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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.

Laugh

Laughter is the best medicine.  Laughing has many benefits to your health.  It can improve your physical, mental and emotional health.  It lessens stress, increases immune cells, fights infections and helps resist disease.  Laughter is very beneficial to relationships and produces a general sense of well-being.  It is almost impossible to be anxious or worried  and laugh at the same time.

The best thing about laughter…it is free!  You don’t have to get a prescription, go to the drug store and pay money for something that might make you feel better.  Laughter costs nothing and in my opinion, it works better than a lot of medications.  People who are sick or in hospitals have been known to have improved health due to laughing.  In the Cancer Treatment Centres of America, they are using laughter therapy to help their patients.  You can read the article here.

Maybe you haven’t laughed in a long time because of situations in your life.  Maybe you don’t feel like there is anything to laugh at.  You might be struggling with health issues, emotional problems or relationship breakdowns.  Life can be very discouraging and depressing at times when all you can see is the negative side.  This is why you need to try to look at things with a positive perspective instead of a negative perspective.  Laughter can really help. Read this article from the Mayo Clinic about the benefits of laughter.

Here are some ways to add laughter to your life:

  • surround yourself with funny and encouraging people
  • watch a funny movie
  • read a funny book
  • schedule time for laughter each day
  • laugh when you make a mistake
  • try to see things from a positive perspective
  • get a coach who can help you change your perspective

You can laugh about a lot of things in life that may not seem funny.  It takes a lot of practice if you are normally negative and serious, but you can do it.  One time I was walking downtown and I felt my slip sliding down my legs right in the middle of a busy sidewalk.  I was starting to feel embarrassed and my brain was telling me to leave the slip on the ground and walk away quickly but I chose to just reach down and pick up my slip, stuff it in my purse and smile at the people around me.  It was much more comfortable feeling amused than upset.

So put on a smile, develop a positive perspective and laugh!!

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

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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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12 ways to teach your kids to be thankful

Teaching our children to have manners is important but teaching them to be thankful can benefit them in more ways than just saying ‘please and thank-you’.   Being thankful helps us live a better life because we are looking for the positives in life instead of the negatives.

Studies have shown that people who are thankful tend to be happier and more confident.  They are able to deal with difficult situations in a positive way and make better decisions.  They have better relationships and treat others with respect.  They are less likely to be depressed or anxious.

When children are taught to appreciate what they have and are able to understand that everything in life doesn’t come easily, they are less apt to be selfish, self-centered individuals.

So how can we teach our kids to be thankful?  Here are 10 suggestions:

  1. Be a thankful role model.  Children learn best from our example.  They are always watching us and will often imitate what they see.  Show them that you are thankful for all the wonderful things in your life.  Be polite to others people and show courtesy and respect.  “Thank-you for listening to me.”  “I’m so thankful for my nice warm bed.”  “Thanks for cleaning up your room.”
  2. Expect your children to show good manners.  Children should say please and thank-you.  They should sit at the table until everyone has finished their meal.  They should be quiet when an elderly family member is sleeping.   They should write thank-you letters when they receive a gift.  Gently remind your children when they forget to be polite.
  3. Have a special ‘thankful’ meal every week.  Start the meal with a simple grace and then ask everyone to share something that they are thankful for.
  4. Keep a gratitude journal.  Encourage your children to write down things they are thankful for and then  have a gratitude day where everyone can share their thoughts.
  5. Make a gratitude jar.  Write down things you are thankful for on slips of paper and put them in the jar.  Pick a special time to pull them out and read them.
  6. Play gratitude charades.  Have everyone think of something they are thankful for and act it out.  If you are thankful for having a puppy, walk on all fours.  If you are thankful for having good food to eat, pretend you are cooking.  Be creative.
  7. Tell your children how thankful you are that they are in your family.  Tell them how thankful you are for their smile, their hugs, their special way of doing (something).
  8. Refrain from giving your children too many material things and encourage them to save their allowance or get a job to pay for any special items they may want.  This teaches them to appreciate the value of money and hard work.
  9. Encourage them to donate their time or money to help a worthy cause.   Help them understand that many people are struggling and need someone to help them.  Allow them to feel the positive energy of helping others.
  10. Catch them complaining and try to help them find something to be grateful for.  If they are complaining about not getting a new toy or the latest technology, have them make a list about the great things they already have.
  11. Read stories and watch movies about gratitude.  This will reinforce what you are teaching them and help them see things from a different perspective.
  12. Bake cookies for your neighbours, your school or place of work and attach a note telling them how thankful you are for knowing them.

 

It doesn’t matter if your children are 2 years old or 42 years old, you can still help them become more thankful by being a positive role model.

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More money but more depression?

Many people believe that money buys happiness.  If they could just get a better job and make more money than everything would be great in their lives.  If they just had a bigger house or more expensive car, they would be happy.  If they could take more vacations or buy whatever they dreamed of, life would be wonderful.

Well, if money could really buy happiness, why are so many wealthy people unhappy?  Isn’t it interesting that people have more money and possessions than ever in history, yet the percentage of depression is increasing and stress levels are on the rise.    Research shows time and time again that happiness does not depend on how much money we have.   Actually, many people who live in very poor countries have been found to have higher happiness levels and less depression that wealthy people.   Why?  Because they are thankful for what they have.

Being thankful and looking at life with a positive perspective is the only way to find happiness.  Happiness doesn’t depend on how much money we have, how many possessions we have or how many friends we have.  Happiness comes from within and we make the choice daily as to whether or not we will be happy or sad.

What are you thankful for?

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Do you hide behind a wall of pain?

When someone asks how you are doing, what is your answer?  Fine, okay, doing good?  Or do you really tell them how you feel?

Many people are good at putting on a happy face and telling others that everything is okay, when really they are falling apart inside.   They hide behind a wall that covers up their emotional pain and don’t allow anyone to know how they are feeling.  They isolate themselves to avoid the risk of getting hurt again.

Emotional pain comes from having negative beliefs about ourselves.  We can feel worthless, rejected, abandoned, misunderstood, unloved, disrespected, inadequate, stupid and unappreciated.   These negative beliefs can cause us to have insecurities, fears, lack of trust, resentment, bitterness, relationship issues and a general inability to cope with life.

Instead of hiding behind a wall of pain, we need to try to understand why we allow others to hurt us and change the way we look at life.  Most people are not ‘out to get us’ or cause pain in our lives.  They have likely been hurt themselves and are just passing on their pain.  We do NOT have to allow them to treat us badly.   We need to express how we feel and ask for respect.  Hiding behind a wall WILL keep others out but it is also keeping us trapped inside our self-imposed prison of pain and stopping us from having any good relationships.

We allow others to hurt us but we don’t have to.  This is a decision we make.  We can run from our feelings, hide our feelings or deny our feelings but this will never give us freedom.  We need to face our pain and work through it so we can tear down any walls we have made.

There is no way we can avoid pain in our lives.   People will always hurt us with their words and actions because we are all different.  Try to be understanding of what other people are going through.   We have to be confident and learn to look at life with a positive perspective.

Do you hide behind a wall of pain?

 

 

 

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Nobody cares, just waiting to die

Niagara Canada is home to a large and growing senior population.  Many seniors who have never experienced depression in their lives are developing this illness due to poor health, inability to cope with daily tasks and lack of emotional support.  I often connect with clients who live alone and feel like their lives have no purpose.   Sometimes when I am covering a shift for a housekeeper, a client will talk my ear off because they don’t have anyone else that will listen or they will just sit and stare into thin air until they fall asleep.  My heart breaks for these people who were once so happy and full of life.  They feel like nobody cares and they are just waiting to die.

What causes seniors to slip into depression? For some, their family members and friends live distantly or they have passed away.  Others have family close by, but they are not able to help them due to busyness or lack of interest.   Many seniors have a very active mind but they are confined to their homes because they no longer have the ability to drive or they are too ill to go out.  Their lack of independence gives them lots of time and little to do which is very depressing.

It can be hard to detect depression in a senior because the symptoms can be found in other illnesses.  These can include:

  • lack of energy, tiredness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritable, agitated
  • lack of interest
  • constant worry, fear
  • sleep problems
  • sadness, mood changes
  • physical pain

Depression affects people of all ages and we should always pay attention to the people around us and make sure they are not struggling with excessive feelings of sadness or unworthiness.  Depression is a horrible illness that robs people of having a good life and it also negatively affects their families, friends, the people they work with and anyone else they connect with.  We always need to give our loved ones lots of love and support, especially if they are depressed.

Look around you and see if there is anyone you can lift up with your love today.  Is there a family member that you could pay a visit to?  A friend you haven’t called in a while?  A neighbour who doesn’t come out much?  Connect with them and let them know how special they are!

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~Seneca

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What is a habit?

A habit is a behaviour that you do repeatedly until it becomes automatic.  Once you have done the same thing over and over again for a period of time, you don’t even think about it anymore.  We develop good habits and we develop bad habits.  The good habits push us forward so we can enjoy a happy and successful life.  The bad habits are the ones that hold us back and cause problems in our lives.

If you want to stop your bad habits, you need to:

  • clearly define your bad, negative habits
    • make a list
    • number them in priority sequence starting with the one you would like to change the most
  • determine what new, positive habits you can develop to overcome your bad habits
    • stopping a bad habit is hard unless you have something to replace it with
    • thinking about new habits will fill up your time with positive energy
  • create an action plan
    • decide which new habit you are going to work on first and the steps you need to take
    • write down the steps in a journal, daybook or calendar for 21 consecutive days (research shows it takes about 21-30 days to develop a new habit)
    • each day, follow these steps until you feel confident your habit is well established
    • if you slip backwards or miss a day, keep going and don’t give up
    • at the end of 21 days if you haven’t reached your goal, continue for another 21 days until the habit is set
  • celebrate your successes
    • at certain points (weekly, biweekly, monthly) reward yourself with a small treat or special event as a motivation to yourself

Do you know what your bad habits are?   Maybe some of these sound familiar?

  • being late for work, school, appointments, meetings
  • hitting the snooze button more than once before getting up in the morning
  • procrastinating on paying bills, filing taxes, keeping house clean, working on projects
  • talking instead of listening
  • not spending time with family, friends
  • forgetting important dates and occasions
  • not returning phone calls and emails
  • not eating proper meals
  • avoiding regular exercise
  • not keeping promises
  • answering cell phones and texts continuously
  • surfing the internet, playing video games
  • trying to control everyone around you
  • biting nails, tapping fingers

Changing a bad habit can be very difficult but also very possible with commitment.  Developing new, positive habits can transform your life.   Replacing bad habits with good habits will improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self.   Having good habits will increase self-esteem and help you overcome:

  • feelings of worthlessness
  • fears and insecurities
  • addictions
  • poor behaviours
  • pressures and stresses
  • depression and anxiety

 

 

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Too busy to enjoy life?

When was the last time you stopped from your busy schedule to relax and just enjoy life?  Was it yesterday, last week, last month, last year?  Do you even remember?

People today are so busy running around taking care of the family, the kids, the work, the house, the pets and a variety of other activities, that they are so worn out at the end of the day and still haven’t completed everything they wanted to.  Our to-do lists are getting longer and longer but the days don’t get any longer.   Every day has only 24 hours but we try to cram as much as possible into those hours and are never satisfied.

When are you going to start enjoying your life?    I’ve heard a lot of excuses and used most of them myself.

  • ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’  Well, we all know this won’t work because tomorrow never comes, so you can say this every day for the rest of your life.  Why not start today!
  • ‘When I get everything caught up.’  This doesn’t work because nobody ever finishes all the things they have to do.  Even if you manage to complete one task, there is always another one waiting to be done.
  • ‘When my children are grown up and move out’.  How do you know that your children will move out and if they do, maybe they will come home again.  Besides when your children have homes of their own, there will be different things to spend time doing.
  • ‘My spouse/friend/boss expects things of me.’  People will always have high expectations of you, especially if you continue to do things for them.  Being helpful is great but learn to say ‘no’ so you aren’t wearing yourself out.

Using excuses to continue rushing through life is not helping you at all.  Being too busy is harmful to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  It can cause stress and all sorts of health issues.  Your body is important and if you don’t take care of it, nobody else will.

You may love your work but are you getting any pleasure out of what you are doing?  You may love your family but do you allow enough time to stop working and enjoy each other’s company.  Consider the things you do and start cutting back on what you do each day.   Try to organize your tasks so that you aren’t wasting time doing things that are unnecessary and unimportant.

Look around at other people and see what they are doing.  I’ve noticed that people who are rushing around often wear a frown and a worried look on their faces.  I’ve also noticed that people who are relaxing and chatting with someone are smiling and happy.    Being too busy is certainly not the way to happiness.

If you have been busy for so long that you can’t even think about what you can do to enjoy yourself, here are some suggestions:

  • read a good book
  • take a nap
  • listen to some classical music
  • sit and meditate
  • laugh
  • go to church
  • take a walk
  • play a game
  • do a puzzle
  • go fishing
  • plant flowers
  • talk to your spouse
  • exercise
  • ride a bike
  • watch a funny movie
  • write a story
  • visit a friend
  • watch the sunrise or sunset
  • write a love letter
  • bake cookies
  • go for a picnic
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Robin Williams dead at 63

When I read this headline this morning, I was shocked.  I knew that Robin Williams struggled with depression but he seemed to be so full of life.  He was an amazing actor who could play almost any part and do a great job.  It didn’t matter if it was comedy, drama or even a cartoon character, everything he did was thoroughly entertaining.  Here is an article about his passing….. http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/robin-williams-dead-in-apparent-suicide-at-63-1.2733770

If you struggle with depression, please take steps to help yourself.   According to many specialists, depression can be treated effectively and in many cases can be managed to a point where it almost disappears.   Here are some tips:

  • SEEK MEDICAL HELP – Find out what is causing your depression and discuss treatment options.
  • RESEARCH – Learn as much as you can about depression and how it can be helped.  Read stories about people who have overcome depression and how they managed to do so.
  • THERAPY – Find a counsellor, therapist, social worker or pastor who is understanding of your situation and easy to talk to.
  • FAMILY & FRIENDS – Connect with trusted family and friends who can encourage and support you.  Talking to someone every day will keep you focused on recovery.
  • SUPPORT GROUP – Groups can be very supportive.  Make sure they are helping you move forward and not keeping you stuck in your depression.   Check with local organizations and churches.
  • MEDICATION – medications can relieve depression but should never be relied on for an extended period of time unless the depression is very severe.   If you use medication, make sure you also work on developing a healthy lifestyle.
  • EXERCISE – Exercise has been proved to lessen depression.  Take a walk.  Ride a bike.  Join a fitness club.  Engage in a sports activity.
  • KEEP ACTIVE – Keeping your brain and your body active will keep your mind off your problems and you will not feel depressed.  Just make sure you allow time for relaxation so you don’t become worn out from too much activity.
  • BECOME POSITIVE – Work hard to rid yourself of negative thinking as it will keep you focused on being depressed.  Positive thinking is very powerful.  It helps you build confidence in yourself and it will change your life totally.

Everyone feels depressed at one time or another but some people struggle almost every day.   Stats very, but approximately 10% of the world’s population struggles with depression every day.  Sadly, this terrible illness has become a way of life that is slowly destroying them and many don’t even realize that they can make positive changes to their lives.  Don’t let depression rob you of life!  I allowed it to control my life for numerous years and thankfully I finally discovered that I could control my depression.  Now I can enjoy life and I rarely feel depressed.

If you want to learn more about building confidence and becoming more positive, visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com

 

 

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Depressed? Here are some self-help tips that work.

Depression is a horrible illness that brings pain and loneliness.  It can cause people to withdraw from others and stop taking part in regular activities.  This is self-defeating because it is important to keep busy and get support from other people when you are depressed.  Having struggled with depression all my life, I’ve found ways that can help beat the blues.  Here is a list of some ideas that have worked for me.   Try them and see what works best for you.  There is nothing to lose, but a lot to gain!

  1. Get out of bed at a regular time every morning.  Yes I know it is hard when you feel bad about yourself and the world.  Many times, I’ve just pulled the covers over my head and gone back to sleep which just made me feel worse.  Set your alarm to get up at the same time every day and put it across the room so you can’t just hit the snooze button.Slide15
  2. Make a healthy breakfast.  Eating healthy is good for your body and will help give you energy.
  3. Make a to-do list.  Think about what you want to accomplish that day but don’t just keep thinking and wishing it would happen.   Write it down and you will have a better chance of following through on your thoughts.   Just make sure it is a realistic list.  I made impossible lists and then felt bad because I couldn’t finish everything.
  4. Start with an action that gets your blood moving.  Look at your list and do something.  Even if you have only decided to call a friend, clean your kitchen or take the dog for a walk, this will get you energized.  Then keep working on your list until everything is done.  You will be surprised what you can accomplish and you will feel better!
  5. Compliment yourself.  Every time you accomplish something, no matter how small, tell yourself what a good job you did and encourage yourself to keep going.  It always feels good when someone else gives you an honest compliment but you should also feel good when you give yourself a compliment because you deserve it!
  6. Get support from your loved ones.  Find family or friends who you can trust to support you and encourage you.   Even just one person is a good start.   Set a specific time to talk to someone every day and this will also benefit your loved one because they will feel needed.  Consider family and friends who live far away and have them call, email or write letters to make sure you are keeping on track.
  7. Join a support group.  People who are going through similar challenges can help you navigate your way and become more confident.   You will find support from them and also be able to give them support in return.  However, make sure you test out a group for a time or two and see if the other group members and leaders are being supportive and caring.  Some groups are great, but I’ve attended a few that made me feel play with topsworse than I already did.
  8. Join an interest group, club, church group.  It can be very hard to be sociable with people when you are depressed, but it is very necessary.  Find something that you enjoy doing and give it a try!  Or do something different and have some fun!
  9. Make a nice meal and invite family and friends.  If you already live with someone, they will really appreciate the time you took to make a meal.  If you live alone, they will appreciate being invited.  If you don’t like to cook, it doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal, just make something simple and pick up a dessert or special treat.
  10. Meet a friend for coffee, lunch or a movie.  Call someone who you enjoy spending time with and ask them to meet you.   Be pleasant and enjoy a nice conversation.
  11. Never talk about your depression when socializing.  This is a sure way to drive people away from you.  This is something that I learned from experience.   It’s good therapy to talk about what is bothering you and the more you talk, the easier it gets, but you should be careful who you share your problems with.  Only talk about your depression with your trusted family members and friends, in a support group or with your counsellors.  When you are in a social setting, this is not the time to share your problems.  It also opens yourself up to people who like to gossip and spread your personal issues with other people.
  12. passing stickExercise.  Yes, I know, this is not a word that people like.  However, exercise is good for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self.  It helps you in so many ways and will lift your depression.  Sometimes when I was feeling really depressed, my husband would encourage me to go for a walk or bike ride and after I came home, I was feeling energized and the depression was gone.
  13. Volunteer.  There is nothing that is more rewarding than helping someone else.  Doing acts of kindness not only benefits the receiver but also the giver in many ways.  Every time I have volunteered it has helped me in so many ways.
  14. Surround yourself with positive people, places and things.  Make a habit of being positive as much as possible.  It isn’t easy in a negative world but if you keep working on it, it becomes a good habit.  I used to be negative most of the time, but I keep working very hard on being positive and have eliminated as much negativity from my life as possible, and now I’m positive most of the time.
  15. Make an appointment with a counselor, therapist or pastor.  Some people need professional help to get them started on recovery.  Don’t just sit and wait for help to come.  Go and get the help you need.  I did and it really helped me.

When you are depressed, you can only see the world from a negative perspective.  If you want to enjoy life and find happiness, you have to work hard at becoming positive.  This will help you build confidence and increase your esteem which will overcome your depression.  Pay attention to your moods and start looking after your health.   You are an awesome person and you deserve to be happy!

Check out my website http://www.imconfident.com for information on building confidence and increasing esteem.

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