Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Flip Your Lid

Handle stress like a dog...if you can't eat it or play with it

Then just pee on it and walk away.

I've said it many times...stress is bad for your health.  In fact, one result of stress is that it dumbs you down.  You're just not as smart when you're stressed.

Psychiatrist Dan Siegel has an easy exercise to illustrate this.  Make a fist tucking your thumb under your fingers.  This is a representation of your brain.  Your wrist is the spinal cord, the palm under your thumb is the limbic system responsible for Fight or Flight, reflexes, and all those autopilot resources we have, the thumb itself represents the part of the brain that generates emotions, and your fingers represent your frontal cortex responsible for conscious thought, reasoning and decision making.  These three areas of the brain work together.

Now, spring your hand open. Your fingers representing the thinking and reasoning part of the brain are no longer connected to the other areas.  When you're stressed out, you "flip your lid".  Signals are not getting to your frontal cortex, which can no longer send conscious information to other areas of the body to help you respond in a thoughtful and reasoning manner.

The next time you're feeling stressed, especially if the stress coincides with a time you're faced with a big decision, remember to breathe.   Inhale deeply through the nose and hold for a few seconds.  Then exhale slowly and completely through the mouth.  Repeat 3 or 4 times.  Your body slows down, you calm down, and you will make better decisions.  And you will regain all your "smarts".

This is a link to a video where Dan Siegel explains the brain represented by your fist and also the importance of mindfulness.  The Science of Mindfulness



Monday, April 28, 2014

10,000 Joys 10,000 Sorrows

"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to

recognize how good things really are."

~~Marianne Williamson

Do you have joy in your life?  If so, how often and how much?  How do you get it?  How do you lose it?  If you don't have joy in your life, do you want to get some?  Do you know how to get it? 

Joy is a perception of how life is.  If your focus is on the things you don't like, then joy may be out of your grasp.  If you're rushing through life, always on the way to the next thing, then joy may be out of your grasp.  If your heart is filled with fear, then joy may be out of your grasp.

To be in joy is to be in the moment and accept what that moment holds...even if it's something you don't care to have in that moment.  Joy comes in and out of life.  Be open to it when it taps your shoulder.

This is a link to a meditation by Tara Brach on Opening to Joy.  She is a favorite of mine.  I hope you will allow yourself some time to watch this and let yourself melt into her words.  She may become your favorite as well.

Tara Brach Opening to Joy



Friday, April 25, 2014

Which Story is True?

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking,

because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings. 

Always believe in yourself. 

~~Author Unknown

Following are two versions of the same story. Which do you believe is true?

Version 1:
A woman was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live.  The doctors told her if they removed her leg, it might give her more time.  She begged them not to take her leg but to give her an

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fragile...Precious Cargo on Board

Stress Plus Pregnancy

Not A Good Combination

Pregnancy is a joyous time for many women.  And it's also a time to watch your health.  What you eat and drink are shared with the baby.  Alcohol and cigarettes should be kicked to the curb to give

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Way to Happiness

There is no way to happiness.  Happiness is the way.

~~The Buddha

If you want to know the secret to happiness, read the quote above.  The secret is...there is no secret.  You can begin an unending search for happiness and probably not find it.  You might believe that you will be happy when you get a new car or go on a special vacation.  You might get caught up in the "if only's"-- if only I had (fill in the blank) then I'd be happy. This is brief happiness at best.

The reason is that happiness cannot be found by looking outside of yourself.  The only place you will find true happiness is on the inside.  And in order to recognize it, you must quiet your mind, something that seems elusive in today's chaotic world.  But it can be done with some practice. Trust me on this.

So remember to BREATHE.  Inhale slowly, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale completely.  While you're doing that, picture something that brings you peace and allows you to unplug for a moment or two.  That is the start of bringing happiness into your life.

It IS All In Your Head!


Friday, April 18, 2014

You Must Do The Work!

For change to be effective, you must want it badly enough to do the work.

The student immediately began crying when I asked how I could help.  "I tried to register for a class and the system won't let me" she sobbed.  I put the box of tissues in front of her and began checking

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Just Remember To BREATHE!

What's new with your subconscious?  My guess is...Not Much.  You see, your subconscious mind is the computer program playing in your head 24/7, and it's what's running your life at least 95% of the

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Super Woman Treadmill


Your breathing is your greatest friend. Return to it in all your troubles and you will find comfort and guidance. – The Teaching of Buddhist Master

Being on a treadmill every day is great exercise – unless it’s the treadmill of the “Super Woman”.
Then it’s nerve wracking and stress inducing...and something you want to get off of.

A big part of life revolves around fulfilling your work responsibilities. When you’re a woman
who works full time, your career is just one of your jobs. You may also be wife, mother, cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, handyman, nurse, and several other occupations that Super Woman handles. You need to find a way to juggle multiple demands on your time and your emotional availability.

The treadmill starts when the alarm goes off at 5:00 am. You rise from bed, careful not to make
too much noise, hit the shower, do your hair and makeup and get dressed (in your Super Woman cape, of course). Next, you wake up your husband and the kids and go to the kitchen to make coffee and breakfast, which probably consists of cold cereal, toast, or something else that is quick, easy and, hopefully, nutritious. The treadmill picks up speed. You pack lunches or get the lunch money ready and do a second check of the family to make sure everyone is awake and at some stage of readiness.  

Chaos ensues as your loved ones enter the kitchen. Homework isn’t finished, someone has lost a
schoolbook, you're informed that you need to make something for the school bake sale tomorrow, and your husband has no clean socks.  Also, your husband tells you he's working late so you need to take Susie to dance class and Johnny to soccer practice.  By the way, if it's not too much trouble, can you stop by the drycleaners to pick up his shirts?  The treadmill is racing now.  Your family looks to you to solve these problems, as if you don't have enough of your own.  You have a big presentation this afternoon, there are some last minute tweaks to be made, and you still have to do a run-through so you look professional.  Not only is the treadmill at top speed, it's set on "incline", and you're racing uphill, Super Woman cape flying behind you! You're taking care of everyone's needs except your own.

Trying to be Super Woman means directing all your energy toward managing your career and
nurturing your family. But what about you – what do you do for yourself? Think of yourself as a well that you continually draw from to nourish your career and your family. Without replenishing the well, it will eventually dry up...and even Super Woman can’t give what she doesn’t have. You, your career and your family all suffer.

Making time for yourself isn’t selfish – it’s necessary. The impact of creating your own personal
time and space is that you have more to give to your family and your career. You need to invest in yourself by setting aside some personal downtime and making it a priority in your life. Take a class just for fun, learn to meditate, go for a walk – there are so many things you can do. Even locking yourself in the bathroom for 10 minutes with strict instructions that you are not to be disturbed can do the trick.

You are important to the important people in your life.  Take care of yourself.

~~Weekly Challenge~~

Here are some strategies to help you reorganize your life and retain your sanity:

  • Sort your daily tasks into "Must Do's" and "Nice To Do's".  Be brutally honest with yourself...everything is not a "Must Do".
  • Give yourself permission to carry tasks over to the following day. 
  • If you find that a task is being carried forward for a week or more, admit that it's just not that important and delete it from your "To Do" list.
  • Carve out your own sacred time to make your life run smoother.  Set boundaries around this time, and don't let anything short of a real emergency interfere.
  • Remember to BREATHE.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Where is Heaven?

This post first appeared on November 6, 2013

When my granddaughter was much younger, she once asked me about Heaven.  She thought it was a house up in the sky where God lived.  I responded that I believed Heaven was inside us in all those wonderful loving feelings we have.

I still believe that we have Heaven right where we are when we are living in harmony with all living things.  After all, what could be more Heavenly than that?

It IS All In Your Head


Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Only The Placebo Effect


Take care in your thinking...your mind and body are listening.

What do you think is more important for your health...taking care of your body or taking care of your mindset?  Since this blog is titled "It's All In Your Head", you know where I stand.  And slowly but surely, the medical community is starting to come around. 

I recently watched a PBS Special, "Heal Yourself: Mind Over Medicine" presented by Lissa Rankin, MD.  Happily, I found she and I are united in the belief that the mind is more important than the body since it is responsible for what's going on.  

For years, I have known that the mind is more powerful than most of us realize...I have seen results first-hand.  My own injuries have responded to my thoughts.  But wait...there's more.  Time after time, studies have shown patients respond to what doctors tell them...good or bad.  They get better or, sadly they don't.  It's the patient's own belief that creates the environment for healing or not healing.

Follow this link to a video of Dr. Rankin discussing the healing power in each of us, if only we believe.       Dr. Lissa Rankin

It IS All In Your Head!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Planting New Seeds

"Planting New Seeds" was first published in this blog on August 21, 2013.

Self-esteem is an issue that’s near and dear to my heart because there was a time in my life when I didn’t have much. I grew up with an alcoholic, verbally abusive father and a loving mother who, I

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Declutter Your Life

"Declutter Your Life" was first published in this blog on August 30, 2013.

                                                 Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

Have you ever noticed how clutter just seems to creep up on you? It starts with one magazine left on the kitchen counter that mysteriously builds into a stack, one plastic grocery bag in the cupboard that