Category Archives: mental health

HOW do you talk

most dangerous stories

 

I have a question for you….how do you talk to yourself?

And no, I don’t mean where you are when you talk to yourself (we all do it, don’t lie) or why you talk to yourself or where you are when you talk to yourself…I mean HOW.

HOW do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake? HOW do you talk to yourself when you look in the mirror?  HOW do you talk to yourself when you accomplish something?  HOW do you talk to yourself when you fail?

It’s kind of a hard question, isn’t it? Most of us don’t think about what we actually say to ourselves.  It’s automatic.  The thoughts just come and that little voice whispers in our head and then we go on our way and we either end up feeling like crap because of that little voice or we end up feeling really good because of that little voice.  It can go either way.

These automatic thoughts are SO important because they impact how you feel! Did you know that your thoughts can determine how you feel about yourself?  About your life?  About other people?

Did you know that you can CHOOSE to change your thoughts? You can CHOOSE to change how you feel about yourself, your life and others.

That’s impossible – you might say – I don’t have control over my thoughts or how I feel.

BUT…you do!!

Now that we’ve talked about this and I’ve pointed these automatic thoughts out to you, you’ll start noticing them. You’ll begin to listen for that voice inside your head.

What is it saying to you? Do you find a lot of automatic negative thoughts running through your head?  Then STOP them and CHANGE them!

You may think I’m nuts (and that’s okay) and you may think I’m full of feces (and that’s okay too) but I encourage you to try it anyway!

Here are some steps you can take to start changing things around

  1. Notice your automatic negative thoughts. Pay attention when they come.
  2. Argue with them. Tell them off. You can say something as simple as: Stop. I’m not going to think like that anymore.
  3. Replace that negative automatic thought with a positive one.
  4. That’s it! Easy, right?
  • Actually, no…it’s not…but it is possible.

It takes practice. How do I know?  Because I do this!  I still have negative thoughts (gasp) but I also know how to combat them.  Some thoughts take longer than others to grapple with.  Some are more ingrained in others.

It’s freakin’ hard BUT I also promise you it’s totally and completely worth it!

 

blog post pic

I’ll give you one of my own examples:

My automatic negative thought:  I am not a good mother because my child keeps having tantrums.  I am doing something wrong.  I can’t fix this.  It’s getting worse.

  • Result – I feel like crap about myself. I feel like I’m not good enough or worthy enough to be a mother.

My positive thought that I CHOSE to replace this negative thought with:  I am enough.  I am doing the best I can.  I am trying.  This is a phase.  It will eventually pass.  I will support her, love her and give her what she needs as best I can while keeping in mind that I have to take care of myself too.  It will eventually be okay.

  • Result – I feel better. I don’t feel wonderful or perfect, but I feel better. I know I have the skills and strength to get through this.

Do you see how that works? It’s AMAZING…seriously.

Practice this! Treat yourself with kindness!  Pay attention to your thoughts and talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend!

Here are some resources to guide you further:

http://www.therapistaid.com/content/0087.pdf

http://danielamenmd.com/3-quick-steps-to-stop-negative-thinking-now/

Book Recommendation: You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero

Book Recommendation: 52 Ways to Live a Kickass Life by Andrea Owen

 

DON’T FORGET:  Sharing is Caring!!  Share this with others on your personal social media pages!!

 

 

 

 

 

This is Daring Greatly

Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgement and advice we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability.  This is daring greatly. – Brene Brown

WOW.

This is DEEP. This is raw.  This is REAL.

Read this quote again….

and again….

and one more time…

Let the words really sink in.

vulnearbility

This is a quote from Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, which I recently started reading.  She is a shame researcher.  Say what?  That’s a weird job description, right?  She interviews people, has done TED talks and writes books about shame and vulnerability.

Does just thinking about that word – shame – make you feel icky inside? It sure does for me.  When I hear the words ‘shame’ and ‘vulnerability’ I want to hide under the covers and not come out.  I want to change the subject and talk about the latest movie I saw (Wait, who am I kidding?  I haven’t been to a movie theatre in months…I’m a mother!)  Those words ignite a physical reaction within me, sort of like vomit (sorry to be so graphic) getting stuck in my throat.

To be totally real with you, I actually started reading this book a couple of months ago but only got through the first chapter. I returned it to the library and thought – this isn’t for me.  I don’t need to read about this.

But here’s the thing, I kept thinking about it. I kept thinking about the book, about how this lady with a PhD has written several books and has dedicated her entire life to this cringe-worthy subject.

Then I started to listen to Your Kick Ass Life podcast by Andrea Own (which is totally awesome) and she kept referencing this researcher and her books. She would quote Brene Brown from time to time and each quote she mentioned struck me in a real, to the core kind-of- way.

Then, finally, the tipping point was this: I realized as I travel further down the road of my health and fitness journey, as I discover more about myself and my dreams and how big they really are, I am opening up the doors for vulnerability and shame to flood in.  I am putting myself out there, out there in real life and in cyberspace.  There are going to be disappointments (shame) and setbacks (more shame) and people are going to know about it and see it (vulnerability).

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I have a choice: I can either play it safe and protect myself from ridicule, judgement, shame and vulnerability OR I can GO FOR IT.  I can give it my all and no matter the outcome, at the end of my life, I will know in my heart that I NEVER gave up and that I did my BEST and tried my BEST and that the bad AND  the good were all WORTH it because I fought for my dreams and went for my dreams and that I made a difference, maybe not in the whole world, but at least in MY world.

So…I went back to the library and picked up a copy (again) and decided I would read and finish this book because it keeps coming up in one way or another.

I am only a few chapters in and all I can say is I am SO glad I gave it another try!

Shame and vulnerability are a MAJOR part of the human experience. They cannot be avoided.

We can either let it defeat us OR we can let it shape us into a stronger, more courageous person.

i am daring greatly

What will you CHOOSE?

(Seriously, I want to know what you choose so contact me! Either comment below, email me or find me on one of my personal social media pages!)

 

Resources:

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown can found here à http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=daring+greatly+brene+brown&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=52958279515&hvpos=1t3&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7652714581452591413&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_7saanfclxf_b

Andera Owen’s website and podcasts can be found here à

http://www.yourkickasslife.com

The Mind-Body Connection

The mind-body connection is a colloquial term that gets thrown around in every day jargon (like my use of SAT words? )  BUT, what does it actually mean?

Here is an official definition: Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are and vice versa! (http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/what-are-mind-body-therapies)

Okay…but still…what does that mean?

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It means that if you don’t take care of your body, put good, nutritious things in it and exercise you are going to feel like crap emotionally AND physically. It means that if you don’t build up your confidence and self-esteem, if you don’t love yourself, you’re going to treat your body like crap and it will feel like crap and look like crap.  And you will look at yourself in the mirror and hate yourself and punish your body because you can’t stand YOU.  You will either eat when you aren’t hungry or starve yourself, or pump your system full of drugs and alcohol to mask the pain or you will gamble or smoke or have sex with random people or sit in your room in the dark and cry and continue to hate yourself and wish that things could be different but you are convinced you are doomed to wallow in the muck of self-pity and loathing for the entirety of your life.

On the other hand, if you do take care of your body, eat clean and exercise you will feel good not only physically, but emotionally as well! You will be proud of your accomplishments, proud of who you are, proud of your hard work and guess what?

If you feel all those things about yourself, you’re going to LOVE yourself! You are going to RESPECT yourself and you will want to continue to treat your body like it’s the only one you’ve got (because it is) and you will continue to nourish your mind and develop a POSITIVE outlook on life that will in turn encourage you to keep taking care of that body of yours and as you can see… the cycle continues.

me and patrick

 

Let’s rewind 2 years ago and let me give you a scenario:

It’s the wee hours of the morning. The sun has not even peeked out over the horizon yet and I am woken up by the sounds of my daughter crying.  I rub my sleepy eyes, lay there for a few minutes hoping she will stop and go back to sleep but she doesn’t.  She just cries louder.

I drag my tired butt out of bed and go to her room, only to find that she’s hungry and wants to eat…at 4:00 AM! I grudgingly carry her downstairs, give her some beans and cheese (because she loves to eat that stuff) and wait impatiently for her to finish so I can take her back upstairs and crawl into bed.

And for the love of God, I’m hoping she will sleep in for a change because I can’t fathom the thought of her getting up at 6 like she typically does and having to deal with that.

Now…fast forward to present day:

It’s still the wee hours of the morning, 3:35 AM to be exact, and I wake up to my son crying. I give him a few minutes to calm himself down but he doesn’t.  I haul my butt out of bed and into his room to find that, low and behold, he’s hungry.  (Maybe it’s a genetic thing in my family).  I take him downstairs and feed him cereal and cheese (because those are his favorite things) and wait until he’s done.

By the time he’s done and I take him back to his room it’s around 4:30 AM.

These scenarios sound very similar, right? But there’s one BIG difference…ME and my MINDSET!

After I put my son back in his bed I had a choice…I could go back to sleep OR I could go downstairs and workout. I talked to myself for a while, trying to decide what to do.

The conversation in my head went something like this: I could go back to bed because I have to go to work and take Charlie to soccer practice afterwards.  It would be cozy.  I could just workout later. (But I also know I probably won’t because if it doesn’t happen in the morning – forget about it).  If I go back to sleep I won’t get up at 5 to exercise like I originally planned and if I don’t exercise I’ll feel disappointed in myself and I’ll let everyone else in my accountability group down.

So…I CHOSE to put on my big girl panties (and my workout pants) and went downstairs, pushed play and did NOT regret a single minute of it!

Here’s another funny thing…I’m actually not tired. Not yet anyway (it is only 1 in the afternoon).  But I truly and honestly believe I feel just as good today as I did yesterday (even though I got a lot more sleep yesterday) because of how I treat myself and my body.  I truly believe I feel SO good, emotionally AND physically, because I watch what I eat, drink a daily superfood shake and exercise.  I take time for myself to take care of myself which benefits not only me but my family as well.

me and 15lb weight

So…my final words of wisdom…TREAT YOURSELF JUST AS WELL AS YOU TREAT THE ONES YOU LOVE BECAUSE IN THE END, YOU’RE THE ONLY “YOU” YOU’VE GOT!

Tomorrow is Never Promised

Remember: Enjoy your life today, because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is never promised – Alan Coren.

There is something that has been weighing on my mind the past week or so and I wanted to share it with y’all. Last week I found out that the cantor at my temple passed away unexpectedly.  She left behind a husband and a young daughter, who is actually in my daughter’s preschool class at Sunday school.

tomorrow isn't promised

 

She was bubbly and bright and had a beautiful singing voice. Not only did she lead the congregation in song during Shabbat services, but she would also come to the preschool class and sing songs with the kids.

I’ve had conversations with her on a few occasions but truthfully, I did not know her that well. However, when I went home and talked to my husband that night, I cried.  I cried because she will never be able to see her child grow up.  I cried because her daughter would never really know her mother and I cried for her husband who, in an instant, became a single dad raising a preschooler.

As I put my kids to bed that night, I literally had to hold back the tears as I thought about her family and as I thought about how much I love mine.

The night before she died, she probably helped her daughter get into her pajamas, brush her teeth and read her some stories. She probably kissed her good night, not knowing that would be the last time she would ever kiss her.

And as I put my kids to bed that night, and every night since then, I think about that. What if this is the last time for me?

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to be morbid or bring you down. I’m telling you this because you never know what’s going to happen in life.  Every day…every moment is a gift.

Cherish it.

Don’t waste it.

I’m not saying every day is easy. Far from it.  Life is HARD!  But it’s also wonderful and amazing.

I’m not saying I don’t get frustrated or annoyed with my kids and I’m not saying life is a bowl of cherries for me all day every day. BUT I am saying that I do try to keep this in mind – that tomorrow is not promised.

Sometimes when we are in the moment of one of my daughter’s tantrums, it’s hard to cherish those particular seconds of my day…but…I remind myself that it will pass.

me tomorrow isn't promised

Sometimes I even sing that country song to myself in my head (seriously) You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins (and if you haven’t heard it and you’re a parent or even if you’re not, you need to listen to it!)  Because this song reminds us, that even when life is hard and things are totally chaotic – it goes by so fast and when you look back that you are actually going to miss those crazy times.

 

 

Example is Power

Famous child psychiatrist Fritz Redl used to say to groups of parents: “Get out your paper and pencils. I am going to tell you the three most important things you will ever need to know about raising children.” Then he would say, “Example, example, example.”

If you’re a parent, I’ve bet you said “These kids should come with an instruction manual!”

I’ve definitely said that a time or two (or three, or four…).

hands for example article

But here’s the thing: If you SHOW them how to behave, if you SHOW them what’s important through YOUR actions, if you SHOW them how to treat others, if you SHOW them how to respect themselves by respecting YOURSELF, they will emulate you.

I can talk to my daughter all day, until I’m blue in the face, about how I expect her to act and treat others BUT I’ll bet you every single penny in my bank account (sorry Patrick) that what is MORE powerful than giving her lectures is SHOWING her how to be.

They are ALWAYS watching, ALWAYS listening, ALWAYS judging…look at the baby, look at the baby…(sorry, that’s from Old School…I digress).

But seriously, they will copy you. They want to be just like you!

back of my kids

It amazes me sometimes, the things my 4 ½ year old daughter picks up from me when I’m not even paying attention. The other day I came downstairs and found her lifting her little pink, 1 lb weights up in the air and she said to me, “Mommy, I’m doing my workout right now and then I can play.”

Another example – She said, “Mommy, I want apples and honey for a snack because I want to eat healthy like you and grow. I know it’s important to take care of my body.”  (She seriously talks like that.  She’s 4.  It’s ridiculous).

And one more example – “A boy in my class was sad today because he missed his mommy. I went over to him, patted him on the back and told him that it’s okay because grownups come back.”

Being a parent is the most DIFFICULT and most REWARDING job I have ever had. One of my friends, who recently became a mom, said it best when she told me, “No one tells you how f—–g hard this is!”

And she’s right! They don’t.  Because they can’t.

Because there are no words to describe how energy-draining, soul-sucking and exhausting it is! BUT there are also no words to describe how beautiful, wonderful, fulfilling and amazing it is to watch this little person that you created learn and grow.

Even though they most likely won’t remember them, the first 3-4 years of their life are the MOST important! Kind of crazy, huh – that the years they won’t even recall when they are adults are the most important?

But their first few years of life are the foundation of everything…of how they relate to others, of how they can expect to be treated, of how they learn to be in society, of how they form relationships.

How do they learn all that stuff? From you!

Just like me, I’m sure you want the absolute BEST for your children! You want them to be the BEST version of themselves they can be.

So, how do you achieve that? You lead by EXAMPLE!  You LOVE yourself!  You show love for OTHERS!  You treat yourself – your mind and body- with respect.  You show them that you are WORTH it.

Do I make mistakes when it comes to my kids (or any other aspect of my life)? Of course I do!  I’m not perfect!  I’m not a robot!  I’m human!  I get frustrated.  I feel overwhelmed.  I don’t always know the right answer.

me for example blog post

But, I can say, with the utmost confidence, that today, I am the BEST version of myself. Tomorrow, I will be even better because I work at it.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.

And in turn, not only am I giving a gift to myself, but almost more importantly, I am giving a gift to my children. The gift of example.  The gift of showing them that they can be ANYTHING they want to be and they can do ANYTHING they want to do.

 

Here are some excellent resources for your reading pleasure:

http://www.professorshouse.com/family/children/articles/parents-must-lead-by-example/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-w-gauld-/parent-by-example_b_5022521.html

http://www.justmommies.com/family-life/family-dynamics/parenting-101-leading-example

 

Sharing is Caring! Don’t forget to share this article on all your personal social media pages!!

 

 

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