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.

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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You can control the stress in your life

Stress has become a normal way of life for many people and sometimes it can be good for us.  It can provide us with the energy to overcome obstacles but too much stress can cause life-threatening health issues.  Everyday people die from stress-related illnesses such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

It isn’t possible to eliminate all stress from our lives, however we can learn how to control it.  We need to determine what is causing the stress in our lives and learn how to minimize or eliminate it.

When you feel stressed, try using the following STRESS method to analyze what is happening.

S – Stop what you are doing.  Don’t allow your emotions to control you.

T – Take note of the situation in your journal or notebook if possible and outline what is causing the stress.  If you aren’t able to write it down, keep a mental picture of the situation and write it down as soon as you can.

R – Review your notes.  Do this later on in the day when you are not so emotional or you won’t see the situation clearly.

E – Evaluate your reaction.  Was it proper, logical, realistic?  Was it necessary?  Did it help or hinder the situation?

S – Situation – can it be changed, minimized or eliminated.   YES___  NO___   HOW? _______________________

S – Set-up a plan of action for the next time this situation comes up.  Write it down to help you remember it.

Every day, write down your stressful situations in your journal or notebook using the STRESS method.   Seeing these situations written down will help you see any patterns and understand where the problem areas are.

Determine what situation causes the most stress in your life, how you normally react and what the outcome is.  Then you can consider ways to make positive changes so you can feel less stressed the next time it happens.

You CAN control the stress in your lives!

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Men, celebrate the women in your life. Women, celebrate yourself.

Many women don’t ever consider how awesome they really are.  We focus on all our weaknesses, flaws and imperfections.  We don’t think we accomplish enough.  We don’t think we do things good enough.  We are always striving to be better and we fail to see ourselves in a realistic way.

Think about how an average day ends for the average women with a family.   After completing a hard day of work or taking care of the home and kids, she is preparing supper for the family.  After everyone has been fed, the dishes are done and some family members head out for evening activities.    Younger children are sent to their rooms to do their homework while the dishes are done and the house tidied up.  Laundry is put in the washer and the pets are fed.  Lunches are prepared for the next day.  The last of the milk was used at supper, so mom runs out to the store.  The gas is almost empty, so she stops to get some gas.  Then she remembers that the kids have no lunch money and she has to run to the bank.   She gets home just when her husband comes in from his meeting.  He sits down and turns on the TV to watch one of his favourite shows.  Mom likes the show too but has a few things to do before sitting down with him.

After paying some bills and checking her emails, mom makes a couple of coffees and sits down with hubby to relax for a few minutes.   When the show is over, mom tells her husband she is tired and going to bed.  The news has come on, so he quickly mumbles, ‘Good-night” and remains sitting.

Mom goes into the kitchen.  She rinses out the coffee cups, puts away the dishes that are now dry,  takes meat out of the freezer for tomorrow’s supper, checks the breakfast food situation, gets the coffee pot ready for breakfast and lets out the dogs.  Next she goes to the laundry room, takes the clothing out of the dryer and folds it into a basket.  She takes the clean laundry into the bedrooms and puts it away.   She picks up any clothing that has found its place on the floor and puts it in the laundry hamper.   Then she goes back and lets the dogs back in.  She checks their water and gives them a treat.  Then she goes into the bathroom, brushes her teeth, washes her face, puts on face cream, brushes her hair, cuts her nails and tidies up the bathroom.  She sits down at her computer and checks her daily to-do list, crossing off items that have been done and adding any new things that have come to mind.  She writes a new grocery list for things to pick up the next day and notices a note from her daughter’s teacher that hasn’t been read.  She reads the note, writes a reply and puts the note with her daughter’s lunch bag.

Finally, mom goes around and checks to make sure the doors are all locked.  As she passes through the living room, her husband says, “I thought you said you were going to bed an hour ago?”  Wife smiles and mumbles, “I did”.   Hubby replies, “Well, it’s been a long day and I’m tired, so I’m going to bed’.  And he did.

Do you get the point?  Women don’t think they accomplish much but they really accomplish so much and we need to celebrate this.   It doesn’t matter if you are married, single, living with someone, or living alone, women tend to try and accomplish more that we can possibly do and then we beat ourselves up for not doing enough.   We need to celebrate our accomplishments big or small and celebrate others around us.

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Get yourself off your mind

When we think about ourselves constantly, it causes a lot of problems.  If we are thinking about ourselves in a negative way, we will dwell on our imperfections and flaws and spend our time feeling miserable and unhappy.  If we are thinking about ourselves in too high a regard, we will develop an ego that is hard to keep fed and we will have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others.  In both cases, relationships will be very difficult.

Seriously, we have to get ourselves off our minds if we want to be a happy camper and have good relationships.  This means that we have to start thinking about someone else or something else other than ourselves.  This doesn’t mean that you are not important but it does mean that your problems do not define who you are and you will never find happiness until you can stop focusing on yourself.

Research shows that doing good deeds is very beneficial.  It helps us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Helping others actually relieves stress and we can sure use some stress-relief in this stress filled world!  Stress is killing us and we need to start doing something that will help improve our health.

Start reducing your stress by getting yourself off your mind!  Don’t focus on your problems: past, present or future.  It won’t help you!  Focus instead on what you can do to make someone else’s life better and take action.   I did and it certainly improved my life!

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