom abandonment me at birth.  She left me at an orphanage.  

My adopted mom passed away when I was a toddler and my adopted dad quickly remarried the step monster (I am being kind when I call her that) with four kids of her own.  Guess who had abandonment issues?

The stepfamily would not talk to me for two weeks.  During Christmas vacation. 

I was raised without being told I was loved. 

The step-monster would beat me with a belt while my dad was at work.  When he arrived home, life was beautiful.  I know..right? 

My step-monster refused to share with me when my dad passed away.  I found out by reading the obituary in the newspaper. 

I was hit by a truck while cycling.  You see, I am an avid cyclist.  When I could not ride my bike, a part of me was missing.

Yes, I was one of the 10 Americans over the age of 12 taking antidepressants.   As an adult, I discovered ways to beat depression naturally and live a kick ass life.  It was a tough journey.   

So…what was shocking to me was that less than a third of the people taking antidepressants have seen a mental health professional in the year…and most people who take these drugs don’t need them.

Antidepressants are taken mostly by white women, and their use has increased 400 percent since the early 1990s. Isn’t that shocking?

It could be that these pharmaceuticals are just the new version of “mother’s little helper.” But it also could be that too many women (and girls!) are suffering and medicating their problems rather than solving them at the source.

I am not a doctor. I am a Life Coach.    I have had periodic bouts of deep depression in my life where I could not get out of bed...tell me, who HASN’T?!? Feeling depressed is a common feeling, and it’s usually a sign that something is wrong in your life. At least, that’s what I’ve found. It could be something as little as not exercising enough and working too hard or as large as not being happy in a job or a relationship.

Depression is a tool for discovering the truth, if you are brave enough to face it rather than try to wish it away.  So here are my 11 tips for beating depression naturally that are both life-learned and based on medical evidence:

1. First, see a life coach.  Don’t be afraid or ashamed! A life coach will be able to tell you if you need more serious medical help. It’s amazing how quickly talking about your depression with someone else (a professional life coach, not just a friend) can uncover things that afterwards might seem obvious but in the moment of darkness are impossible to see.

I guess that is why depression feels so’s hard to see things!

2. Go for a long walk outside. In Europe, doctors prescribe exercise for their depression patients. I think the best is a combination of exercise and getting out in nature...along with giving your body and mind enough time of mindless walking to let the true feelings and thoughts rise to the surface. You will also see that nature has cycles too—there are times of joy and times of hibernation. Allow your body and soul to sync with nature and you’ll automatically feel better.

3. Let the sun warm your skin. A few years ago, vitamin D supplements were being touted as super-pills that could protect you from depression and other ailments. Well, it turns out that’s not really true. The truth is that people who spend time outside and eat plenty of fatty fish, such as wild salmon, have higher vitamin D levels and less depression. Is it the vitamin D or the lifestyle? I say, skip the pills and go outside and get your sun on!

4. Read a book. I recommend the Mind-Body Mood Solution, by Dr. Jeffrey Rossman, because he has helped me many times with my depressive bouts. As the behavioral health specialist at Canyon Ranch, he has taught me how to get to the real issue quickly and change my perspective on my problems. It really works!

5. Eat right. Eating crap, or overeating anything, literally feeds the depression cycle. Every time you eat crap, you feel bad, and then it just gets that much harder to pull yourself out of the dive. A few foods that are renowned for improving your mood are wild-caught salmon, walnuts, and dark chocolate.

6. Stop drinking and drugging yourself. Trust me on this: While drinking might make you feel better momentarily, all you are doing is swallowing your problems, where they eat away at you in even deeper darkness inside your soul. If you are using alcohol or drugs to anesthetize yourself against your problems, please stop. Get help if you need it!

7. Fall in love. With yourself, first! Treat yourself as you would a precious lover whom you adore, flaws and all. Pamper yourself with baths, naps, flowers, massages. Write love letters to yourself. Tell the voice in your head that says you are not good enough or pretty enough or smart enough to shut the f*ck up and hit the road, Jack, and don’t come back no more, no more, no more, no more.

8. Laugh. Studies have shown that laughter does really make you feel better. Watch some silly comedies! Or old I Love Lucy episodes. Go ahead, watch America’s Funniest Home Videos—at the very least, you’ll be thankful that you are not the one getting whacked in the groin, bonking your head on something stupid, or falling ridiculously from doing something no person in their right mind should really do.

9. Create. Write down your thoughts and secrets. Paint or draw pictures about how you feel. Build something. Garden! Actually, studies have shown that there is stuff in garden soil that works better than antidepressants. So get out there, and don’t wear gloves. Get dirty, get creative, and don’t worry about whether it’s good enough—if you made it, it’s AWESOME! And while you are doing all this, listen to music because that helps, too.

10. Connect with your dreams. Do you remember what as a child you dreamed your life would be like? Often, I find, I get depressed when I have strayed too far from my original dreams. Yes, sometimes we need to change our dreams, but it’s amazing the power of those deep original dreams and how they can guide us.

11. Have the courage to change. Truly, I believe the only way out of depression is to listen to what the darkness is trying to tell you and change your life accordingly. I’ve been shocked sometimes by what I’ve learned and heard in those darkest moments, but as long as you trust your heart and soul and what they’re trying to tell you, you will find the brightness again. The light is right there waiting for you to turn the corner and see it. It will get better, and then you will be so grateful and happy that you had the courage to get through the darkness awake and alive.

Now, I’m really going to sound like my mother when I say this, but I’m going to say it anyway: Always remember that after the darkest storm is when the rainbows come out.

Don’t face depression alone. I have been there.  I get it.   Life Coaching can help at

Loretta Anne, MA CMHWC

9 Ways To Reduce Anxiety. Right Here. Right Now.


The Battle We Did Not Choose. 


Panic Attacks.  Anxiety. 


They both suck.  Right? 


When you’re feeling anxious, you might feel stuck and unsure of how to feel better. You might even do things that unwittingly fuel anxiety.  You might hyperfocus on the future.  You might get carried away by a slew of what-ifs.


What if I start to feel worse? What if they hate my presentation? What if she sees me sweating? What if I bomb the exam? What if I don’t get the house?


You might judge and bash yourself for your anxiety. You might believe your negative, worst-case scenario thoughts are indisputable facts.

Thankfully, there are many tools and techniques you can use to manage anxiety effectively. Below, experts shared healthy ways to cope with anxiety. 

Right Here.  Right Now. 

1. Take a deep breath. 

“The first thing to do when you get anxious is to breathe,” said Tom Corboy, MFT, the founder and executive director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. and co-author The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD. 


Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful anxiety-reducing technique because it activates the body’s relaxation response. It helps the body go from the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxed response of the parasympathetic nervous system, said Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, LLC. 


She suggested this practice: “Try slowly inhaling to a count of 4, filling your belly first and then your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of 4, and slowly exhaling to a count of 4 and repeat several times.”

2. Accept that you’re anxious. 

Remember that “anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling,” said Deibler, "by reminding yourself that anxiety is simply an emotional reaction, you can start to accept it."


Acceptance is critical because trying to wrangle or eliminate anxiety often worsens it. It just perpetuates the idea that your anxiety is intolerable, he said.

But accepting your anxiety doesn’t mean liking it or resigning yourself to a miserable existence.

“It just means you would benefit by accepting reality as it is – and in that moment, reality includes anxiety. The bottom line is that the feeling of anxiety is less than ideal, but it is not intolerable.”

3. Realize that your brain is playing tricks on you.

Psychiatrist Kelli Hyland, M.D., has seen first-hand how a person’s brain can make them believe they’re dying of a heart attack when they’re actually having a panic attack. She recalled an experience she had as a medical student.


“I had seen people having heart attacks and look this ill on the medical floors for medical reasons and it looked exactly the same. A wise, kind and experienced psychiatrist came over to [the patient] and gently, calmly reminded him that he is not dying, that it will pass and his brain is playing tricks on him. It calmed me too and we both just stayed with him until [the panic attack] was over.”

4. Question your thoughts. 

“When people are anxious, their brains start coming up with all sorts of outlandish ideas, many of which are highly unrealistic and unlikely to occur,” Corboy said. And these thoughts only heighten an individual’s already anxious state.

For instance, say you’re about to give a wedding toast. Thoughts like “Oh my God, I can’t do this. It will kill me” may be running through your brain.

Remind yourself, however, that this isn’t a catastrophe, and in reality, no one has died giving a toast, Corboy said.

“Yes, you may be anxious, and you may even flub your toast. But the worst thing that will happen is that some people, many of whom will never see you again, will get a few chuckles, and that by tomorrow they will have completely forgotten about it.”

Deibler also suggested asking yourself these questions when challenging your thoughts:

  • Is this worry realistic?
  • Is this really likely to happen?
  • If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about that?
  • Could I handle that?
  • What might I do?
  • If something bad happens, what might that mean about me?
  • Is this really true or does it just seem that way?
  • What might I do to prepare for whatever may happen?

5. Use a calming visualization. 

Hyland suggested practicing the following meditation regularly, which will make it easier to access when you’re anxious in the moment.

“Picture yourself on a river bank or outside in a favorite park, field or beach. Watch leaves pass by on the river or clouds pass by in the sky. Assign your emotions, thoughts and sensations to the clouds and leaves, and just watch them float by.”

This is very different from what people typically do. Typically, we assign emotions, thoughts and physical sensations certain qualities and judgments, such as good or bad, right or wrong, Hyland said. And this often amplifies anxiety. Remember that “it is all just information.”

6. Be an observer — without judgment. 

Hyland gives her new patients a 3×5 index card with the following written on it: “Practice observing thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, judgment with compassion, or without judgment.”

“I have had patients come back after months or years and say that they still have that card on their mirror or up on their car dash, and it helps them.”

7. Use positive self-talk.

Anxiety can produce a lot of negative chatter. Tell yourself “positive coping statements,” Deibler said. For instance, you might say, “this anxiety feels bad, but I can use strategies to manage it.”

8. Focus on right now. 

“When people are anxious, they are usually obsessing about something that might occur in the future,” Corboy said. Instead, pause, breathe and pay attention to what’s happening right now, he said. Even if something serious is happening, focusing on the present moment will improve your ability to manage the situation, he added.

9. Focus on meaningful activities. 

When you’re feeling anxious, it’s also helpful to focus your attention on a “meaningful, goal-directed activity,” Corboy said. He suggested asking yourself what you’d be doing if you weren’t anxious. If you were going to see a movie, still go. If you were going to do the laundry, still do it.


“The worst thing you can do when anxious is to passively sit around obsessing about how you feel.” Doing what needs to get done teaches you key lessons, he said: getting out of your head feels better; you’re able to live your life even though you’re anxious; and you’ll get things done.

“The bottom line is, get busy with the business of life. Don’t sit around focusing on being anxious – nothing good will come of that.”

Easier said than done...right?

The answer to overcoming panic and anxiety lies within you.  With the proper anxiety coaching, support and readiness, it's possible for you to truly move past panic attacks and anxiety. 

Loretta Anne Holmes, MA  CMHWC is the founder of Bella ADHD & Life Coaching.  She helps humans affected by ADHD and Anxiety discover their Kick Ass Life.  Loretta Anne will coach you to gain clarity and discover YOUR Kick Ass Life!  

Discover how Anxiety Coaching with Loretta Anne can help you Live Your Kick Ass Life at


12 Ways To Turn Your Teen's "I Don't Know" Into An "Aha Moment!"

Often when our teens say, “I don’t know,” they are really do know, but it’s frustrating when they say that…..Right?


When we trust our instincts as parents and we help our teen communicate an uncomfortable truth – whatever it may be ---we may just be rewarded with an “Aha!” moment.


How do we get that “Aha!” moment?


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A lot of folks in our society try to be hyper-productive.


You know — the people who scurry from task to task, always checking e-mail, organizing something, making a call, running an errand, etc.


The people who do this often subscribe to the idea that “staying busy” means you’re working hard and are going to be more successful.


While this belief may be true to an extent, it often leads to mindless “productivity” — a constant need to do something and a tendency to waste time on menial tasks.

Instead of behaving in this way, I choose to do things differently.

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For those of you whose grades weren’t too stellar last semester, don’t panic. It’s a new semester, and that means another shot at making the 4.0 that would make you and your parents proud. The good news is that, at the beginning of the semester, A’s aren’t quite as out of reach as you might think.


There are tips to get back into the swing of things so you hit the ground running!  You got this!


More often than not, college students, especially freshmen with precious few credits, feel as though one bad semester not only ruins their GPA, but also their chances of graduate school or finding a job. But take it from someone who has been there — it is possible to bounce back, and there are a few things you can do once class starts that will set you up for success come finals time.


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5 Steps in Finding Your Calm in the Morning Mess!

Does chaos run your morning?  It does mine….if I am not careful.


For adults with ADHD transition from 2016 to 2017 can feel overwhelming.  The challenge of getting ready and out of house each day can become wickedly worsened.  If not careful, mornings can become chaotic, disorganized and messy. 


Wouldn’t be nice to find the calm in the morning mess?


For me, mornings are one of the most difficult times of the day.  This is when I feel the time crunch the most.  I suspect I am not alone here.  I had someone share with me the other day that a Suzie (not her real name) is struggling with getting herself as well as her daughter, Gracie (not her real name) out the door on their messy morning. 



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In just a few days, I’ll be heading to beautiful southwest Michigan to speak at Andrews University  – my fourth gig as a guest lecturer to talk to college students about ADHD Coaching.   It’s always been a great gathering.  Which brings me to the topic of just that – ADHD Coaching.  Recently, I launched:  Cracking the College Code:  ADHD Coaching and Adult ADHD Coaching.  I love watching and coaching clients who have made huge strides with organizational, time management, and task initiation skills.   I believe several college students and adults with ADHD or ADD would love to try a coach, but, I suspect barriers get in the way.  Time, money, or just scared, to name a few.  Together, we will squash those barriers, but let’s dive in and talk about what  ADHD/ADD coaching is all about.
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Why Bella? many of you have asked, and I figured it was about time you got an answer.

Why Bella?

It really depends on what definition of that name I'll end up going with. In a sense, Bella is me. In a much realer sense, Bella is also a spunky 4-year old struggling to adjust to her new, much happier home. But Bella is also millions of other children, each with their own story but all sharing the same common denominator. I'll paint you a quick picture of what that denominator looks like: it's draped with the dulling red of growing up without the surefire love of a parent, watching people walk in and out of their lives without warning, and the drab gray of learning early on what it feels like to be left alone, in a much grander sense of the word. In short, their childhoods were anything but easy, and each of these children have had a much tougher road than kids that are born into the bright light of a happy family and raised with an innate understanding of how to maintain a positive attitude.


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