Meet Danielle A. Vann, a renowned author and coach who has developed an extraordinary blueprint for transforming your life, fostering healing, cultivating self-love, and attaining inner peace. Danielle is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, renowned Life Coach to women, Master-Level Advanced Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner, and the list goes on…MysticMag discovers the transformative wisdom of Danielle A. Vann.
Can you describe the inspiration behind creating the ultimate blueprint for getting your life together and how it incorporates principles from both Eastern and Western beliefs and practices?
What a great question, and it’s one that no one has ever asked! The inspiration behind creating the ultimate blueprint for healing and getting your life together selfishly comes back to me. While walking my healing journey, I sought more than traditional talk therapy. I was seeking practices and tools that went alongside working through events in my life. I knew people that had been in therapy for years with little results. I desired change that didn’t take 5,000 hours of therapy. I wanted, scratch that, needed tangibles. So, with much research, I began collecting the individual practices I knew had helped others, such as meditation, Reiki, energy healing, sound therapy, Somatic movement, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. There were others, but these practices and sciences were among the top, at least for me.
With a formed list, I went back to school. I started my career as a journalist and news anchor and transformed it into a traditionally published author, but I knew I needed to go to the next level with my life and my career. As I dove in, I began developing the blueprint based on what I call the five masters of our life: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and financial well-being. With my list and training, I quickly realized that one-size-fits-all therapy doesn’t work, at least not for everyone. I knew then, as I still believe now, that mental health professionals and coaches must be able to meet people where they are, with what they have experienced, and we must offer different pathways to healing. Let’s face it, not every experience, feeling and emotion (because emotions and feelings are two separate things), brain, mindset, etc. are cookie-cutter and textbook.
With this understanding and my blueprint formed, this method has helped thousands of people, whether through the classes I teach in-person or on Insight Timer, my popular Instagram page @getyourlifetogethergirl, YouTube, the Get Your Life Together, Girl Podcast, the Get Your Life Together, Girl Online Women’s Circle which offers an online meeting place for women to come together, learn and attend a once a month meeting space for learning, support, and group therapy, my blog, private sessions, or different companies I’ve worked with or speeches I’ve given.
What inspired you to become a mental health advocate – can you speak more to this aspect of your work?
Absolutely! In 2016, my world shifted, which is what I was alluding to as a blueprint coming back to myself. My stepmother, who had a significant hand in raising me, and my father-in-law, whom I was extremely close to, passed away seven days apart from cancer, both unexpectedly, quicker than thought. Forty-five days later, I was rushing our middle daughter to the hospital in grave condition, kidney failure. We nearly lost our daughter and spent months in and out of the hospital until the failing kidney was removed several months later. It was a breaking point for me. I was doing my best to keep my life together, and honestly, I was failing.
I knew I needed help to process, but as I mentioned, I couldn’t find what I felt would help shift the trauma and provide a new way of thinking. I saw a gap, a massive gap, in which help was available. It was too standardized, cold, if you will. My mission has always been to take a more hands-on, softer approach to mental health.
Listen, if someone reads something I’ve written, listens to the podcast, or hears me speak and their biases, walls, shame, fear, and guilt are broken down, I’ve done my job. I met my purpose and passion that day. What started as a dark period has transformed into a movement where I have the honor and pleasure of holding someone’s hand and openly offering them a no-judgment space to feel heard, seen, and respected. It’s a shame that mental health has been stigmatized as something wrong with the person instead of something wrong with the experiences they have walked through in their life. Not everything we encounter is of our own making. This understanding is a huge adjustment needed in our thinking and world culture. More so, not every mental health issue comes down to brain chemistry or wiring; sometimes, it’s about not having the right tools to support yourself, not understanding your emotions, not feeling seen, heard, and wanted, and sometimes it comes down to complex trauma.
In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges that people face when it comes to mental health, and how can we work to overcome these challenges?
The first is a willingness to admit there is a problem. We cannot change what we refuse to fully witness. We all have struggles. Right? But, many fear admitting they want or need help. We worry about what others may think if they find out. We see entering mental health therapy, counseling, coaching, no matter in what form it takes, as a weakness. It’s quite the opposite. Never allowing yourself to thrive can be seen as a greater failure than getting the help you need.
We can remove this thought process by adjusting how we show up to our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, children, etc. When we step away from personal judgment, using phrases like “You’ll be okay,” “Everything is fine,” “You don’t need help,”
“Stop worrying so much,” we allow those who need support to seek it without fear, guilt, shame, blame, or frustration. That’s the first way.
The second is to have an understanding of what is available and possible. What works for you? What interests you? What are you willing to explore? If we can look at mental health as an individual movement, we can take away judgment and realize that if our mental and emotional health only pertains to us, it’s only us we must worry about. To go further with the thought process, if we force ourselves to do things we do not connect with, the methods simply do not work. We have to be intrigued, willing, and ready to heal. No one wants to read a boring book, right? Doing things you have no connection to feels about the same!
These are a few of the first steps. Of course, there are so many, but this is a massive movement that each of us can begin to incorporate into our lives.
Can you speak more to the role that somatics and emotional intelligence play in a ‘healthy life’ and how these practices can help individuals on their journeys toward healing and self-love?
Oh, this is a massive question! How much time and space do we have? HA!
Let’s first talk about what somatics is and how many are already practicing this form of therapy without realizing it.
Somatics is any practice that uses the mind-body connection to help survey the inner self. It’s also a way of listening to your inner voice and signals the body provides about areas of pain, imbalance, discomfort, and dysregulation.
These practices allow us to access more information about the entire mind-body experience. Trauma is stored within us; there’s a physical response. When we are stressed or reach our window of tolerance, our immune system goes offline to help preserve energy. The brain is told that this situation is dangerous and should be created as a pattern, so the next time we encounter something with a similar feel or connection, we engage in the pattern. The trauma becomes a deeply entrenched part of our subconscious and forms behaviors. With Somatics, we move the trauma through the body, rewire the brain pattern that keeps us “stuck” in the moment, fight, flight, or freeze, and help us get into a space of natural healing and wellness through movement, breath, and touch.
I mentioned many are already doing this without realizing it. Meditation and breathwork can be a form of somatic movement if applied correctly. Emotional Freedom Tapping, which I love and teach for anxiety and depression, is an excellent bodily exercise. There’s yoga, the ancient Japanese art of Reiki, Body-Mind Centering, the Alexander technique, polyvagal movement, the Feldenkrais method, and the HeartMath Coherence methods, to name a few. All of which I use within my practice.
As for emotional intelligence, this is lacking in many simply because we are not taught about our emotions. While our school systems are improving, we genuinely need classes about our emotions, tools and practices, and mindfulness in every grade level! I believe this would change how we show up, identify and deal with mental health issues, and lessen the violence we see.
Beyond that idea, the truth is while we are not taught about our emotions, we are often taught not to lean into them, thus learning the opposite of emotional intelligence. For example, how often are we told or say to others: “Don’t cry.” “Man up.” “It’s not that deep.” “Don’t worry about it.” “Why are you stressing about something so small?” “Why can’t you just let it go?!” All of these phrases are tossed around like armchair therapy. It does nothing but teach us to shut off, tune out, remain quiet, and stuff our emotions down.
Yet, if we do not understand our emotions, we are at a profound disadvantage in helping ourselves heal and live a grounded, thriving life. Think about it this way: telling someone not to cry, which is a beautiful, emotional release, or not to worry may sound like solid advice to move us beyond the moment; it actually downgrades the experience and tells us not to share what is happening within us and our emotional body—as I said, shut down, tune out.
Combining mindfulness, CBT, emotional intelligence, and thoughtful movement with somatic practices, we meet and serve the five masters and find immediate life improvement. You know the saying, “What we focus on grows?” This is an important truth. If we focus on well-being, we grow in well-being. If we focus on negativity and lack, we grow in negativity and lack. It’s that simple. These processes help us make sustainable changes—thus, the reason I wanted to combine Eastern and Western practices. I also must say that self-love is only found and grown when we feel self-supported in those five masters.
You also host The Get Your Life Together, Girl Podcast – can you tell us more about the podcast and what listeners can expect from tuning in?
The podcast is a passion project for me! I hope everyone will tune in! This combines my journalism background with my mental health training. So, what will you find?! So much! There are three episodes released each week. So, one week you’ll find a podcast that’s a deep dive into an aspect of our lives that can own us in one of the masters. For example, you’ll find episodes about how to release guilt and shame or build inner self-love. The following week you’ll listen to a conversation between myself and guest, often other therapists, on subjects that stand in our way of self-love and inner peace or the five masters. Those episodes are released on Tuesday of each week.
On Thursday, you’ll find a guided meditation or a mindset reset. Adding these additional episodes allows me to guide the listener through the blueprint just as I would if they were in my office. The meditations are conducted through my original ways to release emotions, trauma, and thought patterns while calming the mind, body, and spirit. The mindset resets are quick, less than 15-minute episodes that walk you through tools and practices to help yourself. Listeners have the opportunity to write in and ask questions. These are some of my favorite episodes!
Lastly, each Saturday, I release 2-minute affirmations to help build you up and remind you of your greatness! These episodes have been wildly popular!
My goal is to provide a one-stop shop of tools and practices that support everyone in their healing and growing journey. Many have written in, letting me know that they can’t afford therapy, but the tools I provide allow them to feel like they will be okay. While the show is not intended to replace therapy or be a method of diagnosis, it’s wonderful to know that the work allows someone to connect with themselves and heal. That’s my mission and purpose in life!
What do you hope to achieve through your work and what message do you hope to spread to individuals who may be struggling with their own mental health?
My husband and I talk about this often—what I hope to achieve. I want others to know they are not alone. I want people to realize that just because therapy didn’t work before or they are struggling does not mean there isn’t help now. Mental health is as important as physical health. I intend to spread this message, remove the stigma, and provide hope to anyone struggling. There’s always so much more for you. Allow yourself to hear your needs. Many of us want to take your hand and stand in whatever it is you are walking through today.
If you would like to find out more about Danielle A. Vann, visit https://www.danielleavann.com/