We are humans who have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. When one level is off, we do not feel at our best.
So here are my nine tips on to help you feel happier and healthier!
1, Eat lots of fresh vegetables and some fruit, and protein
2. Please cut by back on sugar, it is known to do lots of bad things to our bodies and our mood.
3. Laugh and be delighted by movies, nature, friends, comics, whatever helps you to be in that happy state.
4. Exercise, 3-4 times a week. Choose something that you like or tolerate so you can stick to it. It helps your body and your mood.
5. Get enough sleep. Go to bed if you can, before midnight, that is where the better sleep lives.
6. Have time by yourself, even if it is only an hour a week, to re-charge and also to be in tune with yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings.
7. Social time with family and friends where you share with each other and have not only good connecting time but some fun.
8. Even during hard times, find at least one thing to feel grateful for. You will be surprised how much that helps you feel better.
9. Pray or meditate even for a few minutes a day. You can do this even if you do not have a religion. You can just close your eyes and be peaceful and it will surprise you over time how much better you will feel and think.
We all will have days that are easier and days that try our patience, but if we try to incorporate some of these things as much as possible, they will be helpful to you over the long term.
When you are an adult having your mom and or dad die can feel like a wake up call. Here are some of my thoughts on losing a parent.
1. Whether you had a good relationship or were estranged from your parent, their death will impact you.
2. If you had a good relationship then you will miss them, their presence their support, their essence. If you had a difficult relationship, you may grieve the fact that you will never be able to improve this important relationship and it can hit you and create unexpected grief.
3. The loss of a parent when you are an adult is the least recognized of all the losses. Losing your parent means alot to you but other people may not recognize how hard it is on you.
4. You are now the adult in the family system and you may become more aware of your motality.
5. The person who knew you the longest is now gone and that can feel strange.
6. You might be having some regrets. Maybe you wish you had spent more time together, had phoned more, told them that you loved them and now it is too late. Having regrets is part of the grieving process.
7. Be extra careful, grief can make you goofy and forgetful and your heart may feel achy.
8. Love does not go away when the loved one dies, the love stays within you and it takes time to adjust to that person no longer being there.
9. Be kind to yourself, grieving is hard on the body, heart and mind.
You may need alone time or sometimes you may need to talk to someone. A good friend, family member, a grief counselor or someone from your religious community who will listen is a good choice.
Grief can hit you like a wave in the ocean and over time you will learn how to ride that wave. Take care.
When you experience a death or loss of a relationship, you have emotions welling up, you are forgetful, you cry unexpectedly, you may even feel like you are losing it, what you are experiencing is grief. Grief can feel like a huge wave threatening to knock you down. It feels horrible and dificult, and every day may feel challenging. You start to wonder, when will this crazy ride be over and will I really be able to survive this.
Grieving has no magical middle and ending. What does happen is that it begins over time to be less intense. We are all different in the way we handle our emotional life. Some people shut down, some people ride the roller coaster ride of grief with an outpouring of feelings.
Time is an important factor in helping us to deal with grief. Over and over I have heard clients say that even though they still feel their losses, it is not as intense. They have told me that they are slowly beginning to come back to their lives.
What helps individuals with these intense feelings? Again, it de pends on what kind of person you are. Are you intensely private? Do you do well sharing with people? If you are a very private person, but need to talk to someone, talking to a grief counselor can be helpful. A grief counselor will help to normalize what feels abnormal and be a willing listener to what you need to say. If you learn by interacting with others, a grief group can be very useful. You get to share your story, your pain, and you get to hear how others have dealt with their losses which may help you feel less alone.
If you feel stuck, just know that you don’t have to walk this path completely alone, you are entitled to have professional help. Being supported can help the healing process in unexpected ways.
What does it mean to grow older? How do we all handle the challenges that will face us? All of us human beings will either grow old or we will die at a younger age. Yet, we rarely talk about what this means to us individually and collectively. The body starts to slow down and refuses to move in the way it used to move when we were younger. We don’t have the same energy and ability to keep going as we once did.
There are benefits and challenges to aging.
We know there are benefits to this process, but because the body no longer looks or acts as it once did, we have a difficult time acknowledging this slow down.
In other societies, seniors are given a status that our society fails to give. Our worth is tied up with our productivity. So when we retire, our value goes down. Males seem to suffer more from this change than females. Perhaps this is no longer true. In the past males were the breadwinnders. They have been valued as the ones who earn more money. This has been changing as families are changing and there are more women at the head of their families. But women have also traditionally been more available for friendships and creating communities that are satisfying on an emotional level.
So what do we need to do, in order to not only survive but thrive? I feel it is important to start facing the challenges of aging way before we reach our 80′s. We need to make decisions to be more connected with family, friends, community, a religious or spiritual practice and we need to keep moving our bodies and using our minds. If we are open and hones, and we make plans we we are still healthy, then even though we might have some difficulties awaiting us, we will be more prepared. Hopefully this will increase our enjoyment of our daily lives.
As we age, we are more able to be ourselves, to accept our strengths and weaknesses. Accept what we have accomplished and understand that we might never do all that we had hope to do and that is okay!
We all know somewhere in our being, that one day we will die. Our hope is to live a long, healthy life with little or no regrets.
The deaths that are really hard on us all are: the death of children and young people, people who have died unexpectedly from illness, accidents, murder or suicide. These shock our systems and shake us up profoundly. We are not prepared in any way for these people to no longer be with us. Sometimes we get numb and then as the numbness wears off, we feel the pain of the loss of this person.
So what is it like to lose a friend? When a good friend dies, it is like part of our heart gets crushed. We no longer can count on that person to share life with. That person who you could laugh and cry with, is gone. That friend is not a family member and so sometimes that loss gets discounted by the people around you.
Do not discount your feelings around this loss, take care of yourself, take time to grieve. Find safe places to share your sense of loss and heart break. Do not let anyone tell you how to feel and how long you should grieve. This is your loss and everyone is different and has a different time table of how long the grief will grab you.
Grief is strange, it is a roller coaster ride of emotions and you don’t always know when you will feel it. Know that you are not alone, there are caring people out there who will support you.
The meaning of dysfunction is: ”The condition of having poor and unhealthy behaviors and attitudes within a group of people. If you grew up in a family where the parents were abusing alcohol or drugs, if there was any type of violence, degrees of neglect,and or unrelenting poverty, then you probably did not get a childhood that was balanced and relatively healthy. There are many factors in why we develop the way we do, but these kinds of big issues in families meant that the children were not the first priority and often they had to grow themselves up without any real skills to do so.
Children learn by example and if there are missing gaps their childhood, it is harder but not impossible, to treat oneself or others in a mature and kindly way. It is important to have teachers and mentors along the way.
Some of the clients I have worked with over the years are examples of living miracles. They have had very difficult childhoods, where there has been neglect and or abuse over their time at home. And, yet, they are trying to hard to be good, responsible people and sometimes parents. You can have a good or even great life, but there are scars from those early days and it helps to recognize the triggers that are upsetting to you when dealing with your relationships and friendships.
If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, I hope you don’t feel despair but feel appreciation for the courage you show by getting up and going to work and trying to make your relationships work. Talking to a professional counselor can help you understand why you have made some of the choices you have, and also do some healing and repair work.
You have struggled as an adult with relationships and or keeping a job. You have been told or you have read articles and wonder if you have some type of label. A label that has a possible negative spin. It could feel hurtful, harmful or spiteful for someone to call or brand you as someone with a Narcissistic or Borderline Personality Disorder.
Actually, I think someone who is on the Personality Disorder spectrum, and has survived a childhood of neglect and or abuse, should understand a few things about this label. I hope when you are done reading the little that I will be writing about this, that you will get that if you grew up in a dysfunctional household, if you were not taken care of, neglected and abused in any way that you should be proud that you survived and that you are trying to grow and heal as an adult.
Someone who is on the personality spectrum did not get there out of the blue, they got there because the only way to survive a tough childhood was to grow a defensive shield of some sort and make it out of childhood to adulthood where you could create some type of life of your own. A baby who has caring parents will be cuddled, nurtured, fed and loved in a fairly consistent way. When that baby cried, after a while, he or she would be picked up, talked to and hugged. The babies basic needs would be attended to and as a parent or guardian lovingly cooed or talked to the baby, the baby could grow emotionally intact. If the baby and or child was left alone, untended to and even harmed, they would learn to either be very quiet and disappear as much as possible to avoid negative attention; or use negative behaviors and act out because there is no safety so who cares what they do.
When you grow up in a uncertain environment, your body is constantly on alert, which plays havoc on your sensitive system, you never knew if it would be safe for you to show up or not. So you have had to learn as an adult who is safe for you to be in relationships with and who you need stay away from.
There is a lot to learn and it is important to find safe people to learn from. If you grew up in one of these types of families, I hope you will honor your need for safety, trust, warmth and kindness from others and also from you for you! You might need help in learning about who you truly are. I wish you well on your journey.
I was given the challenge by a wonderful therapist, Victoria Marano in New York, to write a blog about the relationship of self-worth and compassion.
What struck me was that a part of having compassion and recognizing self-worth could be tied up with self-acceptance. If you don’t accept yourself, warts, strengths, challenges, beauty, you might not be able to feel compassion for yourself when you are struggling. You might have an inner voice that says mean things to yourself, like, why don’t you ever finish up on time, why are you always needing to be on a diet, what is wrong with you. That inner critic might hold you hostage and keep you from recognizing all of you and seeing your own worth.
Part of good mental health is the ability to be realistic about goals, what can get done in a day, what you are able to achieve on your own and what you might need help with. We are not self sufficient islands that can do everything that is needed to survive in a balanced way.
So, you might need to start taking baby steps to achieve self-acceptance and then note self-worth and ultimately have compassion for yourself when things are tough for you.
So back to Victoria’s original question is there a relationship between self-worth and compassion. I think when we feel right with ourselves and our lives, we are more able to feel a sense of self-worth, feel compassion for ourselves and for other people around us. And of course, if we have self-acceptance, we can be more realistic in our thoughts, feelings and goals.
I hope to return to this topic in February.
Some of us have experienced loss at an early age, a death of a family member, or friend, parents fighting and or getting divorced, lack of money, shelter, dysfunctional parents, you get the drift. Some of us are older when we experience heart ache, loss of a job or health, a death of a loved one, so my point in writing this is to acknowledge that all of us in some way will have to go through the grieving process. Life is set up that even if you grew up in a stable home, you will experience break ups or death and that makes us all equal.
It feels strange at times to be grieving when everyone else around us might be going on with their lives and want us to be ok. All of us need time to get through some of big feelings that have overtaken our mind, heart and spirit. Grief is a roller coaster ride, sometimes we will not know when it will hit us but it will, sometimes at the most unexpected times.
I really suggest receiving some type of support during this time. Some people like to go into their caves and isolate, if this works for you, who am I to tell you what to do. Most of us could use some type of arm to lean on, someone to talk to. There are grief groups, counselors, religious leaders, trustworthy friends or a family member to talk to.
Some people do really well with writing, art, listening to music or playing an instrument, walking in nature. Whatever you decide will be helpful to you, know that you need time to mend your grief.
Whatever you do, remember, you are not alone. Somewhere there is a listening ear and an open heart to receive you.
If you have experienced a death right around the holidays it can bring up extra stress for you. There it is, carols, lights, presents, drinks and extravagant foods, and there you are, sad, lonely, upset and not really ready to be in the spirit of the season. So what can you do? Are you allowed to take care of yourself during this time of year without feeling that you are bringing everyone else down?
You can pretend for a short period of time that you are ok but usually newly grieving folks cannot keep up the pretense for long. And the question is, why should you? Death is part of life but it is a hard part of it, losing someone you love and wanted to spend the rest of your life with, and then dealing with it was not your choice that they died when they did!
So, what can you do?
* Get plenty of rest.
* Visit with family and or friends, a few at a time that understand and will be supportive of you.
* Start new traditions that feel ok for you, if you want a tree have one, if you don’t want one, don’t have one.
* Talk to someone who understands grieving. There are grief counselors and there are grief groups especially around the holidays.
* Allow yourself to feel your sadness and know you won’t always feel this alone.
You will experience people who will say things to you that feel hurtful, insensitive and stupid, yes I wrote that word stupid. They want you to feel better quickly so that you will be your old cheerful, happy self again. Well, you are different now, you have experienced profound loss and it will take you awhile to feel in balance with life again.
Take your time, be respectful of this loss. Take care of your wounded heart.