Holidays, days of remembrance, and anniversaries can all be springboards for a decision to change. Milestones often remind us of what we hold dear, as well as spotlight the finite time we have to create lives that reflect our truest selves. As yet another Fourth of July draws near, I reflect on the myriad freedoms we enjoy as a result of our nation’s founders’ foresight and wisdom. But other freedoms exist that we must create by CHOICE: freedom from fear; freedom from shame, guilt, obligation. Freedom from negative body image, from others’ limited beliefs about us, from our own old, unproductive scripts. At this time of year, we embrace the celebrations that accompany Independence Day, from barbecues with friends and family, to fireworks displays, to the donning of red, white and blue garb. But we must remember that we have the opportunity EVERY DAY to leave behind messages, habits, even people that no longer serve us well. What freedom do you long for? How can you declare independence from the negative and move forward into all that is possible?

BOOKS THAT HELP: An oldie but a goodie, TRIUMPH OVER FEAR by Jerilyn Ross is both a memoir and a self-help book that details the author’s debilitating struggle with–and recovery from–devastating anxiety disorders, as well as offers tools and techniques to help readers assess and manage their own anxiety responses.