Motherhood

My daughter has taught me more about myself than probably any single person in my life.  She has also taught me the true importance of what it means to pass on what you learn to the next generation so that the mistakes of the past do not repeat themselves.  I understand that some of those lessons we try to pass on to our children go without much consideration.  Adolescents have a tendency to want to learn things the hard way and think that they know more than we do.  I guess that it is normal and to some degree I know I thought that way as well and then we become adults and parents ourselves and realize how wrong we have been.  I believe the ultimate goal is for each generation to get better and I believe that my brother and I have accomplished that.  The hope is that our children will be even more successful than us and improve each generation there after.

I am a divorced mother of one daughter.  My daughter currently lives with me full time and is 17.   In review of my parenting over the past few years I can honestly say that I have made a few mistakes.  I should have handled some things differently…better.  Overall, I think sometimes I am too easy on her, but if you ask her, she will say I am too hard.  I am definitely easier on her than my parents were with me.  I understand that there comes a point as a mother when I will just have to hope that I have taught her everything she needs to know, and just let her go.  I will have to back off and simply let her figure things out for herself.  I hope that she maintains the work ethic, morals, values and character that I have tried to instill in her.

I am usually most frustrated with my daughter when she doesn’t follow the rules of the house, fails to do her chores, makes a bad grade because she isn’t trying, or when she is disrespectful.  My house rules and her required chores have been the same for years and she should know them very well by now.  As far as grades go, as long as she is trying her best and doing all the required homework and tests, I am satisfied.  Having good manners and being respectful is something I require because it will benefit her for the rest of her life.  I have helped and supported my daughter through many things from buying her first violin for orchestra, applying for her first job, to buying her first car.  I want to help my daughter succeed in every way possible and live life to the fullest, like all parents do.  Why do we want our kids to grow up too fast?  We already know that they want to grow up fast, but why do we encourage it?  Is growing up, being successful and independent something that should be done as soon as possible?  Why?

I ask these questions from a mother and counseling perspective.  In some countries parents allow their children to live at home for years after high school and they travel, take on many jobs, go to school for a bit and just experiment with life before committing to one person, one career and moving out on their own.  In the US we are more likely to push our children to do more and be more earlier in life.  Sometimes I wonder if my daughter is missing out on the chance to really enjoy her teen years.  She is already working and taking college classes before she even graduates high school.  I try to talk to her and explain to her the importance of balance.  Balance is something that, for me, equals sanity.

Balance is important for adolescents and adults to learn.  We can reach burn-out at any age, but I believe that the early push for our kids to be and do more as quickly as possible can cause more harm than good.  My daughter is wrapping up her junior year of high school and is already feeling the pressure of deciding what college to attend, what she will study to be and what career she wants to pursue.  That is a lot to consider at 17!  So as her mother I tell her, have a game plan, but don’t let your life depend on it.  Her interests, morals, values, and thoughts, feelings and ideas about the world around her will be developing, growing and changing constantly for the next 6-8 years.  By about 25 years old most people begin to stabilize and have an idea of who they are, where they stand and what they want to do with their life.  So I have encouraged my daughter to travel, study and work with the goal to learn about the world and about herself, but do not settle in to any particular roles right away.

Motherhood is about hoping to do better than your mom did, but realizing you still will make your own mistakes.  Motherhood is about loving someone so much and understanding that part of that love means eventually letting go.  Motherhood is about guiding and teaching, but also about being able to listen and learn.  Motherhood is realizing you can learn just as much from them as they can from you.  Motherhood is knowing what boundaries to set for them and yourself.  Motherhood is not just about telling, but setting a good example and showing them by how you live your life.  Motherhood is being able to stay consistent and discipline them when they are wrong and saying you are sorry when you are wrong.  Motherhood is understanding and letting them know, that just because they may leave your home, they will never leave your heart.

To happiness, health, balance, and mothers of all ages

With love

Stacy

 

 

 

 

Addiction

Everyone has some degree of addiction in their life.  People can be addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, legal or illegal drugs, caffeine, food, and even people.  I am sure there are a few I didn’t mention but those are probably the most common.  I would say that relationships are probably one of the biggest addictions in the population.  Most people dream of finding “the one”  but the real question is, why do you dream of having another person in your life?  Is it just because it is something feel you should do?  Is it because you are lonely?  Is it because you are an over-achiever and you want to complete the perfect life and wrap it up with a nice looking, successful spouse and 2.5 kids?

Anything that we are addicted to is used to cover up pain within ourselves.  The person, drug or food helps us escape the present moment and for a while that escape feels really good.  However, when that really good rush of a new found love or that really good meal or high from a drug fades out the pain just returns.  I am not saying that all relationships are based on addiction, but I think many of us act and react in a cycle that is much closer to addiction than love.  I have mentioned unconditional love previously in my blog and it is something that is very rare to come by.  Love is a state of being within yourself and is not dependent on someone or something else.  If you find yourself going through the cycle of being judgmental, critical and annoyed by your partner for a while and then returning to the loving state over and over throughout your relationship, that is a sign of something missing.  However, unlike what many believe, it is not something missing in your relationship or within your partner, it is something missing within yourself.

Nobody is conscious all the time, but you can be aware of the difference between your self and your thoughts.  Our thoughts are not who we are, that is our ego, constantly judging ourselves and others, and if other people are not helping benefit our ego in a moment we may lash out in fear, jealousy, anger, frustration or many other negative emotions.  Our ego instantly starts cycling through all the bad things our partner said or did to us over the years and we dwell on what we should have said or done and how it hurt us and those painful feelings build.  If we are aware that those are just thoughts and feelings recycling and not really who we are, what are relationship is based on or who are partner is, then we can focus on what is really important.  If you are truly whole in yourself and understand that there is something bigger than all of us, connecting us as one, you will begin to look at the world a little differently.

Nobody is perfect, we all have unconscious moments where the ego takes over and we want to feel sorry for ourselves and blame our partner for our misery.  Usually when we become critical or judgmental it is because words or a situation has reignited a past hurt or fear from a previous relationship.  This past hurt can come from any relationship, not just romantic.  Being called stupid by your Dad as a child every time you made a mistake can leave a mark on your ego.  So if you are in a relationship as an adult and your partner jokingly calls you stupid, (even though this isn’t very nice) it is probably taken much harder than it should be.  Your partner does not understand your past hurt and should not be held responsible for it.  The truth is we can choose how we respond to those hurtful moments and when our partner is judgmental, critical or hurtful there are three things we need to understand:  the negative words or behavior is saying more about them than it is about us,  it is probably coming from a place of insecurity and hurt within them from something in their past, and if we can just accept them for who they are and not take it personal then we can begin to understand what real unconditional love is.  We are all here working towards many of the same goals in life and many of us share some of the same hurts and disappointments.  So when your partner is going through a critical, and maybe even hateful, moment ask yourself why they may be that way.  Are they stressed at work, is there some underlying issue that can be addressed?

Instead of responding in a defensive or accusatory manner try being compassionate and show some empathy towards them.  If you are addicted to the relationship you will know because you will only feel love when they are feeding the ego within you.  Some relationships become so addictive that they are down-right abusive.  This is an individual who has let the pain and the ego completely take over and this person is most likely not in a healthy state to even be in a relationship.  I do believe there are hurt and broken people who must work on the relationship with themselves before they attempt a relationship with another person.  That is why addiction programs recommend that people get a plant, then a puppy, before they attempt a human relationship.  Addiction is very selfish, we want the other thing or person to complete us and that is not how love works, that is how addiction works.  If there is something missing in your relationship or in your life as a whole, it has nothing to do with anything or anybody else, it has to do with you.  Probably the best break-up line in the world is “it’s not you, it’s me”  because the truth is, no matter how perfect you are you will never be perfect enough for the wrong guy even on your best day.  However, with the right guy you will be loved even on your worst day.  Break-ups hurt but they are bitter-sweet because even though you thought it had more potential for bigger and better things, it never reached that potential and that is sad.  Then again, who wants to constantly spin their wheels for something bigger and better with a teammate whose heart is not in it?  So ultimately, you saved yourself from a bigger heartache not a bigger, better relationship.

So if you are dating someone and at a point where you are re-evaluating where you stand, can you be honest with yourself?  Can you ask yourself why you want the relationship in the first place?  Can you ask yourself what may be missing for you and why?  Are there some things from your past that you could address and work on so they no longer affect your present relationships?  Would these past issues be something you could share with your partner so they better understand why are you are more sensitive to certain words, actions or situations?  Can you truly accept this person for exactly who they are or are you constantly trying to change them and mold them in to the perfect guy or girl for you?  This will help you discover if the relationship is just an addiction at this point and time or if you are working towards something bigger and better.

I do believe that an addictive relationship can transform into a relationship of unconditional love.  If both people are willing to accept and understand each other.  Being able to be apart and have trust is very important.  Being able to have shared friends and your own friends without jealousy is very important.  Having things you enjoy doing together and apart creates a healthy friendship that is critical for a healthy romantic relationship. Being able to respectfully disagree and resolve conflict in a mature conversation is very important.  Allowing one another to be exactly who you are without judgement or criticism is also extremely  important.  I once had a boyfriend who was embarrassed of my loud laugh, I never in my life thought to be self-conscious of it until I saw the look on his face as he mumbled something under his breath.  A close girlfriend of mine said, I think your laugh and smile is one of the most beautiful things about you.  So was my hurt at his reaction to my laugh justified, yes I think so, but was it really because something is wrong with me?  No, of course not.  If he is annoyed or embarrassed by another persons laugh that most definitely says more about him that it does me.  Especially when those have known me longer and better find it beautiful.

Do not let another person choose how you feel about yourself.  You make the rules, you call the shots, you get to choose who you allow in your life and why.  If at any time it does not feel like love but more of an addiction, you have a choice to ask the hard questions and address it with your partner.   If you are in a relationship that can never lead to unconditional love, then you can simply be honest, take ownership and tell them…”it’s not you, it’s me”.

With happiness, healthy and some unconditional love

Stacy

Life Cycle

So in my psychology classes we review a lot of theories and how nature and nurture can affect how we become the people we are in life.  Then along the way other relationships and experiences change us and shape us a little more.  Then one day, as time goes by and we get older, we look back over our lives and realize we are not really anything like the person we started out to be.  Some may change more than others, some may become better and some may become worse people over time.  I find myself thinking about how much of the life cycle is a choice and how much is just…well…unconscious.

Do you have the same morals, values, beliefs and standards that you did when you were in your teens or early twenties?  Did you want a spouse and kids and a nice little house and yard with a dog and a picket fence?  Were these ideas put there by family and peers and cultivated from the area of the world where you were raised?  Did you really want these things and believe them or were you just conditioned to think that way?  These are questions I am asking myself and I want to hear the answers from others.  I would love to hear it from all cultures and areas of the world….if you were to be extremely honest with yourself.  Are you truly being your authentic self?

Also, I understand that some degree of influence in culture, family, religious belief….all of that and more are going to affect how each person views the world.  Were you a minority in your school?  Were you popular?  Were you teased or did you just fade out in the crowd? Did you marry young or get pregnant in high school?  Did you experience some kind of trauma?  Did your parents divorce?  Do you even know your parents?  All of these things can affect how we respond to others in our every day lives.  When you really start to think about it there are certain small moments that make a difference in every individuals life…good or bad.  Maybe you had a teacher who said something encouraging to you in the the 4th grade and that moment changed your life.  Maybe you had a summer love with a girl that broke your heart and you will never look at love quite the same.  Maybe that summer love with that girl or that moment with that teacher did not affect them the way it did you.  Maybe, they went on about their lives and never thought about you again.

Now think about your daily life now….how you interact with those around you, even strangers.  There may be one single moment that you will do something kind for another human being and it may change their life from that point on.  You may not think about that moment ever again but they will remember it forever.  So pay attention to how you live, even in the little moments….because in the life cycle you are making ripples in the ocean of life.  Those ripples can create beautiful waves or they can cause a horrible storm in the hearts and minds of others.  Be conscious of the choices you make in your actions and words throughout your day.  Be true to yourself and don’t live by the standards and expectations of others, do what makes you happy and feels right in your heart.  Be a leader in your own life, not a follower.

With Happiness, Health, Love and Truth

Stacy

 

 

Contagious Emotions

Ever been coasting along in life and all of sudden you get a call from a friend who is in crisis mode?  You jump in as the supportive friends, try to listen, advise, relate to them, counsel them and motivate them to stay positive.  After the conversation you feel drained and maybe start to question some things in your own life that you weren’t questioning before.  Why do we do that?  When a friend goes through a break-up because her man was lying and cheating do you find yourself beginning to analyze the status of your own relationship?  When a person is completely unhappy with where they live or their job do you start analyze your own career and where you are in life?

In psychology there is something called the contagion effect.  This effect has to do more with aggressive behavior.  The contagion effect states that when individuals grow up in an abusive environment or a bad neighborhood or are surrounded by delinquent peers they are more likely to be aggressive themselves. Basically, violence begets violence.  So if this is possible over-time for aggression isn’t it possible that other emotions can be contagious as well?

This is why it is so important to surround yourself around positive people and focus on the good in your life and the good in others.  When a friend is going through a bad break-up it is okay to let them vent about all the negative feelings but don’t leave it on that note.  You want to encourage your friend to focus on the present moment of healing and look forward to future, not wallow in the past.  Misery really does love company and it seems the more you talk about negative things in life the more negative you will begin to experience.  So shut the door on that nonsense as soon as possible.  Count your blessings!

When you find yourself starting to get sucked in to another persons negative talk you have to be conscious of it.  If you start thinking about all the negative aspects of your job, your relationship or any other part of your life then its easy to join them in the downward spiral because we all know that no job or relationship is perfect.  However, if you are conscious of the negative thoughts and instead choose to focus on all the positives you have your job or relationship you are much less likely to join them in the pity party.  Instead your goal should be to inspire them to do the same.  Sometimes when a person is going through a rough time they just want to feel it in that moment and not be pushed to be positive or happy but that doesn’t mean you have to join them in that moment.  There is a difference between being a supportive friend and being an enabler.  Don’t join them in the fire, show them ways to get out.  It is up to them to pull up their big girl panties and take the advice or follow your example and motivate to get out of the negativity and get back on track.

Emotions can be contagious and it is important to choose your friends wisely.  It is also important to be very self aware of how the world around you is effecting your well-being, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.  When having conversations with friends or family be sure to remain very conscious because some people can be very toxic and emotionally draining. The more you maintain a positive state of mind the less likely you are to encounter those that are negative.  What you think about most is what you will experience most.  Basically, like attracts like.  Be a person whose light and warmth attracts others with light and warmth and all of us positive super stars can shine together!

With love, happiness, health and positive thoughts,

Stacy

Recovery from a Cold or the Flu

I am in the process of recovering from Strep Throat, which is a bacterial infection effecting the upper respiratory system.  This infection went from Strep to an ear infection and now I am struggling with a cough and post-nasal drip.  This process has been going on for approximately a week now and I have 3 more days of antibiotic.  At the point I got bad enough I felt I needed to see a doctor I was miserable and desperate for relief.  It took about 3 days before the antibiotic began to work its magic and my symptoms started to subside.  I went from tears of pain to tears of joy once I was able to just drink a glass of water without pain.  Being sick during the cold, dreary winter months just adds to the seasonal depression and each day I arrive home from work I feel more exhausted.  I am on day 7 of my antibiotic and wondering what else I can do to speed up the healing process and just get my positive vibes back, along with my energy level.

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I have been on auto-pilot all week trying to just get through each day and I refuse to spend another week this way.  I need to get back on my treadmill, I need to be able to have a conversation without coughing so hard I want to throw up.  I need to clean up my house and go grocery shopping. I need to study for my Statistics test. Life does not wait for us to get better, we just get further behind!  I really and truly cannot afford to be sick any longer.  I have to work both my day and evening job today so I will be getting home around 10pm.  This makes for a long day for sure so I want to make sure I get all I can out of this weekend.  I believe it is just as important to have a plan for your time off as it is to have a schedule for your work week.  I try to include time for myself and the daily chores that I want to get done, like grocery shopping and laundry.  I feel that a productive weekend is one where you have time to both relax and still feel like you accomplished some projects that make the next work week flow easier.

Too many people think they are better off to just push through or maybe they are the opposite end of the spectrum and take a whole week off work spending day after day in bed; both can be very bad.  Everyone is different in how they deal with being sick. Most of us can agree that pushing too hard can only make matters worse and staying in bed too much can be equally damaging.  Extra rest is important when healing, especially from an upper-respiratory infection but getting up and moving around can actually be a good thing.  A little fresh air and movement in the body can get the blood flowing and circulation process working, which speeds the healing process.  Deep breathing techniques used during meditation is great for helping your body heal as well.  Knowing which vitamins and supplements work well for the healing process can also be helpful.  Vitamin C is always good for boosting the immune system and Vitamin D can boost your mood if you have been stuck sick in bed for days.  Make sure if you are prescribed an antibiotic or any other medication, that you take it as directed by your doctor and make sure you do not stop taking the antibiotic until it is gone.  Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, will help the body process the vitamins, supplements and medications more easily and speed the healing process as well.  I have found the more I increase my water intake the better I feel with fighting upper respiratory infections.  Also, make salt your friend!  Gargling with with warm salt water and using a saline solution to cleanse nasal passages is a cheap and easy way to help reduce nose and throat discomfort.  Also, throw away your toothbrush!  Any time you have been sick it is smart to replace your toothbrush so that you do not reinfect yourself.

I plan to push through tonight and sleep in tomorrow.  Hopefully by keeping hydrated and taking my vitamins & supplements I will not take a step backward with the extra hours while I am still not completely recovered.  Knowing how to balance responsibility and self-care is the key to a happy, healthy life and a quicker recovery time!  Here is to looking forward to Spring…warmer temperatures, green grass, fresh air and sunshine! That is true medicine!

Sincerely,

Yours for better health, happiness, and balance

Stacy

 

 

 

Conversations With Yourself

You ever have a moment that frustrates you but you are unsure exactly why it bothers you so much?  The more you think about the moment you just want validation for how you are feeling, so you think you are going to call a friend and analyze things.  Have you ever considered calling that friend and then stopped?  Did you ever stop and think that analyzing the situation with someone else is exactly what you don’t need to do?  That is right, don’t talk about the things that frustrate you, at least not to other people.  The best thing you can do is talk it out with yourself and…God.

Maybe you are not a believer in the big man upstairs, that is okay, whatever you call it …the universe, Buddha, Mother Nature…we all have something greater than us that we go to in times of struggle.  Whatever you call that almighty power, I promise the conversations you have in those moments will be more enlightening than any conversation you have with that friend you were about to call.  We need to trust in ourselves to resolve our own conflict through thoughtfulness, meditation and prayer.  In these moments the biggest answers to worries, struggles and frustrations can become clear.

The truth is, the more you think about and discuss things, the bigger it becomes.  So the best thing you can do is pray or meditate upon it and then let it go.  The things you really want to be giving your energy to is the positive.  Talk to your friends about the good things in your life, the things that excite you, your goals to better yourself.  Never give your time and energy to the negative by over-analyzing issues.  I truly believe, the more you talk about something, the bigger it gets, so lets not make our problems bigger.

I have also found that listening is the best thing you can do.  So have you ever just listened to yourself?  Yes, at first thought, talking to yourself sounds like the straight path to crazy but the truth is, self talk can be very therapeutic.  If anyone knows the situation and feelings involved in the situation it is going to be you…so why not discuss the issue with yourself?  Ask yourself why you really think you are upset?  Are you assuming certain things or do you have all the facts?  Be honest with yourself, are you over-reacting or is this obviously something you should confront?  Ask yourself what advice would you give to a friend who came to you with the same dilemma?  Then take your own advice, but be very honest with yourself.

Learning to work through your problems on your own is a sign of strength.  I am not saying that you should never turn to others in times of struggle.  It is good to have a support system when things are hard and you can’t self sooth.  However, learning to work through social, mental and emotional issues on your own, through different methods, creates a stronger connection within.  Stop yourself and take a moment to take in everything around you, the sounds in the room around you, the feeling of your body from head to toe, the smells, listen to your breathing….connect with yourself like this a few times throughout the day. Learning to stop, be self aware and very present will help you stop in frustrating moments and gain composure before simply reacting.

Take time to be alone and talk things through with yourself and/or God….just talk out loud and you might be surprised just how much insight you really already have on the situation.

With Happiness, Health, Love and Great Self Talk,

Stacy

 

 

Winter Blues

How do they do it? I cannot imagine living in an area that has snow more than a few weeks out of the year.  I really do despise cold weather even with its moments of beauty.  From the moment my alarm goes off the thought of cold creeps into my world.  I must jump up and turn on the heater in my bathroom because I just hate being cold while I get ready in the morning (or anytime for that matter).  Then, I make my morning coffee, put on my 4 layers of clothes, and warm up my car before heading off to the office.  I feel chilled off and on throughout my day and I dread going anywhere other than straight to work and back home.  With snow and ice on the ground it just basically sucks to do anything, even walk!  If I go grocery shopping, pushing the cart to my car is like embarking on an off-roading adventure.  Life just takes more effort, I don’t want to go to the gym or go lay in the tanning bed.  Doing any of that means going out in the cold, and getting naked to lay in a tanning bed is absolute torture!  I am one of those people who gets cold and no matter what I do, I cannot get warm until the end of the day when I sit in a hot bath or take a hot shower to finally thaw out.

I suffer from what I call the winter blues.  I take vitamin D, I try to exercise and sit near a window to be near natural sunlight, I go to the tanning salon,  I do my best to drink plenty of water, meditate, and I have houseplants and flowers in my home & office.  All of this effort still leaves me wishing the cold and snow would just hurry up and go away.  I find myself looking through Hulu and Netflix for a movie or reading a book and I just can’t get interested.  I go to sleep early and wake up early like my grandparents used to do.  All of these efforts definitely help me to some degree and I recommend trying them if you haven’t.  However, in the end, the best thing you can do is face it and get out in it.  Don’t hide out!

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Push yourself to live your life and don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the winter blues.   Get yourself together and go do what you would be doing if it wasn’t freezing outside.  I get tired of hiding out and trying to wait it out, I just bundle up and get my ass to the gym anyway.  I always feel better once I do.  I find the more active I try to be in the winter the better I feel.  Allowing yourself to go into hibernation mode is a very bad idea.  In order to keep your immune system strong and avoid getting hit by the cold and flu season during the winter months, it is best to stay active, drink plenty of water, and get out in the fresh air when possible.

Embrace the easy, one pot recipes when winter arrives!  There are so many yummy soups, stews, and chilis and that you can put in the slow cooker and have ready when you get home from a long cold day.  I also love different herbal teas at night, before bed and wonderful essential oil blends to put in a warm bath. Embrace the cute and fashionable winter weather clothes, it makes the morning a lot easier to face if you have a coat, hat, gloves and a scarf that you really love. We don’t open windows in our home, office or car when it is freezing outside, so it can get stuffy;  I try to keep candles at my home & office, or tropical scented air fresheners in my car, so when the heat is blowing full blast I can enjoy the smell of the beach!  A cool mist humidifier is also wonderful, air can get dry in your home and adding a few drops of essential oils to the humidifier can add moisture and a wonderful, healthy scent to the atmosphere. Dry skin happens too, make sure you slather your body with a good moisturizer after your shower or bath to avoid dry, itchy skin (and don’t forget chapstick or lip balm!).  Eating fruits and vegetables that have lots of vitamin C and vitamin D is important to help keep the immune system strong and your mood improved as well!

Winter weather health is different than the other seasons and for me, it is a bit more of a struggle.  I have to push myself harder to motivate each day, those really cold days, when the ground is covered with snow, I just want to crawl back into my warm bed.  I must admit, once Spring comes it definitely brings a stronger appreciate for the other seasons!  Truthfully, I love all the seasons and I am thankful that in Missouri I get to see them all to the full extent each year.  I just prefer to watch winter through my living room window and not have to venture out in it.  However, this year I have practiced embracing it by finding things to enjoy and even though it is still my least favorite season I am pushing through like a champ!

With love, happiness, health and motivation (and dreams of Summer),

Stacy

Fasting 21 days

I have decided to do a special fast for the next 21 days. In this fasting period I plan to spend more time meditating instead of eating.  There are multiple issues I plan to battle in taking on this fast.  I feel that I have become too dependent on food in my life to bring me comfort.  I feel in order to be happier and healthier I need to remind myself that food is simply to fuel my body and not a hobby.  Since I am very busy working two jobs I cannot go completely without food.  My plan is to eat very minimal with fruits, vegetables, and water.

My hope is that I will not only change my dependency on food for more than just fuel, but also become happier and healthier mentally & physically.  When the hunger or cravings become strong or I feel tempted I plan to turn to meditation and prayer.  I hope this process will also help me realize that I can be strong enough to overcome my stress, worries or fears on my own, without turning to habits like eating to self sooth instead of actually being hungry.  Just like some people may depend on smoking, drinking or medications to overcome boredom, stress, or anxiety.  Usually when we can identify a bad habit we can monitor ourselves and each time we turn to the habit ask why?  What is going on in that moment that made us reach for the snack, cigarette, drink, or Xanax?  Once you can identify the trigger then you can reroute yourself.

I realize that I often reach for food out of habit and boredom.  When I am at my desk working on my computer, studying for school, or watching TV I find myself reaching for food even if I am not really hungry.  Keeping healthy snacks is not the goal here. Eating only when I am hungry is my goal.  Letting my body feel hungry is not a bad thing. So I have decided to stop the habit by being more aware of how I am feeling when I am working, studying or watching TV and not allow myself to just zone out.  By fasting for 21 days I will be more aware of what my body really needs and when it really needs it.  Turning to prayer and meditation creates an inner peace within us.  With practice we learn that we can naturally sooth ourselves.  Being able to self sooth is like a muscle that needs to be trained in order to get stronger.  If we constantly reach for other methods that muscle begins to atrophy.  Stop turning to food, cigarettes, alcohol or medications & drugs to help you cope.  Learn to depend on yourself.  Join me in this 21 day fast and rid your life of some unhealthy habits.

In Happiness, Health, and Strength for a Better YOU

Stacy

Hurt Feelings

Ever been with someone you love and they say or do something that completely hurts your heart?  You wonder later if maybe you are being a big baby but you analyze it from every direction and basically the comment or action was just for no other reason than to be mean.  Mama has always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.  I guess we are all human and say things we don’t mean at times. Right?  At what point do the little cuts become a big wound?  How do we distinguish between being human versus being abusive?

I have encountered quite a few men in my life, (my father, bosses, friends and boyfriends) that have the habit of always pointing out the negative with ease, but rarely giving a compliment.  This is something I pay a lot of attention to because my love language is mainly words of affirmation.  I like to hear that I am appreciated, I prefer a love letter over a material gift, I need those words in order to feel fully loved.  Everyone has a love language and I believe my boyfriend has completely different love languages than I do.  My most important languages are words of affirmation and quality time, I believe his are acts of kindness and gifts.  The book of 5 Love Languages can really help you navigate how people show their love and feel loved in return and in this process also help you to not be as frustrated or get your feelings hurt.

I understand that people have bad days, I am actually probably one of the most forgiving, understanding, and positive people on the planet because I study people.  I get to know people, I watch, listen and learn constantly.  I take my time to reflect and analyze words and actions of others before I come to a decision on how to respond, if I respond at all.  I usually know when people are genuine or simply just being assholes.  If you can be really honest with yourself then it makes it easier to identify the assholes in life.  Being honest with yourself means, not making excuses for other people who talk down to you or treat you badly over and over again.  If you are dating a guy that makes you feel bad about yourself on a regular basis then he is probably just an ass and you need to move on.  Unfortunately, women (or men) with a low self esteem don’t believe they deserve better and they just make excuses and continue to be the victim, not realizing they have a choice.

I have had my feelings hurt before, as a matter of fact I had my feelings hurt twice this week and I found myself thinking about it a bit deeper.  My first reaction was upset, I didn’t cry but I got quiet.  Then I got a bit angry which made me even more quiet because I refuse to speak in anger, I have learned angry words lead to regret.  When someone hurts us our first reaction is to hurt back and that only makes matters worse.  The person who hurt my feelings came off really harsh but also a bit playful.  I didn’t say much and just changed the subject of conversation.  Two nights later it happened again, over the top reaction to something by this same person towards me.  Again I was quiet and thought intently about how I should respond.  He knew he had hit a nerve and again tried to play it off like a joke.   I tried to remind myself that he had been sick for a week with a bad cold, so I decided to react in a playful way.   I pointed out the two harsh jabs in one week and told him I didn’t like him when he was sick because he becomes a cantankerous old man.  He sat on the couch with a smile on his face knowing that it was true.  However, to be perfectly honest, a part of me was still hurt by his choice to be mean to me for no apparent reason.

The next morning I drove to work thinking about the incident because the comment didn’t bother as much as the fact that it bothered me so much…I asked myself why?  My conclusion…he rarely ever gives me compliments.  If he complimented me with the ease that it took him to say those hurtful things it probably would not have stung so bad.  It saddens me that a person so close to me can so easily make fun of me but rarely tell me all the things he loves and appreciates about me.  It all comes back to my love language.  If your love language is quality time and your significant other never spends time with you then you will feel hurt.  If your love language is gifts and they never remember special occasions then you will feel hurt,  My love language is words of affirmation and I rarely hear them so when he says something mean it hurts me deeper than it should.  So how do I get over that?

This is where things really start to get deep.  You have to be very in control of yourself and how you choose to see the world.  Basically, what other people think about you is none of your business, even those that you love.  Other people are going to have good and bad days and some who love you may be jealous of you or many other crazy feelings and emotions.  The point is, you can’t spend your life worrying about the small stuff and it is all small stuff.  I am very focused on getting myself to a certain level in life, so focused that even the man I love will not make me feel bad about myself.  If he wants to be mean then he can have his words but I will not join him in the fight.  I know who I am and where I am going and no one will take me from my path.

We have to realize that when we are going strong, feeling blessed, and really focused, some people, (even the ones we love the most) may be intimidated by our success.  We cannot allow their insecurities to change how we feel because their negativity is their problem, not ours.  Get quiet and think to yourself what you know to be true….maybe they are really just having a bad day, or maybe they are truly just being an asshole.  If you are honest with yourself then you will know the truth in your heart and the truth will set you free!  Don’t take it personal because their thoughts and actions towards you or anyone else should not reflect on you.  You are only responsible for how you respond, and your thoughts and actions.

Love, Happiness, Health, and the Truth,

Stacy

Mental Health

I believe we all have a certain degree of mental health issues.  Obviously some struggle more than others.  I would say that everyone hears voices in their head and initially you may want to argue with me, but let me explain.  Have you ever thought about a past conversation that may have frustrated or angered you?  Did you replay that conversation in your head and think about how you should have handled things differently or think of things you wish you would have said or not said?  These thoughts replaying a past event is like the brain on autopilot.  Do you ever wonder what triggered the old thoughts to even creep back in or why you still feel so emotional about the past event?  I believe this random thought process is your ego, the voice in our heads that keeps us replaying thoughts without being fully conscious.  Reliving old conversations from the past without any real purpose is a form of mental illness.  When this happens the ego is in control and never allows time for peace.

Let me give you an example, have you ever tried to lose weight?  When you decide you want to lose weight do you feel suddenly your mind is constantly thinking about food?  Do you feel a bit out of control?  Our mind is a tool meant to help complete tasks, analyze situations, and solve problems.   Our mind is not completely who we are, it is just a part of us, like our hands and feet are a part of us.  You don’t let your hands and feet go on autopilot and just take off without being aware, so why do we allow our mind?  I believe that we have lost control of our minds and in the process lost control of what it means to be at peace with ourselves.  We are a species that must medicate in order to relax whether it be with prescription pills, illegal drugs, or alcohol.  The biggest problem is not being able to shut off the constant thought process.

So what if we decided to take the control back from our ego?  What if we stopped allowing our thoughts to just constantly roll non-stop throughout the day and instead we just used our mind as needed?  Stop what you are doing right now, let your mind go silent and just intently feel your body sitting in the chair, feel yourself breathing, take a breath and smell what the air is really like, get quiet and listen intently to all the sounds around you, now look around you and really allow yourself to be aware of your surroundings and what is going on.  When you stop your mind from just being on auto-pilot and really bring yourself into the moment, THAT is the beginning of peace.  Many people talk about taking time to meditate for long periods of time but really you do not have to be in a super quiet room sitting cross legged with your hands placed in a certain position in order to find inner peace, you can do it anytime and anywhere.  Just stopping the random thought process and forcing yourself into the present moment completely, using all your senses is the best way to start the practice.

Once you start practicing the art of being in the moment a few times a day then you can progress to the next step of being aware of the ego.  When you feel your mind going to an old conversation that doesn’t really matter anymore just stop yourself. When you have those moments of riding in the car and do not really remember the last few miles, that is your mind on autopilot.  During that time your mind is probably going through a few important mental lists as well as a bunch of useless thoughts.  This is when you start really observing and being aware of what your thoughts consist of and putting a stop to the nonsense.  Having a few mental routines will help you practice being more in control of your mind instead of your mind controlling you.

I have a few that work for me, before I go to bed each night I think about the tasks that I need to complete the following day.  I plan out exactly where I need to go and what I need to do and the most efficient way to go about accomplishing everything.  I check my calendar and set any alarms or reminders. Once I run through the plan I then allow myself to relax completely by turning off my TV, and putting my phone and lap top on the charges away from my bed.

I often read a book to help my mind relax.  This is also a time to allow yourself to be very present by focusing on your breathing and starting with the toes and moving up through the legs and abdomen, chest, back, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and head being very aware of each part of the body;  maybe tightening the muscles in each area and holding for a count of three then releasing as you focus on each part of the body along with your breathing.  This is great relaxation routine and if you are having some particular health issues this a great time to focus on that part of the body as well.  If you are having digestive issues picture your stomach red and throbbing, looking inflamed and bubbling like a volcano.  Focus on the stomach and picture a light lavender color slowing melt over the stomach and dissolving the red inflammation with a cooling and calming sensation.  Picture the bubbling volcano settling into a peaceful cool lake very calm, relaxed and peaceful.  These visualizations are wonderful for focusing the mind on your body and using it as it is meant to be, as a tool to help instead of rehashing or creating more problems.

Taking control of your mind and the thoughts going through your mind can be very hard at first but as you become more aware it can be life changing.  As you get better at it you may decide to add a yoga and meditation practice to your routine.  Simply stopping to ask yourself what you are feeling can really bring you back into the present. Being aware of your body and your breathing is the best way to constantly put your mind in check and keep it from taking off without you.  The more you use your mind with a purpose and take control of your thoughts, the more efficient your life will become.  Stopping that voice in your head from reliving things from your past or worrying about your future will also be life changing.  The only difference that can truly be made is what you do right now in this moment anyway, so make it count!

Sincerely,

With love, health, happiness and awareness

Stacy