imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Worry is a waste of time

I used to worry about everything.  I was a real worrywart.  If you haven’t heard this term before, it refers to someone who worries without a cause.  We worry about almost anything; our families, our health, our job, money, the weather and everything in between.

Worrying is normal but some people carry it to an excess.  They may even avoid certain places, people and activities because they are worried about getting hurt or sick.

Excessive worrying can lead to stress and anxiety and make you physically ill.  It can also affect your appetite, your sleep, your relationships and your work.  This can lead to harmful lifestyle habits such as alcohol, drugs and smoking. Better to try and work on changing one bad habit (worrying) instead of adding more bad habits.

When we are faced with a situation that causes us to worry we need to consider whether or not there is anything we can do to change the situation If there is, then we should take action so we can stop worrying about it. If we can’t change the situation, then we need to try to release our worry by focusing on doing something positive.   Worrying will NOT change the outcome.

Write down your worries in a journal and forget about them. Writing things down is a great way to relieve stress. Then at the end of the day, sit down in a comfortable place and review your worries. How many actually turned out the way you expected?

Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.  Erma Bombeck

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Patience is a virtue

When we plant a garden, we place tiny seeds into the ground and then we wait for something wonderful to happen.  During that time of waiting we water those seeds to make sure they get proper nourishment.  As they grow, we pull out any weeds that may hinder growth and do any necessary pruning.  The end result is a beautiful garden, full of colourful flowers and plants.

But do we have the same patience in our lives as we do when we plant a garden?  Do we wait for things to happen?  Do we take care of our health with the proper nourishment?  Do we try to remove anything that is causing a bad influence or inflicting pain?  The answer is ‘NO’.  We don’t take care of ourselves with as much care because we lack patience.

Society pressures us to want things NOW.  We learn early in life that we need to be surrounded with lots of stuff and spend money on whatever we want because we deserve it.  So what happens?  We spend lots of money believing that we will find happiness and all this does is put us in debt and results in misery.

Patience is a virtue.  It is the ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset.   Learning to be patient is a process that takes time and effort but it is well worth the effort.   Life would be a lot less stressful and we would be a lot happier if we could just learn to be patient.   

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
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Handling stress during the holidays

Christmas is a wonderful season but it can also be a season of tremendous stress.  If you want to really enjoy the holidays, it is important that you take care of yourself and find ways to handle the added pressures that can take away any peace or joy.

  • Consider what Christmas is all about.  Why do we celebrate?  Is it just a holiday or is there something more important?
  • Don’t try to make everything perfect.  Nothing in this world is perfect so stop trying to do the impossible.  If something doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, just make the best of things and enjoy yourself anyway.  A burnt pie or a forgotten gift doesn’t have to ruin the day.
  • Don’t spend all your money on unwanted or frivolous gifts and end up in debt.  Make a budget and stick to it.  Those wonderful gifts don’t seem so wonderful when you are paying for them months later.  Spend your time instead investing in the people you love and create some great memories.
  • Take time for yourself and don’t neglect your health.  Eat healthy, exercise and sleep well.  Relax with a good book, take a bath, listen to music and meditate.  If you don’t exhaust yourself, you will be able to enjoy the holidays.
  • Have a good attitude and be forgiving to the people around you.  Try to resolve any differences and work on repairing strained relationships.  Be a positive role model and express thanks for all the great things you have.
  • Plan creative but simple meals.  Get family and friends to help instead of doing everything yourself.  Share the load so you aren’t overburdened.
  • Try to include someone who is lonely in a family experience.  There are many people who don’t have family or friends to share Christmas with.

Christmas can be the most wonderful time of year.  It can be a time of peace and joy.  It can be full of love and warmth.  It all depends on what you focus on.  Remember what Christmas is all about.  Jesus came into the world to bring us hope.  Hallelujah!!

 

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Are you ready for Christmas?

People are always in such a hurry, especially at this time of year.  We rush here and there trying to get everything ready for Christmas and it often seems like we are getting nowhere fast.  What we do get, is a lot of stress and frustration.

Christmas should be a time to create new memories with family and friends.  We should be able to stop our busy lives, take some time to relax and reflect on what Christmas is all about.  Christmas was never meant to be a mad rush to spend a lot of money trying to impress people with lavish gifts.   Consumerism has taken the joy away from this wonderful season.  We spend more time and money looking for gifts that people don’t really want or will soon lose interest in or even replace with something that is newer or more interesting, than we spend sharing memories with the people we love.

Think about the time you spend shopping versus the time you spend with your families and friends and ask these questions:

  • Do you spend more money or more time with your loved ones?
  • Do they really need those items you are madly searching for?
  • Can you afford those items or will you be paying for them months and years down the road?
  • Are you feeling relaxed or stressed?
  • Are you happier before, during or after Christmas?

We all need to slow down and stop rushing through life.   We all feel pressure to want things to happen immediately and we don’t want to wait for anything.  The problem is, we are often disappointed with our lives and in our busyness we miss a lot of what is going on around us.  There are so many little, important things that happen when we are too busy to notice: the smile of a child, the chirp of a bird, a beautiful sunset, laughter, acts of kindness.

Are you ready for Christmas or are you still rushing around doing things that are not really that important?   Take some time this Christmas to slow down, relax and reflect.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  Luke 2:11

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Simplify your child’s life…and your own

We live in a world that is complicated.   Daily pressures cause us to try to do way more that we should.  We try to pack so many things into 24 hours that we are exhausted at the end of the day.  Work, family, daily chores, meetings, sports, other activities….it is all too much for many of us to handle.  The stress we feel is handed down to our children when we place our own expectations on their little lives.

Children are not allowed to be children anymore.  They are pressured into growing up quickly and filling their time with endless activities.  When I was small, life was simple.  I spent hours playing by myself and using my creativity to do projects like painting, sewing and knitting.  Toys and games did not fill my room and I wasn’t bored.  Instead of spending hours playing on a computer or an i-pad, I was outside riding my bicycle or having adventures in my backyard.

I see children today who are involved in so many things that they don’t have time to enjoy their childhood.  Their schedules are so full of activities like sports, dancing, martial arts, video games, parties and other events that they don’t have time to use their own creativity.  Then when they do have down time, they go to rooms full of toys and games and are bored because they have nothing to do.

Parents often smother their children with too much, thinking it shows love.  We all want our children to have nice things but when it is overdone, it can result in emotional problems.  Kids feel frustrated, stressed, unsatisfied and feeling entitled to having everything they want.   We should give our children less stuff and allow them to have more free time to build their creativity.  We should give our children less activities and more family time.  More is not better.  More is stressful.  We need to simplify the lives of ourselves and our children.

Here is a great article I just read that explains more deeply what happens when we simplify life.http://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood/

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Take care of yourself!

Our health is very important.  If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can easily develop major health issues that will affect everything in our lives.

We should try to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, get proper sleep and eliminate any negative stresses.  This isn’t easy in a world that promotes fast food and a fast life.  We fill our lives with so many activities that we are too busy to cook healthy meals, go for a leisurely walk or get to bed at a reasonable hour.  The sad thing is, we believe that our value is found in how much we can accomplish in a day and we keep adding more and more stress until we reach a point where our health fails.

My own lifestyle was certainly not the healthiest.  I didn’t really watch what I ate, I exercised very little and my sleeping patterns were terrible.  Stress was a huge part of my life and I kept driving myself to do more that I could handle.   Having a stroke was not something I expected at this stage of my life.  On a positive note, it has changed my thinking and I have no choice but to take care of myself.

Here are some healthy habits that you should incorporate into your lifestyle:

  • Eat a diet that is low-sodium, low-sugar and low-fat.  Lots of vegetables and fruits are important.  Never eat on the rush, take time to enjoy your food.  Frozen and prepared foods along with fast foods are unhealthy so try to cook at home as much as possible.  Eating healthy is a good habit to get your family and yourself into.
  • Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes or more each day.   If you have an active job, this really doesn’t count.  Join a gym or exercise club.   Walking is the cheapest and most effective exercise.  Get a walking buddy and support each other.  I’ve been walking with my husband every day and it is benefiting both of us!
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time.  Of course, there will be times when events or activities get in the way but that’s okay.  As long as you develop a habit that works most of the time.
  • Try to eliminate as much stress as you can.  Positive stresses like getting ready for a exciting event are great but negative stresses will just drag you down.  Think about what is important and what isn’t important.  Spend less time with people who stress you out.  Cut down on your to-do list and make sure you add some quiet time each day.

You are an important person and you need to take care of yourself.  Don’t wait until something happens.  Start today!

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Fight or flight?

In the 1920’s an American physiologist called Walter Cannon came up with a term to describe the chain of reactions in our bodies that help us deal with threatening circumstances.  The term he used was the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ which appropriately explained the need for us to stay and deal with a conflict or run away to safety.  When we are feeling stressed, our nervous system automatically reacts so we are ready to deal with the problem, however, many times this automatic response doesn’t help us resolve the problem and can actually make it worse.

When someone has hurt us we need to stop and look at the situation realistically and reasonably.  Instead of just getting angry and fighting with the person or getting upset and running away, there is a way that might possibly resolve the situation and have a positive outcome.  Really?  We don’t have to let ourselves be controlled by our emotions.  We can stop ourselves from reacting automatically.

In the past, whenever I faced a conflict, I would just allow the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ to kick in.  Did it resolve the conflict?  Of course not.  I decided that resolution would be much better than reaction, so I started to use a different approach.  When a situation arose, I would try to look at things from a different perspective and understand what was causing the problem.  In order to do this I had to face the person, communicate my feelings with them and then forgive them for hurting me.  I call this a face and forgive response’.  It certainly worked a lot better than fighting or running away.  It actually resolved the problem most of the time.

How does it work?  First, stop yourself from reacting immediately – count to 10, take a deep breath.

  • FACE the person by CALMLY starting a conversation that might bring out the reason for their actions
    • ask them if they are having a bad day and why they said or did what they did
    • ask if they are going through something difficult themselves
    • ask if they are under some kind of stress
    • is there anything you can do to help them
    • Tell them that their words or actions hurt you
  • Then FORGIVE them either mentally (to yourself) or verbally tell them if possible

If you can’t remain calm or the other person can’t control their emotions, then walk away and go somewhere until you are both able to carry on a quiet conversation.  NEVER stay in a stressful situation when your emotions are out of control because the result will never be good.

Fighting or running away will never resolve a problem, it will just keep you holding onto it.  Wouldn’t it be better to try to resolve things and have a positive outcome?  Don’t just let your automatic response kick in when you are facing difficulty.  Don’t fight or flee, instead FACE and FORGIVE!

 

 

 

 

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How do you manage your emotions?

The way we manage our emotions affects the way we live.  If we allow our emotions to control us or just ignore them, they will create chaos in our lives.  However, if we learn how to control our emotions, we will have less stress and more peace in our lives.

Emotions are important.  They can tell us that something wonderful is happening and provide us with much pleasure and happiness or they can be a warning sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.  Think about the warning lights on the dashboard of a car.  When you see a red light flashing, what action do you take?  You can do one of three things:

  1. ignore it or even cover it up so you can’t see it flashing
  2. smash the light with a hammer and stop it from flashing
  3. take it to a mechanic and find out what the problem is

What would the first two actions accomplish?  Ignoring the problem or breaking the flashing light won’t make the problem go away and it won’t fix anything.  Your vehicle will eventually be damaged and stop running altogether.  The last action is the only way you will discover what the problem is and how to correct it.

If you handle your negative emotions by ignoring them or allowing them to explode, this will certainly not fix anything.  You will damage your relationships and your own health.  The best way to take care of your emotions is to deal with them and learn how to control them.  It isn’t always easy but if you pay attention to your emotions and consciously try to calm yourself, it can be done.  Here are some ideas:

  • try to avoid situations that cause your emotions to get out of control
  • never react immediately – practice taking a deep breath and count to 10 before having an out-of-control emotional reaction
  • try to focus on something positive
  • pray for guidance
  • leave the situation if you are struggling to maintain control and come back when you have calmed down
  • practice using positive self-talk and looking at things from a different perspective
  • vent your emotions in a positive way –  write them down on paper or talk to someone you can trust
  • examine your feelings and make positive changes in your life

It takes a lot of practice to manage your emotions but if you are consciously aware of your thoughts and work hard to stop yourself from reacting immediately, you will soon develop a habit of self-control.  How do you manage your emotions?

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Are you a multitasker?

In today’s society, multitasking is a normal way of living.  We chat on the phone while cooking, cleaning or doing laundry.  We send emails or text messages during a meeting or appointment.  We watch television while playing a game or reading a book.  Being able to do several things at one time gives us a sense of accomplishment and we believe it adds value to our lives.

However, research shows that multitasking is not an efficient way of living and it can even add a lot of harmful stress.  It doesn’t really save time and in fact it actually wastes time. When we move back and forth between tasks we are actually losing valuable time switching between the different things we are working on.  Multitasking can also cause you to make mistakes because your brain is focused on more than one topic.  You can also miss out on a lot of great things in life because your brain is trying to work so hard on keeping things straight.

Multitasking can also harm your relationships.  When you are trying so hard to accomplish several tasks, you are not tuned into the people around you.  You may be having a conversation and decide to check your phone or read your emails, which sends the message that you are not interested in what the other person is saying.

If you actually timed how long it took to accomplish 3 different jobs while multitasking or doing them individually, you would discover that it was faster to do them one at a time.  You would gain the time it took to switch back and forth from one job to another.  When you focus on doing just one thing, you will do it better and quicker.

You may consider yourself to be a great multitasker, but in reality, you are probably just wearing yourself out.  Multitasking does not make you a better person.  Slow down and enjoy life.  Do one thing at a time.  Do less and do it better.

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Relax…Breathe…Take it easy…Slow down

People are such a rush these days!  Christmas should be a time when people can enjoy the season and anticipate being together with family and friends.  Unfortunately, many people don’t have time to enjoy Christmas because they are rushing to buy gifts and get all those last minute errands run.   I could never understand why so many people wait until the last minute to get things done.  I start early in December so I don’t get caught in all those crazy crowds.

Just this morning, I was driving down the street and had to stop for a red light.  I looked to the left to see if any cars were coming so I could make a right turn.  This probably took my eyes away from the traffic light for about 3 seconds and I heard a beep from the car behind me.   The light had just turned green and she was obviously very impatient for me to start moving.  Wow, she had wasted 3 whole seconds!  I felt so bad that I made her wait for so long!  (Not really)

People need to slow down and stop rushing through life.  Where is everyone rushing to anyway?  Is anything that important that we can’t wait for a minute or two and take a deep breath.  We are all programmed to want things immediately.  We don’t want to wait for anything.  We want it NOW!!

The reality is, everything is not an emergency!  Trying to rush through life just stresses us out and we miss out on a lot of important things.  We miss what is happening around us, those special moments with our families, especially our children.  We miss the beauty in nature.  We miss all those little, important things that happen when we are too busy to stop and look.

Take time this Christmas season and just relax…breathe…take it easy…slow down.  Enjoy the blessings of the season.

 

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