Rachel Graham

How Secrets Make us Sick and Deprive us of a Purposeful Life

Columbia Business School Research Supports the Fact That Keeping Secrets is Harmful to Your Health and Wellbeing 

Researchers Slepian, Mason, and Jinseok Chun, in the article entitled “Keeping Secrets Is Harmful to Your Health,” report that secrets can hurt and destroy relationships and can negatively impact your overall health. 

What happens in the dark comes out in the light”- Rachel Graham

In Rachel Graham’s Tedx talk, Secrets: Unlocking Your Lockbox to Live a More Joyful Life, she asks you to imagine a box with a lock on it where inside are the secrets that you keep. Rachel shares how those secrets hold you back from living a joyful and purposeful life. There are at least nine types of secrets that most people keep. Examples of these secrets are:

  1. Emotional infidelity
  2. Extra relational thoughts
  3. Sexual behavior
  4. Lies that create an alternate reality
  5. Romantic desires
  6. Violation of trust
  7. Ambition or goals
  8. Family details
  9. Financial 

While sometimes keeping a secret is helpful to avoid pain or social exclusion, there are downsides to keeping secrets. Research reveals that the mere thought of a secret kept may be harmful when one mentally revisits past transgressions creating a decreased sense of well-being. The harm presents itself each time the secret is remembered, masking a part of ourselves in inauthenticity.

Secret keepers dwell on their secrets and ruminating on them is what makes them unhealthy. The energy expended thinking about and dwelling on the secret takes a toll on a person’s focus which results in a detrimental effect on their life.

A woman suffered from a hard life when her mom died shortly after her birth and was then abandoned by her father as a toddler. This woman kept her traumas secret her entire life. 

Living a sad life, her secrets accelerated her aging and when she died at age 50, she looked and behaved as if she were 90 years old.

Why do people keep secrets? Secrets are kept for these reasons:

  1. Fear of judgment
  2. Fear of rejection
  3. Feelings of shame
  4. The negative impact of secrets on others

In 12-Step Programs, it is said, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” People are encouraged to be honest about the things they’ve done, this way the shame of keeping secrets does not continue to drive them to self-medicate away their pain with drugs and alcohol. 

The fear that the secret could place a relationship at risk, or lose it entirely, motivates the silence. Studies show that keeping thoughts, feelings, and actions secret causes relationships to deteriorate. Secret keepers are preoccupied with their secrets diverting the focus from the relationship to the secrets trapped inside them.

Secrets can be kept for decades and over time, across generations. Secrets can be from childhood trauma or real-time experiences. Secrets lead to lies and dishonesty. The real problem in keeping a secret is the energy expended thinking about it. A secret that comes to mind repeatedly can be exhausting. Constantly thinking about your secrets can create feelings of isolation.

If keeping secrets makes you feel isolated and alone, how does confiding your secrets to another differ? Research shows when a person confides a secret to another, it reduces the amount of energy, thinking about them in irrelevant moments. When you unpack your lockbox of secrets, you start to live a congruent life where your actions, thoughts, and words go together. When you look inside your box of secrets you realize that your fears are unfounded, you are free from resistance and lack of personal acceptance, and you attract other people who have done their work of unpacking their box of secrets.

The act of confiding a secret can feel cathartic and relieving. The conversation that follows the secret reveal, often includes emotional support, guidance, and advice. With support, people generally find healthier ways of thinking, ruminate less, and have a sense of overall well-being. A single conversation can lead to a healthier outlook and general peace of mind.

One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever.”- Linda Lambert

Start today and contact Rachel  to learn firsthand how you can unlock your lockbox of secrets and live a more purposeful life.

Rachel H. Graham of Evolve and Transform Announces the Release of her TEDxTaraBlvd Talk

 ALLEN, TX, March 04, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Rachel H. Graham recently spoke at the TEDxTaraBlvd, event in Jonesboro, GA, held on February 22, 2021. The TEDx Talk, Secrets: Unpacking Your Lock Box to Live A More Joyful Life has recently been released for the public to enjoy.

“I am excited to share my second official TEDx talk with TEDxTaraBlvd. This incredible opportunity has given me the ability to use my voice to empower and create meaning and purpose in so many lives,” said Rachel H. Graham, CEO and Founder of Evolve and Transform, and CEO and Co-founder of Healing Springs Ranch.

Graham’s talk focuses on the half-truths we tell others and ourselves; the secrets we keep hidden in our “lockbox” and the power that comes from unpacking what’s inside. This TEDx talk was filmed in Beavers Bend State Park by the incredibly talented Jason Ward Photography.

“When I heard Rachel’s idea, I knew her perspective of the new essential was highly relatable and transformational. What she and her team did to add context and layering of the idea through filming was sheer genius and an unforgettable delight,” said Dena Wiggins, curator, and organizer of TEDxTaraBlvd.

The independently organized event, licensed by TED, featured local voices and TED Talks videos under the theme: The New Essential from Multiple Perspectives.

Like many communities, the TEDxTaraBlvd community experienced unprecedented change, ambiguity, and uncertainty individually, in community, and as a part of our evolving humanity. Small communities made and continue to make pivots from the point of the new essential. Humanity witnessed overnight shifts about what is essential in the light of now. What is the new essential– the lasting big ideas that we take with us as we rebuild? The Tara Blvd community is no stranger to change, rebuilding, reinvention, and rebirth.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event
Tedx was born out of a desire to spread ideas within communities. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas from inspired thinkers, often in the form of short talks. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world. Videos of these talks are made available, free, on TED.com and other platforms. Audio versions of TED Talks are published to TED Talks Daily, available on all podcast platforms.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; TEDx, which licenses thousands of individuals and groups to host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities; The Audacious Project, which surfaces and funds critical ideas that have the potential to impact millions of lives; TED Translators, which crowdsources the subtitling of TED Talks so that big ideas can spread across languages and borders; and the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED also offers TED@Work, a program that reimagines TED Talks for workplace learning. TED also has a growing library of original podcasts, including The TED Interview with Chris Anderson, WorkLife with Adam Grant, Pindrop and TEDxSHORTS.

Follow TED on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on LinkedIn.

Unity Is A Balance Or Order, Harmony, And Justice Within Us And Humanity As A Whole

All living beings are born into unity animals, plants, and earth originate in unity.  There are innumerable facets for multiplicity and diversity, while remaining united.  When we are united, we are all one.

In today’s environment, humans seem to have forgotten the essence of unity, thinking it absurd.  We as a society these days, feel the lack of deep and loving connections. In contrast, we feel more separated, where differences are stressed, and we fight to be better and more important than our fellow man.  This competition reinforces our experience of human separation and lack of unity.

You might have asked yourself, is this what my life is all about?  Often this inner searching is the beginning of your own personal journey.  This soul-searching journey may be spurred by your longing to feel connected.  It is within this search that you might recognize your desire for interconnectedness and belonging.  You may feel a desire to rebirth the feeling a part of the whole, that there is something bigger than yourself.

The journey brings your unconscious to consciousness within you and you feel complete and whole. No longer a fragmented piece of the whole.  Deep joy and bliss, gratitude and humility, clarity, creativity, and strength will unfold within you.

“Unity is the highest value.  From it everything comes and to it everything returns.”- David Wared, healer and philosopher.

Feeling united and connected starts from within.  Start by following these steps to feel more connected to your inner self.

  • Notice your mind-body connection. Your feelings and where those feelings show up in your body is your body’s way to communicate the connection of your feelings to physical with a clenched jaw, a stomach, or neck ache. 
  • Take the time to put your feelings into words.  By vocalizing your feelings, you are aware enough to describe them and in doing so, you are honoring your feelings instead of ignoring them.
  • Take the time to get to know yourself by spending quality time with yourself.  These days, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner without really connecting to our inner needs and feelings.
  • Be mindful of practicing unapologetic compassion for yourself.  Connecting to yourself is a daily practice that includes focusing on your feelings, letting go of all judgment, and being kind.

As you focus on connecting with yourself on a daily basis, you may feel yourself becoming more united to the ‘whole’.  Follow Rachel Graham as she shares her journey of self-discovery, connectedness, and unity.

Living Your Life all in through Personal Transformation is the Key to Your Inner Peace and Ultimate Happiness

Making the decision to push through the discomfort of your personal transformational growth is the key to inner peace and happiness.  My personal experiences create the foundation for my advocating for others to take charge of their personal journey to find inner peace and life’s purpose. 

I often use the 3 feet vs deepwater metaphor as a way of describing the difference between living life all in or on the sidelines.  Living life as a spectator from the beach shore, wading in 3 feet of water, and experiencing life from the ‘shallow end’, or taking the plunge into the deep sea represent the differences in how you choose to live your life.  The beach view and the view while wading is what I call playing it safe too often, people don’t go out and see what is out there.  There are scary things in the deep water, but there is a beauty too.”

There is a false sense of safety in living a comfortable life; a life from which you can easily retreat to safety. The risk of playing it safe is living a life from the shore, I encourage you to live in that scary space of deep water.

The scary space is where your passions connect and intersect with your god given talents. This intersection is where you will find your purpose. This is where you will get comfortable with the uncomfortable and from where you should operate your life.

How do you navigate your way to the scary place and find inner peace?

Start by inventorying the things you are good at.  With no constraints, just let your “what you’re good at” ideas flow wildly. A “what you’re good at” brain dump will define your path.

I use self-awareness tools like DISC and Strength Finder to dig deep and discover purpose.  It takes a high level of self-awareness and reflection in knowing how you present and are received by others. 

“You can’t understand another until you learn about yourself.”-Rachel Graham

Living all in is like “unlocking” the lockbox. Living all in is when you courageously share the real, authentic, and vulnerable parts of yourself, that part that you normally keep tightly locked away in your lockbox.  When we get too close to what is in the box, instead of standing strong in the scary place, most people lean on behavior patterns that soothe the uncomfortable and vulnerable feelings. 

I noticed a transformational shift in my life when I became aware of and committed to transforming, I was able to confront the past and the demons that live there. It is that come to Jesus moment when you decide what you want out of life and how you are going to become involved enough, changing the dynamics, in order to get there.

As the transformation process progresses, you become aware that there are pros and cons to playing it safe in life.  Although playing deep can be scary, it can also become your ally.  Most of the time “scary” is what you fear will happen, it is rarely the reality. When you play in the deep water of life, you can’t feel the shifting of waters in the same way as you can in shallow waters.

“Difficult and meaningful will always bring more satisfaction than easy and meaningless”- Maxime Lagace

Are you looking for an inspiring and dynamic speaker?  Invite me to speak at your next event. I am a health entrepreneur, leadership coach, and empowering optimist who is dedicated to educating people, business leaders, students, and professionals to find their own meaning and purpose. Contact Rachel Graham today.

Here Are 10 Easy Self-Care Habits to Add To Your Daily Routine To Ensure Your Mental Well-Being

It’s the same story for most of us, describing our lives as busy, which is a huge understatement.  There are the never-ending important meetings to prepare for, marketing campaigns you’re spearheading, and family calendars packed with birthday parties, ball games, and school activities.  Feeling overwhelmed is real.  You find yourself wondering how it is even possible to tackle the list, let alone do all the tasks well.

The easiest solution is to cut back on doing the things you do for yourself, you know, self-care.  It’s simple to cancel a gym class, skip social events, and fall back on unhealthy fast-food solutions just to save time.

Why are we so quick to throw our self-care activities out the window?

To keep up with the fast pace of our lives, we don’t think twice about putting our own needs aside.  We do it readily, without thinking and only through the toll a fast-paced life, do we realize there may be a better way.

Call it what you like but know that self-care is crucial for your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.  Here are five reasons why you should make self-care a priority:

  • Self-care nurtures a healthy relationship with yourself. The results are positive feelings of well-being and self-esteem.  Self-care reminds us, and others, that our needs are just as important as anything else.
  • A healthy work-life balance is important to relieve the stress and the exhaustion of being over-worked.  Self-care reduces health issues like anxiety, depression, and heart disease.  Professional self-care habits like intermittent breaks, healthy professional boundaries, and avoiding over-extending yourself ensure that you stay focused, motivated, and healthy for the long-haul.
  • Self-care is helpful in managing stress. Creating healthy habits like eating healthy, socializing, meditation, and exercise, decrease the negative mental, emotional, and physical effects that stress causes.  Without stress, your mood is improved, you have energy, and your confidence is lifted.
  • Life is precious and every moment is a gift.  Though there are responsibilities in life, taking care of yourself is a responsibility too.  Strive to be present with every experience and in every way.
  • Physical health is a big part of self-care.  Eating healthy, getting good sleep, exercising, and personal hygiene are important aspects of your self-care regimen.

You may still be trying to figure out what kind of self-care activities you can fit into your busy schedule.  Here are 10 quick additions you can add to even the busiest of days, to improve your mental wellbeing:

  1. Take the stairs or walk to work.  Adding even 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day will improve your mental and physical health.
  2. Take up the practice of meditation and practice every day.
  3. Set a timer and remind yourself to take small breaks throughout your day.
  4. Choose wisely who you spend your time with.
  5. Laugh, dance, and sing daily.
  6. Eat clean and unprocessed foods.
  7. Be present and aware of your feelings, don’t eat to feed your emotions.
  8. Learn to say no without an explanation.
  9. Create a gratitude journal and train your mind to focus on the good things in your life.
  10. Do it today; don’t fill your life with reasons why you’ll do ‘it’ tomorrow.

Taking these small steps toward putting yourself first will make a huge difference in your ability to be available for yourself and others.  Start today, do it for yourself, do it for your mental health and physical wellbeing.  I know all too well how important your self-care is to your mental wellbeing.  My mission is to help others find their passion and life purpose, including the self-care that is right for you. 


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