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STOP Putting Yourself Down

By: Fay Agathangelou

Putting yourself down can be damaging to your self-esteem and self-confidence. That includes the words you say out loud in addition to your internal negative self-talk. Negative thoughts and words can be very believable and they distort your perception about yourself. They impact on your sense of self-worth. When you talk negatively about yourself to others, the words have a greater effect. You’re also making it easier for others to put you down. The good news is that you can stop putting yourself down and build your self-esteem.

Why You Might Put Yourself Down

You may feel insecure, believe you’re not worthy or it might be a habit to put yourself down. You could be used to saying “I can’t,” “I don’t have talent,” “I’m ugly,” “I’m stupid” or “I’m useless.” You might have been put down by others in the past and continue to put yourself down. Alternatively you may believe it’s better to put yourself down before anyone else does.

Putting anyone down, including yourself, is emotional bullying. Most of us consider bullying from others as a bad thing, so why bully yourself? It seems like we have a double standard and treat others better than we treat ourselves. It’s not okay to put anyone down and that includes yourself.

How to Stop Putting Yourself Down

You can’t control what others say about you but you can control what you say about yourself.

To build your self-esteem, it’s important to talk about yourself in a healthy manner. Believe you are worthy and quit the self-bullying. Treat yourself as you would a good friend and respect yourself. Replace negative words with positive words. For example you could say “I’m capable” or “I’m learning” instead of “I’m useless” or “I’m stupid.” Words can make a big difference.

Two words that I recommend avoiding are “can’t” and should.” They are dis-empowering and it’s better to use alternatives when you can. For example, “can” is a good alternative to “can’t” and “could” is an alternative for “should.” Using positive affirmations might also help.

It’s important to pay attention to your negative talk -- catch your negative thoughts or words early. Awareness is very important and it empowers you to make changes. Stop your negative thoughts or words and correct them as much as you can. This may be a challenge to start with and it’s important to be kind to yourself. It’s okay if you don’t get it right straight away. Change will take effort and habits won’t change overnight. Keep on practicing and you’ll see improvements. Change your talk and you will build your self-esteem.

 

 

 

S E L F  * C O M P A S S I O N

Most of us would be well-served to tone down our inner critic—the voice on the inside that says, “That’s not good enough. You should do better.” What most of us want is more self-compassion.

Self-compassion acknowledges flaws and limitations. But it is realistic. It sees the heart, intention, and effort as well.

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same care, concern, and kindness that you would show loved ones. It is befriending yourself. Self-compassion frees you to be what you are—an imperfect human being.

Self-compassion is not a cover for failure. Self-compassionate people:

* are aware of their shortcomings;

* are open to constructive feedback;

* are better able to admit their mistakes and apologize;

* are motivated to change and improve;

* and are less apt to be critical of the failures of others.

Talk to your inner critic about going easier on you. Convince your inner critic that rather than making things better, our critics voice of condemnation is making matters worse.

Jim Jackson, Daily Awakenings, 9/28/20

 

 

11 Simple Ways to Make Yourself Happy Every Day 

By: Minda Zetlin

Want to be happier? Begin by being good to yourself. That may sound self-evident, but too many people skip this step and try to make themselves happy by chasing ever-higher goals, or holding themselves to ever-greater standards of perfection.

Ironically, being good to yourself instead will bring you closer to achieving those lofty ambitions, says Daylle Deanna Schwartz, speaker, columnist, and author of 15 books, including "The Effortless Entrepreneur." "The more you value yourself, especially at work, the more you build confidence," she says.

In fact, the happiest people go out of their way to treat themselves right and they do something nice for themselves each day. They set appropriate boundaries and take care of themselves by saying no to things when they need to. "When you love yourself, you understand that saying no to something you don't want to do is an act of kindness, and you don't walk around with negative feelings toward the person who asked you to do something you didn't want to do," Schwartz says.

Not only is being kind to yourself good for your career, it's good for your relationships too, she adds. "The more you build self-love, the more you have to give to others."

Here are 11 acts of kindness happy people perform for themselves--and so should you:

1. Commit to doing one nice thing for yourself every day.

Schwartz invites visitors to her site to sign a 31-day pledge to "do my best to do something loving for myself, however big or small." Whether you feel like signing or not, making the commitment means you'll remind yourself on a daily basis to treat yourself with loving kindness.

Keeping that commitment will bring real benefits, she says. "It motivates you to take better care of yourself, go after your dreams, and not let people treat you poorly."

2. Listen to yourself.

That is, listen to how you talk to yourself, and the internal tone of voice you use. (Mine tends to resemble my mother's in a lecturing mode.) "We often criticize ourselves in our own heads and that brings down our confidence," Schwartz says. "When you love yourself, you know you're good enough that you have to stop talking to yourself in negative terms."

3. Forgive yourself.

"Forgiveness is a big part of it," Schwartz says. "It's hard, because most of us have been getting angry at ourselves for all the things we do wrong all our lives. People get into trouble because they try so hard to be perfect and then they beat themselves up when they're not. Loving yourself means accepting that you're stuck inside your own imperfect skin."

Schwartz recommends this exercise to start forgiving yourself: "Look in the mirror and say, 'I love you and I forgive you.'"

4. Accept yourself as you are right now.

For starters, that means accepting the body that you have today. "Body image is a big stumbling block, and so is age," she says. "When you love yourself, you try to be the best person you can be in the body that you have, and that's as much as you can do."

Self-acceptance also means accepting your income and success level as they are, she says. "It's OK not to be making a certain amount by the time you get to a certain age," she says. "Entrepreneurs get a lot of criticism when people say, 'Why are you wasting your time doing that?' or 'You're not successful enough!'"

Instead, she recommends asking yourself a simple question: "Am I happy with what I'm doing?" She herself sold a successful summer recreation business when she found it was becoming too stressful. "I wound up with less income but I was happier."

5. Eliminate toxic people in your life and workplace.

This may be easier said than done, but avoid tying yourself to clients, business partners, investors, or employees who make you unhappy. It's obviously harder to take the same approach with family members, but Schwartz says there's no reason to put up with people saying or doing things that are unkind. "If people say mean things to me, I let them know if they talk to me like that I'm going to walk away or hang up the phone," she says.

6. Prioritize your health.

"I take supplements and vitamins, I exercise, and I recently cut out sugar for seven weeks as an act of self-love," Schwartz says. But be careful--don't let caring for your health turn into a reason to beat yourself up if you slip. "Yesterday, I had Twinkies," she says. "I've been wanting them ever since they temporarily stopped selling them. So I bought some and I ate them. I don't beat myself up when I have a treat."

7. Stop skipping meals.

"People say, 'I've been so busy I had no time to eat today,'" Schwartz says. "That's a very unloving thing to do. Grab something, even if it's just a salad."

Neuroscience tells us that letting your blood sugar sink sends stress signals to your brain. So if you truly can't stop and grab a meal, make sure you have healthy snacks at your desk.

8. Breathe!

Don't forget that when you're feeling stressed, overworked, or upset, simple breathing exercises can up your happiness quotient dramatically, Schwartz says. "If you do some deep breathing during the day, you can calm yourself down and not let stress get to you or make you sick."

9. Give yourself a welcoming space.

For years, Schwartz never made her bed, simply throwing the covers over it. Now she makes it every day for a simple reason: "Walking into my bedroom when my bed is made makes me smile."

Take the same approach with your workspace, she advises. Make it as orderly as you can. Neatening up your workspace and getting rid of stuff you don't need will make you feel calmer and more in control, she says. But don't limit yourself to just decluttering. "Make sure you have your environment and office space the way you like it and that it's a pleasant place for you to work," she says. "Have fresh flowers on your desk. Take it seriously."

10. Get some sunlight.

"A lot of people work in dark spaces. That's very unhealthy and unloving," Schwartz says. Try to work in a place where you have access to natural light, she advises. If that's not possible, invest in full-spectrum light bulbs. Either way, make sure to get outside for a walk as often as you can.

11. Buy premium products for yourself.

Does this sound like you? If you're bringing a bag of coffee to someone else, you pick out a luxury brand in a nice package, but if you're buying it for yourself, you pick the store brand or another inexpensive option. That's fine if you're one of these people to whom all coffees taste alike. But if you prefer the more expensive brand, you should go for it, Schwartz says.

"Very often we spend money on others but we're cheap with ourselves," she says. "The better brand is only a few dollars extra, and every time you use it you're reinforcing to yourself that you're worth more."

 

 

5 Ways to Make and Keep Friends

By: Madeline Bailey

  1. Don’t assume other people aren’t looking for friends. They may have just moved to a new area, have recently retired or may be newly single.
  2. Friendships are often borne from shared interests, so join a local group such as a chess or golf club.
  3. Reach out to someone you see often who seems friendly. Suggest something casual first, like going for a coffee.
  4. Share but don’t over-share. To build trust and understanding, a certain amount of mutual personal disclosure is necessary. But go slowly – too much too fast can make you seem needy, or you may divulge something you later regret.
  5. Use social media. It’s a great way to track down old friends you’ve lost touch with. You never know, they may now live nearer to you than you thought. Even if distance is a factor, email and video chats make it easier to stay in touch than ever before.

 

Loss of Self-Esteem

Girls' self-image worsens on way to adolescence, survey finds

By Suzanne Daley

 

Girls emerge from adolscence with a poor self-image, relatively low expectations from life and much less confidence in themselves and their abilities than boys, according to the study to be made public today.

Confirming earlier, smaller studies, the new survey of 3,000 children found that at age 9 a majority of girls were confident, assertive and felt positive about themselves. But by the time they reached high school, fewer than one-third felt that way.

The survey, commissioned by the American Association of University Women, found that boys, too, lost some sense of self-worth, but they ended up far ahead of the girls.

For example, when elementary school boys were asked how often they felt "happy the way I am," 67 % answered "always." By high school, 46% still felt that way. With girls, the figures dropped from 60% to 29%.

"It's really quite staggering to see that this is still going on," said Myra Sadker, a professor at American University. "No one has taken such a large-scale look at self-esteem before, but we have known of this issue for years. And here you see that it is not going away."

Among girls, race is apparently a factor in the rentention for self-esteem, the survey found. Far more black girls surveyed were still self confident in high school compared with white and hispanic girls. White girls lost their self assurance earlier than hispanic girls.

The subject of girls' self-esteem has emerged relatively recently as a field of study, generating considerable controversy. Some academics say the psychological development process of women differs profoundly from that of men. Others disagree. Carol Gilligan, a professor of education at Harvard and a pioneer in studying the development of girls, said the survey's findings would force a series of more complex questions about happens to girls' self-esteem during adolescence.

"This survey makes it impossible to say that what happens to girls is simply a matter of hormones," Gilligan said, "If that was it, then the loss of self esteem would happen to all girls and at roughly the same time.

This work raises all kinds of issues about cultural contributions," she said, "and all it raises questions about the role of the schools, both in the drop of self-esteems, and in the potential for intervention."

The study surveyed 2,400 girls and 600 boys at 36 public schools across the country. The children, in grades 4-10, answered written questions in class. The margin of error was 3% points for the girls and 5% points for the boys.

 

 

10 Benefits of Walking

By: Jane Chertoff

1. Burn calories

Walking can help you burn calories. Burning calories can help you maintain or lose weight. Your actual calorie burn will depend on several factors, including:

walking speed

distance covered

terrain (you’ll burn more calories walking uphill than you’ll burn on a flat surface)

your weight

2. Strengthen the heart

Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19 percentTrusted Source. And your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk per day.

3. Can help lower your blood sugar

Taking a short walk after eating may help lower your blood sugar.

A small study found that taking a 15-minute walk three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner) improved blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day.

More research is needed to confirm these findings, though.

Consider making a post-meal walk a regular part of your routine. It can also help you fit exercise in throughout the day.

4. Eases joint pain

Walking can help protect the joints, including your knees and hips. That’s because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints.

Walking may also provide benefits for people living with arthritis, such as reducing pain. And walking 5 to 6 miles a week may also help prevent arthritis.

5. Boosts immune function

Walking may reduce your risk for developing a cold or the flu.

One study tracked 1,000 adults during flu season. Those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43 percent fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall.

Their symptoms were also lessened if they did get sick. That was compared to adults in the study who were sedentary.

Try to get in a daily walk to experience these benefits. If you live in a cold climate, you can try to walk on a treadmill or around an indoor mall

6. Boost your energy

Going for a walk when you’re tired may be a more effective energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee.

Walking increases oxygen flow through the body. It can also increase levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Those are the hormones that help elevate energy levels.

7. Improve your mood

Walking can help your mental health. StudiesTrusted Source show it can help reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.

To experience these benefits, aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate intensity exercise three days a week. You can also break it up into three 10-minute walks.

8. Extend your life

Walking at a faster pace could extend your life. Researchers found that walking at an average pace compared to a slow pace resulted in a 20 percent reduced risk of overall death.

But walking at a brisk or fast pace (at least 4 miles per hour) reduced the risk by 24 percent. The study looked at the association of walking at a faster pace with factors like overall causes of death, cardiovascular disease, and death from cancer.

9. Tone your legs

Walking can strengthen the muscles in your legs. To build up more strength, walk in a hilly area or on a treadmill with an incline. Or find routes with stairs.

Also trade off walking with other cross-training activities like cycling or jogging. You can also perform resistance exercises like squats, lunges, and leg curls to further tone and strengthen your leg muscles

10. Creative thinking

Walking may help clear your head and help you think creatively.

A study that included four experiments compared people trying to think of new ideas while they were walking or sitting. Researchers found participants did better while walking, particularly while walking outdoors.

The researchers concluded that walking opens up a free flow of ideas and is a simple way to increase creativity and get physical activity at the same time.

Try to initiate a walking meeting with your colleagues the next time you’re stuck on a problem at work.

 

Overcoming Nervousness

By: Kevin Nygo

 

Dealing with nervousness can sometimes be a difficult thing to do. When you feel nervous, you tend to lose control to some extend. You can start to shake and tremble a bit. You can start to sweat and even get a bit dizzy. The cause of this feeling can be many things but most of the time, it is caused by your focus. Sometimes it can be caused due to your habits but even then, it’s mental. Let’s examine why being nervous can cause you to perform poorly and why it’s something good to be nervous. I will also give you some tips to help you overcome nervousness as well.

There are many situations that can cause a person to feel nervous. It can be a situation where you are about to make a speech. It can be one where you are about to ask an attractive person out on a date. It can even be a situation where you are about to take an exam. All of these things can bring out that feeling of anxiety. It can cause you to stumble on your words. It can cause you to make a fool out of yourself in public. It can cause you to just plain freeze up. I can even cause you to turn around and go back the way you came from.

It may seem like a bad thing but realize that this feeling that you experience is your body’s way of telling you something. Do you think athletes get nervous before a game? How about professional speakers who are about to go out on stage for the 1,000th time? Nervousness is a signal to your mind that you need to get ready. It can sometimes be mixed with the feeling of excitement as well.

In order to control nervousness and use to your advantage, you need to do a few things. Here are some tips to help you.

1. Acknowledge the message.

As I mentioned earlier, when you get the nervousness anxiety feeling, most of the time it means that you aren’t as prepared as you think you should be. Let me ask you this. Is there anything you do easily without a sweat that used to make you feel nervous? Most of the time when it’s our first time doing something that is out of our comfort zone, we will feel a bit nervous but after we have done it over and over, we feel more confident about it.

In other words, in order to feel less nervous about whatever is causing you to feel that feeling of nervousness, you need more practice. There is a difference between feeling fully nervous because you aren’t prepared and feeling nervous and excited because you’re anxious to show what you can do.

2. Change your focus.

Controlling nervousness can be done by changing your focus. If you are nervous about doing something, chances are that you are picturing the worse case scenario. You are imagining totally making a fool out of yourself. What you will want to do instead is to first ask yourself if the worse case scenario were to happen, would you be able to handle it. Think about your most embarrassing moment in life. You went through it and you’re still alive aren’t you? Life goes on. Once you can accept that you can handle the worse, start to focus on more positive things. See yourself doing a great job. See yourself getting the results you want. Over 95% of the time, the worse case scenario never comes true so don’t bother focusing on it.

3. Don’t over think.

Overcoming nervousness can be done by realizing that no matter how bad you do, whether it’s a speech or some performance or asking someone out on a date, you will look at the situation as being 10 times worse than anyone else sees it. Most people are simply too busy focusing on themselves and their own insecurities to think about yours. We often get nervous because we are afraid of how others might thing of us. You don’t have to worry about that because most people won’t think much about you anyway. Their focus is on themselves most of the time. As the saying goes, “We are our own worst critic.”

Nervousness is something that can be dealt with through practice as well as realizing that life is too short to spend too much time worrying about what others think of you. If you want to do a good job, be prepared and practice as much as you can. From there, picture the best outcomes in your mind. After that, just do your best and even if you mess up, people are going to forget out it anyway because you are not the most important person in their lives, they are.

 

 

The Powerful Effect of Music on the Brain

By: Eric Nopanen

Music has been scientifically proven to have a powerful effect on the brain. Recent research shows that music can help in many aspects of the brain, including pain reduction, stress relief, memory, and brain injuries. In the book The Power of Music, Elena Mannes says, “Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.” Let’s look at some of the ways music can aid in the healing and stimulation of the human brain.

-Pain Reduction-

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” —Billy Joel

A 2014 study found that music was helpful for patients with fibromyalgia. The study showed that listening to relaxing music of the patient’s choice “reduced pain and increased functional mobility significantly.” Researchers believe that music eases pain because listening to it triggers opioids—the body’s natural pain relievers. In a 2013 study, people given the opioid blocking drug Naltrexone experienced less pleasure while listening to their favorite song, suggesting music activates the release of pain-relieving opioids.

-Stress Relief-

Depending on the type of music you listen to, relaxing music can alleviate stress by lowering cortisol levels, which is the hormone released in response to stress.

A 2013 study demonstrates a link between music and decreased stress in pediatric emergency room patients. “In the trial with 42 children ages 3 to 11, University of Alberta researchers found that patients who listened to relaxing music while getting an IV inserted reported significantly less pain, and some demonstrated significantly less distress, compared with patients who did not listen to music,” according to the American Psychological Association.

-Memory-

Studies linking music to memory recall have increased since the early 20th century, when the research first emerged. Listening to certain music can take your mind back decades in an instant. In a previous blog post we published, titled “Studies Prove Music Boosts Brain Activity in Alzheimer’s Patients,” we cited the documentary Alive Inside, which chronicled how music awakened patients suffering from memory loss. Neurologist Oliver Sacks said, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory. … It brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”

A 2014 study was conducted on 89 patients with dementia, where the patient and caregivers were randomly assigned either a 10-week music listening coaching group, a 10-week singing coaching group, or regular care. The results showed that “compared with usual care, both singing and music listening improved mood, orientation, and remote episodic memory and to a lesser extent, also attention and executive function and general cognition. Singing also enhanced short-term and working memory and caregiver well-being, whereas music listening had a positive effect on quality of life.”

-Seizure, Brain Injury, or Stroke-

It has been reported that the brains of patients with epilepsy respond differently to music than people who do not have epilepsy. “Persons with epilepsy synchronize before a seizure. However, in our study, patients with epilepsy synchronized to the music without having a seizure,” said Christine Charyton, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Charyton explained that stress causes seizures to occur and added, “By listening to the music, many patients reported that they felt relaxed.”

Stroke patients who listened to music in the early stages after a stroke showed an improvement in recovery according to a 2008 study. Author of the study, Teppo Särkämö, suggested that patients start listening to music soon after the stroke, as many changes occur during the first weeks and months of recovery. “We found that three months after the stroke, verbal memory improved from the first week post-stroke by 60 percent in music listeners,” said Särkämö.

In 1973 a music-based treatment called Melodic Intonation Therapy was developed to help stroke survivors or people who suffer with aphasia to be able to communicate again. The purpose of the therapy is to convert singing into speech. According to Research and Hope, even though these patients aren’t able to speak, “they are often able to sing, sometimes with the same fluency and clarity they had before the onset of illness.”

 

 

How can I get a better night’s sleep?

By: The Health Guide

Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need.

Getting a good night’s sleep may seem like an impossible goal when you’re wide awake at 3 a.m., but you have much more control over the quality of your sleep than you probably realize. Just as the way you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep at night, so the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.

Unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices can leave you tossing and turning at night and adversely affect your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight. But by experimenting with the following tips, you can enjoy better sleep at night, boost your health, and improve how you think and feel during the day.

 

Tip 1: Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. If you keep a regular sleep-wake schedule, you’ll feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two.

Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bed time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock, you may need an earlier bedtime.

Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.

Be smart about napping. While napping is a good way to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, napping can make things worse. Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.

Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.

 

Tip 2: Control your exposure to light

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm. Here’s how to influence your exposure to light:

During the day

Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. The closer to the time you get up, the better. Have your coffee outside, for example, or eat breakfast by a sunny window. The light on your face will help you wake up

Spend more time outside during daylight. Take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.

Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.

If necessary, use a light therapy box. This simulates sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days.

At night

Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive. You can minimize the impact by using devices with smaller screens, turning the brightness down, or using light-altering software such as f.lux.

Say no to late-night television. Not only does the light from a TV suppress melatonin, but many programs are stimulating rather than relaxing. Try listening to music or audio books instead.

Don’t read with backlit devices. Tablets that are backlit are more disruptive than e-readers that don’t have their own light source.

When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark. Use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows, or try a sleep mask. Also consider covering up electronics that emit light.

Keep the lights down if you get up during the night. If you need some light to move around safely, try installing a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom or using a small flashlight. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep.

Tip 3: Exercise during the day

People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.

The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality.

It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.

For better sleep, time your exercise right

Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol. This isn’t a problem if you’re exercising in the morning or afternoon, but too close to bed and it can interfere with sleep.

Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. If you’re still experiencing sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.

 

Tip 4: Be smart about what you eat and drink

Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime.

Limit caffeine and nicotine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Similarly, smoking is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.

Avoid big meals at night. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

Avoid alcohol before bed. While a nightcap may help you relax, it interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re out.

Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Drinking lots of fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.

Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs. Eating lots of sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day can trigger wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep.

Nighttime snacks may help you to sleep

For some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. For others, eating before bed leads to indigestion and makes sleeping more difficult. If you need a bedtime snack, try: Half a turkey sandwich. A small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal. Milk or yogurt. A banana.

 

Tip 5: Wind down and clear your head

Do you often find yourself unable to get to sleep or regularly waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well. Taking steps to manage your overall stress levels and learning how to curb the worry habit can make it easier to unwind at night. You can also try developing a relaxing bedtime ritual to help you prepare your mind for sleep, such as practicing a relaxation technique, taking a warm bath, or dimming the lights and listening to soft music or an audiobook.

Problems clearing your head at night can also stem from your daytime habits. The more overstimulated your brain becomes during the day, the harder it can be to slow down and unwind at night. Maybe, like many of us, you’re constantly interrupting tasks during the day to check your phone, email, or social media. Then when it comes to getting to sleep at night, your brain is so accustomed to seeking fresh stimulation, it becomes difficult to unwind.

Help yourself by setting aside specific times during the day for checking your phone and social media and, as much as possible, try to focus on one task at a time. You’ll be better able to calm your mind at bedtime.

A deep breathing exercise to help you sleep

Breathing from your belly rather than your chest can activate the relaxation response and lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels to help you drift off to sleep.

 

Lay down in bed and close your eyes.

Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.

Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.

Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.

 

A body scan exercise to help you sleep

By focusing your attention on different parts of your body, you can identify where you’re holding any stress or tension, and release it.

 

Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes closed. Focus on your breathing for about two minutes until you start to feel relaxed.

Turn your focus to the toes of your right foot. Notice any tension while continuing to also focus on your breathing. Imagine each deep breath flowing to your toes. Remain focused on this area for at least three to five seconds.

Move your focus to the sole of your right foot. Tune in to any sensations you feel in that part of your body and imagine each breath flowing from the sole of your foot. Then move your focus to your right ankle and repeat. Move to your calf, knee, thigh, hip, and then repeat the sequence for your left leg. From there, move up your torso, through your lower back and abdomen, your upper back and chest, and your shoulders. Pay close attention to any area of the body that feels tense.

After completing the body scan, relax, noting how your body feels. You should feel so relaxed you can easily fall asleep.

For a guided body scan meditation to help you wind down and clear your head at bedtime, click here.

 

Tip 6: Improve your sleep environment

A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.

Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet

Keep noise down. If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan or sound machine. Earplugs may also help.

Keep your room cool. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65° F or 18° C) with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.

Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.

Reserve your bed for sleeping. By not working, watching TV, or using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed, your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep, which makes it easier to wind down at night.

 

Tip 7: Learn ways to get back to sleep

It’s normal to wake briefly during the night but if you’re having trouble falling back asleep, these tips may help:

Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall asleep again, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Take a breath in, then breathe out slowly while saying or thinking the word, “Ahhh.” Take another breath and repeat.

Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Even though it’s not a replacement for sleep, relaxation can still help rejuvenate your body.

Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim and avoid screens so as not to cue your body that it’s time to wake up.

Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve. Similarly, if a great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and fall back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive after a good night’s rest.

 

 

40 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain

By: Lori Deschene

“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” ~Ajahn Chah

Eckhart Tolle believes we create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we often hold onto our pain far beyond its ability to serve us.

We replay past mistakes over and over again in our head, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We cling to frustration and worry about the future, as if the act of fixation somehow gives us power. We hold stress in our minds and bodies, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm.

Though it may sound simple, Ajahn Chah’s advice speaks volumes.

There will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful. Here are some ways to get started:

Let Go Of Frustration with Yourself/Your Life

1. Learn a new skill instead of dwelling on the skills you never mastered.

2. Change your perception—see the root cause as a blessing in disguise.

3. Cry it out. According to Dr. William Frey II, PH.D., biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, crying away your negative feelings releases harmful chemicals that build up in your body due to stress.

4. Channel your discontent into an immediate positive action—make some calls about new job opportunities, or walk to the community center to volunteer.

5. Use meditation or yoga to bring you into the present moment (instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future).

6. Make a list of your accomplishments—even the small ones— and add to it daily. You’ll have to let go of a little discontentment to make space for this self-satisfaction.

7. Visualize a box in your head labeled “Expectations.” Whenever you start dwelling on how things should be or should have been, mentally shelve the thoughts in this box.

8. Engage in a physical activity. Exercise decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, chemicals that improve your state of mind.

9. Focus all your energy on something you can actually control instead of dwelling on things you can’t.

10. Express your feelings through a creative outlet, like blogging or painting. Add this to your to-do list and cross it off when you’re done. This will be a visual reminder that you have actively chosen to release these feelings.

Let go of Anger and Bitterness

11. Feel it fully. If you stifle your feelings, they may leak out and affect everyone around you—not just the person who inspired your anger. Before you can let go of any emotion, you have to feel it fully.

12. Give yourself a rant window. Let yourself vent for a day before confronting the person who troubled you. This may diffuse the hostility and give you time to plan a rational confrontation.

13. Remind yourself that anger hurts you more than the person who upset you, and visualize it melting away as an act of kindness to yourself.

14. If possible, express your anger to the person who offended you. Communicating how you feel may help you move on. Keep in mind that you can’t control how the offender responds; you can only control how clearly and kindly you express yourself.

15. Take responsibility. Many times when you’re angry, you focus on what someone else did that was wrong, which essentially gives away your power. When you focus on what you could have done better, you often feel empowered and less bitter.

16. Put yourself in the offender’s shoes. We all make mistakes, and odds are you could have easily slipped up just like your husband, father, or friend did. Compassion dissolves anger.

17. Metaphorically throw it away. For example, jog with a backpack full of tennis balls. After you’ve built up a bit of rush, toss the balls one by one, labeling each as a part of your anger. (You’ll need to retrieve these—litter angers the earth!)

18. Use a stress ball, and express your anger physically and vocally when you use it. Make a scrunched up face or grunt. You may feel silly, but this allows you to actually express what you’re feeling inside.

19. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and gently flick it when you start obsessing on angry thoughts. This trains your mind to associate that type of persistent negativity with something unpleasant.

20. Remind yourself these are your only three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it. These acts create happiness; holding onto bitterness never does.

Let Go Of Past Relationships

21. Identify what the experience taught you to help develop a sense of closure.

22. Write everything you want to express in a letter. Even if you choose not to send it, clarifying your feelings will help you come to terms with reality as it is now.

23. Remember both the good and the bad. Even if appears this way now, the past was not perfect. Acknowledging this may minimize your sense of loss. As Laura Oliver says, “It’s easier to let go of a human than a hero.”

24. Un-romanticize the way you view love. Of course you’ll feel devastated if you believe you lost your soul mate. If you think you can find a love that amazing or better again, it will be easier to move on.

25. Visualize an empowered single you—the person you were before meeting your last love. That person was pretty awesome, and now you have the chance to be him or her again.

26. Create a space that reflects your present reality. Take down his pictures; delete her emails from your saved folder.

27. Reward yourself for small acts of acceptance. Get a facial after you delete his number from your phone, or head out with friends after putting all her things in a box.

28. Hang this statement somewhere you can see it. “Loving myself means letting go.”

29. Replace your emotional thoughts with facts. When you think, “I’ll never feel loved again!” don’t resist that feeling. Instead, move on to another thought, like “I learned a new song for karaoke tonight.”

30. Use the silly voice technique. According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, swapping the voice in your head with a cartoon voice will help take back power from the troubling thought.

Let Go Of Stress

31. Use a deep breathing technique, like ujayii, to soothe yourself and seep into the present moment.

32. Immerse yourself in a group activity. Enjoying the people in your life may help put your problems in perspective.

33. Consider this quotation by Eckhart Tolle: “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” Questioning how your stress serves you may help you let it go.

34. Metaphorically release it. Write down all your stresses and toss the paper into your fireplace.

35. Replace your thoughts. Notice when you begin thinking about something that stresses you so you can shift your thought process to something more pleasant, like your passion for your hobby.

36. Take a sauna break. Studies reveal that people who go to sauna at least twice a week for ten to thirty minutes are less stressed after work than others with similar jobs who don’t.

37. Imagine your life ten years from now. Then look twenty years into the future, and then thirty. Realize that many of the things you’re worrying about don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

38. Organize your desk. According to Georgia Witkin, assistant director of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completing a small task increases your sense of control and decreases your stress level.

39. Use it up. Make two lists: one with the root causes of your stress and one with actions to address them. As you complete these tasks, visualize yourself utilizing and depleting your “stress supply.”

40. Laugh it out. Research shows that laughter soothes tension, improves your immune system, and even eases pain. If you can’t relax for long, start with just ten minutes watching a funny video on YouTube

 

 

15 Benefits of Drinking Water

Medical News Today

 

Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day.

Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water, and around 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by water.

Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of water that means drinking enough each day is not at the top of many people’s lists of priorities.

 

!!!!!!! Fast facts on drinking water !!!!!!!

 

-Adult humans are 60 percent water, and our blood is 90 percent water.

-There is no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed daily.

-Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions.

-When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.

-Drinking water instead of soda can help with weight loss.

1. It lubricates the joints

Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.

2. It forms saliva and mucus

Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consumed instead of sweetened beverages, it can also reduce tooth decay.

3. It delivers oxygen throughout the body

Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.

4. It boosts skin health and beauty

With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.

5. It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues

Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.

6. It regulates body temperature

Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin’s surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. In sport.

Some scientists have suggested that when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain.

Having a lot of water in the body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise. However, more research is needed into these effects.

7, The digestive system depends on it

The bowel needs water to work properly. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.

8. It flushes body waste

Water is needed in the processes of sweating and removal of urine and feces.

9. It helps maintain blood pressure

A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.

10. The airways need it

When dehydrated, airways are restricted by the body in an effort to minimize water loss. This can make asthma and allergies worse.

11. It makes minerals and nutrients accessible

These dissolve in water, which makes it possible for them to reach different parts of the body.

12. It prevents kidney damage

The kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other problems.

13. It boosts performance during exercise

Some scientists have proposed that consuming more water might enhance performance during strenuous activity.

More research is needed to confirm this, but one review found that dehydration reduces performance in activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.

14. Weight loss

Water may also help with weight loss, if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. “Preloading” with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.

15. It reduces the chance of a hangover

When partying, unsweetened soda water with ice and lemon alternated with alcoholic drinks can help prevent overconsumption of alcohol.

 

 

How to Overcome Anxiety:
A Mindful Approach

with Ron Siegel, PsyD

Why Our Minds Won’t Stop

What is it about the way we’re wired that can keep us fixated on the past or ruminating about what could possibly go wrong in the future?

Well, you see, the ability to analyze the past to see what was pleasant (or painful) is part of our human survival kit.

Learning to minimize risk, and maximize the future are useful skills that help keep us alive.

Unfortunately, our ability to evaluate future risk isn’t always accurate.

That causes some people to become trapped in cycles of anxiety that can lead to depression and even chronic pain.

But mindfulness can be particularly effective in helping clients escape these patterns.

How Mindfulness Retrains the Brain to Reduce Anxiety

One of the first things we typically notice when we pick up mindfulness practice is how often we have frightened thoughts about the future.

We think over and over about the future -- hoping for pleasure and dreading pain.

And even the most subtle thought can cause anxiety.

Mark Twain described this brilliantly near the end of his life when he wrote, “I’m an old man now. I’ve lived a long and difficult life filled with so many misfortunes, most of which never happened.”

It’s remarkably easy to see this for ourselves. Just take a moment to think about something that makes you anxious (it shouldn’t take long to come up with this). Is it a thought of the past, the present, or the future?

Sometimes people say, “I’m really anxious about what happened this morning.” But on closer examination, we realize we’re actually anxious that we’ll be incarcerated tonight for what we did this morning.

So it’s not surprising that one of the ways mindfulness practice can help us with anxiety is simply by training the brain and mind to bring attention to the present moment. Since for many of us, the present moment is usually pretty safe, doing this can really help reduce anxiety.

“One of the ways mindfulness practice can help us with anxiety is simply by training the brain and mind to bring attention to the present moment.”

How Mindfulness Increases The Capacity to Bear Anxiety

The other way mindfulness helps is a bit more counter-intuitive.

We’re hard-wired to find anxiety unpleasant. After all, if we weren’t, we might gravitate toward dangerous situations, and eventually this would keep us from passing our DNA on to the next generation. Ancient hominids who didn’t find anxiety to be unpleasant probably weren’t our ancestors – they mostly died off before reproducing.

So naturally, our patients want to get rid of their unpleasant anxious feelings. And their attempts to avoid anxiety are actually the fuel at the heart of most anxiety disorders, keeping them going.

In a mindfulness-oriented approach, instead of trying to get rid of anxiety, we help our patients increase their capacity to bear it.

“Instead of trying to get rid of anxiety, we help our patients increase their capacity to bear it.

And this is not a new idea – here is what the Buddha said about anxiety 2500 years ago:

“Why do I dwell always expecting fear and dread? What if I subdue that fear and dread, keeping the same posture that I’m in when it comes upon me? While I walked, the fear and dread came upon me. I neither stood, nor sat, nor lay down until I had subdued that fear and dread.”

What he’s saying is when the fear or dread arises, instead of doing something to try to feel better and make it go away -- he’s going to stay with it. He’s going to ride it out, until it goes away by itself.

A Simple Practice You Can Use to Befriend Fear and Anxiety

Start by bringing attention to some sensation in the body – perhaps the breath or another object of attention. Continue gently returning the attention to this object for a few minutes.

Next, see if you can locate some anxiety within the body. Just notice how it feels.

If you can’t find any anxiety, generate a scary thought or an image to help conjure it up. We want to get the anxiety going strongly enough to be able to practice feeling it, but not to be overwhelming.

Once you’ve got some anxiety going, just breathe, and feel it. Notice how it feels throughout the body. Greet it like an old friend, “Oh I know you, you’re my old pal fear. You’ve visited me on so many occasions. Welcome back.”

“Keep breathing, and keep practicing just welcoming and feeling the fear."

If the sensation of anxiety starts to fade, do whatever you need to do to bring it back. Keep breathing, and keep practicing just welcoming and feeling the fear.

If you give the exercise enough time, and keep encouraging your client to breathe and welcome the anxious feelings, eventually almost everyone will have difficulty maintaining the anxiety.

This can be enormously helpful, since simply being with fear allows it to come and go like all other mental content.

And this can really help crystallize for folks that it’s often the attempt to make anxiety go away, not the anxiety itself that traps us in anxiety disorders.

 

 

The Science Behind Your Child’s Tantrums

And how to nip them in the bud before they start.

 

LeAnne Simpson’s 6-year-old daughter had thrown plenty of tantrums before the pandemic. But after a few weeks of lockdown, minor frustrations that used to lead to short-lived outbursts were now setting off writhing-on-the-floor freakouts.

“First, she’d get so frustrated she couldn’t talk,” Simpson said. “Then she would start screaming, drop to the floor and roll around flailing her arms, often kicking or hitting me if I came close to her.”

Simpson tried every tantrum-defusing strategy she could muster, from playing soft music and offering a snack to squeezing her daughter between couch cushions (a calming technique recommended by an occupational therapist).

But nothing worked except sitting quietly nearby, and occasionally consoling her with words or touch. In the aftermath, Simpson would often ask her daughter what had made her so mad. “She’d always say she didn’t know,” Simpson said.

Meltdowns, common as they are among young children, are a complicated physiological response related to the brain’s threat detection system. Mid-freakout, it’s helpful for parents to understand what’s going on beneath the surface, then to mitigate the “threat” by establishing a sense of safety.

The physiology of a meltdown

According to R. Douglas Fields, a neuroscientist and author of “Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain,” a temper tantrum involves two parts of the brain: the amygdala, which is primarily responsible for processing emotions like fear or anger; and the hypothalamus, which in part controls unconscious functions like heart rate or temperature. Think of the amygdala as the brain’s smoke detector and the hypothalamus as someone deciding whether to put gasoline or water on the fire — with hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

When your daughter suddenly starts wailing about sleeping alone in her bed at night, she’s probably not consciously being difficult — her amygdala detected a threat and her hypothalamus caused her to snap.

During the stress response, your child might experience a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms and tense muscles (or just an overwhelming urge to punch you). As much as you may want to reason with your writhing child, don’t expect her to listen. For one thing, the stress response can dampen a child’s already-limited capacity for self-control, a function generally associated with the prefrontal cortex, or PFC.

The Cautionary Tale of Adam Neumann and WeWork

“When you have a fire burning in your house, you don’t want to sit and ponder, you want your body to fire on all cylinders so you can escape,” said Dr. Carol Weitzman, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and co-director of the Autism Spectrum Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

With a bit of logical self-reflection, adults can hit the brakes on a stress response. “When a driver cuts you off on the highway and your blood begins to boil, it’s your prefrontal cortex that allows you to think, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t have to act this way,’” said Dr. Weitzman.

But the prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until adulthood and, according to Dr. Fields, inhibition and impulse control are among the PFC’s most complicated functions. “So when you try to reason with a child, you’re appealing to a part of the brain that isn’t fully functioning.”

Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Virginia and a consultant at Tulane University, likens child meltdowns to a pot of boiling water, with the PFC acting as its lid. “In these moments, the intensity of the feeling overwhelms the child’s ability to organize it, so the feelings get stronger than the lid,” she said.

Fortunately, with your own developed brain, you can help your kid replace the lid on the pot during a meltdown moment by using your prefrontal cortex as a surrogate.

First, manage your own emotions

Before engaging with your upset child, it’s helpful to first regulate your own stress response, said Lisa Dion, a play therapist and founder of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute in Boulder, Colo.

If your child is safe, leave the room to take a few deep breaths or confide in a partner — whatever you need to de-escalate your own frustration.

This, according to Katie Rosanbalm, a senior research scientist at the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, allows you to use your own calm state to calm your child.

It’s not completely clear how this works. There are likely several physiological components, but one might involve mirror neurons, brain cells that fire in response to your own and other people’s behaviors. Watching someone run, for instance, seems to activate a similar brain region as when you run yourself.

Mirror neuron research on children is scant, and there’s still a lot to learn. But what scientists do know about this group of brain cells may help parents understand how their reactions affect their kids (and maybe even their newborn babies).

For example, mirror neurons have been found not only in the motor areas of the brain, but also in the areas that deal with emotion. The same part of your brain that lights up when you’re feeling happy may also light up when you observe happiness in others.

“So your child may not just do what you’re doing, but feel what you’re feeling,” said Dr. Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Next, manage your kid’s reaction

It’s also important to pair your calmness with warm and empathic cues, which can signal to the amygdala that there’s no danger, Dr. Rosanbalm said. “The amygdala stops sending out the alarm, which causes the stress response cascade to cease.”

In the calm-down process, focus more on your actions rather than your words: Your child can mirror your emotions just by looking at your nonverbal communication, like your body posture, vocal tone and facial expressions.

Dr. Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, suggested crouching down and making eye contact with your child during the tantrum, which shows you’re listening and engaged.

While some upset kids might like physical touch from a parent, others might find it overwhelming.

You can also encourage your child to self-soothe with other types of calming sensory inputs. Offer her a fidget spinner or Silly Putty, have her push on a wall, or simply encourage her to take some slow, deep breaths. But try to introduce these coping skills before a meltdown hits, so they can manage a tantrum on their own once it happens.

Finally, validate your child’s feelings

As much as you might want to try explaining to your kid why they should calm down, behavior correction rarely works when stress is high.

Once your child’s partially-developed prefrontal cortex is back online, take the opportunity to help her form a story about the meltdown. Shanna Donhauser, a child and family therapist, suggested validating how hard the moment was and repeating back what happened.

“Then remind your child that you’re both OK and that you can still be close. You’re still there,” she said.

After exhausting all of the behavioral techniques she knew, Simpson tried focusing on connecting with her daughter during meltdowns instead of trying to change her behavior.

Back in the spring, when her daughter had a meltdown about the number of strawberries in her bowl just before she needed to log on to a virtual class meeting, Simpson held her 6-year-old close as she tried to stay calm herself.

It was then that her daughter managed to articulate what was really upsetting her — it wasn’t the fruit, she said; deep down, she was sad she couldn’t hug her teacher. The two shared tears and some snuggles, then moved on with their day.

“My daughter’s tantrums sucked every ounce of life out of me,” Simpson said. “But in the end, we understood each other better and grew closer.”

 

How To Be More Positive: 15 Habits To Take Up

By: Dan Matthews

 

1. Get an Exercise Routine

One of the most common self-care recommendations you’re likely to hear is that you need to exercise more. Well, I hate to break it to you — because I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it — but it is absolutely true.

First and foremost, there is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help in the fight against many common mental health ailments like depression and anxiety. Exercise can even help to fend off ailments that come with aging like alzheimer’s and dementia.[1]

While physical activity alone is good for your physical and mental health, making it a routine that you keep up can also be incredibly beneficial way how to be more positive.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is so much more than the self-care buzzword-du-jour that you see popping up in articles left and right or plastered across self-help books in your local bookstore. The truth is, practicing mindfulness is one of the most powerful methods of managing stress and reducing anxiety out there.

In reality, practicing mindfulness is as simple as paying attention to how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and considering why, at that moment, you are feeling the way you feel and thinking those particular thoughts.

Once you’re a pro at living in the moment, you’ll find that it helps you stay grounded and in the moment, keeping you from worrying about things that are out of your control.

3. Find the Funny

Humor is a powerful tool on how to be more positive. Also, learning to find the funny in your life can help to improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and battle depression.[2]

Let me explain what I mean when I talk about finding the funny. Finding the funny doesn’t mean going out to your local comedy club every week (though the comedians would certainly appreciate it) or actively seeking out funny things. It’s actually about being able to find the humor in every aspect of your life, especially during the more challenging and difficult times.

Being able to find the funny in everyday situations will also help you make those around you more relaxed and positive, spreading the good vibes far and wide.

4. Meditation

Meditation is another tried and true method on how to be more positive and reduce stress and anxiety in your life. While meditation was once seemingly relegated to hippy-dippy types, it has officially hit the mainstream, helping a lot of people and, realistically, anyone who has access to YouTube and a desire to practice meditation. [3]

Meditation has been stripped of the mysticism that used to surround it, and with the mysticism went much of the wariness and negative connotations. Meditation is simply the practice of focusing the mind through various exercises to achieve mental and emotional clarity while training attention and awareness.

When you practice meditation, you are really just investing in yourself, taking the time to purposefully look in on what makes you tick and why you think and feel the way you do.

5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

This one is pretty simple. Cutting out toxic people from your life and instead surrounding yourself with other happy and positive people has a compounding effect.[4] When people around you complain less, you tend to complain less, too. When people laugh, you laugh. Happiness begets happiness!

Another great reason to surround yourself with positive people is that you can learn a lot from them. Seeing how other positive people react to hardships and negativity can give you something to emulate and aspire to.

Also, it’s just generally nice to be around friends that will gas you up and help keep you positive! No one likes a Negative Nancy or a Downer Derek.

6. Tell Invasive Thoughts to Shove Off

Everyone is their own harshest critic, but they certainly don’t have to be. Negative thoughts can be pervasive, and it can be difficult to regulate them or shake them off as simply a passing thought.

However, if you learn to recognize when you’re having negative thoughts and are able to see that they aren’t helping you achieve anything, it can make dealing with them much easier. Telling yourself that you aren’t good enough doesn’t help the situation, either, so why let that thought in at all?

When you’re able to better regulate invasive negative thoughts, you can narrow your focus onto positive, helpful thoughts that actually work to propel you forward instead of holding you back. This is one of the harder things to master, but doing so will possibly make the greatest impact on your outlook.

7. Balance Your Diet

The key to increasing positivity through your diet is to try and break away from fad diets that promise fast results and instead focus on eating a balanced diet that will keep you healthy. While many fad diets do in fact help with rapid weight loss, they only do so by putting your body through some dangerous things. [5]

Dehydration, the development of poor eating habits, yo-yoing weight loss, and malnutrition can all come as side effects of fad or crash diets. Developing healthy eating and nutrition habits can also help you to lose a ton of weight and feel great doing it.

A properly balanced diet focuses on the best, most important foods first that will help you maintain your physical and mental health.

8. Let Nature Be Your Guide

One of the best on how to be more positive is to head out into the great outdoors. The constant stress and noise of living in urban spaces can take a serious toll on your mental health, and heading out for a weekend camping trip or even a short hike in the woods can help you reconnect with nature.

Spending time outdoors can refresh your perspective and give you a much-needed break which, in turn, helps you remain positive in the face of adversity.

If you live somewhere where getting out into nature is not really a possibility, you can still reap the benefits of the outdoors by immersing yourself in a green space, like visiting a park in your city for a couple of hours. Pro-tip: walking barefoot on grass is amazing. When was the last time you did it?

9. Take Up a New Hobby

Starting up a new hobby can seem like a daunting task. There is so much to learn when first starting out with a hobby — however, that is, in fact, what makes it so great for improving positive thinking!

Learning should be a lifelong experience and outside of college and university, hobbies are one of the best ways to continue learning and experiencing personal growth. Not all hobbies have to be expensive , either, which makes it ideal for self-improvement.

Stargazing, bird watching, calligraphy, gardening, exploring your city, and discovering new art and music are all inexpensive (or free) ways to keep things fresh in your life and expand your mind.

10. Practice Dealing with Rejection

Rejection can be harsh. Getting shut down, whether in social situations, romantic situations, or while looking for a job can put a damper on your mood for weeks after the initial rejection.

The key to how to be more positive and being able to deal with rejection appropriately is to actively think about and practice how you’ll react. It costs nothing and works wonders to dampen the blow.

If you receive a rejection letter for a job, send back a letter thanking them for their time and consideration. If rejected romantically or socially, remaining positive and seeing the upside will make you look like the bigger person and even do wonders for your self-esteem.

11. Cultivate Optimism

When it comes to how to be more positive, building upon your optimism is key to your success. Optimists have a positive explanatory style, which essentially just means that they believe that the good things that happen in life are due to their hard work and perseverance.

Pessimists, on the other hand, have a negative explanatory style, meaning that they believe everything that happens to them is because of forces out of their control. Between the two, it really comes down to taking personal responsibility.

Positive thinkers are capable of attributing not only their successes but their failures to their own doing and are able to learn and grow from their experiences.

12. Focus on What You’re Grateful for

Another fantastic way on how to be more positive is to take stock of what you’ve got in life and acknowledge to yourself that you’re grateful for whatever it is that makes you happy.

Just hear me out. Expressing thankfulness and gratitude can actually improve your mood and how much joy you experience. [6] Even simply writing down a list of the things you’re grateful for throughout a day can make a huge difference.

Soon you’ll find yourself giving your car a good pat on the dash for getting you to and from work, thanking just about anyone who helps you in any way, and generally spreading positivity everywhere you go.

13. Start an Achievable Bucket List

You can’t become a positive person if you’re stuck in a rut and feel like you have nothing to aspire to or to achieve. The easiest way to how to be more positive and get yourself moving towards your life goals is to write them down into a bucket list.

Your bucket list can be comprised of experiences and achievements as well as more esoteric things you’d like to accomplish .

The key to a great bucket list is to write down achievable goals. Sure, you can write down that you’d like to earn a bazillion dollars, but that is going to sit, untouched, on your bucket list for quite some time. Focus on the here and now and you’ll find that your accomplishments translate directly into positivity in your life.

14. Find a New Favorite Book

There’s nothing quite like reading a good book cuddled up on a couch. While it can be hard to find time to read if you have a busy schedule, purposefully setting aside and taking the time every day to read can have some serious positive benefits.

Reading isn’t just a way to entertain yourself, either. It can improve empathy, brain function, vocabulary, and overall mood! Joining a book club can also expand your social circle. They say that the print industry is dying, but I say go to your local bookstore, browse around until you find an entertaining looking book, and get to reading!

15. Explore Yourself

Finally, last tip on how to be more positive is to learn as much about who you really are as you can.

Sounds easy, right?

All you need to do is practice any or all of these habits to improve your positivity. In doing this, you’ll likely find out what really makes you happy in life, what is important to you, and what kind of person you want to be.

No one is holding you back from becoming a more positive person, so get out there and make it happen!

 

Five Habits of Organized People

The more you can live and work in an organized way – even if it doesn't come naturally at first – the sooner you'll change your habits for the better. Here are five everyday strategies worth trying:

1. Celebrate small wins. For example, if you complete three things on your To-Do List, treat yourself to a cup of coffee, or allow yourself 10 minutes of free time to check some of your favorite websites.

2. Use one calendar. If you record some things on your desk planner, and others on your email calendar, it's going to be hard to coordinate everything. Instead, start putting it all in one place. If you do it digitally, you'll find that the technology can pull everything together for you.

3. Schedule small tasks. If a task or project requires action beforehand (like picking up bagels and coffee for the staff meeting), make sure that you schedule those into your day, too. Missing small jobs can have big knock-on effects on everything else.

4. Get organized at home. Don't just restrict your organized approach to work – because a chaotic home life will bring its own problems. Declutter where you live to make mornings easier. Plan your whole day carefully. And talk to the people you live with, so that they know how they can help.

5. Put a high value on your time. Whether you're prioritizing your professional tasks for the week, or mapping out your family commitments, think about how to make every second count. In the words of the American inventor Thomas Edison, time is "… really the only capital any human being has, and the one thing he can't afford to waste."

 

20 Benefits of Green Tea That Will Make You Rethink Your Morning Coffee

By: Healing Eating

 

1. Green Tea Is a Natural Stimulant

Green tea is a natural source of caffeine, making it a great way to perk yourself up when you’re feeling tired. The good news is that green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, meaning that you can sip this beverage throughout the afternoon without significantly disturbing your sleep or suffering through the jittery side effects of a caffeine overdose (Mayo Clinic, 2014).

 

2. Green Tea Might Help Fight Off Cancer

Your cells naturally accumulate oxidative damage during regular cell metabolism. A class of molecules called antioxidants can prevent or even reverse that damage. One of the most powerful antioxidants is called epigallocatechin gallate, and it is found in high levels in green tea. Epigallocatechin gallate has been shown to reduce the growth of breast and prostate tumors (Liao et al., 1995).

 

3. Minimal Processing Leaves Nutrients Intact

Unlike soda, another common source of caffeine, tea is relatively unprocessed. After picking the leaves, they are allowed to soften before being rolled to wring out their juices (Tea Class, n.d.). After heat is applied to the leaves, they are dried and ready to use. This minimal amount of processing means that green tea retains many of the phytonutrients that are available in the actual tea plant.

 

4. Green Tea is Associated with Lower Heart Disease Risk

Green tea may also be good for your heart. In a study of 40,530 Japanese individuals followed over seven years, drinking three to four cups of green tea per day was associated with a 31% lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease (Kuriyama, 2006).

 

5. It May Rev Up Your Metabolism, Helping You Lose Weight

The phytonutrients in green tea may also help you lose weight and keep it off. A 2009 meta-analysis of studies in this area found that drinking catechin-rich green tea significantly reduced body weight (Hursel et al., 2009). Furthermore, people who drank green tea were more likely to maintain a healthy weight after significant weight loss.

 

6. Green Tea Balances Your Ratio of Good and Bad Cholesterol

Not all cholesterol is bad for you. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is associated with cardiovascular risk, while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol could actually protect you against heart disease. Although the exact mechanisms of this effect are unknown, the phytonutrients in green tea appear to be connected to balanced LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, helping to keep them in a healthy range (Maron et al., 2003).

 

7. Green Tea May Help You Chill Out

Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is found almost exclusively in tea plants (Raj Juneja et al., 1999). L-theanine acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning that it sends signals to neurons. Several studies have shown that L-theanine appears to increase alpha-wave generation in the human brain, signalling a state of relaxation (Raj Juneja et al., 1999).

 

8. It May Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by profound changes in memory and thinking abilities. This neurodegenerative disease currently has no cure. However, the antioxidants in green tea appear to reduce the likelihood that you will develop Alzheimer’s disease (Weinreb et al., 2004).

 

9. It May Also Provide Protection Against Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects movement and fine motor control. Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease is progressive and has no cure. The polyphenols in green tea may protect against cell injury caused by neurotoxins while promoting the survival of healthy cells (Pan, Jankovic, & Weidong, 2003).

 

10. Drinking Green Tea Keeps Your Mouth Healthy

Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Green tea has natural antibiotic and antifungal properties. In fact, growing evidence suggests that drinking green tea could protect against cavities and bad breath (Narotzkia, 2012).

 

11. Green Tea Compounds Could Fight Against MRSA

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is often transmitted in health care settings. Unlike regular staph infections, MRSA is not easily treated with antibiotics. Thus, new avenues for treatment are needed. Some preliminary evidence indicates that green tea may be helpful in the fight against MRSA (Zhao et al., 2001).

 

12. Drinking Green Tea May Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels

The flavonoids in green tea, including epigallocatechin gallate, have been shown to decrease the liver’s glucose production. This means that your body regulates blood sugar more effectively, keeping your glucose levels within a healthy range (Waltner-Law, 2002).

 

13. Green Tea Can Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic in the United States, with nearly 10% of the population having this condition (American Diabetes Association, 2016). Drinking green tea could lower your risk. Compared to those who drank one cup per week, participants who drank more than six cups of tea per day had an astonishing 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes (Iso et al., 2006). This effect remained even after researchers controlled for factors such as age, sex, and body mass index.

 

14. The Fluoride in Green Tea Promotes Healthy Teeth

Green tea contains fluoride, the mineral that is added to the water supply to support stronger dental health (Fung et al., 1999). Small increases in the amount of fluoride can prevent bacteria from attacking teeth.

 

15. Green Tea Keeps Bones Strong

Loss of bone strength is a major public health problem, particularly for postmenopausal women, who are at high risk for osteoporosis. The polyphenols in green tea may increase bone mass, protecting bone tissue from damage (Shen et al., 2008).

 

16. Antioxidants in Green Tea Boost the Immune System

Drinking green tea might fend of the sniffles this winter. In a randomized controlled trial, 32% fewer participants taking green tea extract developed cold or flu symptoms compared to a placebo control group (Rowe et al., 2006). The exact mechanisms behind this effect are unknown, but they could be related to the vitamin C content in green tea.

 

17. Green Tea Keeps You Looking Youthful

Not only is green tea good for your physical health, but it could also keep you looking great! Beauty experts commonly use green tea products for their anti-inflammatory effects. For instance, a combined regimen of 10% green tea cream and green tea supplements improves the elasticity of skin, which keeps your skin looking more youthful as you age (Chiu et al., 2005).

 

18. Green Tea Can Help You Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Green tea is a healthy choice for those worried about added sugars, because it naturally contains zero grams of sugar. Compared to soda and fruit juice, which both contain a lot of sugar, green tea is the healthier choice. If you are accustomed to sugary beverages, it may take some time to adjust to the more astringent flavor of green tea. One good way to reap the benefits of green tea is to mix a tablespoon or two of matcha green tea powder into your smoothies until you get used to drinking green tea on its own.

 

19. Green Tea Can Boost Your Productivity

As a mild stimulant, green tea can help you concentrate better. If you are feeling a mid-afternoon slump, brew yourself a cup of green tea to perk yourself up and enhance your productivity.

 

20. Green Tea is Connected to Longer Life

The accumulated health benefits of green tea mean that it may help you live longer. Indeed, one large study that followed participants over 11 years found that drinking three or four cups of tea each day lowered risk of mortality by 5% for men and 18% for women (Kuriyama, 2006).

 

11 Very Good Reasons To Go To Therapy

By: Lindsey Holmes

Therapy is so much more than sitting on a couch.

Misconceptions abound about what it means to talk to a mental health professional. The need to talk about your emotions is seen as something to poke fun at, weak or shameful. That stigma is often why people don’t seek help in the first place.

But here’s the reality: Therapy is an incredibly useful tool that helps with a range of issues, from anxiety to sleep to relationships to trauma. Research shows that it’s incredibly effective in helping people manage mental health conditions and experts say that it’s worth it even if you don’t have a medical problem.

If you still need convincing, here are a few reasons why you should give the practice a try:

1. You’re experiencing unexpected mood swings.

If you’re noticing you’ve taken on a more negative mood or thought process ― and it’s persistent ― it might be worth talking to someone. This is typically a sign of a mental health issue. A therapist can help you get to the root of the problem, according to clinical social worker Rachel Fogelberg, who works with the University of Michigan’s department of psychiatry.

“You have the opportunity to open up about your thoughts, feelings and circumstances in a confidential environment,” Fogelberg told The Huffington Post. “Within the safety of this secure environment, individuals can feel comfortable to explore areas of themselves or their lives that they are struggling or unhappy with.”

2. You’re undergoing a big change.

This could be a new career, a new family or moving to a different city. New ventures are challenging and it’s normal to need assistance with that.

“You can work with someone with a neutral perspective to identify goals and to develop a plan to achieve them,” Folgelberg said. “Therapy often involves the development of skills and strategies to reduce or manage life stressors.”

3. You’re having harmful thoughts.

Suicide and self-harm are completely preventable with treatment by a licensed professional. If you’re thinking of hurting yourself immediately, seek help right away through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Crisis Text Line.

4. You’re withdrawing from things that used to bring you joy.

A loss of motivation could signal that something is up. If you’re normally a social butterfly and you’re suddenly pulling away from your weekly sports league, for example, you could be experiencing something deeper. A therapist is trained to help you uncover why this might occurring, Folgelberg explained.

“The truth is, therapy can be very helpful for many people and often helps individuals sustain their mental health,” she said.

5. You’re feeling isolated or alone.

Many people who deal with mental health issues feel like they’re singular in dealing with their experience, according to licensed master social worker Nancy McCorry, who works at the University of Michigan’s Addiction Treatment Services. Group therapy could help with this or even just having a medical professional recognizing the validity of your emotions.

“When you enter therapy ... you get the immediate sense of relief that you are not alone,” McCorry told HuffPost. “Your problem is well understood and shared by others. This can bring about a sense of both comfort and hope.”

6. You’re using a substance to cope with issues in your life.

If you find yourself turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with what’s going on in your life, it might be time to reach out. Addiction and substance abuse are medical conditions ― not character flaws, McCorry stressed.

“There have been many breakthroughs in our understanding of the biology of addiction and evidenced based treatment to assist people in achieving their treatment goals,” she said. “Going to therapy allows a person to gain the knowledge needed to fully address their illness.”

7. You suspect you might have a serious mental health condition.

Serious mental illness affects almost 10 million adults in America in a given year. If you’ve been feeling off for a long period of time, reach out. Psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia rarely develop out of nowhere and people display signs for a while. Symptoms ― particularly ones like severe nervousness, apathy or intrusive thoughts ― should not be ignored. They’re treatable.

8. You feel like you’ve lost control.

This particular feeling arises when people are dealing with a substance abuse or addiction issue, McCorry said. This lack of control often keeps individuals in the in a repetitive circle of substance use.

“This can keep a person in the cycle of addiction ― using their substance in order to avoid painful feelings. Going to therapy can help to lift this heavy burde

9. Your relationships feel strained

Relationships ― no matter what kind ― are hard work. You’re not expected to have all the answers. If you’re with a partner, therapy can help the two of you explore better ways to communicate and any other issues that seem to pop up. Couples therapy can even be beneficial if your partner is hesitant and doesn’t end up attending the session.

“The therapist can pinpoint how to help the spouse interpret misunderstandings and identify where they’re most at odds,” Debra Campbell, a psychologist and couple’s therapist in Melbourne, Australia, previously told HuffPost.

10. Your sleeping patterns are off.

A key symptom of depression includes a disruption in sleep, whether it be too little or too much. If you’ve noticed any significant change, it might be time to investigate the underlying issue (this even goes for insomnia, which also includes therapy as a method of treatment).

11. You just feel like you need to talk to someone.

Bottom line: There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help for any health issue, including mental health. To put it as actress Kerry Washington once did, “I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?”

If you have an inclination that you might need to speak with someone, do it. Therapy is a perfectly normal ― and valuable ― experience that works to many people’s benefit.

 

How To Become Smarter: 21 Things You Can Do Daily

By: Jayson DeMers

 

1. Visit New Places

2.Continue Your Education

3. Read and Watch the News

4. Read

5. Approach Work in New Ways

6. Do Brain Training

7. Ask 5 Whys When Ecountering Problems

8. Eschew Technology to Keep the Brain in Shape

9. Foser Creativity

10. Draw

11. Paint

12. Play an Instrument

13 Write

14. Role-Play

15. Teach and Share Information with Others

16. Talk to Interesting People

17. Work in a Team Environment

18. Exercise

19. Pursue Athletics

20. Meditate

21. Maintain a Nutritious Diet

 

3 Ways To Learn To Love Yourself

By: Deborah Ward

 

So much popular self-help advice suggests that we must "learn to love ourselves." It’s good advice, but how exactly do we do it?

 

It's not so simple: We often believe that we do love ourselves, and yet our actions and reactions suggest otherwise. Loving yourself is essential to your personal growth, to the fulfillment of your dreams, and to developing healthy, happy relationships with others. Instead of trying to just talk yourself into believing you have self-love, foster compassion for yourself with these three practical steps:

 

Care as much about yourself as you do for others.

 

It sounds simple, but many of us simply don’t do this because we think we are being selfish or that our own needs are not important. They are. It is not selfish to care about yourself. Compassion for yourself means showing concern for your own feelings as well as for others. Treat yourself the way you would treat your children or your best friend—with gentleness, concern and caring.

Maintain your boundaries.

 

Write a list of the things that you need emotionally, things that are important to you and that upset you or hurt your feelings when they are ignored or violated. They could include being listened to; getting sympathy when you’re hurt; being celebrated when you succeed; receiving love and tenderness without asking for it; being cared for; and knowing you can rely on someone. Whatever is important to you is important. And when someone ignores what’s important to you or crosses your boundary, you’ll know—because it hurts. Don’t ignore that. Your feelings are there to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.

 

Let people know what your boundaries are and what you will and will not tolerate. If they apologize, you can forgive them. If they do not, or continue to ignore your boundaries and needs, you need to create consequences. For example, if you tell your partner that you need him to listen to you and to acknowledge your feelings when you talk about something, but he continuously ignores you or tells you to get over it, you should respond with appropriate action, such as finding someone else to confide in. You may also need to reconsider the relationship. Relationships are meant to be a two-way street and you should be getting your needs for love, acceptance and respect met as much as the other person's. Being assertive and taking action to get your own needs met will build your self-esteem because it will reinforce the belief, in yourself and others, that you deserve to be loved and cherished.

Do what you need to do to be you.

 

First, figure out what makes you feel good. It doesn’t matter what it is, but become aware of how you feel when you do things. Do you feel exhausted at work, but exhilarated when you’re in the garden? Do you feel joyful reading to your children? Fulfilled when you are writing poetry or volunteering? Find out what makes you feel good and do it, as often as you can. Feeling good is all the permission you need to do what you love to do. And the more you do those things, the happier you will be. If it means you have to give up something else, so be it. Perhaps you need to spend more time on your own or schedule an hour every weekend to visit an art gallery to recharge. Maybe you need to save up some money to buy paints and brushes, or ask your family to look after themselves for a few hours while you take a stress-relieving walk. Perhaps you need to join a club to meet like-minded people who inspire you. Do what you need to do to be you and don’t let anyone blame you, criticize you or talk you out of it because they think you are being selfish, silly, or delusional. Ignore them. You will feel better, you will be better able to really be there for others—and you will like yourself more. You may even love yourself.

All of these things can help you to develop a sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride in what you are doing and who you are, and a realization that you are a worthy, talented, capable, lovable person who deserves to be loved. And the most important person to believe that is you.

 

Grief

By: Psychology Today

Grief is the acute pain that accompanies loss. Because it is a reflection of what we love, it can feel all-encompassing. Grief is not limited to the loss of people, but when it follows the loss of a loved one, it may be compounded by feelings of guilt and confusion, especially if the relationship was a difficult one.

The Process of Grief

Because grief obeys its own trajectory, there is no timetable for feelings of pain after loss; nor is it possible to avoid suffering altogether. In fact, attempts to suppress or deny grief are just as likely to prolong the process, while also demanding additional emotional effort.

Similarly, the misperception that “more” grief is better or that there is a proper way to grieve can make the process more difficult.

For some people, grief is a short-term phenomenon, also known as acute grief, although the pain may return unexpectedly at a later time. But other individuals may experience prolonged grief, also known as complicated grief, lasting months or years. Without help and support, such grief can lead to isolation and chronic loneliness.

Does everyone follow 5 stages of grief?

Many people expect to experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, in that order, due to the continuing influence of On Death and Dying, the 1969 book by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. However, it has been demonstrated that many, if not most, people will not progress through these stages. While some people do experience the stages, and eventually reach acceptance after a loss, grief is now understood to be highly individualized and unpredictable.

What’s the difference between grief and depression?

Many of the symptoms of grief overlap with those of depression. There is sadness, and often the loss of capacity for pleasure; insomnia; and loss of interest in eating or taking care of oneself. But symptoms of grief tend to lessen over time, although they may be temporarily reactivated on anniversaries or when other reminders of a loss arise. While negative thoughts such as “life is unfair” and “I’ll never get over this” are part of the normal grieving process, it is important to prevent them from guiding your actions.

Supporting a Griever

Because grief is experienced in many ways, experts suggest that those who would support a friend or loved one in a time of grieving follow that person’s lead, and resist judging whether they seem to be insufficiently sad or to be dwelling in grief for too long. And it is generally unhelpful to encourage the pursuit of “closure.”

Offering practical help and an acknowledgement of a loss are both positive actions. Many mourners want those around them to listen, ask questions, and share memories, thereby confirming the depth and validity of the griever’s feelings and helping them heal.

What We Mourn

It is expected that someone will grieve after the loss of a parent, sibling, partner, child, or best friend. But those are not the only losses that lead to grief. People may grieve the loss of a treasured pet, a job or other important role in life, or a home or other emotionally significant possessions. And it often occurs after a divorce.

Unfortunately, many find that those around them do not acknowledge these forms of grief, which is why they are labeled disenfranchised: The pain is compounded by the feeling that one has not been given “permission” to experience it. But the framework of mourning can help an individual work through such moments of chaos, especially if those around them respond with compassion, and recognize that an individual is entitled to anger, numbness, and nonlinear healing.

 

CHALLENGE: Make a JOY List!

By: Rachel Hollis

 

Seriously, when was the last time you actually sat down and made a list of things that bring you total joy and contentment? Or even THOUGHT about it?

Do you have a running collection of things that feed your spirit? For most people the answer is no. We’re moving so fast in life that we don’t have time to single out things just for the sake of contentment of peace. You know what’s worse? We’ve been taught to believe that if something doesn’t make us money, or change the world, or get us 50K likes on Insta, that it doesn’t have value.

SO, I’m going to challenge YOU to make your joy list of 10 things that make you happy even if they don’t make sense to other people! And not things that only sorta make you happy like “take your bra off at the end of a long day happy”, but TRUE JOY.

Ok, here are 10 of mine!

 

1. A slow cup of coffee while looking at a beautiful view

2. Laughing with my kids

3. International travel – ok, this one is harder in Covid times for sure so in the absence of travel I look at a lot of pictures of places I’d like to travel to when that’s allowed again

4. Going to cute little small-business-owned coffee shops and asking them to make me “the special”. EVERY place has one and I never even look at what it is. I have never been disappointed.

5. Long multi-course dinners where it’s been like 4 hours and yet food is STILL coming out and you’re like “I am NOT, not eating this ravioli!” but then you totally do because that ravioli is delicious

6. Really luxurious sweat pants – (swear to goodness, the pure joy I get from new sweatpants is embarrassing!)

7. My Heating pad That’s right, heating pads. Y’all…I lay on one every night like an iguana. I am always cold so I love sitting on something warm

8 . Talking about and helping people with their businesses – I am such a geek for entrepreneurs and I love talking about every aspect of it

9. Hawaii – always and forever my favorite place in the world!

1o. Learning something new in ANY subject! I’m so curious that I legit have a page in my Notes on my phone titled “Things to Learn More About”. The list currently includes: Toulouse Lautrec, the Onna-Bugeisha, and blockchain.

My JOY list is actually longer, but I’m guessing you get the idea! Here’s the point…. if you know what feeds your soul, you can schedule some time into every week to guarantee moments of joy. If you’re struggling to feel passionate, or you want more moments of joy (and trust me sis, you DO!) try this simple exercise! Ok, it’s your turn! Go make your list!

 

5 Killer Habits

By: Rachel Hollis

1 // DRINK THE WATER

Drink half your body weight in ounces of water every single day. Take your body weight. Let’s say you weigh 100 pounds. Divide that in half. That’s 50. 50 ounces of water every single day.

Of course, the next question I get is, “Oh my gosh! That’s a lot of water. That’s way more than I’m drinking now. Doesn’t that make you have to pee every five minutes?” Basically yes. Of course, it does. But it’s also flushing toxins out of your system. Your skin will never look better sister. You will get less headaches. And best of all? Water is free! So let’s go, let’s do it. Half your body weight in ounces of water is essential.

2 // CUT OUT A CATEGORY OF FOOD FOR 30 DAYS

I talked a lot about this in Girl, Wash Your Face and why it worked so well for me but the gist is…Cut out a category of food you know you should not be eating for the next 30 days. Maybe it’s fried food. Maybe it’s processed food. Maybe it’s sugar. Maybe you’re going to give up chips. Maybe you’re going to give up fast food. Whatever it is, just an entire category of food that you don’t touch. It’s not even a diet because you have every other kind of food to choose from. You’re just going to give up this one thing for 30 days and you are not going to cheat. I mean it, DO NOT CHEAT. The entire intention here is that you are proving to yourself that you can live without that thing and that you can keep a promise you make to yourself!

3 // BEING ACTIVE

Move your body for 30 minutes every single day. Depending on your level of fitness, 30 minutes a day for you might be time at the gym (Read: How To Go The Gym!), a Zumba class, cardio kickboxing, or working out with a trainer. And for others, maybe you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey. So 30 minutes might just be a slow walk outside (Read: My Favorite Workout Wear for Cold Weather) or playing out in the backyard with your kids or dancing around in your kitchen as you make dinner. Whatever it is, just commit that every single day of your life you are going to move your body for at least half an hour.

 

4 // WAKE UP EARLY

Get up an hour before you normally do. Then I want you to use that hour for yourself. Use it to work on that book you’ve always wanted to write. Use it to work out, read the bible, meditate, exercise, or just have a cup of coffee. Paint a picture. I don’t care what you use it for. The idea is just that you find an hour for yourself. Why is this a thing? Well one of the comments I hear most often from our community is, “I don’t have time.” You have time, you’re just spending it doing other things. Give yourself an hour every single day that’s just for you.

Two important caveats with this one. If you have a new baby, if you have a child who is waking up, or if you work crazy middle of the night kind of hours, please be smart about this. If you have a two month old baby and you’re barely getting sleep, then waking up an hour earlier is probably a dumb idea for you. Do not take this one on if it doesn’t make sense for your life.

And don’t think for a single second that I’m asking you guys give up an hour of sleep. You gotta hit the sheets a little earlier so you can actually make use of that hour!

5 // WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR

If you choose one thing out of these five things, I highly recommend this one. Every single day I want you to write down 5 things that you’re grateful for, every single day. 10 things that you’re grateful for that happened that day.

You can write them down in your Start Today Journal or any paper you have but I do believe it’s important to write them by hand instead of typing them out.

I am telling you, if you spend your day looking for your 10 things like, “Hey, I got to make my list later tonight, so I have to be on the lookout for beautiful blessings,” it will change your perspective of everything.

 

 

12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation

Healthline

 

1. Reduces Stress

2. Controls Anxiety

3. Promotes Emotional Health

4. Enhances Self-Awareness

5. Lengthens Attention Span

6. May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss

7. Can Generate Kindness

8. May Help Fight Addictions

9. Improve Sleep

10. Helps Control Pain

11. Can Decrease Blood Pressure

12. Accessible Anywhere

 

 

Benefits of Reading Books

Healthline

 

Research shows that regular reading:

 

-Improves brain connectivity

-Increases your vocabulary and comprehension

-Empowers you to empathize with other people

-Aids in sleep readiness

-Reduces stress

-Lowers blood pressure and heart rate

-Fights depression symptoms

-Prevents cognitive decline as you age

-Contributes to a longer life

 

It’s especially important for children to read as much as possible because the effects of reading are cumulative. However, it’s never too late to begin taking advantage of the many physical and psychological benefits waiting for you in the pages of a good book.

 

 

The Benefits of a Gratitude Journal and How to Maintain One

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gratitude-journal_b_7745854

 

The best time to start a gratitude journal is now. These are the incredible benefits associated with journaling, and because maintaining a journal can be challenging, I share the tips that work best for me:

 

Benefits of a Gratitude Journal

1. Lower stress levels.

2. Feel calm at night.

3. Gain a new perspective of what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life.

4. By noting what you are grateful for, you will gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from you life.

5. Helps you focus on what really matters.

6. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware.

7. Your gratitude journal is a safe zone for your eyes only, so you can write anything you feel without judgment.

8. On days when you feel blue, read back through your gratitude journal to readjust your attitude and remember that you have great people and things in your life.

Maintaining a Gratitude Journal

 

1. Plan to write in your gratitude journal every night for 15 minutes before bed. Set an alarm reminder on your phone or schedule it in your calendar. I've found that it is easier to write at night so that I can include things that I am grateful for from that day.

2. Keep your gratitude journal by your nightstand so you will see it before going to sleep and remember to jot down what you are thankful for. Your journal may even become a symbol of gratitude so that when you just look at it, you will feel a sense of appreciation.

3. Write as many things as you want in your gratitude journal. Writing down 5-10 things that you are grateful for each day is a good number to aim for.

4. Your gratitude journal doesn't have to be deep. What you are thankful for can be as simple as "family" or "the new book or movie I recently enjoyed" or "this morning's breakfast." What you are grateful for will differ from everyone else.

5. The timing of when you want to write is up to you. While I try to write in my gratitude journal every night, sometimes it becomes every other night. That's okay. Journal when it feels right for you -- the benefits really are worth it.

 

By:Taylor Hendrix

Hi friends!

I've been struggling with a lot of things lately, and I thought maybe writing them down and putting them out in the universe will help heal some emotional wounds and maybe help others who may be struggling, also.

I've learned a lot over the past few years. Some good things, some not so good things. But, I'm sharing them all. The good and the bad.

No matter how good you are to some people, they will turn their backs on you. Don't take it personally. Just keep being good to people, but guard your heart a bit.

You're the villain in someone's story. And that's ok. Everyone has their truth. Stick to yours and don't try to defend yourself. Your actions speak much louder than your words ever will.

No matter how nice your pictures are, or how important the things you post are...some people just won't hit the like button. Because it's you. And the first thing people do when they are feeling a certain way about you, is stop liking anything you post. Post anyway. Share your pictures. And, your stories. They put a smile on someone's face.

Not everyone has the same heart as you. (This one I still struggle with on a daily basis.) Just because you will do it for them, doesn't mean they will do it for you. And, it's unfair to both of you to expect that.

You will be excluded. And, it will hurt. A lot. You'll never understand why. But, you will remember the pain of being left out, and you will make sure to include everyone so no one has to feel the way that you did.

Your kids (or future kids) will be excluded. And trust me, that hurts even more. But, it's a great teachable opportunity.

When you put good out into the world, good comes back. Call it karma, or whatever you want... but, it's true. If you are kind, kindness will flood your doorsteps.

You can't be liked by everyone. No matter how hard you try, some people just won't like you. Sometimes it's from personal experience, sometimes it's from what others have told them. Once you accept that, life gets a lot easier.

Friends come and go, unfortunately. It's life. Sometimes friendships you thought would last forever, end abruptly and you're left wondering why. Stop wondering. You're never going to feel satisfied with any answer they give you. Own your part in it, learn from it, and then close that door. That chapter has ended. Allow a new one to begin.

A simple text just to see how someone is doing, can mean the world. Just to know someone is thinking about you and cares, can turn a whole day around. Send the text.

No one owes you anything.

Forgive even if you don't get an apology. You can't begin to heal while you're still holding on to the hurt. Let it hurt for a moment. Forgive, and let it go.

You're going to be too much for some people. Too loud. Too opinionated. Too talkative. Those people will never get you. Find the ones who do... and love them hard!

People are going to talk about you. Give them good material.

Extend grace to those who need it. We all struggle sometimes.

Life is tough. It's messy. And it's ugly at times. But, its also so beautiful. And exciting. And full of adventure. Chase them all!

Be a light. Don't let anyone dull your shine. You never know who may be looking to you for a little bit of joy. Be that joy.

Go outside.

Go on a hike.

Swim in the ocean.

Try a new restaurant.

Go somewhere you've never been.

Look at the stars.

Take the pictures.

Watch the sunset.

Take the trip.

Buy the shoes.

Eat the cake (or the tacos!)

And, most importantly learn to love yourself. And forgive yourself for not being perfect.

Perfect is boring 🌈��������

 

Using Positive Affirmations

By: Kevin Ngo Articles

https://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/positive-affirmations.html

Positive affirmations are statements that you can say over and over to yourself to help you create the right mindset in order to achieve your goals. The hardest part in achieve any goal is having to deal with obstacles and challenges. These things are what make most people give up on their goals but they are also what make reaching your goals worth it. Affirmations have been around for a long time. In this article, I’d like to discuss whether or not using affirmations actually work. I will also give you a better alternative.

If you search the web, you will be able to find a ton of different positive thinking affirmations. Saying things like, “I’m good enough” may or may not be effective depending on what you do. The point of these affirmations is to help you think positive thoughts. There are a couple of criteria when it comes to these statements. The first is that they must be stated in the positive. This makes sense. Otherwise, it would be called negative affirmations. But to be more specific, you don’t want to say things like, “I don’t want to be broke” since that isn’t positive. A second is that the statement has to be in the present. Here is an example list of affirmations.

 

“I choose to eat the right foods everyday.”

“I love myself just the way I am.”

“I believe in myself.”

“I attract abundance into my life everyday.”

 

On the surface, it may sound like using stating affirmations can be effective in helping you stay positive but in my opinion, just stating them is not good enough. You can sit there and say, “I feel happy” all day long and still feel sad couldn’t you? All you have to do is say that statement or any other positive statement you can think of with no enthusiasm whatsoever. You can even subscribe to one of those daily positive affirmation newsletters and read each statement they send you and still not feel positive.

I’m not trying to knock on using affirmations here. I’m simply saying that just stating them isn’t enough. I’ve said hundreds of affirmations during my lifetime and for the most part, they didn’t really do much in terms of changing my actions or thoughts. However, it doesn’t mean affirmations are useless. You can make them become a lot more effective by doing one thing which I hinted on earlier. That is to state the affirmations with enthusiasm. To take it even further, you will want to say them while using your entire body. This means to yell them out with intensity

This is a technique Tony Robbins teaches. He doesn’t call them affirmations though. Instead, he calls them incantations. The main difference is in how you say these affirmations. Instead of sitting there and saying them in a passive manner, what you want to do is actually feel what you are saying throughout your entire body. It’s only when you do this that your mind will believe what you are saying. What I like to do is say these positive statements while listening to some powerful music.

The difference in the two approaches just comes down to being more intense with incantations than with a positive affirmation. When you say something out loud and feel it in your body, it makes the statement much more real and powerful. Saying affirmations is okay but announcing it to the world while feeling the emotions of what those words mean throughout your entire body is way better. You don’t have to jump around while saying these affirmations or anything unless if that’s the only way you can make it intense, but the key is just that, make it intense.

 

Why Do Dogs Make Us Happy?

https://www.petsforpatriots.org/dogs-make-us-happy/#:~:text=Dogs%20make%20us%20happy%20because%20of%20oxy%2Dwhat%3F&text=Studies%20have%20shown%20that%20even,while%20reducing%20stress%20and%20anxiety.

 

25 Things For When You Need A Pick Me Up

BuzzFeed

https://www.buzzfeed.com/abbykass/25-things-for-when-you-need-a-little-pick-me-up

 

Breathe- One Simple Trick Helps Focus, Energy, Depression, Anxiety, Sleep, and More

We’ve surely had our share of challenges here in Central Texas. As if the blooming Covid numbers and restrictions weren’t enough, now we’ve been frozen in by winter storms the likes of which we have never seen. We have lost power, water, and ability to travel for groceries, school, and work.Many of our students have struggled with motivation, isolation, and virtual school. Some got anxious, some overwhelmed with school work and perfectionism, some can’t resist the temptation to play video games or watch YouTube during instructional times. Others just got down, lost their motivation. These are some of the ways we have struggled in coping with the added stresses.

What is one simple thing we can all do to help ourselves? We can breathe. But wait. That’s not completely it. We can learn to breathe better. We can engage in mindful breathing practices and learn to breathe properly.

What can this do? Read on, and be ready to be surprised by how a few simple breathing techniques can restore mental and physical health. Isn’t breathing something we do naturally without thinking? Yes, but modern man has lost their way with one of the simplest, most elemental aspects of our living and, well, breathing.

What if I told you that one simple trick, learning to breathe only through your nose, could help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, sleep apnea, crooked teeth and the need for extractions, athletic performance, acid reflux, fatigue, ADHD, dizziness, allergies, asthma, and more? I know, this sounds like a sales pitch for a “miracle cure.”

Except this is not a sales pitch, because I’m not asking for money, not trying to sell you anything except some ideas you and your kids can try for free with no risks or bad side-effects. You don’t have to leave your house, you don’t even have to work hard.

Are these ideas supported by any research? You bet, and I will give you some links at the end of the full article on my site so you can see for yourself. I also published a more comprehensive, sophisticated Guide for Student Loss of Motivation and Joy for Virtual School, which is linked to the full article below. Don’t worry, that’s free too.

My Dad is 84 and is a health and fitness fanatic. He’s not a doctor, but I learned in the community that in the running world, he is known as “Dr. Keith,” for his eagerness to share his breadth and depth of knowledge about the human body, wellness, athletic performance, and links between physical and mental health.

He gave me a book called Breath, by James Nestor. Being shut in for a week with spotty internet by a winter storm in a place that seems to have no snow plows, I picked it up and started reading.

Sure I’ve done breath work, mindfulness, meditation for myself and in my counseling practice to aide in calming anxiety and develop a focused, organized state of mind. I see quite a few children, teens, and adults who are bright, gifted, and also have ADHD, autism, and/or anxiety.

Some get so wrapped up in their thinking they overwhelm, disorganize, and wear out one of their greatest assets, their smart brains. Then they have difficulty sleeping, socializing, and working. Finally, they begin to doubt themselves, feel defective, get emotionally dysregulated, have anxious/angry outbursts or withdraw, and may even start thinking they don’t want to go on or be here anymore.

These are the people I’m writing this for, and why I’m excited about what I’m learning from this book Breath, and the research it has inspired me to do. I hope you will be inspired and do some research too. What follows is a synopsis of what I have learned so far, and the applications for the population I serve. Visit the complete version of this article on my website at the link below to see the techiques in action, supporting research, and get easy ways to acheive a more coherent state of mind and well-being.

It turns out there are explicit descriptions and references to the importance of proper breathing practices, especially to breathe through the nose, across cultures, geography, religions, ethnic groups, and time. These methods require little time and effort, and are great for restoring mental and respiratory health.

In addition to nose breathing, we can also learn to breathe less. Less is more, so they say. How can this work? It raises the level of carbon dioxide in your body. This helps you absorb more oxygen with less breathing. It also forces the body to engage in aerobic energy conversion, decreasing painful lactic acid buildup, and the fatigue some overbreathers get along with nausea and dizziness from exercise.

This has also be used to successfully treat allergies, snoring, apnea, asthma, emphysema, and other respiratory conditions. It also restores proper ph to the bloodstream, so the kidneys don’t compensate by pulling bicarbonate out of the body into the urine. Over time this also leaches minerals like magnesium from the body creating a need for supplements.

So if this learning to breathe in less and exhale more completely and slowly is so great for performance, why don’t Olympic athletes use it? Well, turns out they do, and they have. Emil Zatopek, called the greatest runner of all time by RunnersWorld magazine, claimed 18 world records and four Olympic gold medals. He was laughed at for using this technique. Coach Counsilman for the US Men’s swimming team used this method and his team in the Montreal Olympics took 13 gold medals, 14 silver, and 7 bronze.

Those guys worked hard at it, but you don’t have to in order to restore your respiratory system and get a variety of health benefits, by practicing a few minutes a day on your couch. You don’t even have to get up! 5.5 breaths per minute. That’s 5.5 seconds inhaling, 5.5 seconds exhaling.

Exactly what happens when you say the Rosary. Buddhist monks’ most popular mantra, Om, Mani, Padme, Hum takes six seconds to sing, with a pause of six seconds to inhale. Kundalini yoga; sa ta na ma chant, six seconds to chant, six seconds to inhale. Breathe in through the nose. Slow it down. Breathe less. Increase your health, mental well-being, and longevity. Modern westernized versions of this technique can be found by googling “resonant breathing,” or “Coherent Breathing.”

​Link to the rest of this article on my website intensivecareforyou.com.

It's A post on my site, publicly available like most free blogs. The rest of the article has numerous links to additional resources and related information:

Outbound links to research so you can see data from other reputable sources

Links to YouTube videos I found showing some just breathe exercises

These links may trigger your incoming mail filter, they don’t like a lot of links in an email box!

Link to my free guide for Student Loss of Joy and Motivation for Virtual School During Covid Restrictions

 

There may be many things we can’t do right now, but we can all breathe, and we can learn to do it better. That way we can open up, improve our physical and mental health, our quality of life and personal experience, and be ready to go when things open back up. Plus with Covid hanging around, we want our lungs and respiratory issues cleared up, right?

Stay safe and warm!

Brad Mason

 

Why do boundaries feel selfish sometimes? They force us to be honest with others. They also teach us the importance of speaking with kindness. These challenges ultimately help us grow as human beings. Find out why we become more compassionate when we set boundaries in this Brené Brown video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U3VcgUzqiI&feature=youtu.be

 

 

There are many reasons why we struggle with asking for help. Hardwired independence and the fear of seeming needy can make it hard to seek support. Still, knowing how to do so is a skill that benefits us all. As providers, how can we help others feel comfortable enough to ask for help when needed? For tips, dive into Alexi Pappas’ heartfelt interview on building the courage to seek help.

Listen To The Interview:

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/21/959276454/olympic-runner-alexi-pappas-on-learning-to-ask-for-help

 

 

This time of year is great for reflecting on the connections you have with others. This can be a romantic relationship or a relationship you have with a friend or family member. Ask yourself, “Am I giving others my best?”

Looking to boost one of your relationships? Start by analyzing how you communicate — especially during conflicts. Are you able to arrive at a solution that works for everyone involved?

Compromising can be tough at first, but it’s a great skill to practice. Not only will it help everyone feel heard, but it can even bring you closer together!

Try Feel Good Compromise:

https://app.mystrength.com/act/compromise/intro

 

 

https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/patient-advocate/benefits-of-cbd?cid=63emHLN021521ENGTest1&elqTrackId=58C5FF67103CF2FD4173FEF2AC9824D9&elq=0c06d867bae848b48498ef3b6eb7138d&elqaid=4968&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=2630

 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/animal-therapy#alternatives

11 Reasons to be Cheerful

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/11-reasons-to-be-cheerful.html

1. Life.  Start by giving yourself one point for being alive. It may sound silly but wait a moment.  Your life represents a tiny interlude between the vast times when you did not exist and when you will be dead.  You are in that tiny moment right now and you can do things to change your life so be thankful for that at least.

2. Health.  If you are healthy and do not suffer from any major diseases or afflictions mark up another point.  We take our health for granted and only realise how important it is when we become ill.  Most of us have some minor ailments but if you are reasonably healthy then you are much better off than people suffering from serious illnesses and you should be deeply thankful.

3. Relationship. If you are in a stable relationship with another person then chalk up a point.  If you can honestly say that you love them and they love you then give yourself a bonus point.  Many people search for love without success so if you have found it then cherish it and count yourself lucky.

4. Family. If you have children, brothers or sisters or your parents alive then add another point.  They may be frustrating and they will have their faults but they are your flesh and blood.  Whatever happens in life your family remains your family and if you have them around you then you should be thankful for that – just ask someone who has lost family members.

5. Work.  Give yourself a point if you are in work or full-time education.  Even if it is dull and unfulfilling at times you are still better off than the many people who are desperately seeking employment.

6. Value. If you can honestly say that you are doing something that makes life better for other people and adds real value then give yourself a point.  This might involve your work, your volunteering, your parenting or some other aspect of your life.  Are you making the world a better place?  If not then this is an area to think about.

7. Achievement. Can you look back on something that you are proud of?  Did you achieve something worthwhile?  This might be at work, in sport, with your family or something else.  If you can you point to something that people would admire then give yourself another point.

8. Future – 1. Do you have something good to look forward to?  This might be a holiday, a promotion, a wedding or just a trip to the cinema with your partner. If you have something good coming up then think about it, smile and add another point.

9. Future – 2. Do you have a plan for your improvement and success?  This might include your career, your education, your finances and your relationships.  If you have a plan then add a point.  You are better off than most of the population.  People with plans generally do better than those who just muddle along.

10. Financial security. Are you financially secure?  Are you living within your means?  Can you see a reasonably prosperous future?  If so you are much better placed than people who are burdened with excessive debts and who struggle to make ends meet.  You should get some satisfaction from that and you can add a point.

11. Friendship. Do you have one or more good friends who you can share your joys and problems with?  Is there someone whose company you enjoy and with whom you can have a laugh?  If so give yourself a final point.

Add up your total. How many points did you get?  The maximum is 12.  Eight or over is a good score.  Now take a moment to express thanks for your success and good fortune.  You have a lot to be grateful for.

 

Self-Love Tips

Psychology Today

 

Self-love is sometimes thought to be an appreciation for one's own worth or value. The words "self-love" are not generally used in psychology research. Instead, research is conducted on topics like self-worth, self-esteem, or self-compassion—topics closely related

to self-love.

 

Positive feelings towards the self are thought to be a crucial aspect of well-being. For example, self-esteem contributes to positive feelings and more initiative (Crocker, & Knight, 2005). Luckily, there a number of ways to boost self-love. By using these strategies, hopefully we can feel better about our personality, skills, and appearance. Here are some self-love tips:

Self-Love Tips

Psychology Today

1. Be kind to yourself. When we judge and criticize ourselves, we can end up feeling even worse about ourselves. We're being bullies. That's why when trying to develop self-love, it's important to be nice to ourselves. We could start by writing ourselves a self-compassionate letter—a letter where we talk to ourselves gently and tell ourselves all the nice things we want to hear.

2. Own your power. If we feel like we have little control or power over our lives, we can start to feel helpless and hopeless. Even though we don't have control over everything, if we look, we can find ways to own our own power. For example, we might take responsibility for keeping our room clean or our bed made. We might decide to practice random acts of kindness. Or we might start working towards building a new skill that will help us get a better job. We are not entirely powerless, and we show ourselves self-love by taking back control of our lives.

3. Try self-love meditation. Guided self-love meditation may help us work on the parts of our minds that can be destructive or self-loathing. Basically, we take time to sit quietly and think positive thoughts about ourselves and remind ourselves that we are indeed worthy of our own love.

4. Try to undo negative self-talk. When we have negative thoughts about ourselves, we often believe these thoughts. We might get down on ourselves for something we said or did. By questioning this negative self-talk, we can start to pick apart its logic and discover that many of the negative things we think about ourselves are not true. They are just opinions and we don't need to hold these opinions anymore.

5. Give love to others. Maybe we aren't feeling enough self-love because we just aren't putting enough love out into the world. If we practice loving others, it may help us improve our "love skills" and have an easier time showing love to ourselves too.

6. Forgive yourself. Research shows that forgiveness can help us undo stress and anger (Harris, et al., 2006). So if you're withholding love for yourself because you feel guilty for doing something bad in the past, try to move past it, forgive yourself, and let go. Holding onto self-directed anger does no one any good, so see if you can find a way to call it even with yourself.

7. Try self-love journaling. Journaling can be a great way to better understand and work through feelings we have about ourselves. So consider starting a self-love journal. In this journal, write 3 good things you like about yourself each day. This can be a reminder that can help you shift your thoughts in ways that improve how you feel about yourself.