Doing Life Together
Doing Life Together
At some point in our lives, we all deal with painful and negative emotions. Whether those emotions are fear, anxiety, resentment, or other fear-based emotions, if we do not learn to manage those emotions properly, they can get the best of us and destroy us.
Identify the Emotion
You cannot correctly address something you cannot first identify. It requires a level of self-awareness that allows you to sit with your feelings and truly get to the root of what is going on. The act of identifying what is triggering the negative feelings eases the burden of trying to ignore or masking it while allowing room for what was identified to be addressed in the right way.
The ultimate benefits of this can include reduced stress and anxiety (Partnership Staff, 2017).
Once you know what you’re feeling, you can begin to identify what causes you to feel that way. By identifying the situation or the trigger causing that particular emotion, actionable strides can then be taken to remove or reduce the impacts later on.
Or steps can be taken to help you learn how to manage those triggers, so they no longer produce the intense negative pain or fear-based emotion moving forward (Brown, 2019).
Redirecting the negative emotions, you feel into positive activities can be a healthy way to release negative emotions. Redirection is about channeling negative emotions and energy into an action that allows for emotional release without causing harm.
Activities can include physical events, breathing, journaling, or meditation, among others. Each of these outlets provides an opportunity to help you feel less overwhelmed and eventually reduce stress, tension, and anxiety (Scott, 2020).
Getting help from outside sources can be one of the best ways to get help with painful and fear-based emotions. Whether that support is in the form of friends and family or a licensed professional, sometimes having an additional person to talk things through with can help bring relief both mentally and emotionally.
Others can offer advice, tools, resources, and even just a listening ear to help you process what you’re feeling. It can also guide you through developing healthy coping strategies to manage negative emotions (Scott, 2020).
Being thankful is a strategy that can act as a grounding force when faced with painful and fear-based emotions. Gratitude first draws us into the present moment by focusing on the negative stimuli and causing us to find those good things that exist presently in our lives.
Then it replaces the negativity with positivity by causing us to deviate from the negative emotions towards happiness and joy that gratitude is linked with creating. Taking a few moments to either write down all that you are grateful for or even think about them helps counter these negative emotions.
We do not have to live indefinitely with painful and fear-based emotions. We can take action to help ourselves overcome negative feelings and thrive in our lives.
Whether you adopt one of these strategies or a combination of several, these are great ways to first understand how you feel, address the cause of what you’re feeling, and then develop coping strategies for situations where you find yourself encountering these negative emotions.
Brown, L. (2019, October 22). How to deal with negative emotions: 10 things you need to remember. Hack Spirit. https://hackspirit.com/negative-emotions/
Partnership Staff. (2017, May 28). Coping with fear, anger and other negative emotions. Partnership to End Addiction | Where Families Find Answers. https://drugfree.org/article/coping-fear-anger/#
Scott, E. (2020). How to deal with negative emotions and stress. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-should-i-deal-with-negative-emotions-3144603
When as a society, we think of health, we typically think of physical aspects. We think of losing weight, gaining muscle, and looking athletic. What most of us fail to remember is that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
Mental health disorders are "real," but often treatable. Mental health issues can be either minor and short-term or life-long. Some others are more severe and require help from a professional.
Today, amid a pandemic, political and civil turmoil, the mental health of millions of people is at risk.
According to Mental Health America, "as the number of cases of COVID-19 increases, so does the associated anxiety. For the general public, the mental health effects of COVID-19 are as essential to address as are the physical health effects. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – we need to take personal, professional, and policy measures now to address them."
If you need the help of a mental health professional, here are some tips to follow.
Where To Find Help?
One of the best places to start would be your family physician, who can refer you to a specialist. Which type of specialist you go for help will depend on the nature of the problem and symptoms. Your family physician can do an assessment and determine where to refer you. A local health department, mental health facility, or a crisis center are also other available options.
Try getting a few contact names, so you can research about more than one facility before choosing a provider. Also, if you have health insurance, they may provide a list of mental health providers who are covered in your plan. Your local health department or community mental health center, however, may provide free or low-cost care.
One supplemental program is peer support groups. They can serve as an essential addition to the help you receive from professional mental health providers.
Support groups can be a valuable resource, for sure. A layperson usually leads these groups. They are designed to bring individuals together- those who have similar mental health or substance abuse illnesses. Other organized types of support groups are drop-in centers, warmlines, and training courses in mental health wellness and recovery.
Types of Mental Health Professional
How to Choose the Right Mental Health Professional?
Talk with the professional on the phone. Ask questions about their approach, philosophy, specialty, or concentration. Once you have selected and feel comfortable with a specific counselor or doctor, the next step is to schedule an office visit.
Your first visit will involve talking with the therapist or doctor to allow them to get to know you and your circumstances for a visit. They will ask you what you think the problem is. They will ask about your life, job, living arrangements, family, and friends. Even though you may feel this information is personal, it will help the professional assess your situation and develop a treatment plan.
As you start working through your treatment plan, you should begin to feel improvement. You should feel you trust your therapist and feel better about whatever circumstances you are there to face.
It would help if you start to be more comfortable in your relationships because your treatment plan may be painful and uncomfortable at times. The more you actively participate in the treatment plans, the better you will be able to cope with your feelings more effectively.
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By Karima Leslie
In times of crisis and transition, we long for our previous normal. We gravitate towards what is familiar, even when what is familiar and "normal" is killing us. We crave fast food and long for the job back that was burning us out and running us into the ground. And none of that is bad. Seeking comfort in familiarity is completely normal. But this season of life is calling us to create a new normal. A better one. When all of this is done, we could have dancing in the streets, we could get to know our neighbors and be active in our community. We could come together, united because of this shared hardship and love like we never have before.
Top 5 tips to Coping through COVID-19
#1: Pay Attention to How You Feel
Pay attention to the warning signs your body & mind may be giving you. Are you finding yourself easily irritated? Overly emotional? Going back to bad habits? Having a hard time concentrating? Experiencing unexplained headaches or body pain?
These are all signs that your mind & body are asking for an intervention.
#2: Dealing with Isolation
When finding yourself in a new environment or working within new parameters, such as lockdowns or self-isolation due to the pandemic, it is important to give yourself a clear sense of purpose. Decide how you want to use this time. Will you be working from home or have time-off? How do you want to schedule your days?
To avoid boredom, discover new activities to enjoy, forgotten hobbies, or pastimes that you had previously gotten too busy for. Learn something new. There is a plethora of free classes on design, marketing, art, languages, music, etc. Learning something new can help you level-up in your current career, bring peace to your spirit, or excitement to your life.
You get to decide what you use this time for and do not feel guilty if what you need during this time is simply to rest. We all require breaks, that is what makes us human.
#3: Take Care of Your Body
It is easy to lie awake worrying about all the things going wrong in the world and in our lives. Choose a time one hour earlier than when you would like to go to bed, say 9pm, to start winding down your day. Find activities that are truly calming and that put your mind at ease (not just a distract you). Turn down the lights, put on some calming music, turn off any screens or devices and do something relaxing before bed.
Try and get your nutrients. This one I know is tough for lots of us since many of us have had to change our budgets as work dynamics shift. Usually common grocery items may also be sold out from time to time. But our mindset has everything to do with our ability to adjust and cope. Take this as an opportunity to cook with new ingredients and learn new recipes.
#4: Take Breaks from the News
The constant barrage of breaking news, especially when it is presented in the most pessimistic light, can cause overwhelm and trigger anxiety. Humans do not have the capacity to absorb everything that is going in the world at all times. Every breaking news story does not equally deserve your attention and there is a line where informing ourselves turns into obsessing over things we cannot control.
It is important that we do our part to be loving, contributing citizens of planet earth. Educate yourself about the facts, the many ways to stay safe and help others, and then take a break from the covid, police brutality, and world disaster news. As a mental health & chronic illness advocate, I may bring up covid from time to time on my platforms, but I do so with a purpose to provide resources, skills, & activities on How to Cope, how to still have fun, how to find peace, be social, laugh, & enjoy life in this new context. I am here to kick fear to the curb and help you deal with this thing.
Check out my page at www.ariseandthrive.ca for more resources on getting motivated, organized, and back on track!
A chronic illness warrior herself, Karima Leslie has battled with debilitating chronic conditions as well as anxiety & depression that came along with them.
Now a champion for mental, spiritual, & emotional health care, Karima Leslie practices as a Spiritual Life & Business Coach providing virtual wellness sessions and business coaching to help women kill overwhelm, boost confidence, & conquer fear. She is currently accepting new clients looking to gain more energy, simplify recovery, find new joy in forgotten passions, and healing for the mind, body, & soul. She is also working on a group program for women entrepreneurs struggling with chronic illness.
Founder of Arise and Thrive Co., check out her services & resources on her:
or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in on a free session and find out your next step to making 2020 a better year!
2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least. I have seen memes about canceling this year because it has been “so bad”. Well, this year has been nothing like any of expected. We have been dealing with a global pandemic for over about half of this year and the racial injustice current is taking its toll. All of this generates emotions in us that we often refer to as negative (I like the term uncomfortable emotions better). We can feel powerless in the midst of all the emotions generated by these events. But, if we learn to bounce back, we become stronger in the long run.
You are probably saying, “bounce back from a pandemic, from racism? These big things are out of my control!” And in some ways you are right but there is so much we can do to take care of ourselves emotionally so that we can build resilience. While you are in the grasp of uncomfortable emotions, it may seem difficult to build any resilience to life’s less pleasurable experiences. It is possible, and I encourage you to keep that in mind. You can build resilience even during the toughest times!
How come some people give up and cry into a bottle, while others just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and carry on as if nothing happened? They’re called coping skills, and anyone can develop them.
Flexibility and adaptation are undoubtedly two outlooks that help people recover from bad situations. Whereas someone who may feel entrenched in their uncomfortable feelings finds it harder to remove themselves from those feelings and change direction, those who are willing to understand how to let go and change direction quickly, come out on top.
In a way, emotions are like quicksand. By seeing negative events in your life as flexible, short term situations, you can more easily move on. Let’s imagine someone who sees these negative events as a fixed point in space and time. To them, that disappointment they felt with themselves or that failure they felt, is a fixed point in their life. It’s always there. Nothing they can do will change the fact that there are failure and disappointment in their lives. Those who view situations as being temporary will be more likely to see the same situation as a speed bump in life’s rearview mirror.
So what can you do to help you adopt this outlook?
Ever poured paint or bleach into a bucket of water? The same thing happens to people who see their situations as a fixed point in life. If you only focus on what is going wrong, it starts to spread and color everything else. Try seeing new challenges as crayons that can be laid side-by-side with each other. One crayon might be missing the wrapper, the other might have been used so much that you can barely grasp it between your fingers. Some colors are more enjoyable and pleasant, compared to others. But all these crayons are useful.
To build emotional resilience, change the way you see things. But also change the way you see yourself during the crisis. If you think that you won’t make it or this is the end of you, then you will feel doomed. Your perspective is important. And then when you feel that your emotions are being highjacked, do some emotional self-care. Be kind to yourself. Nurture yourself. You can read more about emotional self-care in this article.
How would you handle these challenging events and any other hardship differently if you remembered that nothing lasts forever?
How would you feel emotionally if you focused on what you are learning through these times?
What would you conquer if examined the usefulness of every hurdle in your life?
If you want to build more resilience so you can bounce from hardships faster and always on the winning side, check out this worksheet on Resilience Traits.
By Chou Hallegra
No matter how much we deny this – we all have a desire to be loved. Often, it's a romantic love that we crave. We are caught up in our loneliness and it's normal to have a want for companionship. Although romance isn't everyone's struggle or desire – it may be a familial want, as is platonic friendships. And maybe you want and/or need both, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
For most of us, rejection and hurt leave us feeling unfulfilled and disillusioned with how we expect relationships to play out. When they don't go as we want them to, we often blame ourselves and wonder where we went wrong... that's not what it's about.
This is where learning to love yourself comes in. As much as it is nice to be loved by others, unless you learn to love who you are, you will continue to chase after the wrong thing or people. When you learn to love yourself, then you feel whole no matter who is in your life - and that comes with some incredible benefits, here are six.
1. You'll Be In Charge
Instead of making bad choices because you're being led by shame, guilt or fear – you will be empowered to make choices that truly make sense for who you are – meaning you will be living your authentic life. You will no longer be caught up with people pleasing, instead you will live a life that brings you satisfaction. Self-love means trying to honor yourself because you know your needs are just as important as others.
2. You Set Boundaries & Stick To Them
Once you get the hang of honoring your needs, you start to feel more confident; which helps you become more assertive as well. Of course, this results in a more purposeful attitude, especially when it comes to dating. You start to see who is wasting your time and you're strong enough to move forward without them. More importantly, you are strong enough to set clear boundaries with people and stick to them.
3. The Approval Seeking Will Stop
When you truly love yourself, you stop worrying about what everyone else thinks about you – which means you're a less defensive person and more confident about living a life that is authentic for you. Why would you need acceptance from everyone else when you truly accept yourself? For those of who are Christians, we find our true value from our identity in Christ. We love ourselves because we are already loved by God and what people think of us does not change how we see ourselves.
4. You Will Be A Conscious Decision Maker
Loving yourself gives you the courage to cut things from your life that don't truly bring you joy or provide you with ample space to grow. It's easy to make courageous decisions when you value yourself and actively make choices that are intended to honor you, rather than risk harming you.
5. You Will Enjoy Alone Time
A lot of people get caught up in keeping busy schedules simply because they're terrified of feeling or being alone. You surround yourself with people, throw yourself into work, and make decisions that help you avoid that loneliness. Why would you do all of the things that you don't love? You could be filling that time with things that you actually enjoy doing – whether it’s meditation, swimming, writing or watching a movie. It doesn't need to feel scary to spend time alone, you should enjoy time with yourself. Self-love brings more comfort when you're spending time in your own company.
You don't need to find happiness in relationships, whether they're romantic or not. When you start taking responsibility for it and stop giving your power away to everyone else, you will naturally feel happier. If you're not in a romantic relationship you will find that you aren't as desperate to be in one as you once were. When the right person shows up, you will be ready for that love.
Now that you know loving yourself will benefit you, check out my course that will get you started on that:
By Cherie Faus Smith
I have always considered myself a strong woman. After all, I’ve survived three abusive relationships involving intimate partners, am a melanoma cancer survivor, and clawed myself out of the trenches of depression and anxiety that left me with dirty fingernails.
Do I feel sorry for myself? NO!
Why don’t I? Because I have a strong woman in my life who has shown me what it takes to be a survivor, I call her mom.
Looking back on my childhood, I realize that my strength came from watching her persevere.
As a teenager, it was a tough transition. I left my friends and moved to a neighborhood full of strangers.
My brother and I made the best of it even though we found trouble or trouble found us (shh…that’s a secret).
There is a saying that my parents often repeated, "If things aren't going your way, punt. It's not the end of the world." That has stuck with me my entire life because life isn’t always easy – there are lots of lessons to be learned along the way.
Thanks to her, I’ve grown into a strong and confident woman. But what happens when that woman breaks?
Recently, we said goodbye to our precious dog, Sadie. It was unexpected, and she has left an enormous hole in our hearts.
When I found her, she was standing on the side of the road, eating pebbles. I wasn't supposed to be on that road that day. The path that I usually take was under construction, and there was a large orange detour sign. I was annoyed knowing I was already late, but then I saw her - this beautiful creature with black fur, cream paws, and tan markings above her eyes.
I stopped and opened the van door. She immediately hopped inside, walked to the front, and plopped herself on the passenger seat, looking at me as if to say, "Hey, let's go! Floor it, lady."
We did everything we could to find her owner, but after a month of no luck, we made her part of our family.
She instantly became my shadow and was by my side during my cancer diagnosis and recovery, depression, and anxiety bouts. Most importantly, she was there day in and day out for the last nine years to provide constant companionship. She was the best dog ever, and I miss her every day.
The day after we said goodbye, I sat on the sofa, bawling my eyes out while my body shook. I was inconsolable, and even my husband couldn’t help. I’m sure he felt extremely helpless, watching me fall apart.
I distinctly remember saying, "I'm breaking."
She was going to be my riding partner once I bought that Jeep that I’ve had my eyes on for the past year.
She was going to fill that void when our son moves into his place this fall.
I had so many plans for the two of us. Life isn't fair, and I wanted more time with her.
I’m a fighter.
I'm a survivor.
I'm a tough cookie.
But even strong women break.
I have a passion for supporting women and created a Facebook Group called Sisterhood of Fabulous and Fearless Women. Would love for you to join.
By Holly Miller
Our brains are amazingly powerful. That brain power can do some astonishing things to our bodies. It has caused me to shake uncontrollably for weeks, make me feel dizzy for days on end, overwhelm my body to the point of passing out, and pack on weight. When harnessed for good, my brain helped me to calm myself, clear my skin, and lose weight. There is this chemical in our brain called cortisol that can change your life for better or worse. If you want to read more about it, here is a quick guide: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol
If you don’t believe in what our brains can do to our bodies, take a look at the picture that accompanies this blog post. That picture is of the same woman, in the same classroom, 4 years apart. Look at the lady on the left. Blotchy red skin, round face, glassy eyes, defeated expression. She looks nothing like the lady on the right who looks bright, happy, and ready to tackle life! But both are me! After I got some medical help from my doctor, I began to re-evaluate how I let my brain speak to me. “You are worthless.” “You always fail at everything you do.” “You will never truly feel happy.” Would you let anyone say these things to your best friend? No? Then why do we say them to ourselves?! The way we speak to ourselves (self-talk) can affect our cortisol levels. Your brain has that kind of power. Look at that photo again! The woman on the left was not kind to herself in the least. The woman on the right looks like someone I would want to give me a pep-talk. We cannot allow ourselves to speak in a way that we NEVER would to someone else.
I was struggling to write a blog this month. I realized it was because I was slipping back into negative self-talk. I think so many of us don’t even realize we are doing it. We need to be more aware of how we talk to ourselves. Our brains can be re-wired for our benefit. I love this article: https://brainspeak.com/how-negative-self-talk-sabotages-your-health-happiness/ It talks about how we can literally change our brains to affect our bodies for good health. It seems so cliché to hear, “Just think positive!”, but our brains depend on it for our health, mentally AND physically.
Next time you have a negative thought about yourself, I challenge you to change it. Whenever I find a bad thought coming into my head, I picture a loved one in my mind and make myself say that thought aloud to that person. I immediately come to that person’s defense. “You can’t talk to her like that!” “She is an AMAZING person.” “BACK OFF! Why are you being so mean?!” Why do we not champion ourselves like that? YOU are the most influential person in your life. It’s time to take back that powerful brain of yours and use it for good!
While Holly Miller has eclectic passions, interests, and hobbies, she is easily summed up as a high school mathematics teacher who found a way to thrive despite her anxiety and depression. Her goal is to spread awareness about mental health, inspire those who struggle to see that they are not alone and show them that they can find light in even the darkest of places. She enjoys spending time with her husband Luke, their two dogs, two cats, and Russian tortoise. While she may not have many impressive credentials, Holly believes there is magic in the ordinary every day and that a simple life is a good life. Holly can be reached email@example.com Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
By Cherie Faus Smith
Turning 50 was such a pivotal time in my life. Not only was it the beginning of a new decade, but it was an opportunity for me to embrace the changes I was experiencing such as becoming an empty nester, menopause, weight gain, as well as the aches and pains that accompanied my aging body.
Because there are so many changes happening at once, it was time to make a choice.
I am choosing confidence and courage over fear.
Let us face it, turning 50 can be scary. It may not be as exciting as your 16th, 21st, or even 30th birthday celebrations but it can be if we allow ourselves to be brave and embrace this next chapter in our lives.
A few months before that momentous day, I made a conscious choice to change how I viewed being a 50-year-old woman. After surviving three abusive relationships and cancer, I wanted to show the world that this beautiful and brave woman was not going to allow age to define her.
It is time for other women who are getting ready to step into this new decade to wrap themselves in self-love and believe that they have something special to contribute to the world too.
I am leaning into my 50s by:
Downside of Turning Fifty
Where do I begin? The weight gain, grey hairs, mood swings, droopy breasts, and the oh so lovely hot flashes. And, let us not forget the reading glasses.
I was born with strawberry blonde hair and in my late twenties, I began dyeing (highlighting) my hair blonde. The first time I spotted a grey hair, I flipped out telling my husband that I am too young to be greying. He, of course, just told me that he could not see it because of the blonde. I know he was just trying to be nice but what the heck.
Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the non-essential businesses are closed and that includes my hair salon. I normally see my stylist every 5 weeks to cover those pesky greys. I am not sure when salons will open again but hopefully before my hair turns ALL grey instead of just the roots.
I noticed recently during a TV interview that my boobs were a bit droopy despite buying a brand-new bra. YIKES! That was on live TV, people.
And, last summer, I shared a post of me after a pap exam. You can see the post here - it's funny, I promise.
Transition and Growth
I am learning to accept my body (wrinkles, extra fat, you name it), learning to let go of things I can't change so I can find peace, learning to be grateful for every day that I open my eyes and am able to crawl out of bed. Most of all, I am learning to just live life. This is the only life I have so I should make the best of it.
If you're in your fifties and looking for support, send me an email so we can chat on how I can help you. We are in this together girlfriend.
By Holly Miller
Everywhere you look in the past weeks has been the same coverage in the media. And I struggled whether to acknowledge the same thing on everyone’s mind for this month’s blog. But I feel I have some insight when it comes to anxiety. I know it well. I’ve battled it for years. Anyone who knows me knows I am open about my anxiety, and during this uncertain time, many people checked up on me out of concern, hoping I am dealing ok. Many of these people were very surprised to have found a calm and certain person on the other end of the call. While others have been feeling extreme anxiety for perhaps the first time in their lives, I have found that others like me who have struggled with anxiety most of their lives are actually doing well! I believe this is because I have coping mechanisms in place when experiencing feelings of fear, uncertainty, and stress. There are times where I do feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But I have ways of dealing with these feelings, practiced over years and years of dealing with anxiety, that may be helpful. So if you are new to uncertainty and are struggling right now, here are some ways I have been coping.
1. Get dressed
Yes, even if you are not going anywhere. I promise you will feel better. Even if you change from pajamas to yoga pants, changing your clothes and getting ready for the day can change your whole outlook.
2. Stick to a schedule
You don’t have to have every minute planned out and you can keep it relatively loose, but have a general plan for each day. Chunk off time to eat, clean up, get work done, and also time for leisurely activities. Having a plan will help keep you going.
3. Lower your expectationsI know this sounds negative, but this is more about granting yourself (and others in your household) some grace. This is a stressful time. There is so much unease. It’s ok for things to take longer than normal. Put in a good effort every day to accomplish what you need to get done and then let the rest go for another day.
4. Set and keep boundaries
If you are working from home, have a set time you will start and stop work and hold yourself to that. Have a specific place where you do work and leave the rest of your house for your life outside of work. It is easy to blur the lines between work and leisure when you are stuck at home. Eventually, you will be “on” all of the time and will sacrifice the rest you desperately need (mentally and physically). If you are stopping work at 5 PM, shut down email, close down all work-related tasks, and physically leave your workspace for the rest of the night.
5. Do some type of physical activity / go outside
When I am feeling particularly anxious, taking a quick walk around the block can do wonders. Find a yoga video on Youtube and follow along. Put on your favorite song and dance! It doesn’t have to be long or strenuous, but getting up and moving around every day helps. Some days the weather isn’t great, but getting outside, even for a few minutes, is proven to help your mentality.
6. Keep a list of hobbies and activities that are ‘screen-less’
Most of us are using technology to stay connected and to complete work. When you aren’t working, take a break from your computer, tablet, and phone. I personally like cross-stitch, painting with diamonds (you can order these kits off of Amazon), reading, and puzzles. If you have an ongoing project to work on, you can pick that up when you are feeling restless.
7. Stay connected with loved ones
Call or better yet, video chat with friends and family outside of your house. It raises everyone’s spirits to hear and/or see a friendly face. If you don’t have a lot to talk about because you don’t have a lot going on right now, have a theme night! Make yourself a cocktail or mocktail, make up funny toasts to each other, and have a happy hour. Have everyone paint along with Bob Ross and show your masterpieces when you are done. Read trivia questions to each other. Play charades. Start a book club - agree on a book, and discuss it when everyone finishes it. With video chat, the possibilities are endless! We may be socially distancing, but that doesn’t mean we have to be socially distant.
It’s ok not to be ok right now. It’s ok to feel lost, uneasy, and even disappointed. Acknowledge these feelings and know that you are not alone. So many of us are feeling unease. What we considered normal are now things we can no longer do (for now). And that is hard. And this lifestyle may have to go on longer than we want. But realize that this will eventually end. When life returns to normal, take time to appreciate all of the little things we once took for granted.
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” - Kitty O’Meara
By Karima Leslie
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay
The Problem: Science Says We’re Kind of Suckers for Pain
Our brains are wired to seek out- and pay more attention to- unpleasant news. Termed “Negativity Bias” in Psychology, this pursuit of knowledge of negative things has helped us survive life threatening situations for generations.
But as our society evolves and the accessibility of information grows, we become bombarded by everything that’s going wrong in the world which can leave us thinking that the world is an awful place.
But I Have Good News:
In reality, the world is filled with just as much beauty & compassion as it is with ugliness & hate. It’s all a matter of what we pay attention to and what we’re fed. Reporting on positive news is rare in occurrence because bad news sells, not because there’s less of it. The world is still a wonderful place, the end is not nigh, and our planet is not past the point of saving.
Step 1: Be Realistic
If we want to be informed, then we have to open ourselves up to the good as much as we do the bad.
Having a “realistic” view of the world does not equal cynicism or skepticism but a balanced understanding that both good and bad events occur all the time. Be mindful of your thoughts this week and be honest about acknowledging if you’re biased towards negativity.
Try This Exercise to Find Out If You Have A Bias
Read the following scenarios and close your eyes as you think about your reaction. Really envision each scenario and go through possible thoughts & emotions that you would have:
How did the above scenarios make you feel? Were your thoughts & emotions mostly negative, positive, or neutral?
The happiness, love, & beauty in the world can be overshadowed by the anger, darkness, & sadness which has a bigger platform. Because of this we must be diligent in seeking out joy. Below are some great resources to get you started and remember that for every bad news, there is good. Check in again next month for the next step you can take to make 2020 your best year yet!
By Cherie Faus Smith
The months leading up to my 50th birthday were filled with emotion. One moment, I was excited and looking forward to the new decade. The next minute, I was filled with fear.
Age is just a number and it certainly shouldn’t define me.I tried desperately to see the cup half full. Time after time, doubt would creep in. I’d begin to feel extremely unsure of myself. Oh, the wondrous power of negative self-talk.
Then, I remembered a conversation with my mom many years ago. Her words of wisdom helped me see the light. She said that after turning 50, she no longer felt the need to ask for others’ approval, she felt more empowered in making decisions, and didn’t care what others thought of her.
What was I afraid of? After all, I have survived three abusive relationships. I’m a melanoma survivor. I live with an anxiety disorder.
Fifty should be a piece of cake.When the day I dreaded finally arrived, it was almost anticlimactic. To celebrate, my husband threw me a party with family and my closest friends. It was an amazing bash and to see so many people in one room having fun, sharing stories, dancing, and eating delicious food warmed my heart.
Nothing untoward happened. My spirit remained intact and all the jokes about turning fifty were kind. Looking at my loved ones around me as we celebrated, I could even see the years as awards earned rather than burdens borne.
I felt welcomed to my fifth decade.As I approached my birthday, I hoped I’d hit the milestone with grace. I certainly didn’t want to become a woman who sees an age spot or gray hair and freak out. It’s super easy to go down that dark hole and get lost in the stories we tell ourselves.
I choose to embrace the changes with my body and be grateful to be alive.
On the practical side, I’ve learned three things since turning 50:
Because I have a passion for supporting women, I created a Facebook Group called Sisterhood of Fabulous and Fearless Women. Would love for you to join.
We’re all entering a new decade with 2020. So whether you’re embracing a birthday or the new decade, will you share something you’ve learned in the comments, too? Or just suggest a place for a bra fitting. I’d love to hear from you.
Cherie Faus-Smith is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, & transformational coach focusing on women over 50. Her goal is to inspire women (like you!) to live life on their own terms. Cherie’s been a guest on Good Day PA and, most recently, was the keynote speaker at the YWCA's fashion show event to raise money for their Domestic Violence program.
She shares her experiences with surviving domestic abuse and being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder to inspire women to live life to the fullest, push their comfort zones, and thrive.
Find out more about Cherie on her website. Also, you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
What is the reason you set goals? Is it because all of your friends are or do you find that setting goals help to improve your life?
Goals can definitely help you improve your life and they can help you make your dreams come true. Let's look at some of the top reasons why goal setting is important.
Setting a goal can help you measure your progress. The minute you set a goal you become responsible for attaining it. You now have a place to start from and a completion date. This allows you to see how far you have come and how far you still have to go.
Setting goals can help with team building. When everyone involved has a common goal to work towards people come together and work hard to get the goal accomplished. By setting a team goal your entire business can become more productive.
Setting goals helps give you a sense of direction in your life and in your business. Having a clear and specific goal gives you a purpose; you have something to work towards. Who doesn't want to have something to look forward to?
Setting goals defines a purpose for you. This applies to both personal goals and those set by your employer. How many times at work have you tried to look busy? But when you have a goal to reach you are automatically busy all the time as you don't want to be the one to miss the goal.
Setting goals helps you plan out a method for reaching them. If your employer tells you that you have to finish a 20,000 word report by the end of the month, you don't want to miss your deadline. Instead you will focus on how to create a plan so that you make your deadline. If reaching your goal means involving other people to help you then you will figure out a plan to do so.
Setting goals gives you energy and determination. As soon as you set a goal your mind starts to think about them and this gives you increased energy and drive. If you know you have a goal to reach at work, you are more likely to wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle the goal each day. When you don’t have a goal, the thought of going to work each day is without purpose other than to supply you with a paycheck.
Setting goals gives you a sense of pride. Smart employers will know that when they give their employees goals they are filling them with a sense of urgency and pride. Companies that continually set goals for their employees often report that morale is much higher and that their productivity levels are high.
Goals provide you with measurements based upon your performance. This can be great for individuals to measure their progress as well as being a good way for businesses to ensure that their goals are on track. When a result is expected from you, you are going to automatically place more effort and focus on it to achieve it.
Goals can help team members bond together. When people are placed into teams each person is working towards the goal. No one wants to be responsible for not meeting the goal and this pushes people to work together and bond. Employees that do not always get along could benefit from being placed into a team goal setting event. Individual preferences will have to be put aside while everyone works towards meeting their goal.
Team goal setting can also help employers identify possible team leaders for future promotions.
Ready to set your goals? Grab your journal and get started today!
Chou Hallegra is a best-selling author, a sought-after speaker, a Certified Life Coach, and a multi-credentialed Mental Health and Ability Consultant. She is passionate about helping people rise above their circumstances and enjoy life to the fullest. Find out more at www.graceandhopeconsulting.com.
It' easy to be grateful when things are going well, but do you keep that gratitude going when things get tough? Here are 3 ways to be grateful for the hard stuff. I also have a gratitude journal to help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude no matter what you're going through. Get it at http://bit.ly/gratitudejournal2019
One really easy way to get started on a gratitude practice is to make a habit of counting your blessings both morning and night. You don’t even have to write them down, as in a gratitude journal, if that seems too overwhelming. Simply taking a few minutes when you wake up and before you go to bed is enough to begin cementing this new practice into your routine. Before long, you’ll be easily noticing that blessing abound. Here are some tips to help you begin.
Easing into any habit is usually the best approach. By making it easier on yourself, you’ll be more inclined to continue moving forward. So, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to come up with grand examples of gratitude when you’re just starting out. Just appreciating the bed where you’re starting and ending the day can be something to add to your initial list. Sometimes simply recognizing a tiny blessing can have a big impact.
Add It On
A helpful method for remembering your new gratitude habit is to add it on to your existing routine. Whatever you normally do in the morning and night, be sure to include a few minutes to think of what makes you feel fortunate. For example, if you have tea every morning, this would be a good connection to make. Sitting down for tea will soon become a reminder to contemplate on your three things.
Create Visual Reminders
If you find yourself forgetting to do it or skipping out on your new task, add some visual cues to your environment. Post-it notes are great for this. Stick one on your nightstand. Add another to your bathroom mirror. Technology comes in handy for reminders, as well. Set an alarm on your phone so that you don’t leave the house or fall asleep without taking time to consider what makes you feel thankful.
Turn It Around
You can also try the opposite. Turn complaints around into something positive. Maybe you wake up with a sore back and don’t want to get out of bed. It may seem obvious, but reminding yourself that you’re in overall good health and that you have a safe place to sleep can do wonders for your outlook. Try to find the silver lining. It really works.
A good habit can be jotting things down during the day as they happen. It only takes a few seconds to make a note of what you feel grateful for in that moment. You can reflect on it later during your quiet bedtime routine.
Hopefully, you now see how getting into the habit of recognizing the good thing in life really isn’t all that difficult. A few small changes to your routine and you’ll find it’s actually quite easy to implement this practice.
A couple days ago, my daughter and I did a Facebook Live and talked about many of the things that our family does for fun. We also discussed why it's important to be intentional about building and cultivating relationships within the family.
What does your family do for fun?
How do you cultivate relationships within your family?"
There’s a growing number of people struggling with their work-life balance. A large percentage of American workers feel their job demands that they should be available 24/7 since they can check in from anywhere using their smartphone. This constant availability takes a toll on both a person’s mental and physical health. Humans need to socialize, relax, and care for themselves to stay happy and healthy.
Here are four simple ways to improve your work-life balance:
It’s easier said than done, but avoid checking your phone for work matters after hours. This constant checking may have become a habit you wish you’d never started, and if you are honest, practically all work-related matters can wait until the next day. It’s key to unplug from work when you get home each evening and on the weekends. Let your coworkers know you won’t be returning emails, calls, or texts regarding work after hours so that they can prepare for this change.
If you can’t seem to get all of your work done within your working hours, you aren’t alone. An alarming number of Americans work more than 50 hours a week, every week. Before you go to your request a reduction in your workload, take a careful look at how you are spending your time. Track it for a few days and see what’s causing you to stay late each night and come in early each morning. You will be surprised by the ways you can change or eliminate distractions and other time-wasters.
Take A Stay-Cation
Another vital way to establish a healthy work-life balance is to make use of all of your vacation days. A large number of US workers lose essential time with their family or with themselves because they don’t take all of their vacation days, or in worst cases, don’t have any vacation days at all. If you feel uncomfortable about using all your allotted holidays in one long vacation, schedule the occasional day off here and there to enjoy “stay-cations.” Breaking it up like this will give you the mental health days you need while ensuring you don’t come back to an overwhelming mountain of work.
Train Your People
Many of us grew up hearing, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately, this gets ingrained to the point where we feel we can’t delegate any tasks lest they end up back in our laps in worse shape than before. If you have employees you manage or freelancers you outsource to, take the time to train them well. Make sure they know exactly how to do things. Of course, this will take time upfront. But, once they understand your requirements, you’ll be able to hand off more work and give yourself some slack.
Feeling out of balance?
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I had to do just that last week ...
When medical challenges overwhelmed me, my body couldn't do all the things I had set to do, I felt bummed out.
I felt bad about having to cancel prior commitments and I was tired of being stuck in bed when I would rather be playing with my kids. I was frustrated by the lack of answers from the medical staff and the uncertainty it brought...
It wasn't long until I felt miserable, not just physically but emotionally. And I had to remind myself that even when I can't control my circumstances, I can still control my emotions and controlling my emotions starts with controlling my thoughts.
I had to change the tape and I'm glad I did...
If you find yourself on the negative thoughts wagon and captivated by your inner critic, you might want to try the following strategies, they work...
Stop for a moment and listen to the soundtrack inside your head.
What messages are coming up?
Whose voice do you hear?
Notice your self-talk and the feelings that come up when you hear those old messages, buried deep in your subconscious so long ago. Those messages, those beliefs are way past their sell-by date and are no longer serving you.
Challenge them, rewrite the self-talk script and turn your Inner Critic into your friend. Once you begin to notice these limiting beliefs you can start to revise them.
Some ways to rewrite your self-talk include journaling about the limiting beliefs…
Then, write out a new script which you can use whenever that voice starts talking. You can try affirmations and visualizations as well at this point.
Take your loudest or most powerful negative self-talk first and work to change it. After that, you can challenge each of them in turn.
If you want to journal your way to self-worth, check out my free mini ebook on that subject and share it with others (suitable for teens as well). Grab it HERE.
Remember, you are worth more than rubies!
6 Key Benefits of Reinventing Yourself
We often make our way to the idea of reinvention after experiencing frustration and discontentment with our lives.
Sometimes there’s a sense of longing to do something different, to find a new way to live and to be. This kind of reinvention evolves from the human need to grow and to change. Change comes about because there has to be more to human existence than simply existing and most people sense that over time.
Sometimes in the early stages of reinvention, we think about what benefits we might receive from building a new self. Perhaps we just want to be free of a stale, confining and suffocating way of life, but that might not seem enough to us right then.
Other than liberating yourself from a life with no change and no growth, what other benefits does reinvention offer?
Of course, a huge benefit is a more authentic and fulfilling life. After all, that’s the first purpose of going through this transformation process. More importantly, you learn how to be adaptable in the face of new challenges and that is a life skill that is useful in many ways.
You learn how to cope with new problems and new situations. Once you've been through one reinvention cycle, you’ll be ready to do it again when you feel the need.
You may never decide to reinvent yourself again, but that’s a matter of choice. You’ll know how to do it . That’s a life-changing benefit all on its own!
How will you #ReinventYourself this year?
People reinvent themselves for as many different reasons as there are different people. However, reinvention is usually driven by a few prominent emotions: boredom, restlessness, dissatisfaction, even fear. Sometimes reinvention rises out of personal crises. If you’re looking for ways to bring about self-renewal, we can help you find them.
There are several kinds of reinvention, but we’re looking at proactive Reinvention. Proactive reinvention can be the toughest of the three. In proactive reinvention, we’re at a place that’s safe and comfortable at that moment.
Major life changes aren’t immediately required. We might even be able to keep on coasting just as we are, but that’s not a satisfying place for us anymore. Even though reinvention can be scary, we still have the desire to do it. Reinvention seems better than where we are.
Maybe we’re simply tired and unfulfilled in our lives, our work, relationships, etc. Sometimes all three categories cry out for change. Proactive reinvention has the advantage of not being urgent in most cases. You can be deliberate in your choices.
1. Ask Yourself “What do I need in my life now? What do I want? What’s missing?”
To answer this question, we must dig deep, and it’s not a quick process in most cases. Proactive reinvention tends to arise out of a sense of dissatisfaction about where we are in life or even who we are. We may only know that we want something different.
2. Identify Your Love and Passions
What do you value? What gets your engine running? If you could make a living at a hobby, what would it be? Getting a handle on what you enjoy and what you love to do, how you love to feel, and whom you love to be around lets you set some big, broad goals. In all cases and steps of reinvention, ask yourself questions like:
3. Explore Your Immediate Options
Immediate options generally include things like your skill set, your finances, your contacts and social links in life. These can be springboards to the new you. Think of these as assets you already must dedicate to your renewal.
4. Get a teacher, mentor or sounding board
If you’ve got a general idea of what you want to do, you can start homing in on sources of information and expertise. Those sources can be people who are knowledgeable or experience with the subject matter, profession, hobby, whatever it is that’s appealing to you. If you know you want to reinvent yourself, but haven’t got a lock on a destination yet, there’s no worry. Many people go through the renewal process without any hint of a fixed destination or end-point in mind when they start off.
That said, it’s good to have someone around who can give you ideas, feedback, and support that’s related to your journey.
5. Consider the Unknown
The unknown is scary, but it can also lead to some great discoveries. There are two big sources of it, too. There’s the unknown out there in the world external to us, and the unknown inside you. When you change your life, there’s bound to be internal changes that you didn’t plan for. If planning were all it took to reinvent one’s life, it’d be much simpler. Let the possibility of change flourish in you. If you try hard to hang on to everything that you’ve got now, that you are now, nothing will change.
6. Learn to live with fear while always going forward
Reinvention requires embracing uncertainty. It means getting comfortable with discomfort. Doing new things, trying new ways to be is scary! Allowing fear to stop us from changing is always the biggest block to proactive reinvention.
Always. Unlike reactive reinvention, when you must make big changes or face even worse situations than self-renewal, proactive reinvention seems optional when we get scared, so we have the option to retreat into safety. Safety is great. However, clinging to the safety of the familiar ensures you will never reinvent yourself.
Regeneration of the self requires living with fear, too. Consider as an example the situation of leaving one career for another, more ideal career. Common wisdom says you must have another job before leaving your current job.
That wisdom in this situation kills any chance of getting that ideal job. It’s very hard, maybe impossible, to prepare for a completely new profession while working a full-time job. A dentist who leaves her job for another job as a dentist has changed locales but has not at all reinvented herself.
Making a jump from the known into the unknown safely, with no risks, doesn’t happen. There is always some element of risk. Learning to live with risk in order to get something you dearly want is one of the biggest rewards of reinventing yourself.
Speaker, mentor and author Cherie Faus-Smith is a beacon for victims of domestic abuse. She shines a light on survivors and illuminates a path of prevention toward healthy relationships with an end goal of helping them recognize the signs of abuse. With over three decades of real-life experiences, Cherie shares that there is hope after abuse. Her open heart has a way of bringing out the best in others. Cherie’s book “The Cycle Ended: Saying Goodbye to Domestic Abuse” details the struggles in her past abusive relationships and how she found love after breaking the cycle of choosing unhealthy relationships. You can find more information about Cherie on her website https://cheriefaus-smith.com/.
Happy Mother's Day!
Hello everyone, this is Chou Gabikiny. For those of you that don't know me, I'm the founder of Grace and Hope Consulting. I'm a board-certified Christian counselor and a certified cognitive behavior therapist. Today I just wanted to wish all the moms out there happy Mother's Day!
Today is one of my favorite days because not only I get to encourage all the mothers, but it's a special day that my kids remind me that they appreciate having me as a mother. They're young so they do things maybe a little differently but even the smallest thing touches my heart.
Today I just want to encourage the mother, the one who's doing it all, and maybe you are doing it alone and it is hard, and it is stressful. It is overwhelming. I just want you to remember that what you're doing… it is an investment and there is going to be a return on this investment. It might be hard today but just wait and see. I know I talk a lot about long-term because I want you to plan for the future, brighter future, so yes in the moment it might be stressful but remember your kids need you and you are building the next generation of brave people, brave women and men, and responsible people who will contribute to society and make a big difference in the world, so stay encouraged.
Also, try to cherish this moment. Try to cherish the moment that you have right now with your children, they grow up so fast. My oldest just turned 11 like a month ago and I can still remember the day I brought her home. I remember when she was just born. Oh my goodness, I was a first-time mom and in a foreign country and I was alone and saying that I felt overwhelmed would be an understatement, right?
Again, cherish that moment, they grow up so fast, and those little things they do today might be annoying but looking back those are the things that make life a little more colorful. So enjoy your kids today, enjoy your family today and remember that what you're doing is making an impact in the long run, that you are the one taking care of and building that next generation of women, men, of people bringing change to this world. Stay encouraged. Keep at it. Stay the course. keep up the good work and know that you are valued. Yes, you are valued. What you do, no one can do what you do.
I read a while back somewhere about...I can't remember, I'll paraphrase it, I don't remember exactly how it was written but something to the extent of “God knew that you could do such a wonderful job that's why He gave you the kids that you have”.
I'm going to speak now to mothers of kids with special needs. The journey is long, it's tiresome. All the doctors’ appointments, all the therapy appointments, the sleepless nights and all the people you have to coordinate, the care that you have to coordinate day in and day out. It is hard but God knew that you are able to do it, that you are stronger than what you thought, and He will never give us more than we can handle.
Sometimes we might feel like "we cannot handle it anymore," but there's more strength in us. I can make a whole two-hour video about the strength that I discovered in myself when I started taking care of my children. I learned that I had more patience than I thought I did. I had more strength than I thought I did. I was more organized than I thought I was just because again, through those times of need came those skills. It was by necessity that I discovered who I am and what I’m good at. I had to become that person in order to provide the care that I provide to my own children right now. But through that process it made me who I am today, it made me this...I can go on and on, but I learned to advocate because I had kids who need someone to advocate for them. I learned to navigate systems of care because I had kids who needed someone to navigate the system for them, and I became a parent that was living more in the moment because I needed to live in the moment and enjoy even the smallest milestones.
I remember with one of my sons, he was maybe nine months by the time he could sit. He had a physical disability at birth and when he started sitting I made a big deal out of it. Many people didn’t understand why I made such a big deal about my son sitting up. Perhaps they didn’t realize how hard we've worked for this, how many therapy sessions we had just to get to this point right, and the frustration itself when you're trying to make everything fit in the calendar and get everybody's needs met.
Again, on this Mother's Day, please know that you are special; that what you do is very worthwhile. Nobody can do what you do and that your children see it. God sees it, and that you are irreplaceable.
Keep up the good work and enjoy your day. Maybe nobody will give you flowers, buy flowers for yourself, I do that. It's like if you can’t always wait for someone to do that for you. If your kids are young like mine, they can't do much but maybe they might do a drawing for you, and that's great; maybe what you wanted was chocolate and flowers, or it was a treatment at the spa. Whatever it is that you think you need in order to celebrate Mother's Day, do it for yourself. Don't always wait for other people to do it for you, especially when there's nobody else around to do it. When you learn to recognize that what you do is enough and that you are enough, you start treating yourself accordingly, and the way you treat yourself tells people how to treat you. So happy Mother's Day!
Alright, stay encouraged gals!
Chou is a best-selling Author, a Transformational Speaker, Certified Life Coach, Counselor and Consultant on a mission to inspire people to rise above their circumstances. She is passionate about helping others achieve emotional wellness, reach their full potential, and live fulfilling lives. You can contact Chou at email@example.com