How do you manage your fear going through everyday life?
What are your stressors?
I drove to Los Angeles by myself to attend Heavy and Light, To Write Love On Her Arms. It was by far an incredible experience.
I stood in a room full of stories, music and other people that have suffered or struggled like I have.
I overcame a fear, I learned a lot, and I can honestly say how proud I am of myself to have come this far.
Growing up as a teenager, I was scared to be alone, and go places alone. I thought the word “alone” meant “lonely”. Only until the last few years have I learned that there is a major difference between the two. After having two kids, one at the age of 18 and the other at 21 and my husband working swing shift every night, it taught me to grow up. I had to learn to live in our house alone, go to sleep alone, I had to learn how to cook and take care of the kids and the house when he wasn’t home. I was terrified in the beginning, we just bought a brand new house when I was 20 years old, it was about 45 minutes away from family, in a town in the middle of nowhere. I remember the first few weeks I would call the cops every time I heard a noise. It was awful, I had never been alone, I didn’t know what to do.
On January 15th of this month, I made the decision to drive by myself to L.A. and visit the House of Blues for the Heavy and Light show by To Write Love On Her Arms. I got my own hotel, walked around L.A. by myself, went to the show, then the next morning I took a drive to Santa Monica (I’ve never been there before) and walked around with my headphones in along the ocean and had a nice lunch to myself on the pier. The weather was 75 and sunny, couldn’t have picked a better time to go. It was the most empowering experience I’ve ever had. I had moments of anxiety, but I pushed forward and did something I had always wanted to do. A lot of people told me, “Wow I could never do that, I could never travel somewhere alone.” It made me feel proud, and brave. I did it and the best part was, I can’t wait to do it again. Below are some pictures of my trip. 🙂
Today is a tough one for me, so I’m going to write this out and see if it makes me feel better. I’ve never actually wrote a blog while I was having an episode. These are my current random thoughts this morning:
My heart is racing a million miles a minute, I can’t seem to calm myself down.
I just had therapy yesterday and it well, why do I feel this way?
I called in sick yesterday, I wasn’t feeling well, I was stressed, I had a lot of things to take care of, yet nothing was accomplished. I tried. Why can’t anything go right for once?
I tried to book a hotel for a future small trip I’m taking soon and of course I booked it for the wrong day, I wasn’t thinking. I call customer service and after trying to resolve the issue; I snapped at the lady. I rarely lose my temper, especially when the issue was my own damn fault. Why did I do that? Now I feel bad and I can’t apologize.
I had to come into work today, although I feel that nobody really needs me around here I’d still feel bad if I left. Why do I feel bad? My health should be my number one concern.
They took a job task away from me yesterday and gave it to someone else while I was out of the office. That fucking hurts, they know I’m always asking for more, they know I need the challenge. Why did they do that to me? They must hate me.
My thoughts are all over the place. Why can’t I calm down and just breathe?
Another admin at work is vindictive; nobody likes her. She’s picking a fight with me via email and there’s nothing I can do about it. I really wish she didn’t work here anymore. Wait. I really wish I didn’t work here anymore. Fuck this place.
I sleep 10 hours a day and it’s not enough, I’m so exhausted. I must be slipping into depression.
I’m hiding in my cubicle today, trying to catch up from yesterday. I can’t focus on anything! If one more person walks over and asks for something, I might lose it. Let me at least have my coffee first and catch up on my damn emails.
My boss last week told me that he knows when I am struggling with my disorder. I asked how he could tell aside from alienating myself from everyone in the workplace and hiding in my cubicle with my headphones in. He said, “I can tell because on days you struggle, you look like shit! You don’t do your hair, you don’t do your make-up, you look so exhausted.” His phone rang it was an “Important call” and he shushed me away. He apologized the next day, but why does it still bother me? I don’t even want to look at him. I always keep it professional and try to look my best. Knowing that I’m struggling today, do I look like shit? Can people tell?
Nobody has yet to ask me if I’m feeling okay? Did they even notice I was gone yesterday? Fuck, even my boss didn’t acknowledge my text about calling in sick yesterday. I guess he doesn’t give a shit. Nobody cares.
Apparently I forgot to punch out for lunch last week. They didn’t make the corrections because I was out of the office so now I’m going to be shorted on my paycheck tomorrow. Let’s just add onto the financial stress!
I just really want to be in bed, watching friends. That always makes me feel better.
I’m trying to find a new place on my own, but with an eviction 3 years ago and bankruptcy, I keep getting rejected. I’m never going to find a place for me and my kids. Stupid past mistakes! I’ve come so far, I really wish someone would give me a chance.
Headphones are in; music isn’t helping. Music almost always helps. I must be having a really bad low.
Kayla, all this shit is just in your head. I’m usually positive, think positive!
Just took my Lamictal, wish I didn’t have to take meds to calm me down. Why am I not strong enough to control these ridiculous thoughts?
Tonight is my night off without babies. A night to myself. OMG I can’t wait to do absolutely nothing! Yup, I must be slipping into depression. I always keep myself busy, but fuck it. I don’t want to right now.
My heart is still beating out of my chest. I need to focus. Breathe.
Why did I turn out this way? Why do I still struggle every once in a while? What triggered this?
Please dear God, don’t let me break down crying in the office. That would be embarrassing.
I need to schedule an appointment for taxes, I usually always get a lot back every year. What if I don’t? I really want to pay off debt but with my luck, I’ll have to owe this year. Sigh.
This feels weird opening up and venting to complete strangers, I hate complaining. I usually always keep to myself.
I’m not going to let this ruin my day, I can’t. I’m okay.
I can make it through one bad day. I’m not dying, it could be so much worse. Cheer up Kayla.
Nobody hates you. I have two beautiful kids that love me and a very loving boyfriend. Gosh he’s amazing.
I have so many things to be grateful for. I need to focus on that, oh and these damn reports that are overdue.
This isn’t my all time low, I’ve felt worse before. I picked myself up then, I can pick myself up now.
I should get back to work, after I get some more coffee of course, and food. Food always makes me feel better.
Breathe. Just Breathe. I am not alone. I can overcome this.
22 Positive Habits of Happy People
By Dr. Mercola
Many people spend their lives waiting to be happy. You may think, “if only I had more money,” or “could lose weight,” or you fill in the blank, then I would be happy.
Well here’s a secret: you can be happy right now. It’s not always easy, but you can choose to be happy, and in the vast majority of circumstances there’s no one who can stop you except for yourself.
The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from wealth, perfect looks or even a perfect relationship. Happiness comes from within. This is why, if you truly want to be happy, you need to work on yourself, first.
What’s the secret to being happy? You can learn how to do it, just as you can learn any other skill. Those who are happy tend to follow a certain set of habits that create peace in their lives; if you learn to apply these habits in your own life, there’s a good chance you’ll be happy too.
The featured article compiled 22 such behaviors that you can use to enhance your life and your happiness:1
1. Let go of grudges
Forgiving and forgetting is necessary for your own happiness, as holding a grudge means you’re also holding onto resentment, anger, hurt and other negative emotions that are standing in the way of your own happiness. Letting go of a grudge frees you from negativity and allows more space for positive emotions to fill in.
2. Treat everyone with kindness
Kindness is not only contagious, it’s also proven to make you happier. When you’re kind to others, your brain produces feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin and you’re able to build strong relationships with others, fostering positive feelings all around.
3. Regard your problems as challenges
Change your internal dialogue so that anytime you have a “problem” you view it as a challenge or a new opportunity to change your life for the better. Eliminate the word “problem” from your mind entirely.
4. Express gratitude for what you have
People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. The best way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. Doing so has been linked to happier moods, greater optimism and even better physical health.
5. Dream big
Go ahead and dream big, as you’ll be more likely to accomplish your goals. Rather than limiting yourself, when you dream big you’re opening your mind to a more optimistic, positive state where you have the power to achieve virtually anything you desire.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
If the issue you’re mad about will be irrelevant a year, a month, a week or even a day from now, why sweat it? Happy people know how to let life’s daily irritations roll off their back.
7. Speak well of others
It may be tempting to gather around the office water cooler to get and give the daily gossip, but talking negatively about others is like taking a bath in negative emotions; your body soaks them up. Instead, make it a point to only say positive, nice words about other people, and you’ll help foster more positive thinking in your own life as well.
8. Avoid making excuses
It’s easy to blame others for your life’s failures, but doing so means you’re unlikely to rise past them. Happy people take responsibility for their mistakes and missteps, then use the failure as an opportunity to change for the better.
9. Live in the present
Allow yourself to be immersed in whatever it is you’re doing right now, and take time to really be in the present moment. Avoid replaying past negative events in your head or worrying about the future; just savor what’s going on in your life now.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning
Getting up at the same time every day (preferably an early time) is deceptively simple. Doing so will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you’ll have an easier time waking and likely feel more energized. Plus, the habit of rising early every day is one shared by many successful people, as it enhances your productivity and focus.
11. Don’t compare yourself to others
Your life is unique, so don’t measure your own worth by comparing yourself to those around you. Even regarding yourself as better than your peers is detrimental to your happiness, as you’re fostering judgmental feelings and an unhealthy sense of superiority. Measure your own success based on your progress alone, not that of others.
12. Surround yourself with positive people
The saying “misery loves company” is entirely true. That’s why you need to choose friends who are optimistic and happy themselves, as you will be surrounded with positive energy.
13. Realize that you don’t need others’ approval
It’s important to follow your own dreams and desires without letting naysayers stand in your way. It’s fine to seek others’ opinions, but happy people stay true to their own hearts and don’t get bogged down with the need for outside approval.
14. Take time to listen
Listening helps you soak in the wisdom of others and allows you to quiet your own mind at the same time. Intense listening can help you feel content while helping you gain different perspectives.
15. Nurture social relationships
Positive social relationships are a key to happiness, so be sure you make time to visit with friends, family and your significant other.
Meditation helps you keep your mind focused, calms your nerves and supports inner peace. Research shows it can even lead to physical changes in your brain that make you happier.
17. Eat well
What you eat directly impacts your mood and energy levels in both the short and long term. Whereas eating right can prime your body and brain to be in a focused, happy state, eating processed junk foods will leave you sluggish and prone to chronic disease. My free nutrition plan is an excellent tool to help you choose the best foods for both physical and emotional wellness.
Exercise boosts levels of health-promoting brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress and also relieve some symptoms of depression. Rather than viewing exercise as a medical tool to lose weight, prevent disease, and live longer – all benefits that occur in the future – try viewing exercise as a daily tool to immediately enhance your frame of mind, reduce stress and feel happier.
19. Live minimally
Clutter has a way of sucking the energy right out of you and replacing it with feelings of chaos. Clutter is an often-unrecognized source of stress that prompts feelings of anxiety, frustration, distraction and even guilt, so give your home and office a clutter makeover, purging it of the excess papers, files, knick knacks and other “stuff” that not only takes up space in your physical environment, but also in your mind.
20. Be honest
Every time you lie, your stress levels are likely to increase and your self-esteem will crumble just a little bit more. Plus, if others find out you’re a liar it will damage your personal and professional relationships. Telling the truth, on the other hand, boosts your mental health and allows others to build trust in you.
21. Establish personal control
Avoid letting other people dictate the way you live. Instead, establish personal control in your life that allows you to fulfill your own goals and dreams, as well as a great sense of personal self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed
Everything in your life is not going to be perfect, and that’s perfectly all right. Happy people learn to accept injustices and setbacks in their life that they cannot change, and instead put their energy on changing what they can control for the better.
What is Codependency?
“Codependency is living the myth that you can make yourself happy by trying to control people and events outside yourself. A sense of control, or the lack of it, is central to everything you do and think.
ie. Jennifer Fortisi is the ultimate supermom. She’s the president of the PTA, Brownie leader, and teachers aide. At church she leads a Bible study and coordinates meals for shut-ins. Her house is spotless, she volunteers at the library, and runs a veritable taxi service from her shining-clean station wagon, shuttling kids to and from ballet, karate, church, clubs, and school activities.
Why would anyone create such a hopelessly overwhelming schedule? Jennifer’s father was an alcoholic. She never knew what love and security felt like. Her parents never attended a single school function. Their house was always full of chaos and confusion. And now Jennifer is trying to fix all those things in her past by being the perfect wife and mother. All her frantic activity leaves her exhausted and depressed, with little emotional energy left for the kind of nurturance and love her children really need. Ironically, unless Jennifer deals with her compulsive need to control everything about her family’s life, her children will grow up with the same sense of abandonment and neglect that marred her own childhood.
Codependency is a generational and cultural epidemic. No less than tens of millions of Americans across two concurrent generations suffer problems of codependency. You are not exempt from the problem. The despair codependency has caused in your life is the reason you decided to pick up this workbook. The term codependency is a tool for your recovery. It is NOT a label or stigma of shame.”
I’m going to list below the 10 common traits of codependency:
1. The codependent is driven by one or more compulsions.
2. The codependent is bound and tormented by the way things were in the dysfunctional family of origin.
3. The codependent’s self-esteem is very low.
4. The codependent is certain his or her happiness hinges on others.
5. The codependent feels inordinately responsible for others.
6. The codependent’s relationship with a spouse or significant other person is marred by a damaging, unstable lack of balance between dependence and independence.
7. The codependent is a master of denial and repression.
8. The codependent worries about things he or she can’t change and may well keep on trying to change them.
9. The codependent’s life is punctuated by extremes.
10. The codependent is continually looking for something that is missing in life.
Do any of these traits apply to you?
Is time a great healer?
“Codependency usually will not improve with time. It will not get better tomorrow. It may get worse. Codependency is a vicious cycle. Low self-value drives compulsive relationship patterns. These compulsive patterns ultimately drive away the very persons whose love you so desperately desire. There are steps you can take to help you reverse your descent into misery, but you must take them. They won’t just happen. Much depends on your desire to free yourself from the ghosts of your past – the causes of codependency.”
-Love is a Choice by Dr. Robert Hemfelt
Personally– I am a very codependent person due to my past and dysfunctional family, don’t get me wrong, I love them but growing up was not easy with alcoholic and tempered parents. I find myself in codependent relationships and seeking attention from others more than I should, and I have absolutely no self-esteem. I’m continually working on these issues everyday, I go to therapy every week, my women’s group twice a month and doing a lot of self-help, self-care, self-improvement reading. I’m taking these small steps out of misery.
Below is a video us ladies watched in our women’s group (Sisters Seeking Serenity) yesterday, about codependency.
We’re Alive, Please Be Gentle
I recently attended a friend’s wedding in Seattle. Though I’ve been to Seattle before, it had been at least ten years since I was last there, so I took some time to be a typical tourist and enjoy the city. While browsing a museum gift shop, I noticed some small plants on a shelf—miniature plants, about half the size of my palm. A small sign was perched in front of them, reading, “We’re alive, please be gentle.” My initial thought was that it was a smart sign: I had assumed the plants were fake—which was apparently a common misconception. But as I continued to browse the store, the sign stuck in my mind.
“We’re alive, please be gentle.”
To apply this sign to people might seem like a pretty simple concept, but I wonder how often we end up forgetting it. It only takes about five minutes of watching the news to realize we do not live in a gentle world. Wars and violent conflict make headlines across the globe. People around the world are oppressed for any number of reasons—their gender identity, their race, their religion, their sexual orientation, or their economic status. We see national and global corporations earning a profit off marginalized people seeking better options. Greed and corruption permeate the social and political spectrums, leaving many people struggling to get by. I wish I could somehow remind people all across the world: “We’re alive, please be gentle.”
To think so large-scale might be unrealistic, so I want to bring this message a little closer to home. A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found that one in five Americans are living with some type of mental health condition. This means the odds are good that you know someone affected by mental illness, or maybe you, yourself, have experience living with mental illness. Mental health conversations are often met with stigma rather than compassion, judgment rather than gentleness. So how do we push back against that reality in our own relationships?
When it comes to being gentle with others, I think it’s most important to never underestimate the power of listening. If someone is struggling and opens up to you, they probably aren’t looking for you to have all the answers. People want to be heard, and they want to know that their voice, their story, has value. Affirm the worries and fears, the hopes and dreams of the people around you. I find it to be quite humbling and a great honor when someone opens up to me and shares their life with me. It takes so much courage for most of us to share those pieces of ourselves, and we should be proud of every single person who does it. It’s also important to encourage and support each other and not get frustrated about bumps along the way. Remember: Love, support, and kindness are not things you only give to others when everything is going well for them.
But what if we focus the lens even closer? How often do we take the time to think about how to be gentle with ourselves? If you are anything like me, this is the toughest one. I get mad at myself for setbacks, frustrated and impatient with my own limitations, and ashamed of myself for my struggles. I say hateful, hurtful things to and about myself that I would never say to or about anyone else. I am my own toughest critic and worst cheerleader. I can turn a small misstep into a self-hate spiral in record time.
And then I remember: “We’re alive, please be gentle.”
Be gentle with yourself. Be patient with yourself as you live and learn and grow. You’re going to make mistakes—we all do. But forgive yourself for them. Try not to get frustrated with the pace of whatever journey you’re on. Meet yourself where you are. Don’t give up on yourself. Treat yourself when you need a pick-me-up, and give yourself permission to rest when you need a break. Congratulate yourself on progress, big or small, and don’t tear yourself apart for stalls or setbacks. Speak words of kindness to yourself—if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself. Encourage yourself, affirm yourself. And if you need help with any of it, ask! Remind yourself that you deserve to be happy and healthy. Remind yourself that your story matters, that you matter, and that you are irreplaceable. Love yourself, because you are important and worthy of love.
And on the days when it feels just a little too dark, remember: “We’re alive, please be gentle.”
13 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough
By: Carol Morgan, Life hack | We’ve all gone through hard times. And we all get through them. However, some get through them better than others. So what is their secret? Most of it has to do with attitude. Here are 13 things to remember when life gets rough:
1. What is, is. Buddha’s famous saying tells us: “It is your resistance to ‘what is’ that causes your suffering.” Think about that for a minute. It means that our suffering only occurs when we resist how things are. If you can change something, then take action! Change it! But if you can’t change it, then you have two choices: (1) either accept it and let go of the negativity, or (2) make yourself miserable by obsessing over it.
2. It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem. Many times, we are our own worst enemy. Happiness is really dependent on perspective. If you think something is a problem, then your thoughts and emotions will be negative. But if you think it’s something you can learn from, then suddenly, it’s not a problem anymore.
3. If you want things to change, you need to start with changing yourself. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. Don’t you know people whose lives are chaotic and stressful? And isn’t that largely because they feel chaotic inside? Yes, it is. We like to think that changing our circumstances will change us. But we have it backwards—we need to change ourselves first before our circumstances will change.
4. There is no such thing as failure—only learning opportunities. You should just wipe the word “failure” right out of your vocabulary. All great people who have ever achieved anything have “failed” over and over. In fact, I think it was Thomas Edison who said something like, “I did not fail at inventing the light bulb, I just first found 99 ways that it didn’t work.” Take your so-called “failures” and learn something from them. Learn how to do it better next time.
5. If you don’t get something you want, it just means something better is coming. That’s hard to believe sometimes, I know. But it’s true. Usually, when you look back at your life, you will be able to see why it was actually a good thing that something didn’t work out. Maybe the job you didn’t get would have made you spend more time away from your family, but the job you did get was more flexible. Just have faith that everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to.
6. Appreciate the present moment. This moment will never come again. And there is always something precious about every moment. So don’t let it pass you by! Soon it will just be a memory. Even moments that don’t seem happy can be looked upon as something that you might miss someday. As the country song by Trace Adkins says, “You’re gonna miss this…you’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast….you may not know this now, but you’re gonna miss this…”
7. Let go of desire. Most people live with “attached mind.” What this means is that they attach themselves to a desire, and when they don’t get it, their emotions plummet into negativity. Instead, try to practice “detached mind.” That means that when you want something, you will still be happy whether you get it or not. Your emotions remain happy or neutral.
8. Understand and be grateful for your fears. Fear can be a great teacher. And overcoming fears can also make you feel victorious. For example, when I was in college, I feared public speaking (one of the top 3 fears of all humans). So I find it humorous now that not only do I speak in front of a group every day by being a college professor, I also teach public speaking! Overcoming fears just takes practice. Fear is really just an illusion. It’s optional.
9. Allow yourself to experience joy. Believe it or not, I know way too many people who don’t allow themselves to have fun. And they don’t even know how to be happy. Some people are actually addicted to their problems and the chaos in them so much that they wouldn’t even know who they are without them. So try to allow yourself to be happy! Even if it’s just for a small moment, it’s important to focus on joy, not your hardships.
10. Don’t compare yourself to other people. But if you do compare yourself, compare yourself with people who have it worse than you. Unemployed? Be grateful that you live in a country that gives unemployment compensation, because most people in the world live on less that $750 a year. So you don’t look like Angelina Jolie? Well, I bet there are more people who don’t than do. And you are probably way better looking than than you think. Focus on that.
11. You are not a victim. You need to get out of your own way. You are only a “victim” of your own thoughts, words and actions. No one “does” something to you. You are the creator of your own experience. Take personal responsibility and realize that you can get out of your hard times. You just need to start with changing your thoughts and actions. Abandon your victim mentality and become victorious. From victim to VICTOR!
12. Things can—and do—change. “And this too shall pass” is one of my favorite sayings. When we are stuck in a bad situation, we think that there is no way out. We think nothing will ever change. But guess what? It will! Nothing is permanent except death. So get out of the habit of thinking that things will always be this way. They won’t. But you do need to take some sort of action for things to change. It won’t magically happen all on its own.
13. Anything is possible. Miracles happen every day. Really—they do. I wish I had enough space to write about all the miraculous things that have happened to people I know—from healing stage 4 cancer naturally to having their soul mate appear out of nowhere. Trust me: it happens all the time. You just need to believe it does. Once you do, you have won the battle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University. She is also the host of ‘A Walk on the WOO Side’ radio show, a motivational expert on the TV show ‘Living Dayton,’ video expert for eHow.com, keynote speaker, and a member of Inspiyr.com’s Expert Network. You can subscribe to her blog, get some life/relationship coaching from her, and check out her books at http://www.drcarolmorgan.com.