Studies show that people who keep gratitude journals experience greater happiness.
Take a pass at perfection. Striving for out of reach goals, can backfire if you blame yourself when you fall short of that goal. Manage your expectations. Don't expect to be happy all the time, this has the downside of your expecting to feel that way all the time, so that when good things happen, it seems normal, but when bad things happen, it can seem catastrophic.
Find your balance. Happiness is a sense of well-being or satisfaction with your life. Be happy with the smaller things in life.
Don't try to buy happiness. In a study in "Social Indicators Research they found that those who avidly pursued possessions were less satisfied with their friendships, families, jobs, even their health than those who were less materialistic. As my wonderful grandmother Mary Pew said every morning of her life. "I will be happy with what I have while getting more of what I want."
Making a change in your circumstances and in your activities have great results. Explore a new interest and you will be lead to other activities over time. And new friends.
Whatever activity energizes you and makes you feel like your days are flying by or even losing a sense of time can give you a sense of happiness.
Be grateful for what you have. Also be grateful for what you do not have.
Share your love. Always say I love you to your friends and family. Use it in your letters and phone calls and notes. When was the last time you said "I love you" to some one dear to you? Do it again and again. One of my dearest memories of my late husband, Warren, He said to me at least a dozen times a day, "I love you". It made me feel cherished and loved.
By helping others you gain more than you give. Even small gestures. Put time and energy in making others feel good about themselves. It cuts down stress in our own lives.
Be more forgiving of others faults. This alone will reduce stress by 25%.
First thing in the morning ask yourself what you can do today to make the world a better place to live in and then before going to sleep at night ask yourself, "did I do all I could to make the world a better place today. Not just the "World" but your own world.
Find out more about natural remedies for depression. Discover herbs, diet and lifestyle changes and holistic remedies that can make a difference.
Depression is becoming a common problem in the modern world. Is this because of increasing stresses, strains and unhappiness with life? Certainly, modern life is harsh, hard and does get many people down. It is very normal to have periods of sadness after certain life events, such as divorce, death, illness, loss of a job etc – this is perfectly natural.
Sometimes though, these periods of sadness can become too intense to cope with, or can linger far too long. This can be called ‘Depression’.
Sometimes Depression has little to do with an unhappy life event, but creeps up on us with no obvious reason.
You should always consult your doctor if you have severe on prolonged periods of unhappy or depressed feelings, particularly if you find yourself
contemplating suicide. Antidepressants do not always have to be the answer though – most conventional doctors themselves will recognise that while antidepressants do have their place in the treatment of depression, they are not the only option at all.
Natural remedies for depression can be equally as effective as antidepressants, and have the benefit of a lack of unpleasant side effects. There are lots of different natural health remedies you can try for depression, from herbal treatments, to lifestyle and diet changes.
The best known herb for depression is St John’s Wort. This is often nick-named ‘The Sunshine Herb’ as it seems to restore a ‘sunny’ disposition and outlook on life. It is particularly useful where depression is caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter months – called S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). St John’s Wort can also help where depression occurs with insomnia.
St John’s Wort is actually recognised for official use to treat depression in Germany, and is claimed to be effective against 70% of cases of mild to moderate depression. This is as effective, if not more effective, than conventional antidepressant treatments. Always consult your doctor before taking this herb, as there are several conditions and medications it should not be mixed with, particularly prescribed antidepressants.
As well as herbal treatments, there are lifestyle and diet changes you can make. These should help you recover from periods of depression, and should help keep depression away in the future. The usual suspects for an unhealthy diet should be avoided, namely; alcohol, nicotine, sugar, fatty foods, salt, processed foods. Instead a general healthy diet should be followed, with lots of fresh fruits and veg, wholegrains and oily fish such as salmon or mackerel.
One very helpful foodstuff against depression is chocolate … but before you hit the candies, note that it must be dark chocolate, with over 70% cocoa content, to help raise serotonin levels in the brain.
A regular exercise program may not sound very technical, but it has been proven to help against depression. Don’t worry, as your exercise program needn’t be too onerous. You should start gently, at a level appropriate for your own fitness level, and gradually work up to around 30-40 minutes of moderate exercise, between 3-5 times per week. This can be something as simple as walking. Walking in the countryside, at the beach or in a park, amongst nature, can really help with the depression-busting benefits of exercise.
Herbs, diet and lifestyle are not your only options for beating depression. There are plenty of other holistic remedies that can give great benefit to sufferers of depression. For the most part, the one you choose will depend on your own personal preferences and personality. Choose from treatments such as acupuncture, meditation, hypnosis and visualization, flower remedies, color and light therapy, inversion therapy and more.
If you think you might be feeling depressed you should certainly consult your doctor, and continue taking any prescribed antidepressants, but do be aware that there is much you can do to help yourself with natural remedies for depression. Under the guidance of your doctor you can gradually switch from antidepressants to all natural health remedies, and feel better, and happier.
A good exercise program is not only one of the prime keys to great health but is absolutely essential to it. And true happiness can only be born of a condition of health.
If you doubt this just look around to the people you know and love.
Brisk exercise can stimulate the production of the body's hormone, noradrenaline, which gives a feeling of high spirits and well being. This hormone is also called norephinephrine.
This hormone is said to be "the chemical key to our happiness."
It is further said that 10 minutes of exercise will double the body's level of this hormone, destroying depression - and the effect is long lasting.
A sense of euphoria proceeds from a healthy body. I also suggest that the general cleansing, purification and exercise can account for such a heightened sense of well being.
Exercise is just one part of your wellness life. You must add other things. Which we go into in other articles in this newsletter at different times.
A little consideration of the muscles of the body and their importance to the functions of life will make clear the vital importance of daily exercise.
It is by muscles that we move and work. It is by means of muscles that we do all the things we do. Muscular tissue is one of the most amazing tissues of the body, second only to that of the brain and nerves.
Muscles enable us to do all the activities of our daily living. It is the muscle that pumps blood through the body, day and night, beginning the work before birth and ceasing only at death.
It is the muscle that determines the size of the arterial channels through which the blood flows, so that they direct more blood or less blood to a part, depending on the need.
It is muscle that expands and contracts the chest, thus making it possible to breathe.
It is my muscular action that we chew and swallow our food and it is muscular action that moves the food along in the digestive tract.
It is the muscle that expels the excretions of the body. It is by muscles that we smile or frown, that we move our eyes in seeing.
I did not realize all that! Did you?
More than 1/3 of the total body protein is found in the muscles. Muscles are servants of the brain and a brain without muscles to do its bidding would be powerless.
The muscular tissue of the normal body constitutes more than half of its bulk. With muscles constituting so predominant a part of the human body and performing so many and such vital roles in human life, it should not surprise us that that human happiness and efficiency depend largely upon the health and welfare of the muscular system.
A genuine physical culture is among the most important elements of any true educational system.
For only by regular and appropriate use of the muscles can these be kept in a condition of vigor and usefulness.
Stress is now the number one reason behind sickness from work and more than 70% of working adults have experienced stress at work in the past year according to the Gee Publishing Survey of 2006. Whether or not these statistics are true one thing is certain, we cannot expect our employers to provide everything we need to reduce or manage our stress. They are far too busy themselves.
So with this in mind lets look at some simple ways to reduce your stress levels.
1) One of the main ingredients in any stress management program simply must be a relaxation regime. There are many simple easy to learn techniques to relax your body, some are better than others. Progressive relaxation is probably one of the more well known ones. Taking time out even if only for fifteen minutes a day to relax and wind down is a definite.
2) At work it is so easy to start slipping into the habit of taking on too many tasks. Streamline what you do by really asking yourself why you are there. what are the three most important things you are there for in your role. You should concentrate on these top piorities and learn to shed anything else. You may have to be a bit ruthless with yourself but you will gain hugely from this one exercise.
3) Make sure every once in a while you reassess your life values to stay on top of what is important to you then you only have to revolve your life around the things that are truly important to you and again other things that took up a lot of your time and attention will just fall away.
4) Every now and again go to assertion skills training and rediscover the your personal power. Taking time to reclaim our personal power rid sus of so much stress you wont believe it. sometimes you just have to say no and it is OK to do that. If you have problems doing this your stress will rise so assertion skills are the key.
5) Delegate tasks you hate if possible or ones that cause you particular stress. hey, these days virtual assistants can take a lot of bothersome chores off your hands and they are cheaper than you think. a good one for the self-employed by the way.
6) Keep a reasonable fitness level. this is the one thing along with a relaxation regime that can really do huge amounts to stress proof you and is borne out by much research. Added benefits are better quality of sleep.
7) Establish and maintain good social contact. Research shows that people who have at least two good friends resist stress more than others who are more reclusive in nature. If you have social anxiety which prevents you from increasing social contact see a psychologist or therapist for help with this.
8) Get a pet, even if its a cat who you may not see all the time. again research points to the fact that people with pets not only live longer but are less stressed than people without pets.
9) Improve your time management skills. We all need to lessons in this area. A basic but effective form of time management is to categorize tasks into important things and urgent things. Important things are the ones you give your best time and thinking too because they will ultimately have a longer term impact than urgent things which will be short term usually and could be delegated or sometimes even automated like using auto-responders on the internet to remind people of appointments or schedules.
10) Take some time to improve your relationship. If its great already do something romantic together. Better bonding in relationships is one of the best ways to stress proof yourself. go to a workshop together and improve things even more, its a real recipe for increased happiness and a stronger immune system.
Of all the above keeping fit and learning an effective relaxation method will do wonders for your stress levels.
Author Resource: Lee James Heather is a therapist specializing in stress and anxiety management. He teaches clients how to switch off the brain stress centers for profound relaxation.
Stress… What really is the DANGER ZONE? Are you in it yet?
Do you feel you are under stress of any kind?
It can be a large thing or a small thing or a combination of both. It can happen to us at any age. Young children, teenagers, mothers, fathers, grandparents.
It can sneak up on you or hit you like a ton of bricks.
You can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders or that if one more negative thing happens you will just bust wide open.
Or you could just lie in bed at night and worry, worry, worry.
Is there help? Yes. Read on.
Millions of Americans are at risk. AT a recent national poll by Careerbuild more than half of workers said they are under a great deal of stress. 77% reported feeling burned out.
No one is immune. NO ONE.
One way to spot if your life is spiraling out of control is to ask yourself this questions… What do I want?
According to University of Calif. Berkeley…"Many people, especially those caring for others, get to a point where their is an imbalance between their own feeling of being human and their facing difficult, distressful issues on a day- to -day basis. Things that go tilt."
If you do not recognize what's going on and make some changes, your health suffers, the quality of your work suffers, and you spiral downward.
What do YOU want? You are only going to live once. Years are slipping by. What do YOU want?
What causing this? Too little control? Too much work? Too much of the wrong work? Finding it hard to deal with others? Too many things you have not handled before going to bed?
It can be a big thing or a little thing.
One of my examples is that when I was in my thirties and had 4 children and my ill darling Grandmother living with us and bed ridden.
After a little more than a year she died. I handled it like a pro. No tears, just a tremendous sadness. She was my mentor, my sunshine. My kids adored her.
About 3 months later someone ran over my children's dog and it dies. I completely lost control, I cried and cried.
Was I crying over the dog? NO. I was crying over my beloved Grandmother.
I must have been really hiding the stress of her dying very deep.
What would have happened if the dog had not died? I might have really had a break down from holding in my feelings.
You have to feel that your job, or a relationship is worth doing.
You have to be getting recognition for what you are doing. You have to feel you are not expendable.
Even if you love you job etc you can feel stress. Can you set boundaries on your feelings? Do you hate your job?
My husband Warren was responsible for ¾ of his company in sales. He was busy day and night and sometimes gone for a week. One week he got about an hour of sleep due to trying to convince the owner of the company not to do something that Warren thought would hurt his salespeople.
He won. Was he stressed out? No. He would sometimes look in the mirror while shaving and say, what a day ahead and the company is even paying me to do this. WOW…
He cautioned everyone to ask himself or herself if they liked their job. His father told him when he got out of school to find work he liked. Or quit that job. He never forgot it.
Either love what you do or change it. OR change your attitude towards what you are doing if possible.
At 83 I love what I am doing. I go to bed feeling so grateful for the fact that I help people to help themselves to FANTASIC HEALTH.
If you add a toxic work environment to a stress life at home you are a walking time bomb.
Stress is the greatest danger to your health. What to do?
Make time for yourself. Find a time and place each day for 20 minutes to calm yourself.
Analyze what you hate and what you love about you like. Be honest. NO one needs to know.
Settle for less than perfect. Accept that things will go wrong. That your well-laid plans will be disrupted.
Don't be available to others 24/7.
Take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods. Drink half your weight in ounces of water a day. When you feel tired or hungry just drink a glass of water instead of food. (if a person has a heart attack and you are there the first thing is dial 911, the second thing is force them to drink a full glass of water. Research has shown this has saved many from death.
Find someone to talk to.
Set limits of what you are willing to do for others. Learn the art of "Saying NO." In nice way when someone is asking you to do something you really do not want to do for them is smile and say, I would love to do that for you but I just can't. They deep down hear the first part and forget the last part.
Plan for the future. Warren and I had a saying we would use in times of stress. He had a very rare eye problem. We had 4 children. If something came up he would look at me and say…Well, I'm not blind and you're not pregnant.
I know it is trite but we only have today. Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow is may never come, so Live for Today.
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, how heavy is this glass of water?
Answers called out ranged from 8oz. to 20oz.
The lecturer replied, the absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.
He continued, and that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on.
As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow.
Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!
And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:
Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
Never buy a car you can't push.
Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
The second mouse gets the cheese.
When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today... I did.
Stress is a very powerful emotion. It can make a healthy person sick, a happy person depressed; basically, if you let it, it will take the life and soul right out of you.
I can across video on the internet with Deepak Chopra speaking about Releasing Emotional Toxins.
Not being able to find what he said anywhere in print, I sat down at my computer and played, re-played, and re-played the video for a good half hour, so that I could write it down to be able to share it with.
Releasing Emotional Toxins
By Deepak Chopra, MD
There are at least 7 steps to Releasing Emotional Toxins
1. "The first step is take responsibility for your emotions. So, if you think someone else is causing your Emotional Toxicity, then you have to wait for them to change which mean you could be waiting the rest of your life."
2. "The second thing is to witness the emotions in your body. Think of an experience you had, an interaction with some body that was uncomfortable. The more you feel the sensation the more you get in touch with the emotion."
3. "The third thing is to define it. Is it anger, is it fear?"
4. "The fourth thing is express it. Write down what happens."
5. "After you have expressed it then share it with a loved one."
6. "Then do a ritual to release it. Burn it, throw it to the wind."
7. "Then once you've released it then do something to bring that to a closure. Go out and celebrate."
Attitude plays a big part in your chance of getting colds, flues, and other illnesses. Eating right, getting plenty of rest, and taking care of your body are important, of course, but thinking healthy is also important.
If negative thoughts invade your mind, banish them. Replace them with positive thoughts and feelings about yourself and keep on telling yourself that you are good and worthy. This good attitude seems to give us the added strength to fight off illnesses more easily. Some people do not know it but even the slightest negative thoughts have a greater impact on you and last longer than powerful positive thoughts.
Researchers now know that the mental attitude one has plays a definite role in the body's immune system and its ability to fight off illnesses. A positive attitude won't cure you of all illnesses and it can't take the place of your doctor, but it can help you get better.
There are times when things are lousy, no doubt about it. This happens to everybody. Be optimistic along with being positive about yourself. Don't blame yourself for things that go wrong, and don't blame others either. Check into what you can do differently and work towards improving things for yourself and others.
In everything you attempt, always be the best you can be. And remember if a job is worth doing, it's worth your best effort. Put time and attention into the small jobs as well as the bigger ones. You can reflect on some of your happy and successful experiences. Remember some of the actions you took, what you said to yourself and why things turned out as they did. And without boasting, take those past achievements as a legitimate part of your identity. Let others know about your accomplishments too, and encourage them to undertake difficult tasks as well.
When you are worried about how something will turn out, ask yourself what is the worst that could possibly happen. Very few things are really life and earth matters and we all tend to over-react when it comes to worrying. Don't feel sorry for yourself. People who feel sorry for themselves have a tired and worn out look, walking as if they have the world on their shoulders, rarely smiling or laughing. On the other hand, people who feel good about themselves seem to walk tall and stand straight, looking alive and alert. They're attractive and nice to be around and everybody wants to get to know them.
Treat your life as a learning experience. None of us are born knowing all that we need to know, and none of us ever knows enough. We can all benefit from looking at each experience as an opportunity to learn and to become wiser.
Not a writer? You can still use a journal to create your own masterpiece, and the words will be yours. Finding your own words is important in life. Sometimes, if you trust someone deeply, you will let them hear the most private of these utterances. At other times you can’t express these feelings to anyone because the right words aren’t there. Keeping a journal helps you identify and work with your feelings. Through this you can communicate with greater clarity. Yet the benefits of keeping a journal don’t end with effective communicating. In fact, that’s just the beginning.
The physical effects of journalling
I’ve always intuitively known that writing was good for me. I started keeping a diary at age nine. I would write about what happened on the playground, who was hogging the slide and how unfair it was that my mother wouldn’t make us pancakes for dinner. Writing down these troubles made them feel erasable. My nine-year-old problems seem silly in retrospect and in 10 years time the trivialities I journal that loom large now will diminish. This isn’t the point. What bothers us matters and, since even our closest friends are sometimes deaf to our concerns, it’s important to have an alternative source to disclose to.
Why bother? Modern science has given us ways to measure everything. In 1988, a pioneering study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that writing about what bothers us can improve our health. Researchers for the study profiled 50 American undergraduate students and assigned them randomly to two groups. One group spent 20 minutes on each of four consecutive days writing about traumas, while the other group wrote about trivialities. The researchers found that those who wrote about their traumas, which were as minor as family quarrels, were significantly healthier afterwards. Despite making no other changes to their lifestyle, their immunity, blood pressure and lung function had improved. In addition, at a three-month follow-up it was found that subjects who wrote about their traumas were significantly happier than those whose writing was non-emotional.(1)
Journalling can ease the stress of upcoming events. Stephen Lepore, Associate Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, found that students who wrote expressively about their emotions before an exam experienced less mental distress. This was despite having the same number of disruptive thoughts as those who wrote about superficial things.(2) Why is this? The simple act of writing dulled the power of their problems to cause them upset. (This ease under stress can also be developed through a meditative practice known as vipassana meditation, or insight meditation, whereby you observe all thoughts without emotional reaction.)
Considering the connection between stress and immunity is clearer every day, this isn’t surprising. But can the stress-reducing impact of journalling reduce pain? Can it heal your lungs? A study published in 1999 in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that "patients with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis who wrote about the most stressful experiences in their lives experienced a reduction in symptoms ... these gains were beyond those attributable to the standard medical care that all participants were receiving."
In this study completed by 107 patients with either asthma or rheumatoid arthritis, 70 of them wrote about the most stressful events in their lives; the writing was undertaken for 20 minutes straight over three consecutive days. The other 37 patients (the control group) wrote about their plans for the day. Four months later, 47 per cent of the group that wrote about past traumas showed clinically relevant improvement. The patients with arthritis showed a 28 per cent reduction in symptoms, including less pain, and greater range of motion. Those with asthma also fared well, increasing their lung capacity by 19 per cent. Even writing about trivialities was healing, as 24 per cent of the control group who wrote about emotionally neutral topics also showed improved symptoms.(3)
What makes it work?
Jornalling works on the link between stress and disease. It’s less direct than, say, a red-faced temper tantrum ending in a heart attack. The negative effects of stress are cumulative. Imagine your body is a piggy bank. If you feed this bank with the currency of stress, eventually it will overload it and cause it to burst. But before it bursts it will crack. In people, these "cracks" can take the form of emotional, mental and physical problems. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), symptoms of stress overload include sleeplessness, indigestion, diarrhoea, nausea, unexplained aches and pains, skin problems, sense of humour failure, moodiness, difficulty making decisions and disorganisation.(4) By identifying these "cracks" you can patch them up before your health shatters.
Journalling helps you see stress through new eyes. Whether stress is imagined or real, your body reacts by triggering the fight-or-flight response. This is your body’s attempt to prepare you for either option. Stress hormones are triggered and extra glucose is pumped through the bloodstream. This is an energy-draining reaction that’s meant to help you respond to genuine danger. Since this physical reaction depends on how you emotionally process things, it’s essential to keep things in perspective.
Say you have a crippling fear of spiders, a common phobia known as arachnophobia. Seeing a spider will likely trigger the fight-or-flight reaction regardless of its actual threat. The flight part of you will want to run away while the fight aspect is challenged to kill the spider or usher it outdoors. Journalling about this upset helps ease its emotional power. As with the students who improved their health by writing about emotions and trauma, writing about your fears will help you work through them. This will reduce them and their ill effects.
Physical expression and health
The body and the mind work together. While it’s wonderful to work with emotions, it’s important to release physical toxins manufactured by our psychological stresses. Journalling is more effective when integrated with other natural healing methods. Exercise is an essential tool in the war against disease. The fight-or-flight reaction needs physical expression or the chemicals it creates will produce toxic byproducts. You can stop this. When these feelings arise, you can sweat the toxins out through physical exertion. Interpretive dance is an especially powerful method, as it combines emotional outpouring and bodily release.
The emotional effects of expression
Appearances can be deceiving. To the untrained eye a journal looks like a bunch of papers full of thoughts and dates. We who’ve worked with it see it differently. We are able to understand that those thoughts do more than sit on paper; they initiate sedation and reflection.
Sometimes you can be surprised by what you write. You can discover facets of yourself that you hide from other people. Your journal allows you to transfer these thoughts from mind to page. No longer are they subconscious, sneaking around the corners of your mind. They bloom into reality.
For example, a few months ago I slowed down on my household chores and hobbies so I could concentrate on my inner development. It wasn’t long before dishes piled up and my paints were drying beside my spotless canvas. I started to feel like I was lazy and became quite impatient with myself. A few days later, I was reading through my journal. In almost entry I mentioned some type of exercise and I realised some of the things I did that didn’t seem physical at the time — like cleaning the bathroom — took quite a lot of energy. Reading this helped me see how busy I’d been. I recognised I was not lazy at all. Sure, a good friend would explain this to me, too, but at the time my closest human confidants were unavailable. This happens to all of us sometimes. Keeping a journal allows you to rely on yourself for insight, which is empowering.
Journalling provides new insights into the true you. Although the subjects you start writing about tend to be what has bothered you most throughout the day, these will segue into other similar problems or experiences. This helps you identify what’s at the core of your problems. At times, a theme will emerge. My journal has helped me realise when I’m doing the same thing but expecting different results or reacting in a way that doesn’t work. Having your actions in print helps you see them and the situations they’re rooted in more clearly. Sometimes this self-awareness is uncomfortable. However, as with the painful strides that precede a second wind when running, the results are well worth it.
Writing down your private thoughts takes courage. This pushes hidden issues into the spotlight. If you don’t keep a journal you may think this makes them loom larger. Actually, it reduces them. Once they’re in the light, you see the shadow they cast is larger than they are. If there’s something you hate to think about, simply write it down and its effect on you will fade. If you write down a memory of something you feel bad about, along with what you were thinking and what was going on in your life at the time, usually you see that you did the best you could at the time. We all make mistakes. Keeping a journal helps us move forward by resolving deep guilt.
We’re all different. The conventional date/event "dear diary" style isn’t for everyone. You can alter this greatly or with subtlety. Robert Chris Martin, Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, suggests keeping journals for different facets of life — school, job, emotional, relationship, family.(5) This style allows you to isolate where major changes have occurred. The method also works with a single journal. All that’s needed is different sections on each page.
Rather than simply reflecting on different life aspects, you can use a journal to improve these. This is the focus of a goal achievement journal. This is essential for personal goals. Identifying a goal and writing about your progress helps you stay objective. Noting both the negative and positive areas of the goal-achievement process allows you to reflect on what you’re doing right and fix where you went wrong without the mocking of your competitors. Putting your strategy in writing lets you clearly evaluate how effective it is at fulfilling your desire. You can keep multiple goals in your journal, or if the goal is significant, you may select a solitary journal to commemorate your path.
Not interested in reflecting on daily events? Perhaps you’d prefer to write down nightly ones. A dream journal gives you access to your subconscious mind. You don’t have to be a dream expert or even knowledgeable about dreams to benefit from this exploration. You just have to be consistent. You need to keep your dream journal by your bed or sleeping area with a pen beside it. Immediately on waking, record every detail and impression. The longer you wait, the more likely the memory will dissolve.
Writing these down can trigger an "aha!" moment. Roger Hiemstra, Professor of Adult Education at Elmira College, New York, says: "I tell a student who is really struggling with some particular concept or subject to consider keeping a dream book or log for a while as a means of obtaining new insights." Dreams can also help us integrate subconscious and conscious. States Hiemstra: "Subsequent analysis of those dreams can lead to interpreting how the subconscious might be directing or impacting on the conscious."(6)
If you don’t like to write, you may prefer to keep an art journal. With this, you can speak through images. Don’t be intimidated by the word "art". Anything visual will do. If the image is meaningful to you, put it in. It can be abstract smatterings of colour, symbols, even a cutting from a newspaper. As time goes by, you’ll be able to see what these images represent in your life. Any book will do, but if you’d like to do collages, choose a large spiral-bound book. This allows for expansion. Rough paper enables you to do watercolour. If you’re blending art with writing and doodles, make sure you use a waterproof marker or artist’s quality pen. Alternatively, paint on a separate piece of paper, wait until it dries and then cut and paste it in.
You can also use art to enhance your regular journal. Placing small symbols beside entries or highlighting words in the colour that seems appropriate allows for greater self-expression.
A journal holds more than details of your day. It is a sacred vessel in which to pour deep feelings. This can be done in many forms. Artwork, doodling and cutouts from magazines can also help you express your emotions. For those who’d like to explore other ways of working with a journal through words, poetry therapy is available. This talent for wordplay has been studied as a method of self-healing since the 1960s. Today, a degree in this field takes two years. If you can’t work with a certified poetry therapist, you can find a person who has equivalent experience but isn’t certified. Or, if you prefer, you can work more privately. There are books that deal in depth with poetry and writing therapy. In the meantime, try the following.
Consider "Laughing Song" by English poet William Blake (1757-1827):
When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;
When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing "Ha, Ha, He!"
When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread,
Come live & be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of "Ha, Ha, He!"(7)
Write about laughter. What kind of things do you find funny? What kind of things do others find funny that you don’t?
What comedian do you find funniest? Which one bores you, irritates you or makes you uncomfortable?
Write a poem using these lines from Blake’s poem as a format:
When the green woods...
When Mary and Susan and Emily...
Where our table...
Come live and...
Keeping it personal
Like a diary, the more intense and emotion-packed your journal is, the more you’ll want to protect your privacy. This can be done through different ways. The lock-and-key tradition is time-honoured or you can store it in a box with a code word on it, like "old clothes". The code word method is also effective if you keep an online journal.
Galina Pembroke is an internationally published writer living in Nanaimo, British Columbia, the most westerly Canadian province.
I cherish the time I have to exercise. It’s the time of the day where I can get my body away from the desk, and my head away from life’s stresses. As much as I enjoy exercising, though, it’s not always something I’m dying to go out and do. But without fail, by the time I get back, I always feel really better than before I left. In fact, other than the fact that I know it’s good for me and my cardiovascular fitness, I think the feeling I get afterward is what keeps me exercising. On those occasions where work piles up and I’m unable to exercise as much as I’d like, I feel it in my mood. Perhaps you can relate to this.
Is this feeling of sadness just us or is there really something to it?
Well, according to new research, our blue feelings aren’t entirely off base.
British researchers presented their findings related to mood and exercise at a recent conference held by the British Nutrition Foundation. Researchers like Nannette Mutrie of the University of Strathclyde and others from the University of Bristol presented their findings (conducted independently but with similar results) which Mutrie says are relatively new to the scientific world in how exercise and mood coincide with one another. According to Mutrie and her findings, exercise is an important part of everyday life as it serves as a natural mood and self-esteem enhancer, not to mention a great sleep inducer.
The researchers from the University of Bristol expressed similar sentiments with respect to exercise’s beneficial effects on the brain, especially in the way of warding off brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The Connecticut-based team of researchers reviewed 17 studies that analyzed the link between sedentary lifestyles vs. active lifestyles and what effect they had on the brain over time. What they found was that among people whose lifestyles involved some form of regular exercise activity, they were 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to those whose lifestyles were inactive or sedentary. The findings were the same among both men and women.
Of course, findings like these provide just that much more reason to get off the sofa, rocking chair or Barcalounger and to start moving – and that recommendation applies to all ages, no matter how young or how old (well, except infants, who have a legitimate excuse J).
The question, of course, is how long should you exercise? Ideally, you should be exercising moderately, every day, for about an hour. Unfortunately, an hour’s worth of exercise isn’t always feasible and among those who aren’t exercising at all, exercising for an hour might seem overwhelming. This often causes them to forgo exercising entirely (classic “all or nothing” thinking). Every little bit counts, so if all you can do is 10 minutes of walking, get up and do it. The key is consistency and increasing your energy output little by little as you progress and get stronger.
Eventually – believe it or not – you will get to the point where a day without exercise will feel like leaving the house with only one shoe on – you’re able to function fine without the shoe, but there’s something missing that leaves you feeling “out of step” all day long.
For the sake of your body, for your mind, and as we are becoming more and more educated about, for the sake of your mood, get out and exercise, whether its on the court, on the field, on the bike or on the treadmill. I guarantee you won’t regret it. In fact, in time, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
Are your palms sweaty? Has your blood pressure elevated? Head pounding? Muscles tense? Sounds like your stressed.
Stress presents itself in any number of ways, some of the signs more obvious than others. But all too often, our coping mechanisms for stress relief are counterproductive; they increase our stress levels rather than allay them. Mindless eating is one such example, as many people use food to cope.
While mindless eating is OK every once in a while, the problem with it is not just the fact that it encourages weight gain, but the foods people choose to eat are stress promoting, increasing stress levels by ratcheting up our blood pressure levels.
And you guessed it, they’re the foods that we usually associate with mindless eating: the fried foods, the alcoholic beverages, the sugary sweets and the salty snacks. These wreak havoc on our blood pressure levels, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and adrenaline levels.
But eating doesn’t have to be a stress-promoting activity. As I’ve written elsewhere, many foods promote stress reduction. Here are five more, as compiled by Marie Claire magazine:
I haven’t done any articles on oranges specifically, but I’ve done a lot on what oranges are known for: vitamin C. As most of us know, oranges are chockfull of vitamin C and besides its ability to boost the immune system, vitamin C also helps to allay stress levels. A 1999 rat study conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama found that vitamin C helped reduce typical indicators of stress (e.g. reduced size of adrenal glands, thymus glands and lowered weight levels by reducing cortisol production).
I did a story on back in January on sweet potatoes, so I’m pleased to see it here. While it’s true, sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, they’re the slow burning kind, meaning they don’t cause blood sugar levels to spike. This makes them the ideal food to eat for blood pressure regulation.
I don’t eat out often but when I do eat out, I can’t help but get the salmon. Salmon is among the best foods you’ll ever eat, never mind the best seafood. It’s one of the world’s richest sources for heart healthy omega-3s, which are also great for regulating stress hormones, according to the medical journal Diabetes & Metabolism.
The avocado is something of an anomaly in the vegetable world (yes, I know that botanically it’s a fruit, but come on, who in the culinary world thinks of the avocado as a fruit?). Besides being one of the few vegetables with a pit, the avocado has something else that most vegetables don’t have: fat. One-fifth of an avocado has about five grams of fat, three grams of which are the monounsaturated kind. And thanks to the avocado’s monounsaturated fat - combined with its potassium - it’s a great blood pressure reducer (Interesting fact: Avocados have more potassium than bananas—700 mg vs. 467 mg).
For energy, Popeye couldn’t have picked a better food to fuel his fury. Spinach has a lot of magnesium, which is essential for energy production. And nothing saps energy levels like stress. Just one cup contains more than 155 milligrams of magnesium.
There you have it; five foods to help you cope when life has you on the ropes. So the next time you’re feeling stressed and need something to decompress, give some of this grub a go.
Have you ever gone from one room to another, only to stop and wonder what you were going for in the first place? How many times have you known the word but just couldn’t quite grasp it? How many times has someone’s name been at the tip of your tongue?
Is that what happens to all of us? Or is there something we can do to prevent this nervous system demise?
Your brain is made up of an intricate network of wires (neurons) that connect with each other via chemical messengers. Communication is a complex process. There are many factors involved, such as the integrity of the fatty coating (myelin sheath) around each neuron (this coating insulates the neurons and aids in signal transmission) or the chemical messenger levels in the end of one neuron and the receptor endings on another. Even your mood or emotional state on any given day can affect your concentration and memory. It is well established that chronic anxiety or depression dramatically reduces your short-term memory and ability to focus.
Now, let’s devise a simple plan to keep your brain working optimally.
Your brain is like anything else in the body – if you don’t use it, you may lose it. Studies have proven one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is to do the daily crossword puzzle. Also, your brain needs oxygen which gives us yet another reason to exercise!
The components of the communication process in the brain are also affected by different vitamins, nutrients and amino acids, and the presence of glucose is also crucial. Your brain needs a lot of fuel to work properly. While studying for my naturopathic licensing exams, 8 to 10 hours per day for 6 weeks, I was always starving. I lost more weight then than I did training for any 5K race because I was using a lot of calories by thinking so much.
You should aim to eat regularly, with a protein at each meal, and never go longer than 4 or 5 hours without eating. This will help maintain your blood sugar levels and prevent symptoms like confusion, weakness, irritability and headaches that may be associated with hypoglycemia.
Vitamin B12 and essential fatty acids (EFAs) are important for the neuron’s myelin sheath so ensure you get enough of each of these. EFAs are found in deep-sea cold-water fish (cod, mackerel, salmon and tuna), hemp oil, flaxseed oil and borage oil. Eat fish three times per week and consider adding a tablespoon of one of the oils to your salad dressings or smoothies. Vitamin B12 should be taken in a form that can be absorbed under the tongue. Next to an intra-muscular injection, the sublingual form is the best utilized by the body.
Memory and mood are dependent on chemical messengers such as serotonin, your “happy hormone” which also affects your sleep and appetite. Your body makes serotonin from protein, particularly from an amino acid called tryptophan. Turkey is very high in tryptophan, which is why everyone gets dopey after Thanksgiving dinner. If you are suffering from low mood, anxiety or depression contributing to your poor concentration, you can try supplementing tryptophan through 5- Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). You can purchase 5-HTP from most health food stores, but prices vary greatly. With this product I have found you get what you pay for, and suggest you opt for a more expensive brand. Take it with food because it may cause nausea on an empty stomach.
Despite its reputation, ginkgo is not always the answer to poor memory or concentration. It is more helpful where the cause is poor circulation and tends to be more effective in the elderly.
Meditation is one of the best, and quite natural, ways to relieve stress. If you like, you can accompany this with breathing techniques as well. This will help you to achieve a sense of serenity but it can take quite a lot of time before you are able to zone out easily.
When meditating, it is generally best to find a nice quiet, comfortable space to meditate. Buddhists use meditation to reach a state of enlightenment and many Jewish prayers are meditative in nature. Even many Christian religions utilize forms of meditation, such as the use of rosary beads n Catholicism. Meditation does not, Of course, have to be about a spiritual or religious journey. Meditation is even used in professional medical communities.
2. Natural Stress Relief
Meditation is natural stress relief at its best. There are no strict rules regarding body positioning when meditating, but most people who use meditation as a form of natural stress relief prefer to do so in the lotus position. The lotus position involves sitting with the legs crossed while keeping the back straight and the shoulders level. Yet other practitioners prefer to sit comfortably, but with the legs uncrossed. No matter the general position chosen when using meditation for natural stress relief, it is best to keep the spine straight throughout the meditation process. This position encourages circulation and makes it easier to breathe in the deep, slow fashion that is often necessary for meditation.
3. Block Out Negative Thoughts
After finding a quiet place to perform meditation, and after assuming a position that is comfortable, it is time to begin this process of natural stress relief. Some people prefer to remain quiet while meditating. Still others close their eyes and hum or make other repetitive noises to help clear their minds and to block out thoughts and outside noises.
4. Imaging Techniques
In fact, meditation is used often in hospitals with patients suffering from chronic or terminal illness to reduce stress. This is especially important because stress has been shown to contribute to poor health. A 1999 report by neurophysiologist Dr. James Austin from the University of Colorado stated that meditation actually reprograms brain circuitry. His findings were later confirmed using imaging techniques that view electrical activity in the brain.
5. Breathing Techniques
If you plan on breathing easier, you will want to organize your thoughts before you begin. One popular method is to focus on each individual part of the body. Give your self permission to relax until your entire body is relaxed. At the same time, this method calls for taking a few deep breaths. These are called cleansing breaths because they help clear the mind and bring a little extra oxygen into the blood. The best masters of meditation are able to hold their breath for several minutes from strength of will alone.
Exercise as an antidote to depression and anxiety is not a new concept. In the 18th century Scotland, doctors in mental hospitals prescribed heavy farm chores as "the best medicine" for their patients and documented marked improvements in mood and behavior. Now scientists are studying the link between exercise and mood changes at close range and coming up with some fascinating results.
One expert in the field says "exercise is clearly associated with mental-health benefits." And moderate exercisers show lowered blood-pressure levels and a resultant positive mood. The key is moderate exercise, performed a minimum of 30 minutes, three or four times a week. Brisk walking, swimming, lifting weights, and bicycling - all achieve good results.
People who exercise regularly, even at something as simple as walking or bicycling, are more flexible. They experience less stress on the muscles and joints when they do bend down the wrong way. Conditioned muscles recover faster, too. It's the couch potato who hauls himself erect one Saturday afternoon to rake the leaves or shovel snow who has trouble.
The big problem we all face these days is living a stressful life. All families seem to be too busy to sit down together and share the joys and pleasures of life. The little things that once mattered are no longer important and now there is a race for more money, more time and more material possessions.
By using simple relaxation techniques, exercising and making changes in our lifestyles, we can manage stress and take control of your lives! Once you have become aware of stress, it's time to relax! There are many techniques for relaxing (and no one method is better than another), but the most basic is deep breathing. One of the body's automatic reactions to stress is rapid, shallow breathing. Breathing slowly and deeply is one of the ways you can "turn off" your stress reaction and "turn on" your relaxation response.
Still another relaxation technique that can help you reduce stress is "clearing your mind." Since your stress response is a physical and emotional interaction, giving yourself a mental "break" can help relax your body as well. When you clear your mind, you try to concentrate on one pleasant thought, work, or image and let the rest of your worries slip away. A short and quiet walk can do wonders and just a walk around the block will clear your head and often give you a new spurt of energy.
Doctors now say that walking is one of the best exercises. It helps the total circulation of blood throughout the body, and thus has a direct effect on your overall feeling of health. There are things such a aerobics, jogging, swimming and many other exercises which will benefit a person both physically and mentally. Researchers agree that exercise helps to ease anxiety and lift spirits.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 40 million Americans over the age of 18 have some type of anxiety disorder.
The typical treatment for them is, of course, dangerous drugs.
Here's a quick lowdown on the drug options.
Tranquilizers and benzodiazepines
One of the drug options is tranquilizers and benzodiazepines (like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Ativan).
Sure, they curb some feelings of anxiety, but at what price? Here are some of the common side effects:
Drowsiness, lack of energy
Clumsiness, slow reflexes
Confusion and disorientation
Impaired thinking and judgment
Memory loss, forgetfulness
Nausea, stomach upset
Blurred or double vision
That would make me even more anxious...
Plus long-term benzodiazepine users are often depressed, and higher doses of the drugs can increase the risk of both depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings.
In addition, benzodiazepines cause emotional blunting or numbness and block the feelings of pleasure or pain.
"Walking zombie" would describe it well. Not a pretty sight.
The other option for anxiety treatment is even worse -- antidepressants or SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake
Examples are Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa.
These are the "published" side effects of these legalized poisons:
Nervousness (yes--they worsen a condition they're supposed to "help")
And here's the kicker--What the drug ads don't tell you is that anxiety and depression are NOT even the result of low serotonin levels to begin with!
The elevated levels of serotonin caused by these drugs can cause changes in your cell neurons that can be classified as brain damage.
How bout that?
Plus ALL antidepressants are required by the FDA to carry a warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts, hostility, and agitation.
Tell you what--I feel anxiety just THINKING about these dangerous chemicals.
There's got to be a better way
Luckily, there is a better way to combat anxiety and depression.
By using a "natural" drug.
You see, anxiety and depression are very often caused by or associated with excess acidity in the body and/or nutritional deficiencies, and both of these are a result of the food you eat.
Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, especially B-complex vitamins and magnesium.
The typical diet most people have which is loaded with processed foods and refined carbohydrates is not only inherently nutrient deficient, but it makes your body's pH more acidic. So your body uses up its alkaline minerals (including magnesium and calcium) to neutralize the acid.
Mental AND physical
The typical acid-forming diet is also a BIG reason why digestive problems and anxiety or depression go hand in hand for many people.
Not only does the anxiety aggravate GI disorders because the of brain-gut connection, but the acid-creating foods
they're eating hamper their digestion and nutrient absorption affect them physically as well.
Conditions like IBS, diverticulitis, colitis and acid reflux are all a direct result of poor digestion. And all the antacids, PPIs, benzodiazepines and SSRIs in the world won't change that.
The great news is that increasing numbers of people are seeing a dramatic improvement in their anxiety symptoms AND their digestive problems once they eat more real foods and increase the alkalinity in their body.
Sheri is an excellent example of this.
She suffered from colitis, IBS and anxiety...but has seen drastic improvements since she changed her diet.
And she's been able to cut her SSRIs in half so far!
I have high anxiety and it affects my digestive system immensely. Just eating properly like you teach has been a Godsend for me.
My colitis is under control, as well as my IBS. I LOVE the cookbook and really enjoy trying the recipes--I have loved everyone that I've eaten.
Thank you for giving me good health and hope to go out and not suffer from pain or embarrassment.
I have even been able to reduce my prescription of Paxil in HALF, plus I have not needed any liquid antacid or even heavy relaxers under stress-filled circumstances.
I just can't thank you enough!
Sherry Brescia: Sheri, you are living proof of the dramatic difference your diet can make with both your physical and mental health. I know you'll continue to feel better and better every day, and am confident the SSRIs will become a thing of the past for you. All my best to you.
If you or someone you know is plagued with anxiety or depression and related digestive problems (or other physical symptoms), know this:
When you make food your drug, make your pH more alkaline and nourish your body like it needs to be, both your body AND mind will say thank you in countless ways.
You can accomplish these important goals simply by following my advice in the Great Taste No Pain health system.
Great Taste No Pain is not a diet--it's a lifestyle that helps you attain a good acid/alkaline balance and efficient digestion.
There are just a few simple principles to remember, and I explain it all in everyday language. It will make perfect sense to you, and you'll wonder why your doctor never talked to you about this.
Stop being a slave to dangerous, life-altering chemicals and instead start feeling great as you enjoy some positively scrumptious food.
Sue was totally in love with Jim. The couple met in high school and dated for eight years. Everyone who knew them expected them to get married and live happily ever after together. Then Jim met Karen. Before anyone knew what was happening - including Sue - Jim had eloped with Karen, putting an end to all of Sue's dreams and expectations.
Sue was devastated. All she could think about was Jim and how she had been cheated out of a happy and secure lifetime with him.
She attempted to date other guys but no one could compare to Jim in her eyes. Sue spent her days feeling sorry for herself and dreaming that one-day, Jim would return to her.
After many years, Sue finally married another man. However, he could not measure up to Sue's memory of Jim. As a result, Sue's marriage was an unhappy one in which she never was able to give her all to her husband. After a number of unhappy years, her husband left Sue as well.
Sue lived out the remaining years of her life lonely, embittered and righteously indignant about how she had been wronged.
It is impossible to be totally present to life, living full out in the moment, if we are incomplete with our past. Instead of welcoming each new experience with a fresh perspective, we become bogged down in the baggage from previously unresolved issues. These issues steal our life energy and diminish of self-esteem.
All too often, when something does not work out as we had hoped, we worry about or re-live the event over and over again. Maintaining our focus on the past distracts and confuses us, draining our energy. With less energy to focus on making the present an exciting passionate adventure, we slip into resignation and begin to see ourselves as limited, ineffective, unworthy, and even unlovable.
The future presents us with an opportunity to complete the past. When we do so, people and events no longer possess an emotional charge. Communicating responsibly with the appropriate people and releasing any remaining opinions, feelings, upsets or emotions until there is nothing left to say is the access to clearing all residue that may interfere with moving on in life. When there is nothing left to say or do and you are void of further energy around an incomplete incident, you can start anew.
Completion is a declaration you make that you are satisfied for now and ready to move on to what's next. When you are complete, you no longer feel the need to change, worry or fix something in your past. Your focus can rightfully be placed on your present actions and situation as you design a compelling future deliberately.
There is value in declaring yourself complete at the end of each day. This declaration allows you to recognize your accomplishments for the day putting your mind at rest so that you can start fresh the next day. When you are complete, you experience a new vitality and aliveness. There is a special sense of certainty and excitement that allows you to be most productive and present for whatever project or opportunity is next. However, most of the time we never quite reach that level of freedom due to our reluctance to communicate all there is to say in order to put it all behind us.
Do not confuse completion with being finished or with quitting. Being finished means you are done with doing whatever it is you've finished. Quitting is about your decision to stop what you are doing whether you are finished or not. There are times when quitting does not support you if you are quitting for the wrong reason. For example, you quit because you cannot be with an interpretation of failing or perhaps, because you are unwilling to take responsibility for communicating what is so for you in the appropriate manner.
Although there is little room in our society for quitters, there is no dishonor in quitting if you are clear about the consequences of your decision and staying at it no longer serves you. All there is to do is simply tell the truth - and go on to whatever is next for you.
EXERCISE FOR COMPLETION
Make a list of all those people with whom you are still angry or have an existing challenge or incompletion.
Within the next 30 days, complete with everyone on your list. For those who are deceased or unreachable, write a completion letter saying everything you need to say in order to be complete.
For every interaction or situation you experience daily, ask yourself if you are complete, satisfied and fulfilled. Is there anything left to say or do that would allow you to put any incompletions behind you?
As you declare each situation complete, look to see what action, project or area of research is next for you.
Identify any areas where you have quit. Have you told the truth and completed with your decision to quit? Is there anything left to do or say to anyone about it?
There is phobia that is linked to the experience of panic attacks, and that is agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces or of being in crowded, public places such as shopping markets. It is a fear associated with leaving a safe zone, such as the home.
Because of a feeling of being vulnerable, people who experience this fear often suffer from panic attacks in these “open” situations. It is true to say many people who have regular panic attacks experience different degrees of agoraphobia. Some have a lingering background anxiety about being away from home should they experience a panic attack. Other people are so immobilized by this fear that they find it very difficult to leave their home for even a short period.
The thinking behind agoraphobia usually follows the line that were a panic attack to occur, who would look after the person, how would he or she get the assistance and reassurance they needed? The vulnerability grows from the feeling that once victims of agoraphobia are caught in the anxiety, they are suddenly unable to look after themselves and are therefore at the mercy of the place they find themselves in and the strangers around them. In its extreme form, agoraphobia and panic attacks can lead to a situation where people become housebound for numerous years. Please note, this is by no means a hopeless situation, and I always need to reinforce the fact that something only becomes hopeless once the person really believes that to be the case.
To begin with, the primary issue that needs to be addressed is the belief in the safe zone. To clarify, when I talk about safe zone, I am referring to the zone where the person believes panic attacks do not occur, or at least occur infrequently. As comfort is found there, it is where the person tends to spend more and more time. The safe zone of anxiety is a myth sustained by the mind. The mind has developed a habit of thinking that dictates that being inside the safe zone is the only place to feel secure and avoid agoraphobia and panic attacks. If agoraphobia is an issue for you, watch as your mind comes up with reasons why it believes only a certain area is safe and another is not. Those reasons range from being near the phone or people you trust to having familiar physical surroundings to reassure you.
The reality of anxiety is that there is no such thing as a safe zone. There is nothing life threatening about a panic attack, and therefore sitting at home is the same as sitting under the stars on a desert island. Of course, your mind will immediately rush to tell you that a desert island is a ridiculous place to be as there are no hospitals, no tranquillisers, no doctors, NO SAFETY.
You need to review your previous experiences of panic attacks. Aren’t you still here, alive and well, after all those attacks during which you were convinced you were going to die?
It may be that on occasions you have been driven to the hospital where they did medicate you to calm you down, but do you really believe that you would not have survived were it not for the drugs? You would have. If the same bout of anxiety had occurred on this desert island, it too would have passed, even if you were all alone. Yes, when it comes to conditions that need medical attention such as asthma, diabetes, and a whole litany or other conditions, then having medical aid nearby is a big asset, but no doctor in the world would tell someone with anxiety that there are only specific safe zones in which she or he can move.
As I know more than anyone how terrifying it can feel to move out of your safe zone as the feeling of fear is welling up inside, I do not wish to sound harsh. This course is not about chastising people for their behaviours. It is a way of looking together at solutions and seeing through the myths that form prison walls. The goal is to enable you to return to a richer and more meaningful life and ultimately defeat your agoraphobia and panic attacks. I also realize that people around you cannot understand why a trip to shops would cause you such discomfort. You will have to forgive them and try not to be upset by their lack of understanding of your problem.
If an individual such as a partner or family member has not had a similar anxiety issue, that person may often find it hard to understand and empathize with what you are going through. I am sure you have been dragged out of the house numerous times against your will, kicking and screaming. This can then lead to tensions and arguments and is upsetting as it can make you feel less understood by those around you. People around agoraphobics are often simply trying what they feel is best. If you can see that their intentions are well meaning (although often misguided), then you will be able to relate to them better and help sooth any potential conflicts.
There is one thing I am sure you will agree with, and that is that the only person who will get you out of agoraphobic thinking is yourself. These are your thoughts, and only you can begin to change that pattern. Dealing with long term agoraphobia and panic attacks is a slow process to begin with, but once the results start happening, it moves faster and faster until you reach a point where you will find it hard to believe that going out was such a difficult task.
You just called the TV repair shop and the voice on the other end of the line tells you "this is Don Smith". About 5 minutes later you tell your wife that "this guy" will be out to fix the TV in the morning. You can't think of his name although you know he mentioned it on the phone.
This happens all the time to just about any of us unless we have learned to concentrate and implant the name in our memory right at the time we hear it. To do this you first must make a habit of repeating the name back to the person. This action will remind you to store the name in your "Memory banks" each time you hear someone's name, and, within a matter of a short time the "repeating" process can be discontinued.
When you meet someone in person use the same procedure, and in addition, visualize something different, unusual from the ordinary, or "ridiculous" about their appearance, position, or actions that "ties in" with their name.
You may have to put the descriptive information on one side of a card or piece of paper and the name on the other side for a while until it is imbedded in your memory permanently. Look at it repeatedly, see the "picture" in your mind's eye as you look at the name, or when you see the name visualize the "picture" you have assigned to the name.
Getting this system to work will require certain changes in your thinking and it may take several days or several weeks to become proficient. After all, you have developed a "bad Habit" over a period of many years and it is difficult to turn it around overnight.
This method also works with anything else work remembering, not just names. When you have occasion to remember something, jot it down and incorporate it into your list . . . No complicated formula . . . Just a system that works with a little concentration.
HOW TO REMEMBER ANYTHING!
As mentioned above a person may train their memory by associating names with specific illustrations. This works just as well with written information.
There are several key words or a key thought in each paragraph of printed matter that can be associated with an illogical or ridiculous illustration. It is much easier to remember and recall ridiculous associations than it is to recall normal and uneventful relationships.
As you proceed through any text choose one or several Key words or key thoughts from each subject and relate the same to a ridiculous cartoon or illustration. Actually "see" it in your minds eye as it relates to the key word or key thought.
When you have occasion to remember a particular matter, the "picture" should automatically appear to you and the entire thought should be recalled. Be sure to SEE the ridiculous picture associated with the printed matter you wish to recall.
As you proceed through a book, practice seeing a picture and relate it to the key words or the main thought of the written material. This method of learning should improve your ability to retain what you read. With sufficient "practice" using this method, many individuals will be able to develop a "photo-Type" memory.
The Key to this memory system is to "see" the "picture" in your "mind's eye". After you have practiced and mastered the system and are able to get instant flashback recall you should be able to read most any text material and visualize ridiculous pictures to associate with the thoughts expressed in the printed materials.
Prove this system to yourself. As you read the first several pages of information, "see" a picture related to the words or thought. It may be rather difficult to "see" at first but by constant effort and concentration amazing progress can be made. When you have seen the picture, just go on reading the following subject matter and repeat the process. Don't be concerned that you will forget the prior subjects! They should remain imprinted on your mind and recalled later, instantaneously and clearly.
After you have read several pages, recall the first few "mind-pictures". If you originally "saw" the picture as related to the key thought of the printed material, you should remember the basic information.
Try it! It's interesting! After you have mastered this learning system, it should be easy to file various programs away in your memory and recall them as needed to progress in your search for success.
MEMORY AND PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS!
The same system mentioned on the previous page may be used to memorize a speech by linking a series of thoughts to a series of ridiculous pictures in sequence.
Proper preparation of your speech is half the battle. Know you subject thoroughly then make an outline for the introduction, main body and conclusion. Start your speech with something to startle your audience into complete attention such as a weird statement or funny happening.
In presenting the main body of your speech get the confidence of your audience by letting them know you know your subject very well. Get your points across without argument.
In making your conclusion you can briefly sum up what you have just stated then end with a big bang; recommending action your audience should take or suggesting they change their viewpoint on the subject etc.; finalize with a joke that fits the circumstances, or powerful word pictures they will remember after they leave the meeting.
Make your outline in large print with plenty of space between lines so you will be able to look up without losing your place on the sheets. Rely on your memory for the most important points, including the opening and closing lines.
Practice your speech with a tape recorder and in front of a mirror before the meeting. Work out any apparent speaking problems or things that don't sound just right. Know what you are going to do with your hands and determine the better body movements to go with your personality. Continually make eye contact back and forth across the room.
Take time to think before answering questions. If you don't have the answer, ask another question, refer it to someone else better qualified to answer, answer in general terms, or change the subject (like politicians do) complimenting the person asking the "impossible" question, or by telling a "clean" joke.