Follow by Email

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Recovering Worrywart!

A good day to all!
It is surprising that we have spent January already! It seems like Christmas was just a couple of weeks ago. I have gotten mired in normal life, again. Which is not bad at all. Unfortunately, being on vacation does not pay me well.
Today we'll touch on the subject of worrying. We all do it at times. Those of us who are more obsessive certainly do it more. Raise your hand if this is you--I knew it! O.K. It's me, also!
Apparently, constant worrying, brooding, or ruminating is not healthy. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema Ph.D., author of Women Who Think Too Much, says these thought patterns are over-thinking. Nolen-Hoeksema says that this behavior is also a negative way of thinking. The author says to use strategies to help you keep worries at bay:
1) Don't trust your negative thoughts
2) Fight back (interrupt the process)
3) Switch your focus (get out and do something!)
4) Banish night worrying (get out of bed and do something pleasant)
5) Schedule a worry session (no more than an hour, and do it when you are feeling up)
6) Write your problems down (to clarify them)
7) Talk to someone (sharing can help you find prospective)
8) Do something joyful (to enhance your feeling of well-being)
9) Let go and let God (pray or meditate)

Nolen-Hoeksema also advises us to take control of your situation to calm your mind, try to find self-acceptance, forgive yourself, and forgive others. Some other suggestions are to set reasonable goals, put more fun into your life, and make more friends.
M. J. Ryan, author of The Happiness Makeover, says to "figure out if you can do something about it", when you find yourself in "worry mode". "Plan for the presentation you have to give", or, if it is something out of your control, "make a list of all of the possible good outcomes".
Richard Carlson, Ph.D., author of Don't Sweat The Small Stuff . . . and it's all small stuff, writes that one should "look at a situation as if it were happening in a year from now", and "ask yourself the question will this really matter a year from now?"
This is good advice; I'll try to take it to my heart. I do need to!
Here is a poem from the yet, unpublished book, tentatively called Waiting for the Rest of Your Life:

Patch, Patch, Patch
Why is it?
Just when
You think things are going to be
Rosy
Life sideswipes you and
Throws you in the ditch!
I seem to spend
Half of my life
Patching things back
Together
The other half I spend worrying
About
Whether of not the patch will hold!
Oh, no!
Don't tell me
Is that another
Leak
I hear?

Have a worry-free week!

Peace,

Joan

Sunday, January 24, 2010

You Gotta Have Hope!


Welcome!


Today I want to speak to you about something that we cannot live without--hope. Hope is something that the world is starving for. To hold hope in your heart one must nurture positive thoughts.

I believe we make the choice every day to have a positive and hopeful heart. Negativity invites failure. Studies show that people with a high level of hope do better in life, including professional success and well being.

Today I am featuring author Sue Patton Theole, who wrote the book "Growing Hope". Theole writes that there are four factors that have been driving the erosion of hope and the growth of despair.

1) Personal pain and how we deal with setbacks, stress, and tragedy

2) Media mayhem and madness--the constant onslaught of bad, ugly, and violent news

3) Economic iffiness--leaving us feeling economically vulnerable

4) Sandpapered senses, due to the bombardment of constant stimuli: cell phones, noise, black-berrys, to-do lists, too much caffeine and sugar--causing us to numb-out, and/or "blow a fuse"

Theole advises us to find balance in your life and to create a personal oasis. We will be talking about these things in the weeks to come.

Here is an exercise Theole calls:

A PRACTICE FOR GROWING HOPE IN YOUR HEART

"Take a moment now and focus on your heart, allowing yourself to sink into and absorb the love that naturally emanates from it. In the theater of your mind, visualize warm, cool, soft, breezy. . .? Talk to your heart even if you feel silly doing so. Thank it for all it does for you, and ask what it would like you to do for yourself, and the greater good. Pay attention, and accept any insights or feelings that come, or don't come. Simply hanging out with your heart provides a wonderful and potentially healing oasis. Try this exercise whenever you're feeling devoid of hope."

Here is a poem from my unpublished book tentatively named "Waiting for the Rest of Your Life". Enjoy!

This Is Your Brain; This Is Your Brain On Overload!

I obsess, I must confess--
Obsess about obsessiveness!

That tune in my head that plays over and over
The fondness I feel for that dark Russell Stover

Lost for hours shopping in T. J. Max
Searching and pawing through racks and racks

Lying awake at night at 1:05
Figuring out plots from Desperate Housewives

Feeling distracted, my time is not free
With television, laptop, Blackberry, and Wii

Caffeination, frustration, discombobulation
Could I please have a real vacation?

And:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

--Emily Dickinson


When the world whispers

"Give up,"Hope whispers, "

Try it one more time."

--Author Unknown

Resources:

"A Plan to Make Your Hopes Happen", Judy Jones, September 2009 more.com

"Growing Hope", Sue Patton Thoele, Conari Press, 2004

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Relax And Renew-It's Up To You!


Greetings and Felicitations!

Today I want to talk about something that we rarely do, or rarely do well--relax! If you are like me, you have that inner agenda inscribed on your mind. Therefore, even if you do sit down for a little bit, perhaps from exhaustion, do you really unwind? That is my friend Renee, above, a yoga instuctor, doing just that!

Here are some tips that I have gleaned over the years.

1) Don't watch the clock, and remove your watch occasionally. This will slow you down.

2) Take a "Zen" break, close your eyes and count your blessings while waiting in line, or waiting in general.

3) Stretch, this relaxes the tension in your body. Inhale and lift your shoulders up to your ears, then exhale and loser them.

4) Listen to music, keep is soft--New Age, Classical, Soft Rock. This lowers anxiety levels.

5) Recite the Serenity Prayer; pray to "Accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can, and have the wisdom to know the difference".

6) Time Out! Turn off your TV, computer, cell-phone, and Blackberry for a few hours each day.

7) Practice a slow hobby--gardening, yoga, Pilate's, needlework, painting, writing, etc., with meditative qualities.

8) Take a scented bath--lavender produces alpha waves, which relax you.

9) Pet your cat or dog

10) Breathe with slow deep breaths, breathe in for a count of 5, hold for a count of 2, breathe out for a count of 5. This mimics your sleep breathing.

And!

"There is more to life than increasing its speed." --Mahatma Gandi

"Nothing excellent can be done without leisure."--Andre- Gide

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."--Ovid

"To be quite oneself one must first waste a little time."--Elizabeth Bowen


Here's a poem about relaxing from my book, Water Running Downhill! Enjoy!


THE ZONE

While sequestered as a willing tenant in
Your self-made prison of busyness
Dream of ways you can be free

To give yourself the gift of
A precious few moments, no distractions
Lock out your outer “life” and meditate

Find that it is almost a new experience, as
You may have forgotten the sensation
Of pure awareness, and nothing else

So used to being the “amazing balancing act”
You have found it hard to stop doing and planning
And just become still

Discover that one can see so much clearer
When traveling at
The speed of now


Peace out!

(: >) Joan

Resources:

Carl Honore, In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed.

Reinhold Niebuhr, The Serenity Prayer.

Lori Erickson, "Not So Fast, How to Take it Easy In a Hurry-up, Stressed-out World", Family Circle, 11/29/05.

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, "Love Your Life", Family Circle, 10/18/05.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looking At The Positive Side! Featuring The Happiness Project


Welcome all! It is a new year and perhaps it is time to get an attitude tune-up! I realized, of late, that I had not been being thankful as often as I should have. It really is something that needs to become a habit--like flossing your teeth--ha, ha!

If we take the time to realize how fortunate we are to have shelter, clothing, food, family, friends, and love, how can we not be thankful? And being thankful makes us glad at heart, which leads to a happier attitude, right? Right!

Spreading happiness is contagious! Today, take the time to share a phone call with a friend and send them a smile.

I have seen references to a website and a book called The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin in several magazines lately, so I checked out this interesting site. There are many different quotes and positive information available to the viewer. Access her website at:


Here if a New Year's poem for you from my book, Water Running Downhill!

I've just posted new quotes at http://www.waterrunningdownhill.com/
Enjoy the day! :)

Joan


NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

We have a new year
They seem to be arriving
At lightening speed
In this new decade

Think of this year as
An opportunity
To grow and celebrate
Toast the women you have become

Forget the past mistakes and
Focus on what makes you
Content and joyous
Be your own best friend

Live life now, not later
For later may not
Be here for you

And:


There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.

--From an old English prayer

The greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising up every time we fall.
-- Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on
walking.
-- Buddhist Proverb



A Message by George Carlin:


The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.

We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less..

We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait..

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. T

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ' I love you ' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away..

Sunday, January 3, 2010

To the New Year





Greetings Friends!

I cannot believe it is January, and that it's 2010! Time is just spiraling out of control--it will be Christmas, again, before you know it!
Did everyone have good holidays? We did, although we did not get the snow that I'd hoped for. I wanted winter photos! We had snow flurries as we were driving out of the southern Appalachians. I think they were taunting us--"nah, nah, you missed us!" But, we were glad to get somewhere that should be warm. News flash! It was 37 degrees this morning, and we have a frost warning for this evening for east Central Florida.
Not to worry, it will warm up, eventually. Cool nights are good for sleeping, they seem to keep the hot flashes down somewhat.
As promised I have enclosed photos of our tree falls. This was quite a storm; everywhere around the area there were downed trees, and remnants of chain sawed falls that were across roads.
Here is an unpublished storm poem for you! Stay warm and cozy, everyone!
Blessings in the New Year!
Joan

Winter Wind-OH!

Woooooooooo! Wooooooooooo!
Wooooooooooo!
Woooooooooo!
Wooooooooooooo!
Wooooooooosh!
The Wind rises, higher and higher still
Winter rushes in, its timid whisper becoming a mighty
ROAR!
Perched on the crest of each swell of frigid air
Wind “surf” crashes onto storm-tossed trees
Sending a wake of autumn leaves splashing down
They skitter away like sand crabs
In advance of the next wave
Brrrrrrrrr!
Snow caps are approaching!