Reshape Your Life With Actress/Author Ali Landry

Ali landry

Verywell / Julie Bang

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Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews authors, experts, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Episode Transcript

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you.

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Welcome to the Verywell Mind podcast. I’m Amy Morin, editor in chief of Verywell Mind. I’m also a psychotherapist and a bestselling author of 5 books on mental strength, including my newest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do Workbook.

Every Monday I introduce you to a mentally strong person  whose story and mental strength tips can inspire you to think, feel, and do your best in life.  

And the fun part is, we record the show from a sailboat in the FL Keys.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on your favorite platform so you can get mental strength tips delivered to you every week.

Now let’s dive into today’s episode.


  • Have you ever wanted to change your life but weren’t sure where to start?
  • Do you sometimes question how to realistically develop a healthier mindset?
  • Do you think you lack the time or energy you need to create positive change?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’m talking to actress and author Ali Landry about how to reshape your life.

Ali first came into the spotlight as Miss Louisiana Teen USA in 1990. She won the Miss USA title in 1996 and then starred in an iconic Super Bowl commercial advertising Doritos. She’s gone on to star in several movies and she’s written a book called Shape Your Life.

But Ali’s life hasn’t always been easy. She went through a very public marriage that was annulled after only two weeks. The breakup was featured in tabloids across the globe. She remarried years later and her father-in-law and brother-in-law were kidnapped and murdered.

Ali is speaking out about what the highs and lows of her life have taught her so far. She says when she started feeling tired all the time and had trouble sleeping, she didn’t excuse it as stress or aging. Instead, she decided to take back her life.

Some of the things she talks about today are the ways she developed a healthier mindset, the strategies that helped her work through pain and grief, and how she empowers herself to create positive changes.

Make sure to stick around until the end of the episode for the therapist’s take. It’s the part of the show where I’ll give you my take on Ali’s strategies and share how you can apply them to your own life.

So here’s Ali Landry on how to reshape your life.

Amy Morin: Ali Landry, welcome to The Verywell Mind podcast.

Ali Landry: Thank you so much. It's such a pleasure to be joining you. So excited to have this conversation.

Amy Morin: Me too. So your new book is called Reshape Your Life: Don't Settle Because You're Worth It. I love the title-

Ali Landry: Thank you.

Amy Morin: And on the show, we've talked a lot about people who say that you should reinvent yourself, or you should start over, things like that. But I've never heard anybody frame it quite this way about reshaping your life. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Ali Landry: For me, it was really just about giving. I always think of my girlfriends in Louisiana. I have a really great, strong, amazing group of girls in Southwest Louisiana, and I always start to speak to them, I always keep them in the back of my mind. And the idea of saying... I thought about it so much, what that title would be, what that title would be. It's like I want to give them permission. Reshape your life, it's never too late. That's the whole idea. It's never too late to create a life you love. I am going to be 50 in only a few months, and I talk to so many of my friends, and I'm still in it with three kids and my husband's busy, and I feel like I do look at a lot of my friends and I find myself in that moment. Like this is the way it is, giving in to just the flow of how it is, instead of really going deeper into what my true desires are and what I ultimately want in my life, and why am I not going after it? So that's what that was. Reshape your life, it's never too late to create a life you love. And the end part is you are worth it, because for me, it was so important for me to tell these women, because this book is really not about me honestly, it's just my stories as examples, for the reader to feel seen. And again, that permission, you are worth it. You really are. And if nobody else is going to tell you that, I want to tell you that.

Amy Morin: Yeah, that's a really important message. And I think sometimes we get passive about life and we get into these patterns, and we don't get out there and do those things that we want to do. We don't take the time to step back and say, "What do I really want out of life? And do I have the confidence to get out there and try to make it happen?"

Ali Landry: Absolutely. Life, [inaudible 00:02:25] life happen. And if you're not really a player, which is hard to do all the time just because it's always coming, then you could find yourself one year down the road, five years down the road and you're like, "Where did all the time go and what am I doing and what have I done and how do I even feel in this moment? Is this what I expected for myself? Did I want more for myself? Did I do the things I loved? Did I do the things that set my soul on fire?" And I think sharing our stories... I always say when you speak from the heart, you connect to the heart of another human being. I really strive very hard not to walk around with a mask or pretending everything is okay. I really try my best, to the dismay of my husband and my mother who's like, "Really? Do you have to say all those things?" But I really just try to walk around cracked open because I really desire that true connection. And I feel like if I am doing this, I draw that in for myself. That's how I have that. If I can open up to another human being, they are more likely to open up to me. And that's when I'm inspired. I did it recently with a girlfriend of mine who again is turning 50. She lost her husband and she took her life by the reins and she's like, "I'm going to do 50 things before I'm 50. I'm going to check off a list." And it was simple things. I loved it. Simple things like I have to connect a modem to my, I'm so not techy, to my... I don't know, what do you connect a modem to? That's the internet, right?

Amy Morin: Right.

Ali Landry: And I can't call anybody. I can't ask a friend to come over. I have to read the instructions and do it myself. Simple things like that. And I was so inspired by that story, so I think I'm going to adopt that for myself. But it's by sharing that you really have that true human connection. And nowadays, you and I, I love that we're talking over Zoom and that we're able to connect, but there's nothing like that face to face, feel each other's energy, that vibe, give each other a hug. We're on social media, we're on the internet. We're not connect. And then we had COVID. So people I feel like are little disconnected. So that's definitely something that I try to make an effort to do because it's where I feel the best. Otherwise, I can slip into a little bit of that depression or that funk, when I'm not connecting to human beings.

Amy Morin: I think it's so tempting sometimes for people to show the rosy version of their life. Like, oh no, things are good. And it's right, struggle to say, actually, I have problems too, and I struggle. And for somebody like you who's so successful in so many different ways, to then say, "Yeah, but I also struggle," can be tough for a lot of people, but I think it also then opens up people's eyes to say, "All right, even people who have lots of good things in their life haven't necessarily always lived a charmed life or things don't always come easy to them."

Ali Landry: Yeah. And I felt like I had a great childhood. I have a great family, grew up in a beautiful community. I didn't have a lot of horrible things that happened to me. Not until my, let's see, 20s. And up until that I was like, "Gosh, I'm a pretty boring person." Even though all these things were wonderful and blessed, and I was super grateful, but I was like, "It's not super interesting and I don't feel like I've had extreme growth." And it's when I was hit hard by life, which we all will. It's how we choose to move forward or move through it. And I was fortunate enough to instinctually know how to move through some of the difficult times in my life. And I have to say that in those times of pain and despair and on my knees and when I was seeking and searching and praying and journaling, it's when I had the biggest transformation. And I almost long for those times because there was such extreme growth, even though they were so tough, it changed who I am as a person and definitely how I walked through this world. And it's happened to me multiple times. But I did do the work. I definitely went in and did the work, and I share all of that in the book. And I call it your heart shape, your soul shape, your mind shape, your health shape.

Amy Morin: And you do. You dive into that. And can we talk a little bit about some of the difficult things you've been through and how you learn? So you had risen to fame as the Doritos girl doing Super Bowl commercials, and suddenly, you were everywhere and everybody knows who you are, but then you went through this very public breakup, but ultimately, in the end, you say that you're better because of it.

Ali Landry: I just to say, it was so public that Oprah shot the wedding.

Amy Morin: Wow.

Ali Landry: Oprah shot the wedding and I was supposed to go back on Oprah to give away a dream wedding to another couple. And before that happened, it all came crashing down. And I was young, I was my early 30s and hadn't experienced any really tough times before that. It was really hard for me because it was really public and I had a choice. My mother kept saying, "Why aren't you angry?" And again, it is just not the place that my heart wanted to go. I wanted to grow because I did not want it to happen again. That I knew. I'm looking for the book here. I had a purpose-driven life journal and I was reading it was a passage from the Bible. And then I could journal from that reflecting onto those specific times. And it was like being in a therapy session because I got very, very clear of what I wanted moving forward, what I did not want. Also, as hard as it was, because I knew I didn't want to move... And for me, I'm a very spiritual person, so I really asked God to, at that point, put one foot in front of the other because I felt like I'd made such a horrible mistake. So moving forward, I put my trust in Him, and I did feel like I came out on the other side in such a beautiful way as a woman. I could have made the choice to sweep all those feelings, those emotions under the rug and just whatever, move forward, go partying with my girlfriends, doing whatever. I was young, but I knew that I needed to deal with it because I knew that if I didn't, it was going to show up in some way, shape, or form at a later point in my life. And that was not an option for me, for sure.

Amy Morin: So for something like that, how do you decide that you're going to learn from it rather than just say, "Somebody wronged me or this is somebody else's fault." Instead of saying, you said, "Hey, I'm going to take responsibility and prevent this from happening again."

Ali Landry: It's funny that you said that because even though I feel like part of me could say I didn't do any wrong, obviously, I chose, I had a choice in all of it. I was with him, I chose to. So I needed to take a little bit of responsibility of why I stayed. Even though there was not indications that things were happening beforehand, I just didn't want to pass it all off on that person. That we always have a choice. It's almost like a miraculous thing for me because I had no one telling me what I needed to do. I just knew that I needed to work through it. And I think it's partly because I was always into self-help books. I was Tony Robbins and Robin Sharma and Joel Olsteen and Dale Carnegie. That was the stack of books that I always had on the side of my bed and dipping into those. So I knew those techniques to maybe work through things, but I was never faced with it ever before. So when it happened, I guessed I had a little bit of that insight of what I needed to do.

Amy Morin: And there are different kinds of hardships that we face. Sometimes there's things that maybe we were part of that we make one poor choice and it snowballs. Whether somebody says, "I got involved in a career and then I ended up in a terrible job. I take some responsibility." There are other things that happened to us that we had no part in. And you went through other tragedies in your life that were absolutely not your fault. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Ali Landry: Sure. I call them in the book, the whole idea is reshapes. And I say that I had two forced reshapes, one around heartbreak and betrayal, which is what we just mentioned, and another one around tragedy and loss. And that one was even harder because we lost two family members in the most horrific situation. And to wrap your head around that sort of loss for one person is difficult. But for two, I couldn't. I think we were in a fog for just a really, really long time. But again, we were presented with a choice. How are we going to move forward in our lives? How are we going to move forward? What do we want? And both my husband and I, because it happened to his family, his father and his brother, and the first realization is that we wanted to move forward obviously to honor their memory, their legacy. And the realization was, life is short. Tomorrow is not promised, and we only have this moment. And gratitude came in really, very profoundly in our lives, not just with ourselves, my husband and I, but also with our children and in our family. And the idea of surrendering, because you can plan all you want, but we surrendered everything to God's greater plan for our lives because we knew at this point, with what has happened to me and then now to us, we have no control. We have no control. All can do is show up as our best selves every single day. And every single day we fail. Every single day we fail, but allowing ourselves, give ourselves grace a little bit around that. But the pain in those moments were really, really, really tough because not only did we have to pick ourselves up, but we had to move forward for our children because we had to show up as parents when really, you wanted to go and find the people who did this. And it was just a really, really tough time. But again, I look at us now and where we are, and we came out on the other side so much better than we were before. We 100% live our lives differently, that's for sure. We don't take things for granted. If there's something that we desire... You're doing a podcast. My husband had this great desire to, he loves to surf, so he always wanted to have a little place by the ocean so he could look out and see if there's a wave and go out there. Well, in southern California, we could never in a million years afford a property on the beach. I was like, you can't do that. And an opportunity presented itself in Mexico, not very far from Los Angeles. And it was crazy. It just made no sense. We didn't even own a place, we were renting in LA, but because of what happened to us, we just pulled the trigger and we're like, "Life is short. This is something you desire. This is something you want, we're going to do it. We're going to do it. It may not make sense, but it makes sense for us." And we did it and it's been such a huge blessing. So we just live life a little bit differently cause of these things, I think.

Amy Morin: And that's exactly why I live on a boat. I went through a series of losses in my life and thought, "Oh, it'd be cool to live on a boat someday," and then realize someday isn't promised. You don't know what's going to happen down the road if you're going to do it, do it. And so that's why I ended up living on a boat as well. And I think sometimes, we can take those curve-balls that are thrown at us and say, "Okay, what do I learn from this? And how do I change my life?" But how did you get through that without... I guess, do you have a lot of anxiety concerns about your safety? Worries about other people in your family? Because I know sometimes when something bad happens to someone, it makes us worry about them. But in your case, bad people did bad things to your family. How do you get through that?

Ali Landry: I took the lead from my husband. I'll just tell you personally, it happened in another country and a year after that, my husband's phone was being tapped. So that's a little worrisome. I didn't go there for a really long time. Definitely was not taking my kids there. Now we do. But my husband refuses to live in fear. I think that's what it is. He just refuses to live in fear. He's not going to let it stop him. He talks me off the ledge. And my husband also did a movie about human trafficking. So imagine that? You layer that on top of, with our kids. So we are definitely maybe a little more careful. But then going back to fear, I think of what we were talking about, you living on the boat and us getting this beach house when it made no sense and really not even had finances to do that, but it all worked out. I feel like so many people... I had it around this book. Fear presents itself in our lives. When we want to do something, then fear just overwhelms us. I sometimes feel like when fear presents itself, that is the exact thing that you should probably be doing. And what I've noticed in my life is on the other side of fear is really everything that I so desire. You're on your boat just living your best life. Now we have our little beach house. I didn't want to do this book. I had a lot of fear around it. I was like, "Who would listen to me? What do I have to say? I'm still in my journey." All of it. That was not on my bucket list to do, but maybe I need to. It also was that surrender moment. It came in for a reason. I need to have faith and I need to surrender because this wouldn't be showing up otherwise. I had the fear. And now on the other side of that fear, I am now with women and I'm connecting and we're crying and we're hugging and we're talking about deep things that really mean something to us. And I feel like because of that, I will always have a connection with these women. By me opening up, walking through that fear, I now have what I so desire in my life, which is true connection with people.

Amy Morin: And it's always the fear of the worst case scenario that we have. And then when you start to do those things, usually those fears are unfounded. When you put yourself out there, you think, well, this isn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. But you could waste so much time thinking all of the what ifs. What if you had bought this place in Mexico? What if you didn't write the book and all of the bad things that might happen. Then when you just do it's usually not as bad as that timeframe when we're actually worrying about it or we're making it much bigger in our minds than it really is.

Ali Landry: And that's something that you say the what ifs. A woman came up to me, we just had a wellness conference very first in my small town in Louisiana. These women, I gathered the wellness community there, they didn't even know existed. I pulled them all out of the woodwork. They were doing incredible work. And I also brought in experts to speak to them, just a different perspective. We're just going to start the process. And a woman came up to me afterwards and she said something that really stood out to her was that she did not want to move forward in her life just saying, "What if." Or What if I just didn't do that? No regrets. Why don't I just do it? What's holding me back? So I was like, "Well, then that's a win." I like that.

Amy Morin: I do too. Because what if you didn't write a book? Well, you'd never know, and you wouldn't have had these opportunities that you're having to connect with people and to put your message out there and to help a lot of women who are interested in learning. How do you reshape your life?

Ali Landry: Yeah, for sure.

Amy Morin: Another part of your book. So we talked about the heart, you talk about the spirit and the soul. You also talk about your mindset in thinking. Can you talk a little bit about reshaping the way that you think?

Ali Landry: Mindset, I think really honestly fits into every single category. You got to keep that little baby in check 24 hours a day because it can definitely go astray, all the time. I'm constantly like, "Nope, nope." For me, there's specific practices and I mentioned them in the book that I put into place throughout the day, that grounds me, that puts me in check. That gets my mind set in the place where I want it to be. The super simple, easy, the first thing I do in the morning is when I open my eyes, is I go into gratitude. I just am very specific about what I am grateful for. I'm so happy I get to take the kids to school today. I'm so happy I get to do this interview with you today. I'm so happy that I'm back here and my sleeping in my bed. Even simple things like that. Just go straight into gratitude. Another thing that I do is, I like to think of it as, I call it God's daily gifts. And what it looks like is this. So through my day, well, I'll give an example. So I was on a walk and I see a tree and there's this knot in the tree and the knot's in the shape of a heart. And then there's ivy growing around it, and the ivy is in a heart. And I'm just like, that's so... Let me send it to my girlfriend. So I sent a picture to my girlfriend and she's like, "That's God's daily gift." And I was like, "Wait, what?" She's like, "Yeah, God sends you a gift every day. It's just up to you to recognize it." And I was just like, "Well, drop the mic right now," because it landed in me in a different way than stop and smell the roses, which is basically the same idea. So ever since she said that, every single day, I'm very, very hyper aware of things. Simple as I'm sitting in my office and there's a little hummingbird that is fluttering around this little tree right there. Just focusing on that, noticing that as that's a gift for me and it grounds me in the moment, right now. It grounds me. It makes me take in my surroundings. I'm there like, "Wow. Look at nature in all its glory. I'm looking at the mountains." I again go into gratitude. So this little daily gift thing, I think, is so beautiful. Another thing I've learned just recently, I think I heard it on a podcast and it was just a flip of a word. Instead of saying... I used to say a lot like, "Ugh, I have to do this. I have to pick up Marcella. I got to add in the thing. I have to make sure I answer the emails. I have to clean the thing before the..." I have to, I have to, I have to. Now I switch it to, I get to. And just "have" to "get." Another huge shift, huge shift. I never want my mind to get in my mindset to get in the way of my life. I also think of it as, it is one of my superpowers. I talk in the book about superpowers, recognizing our own superpowers and then recognizing the superpowers in others. I think one of my superpowers is I'm able to flip the switch is what I call it, on negative thoughts or negative thinking. Sometimes I confess or if something bad happens, I lose a job or whatever. Yeah, I might sit in that depression like, oh, I would've really liked that job. That would've been great. May do it for about a day. And then it's enough as enough. I literally visualize myself walking up to the wall, to the light switch, flip it, and I have to think of it in a new perspective. There's something better for me. That would've maybe taken too much time away from my kids. I wouldn't have devoted it here. That's not going to serve my life. There's a greater plan. So I'm able to flip the switch on things pretty easily. And again, talking yourself, it's like that record player in your head that says, "You can't do this. You don't deserve love." You got to change that record player. You got to flip it to the other side. And I think the only way to do that, for me, it's been a great help, is my morning prayer and meditation, another thing that I plug into place. I can't imagine you sitting out on your boat, looking out into the water and the sun either rising or setting and just taking it all in and getting outside of yourself. For me, it's just that breathing in the morning. Again, it's super simple. I just, again, get out out of my head. I take a few deep breaths. I ground myself. I empty out me. I empty out myself out of my clutter in my brain of the to-do list. I empty out myself. I say a few prayers and then I let God come in and it's like I feel like during that time, there's always a message that's delivered. And then after it, I journal. Whatever came in through that meditation. I get it down on paper. And then I have on the side of me, three or four books that are wisdom books, like something that's going to fill me back up whether I'm going to learn something new, whether it's a new perspective, whether it's growth, I don't know, something inspirational. I will put something good, pour back in the good, and then I go about my day. And again, it's a shift. It's a shift that happens. So those simple, simple little practices really changes your mindset and how you move throughout your day. And I say it as a practice because it really is something, and we fall off the wagon. But when you do it daily, it's the small things you do every day where you see the greatest change in your life. So those are things that have really helped me.

Amy Morin: And you know what I love about all those practices is you can do them anywhere. No matter what's going on in your life, no matter what curve-balls get sent your way, you can keep doing those things. And they're not dependent on your environment being amazing. You can find those little things in life to be grateful about no matter what's going on around you.

Ali Landry: Yeah. I know. I know. And tapping into that, even for myself, when I start getting worked up with the anxiety, even just learning, because I didn't know really the power of the breath. I didn't know that breathing a certain way could, science behind it, that it could literally just calm my nervous system because sometimes I feel like I cannot. I get myself so worked up, I cannot breathe. So just the breath is so powerful, or when you're in those meditated... Or you're trying to meditate or focus, but just focusing on the breath can stop all those thoughts that are coming in.

Amy Morin: And one other thing I wanted to talk about, because I thought it was so powerful, it's a little thing, but it has big results, is at the end of the book, you talk about cartwheels on the beach and about celebrating these little milestones in life to really make them stand out because otherwise, every day blends in together. That's such a powerful practice. But so often, I think we get caught in thinking, well, I'll celebrate that later. Or it's not a big deal that I just had this milestone birthday or that I just got this promotion at work. We sweep them under the rug. But can you talk about the importance of celebrating those moments?

Ali Landry: It's so easy again, because life happens and you go through that thought process like, oh, we could do it later. Oh, I don't have time. But celebrating it and the specific one you're talking about is, I think it was for my 40th birthday 10 years ago. And I took a bunch of girlfriends and we went on a trip and we were so caught up in our lives and being adults, and we forgot how to be silly and childlike and do all those fun things. And by the end of the trip, we were doing pyramids like we did, when we were cheerleaders, we were doing back flips in the water and doing handstand competitions and doing cartwheels, like I said, on the beach, and those things it allowed me to tap into my joy, my soul in a way that I don't do daily.

And what I realize when I do that, and again, you just telling me reminds me, it's something that you have to really be aware of. It's like when I say do the things that set your soul on fire, doing those things, it sets my soul on fire. It gives me so much. Honestly, my heart is leaping inside when I tap into that. So why don't I do it more? So I need to remind myself, but how do we do that? So part of that's like we got to journal. We got to have those affirmations. We got to tap into that to remind ourselves because our adult mind is saying, "No, you shouldn't that," or "Yeah, no, that's for the kids," or whatever. It's going on a bike ride or it's all those little things that get us out of our daily patterns, that that little bit of a shift that ignites us. So I just encourage everybody to do more of that.

Amy Morin: I love that part of your book. It's just a reminder of Yeah, why don't we do that. Last question for you. If somebody says, yes, I should reshape my life, but I don't have time or I don't have the energy right now, what do you say to them?

Ali Landry: I would say life is short and you have one life. You have one life. Just let that sit for one second. It's very short and you have one. So why wouldn't you make it great? It's up to you. You have the choice. And it doesn't have to be big things. I don't want any of this to overwhelm you. It's very simple concepts. It's just a shift in a word, a little bit of a practice that you could plug in to your day. It's those simple things, those little things that you do every single day that again, make the huge difference. I say in a keynote, I don't know if I have it in the book, if you shift the direction of a boat, okay, only five degrees, right? Five degrees. It's the difference of that boat headed to Hawaii or Japan. So when you think about it like that, why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't I?

Amy Morin: As someone who's-

Ali Landry: And if you don't, I'm going to go grab you by the hand and we're going to do it together. So that's it. You've got to get with it, ladies. We've got to start reshaping.

Amy Morin: I love it. And as somebody who lives on a boat, I love that you use the boat analogy because it's very true.

Ali Landry: ... Five degrees would look like.

Amy Morin: Right? That's very true. Well, I hope that all of our listeners go out and get a copy of your book, Reshape Your Life: Don't Settle Because You're Worth It. Ali Landry, thank you so much for being on The Verywell Mind podcast.

Ali Landry: Thank you so much for having me. I wish I was on that boat with you, honestly.

Amy Morin: Awesome.

The Therapist's Take

 Welcome to the therapist’s take. This is the part of the show where I’ll breakdown Ali’s strategies and share how to apply them to your life. Here are three of my favorite strategies that Ali shared.

  1. Work through your uncomfortable feelings, don’t go around. Ali said she kept a journal during tough times in her life. And that she really wanted to learn and grow from the hard times. But she knew she had to accept responsibility and she had to work though uncomfortable emotions. When we’re grieving, it’s tempting to distract ourselves or to do anything we can to escape discomfort. But you can’t go around the pain. You have to go through.If you let yourself feel sad, you can heal much better than if you pretend you don’t care or if you try to mask your pain.
  2. Incorporate your faith into your mental strength-building plan. Sometimes people tell me that they don’t need mental strength because they get their strength through God or their higher power. But, you can believe in God or a higher power and still choose to build mental muscle. No one ever says, “I don’t go to the gym because I believe in God.” People take responsibility for building physical muscle. You can take responsibility for building mental muscle. So I liked that Ali talked about how she empowered herself to reshape her life and her faith was part of that journey–but she also took responsibility for making change. And I loved that she talked about looking for God’s gifts as an alternative to traditional gratitude practices. 
  3. Harness the power of breathing. Ali says she spends time just focusing on her breathing sometimes to feel better. The way you breathe can have a huge effect on your nervous system. You can calm your body–which in turn can calm your anxious thoughts just by taking some slow deep breaths. It’s also a good way to refocus your energy onto something that you can control. When it feels like the world around you is spinning out of control, take a few slow, deep breaths. There are a lot of different breathing exercises you can learn. If you google it, you’ll find tons of strategies, like box breathing. But the simplest and best breathing exercise I know, is to just smell the pizza. Breathe in slowly through your nose like you’re smelling a delicious piece of pizza. Hold it for a few seconds and then breathe out of your mouth slowly like you’re cooling off the pizza. I find it’s much easier to remember to smell the pizza than it is to remember more complicated breathing exercises that involve counting and numbers.

So those are three of Ali’s strategies that I highly recommend: work through your uncomfortable feelings, don’t go around, incorporate faith into your mental strength-building plan, and harness the power of breathing.

To hear more of Ali’s strategies pick up a copy of her new book Reshape Your Life. In it, she talks about her reshape your body, your mind, your heart, and your soul. 


If you know someone who could benefit from hearing this message, share the show with them. Simply sharing a link to this episode could help someone feel better and grow stronger.

Do you want free access to my online course? It’s called 10 mental strength exercises that will help you reach your greatest potential. To get your free pass, all you have to do is leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Then, send us a screenshot of your review. Our email address is We’ll reply with your all access pass to the course.

Thank you for hanging out with me today and listening to the VW Mind podcast.

And as always, a big thank you to my show’s producer, who was watching the Super Bowl when Ali first appeared in a Doritos commercial, Nick Valentin.

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.