Pay It Forward

payFor Christmas (and any other time of the year), how about we all try to do, at least, one nice thing for another person?

Remember the movie, Pay it Forward (my favourite movie of all time!)?

Wouldn’t it be great if the world was a nicer place?

FCK

This piece is from Jess at Discovering Me, a member of FCK: a directory of blogs that help spread knowledge and awareness of Fibromyalgia.

This is INITIATIVE!!! 

In its simplest form it is thinking of and planning something, you can do in the form of a physical job or task and following this through to completion.

I’m not talking about grand plans that need grand rewards. There should never need to be any kind of self boost from helping someone. This isn’t something you do and then plaster all over Facebook to your friends, or blog about.

Simple examples of Initiative:

For the husband

  1. Husband sitting watching favourite T.V. show can just sit there OR he could use some initiative and fold the washing that Wife has washed/pegged/unpegged/brought in off line/left in basket hoping said Husband may tonight have found a spare can of initiative in refrigerator not another beer can.
  2. Husband has told Wife it is her night off dinner duties. Husband has no idea how to cook so you could either ask wife how to do everything – starting with what shall we have for dinner… OR you could use some initiative either plan a meal from a recipe book, online, call your Mum/sister/Mother-in-Law/best friend. But do not tell Wife she has night off and then have Wife wishing she had just bloody well done it herself as it was easier. All else failing order takeout.
  3. Wife gets told its her day to have a sleep in. Husband can tell she is tired. Husband can tell children to quietly watch tv and get their own breakfast while he stays in bed too on his computer/phone/tablet OR he could use some initiative and take the children to a special breakfast outing somewhere followed by a morning out with Daddy {while Mummy rests in peace and quiet}
  4. Husband offers suggests Wife has an early night as things are getting on top of her lately. Muchly appreciating the offer exhausted Wife goes to bed, then Husband sits and watches T.V  OR you could use some initiative and do the dishes, pick up the dirty washing, fold and put away the clean washing etc etc. There is nothing worse than going to bed for an early night to get up the next morning and find that nothing got done and you are a day behind on chores.

For the new parent 

  1. Make a few home cooked meals/baking {that are suitable for freezing} and drop them off in the first few days/weeks after the birth of their new bundle. This is the mother load initiative. Dinner time is called the witching hour in households with children for a reason. Make sure they are in containers that can stack neatly in the freezer and can be reheated {the supermarket and dollar stores have these}. Write on the containers whats in them – it saves trying to guess what tasty treats you may be getting and find tonight we are eating lammingtons!
    A really organised friend may even be able to get a few friends on the go with this to have a roster system going where hot meals are being delivered at tea time. I prefer the reheat option to gives you the control over what time you eat and if you are having a super organised day and managed to do dinner yourself you still have back ups in the freezer. If you are going to go with a roster of freezables make sure the organiser has spied out the available freezer space – usually the Dads are the go to option for this they never say no to food where the Mums may feel bad or that they aren’t doing enough as a mother blah blah. This is help/gift/initiative not judgement
  2. When dropping off presents – unless you have arranged a time or can see/hear movement – don’t go knocking and expecting to be let in. Leave the present on the doorstep with a lovely note/card and arrange a time that is suitable with the new parents to stop by again. Ahem I hear initiative.
  3. Finally getting to see the baby – when you arrive baby is asleep and Mum looks exhausted. Hello initiativeeither let you friend know you are happy she/he/they are still alive and shoo them off to bed while you leave them to rest and you will catch up soon. OR offer if there is anything you can do – hang out some washing, put a load on, fold some, some ironing, take an older child with you some they can rest, do some dishes, vacuum. Just use some bloody initiative.
  4. If by chance you actually make it in the door for a visit and everyone is alive, well and rested initiativedoes not go out the window. This is where YOU get up and make the cuppa and while you are there you also might do some washing up or stack the dishwasher. You may also realise the fridge is almost bare due to new baby and no time to shop – so make a mental note to either do a small online shop and have it delivered or go to the grocery store,  fill a box and drop it off of some essentials, easy snacks and a few treats for Mum (milk, bread, butter/marg, yoghurts, fruit, cold meats, nuts, some chocolate, snack bars etc etc).
  5. Don’t stay too long Babies get tired, Mums/Dads are exhausted. Unless you are Mother/Father/Brother/Sister/ Aunt/Uncle and you are staying at the house to HELP (not be a pain in the ass and be waited upon by your already exhausted children/siblings). Use initiative and know when its time to go – or when you need to stay longer. Ask if you should leave and know when they are being too polite to tell you to feck off already!
  6. DONT give advice unless it is asked for. Use some freaken’ initiative babies are all different and so are the parents. What works for you doesn’t work for everyone. Be there to listen and if you are asked for advice give it but always add this is what worked for me. That way they don’t feel like they left some manual behind that everyone else got or feel judged that you could do it when they so clearly are having a tough time. Tell them about a struggle you had to let them see we all fail at this and somehow it all turns out okay (ish).
In public 
  1. Old lady with shopping walking towards door struggling with bags OR you could practice some initiativeand hold open the door, offer to carry a bag and help her to her car. Even better! get the kids to help! {Teach your kids initiative now people before it’s too late}
  2. At the park little boy on trying to get on swing. Mum juggling newborn saying I will feed you once Johnny has his swing. You could think poor child, welcome to the real world, you are going to be ignored a lot more than just this now! OR you could say to the Mum is it ok if I help him up and give him a push? I remember whats it’s like to have my hands full! Use some initiative Mother will be grateful son got swing he has harped on about for past two weeks and she is able to feed baby who is no longer wailing like a fire truck.
  3. You see a mobile phone sitting outside the grocery store – clearly forgotten – no one in sight. You could think. Poor buggers probably wont be there by the time they come back OR you could hand it in at the grocery store service desk using your friend Mr. initiative.
  4. You are at your favourite family restaurant – The Golden Arches. After you have enjoyed your meal knowing the children will be eternally grateful {until the next time you have a fight which will be in approximately 1.5 minutes when you tell them you are not playing on the playground} you look around a see all the tables lined with trays and rubbish. You could get up and walk away thinking the lobby girl is going to have fun once she gets out here OR you could use some of that awesome initiative to go and put your trash in the bin and the tray on top. How hard was that? Would you expect your children to leave your table looking like that? So why is it okay just because you are out??

Initiative works best when you also have common sense and know your Husband/ Wife/Parents/Children/ Family/Friends well. If you know they are lacking support but there is no way you can help due to time and space try take the load off by sending a gift in the mail to let them know you are thinking of them. You can even do most of it online these days where you don’t even have to go to the post office.

If it is a family member rally the family {there may be a group of close friends instead} to share the load and see what you can all do between you. Everyone has different talents and abilities and between a group of people there should be a few ideas to help out.

Just don’t do nothing! ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Words are great and touching when we need some uplifting but action it by putting them in a really nice card and posting it – to say hey! I thought of you enough to pick this card especially for you, and then said lovely things too.

I think the world could be a better place if we could all learn to use a little initiative.

Me, too – Thanks Jess!

Too Stress(ed) or Not to Stress (Two)

Visualisation/Imagery Meditation

This is a technique to deeply relax people and allow them to use the power of their mind to make positive changes in their life. Visualisation is the process of actively making pictures in your mind to create the outcome you desire. Visualisation and mental imagery are like mental movies.

When using creative visualisation or imagery in relaxation, you simply imagine a scene, place or event that you remember as safe, peaceful, restful, beautiful and happy. You may spontaneously visualise this scene, which is brought about through your ability to channel when in a deep relaxed state such as meditation. You activate all your senses to hear sounds of nature such as running water or waves crashing on the shore; to smell the air, grass and flowers; to taste the food, water or wine and feel the warmth of the sun. This place becomes an inner sanctuary, to which you can retreat in times of stress. You will often spontaneously experience the most effective images for yourself, as your subconscious mind is free to communicate to you while deeply relaxed.

Other uses of creative visualisation in relaxation involve creating mental pictures of stress flowing out of your body, or stress, negative thoughts, internal chatter and everyday concerns being drawn out and placed in a box with the lid tightly secured. The ability to draw on your intuitive faculties and tap into the subconscious mind becomes easier with regular practice. Many of these examples are used by hypnotherapists, so this style of meditation is extremely powerful.

Applying Creative Visualisation

 

Visualisation is a form of mental rehearsal. A person who is visualising can actually see himself completing specific actions (like going to a disability hearing and blitzing all the questions!). Whenever we want to do anything, the areas of our brain for planning and movement are involved, followed by activation of the motor areas that carry out the action. The brain prepares the body milliseconds before it is about to begin an action. It formulates a motor program based on movements in the frontal and prefrontal cortex. Then onto the motor cortex where the movements are carried out. As you visualise, you can create the same process.

Put simplistically, the more you visualise the more you practise.

How to visualise

Make the situation as vivid as possible in your mind. Be specific when you imagine the activity and use colour and as many senses as possible – smell, touch, sound. The more real your visualisation, the greater the stimulation of your brain. The more you enhance a situation in your mind, the more powerful it becomes. Powerful imagery will help propel you to where you want to go.

Visualisation is done by closing your eyes and concentrating on the point between your eyebrows directly above the nose. This is the prefrontal cortex area and is also known as the third eye, sixth chakra or Christ consciousness. What is interesting about this point is that it has been used for thousands of years for meditation and prayer, before humans even knew what the prefrontal cortex was.

Build some active processes into your visualisations. For example, if you want to get rid of some old emotions don’t just see the emotions getting smaller and smaller in your mind but go through the actions of making them smaller or throwing them away with your hands so that you engage your body in the action.

Engage all your senses. Visualise the touching, smelling, hearing and tasting as well as the seeing. The more senses you engage the more of the mind you tap into. Create visualisations by using all of your senses. If you’re creating a picture of success, feel the success. Napoleon Hill wrote in his classic Think and Grow Rich, “feel the feeling of success.” Use all your senses as you imagine how it feels to achieve your visualisation.

Visualisation can also be used by creating a strong negative association in your mind with a behaviour you want to eliminate. If you are trying to give up junk foods, you can associate them with being nauseated, vomiting and having stomach cramps. If you can, make the picture vivid enough that it creates a real sensation and the sheer thought of eating that food is enough to turn your stomach. Similarly, you can associate some foods with positive sensations and feel good about eating those foods, even without actually eating them. Do this with healthy, nutritious foods.

Once you have harnessed the power of visualisation, you can use it for almost anything. The more you use it, the more powerfully you’ll imprint the desired outcome in your mind and the more likely you are to actually achieve what you want. This, of course, goes hand in hand with actual preparation for the activity.

Visualisation can be used to prepare for any situation where you may come under extra pressure or need a positive outcome. The first part of the visualisation is to create a positive picture of the success of an event, such as imagining your friends and family coming up to you after your hearing and saying, “Congratulations, that was excellent.” The second part is to mentally rehearse the event in your mind. See yourself walking to the front of the room with a confident smile and body language, taking centre stage, and answering any and all questions perfectly. It is best to run through your major points in your mind. It should only take a few minutes the first time and then when you have done it several times, it will become easier.

The more you rehearse, the more you’ll reinforce your ability to achieve the results you want.

Don’t Mind(fulness) Me!

249. stressing out (1)Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that helps you learn to calm your mind and body to help you cope, not only with illness and/or pain, but also with stress in your everyday life.

MBSR teaches “mindfulness,” a focus only on things happening in the present moment. For example, you may sit quietly and think only about how your body feels. You might focus only on the sounds around you or how your food tastes and smells. When you are mindful, you do just one thing and you pay close attention to that one thing (basically, the opposite of multi-tasking).

To help you focus your mind on the present:

1. STOP

Stop everything! EVERYTHING! PAUSE…BREATHE! Allow everything to be exactly as it is, Release all resistance and attachment

chronic comic 164Imagine yourself hanging on to whatever you’re holding on to, with your hands, for dear life, with a big black hole beneath you. Now, LET GO and allow yourself to fall, fall down the black hole, keep falling, until you land on a beautiful, soft platform of golden light. The Universe, God, or whatever you might believe in holds you, loves you and supports you. ALLOW IT!

2. FEEL

Breathe…feel your body.

Breathe some more.

Breathe all the way down to your feet. Feel your feet touching the floor, wiggle your toes, push your big toes into the floor. Breathe deeply, sigh or groan as you breathe out. Try this at least 10 times.

What are you actually feeling?

Feel it! Express it! if you need to cry or scream, do it – it will leave you SO much lighter.

3. RELAX

chronic comic 163Not necessarily meditation or a formal way of relaxation – I mean do something you LOVE and can fully engage with, which will switch off your mind chatter (it can still be meditation if that is what you love).

4. OPEN

Open up to new possibilities.

73. miserableAsk questions without having specific answers in mind already, and without wanting them answered immediately. Simply ask and then forget about it. Allow space after the question, to free yourself from intellectualising it, and rather to be free to receive the answers when they come.

Questions like:

    • What else is possible?
    • What would the energy of my life be like, if I was living it for the joy of it?
    • How could this situation be even better?

Studies show that MBSR can reduce stress and help people relax. MBSR helped some people cope better with symptoms and improved their quality of life. Research also shows that MBSR helped people sleep better and feel less anxious, and it helped ease depression symptoms.

When the Going Gets Tough…

There’s a lot to appreciate in everyone’s life even when things are tough…

One of the most tragic things about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses outside the window.

Dale Carnegie

Who wouldn’t rather be happy than sad, positive than depressed, calm than anxious?

But there’s no difference, in fact, between various emotions. It’s all just energy and the surest way to hold onto negative feelings is to judge them, analyse them or try to pretend they’re not happening. We can’t be cheerful all the time – that’s a plain fact of life – but we can be happy.

Even in the darkest hour, we can find the peaceful sanctuary that lies within each of us.

7520956914_db9ee248daIt’s picking yourself up and dusting yourself off and starting again that counts. I guess it all comes back to balance again – there must be enough in life to make our hearts lift and our spirits soar, whether it be a hug from a friend, a beautiful piece of music, a puppy or a child’s playfulness, the sight of the ocean, trees, flowers, a lover’s smile and so many more.

Conquer Your Fear

Subconsciously, we set tests up for ourselves, especially in areas that we know are our weakest. What we fear, we will always see. If you’re constantly worried about money, you will eventually have a financial crisis to deal with; if you’re afraid of rejection and loneliness, you’ll experience relationship breakdown, and if you’re afraid of tangible things such as a particular insect or object, you will see nothing else. So, the important thing is to conquer your fear before it cripples your life.

If you want to overcome a certain issue or problem, for a while, it will get worse as your negative ego struggles to keep it in a dark place. It’s a test of our resolve – will we cave in or hold strong? If it’s the former, we’re simply not ready so don’t lose heart and if it’s the latter, there will be rewards in the improvements in life that will become clear.

daemon_hammerWe humans seem to like to learn our lessons by being hit over the head by a mallet, instead of gently and effortlessly.

Learning is a lifetime’s occupation and yes, we repeat many lessons as we go along. But we must never get impatient or critical of ourselves, just start again and use the newfound knowledge to do better, feel better, relate better, live happier.

Look for the Gift

Prosperity comes in many forms and sometimes it’s heavily disguised. When life seems at its hardest, that’s when we have to look for the unexpected gift.

Have you seen the movie Serendipity? In it the woman says that in Greece, they don’t write obituaries when someone dies; they just ask one question, ‘Did the person have passion?’ It represents risk, or, taking things to another level, adventure.

See the Magic

What about magic? Is that another wishy-washy concept or something real and tangible? I (try to) always believe that things will come out right in the end – and they generally do. Try to see the magic in ordinary, everyday things; look at the world the way a child does or imagine seeing again after years of blindness.

all around you

Self-talk

When you behave in undesirable ways, feel ‘upset’ or have physical symptoms, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing to create this situation?
  • Are my emotions helping or hurting me?
  • What am I telling myself?
  • What are the facts?
  • Am I exaggerating or distorting?
  • Are there other explanations?
  • How likely are my worries?
  • Whose problem is this really?
  • What have I got to learn from the situation?
  • Am I failing to trust?
  • Am I giving in to negative thoughts?
  • Am I running into the future?

Remember to appreciate your daily blessings and not find a whole lot to criticise about your life, which is really quite wonderful most of the time.

Turning the Negative Positive

If you are a negative self-talker, you may not even be aware of it. Thinking the worst can be second nature after years of doing it. But it can be influencing how you live life and keeping you from being HAPPY!

tumblr_lsu3w4LS7D1qc0yn6o1_500Self-talk isn’t just mindless chatter. It has a way of creating its own reality. Telling yourself you can do something can help it happen. Telling yourself you can’t do something can make that come true – it’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tell yourself you’ll never lose weight and it can be like eating a whole bag of chips. Tell yourself it’s too hard to find another job and you’ll likely watch TV instead of updating your resume.

“Self-talk dictates how you relate to yourself and how you show up for other people,” says Beneduce. Franco Beneduce is a certified life coach and group facilitator in San Francisco. As he coaches people on successful life strategies, he sees how your self-talk (the conversations you have in your head) either supports or undermines your progress toward their goals.

Let’s say you think you have nothing interesting to say. If you keep telling yourself that, other people are going to see you that way, too. In fact, people who think negatively tend to be less outgoing and have weaker social networks than positive thinkers. Multiple studies link positive emotions with more satisfying relationships, more romance, and lower rates of divorce.

Negative self-talk can be a runaway train. Your mind goes around in circles replaying a negative event or your own shortcomings. “People who ruminate dwell on negative feelings,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California in Riverside. You may think that you’re getting in touch with your true feelings, but bad feelings have a way of getting worse the more attention you give them (sort of like a pimple that you just keep squeezing!)

The more you focus on negative events or shortcomings, the harder it is to put them behind you. Research shows that happy people put bad days behind them.

Stop_negative_self_talk___think_positiveThe problem is if negative self-talk came with an off switch, you could just flip it; but it doesn’t. It takes a plan and some work to tone it down.

 

Here are four ways to make it happen:

  • Distance yourself. You can’t banish negative self-talk forever, but you can take a step back from it. When you notice negative self-talk occurring, Beneduce says address it like you would an opinionated third party. You might say, “Thanks for sharing,” or “It’s interesting you feel that way” and move on.
  • Distract yourself. “Over-thinking involves focusing on a train of thought that goes around and around,” Lyubomirsky says. “You can stop that train of thought by focusing on something else.” Try doing a crossword puzzle, or any other activity that fully engages your mind.
  • How to Begin Handling Your Self Talk and Feel GreatCall them on it. Give your negative thoughts the third-degree and they could crumble. You might ask yourself, “Is that really true?” or “Is there another way to look at this situation?” You may also look for benefits. If you missed that job promotion, are there any lessons for the future you can take from the situation? Or could another opportunity come out of it?
  • Save them for later. Set aside a time of day for negative self-talk. If you hear yourself doubting, blaming, or comparing yourself to others at another time of day, tell yourself you will come back to the conversation later. When the appointed time arrives, your negative thoughts may have lost all their oomph.

Beneduce admits he’s not immune to negative self-talk. When he works with large groups, he knows everyone will be watching him. If he’s on, the day will go well, but if he’s off, he flops. So going in, he tells himself, “I am confident. I have the skills I need. I am going to trust myself.”

Sometimes he’ll write three words on a piece of paper to reinforce it. Throughout the day, he glances at them: “Fun. Smart. Effective.” And that is what he projects.

You can do it, too!

can

ENOUGH! (Just for Now…)

This week, I have been filling out forms for the insurance company, calling doctors to get full medical records, and making too many phone-calls. I redecorated my study so my nephew, Z, would have more space – he didn’t like it so I had to move everything back…and I dropped a book-case through the wall! picture wallI had a gorgeous picture wall but, for some reason, after 6 months, all the frames have been falling off. (Command want proof of purchase to replace all the broken frames – who keeps their receipts THAT long, especially if they’re not a tax deduction!) The two giant canvasses above my bed also fell down – at least, they couldn’t break. My Mommy has been bed-ridden for 5 weeks with a bulging disc sitting on a nerve. I forgot what day it was yesterday and missed my hydrotherapy class. And I can’t get rid of this blasted headache!

So, for now, I don’t give a rat’s arse (an Australian colloquialism) about trying new treatments, seeing new doctors, hearing anybody’s suggestions for what I should (or should not) do or reading new research…sometimes, enough is enough! lay-like-broccoliI just want to veg out…Be still like vegetables. Lay like broccoli. (Ok, I watched Pretty Woman tonight).

Just not do anything!

veg-out

 

Change Your Mind

thinkingMind power is a phrase we hear constantly and most of us acknowledge its importance but we really have no idea of the infinite capacity of our minds. We only use 10% (and my 10% is full!) and the rest is hidden, even from us. The remaining 90% is subconscious which means we only have the rest to ‘think’ with.

That 10% can be used for conscious mind power, the kind we can make use of on a daily basis to make our lives more dynamic and rewarding.

To harness mind power, we need conscious awareness and choice.

Meditation

This doesn’t have to be formal. Anything which stills the mind and helps us connect to our inner selves counts as meditation. The more we relate to our higher wisdom, the better we can de-clutter the rubbish from our minds and the desires of our hearts. I watched Elementary last night, where Holmes is forced to go to Rehab meetings…even he said that we have a finite amount of space in our brain, so we shouldn’t fill it with rubbish!

67. meditationYou can meditate to music, a beautiful scene, a colour, a guide. All you need is to relax and feel the silence within. Insights will come and, hopefully, a sense of calm and peace. You can use this time to visualise a person, situation or object you desire. Visualisation is very powerful and is a wonderful way to harness mind power. By seeing yourself in a future scenario but feeling it as achieved, you bring the desired closer. Although using mind power is about focus and concentration, so is meditation and the latter is an effective way to practise these skills. Both need discipline.

The more in tune you are with your higher self, the better you will manage your life in every area. Tuning into your intuition is vital for mental health and a happy life because your brain is full of faulty information and your emotions will lead you astray but your inner wisdom is always pure and right. If you sit quietly and ask, you will get answers. The mind is not your brain. The mind has many aspects and by trusting the instinctive messages you receive when meditating, you will feel the power you have at your disposal. The more you learn and practise, the more you will trust it and see proof of its positive impact on your life. The clearer your mind, the better will be your choices, feelings, decisions. The mind regulates your emotions as well. A lot of people don’t know that. That’s why they say they can’t help how they feel. Actually, we can decide how we want to feel and how we want to react to that feeling. Surely knowing why we do things is crucial – our conscious choice – rather than lurching from one self-defeating act to another.

Affirmations

Positive statements to affirm the life we want are a very powerful tool because they literally change our minds. Decide which area of your life is not working for you then write yourself an affirmation that you can use as a mantra. Say it faithfully without judgement or expectation and results will begin to show in your tangible reality. A lot of people give up after saying an affirmation for a week or two because nothing appears to be changing but that’s where faith comes in.

Before we can understand how to use affirmations to effect positive change in our lives, we need to grasp the role of conditioning and the mind’s power. Right from when we first come into the world and start to operate as part of a family, initially and then in the wider society, we absorb words, attitudes, ideas, thoughts, feelings and energies from all around us. Sad to say, many of these will be negative as we live in a fear-based society. Many of our well-worn adages are created from a fear of lack and loss, such as “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “Waste not, want not.” I’m not saying these proverbs aren’t true, but they engender negative ideas which form our sense of reality. This early conditioning stays with us all through our lives and just think about how many social ills can be traced back to these beliefs – racism, sexism, ageism, bigotry of all kinds, discrimination, limitation thinking, all kinds of fear, addictions, self-hatred, hatred, violence, crime and, of course, war. Now try to imagine a world in which positive affirmations form the basis for our belief systems and think how different things would be. If you’re already thinking this is “too good to be true”, there’s another negative belief! What about “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”? Life was meant to be to be easy – if we would only let it be.

Okay, we can’t cure the world’s problems, but we can do something about our own individual lives and, hopefully, influence others positively in the process. What I’m suggesting is that if we can learn negative thoughts in childhood, through the attitudes of our parents, teachers, friends and everyone around us, we can just as easily learn positive ideas, or, in the case of adults, we have to unlearn first. We can achieve both processes at once by using positive affirmations to wipe out the old negative ideas, replacing them with new fresh ones of our own choosing.

For an affirmation to be effective, you need the following conditions:

  • use the first person singular, “I”, when saying them
  • only use the present tense
  • they must be said with conviction and repeated often
  • they must be specific
  • write your own if possible and keep to one area at a time
  • phrase them simply

Here’s an example of how you might put these rules into effect. Let’s say you want more money in your life; it’s no good saying the words, “more money would be good” as that just constitutes a wish. For it to be an affirmation and for it to work, you need to use “I”, then put it definitely in the present and say how much you want but phrasing it as if you already have it. So it would be, “I have $50 more a week in my pay packet”, or “I have $2000 in my savings account.” It’s no use just saying, for instance, “I have more money” as you might then trip over a five cent coin which would fulfil your affirmation! You might have to repeat your affirmation like a mantra for months or even years, depending on how much pre-conditioning you have to break down first (I have been using ‘I am skinny and beautiful’ off and on for years – I’m still hoping my mind catches on to this!). Others might change your life overnight. This also tells you a lot about which ones are your most entrenched beliefs.

You need to suspend your cynicism, impatience and attachment to outcomes if you are to work successfully with affirmations. You might feel silly at first, saying, “I am a wealthy person” when you know quite definitely you are not! But by saying this statement over and over, you are changing your thoughts in this area of your life and the reality of your life will also begin to change.

old-lady-wheel-chair-ballerinaPick the issue you want to work on most urgently then write an affirmation of your own that suits the need. Keep saying it constantly – in the shower, in the car, as you’re cooking, all the time. Out loud is best but when not possible, run it in your mind. Affirmations don’t have to be in the form of words. You can affirm in mind pictures which is more like creative visualisation and that works very well for some people. You can also live your life as one extended affirmation, by actions and thoughts in general which enhance your blossoming beliefs.

Affirmations require faith and self-love but most of all, deservability. Without these components, you cannot change your life for the better. You can also say group affirmations such as “My family is well and happy.”

Here are some areas of life that can improve with the help of affirmations:

  • Health: “I have a body that works perfectly.”
  • Job: “My job is enjoyable and pays me well.”
  • Money: “I have all the money I need every day.”
  • Relationships: “All my relationships are positive and joyful.”
  • Future: “My future is bright and safe.”
  • Life: “My life is continual bliss.”

These are generic ones that you can use to make a start but if you have a specific issue such as a particular relationship that needs healing, write an affirmation for it such as, “My daughter and I get along beautifully together” or “My boss values my work.” The more you affirm that your life is good, the more it will be. It’s about taking responsibility for your own life and making choices about the way you want that life to be.

Manifesting

One of the clearest ways to see the effects of positive mind power is in the area of manifesting. We hear a lot these days about “the laws of attraction” and how they can be used to manifest our conscious and subconscious desires. It works best for me when I think of something I want then forget about it. It just turns up in its own time. When we try to control the “how” and the “when”, it doesn’t seem to work, perhaps because we’re not letting go and letting the Universe do its job. Positivity involves trust in Self and the goodness of life. Synchronicity cannot be controlled. It’s magic and to connect to it, just set your mind to getting what you want then let go.

Using visualisation and affirmations, you can, of course, manifest more deliberately but still it’s no use holding your breath waiting for the Universe to deliver. Attachment to outcomes can actually delay the very thing we want, not to mention that we don’t always want what’s good for us! Stay positive no matter how long you need to wait and it will come.

Positive Thinking

think

Using the power of your mind, you can turn negative into positive, whether it’s in the form of worrying, bad habits, addictions, toxic behaviour or unhealthy relationships. All these can be turned around by sheer will and determination.

There’s a lot of myth surrounding this philosophy. It’s not about burying your head in the sand and saying everything is wonderful. It’s about finding the gift within the unpleasant, the tragic, the disappointing and so on. There’s always a gift – always – sometimes very obvious, sometimes hidden. Seek and you shall find!

You can also manifest your wishes, be healthier and happier, feel empowered and make positive choices in your life. This only requires the confidence that comes with exercising your immense power both in your mind and in your soul. Something is only good or bad because you think it’s so. When confronted with hurt, betrayal, loss, illness or anything else you don’t like, decide it’s okay and it will be.

I think I can! I think I can!

I think I can! I think I can!

You have huge power that is accessible every day of your life, in good times and challenging times. There are many ways to harness this power and make it work for you. The benefits are huge. No matter what your nature is, you can achieve a positive mental attitude by deciding that’s what you want then practising every day to reach that goal.

As Donald Trump says, “If you have to think, think big.”

 

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Riding the Wave – Part 2

…and continuing from yesterday’s post…

5. Create a new self.

If we hang on tightly to the “old self” we were, finding the value of our “new self” becomes increasingly difficult. (You may even exaggerate how fit that person was: “I didn’t need any sleep, I never felt bad, I could do anything!”).

This does not mean we should totally discard our previous conception of self; rather, we need to find a way to integrate the two. In other words, you should seek to find in your new body new ways to enjoy and experience the things that you had done before. Consider all the aspects of yourself that you like, and the things that you most want to do; then step by step, find ways to achieve as many of these as you can. At the same time, recognize that your expectations must shift so that you can once again meet them.

6. Don’t forget the good stuff.

While the physical symptoms of FM can feel all-encompassing, there should be other parts of your life – your social relationships, passions, family – that also exist. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you become more aware of how many there are: the friends that stuck by you, the things you still enjoy, and the accomplishments you have been able to make, however small, under very different conditions. Because each task now represents a challenge, we should celebrate whatever we manage to accomplish. As we have been told many times, if we shorten the list and pace ourselves, whatever we do eventually adds up to something to be very proud of.

fran.yetta7. “Oy, it could be worse.” (The Jewish mantra).

As comparisons shape our view, it is helpful to find comparisons that will provide a fuller appreciation for what has befallen us. OK, the ‘eat because children are starving in (fill in the developing country)’ did not work for you as a child. But try to think of it this way: Many bad things happen in the world. The odds are that some of them will happen to you. Not because of anything that you have done, but because, as the saying goes, shit happens. It takes only a short view of the evening news to remind ourselves of the horrors occurring every day. So, this is what has happened to you – you, too, were caught. Let us examine what we have:

  • We know our condition is not terminal, so we need not begin contemplating our pending mortality.
  • As bad as we sometimes feel, our underlying condition is not going to get worse. We have already experienced the worst, and, to our credit, have gotten through it.
  • Although only a few people achieve permanent remission, many improve significantly. As we understand how our actions and emotions influence our general well-being, we can find ways to partake in more and more activities.

8. Keep the hope alive!

I canThere is so much room for hope. It has only been since the 1990s that our condition has acquired any legitimacy from the medical community (okay, mostly!). We are in a far better position than the generations before us who suffered without ever receiving validation. We know much more about the important roles of exercise, medication, stretching, pacing and meditation to bring relief and a sense of control. Furthermore, as medical research increases, it is only a matter of time before better therapies (and perhaps even a cure!) are introduced.

9. Lean on me!

A single most important predictor of how we do is the support network we create. We certainly appreciate what it means when someone helps us when we feel especially lousy. Make sure that, within your abilities, you continue to be a good friend to those you care about. We still have lots to give. During a good moment, write to a friend that you are thinking about her. Help your family and friends find ways to maintain their relationship with you. Invite them to your place to eliminate travelling (and do not worry what your place looks like! They came to see you, not your house-cleaning abilities).

Try to be open with family members, while at the same time supportive of their needs. Put yourself in their shoes as often as possible – it can be scary to have someone you love be sick! Also make sure to seek help outside of your immediate circle so as not to drain your closest friends and family. There are now all sorts of support groups, both live and in virtual computer space (hey! Right here!)

10. Indulge whenever you can.

old-lady-wheel-chair-ballerinaWe have lots of time to focus on our thoughts. Most people do not have the luxury of taking time to relax and think. OK, we did not ask for these ‘time-outs.’ They are demanded by the needs of our bodies. Nevertheless, we have control over how we use this extra time.

Instead of dwelling on what our bodies are not doing, give your fantasy life full freedom. Turn these rest periods around to be indulgent time. In our mental playground, we can practice dance steps we used to know (for there WILL be some times we can dance!). We can use the time to think through problems we face and how we want to spend time when we are feeling ready, or we can analyse a movie we recently saw, say prayers, or mentally write a letter to a friend.

Meanwhile improvements in spirit have an added impact on our entire well-being. Laughter is good medicine; while dwelling on our troubles tends to compound them.

A No-Win Situation

blackdogMany of us suffer from depression, as well as FM. But did you suffer from this horrible black dog before you developed FM, or after?

You’ve heard people complain that they’re depressed after a breakup, a layoff, or an overall terrible week. But are these people really experiencing depression? Are you really depressed?

When a stressful situation is particularly hard to cope with, we react with symptoms of sadness, fear, or even hopelessness — a type of reaction that’s often referred to as situational depression. Unlike major depression, when you are overwhelmed by depression symptoms for a long time, situational depression usually goes away once you have adapted to your new situation.

The problem for a lot of us is that FM is not going away – we can only manage it, so we need to adapt to our new situations as soon as we can.

depression_200_133In fact, situational depression is usually considered an adjustment disorder rather than true depression. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored: If situational depression goes untreated, it could develop into major depression.

“Situational depression means that the symptoms are set off by some set of circumstances or event. It could lead to major depression or simply be a period of grief,” explains Kathleen Franco, MD, professor of medicine and psychiatry at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in Ohio. However, she adds that situational depression may need treatment “if emotional and behavioural symptoms reduce normal functioning in social or occupational arenas.”

Who Gets Situational Depression and Why?

Situational depression is common and can happen to anyone — about 10 per cent of adults and up to 30 per cent of adolescents experience this condition at some point. Men and women are affected equally.

The most common cause of situational depression is stress. Some typical events that lead to it include:

  • Loss of a relationship
  • Loss of a job
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Serious illness (hello? anyone recognising themselves here?)
  • Experiencing a traumatic event such as a disaster, crime, or accident

What Are the Symptoms of Situational Depression?

The most common symptoms of situational depression are depressed mood, tearfulness, and feelings of hopelessness. Some other symptoms include:

  • Treatments-For-Depression-90Feeling nervous
  • Having body symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, or heart palpitations
  • Missing work, school, or social activities
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Feeling tired
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs

How Is Situational Depression Diagnosed and Treated?

A diagnosis of situational depression, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood, is made when symptoms of depression occur within three months of a stress-causing event; are more severe than expected; or interfere with normal functioning. Your doctor may do tests to rule out other physical illnesses, and you may need a psychological evaluation to make sure you are not suffering from a more serious condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder or a more serious type of depression.

The best treatment for situational depression is counselling with a mental health professional. The goal of treatment is to help you cope with your stress and get back to normal. Support groups are often helpful. In some cases, you may need medication to help control anxiety or for trouble sleeping.

Situational depression and other types of depression are a common problem today, notes James C. Overholser, PhD, professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Many people are struggling with social isolation, financial limitations, or chronic health problems,” says Dr Overholser. “A psychologist is much more likely to view depression as a reaction to negative life events. Many people can overcome their depression by making changes in their attitudes, their daily behaviours, and their interpersonal functioning.”

If you have (or think you have) situational depression, you should know that most people get completely better within about six months after the stressful event. However, it is important to get help, because situational depression can lead to a more severe type of depression or substance abuse if untreated. For many people with situational depression, the coping skills they learn in treatment can become valuable tools to help them face the future.