“Brenda Zuniga has been an awesome addition to our Ending the Silence team of youth presenters. She always keeps it funny and real, whether talking about the challenges of confronting cultural stigma or dropping nuggets of the brain science behind her self-compassion hugs. She’s a pleasure to work with, and an inspiration to the many students she’s impacted in our NAMI Westside community!”
National Alliance on Mental Illness Westside LA, Program Director
“My anxiety was off the charts before this program. Now I am a lot calmer by implementing the practices Brenda taught me. I learned crucial information about reprogramming my brain into more positive thinking.”
This program has helped me live more harmoniously. I see every situation that may be difficult as a blessing in disguise. The resources Brenda has given me, helps me live my life more in gratitude.
Would I recommend this program? Absolutely!!!! Within just two sessions, Brenda taught me a lot about my own anxieties and how to get out of my head so I can remain focused on my goals!
If anyone is skeptical or double thinking, I would tell them they’re missing out and there’s no risk in wanting to better yourself!
“Brenda Sarai Zuniga came to me at a pivotal time in my life. I had gone through a very rough few months that included a stint in an Intensive Outpatient Program because of a complete mental breakdown. Even being a National Ambassador for NAMI, (The National Alliance on Mental Illness), I’m not immune to my own mental health setbacks. As a recent transplant to LA, I had very few people to lean on during periods of my episodes of depression and anxiety, but friends and family always helped over the phone. This time was different. I needed help and after the system failing me over and over for weeks I almost gave up. Luckily, I got into a program that gave me resources to a psychiatrist and with the help of modern medicine I could at least get up on my feet again to function.
Over the course of 3 months I barely ate, lost 10 pounds, moved into a new home, and the holidays were coming up. I graduated the program I was in, but I refused to go to a therapist again after a bad experience that jolted me into an episode. My psychiatrist (for those who don’t know, they only give medication, not therapy, but do ask how you’re doing) urged me that medication will HELP but ultimately the way I thought about myself was going to keep me healthy long term and I needed to start talking positively to myself. As he spoke I started to cry, “How can I do that if I don’t believe it?” He gave me some exercises and told me to come back in 2 weeks to check on how I’m feeling.
In these two weeks, Christmas was coming. I had been working with Brenda with NAMI for a while but we reconnected at a holiday gathering for the organization. She later invited me to spend Christmas with her and we chatted about her story, why she became a Mindfulness Coach, and what it actually means. I told her that I’ve always rolled my eyes at meditation because I felt I wasn’t “Zen” enough to sit quiet for 20 minutes not thinking. I wanted to try but I didn’t know if it would work for me… Quickly, she explained what she actually did, and a week or so later she gave me a Gratitude Journal to start my journey with baby steps.
And then… after months of contemplating living or not, I chose to live. I know I didn’t WANT to go, but I felt I was really at the end, and I had no reason to choose to live. She made me realize I was the reason to live, that we have the power within ourselves to not just “be so happy and positive” (because that always sounded so cheesy to me) but to LIVE.
Brenda and Sweet Thoughts Travel really did save my life. I tell her this all the time, but I believe she came into my life at that moment because something knew I needed help. She’s given me small exercises and homework at my speed and they’re so small they can be done in a matter of minutes. It will set you up for a great day, week, year, and maybe restart a day that started on the wrong side of bed.
I recommend Brenda and Sweet Thoughts Travel to everyone, young or old, this is a true gift to give to yourself. The ability to CHOSE to love yourself and to live everyday. Now, there’s nothing stopping me from going no matter what the circumstances.
I’m so proud of myself and my psychiatrist is pretty proud of me too ;)”
– Brooke Johnson, Miss Alaska USA 2018