Life: a mixture of days with laughter and tears - sadness and joy. It may sometimes feel like the balance is off and you have more days of sadness, loss, illness, or other challenges than happiness. When you feel this way, it's important to look at how you cope.
Do you use substances, food, sex, spending, hiding under the covers or do you use healthy coping skills? What we do to live life – through the good, the bad and the ugly times - shouldn’t take away the reality of “feelings” but allow us to handle whatever is going on. In other words, live life on life’s terms.
Many find journaling a great way to deal with feelings. If used the right way, humor and laughter is a good tool during life crises. It shouldn’t be used to cover up or avoid feelings but to help deal with them.
There’s nothing funny about death but laughter can be heard at wakes and funerals when people tell stories about the person’s life. There is nothing funny about a disease being diagnosed but it’s important to find humor in the medical procedures that are beyond what a science fiction author could dream up and the fact that doctors take the place of friends on speed dial.
Laughter is healing. It stimulates the heart and respiratory system, increases circulation and exercises stomach and chest muscles. The results are similar to the benefits from physical exercise.
There are groups in Asian countries that meet in the park to laugh. Yes, that’s right. They fake laughs. If something mimics the real thing, it works. Laughter is contagious. Watch someone laugh and you start yourself. Make believe a laugh looking in the mirror and you'll start laughing for real.
We were taught to never swim alone, to swim with a buddy. How about a laugh buddy? Are you laughing at the thought? If you need one, let me know. It’s what gets me through the day.
February ... love is in the air.
A month focused on elaborate cards, heart shaped candies, boxes of chocolates and roses sold by the dozens. Children in school spend hours making cards for their friends. Restaurants cater to those who want to show their partner they are loved and cared for.
Do all these things say and show what love is?
I think LOVE is an everyday feeling; towards others, yes, but always for self. If we don’t love and accept ourselves how can we know what to give someone else? How we talk to ourselves is an indicator of feeling love. Do we call ourselves names, do we put ourselves down? Is that how we treat others we profess to love or would we never talk to someone else the way we do ourselves?
An interesting topic to journal about. What is love? Do we really love ourselves? How do we love ourselves? Others? What do think the opposite of love is? I just read a book that mentioned the opposite of love is not hate, which many of us think of automatically, it’s selfishness. Hmmmmmmmm … another excellent thought to explore and write about.
I don’t believe there are any mistakes. Whatever we do, how we act or react, can be used to help us learn more about ourselves and others.
Amends and apologies however are most important if others are hurt while we hopefully learn from our actions or reactions.
Journaling, putting thoughts and feelings on paper without monitoring ourselves is a helpful tool to use in order to uncover, discover and grow.
People make resolutions as the page of the calendar changes from one year to the next. They want a change, attempt to do it and then it fades away without the person understanding why they don’t continue long term. The answers to our thoughts and behaviors can always be found within. We just have to explore.
Those who have an interest in journaling and don’t do it, tell themselves they don’t know how. Others have a million reasons why they don’t start. Fear is usually hidden and can be addressed by “just doing it”. There is no right or wrong way to journal. Keep inmind that fear is NEVER experienced in the current moment. We only feel fear when we imagine the future.
Take a chance, explore - discover - and then take a deep breath and take an action. What do you have to lose? The simple suggestions made in the Color Outside The Lines journal before the actual pages you’ll use, are very helpful to the novice or regular journaler.
Healthy, happy New Year to you with easy life lessons.
December has arrived.
A month of religious holidays and traditions. A month of over indulgence - food, drink, spending money or all three.
The last month of the year is known to spark depression and lonliness in some people. They read posts and see pictures on social media of parties, friends and family gatherings and tend to compare their lives with others. Whenever we compare, our lives never measure up.
Rarely do people post the bad hair days, arguments, their own “less than” feelings and lonliness. Life is bittersweet, a mixture of joy and sadness. During this month of holidays people deal with cancer, with loss, unemployment and an array of other life issues.
Happy holiday or happy “any day” is a state of mind, an attitude. Think gratitude rather than poor me. There is always something to be grateful for. Always start a gratitude list with being able to take a breath, with or without an aid, and continue on.
Volunteer and help someone else have a happy “any day”. Start journaling and discover what will help you to have a happy “any day”. Sending everyone reading best wishes for a happy “any day”.
It’s that time of year again. The time of year when the Hallmark Channels kick off 24-hour a day “fantasy” holiday movies.
Holiday time is portrayed in commercials, television shows and of course movies as a wonderfully happy, joyous time surrounded by love ones.
There's always the one scrooge who learns a lesson and all is right with the world after the two hour movie. “Real life” however never measures up to what the writers dreamed up. Expectations we have consciously or unconsciously during holiday time are dangerous to our mental health.
Memories of holidays past – difficult or good – play a major role in how life unfolds. We remember the sad or the happy that no longer exists. People tend to eat, drink and party too much if invited or eat, drink and sit home alone depressed if not.
How do you cope with the holidays? What tools can you use to be “part of” rather than “apart from”? Planning is a great place to start. Old patterns do not have to continue if you look inward and become aware. Journaling is always a good option at any time.
It’s almost Halloween. Walk into a store and you’ll see costumes, candy, party goods and an array of cards ready to be purchased.
Pumpkins are ready to go home with kids of all ages to be painted or carved.
When I saw the costumes and masks that mark the holiday, it made me think of masks that people wear. Not the comic book, movie or music icon character masks but the invisible one we sometimes or all the time put on. The mask that keeps us from being who we really are with others. The mask that allows us to hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want to reveal. The mask that allows us to pretend we are someone else.
Do you don a mask? Sometimes, all the time or never? Why do you put it on? Do you have a different mask for different people you engage? Good questions to ask yourself, good questions to journal about.
Fear thrives in darkness. Open the door to let some light in. Awareness, learning more about ourselves, allows us to grow and evolve.
I was reading a long post from Doc B the other day and it made me think of all the people, through the years, who have shared with me about “trust issues”. What he wrote in one of the paragraphs was, “No one knows the real you but you. Self-trust issues happen when we don’t know ourselves. That’s because we have lost ourselves, or maybe because we never knew ourselves to begin with. The confusion starts with the not knowing what you want and why you want it. Then we look for answers in others. Do you see the detour about to happen here? Suddenly you feel others don't want what you want and it turns into self-doubt or you become a codependent people pleaser.”
If anything he wrote hits close to home, write about it. You know me, I’m the journal advocate! We all have the answers … it’s whether we want to examine them in the light of day or make believe they don’t exist allowing them to come out sideways; addiction, anxiety, digestive problems, etc.
There are times through the years that I’ve talked with friends and given a lot of thought to the words of Tennyson's poem.
If you love, care for someone or something, and it disappears, feelings step in. They can cause fear, anguish, sadness, depression and illness. They can overwhelm the strongest of people, teach a life lesson and change attitudes and behaviors.
Strong feelings of loss will always make impact how we act or react going forward. What do you think? Is it better to have loved and lost or never to be loved at all? Might make for a great journaling exercise.
4th of July - Independence Day is right around the corner. It got me thinking about the holiday, the history and specifically the word, independent.
A few thesaurus entries I found were self-governing, self-sufficient, self-regulating, and free. It’s necessary for a country that’s independent to maintain relationships with others as allies, as a support in times of need.
People who consider themselves independent and self-sufficient also keep others within reach as a support and to enrich their lives. Having others around us doesn’t take away our ability to stand strong unless we allow them to. The safe and trustworthy people we choose to be part of our life is a gift we continually appreciate.
There are Individuals who call themselves independent while isolating, convincing themselves that sharing, being real with another person, would take something from their existence. Life becomes very small, unhealthy when we cannot share our thoughts and feelings with at least one person. Being fearful of revealing ourselves – hopes, joys, fears and struggles - to at least one other safe person closes us off to living a fully realized life.
Are you independent with strong relationships? Are you independent and alone living with the fear “if you really knew me …”? Declare a personal indepence day. Think about it. Try journaling about the gifts you have or could have in your life if you allow people to "know you".