Why the article on grief? For one thing, I'm a volunteer at hospice and see it all the time. For another, there are many things that cause us to grieve that we might not realize.
Losing someone you love cases grief. We all know that. But losing other things can trigger this emotion as well. These can include losing your ability to do things because of an illness, your youth, your kids as they grow up, your job, your spouse due to a divorce, etc.
Loss equates change and sometimes that change can feel overwhelming. What's more, we all cope in our own way. Some folks keep it bottled inside while others let it out for the whole world to see. Some get angry and others laugh. I know one woman that had to have a meticulously clean floor while her husband was dying. It gave her a small bit of control in an otherwise hopeless situation.
I urge you to take a look at your own life and see if you have had any losses that require you to grieve. If so, find a healthy way to work through this emotion in your own unique way.
Mary and I grew up with a father who worried a lot. He once told me that when I was in college he would wake up in the middle of the night, wonder what I was doing, and then couldn't fall back asleep. Poor man!
Worrying is a natural part of being human. It can be a good thing when it motivates us to make necessary changes in life. However, it can quickly become a negative form of stress that does more harm than good. When worrying gets out of hand it can lead to health issues such as ulcers and heart disease.
Don't let that happen to you! If you think that you worry too much, there are some things you can try that may help:
I hope this helps. Now quit worrying and get back to enjoying your life!!
The other day I was sitting on the couch, watching a movie, and all of a sudden I burst into tears. My poor husband didn't know what to do. I tend to tear up when watching a sad show, but to outright cry was out of the norm for me. It made me realize that I had some unresolved emotions simmering below the surface.
I've said it before and I'll say it again; it's not healthy to stifle stress and emotions! When you are feeling bad about something, you need to find a safe way to vent it. If you don't, you'll end up embarrassing yourself in public as those overwhelming feelings pour out of you (and sometimes on to others).
So how does one safely vent emotions?
I would love to hear how you handle your emotions. Feel free to send comments.
As a mental health advocate, I have always believed in the value of meditation and other mind-body techniques. I feel they can do wonders for our minds by shutting down the internal "chatter" and bringing us to a lovely state of peace.
Having said that, I am ashamed to admit that I never really looked into the power of prayer. I was raised Catholic but quit attending church as soon as I could. I never found the connection that others raved about. To me God was out there but too far away for me to truly grab onto.
And yet, many of my friends continued to tell me about their prayers and how much they helped. I did a bit of research and there is some scientific evidence to support their claims. It would appear that folks who pray tend to live longer, have richer social lives, have less worry and stress, and are better able to relax than those who do not pray. In the hospital, those who pray tend to have less pain, less complications, and are sent home sooner. Wow!
Whether or not you believe in a higher power, there is something very soothing about the repetition of prayer. It is similar to the mantras that many folks use when meditating. I also liked the fact that you could take your overwhelming problems and hand them over to someone else (God). What a wonderful feeling that must be, even if it's only for a short time! I decided to give it a try.
They say you gravitate back to your childhood and that was true for me. I decided to attend mass at the Catholic church where I do volunteer work. So far I have been there about 5 times. What I have learned is that it is a peaceful way to spend an hour. The sermons have more meaning to me as an adult and I enjoy the aesthetics of the building. I must admit, I also enjoy the people watching! The kids, in particular, always make me smile.
Have I found that true connection to God? Not really. Am I able to turn all my problems over with ease? Not yet. But I'm still hopeful. Meditation takes years of practice and I can only assume it is the same with prayer. The bottom line is finding peace and meaning in your life. Amen!
Liza and I went shopping yesterday. In itself that wasn't a strange occurrence. LOL. However, we stopped at a Bath and Body Works and stocked up on scents. We both have allergies but still needed a "good smell fix." It got me thinking about aromatherapy and so I did a bit of research.
Aromatherapy uses scents to alter our moods and enhance our well-being. Scientists have found it can reduce pain, decrease anxiety, and increase energy levels in patients. They believe it stimulates the limbic system in our brain which deals with emotions.
When you think about it, that makes sense. Certain smells have a tendency to trigger memories in people, which in turn can trigger emotions. My mom has been gone for almost 20 years, but when I smell her perfume I immediately picture her laughing. This in turn either makes me smile or gets me a bit teary-eyed, depending on the situation.
Our sense of smell is more important than people realize. It contributes to the taste of food, can protect us from dangerous situations, and is the last sense (no pun intended) to fade away as someone is dying. I urge you to think about what scents make you happy. For me they include brewing coffee, fresh baked cookies, the air immediately after a good rain, a burning fire, and crisp fall air. I also love the smell of chlorinated water, which is a reminder of many happy summers spent swimming as a child.
There is quite a science to aromatherapy and people can put a lot of time and money into developing the perfect scents. If you're lazy, like I am, then you can whip up a quick batch of cookies or light a candle to get the job done. I urge you to have fun with aromatherpy and find what works for you. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to light my new lavender and vanilla scented candle and eat a cookie!
Are you a "glass is half full" type of person? I try to be, but I'll admit that it's easy to get sucked in by the "half empty" personalities. They're all around us, and they can zap the fun out of any situation. Before you know it, you'll be feeding off of each other and griping all day long!
So what should we do?
The obvious first step is to try to avoid the negativity. We all have people in our lives who have certain topics that they continuously gripe about, so try to avoid those topics. If a Negative Nelly starts in on her favorite grumpy topic, direct the conversation to more neutral subjects or things that the person enjoys.
If that doesn't work and you truly care about the person, you can try putting yourself in her shoes; if her complaints are justified, express empathy and maybe make a few suggestions on how she can improve her situation. Keep in mind, though, that Debbie Downers probably won't want to hear your opinion. They are too far entrenched in their victim mentality and have lost all self-awareness and don't want to entertain any views other than their own. They just want an audience. Even worse, they often don't take an interest in you---it's a completely one-sided relationship in which they drone on and on and on about all of the rotten things that the world inflicted on them, and never have time for you unless you're complaining as well.
If you want to salvage the relationship, you can try to be blunt and point out the constant negativity. Let the person know (nicely) that you are very aware of her complaints and you have nothing new to add to the topic and would like to discuss something else.
If that doesn't work, you simply have to limit all contact. Why spend your valuable time with someone so toxic?
I know everyone goes through rough times and needs to vent. That's normal. And some situations never change, so the complaints are probably well-founded. But if that is ALL someone focuses on, it can be very draining and a huge waste of time. Life is way too short!!
As Valentine’s Day nears, everyone in a relationship scrambles to buy something to show their love on this mandated day of the year. Those of you living in Ohio may also purchase an obligatory gift for Sweetest Day in the fall. I urge you to not forget the remaining days in between. There are many ways to give gifts in a relationship.
Gift of being present-genuinely be present. Put your electronics away. Focus on each other. Make eye contact. Communicate with each other.
Gift of partnership-marriage is a partnership. Try to see things from each other’s point of view, make lists of common goals and work on them together. Be sensitive and supportive of each other’s needs.
Gift of respect-You may disagree with each other, but remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion and feelings and you should respect them.
Gift of compromise-you may each have a different thought or expectation. Have a civil discussion and negotiate a compromise that is agreeable to both of you.
Gift of trust-be open and honest with your partner. Have nothing to hide. Be completely open with your partner without restrictions. Don’t keep secrets or have private conversations that would make the other suspicious.
Gift of freedom-as much as we love spending time with each other, partners need space to do things with their friends or their own hobbies. Allow that personal time apart and appreciate the time you do have together.
Gift of helpfulness-give each other a break when you can. Help them out with the chores they typically do, especially if they are not feeling well or are having a stressful week.
Gift of frugality-sometimes spending in a marriage can be off balance. Often one sacrifices while the other spends. Work together on a budget and monthly allowance that is fair to both of you.
Gift of sexuality-sometimes when you have been in a long term relationship, you fall into routines and often sexual activity gets pushed aside. Most often, even if you are not in the mood, engaging in sexual activity with your partner results in a good experience for both of you.
Physical gifts-thoughtful gifts are wonderful in a relationship. They should not be given out of obligation or an expectation, but because you really felt the item your purchased would make your partner happy.
We women instinctively know the value of a good girlfriend. They make us laugh, cry, eat too much, and they're there for us when we need them. They also tell us when our jeans are too tight or the guy we're dating is a loser. Yep, girlfriends rock and there is a lot of research out there that backs up this claim.
Here are some of the health benefits of a good friendship:
I urge you to pick up the phone and call a close friend today. Or text them and schedule a lunch. We tend to spend most of our free time with family but there is also room in our lives for friendships.
FYI - Mary is my sister but also my best friend. Liza has become a wonderful friend as well. How cool that we all write this blog together?!!
I just sent my friend this text message: 44 out and hailing. I love me some Fall.
Her reply: It's total bullshit.
Tracy and I are polar opposites when it comes to weather tolerance. She loves it hot and sunny---the kind of day that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.
I love it cool, preferably between 40 and 60 degrees. I don't mind the sun, but I think endless days of cloudless blue skies gets kind of boring. I want to see nature doing its thing: wind, or big fat snowflakes, maybe a long quiet drizzle, or freezing rain. The perfect day for me is about 55 degrees, with some sun AND dark clouds interspersed, with the wind blowing and leaves flying around. In other words, Autumn.
So, here I am entering my favorite time of the year, and Tracy just finished up with hers and is dreading the dreary months ahead.
I've heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and every Fall when my friends start to get grumpy I think about researching it. So this year I did, and here's what I found (listen up, Trace):
SAD is a subtype of depression, and symptoms include: feeling sluggish, lacking motivation, appetite changes, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. They don't know a lot about it yet, but they suspect it has to do with fluctuating levels of chemicals in our bodies due to less sunshine. Makes sense. Females are more susceptible, as are those with a history or depression.
You should seek treatment (not the chocolate cake kind) if you are feeling so down that you no longer enjoy activities that used to satisfy you, if your eating or sleep habits change dramatically, or if you are having suicidal thoughts.
You can check out more here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/CON-20021047
And Trace---I heard it will be up to almost 70 next week!. Hang in there!
The title of our blog includes the word Fearless, which sounds awesome but is it realistic? Is anyone truly "fearless"? I don't think so. We all have them, whether we admit it or not. I personally think that fears are a fact of life, and we'll never truly be rid of them.
Ask your friends what they are afraid of, and you'll get a variety of answers: heights, public speaking, spiders, losing a loved one. Sometimes we know where our fears come from, but often we do not.
Fears are a fact of life, but when they get in the way of doing what we want or need to do, then they're a problem. In fact, many psychologists claim that fear is at the root of all powerful and negative emotions such as anger, jealousy, and sadness. That's why it's so important to identify your fears and move past them.
Easier said than done, right? If we could just magically move past our fears, they wouldn't be such a nuisance. So HOW do we move past them? Well, everyone is different. Some women face their fears head-on, some try to analyze and get as much information as possible to conquer their phobias, some lean on friends for help and support, and others cope by seeking professional help.
Regardless of how you handle your fears, the point is that it is always healthier to actually try to face them and move forward. ALWAYS. So remind yourself to try to act courageously to pursue your dreams, even if you're quivering on the inside like a scared little girl. As long as you're trying, your fears cannot control you.
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