presentsThe Evolving Self
When growth is the only option...

The Evolving Self is an e-newsletter that reflects the belief that growth is a choice that can bring an ever deepening and expanding awareness of who we are and what we are here for. The reader can expect affirmations, quotes, book reviews, insightful commentary and tips that support the growth of the individual.

Affirmation: I move through the world with ease and grace.

Quote: “Life is 10 percent what you experience and 90 percent how you respond to it.” ~Dorothy M. Neddermeyer

Newsletter archives:

July 2019 - Belonging/Empathy & Presence

June 2019 - Taking Things Personally/Presence

May 2019 - Shame, Self-Esteem and Your Inner Child


Certified Aromatherapist

I have recently completed yet more training and am now a Clinical Aromatherapist, which means I am qualified to work in a healhcare setting as an Aromatherapist and of course, to make custom blends to address various health concerns and skin issues. Many aromatherapy blends also have a quality of emotional support.

If you are interested in custom blends to support your physical and/or emotional health and/or coaching along with aromatherapy solutions, please email me at

Contact me to get your own custom blend!

Rising Anxiety

I have been working in Healthcare for almost 17 years. I teach classes in Behavioral Health Education and most recently Workplace Violence Prevention. Over the past couple of years, we've seen a significant increase in the number of people experiencing anxiety to the point where they decide to get help for it. More and more people are reaching out because they simply don't feel safe in the world. Little wonder, given the significant rise in mass shootings and violence in public venues. Nearly every place that groups of people hang out there has been violence of late.

These events inspire a constant state of fear and powerlessness. There are so many things we are powerless over; the weather, the economy, and most anything that has to do with other people. Certainly, we have influence over other people at times, but we really don't have control over what other people do or say. So, when some people decide to use violence as a way to express their... shall I call it, dissatisfaction? Their unhappiness? Their distorted thinking? Whatever it is, the result is the end of other people's lives.

This is not leading towards an appeal for gun control or even a diatribe against guns, there are plenty of people writing about that. Nor do I plan to diagnose those who are committing these acts of violence. I simply want to talk about the anxiety it inspires.

Much of the anxiety we deal with in Behavioral Health has contributing factors such as genetics, body chemistry, substance use, and past trauma. While this is true of stress and depression as well, a major factor for anxiety is perception. Accurate or not, if you perceive that there is something to fear, your body will react with fear whether or not that event is happening right now. Unfortunately, in the case of active shooters, it has become nearly a daily occurance, therefore fearing it will happen is not necessarily a distorted thought. However, walking through every moment of your life in fear is no way to live and sooner or later will have health consequences. This is not a level of stress the body can sustain.

So what can we do? Whether or not any efforts are made at the highest level to deal with this problem, in the meantime, we still need to live our lives to the best of our ability.

Continue reading below for some ideas that may help...


First, we need to have a technique and regular practice that helps to calm our minds and bodies such as deep breathing. The act of changing our breathing from shallow to deep, shifts our physiology and with continued practice moves us to the parasympathetic nervous system. This is where calm energy lives and better decisions are made.

Next, we need to raise our level of presence and awareness. By tuning in to our own senses we gain access to the information that alerts us that there is something wrong in our environment so that we can take action to avoid or avert it. This can happen with a mindfulness practice. Deep breathing and mindfulness can be combined into a single practice by focusing on the act of breathing as it is happening; feeling the air enter your nostrils, feeling the expansion of your abdomen, being completely present with the entire process.

Third, we need to be as prepared as we can to deal with whatever we may encounter in our daily lives. Learning to be assertive has been a lifelong pursuit of mine which includes speaking your truth with grace and love. It also involves listening. With practice, listening can become a way of raising your awareness about the people around you. Observing, noticing, registering what is going on with them enables us to respond intentionally and deliberately. It might also enable us to act on that information in an effort towards prevention.

Finally, there are many things we can do that help to raise our confidence with potential dangerous encounters with others such as martial arts and defense training. Even a regular workout program makes us feel stronger and more fit, all of which raises our confidence.

These practices can be combined to create a way of moving through the world with a sense of empowerment that can help counteract the influence of anxiety.

If you would like to learn more about strategies that can help with calming, email me to learn more about Life Coaching.

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Jaqui Duvall works as a coach, mentor, trainer, facilitator and public speaker developing and delivering workshops, leading mentoring groups and working with individuals to help them identify and express their inner spirit and live a life of consciousness and intention. •  San Jose