As an integrative health and wellness coach I work with clients on a number of health issues. More often than not a session will reveal some deeper issue that a client is struggling with. Sometimes the issue is a thought process or belief system that was established many years prior. Or, it can be a slow degrading of character and the client is unable to find balance. These types of issues indicate it’s time to build or rebuild a personal foundation. There are four essential practices which create a strong personal foundation and a higher sense of self. These foundation elements are Integrity, Humility, Gratitude and Authenticity (IHGA). IHGA is essential in defining your character and building a conscious mindset and lifestyle. Set some time aside to assess how much importance you put on these traits and determine if there’s room for improvement. If there are necessary changes make it a priority in your life to create those changes. When you possess higher IHGA you acquire higher resilience for life’s bumps and roadblocks. You will soon discover that practicing high IHGA will provide new perspectives and balance in your life, along with a higher sense of well-being and fulfillment.

What does IHGA mean in your life? What is your perception of a disingenuous person? How much quality time do you spend with people who are boastful or self-absorbed? Are you able to take a few minutes at the end of the day to reflect on what you are truly thankful for? These are all questions which help you understand your level of IHGA, and where you need to make adjustments. Take the time to focus on areas where you feel you need improvement and allow yourself time to work on each of this areas individually. A conscious life has many layers, but IHGA is your personal foundation. Take the time to build it properly and it will see you through difficult moments and allow you to truly enjoy the nuances of life.


Your integrity is an aspect of life that will be continually tested. Some of these tests will be small, such as an incorrect bill in a restaurant. Other tests will be more profound such as lying, manipulating or deceiving people. While I don’t like to use the terms right and wrong, there is place of positive and negative. When we consciously choose what feels wrong or negative we are choosing not to be in our integrity and have moved into a place of dysfunction. Eventually these negative choices erode our self-worth and can create a cycle of self-destruction, which in turn can compromise our relationships, career, and our health.

More often than not, if you don’t like who you are you will place less value on your integrity. So the first step is self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness. Practicing high integrity is an excellent way to build positivity in your life, and you will find it just feels good. You will earn respect from those around you, but more importantly you will earn it for yourself. Take time to question your choices and behaviors and modify accordingly. Integrity can take a lot of time to build up after a long hiatus, so if you find yourself making a mistake in judgment or treating someone poorly, remember you are only human and you will make mistakes. Do not dwell in a place of punishment or shame. Forgive yourself and move forward.

Your integrity is your personal brand, your calling card, and a projection of who you are to yourself and those around you.


Sometimes our egos can get in the way of having a true grasp of the importance of humility. We live in a “selfie” society where we are rewarded for self-promotion and self-absorbed behaviors. We expect instant gratification from our social media feeds and live in a “what’s in it for me” culture which promotes superficiality. The reality is, when we are focused on our individual needs and the superficial world around us we miss the opportunity to fully understand ourselves, and perhaps the true meaning of why we are here and what it is we are here to experience.

When you truly love who you are there is no need to reach outwardly for validation. Loving yourself as you are releases you of having to prove it to anyone. To possess humility allows you to see the true beauty in the world around you and allows for clarity of purpose. Comparing yourself to others only brings a “less than” mentality, so start practicing humility by supporting and encouraging those around you. Try extending positivity in your day-to-day life. Start by making eye contact with people, and really listen rather than interject your own opinions. Tell someone you love how they make you feel without the expectation of anything in return. Move through life with kindness and patience, as there are many people living an ego-centric life. Also, understand you are not alone in your feelings of loneliness or isolation (which can bring about selfishness). Practice self-awareness and move to small acts of kindness. Moving through life with humility will allow you to see the world differently and with much more depth than ever before.

Whatever life throws at you, when you have a clear understanding of your integrity and humility it will mean less time attempting to fix situations and relationships, and more time learning from them and enjoying them.


One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt: Comparison is the thief of joy. Amazing things happen when we look at what we do have instead of what we don’t. If we are consistently seeing our world as not enough or comparing our lives to our friends or the rich and famous, we will find ourselves in a vicious cycle of disappointment. We may also see what others have and want the same (or more) for ourselves. This psychological compulsion is known as Fear of Missing Out (FoMO), which derives from anxiety of missing what others are experiencing.

Having a positive mindset is imperative to create a more thankful perspective of your life. If you feel you are already a positive person, but find you are often wanting more than what you have (better job, more money, true love) take a moment to assess what you feel is really important. You may find that you already have so much, but perhaps just need to see from a different perspective or redefine your priorities.

Take some time at the beginning of the day to set your mind to be present and focused on the positive parts of the coming day. Starting the day with a positive mindset allows the brain to see simple things and to be appreciative of them. Absorbing the everyday beauty of life helps us in dealing with the challenges. It also helps put things into perspective, which is something we should all do on regular basis. Listen to a child’s laughter, smell the air after a spring rain, or watch as a sunrise sets the sky on fire. These moments are simple yet beautiful gifts provided to us every day.

“If you are not happy with yourself, what makes you happy is an illusion.” ~ Dan Rathman


So many of us are moving through life wearing masks which help us fit in, get the “right” job, meet the “right” mate, or travel in the “right” circles. Being your authentic self requires you to be sincere in your intention to move through life true to yourself. It’s understandable that we want to fit in with our peers, succeed in our careers, or fall madly in love. However, if you need to wear a mask to do so there will eventually be consequences. When we live a lie or pretend to be who we are not our spirit and health suffers. When we live a lie it hurts mentally and physically, as we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin or truly love for who we are.

True authenticity takes practice through the words you use, behaviors you choose, along with your belief system. To change this mindset may require you to clean house of your current beliefs, such as what makes you feel worthy. You may also find your world begins to change along with your mindset, and change can be difficult. Move through this stage as slow as you need to, but own it fully. The more you embrace this space and time in your life the more flow and strength you will receive from it. Many people are in fear of removing their masks and you may not receive positive feedback from this stage in your life. Move forward anyway…be confident your journey is taking you where you need to go, and know you are not alone. Many people are moving to a place of true authenticity, and as scary as it can be it is also liberating!

Practicing high IHGA will promote balance and self-love within you. Take it one step at a time, or dive in! Whatever speed you choose keep moving forward with the enrichment of your personal foundation, as it will benefit your health…mind, body and spirit.

Elle Martn is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of SoHo Well+being. For more health information and wellness inspiration, please follow SoHo Well+being on Facebook and Twitter, @sohowellbeing.

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