Three Week Challenge: Be Kinder Than You Have to Be….

Why This Will Lead to Greater Peace and Happiness

Be Kinder than You Have to Be
This is one of those “Self Improvement Hacks” that is so simple and so “flowery” that the average person dismisses it without a single thought.

I hope you aren’t average.

We’re all after the same thing – peace, happiness, joy, stress-free days, good health, and more reasons to smile than to frown.

More reasons to laugh than cry. More opportunities to speak positive words than negative ones.

We want happier families and relationships – everyone getting along, laughing, and enjoying life’s ride together.

One of the simplest paths you can take to this “ideal world” doesn’t involve hard work, special talent, acquired skills, or even money.

It simply calls for you to show up!

This challenge is simple: you just have to be kinder than you have to be for three weeks.

What does being kinder than you have to be entail?

  • Saying kind things to others when you’d rather just say, “Hi.”
  • Biting your tongue when you want to ridicule, criticize, or even “tease.”
  • Telling people to have a wonderful day… and meaning it.
  • Asking how their day was, THEN listening and actually caring.
  • Allowing others to think differently than you do.
  • Complimenting people for the sake of seeing them smile.
  • Doing little things that you know will make someone else happy.

The list goes on, but you get the idea – being kinder than you have to be means thinking about THEM instead of YOU.

But here’s the thing. This challenge isn’t even for them. It’s actually for you…. but, shhhh, no one has to know.

 

It won’t even take the full three weeks for you to reap the benefits. I promise you, you’ll feel happier and more at peace almost immediately. Watch how others respond to this kindness and watch how it makes you feel.

It feels good to be make others feel good… so good, in fact, that it’ll become a lifelong habit.

I promise. Please try it. Be kinder than you have to be for three weeks. You’ll never go back to being any other way.  It is truly one of the secrets to happiness, happier families, peace, and even better health.

~ Joi

Also On Self Help Daily:

Trying to Wear too Many Hats Doesn’t Do Anything But Cause Headaches

Sometimes It Pays to Remember You Just Have One Head

Quote About Trying to Do Too Many Things
 

This past week, alone, I’ve witnessed the following:

  • An e-mail from a Christian newsletter publisher talking about treating joint pain.
  • A department store with a bank, clinic, and tax prep booth – all where better shoe, books, and clothing selections once were.
  • A bar-b-que restaurant serving fried fish. BAD fried fish.
  • Another e-mail newsletter (“specializing” in health) talking about relationships.

And it’s just Wednesday!

Is it just me, or are people trying to DO too many different things and BE too many different people these days?

Fast food restaurants may be the worst. There’s even one clown who seems to think he’s Starbucks.  Stick to the fries and burgers, buddy.  Oddly enough, people seem shocked that this restaurant is falling in profits and popularity. That happens when you stop trying to “perfect” what you’re supposed to be doing.

There’s a beauty salon I drive by frequently and it seems that each time something new has joined the lineup: manicures, pedis, botox, fillers, and other things I can’t even pronounce. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to drive by today and see, “Now doing open heart surgery! Get your nails done before you even come to!”

Even my own much, much beloved coffee shops are branching out further and further. Pastries, sandwiches, smoothies, candy, nuts, etc…

Trying to do everything doesn’t perfect anything.

Take the flip side. Think of  Chick-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel, NBA Players, and Waffle House.

  • Chick-Fil-A sticks with chicken. They concentrate solely on what’s on the sign out front and you will not find better chicken in any fast food restaurant.
  • Cracker Barrel doesn’t try to be anything they’re not. They serve great home-style cooking and leave the rest to… well, they leave the rest to the rest.
  • NBA and WNBA Players Defy Logic. Ever think of how incredibly difficult it would be to get a small ball into a hole that’s hanging so far away? All while there are 5 athletes, your size or bigger, giving their all to defeat your purpose?! But these men and women commit themselves to the game and they are just mind-boggling to watch. They specialize in perfecting their game and their conditioning. They do things we can’t even begin to imagine doing because they work at that one thing – basketball.
  • Waffle House? Breakfast food all day, all night. Can you imagine how ludicrous it’d be to see “Now serving lasagna” on the sign out front? A lot of the scenarios we see everyday are just as ludicrous, we’ve just gotten used to them.

Now let’s bring it home to where we live. Do we ever fall into the same traps to the ones above? Of course we do. It’s human nature, I suppose to think, “More = Better.”  Wal-Mart’s reasoning is that if they create essentially a “small city” inside each store, more people will shop there. They think, “Let’s give them a bank, a clinic, a beauty salon, a pharmacy, an Optometrist, a place to do their taxes…”

None of which, of course, makes them a better department store. Ironically, it makes them LESS valuable as a department store because all the other clicks and whistles are squeezing out the LAST things they should be squeezing out. I can remember when Wal-Mart had the cutest, most affordable shoes in town. This was about 10 years ago and their selections have gone downhill since. I guess they just don’t have room for things like that anymore.

Mark my words, Sam Walton would not be a happy man.  Can you imagine what he’d said the first time someone said, “Hey, Mr. Walton, I have a great idea. Let’s put a clinic inside each store!

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud ambition but, like they say, “Ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land.”  And since NO ONE knows everything, that stands to reason that a lot of people are treading water they never should have jumped into in the first place.

What happens when an individual tries to do too many things, wear too many hats, and tries to walk on too many different paths? Well, for one thing, they look like a darn fool.

On a more serious level, though, he or she suffers in three key areas:

  1. The MORE they do and try to do, the LESS happy they will be. They find themselves so BUSY trying to do all things and be all things that they’re left with no time to simply enjoy life. Life is passing them by and they never actually even look up long enough to see it. Stress is a particularly ugly monster and he prefers people who have too many hats. They’re like some kind of signal to him – he thinks, “Easy prey!”  How can you tell if stress is sneaking up on you or already has you in his clutches? I think the easiest way is to ask yourself how your RESPOND to situations and people. Do relatively small things set you off? Do things that once wouldn’t even measure a blip on your radar now cause your heart rate to speed up, your neck muscles to tense up, and an angry disposition to show up. Sure signs of stress…. and since stress leads NOWHERE good, deal with it today.
  2. The GO! GO! GO! mentality creates physical problems that can be deadly. Heart disease, hypertension, and even gastrointestinal problems can, and are, directly linked to this type of hyper lifestyle and mindset.  Have you ever seem someone in the throes of thinking they had to do a million and one different things? I swear, sometimes they even forget to breath.
  3. Relationships Suffer. While this is the last one in the list, it certainly is not the least. Moms and dads who think they HAVE to work extra long hours at the expense of actually spending time with their children are making one of the biggest mistakes known to man or womankind. It’s also one of the mistakes they’ll, one day, regret the most.  The same can be said for husbands and wives who become so wrapped up in “making money,” “having more,” and “getting caught up…” when every topic of conversation revolves around these subjects, the stage is set for misery.

Life isn’t something we’re going to be able to get out and enjoy for hundreds of years, you know. If you’ve become so busy that work or money are all you ever think or talk about and you’re forever looking for your next hat – do yourself (and everyone in your life) a favor…

  • slow down
  • breath
  • live in the moment
  • enjoy life

Your level of happiness will rise with each hat you cast aside.  Life is to be enjoyed, not rushed through.

~ Joi

Also On Self Help Daily:

Infographic: 6 Ways to Conquer Your Fears

19 Million People (in the US Alone) Suffer Phobias!

6 Great Ways to Conquer Your Fears

I thought it was deliciously ironic that I received this infographic to share with you on the same day I had the last post (Overcoming Fear: Truth Be Told It’s Pretty Darn Cool) scheduled. Things happen like that so often that I’m really not even surprised any more… I just think, “Meant to be,” and have another drink of coffee.

Credit: 6 Great Ways to Conquer Your Fears [Infographic] by the team at Vegas Extreme Skydiving

 

Also On Self Help Daily:

Overcoming Fear: Truth Be Told, It’s Just Pretty Darn Cool

How Our Mind Can Both Create and Solve the Same Problem

Canoeing at Sunset
 

My husband and I recently took a canoe trip on one of Kentucky’s many beautiful lakes.  For most people, this would simply be another beautiful adventure in the great outdoors. But for someone, like me, who has a “nearly” paralyzing fear of bodies of water larger than a bathtub and a “totally” paralyzing fear of snakes, it was like riding a roller-coaster at an old abandoned amusement park… a roller-coaster without seat belts in an old abandoned amusement park.

A roller-coaster without seat belts in an old abandoned amusement park being operated by a clown with an evil laugh.

OK. You get the idea.

When we set off from the safety of the land (I really, really love land) and the canoe started swaying “too far” that way, then overcompensated by swaying “too far” in the other direction, my mind went full on “fight or flight mode.” It started coming up with scenarios that could get my feet right back on the nice safe land. I thought,  “I could say I forgot something…” then, when my husband said, “What?” I could say, “I forgot to stay in the car.”

Then, I thought, “I could say I’m sick… and it won’t be that much of a stretch…”

By the time I was deciding on one approach, I realized we’d gotten too far away from precious land. Frankly, I didn’t have any intention of ruining the husband’s day by making him step in my chicken &$!^.

Just as my brain tried to console itself by thinking, “At least we haven’t seen a s-n-a-k-e yet…” guess what slithered by the canoe with its head held up high, trying to get away from us as fast as possible.

That’s right.  A s-n-a-k-e.  My brain spells it out… makes them seem less real.

Here’s the kicker. I thought he (she???  – how in the heck would you know??) was downright cute.  The whole head up above the water while the body tried frantically to get it to safety made me feel both a kinship and a pity for it.

It was cute. There I said it.

I even somehow managed to raise the camera I was holding in a death-clutch and tried to take a picture of him (her). It was too fast, its fight or flight speed left mine in the dust.

It wasn’t long before I had actually relaxed enough to actually speak. I managed to tell Michael that I was going to need lots and lots of chocolate when we got off that lake.

Chocolate is my adult pacifier.

By the time we’d seen beavers, an epic beaver lodge, herons, eagles, ospreys, geese, and deer (in the distance… they weren’t swimming out there, now THAT would have freaked me out), I was having the time of my life. As the sun began to set, I realized that our canoe trip was nearly over and I actually felt a sense of regret.

Then I remembered the chocolate and all was well.

What I took away from the entire situation was this: Sometimes we tell ourselves SO OFTEN that we’re afraid of this, or we’re afraid of that that we cause the fear to seem larger than it actually is. We make it a huge monstrous two-headed beast when it’s actually usually much smaller, not that monstrous, and has just the one head.

When we allow fear to dominate us, we’re actually giving it too much credit and ourselves not nearly enough.

One thing that helped me fairly early in the canoe trip was a certain little “mental checklist” I did.  I asked myself what was the worst case scenario and what I would do if it came to pass.

I determined that if the canoe flipped and I found myself in deep water approached by a s-n-a-k-e, intent on using my soaked body as a buffet, I would club it with my oar. My brain also reminded me that I could always climb back into the canoe and that, after all, I was wearing a life jacket.

After I saw the you-know-what fleeing the scene, it also occurred to me that a clubbing wouldn’t even be necessary. I’d have to chase it to do so and I have no intention of doing that.

Ironically, I was ITS huge monstrous two-headed beast.

During the canoe trip, I also got a live, up close look at what irrational fear looks like. In a canoe near us, a “football player size” teenage boy nearly turned the canoe he and his girlfriend were in completely over. Seriously, they were inches from landing in the water.

He caused such a commotion, their canoe swayed like Gilligan’s ship in the opening credits and I still have no idea how it kept from wrecking.

Come to find out… he did all of that because he saw a spider. I’m not even kidding you.  As I was laughing at the big ole boy afraid of a tiny little spider, my over-stimulated and shot out mind asked me, “What are YOU laughing at, snake charmer?”

The day was as enlightening as it was entertaining.  My irrational fear came thisclose to ruining it for both me and my husband and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that I chose “fight” instead of “flight.”

It’s not an overstatement to say that it made me stronger. Winning battles does that – especially when you’re your own opponent.

Our minds are utterly fascinating and utterly powerful.  While this may seem like a reach, It’s one I’m willing to risk: Our minds determine the world in which we live.

We pretty much create the world we live in all between our ears. If we want something to be beautiful, it will be beautiful.

If we want to find fault in a person or a situation, we will be able to find as many as we’d like.

If we want to make a situation fearful, we won’t have to break a sweat, we can make it horror-story quality.

I’m sure you’re asking the same thing I am… why would we want to create anything negative?  Why would we desire to create anything frightening or ugly?

Unless we’re as crazy as crazy has a right to be, we want our world to be beautiful, peaceful, and infinitely happy. Right? Well, the good news is we have the power to set it on the right track.

This power is our mind.

Next time your mind tells you something is scary, ugly, or even hideous, don’t just take its word for it (especially if it spells it out). Step back from the situation, take a deep breath, and create the world in which you truly want to live.

~ Joi

Your Turn: What are your own personal phobias or fears and what have you done to overcome them? Anyone else “highly cautious” around snakes?!

Canoeing

Prevent Dementia with Smart Food Choices

Out of Bounds
5/4/2015

Dementia (including the most fearsome type of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease) has become as feared in our society as cancer. Fortunately, there are proactive changes we can make to greatly reduce our odds of getting dementia. In addition to getting plenty of physical and mental activity – eating a healthy diet is absolutely essential.

Read more about brain foods that’ll help prevent dementia by clicking the link.

Heart Healthy Benefits of Drinking Your Heart’s Favorite Drink: Green Tea!

How Tea Can Help You Prevent Heart Disease

Cup of Green Tea
 

The health benefits of green tea are legendary.  I could, I’m certain, write a 6,000 word essay on the powers of green tea and still not cover half of the information.  Since I have a lunch date with my family in a few hours, I won’t launch into that right now.  I know one thing, though, as usual, I’ll be ordering tea to drink.

Green tea isn’t just one of the smartest drinks anyone can choose, it might just be THE smartest one an individual at risk for heart disease could choose. Given the sobering fact that, each year, roughly 1.5 million Americans have a heart attack, it makes sense to do absolutely everything to make sure we don’t fall within this number. When lowering our risk is as simple as choosing the right drink to pour into our glass, it’d be ridiculous not to jump on board.

The following excerpt from Prevent a Second Heart Attack lays it all out beautifully:

Just like chocolate, tea is a form of plant food – and plants contain a plethora of phytochemicals that, when stacked together, will maximize the strength of your daily heart disease defense system. No doubt about it, a few daily cups of tea, and especially green tea, can provide cardiovascular protection via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

There are three main varieties of tea – black, oolong, and green – and all are derived from the tea plant known as Camellia sinensis (Countless herbal infusions are informally referred to as “tea,” but these are unrelated to real tea produced from Camellia sinensis). Teas are classified based on how the leaves are processed, with the leaves of green tea being the least processed of the three varieties. Green tea is dried but not fermented; hence it retains the greatest amount of polyphenols.

What exactly is in green tea that wards off heart disease? Researchers believe that the primary therapeutic component in green tea is another type of flavonoid, the catechin family of plant polyphenols, found in exceptionally high concentration.  The most abundant of the green tea polyphenols is called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. EGCG is believed to be the most active health-protective component in green tea. (Incidentally, green tea contains 40 percent more polyphenols than black tea.)  According to researchers out of the University of Hong Kong, EGCG is a highly effective agent for lowering inflammation in the bloodstream as well as reducing oxidation of LDL, thereby protecting against plaque buildup.  – Page 225, Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., LDN

Did you know that research shows that drinking tea may reduce the risk of death following a heart attack. A study showed that people who drank two or more cups a day had a 44 percent lower death rate following their heart attacks than did non-tea drinkers.

Some of the health benefits of drinking tea may come from the fact that it keeps you from drinking soft drinks and diet soft drinks – both of which aren’t even remotely healthy.  It’s always the right time for tea… so I think I’ll go have a cup right now. – Joi

You can read my Prevent a Second Heart Attack Review by clicking the link. The article includes GREAT advice on heart health whether you’re looking to prevent a first or second heart attack! The author also answers some questions about heart health and heart attack prevention.

See Also: I’m not just a tea drinker or a tea lover… I’m actually a Crazy Tea Chick. Click the link for my tea blog!

Also On Self Help Daily:

Caring for Yourself to Care for Others

Self Help Daily Info

One of the best ways to maintain a positive attitude is caring for yourself physically. While that advice seems easy, it is, indeed, easier said than done. With our busy schedules and highly demanding lives, we typically don’t take the time for ourselves. Mothers, in particular, are prone to not caring for themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally, as we often put everyone else ahead of our own well-being.

However, if we wish to live more fully with the energy and stamina needed to make it through every day, we must take care of ourselves physically. A few great ways to start caring for yourself physically include:

Eat Well and with Those You Love

When it comes to our diets, we often fill ourselves with highly processed, less nutritious meals which leave us feeling energyless and sometimes just downright gross. Providing care for our minds and bodies often starts with our diets. Eating more whole and fresh foods will make you healthier, give you more energy, and even make you more mentally focused. Better diets also help fight off obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

To double the benefits of eating well, consider sharing more meals with those you care about. Sharing a meal strengthens bonds, and even stimulates us mentally and physiologically, which make for happier individuals.

Exercise Regularly

Lack of exercise leaves us without energy and often overweight – both of which typically lead to poor mood and poor self-image. In order to boost your mood and increase your self-image, exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. The endorphins released by your body during regular exercise will do wonders, and the physical activity will help you fight off a variety of diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Go to Annual Check-ups

Eating right and regularly working out can greatly improve your health, but that doesn’t mean that they give you a pass on your regular check-ups. Annual check-ups, whether they be a physical or women’s wellness exam, help us see the things about our bodies that we normally don’t detect on a daily basis – such as high blood pressure or increased risks.

By attending your regular check-ups you can stay informed about what is going on with your body, any risks you may be experiencing, and what you can do in the future to continue living well.

Take Exams and Tests Seriously

Like annual check-ups, medical exams and tests also help us see our bodies more intimately, and they should not be avoided. As we age, a list of tests can help us detect cancers, heart disease, and a host of other common illness that may deeply impact the quality of our lives if left untreated. A list of exams and tests that individuals should have regularly include:

  • Woman wellness exam – starting in late adolescence
  • PAP smear – at the start of sexual activity, but no later than 18
  • HPV testing – at the start of sexual activity, but no later than 20
  • Clinical breast exam – starting at age 20
  • BRAF and KRAS testing – early if there is a concern for cancer
  • Mammogram – starting at age 40
  • Colonoscopy – starting at age 50

The ages above are simply the recommended ages, and may vary depending on family history and individual concerns. Consult with your physician about the testing that you should consider to maintain your health. Medical labs can provide noninvasive testing for HPV, BRAF, and KRAS. The site trovagene.com further discusses noninvasive and quantitative alternatives to biopsy and imaging for tracking specific oncogene mutations over time. Additionally, clinics and your local health department can provide affordable clinical breast exams and usually mammograms as well.

Meditate

While mediation may not seem like a physical exercise, it is. Meditation is a wonderful way to both relax and engage the body, and also a great way to ease and refocus the mind. Regular meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety, release physical tension, and produce more emotionally stable individuals. It can even reduce blood pressure! Simply meditating for an average of 15 minutes a day can increase your wellbeing – not to mention give you a quick and relaxing break from your busy life.

Also On Self Help Daily:

Dealing With Stress and Stress Triggers

Often Finding Peace Means Making Peace

 

Sweet Hannah

Hannah: One of the Sweetest Cats to Ever Cat

Have you ever seen an individual in the throes of stress?  They look like they have it worse than anybody on earth. They act like the entire world… and possibly even God, Himself, is out to get them.

Some lash out in a temper tantrum like a 5 year old that’s being forced to leave the McDonald’s playground.  Others sulk like one that never made it to the playground in the first place.    Still others internalize their stress – keeping it all in and under wraps, at least for the time being. I say for the time being because, it’s sure to come out eventually and when it does… you don’t want to be anywhere near the event.

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness. – Richard Carlson

Stress can be sneaky.  You can think you have a handle on it, but next thing you know,  every little thing seems to set you off.    After a while, you don’t even realize that SO MANY things are getting under your skin. You get so used to the feeling, you think it’s normal.

The saddest thing about this is the fact that you’re wasting precious moments, hours, days, weeks, months, and years of happiness and peace.

As far as I’m concerned, happiness and peace are two of the most beautiful words in the entire world.  Why let anything stand between you and these two beauties?!

If any of this sounds remotely like you, I have good… make that great… news for you. You don’t have to live at stress’ mercy.  You can do something about it and, quite frankly, the fact that you’re still reading means you are WELL on your way.

Coping Techniques for Stress

There are coping techniques for stress that you can experiment with.  Use these techniques in your own life and find the ones that bring more peace into your life and happiness into your days.

There are those beautiful words again.

Blowing up, internalizing, sulking, stressing – these are all things that are causing damage inside your body.  If you could somehow look inside and see what your inability to handle stress is doing, you’d find a way…. make a way… to cope.

I’m not judging and I’m not condemning.  I’m probably the least judgmental person you’ll ever encounter.  I get that everyone is different and I, honestly, love that fact.  I also have read enough, observed enough, and simply know through good old common sense that everyone reacts to things differently.  On any given day, three people can get a flat tire and each will react differently:

  1. One may cuss, pound the steering wheel, and search for the nearest person to blame – the road crew, the city, construction workers, the spouse (always a good one), God (yeah… He’s always home and has nothing better to do than pop tires), etc.  The blamers of life are real pills, aren’t they?  My oldest daughter and I watched a man outside of a coffee shop one afternoon a while back.  Something wasn’t quite right under the hood of his truck and he put on a display unlike anything I’ve seen in a while.  He hit the hood, he screamed at his mortified wife, he stomped, he kicked…  Some people were laughing at him, my daughter said he was “gross” and I just went back to my coffee hoping I never met him face to face.
  2. One may tear up and have a little “poor me, nothing ever goes right for me” cry.
  3. The third one might just say, “Wow, didn’t need that, but at least no one was hurt.  Oh well, if this is the worst thing that happens to me today, I’ve got it made.

One person isn’t OVER ALL any better, smarter, or cooler than the other two.   Each simply copes differently.  The thing is, when we get to the place where we’re able to cope with stress like the individual in the third example, we’ll enjoy life more, we’ll function better, our health will be better, our relationships will be sweeter and we won’t be spectacles for others to laugh at, call gross, or wish we’d never even seen in the first place.

Irregardless of how we react to it, stress is a most unwelcome guest.  Like all unwelcome guests, it boils down to two choices:

  1. Get rid of it. If there is anything within your power to deal with what is stressing you out, do so. Most things are within our control – it’s just easier to “hope” for change than it is to “work” for it.  If you are physically, mentally, or emotionally unable to deal with it – find someone who can help you. There is no shame in asking for help – we all have to every now and then. And if it helps get rid of stress, isn’t it worth it?
  2. Learn to deal with it. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but sometimes you just have to make peace with a situation.  This is especially true when what’s causing your stress within someone else’s hands. You cannot control other people, and shouldn’t even want to, if we’re being honest.

Let’s take a closer look at the second one… learning to deal with it, simply because this is the water most of us will find ourselves wading through.  Often the things that cause us to “stress out” are things that we simply have no control over. The economy, politics, the media, sports, our grown children’s decisions – we’ll simmer over these worries until we’ve worked ourselves into a bundle of stressed out negative energy.

Over things we can’t control! What a waste of time and emotion. When we let things “get to us,” simply realizing it is the first step.  Taking a deep breath (two, if it involves our children), and acknowledging that this is something beyond our reach is the next step.

The third step is where the magic is – make peace with it. Remind yourself, “You don’t have to like it… you certainly don’t have to love it. But you will not let it rob you of another minute of peace.”

As usual, this makes me think of animals… everything makes me think of animals! Recently, a MUCH loved cat of mine (Hannah) had approached old age.

Very old age, to tell you the truth.

During the last months of her life, she lost weight and just wasn’t herself. As someone who has, literally, had cats all of her life, I saw (but hated) the writing on the wall. I found myself getting so stressed out and sad over it that I realized that I wasn’t enjoying the time I had left with her as much as I should have been. When she first began losing weight and looking like the little old lady that she was, I found myself feeling heartbroken and sad when I was around her. Sometimes I’d even start to cry because I knew time was running out.

I caught myself one day, though, and made up my mind to stop focusing on the negative and concentrate on the positive. I’d had this beautiful little cat in my life for many years and whether it was months, weeks, or days that I had left with her – they were going to be happy days.  Days celebrating her living, not days dreading her dying. I made peace with something that was the last thing I wanted to make peace with. However, it was inevitable and you know what fighting with the inevitable causes, right?

STRESS.

I did, of course, lose Hannah to old age. But I chose (and choose) to focus on the fact that I had one of the sweetest-natured, most beautiful, and spoiled rotten cats ever! She was my constant companion when I walked, did yard work, or just sat on the ground with her. She loved having her picture taken and would ALWAYS roll onto her back to show off her belly. She was uncommonly proud of that belly!

We gave her a wonderfully happy life and she brought more sunshine into our lives than you can imagine.

Sometimes if you want find peace, you simply have to make peace.

After all, when you think of peace, what do you think of as its “opposite?” War, right?  If you aren’t living “at peace,” you are living “at war.” How miserable and unhealthy does that sound?!

Stress Triggers

Before you can actually deal with stress, however, you have to identify your triggers.  In the example above, the man in front of the coffee shop obviously couldn’t cope with adversity.  (Good luck with life, buddy.)   I also wonder if a little bit of feeling helpless had something to do with his performance.  After all, if he knew what to do, wouldn’t he have been doing it rather than acting a fool?  The lashing out at his wife was probably somewhat of a defensive reaction to keep from showcasing that he didn’t know what to do.  (Pick up the phone… call someone who does… easy peasy…)

We can’t all know everything and there is no shame in simply smiling and saying, “I know as much about this as I do the mating habits of the blue footed boobie.”  There never has been and there never will be any shame in admitting that you’re human.

Some of my favorite people in the world are human.

Other people are triggered, seemingly, when they think the world isn’t doing enough for them or giving them enough.

My advice for these people is this:   The world doesn’t owe you anything.  If this is your thinking, let me hasten to point out that you’ve got it all twisted…. You owe the world.  Start giving and you won’t have time to throw a pity party.  Also, while you’re at it, stop complaining that others aren’t doing enough for you.  If you want something done, do it. Try this on for a while:  Go out of your way to do things for other people.  Compliment them, smile at them, help them out whenever and however you can.

There’s a great old saying, What goes around comes around – maybe you’ve been living that out and what you’re receiving is what you’ve been giving… or, in this case, haven’t been giving.

Just a thought.

A third stress trigger is feeling overwhelmed – like life is just giving you too much at one time.  We’ve all been there and few of us ever want to go back.

The emotions, turmoil, and so forth that surrounded my mom’s sudden death in 2006 left me feeling like I was completely and totally spent.   If not for prayer and an outstanding family, I might still be in bed with the covers over my head.

I actually remember the day that I “got up,”  emotionally.  I hadn’t physically stayed in bed for days after losing my mom, but my spirit sure did. With the covers pulled tightly around its head.

Then, one day, I was in the back of the house and I heard my husband and our youngest daughter in the front of the house looking for something.  I knew that, not only was this dynamic duo completely helpless when it came to finding anything, they’d make a colossal mess trying.  I flipped a switch that I’d forgotten even existed and, literally, rejoined my family.

Sometimes we have to admit that we’ve “gone under.”  Make no mistake about it, we all do at one time or another – we feel overwhelmed and worn out.  The trick is not to stay there.  Remember Lao-Tzu’s words, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  If relationships, finances, work, or another potent opponent has you on the ropes…. or even if it has knocked you to the mat!… you have a choice to make:  Are you going to stay there or are you going to fight back?

The answer to your triggers, your problems, your adversities, and your stress lies inside of you.  Find someplace quiet and sort things out.  Stop placing blame on anyone, beginning with yourself.  Blame is the most irrelevant and useless expense of energy I can think of.  Forge past blame, forge past self-pity, and forge past anger. Find the solution you need to either remove your personal stress from your life or determine how you’ll learn to deal with it.

Life is too precious and the world is too beautiful to spend any measurable time whatsoever “on edge” or “stressed out.”

 

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‘Cause You Got Per-son-al-ity

Walk Personality, Talk Personality, Smile Personality...

Personality Song Lyrics
 

I have always LOVED the song  (You’ve Got) Personality by Lloyd Price. What a voice. In fact, I think his is one of the best voices that have ever carried a tune… and this man carried the heck out of it.

There’s actually a method to my madness today – I’m not just posting cool song videos or doing unsolicited music reviews to suit my fancy (though it most certainly suits it fine). I was making a graphic for an old article I wrote about personalities. As I read over the article, each time I read the word personality, I read it as “per-son-al-ity” – and, you guessed it, it was to the tune of Lloyd Price’s song.

By the time I was through with the graphic, I knew I had to make another one (the one above) while listening to the song.

On repeat.

Click the following link to check out the old post: Is Your Personality an Asset or a Liability? but first, listen to the wonderful song below.

What. A. Voice.

What Are the Scientifically-Claimed Benefits of Acupuncture?

Self Help Daily Info
It’s highly unlikely that your doctor has ever prescribed you with an acupuncture appointment. That’s because much about acupuncture has yet to be proven and alternative treatments would tend to get the nod as they’re far simpler to accomplish and regarded as more reliable. However, it is widely claimed that acupuncture could be a better choice of treatment than drugs or medication in some cases.

Research has supported acupuncture as an effective treatment for a number of health conditions in the past, yet it’s not always clear as to whether it would be the best solution to everyone’s needs. So what does research actually tell us about acupuncture and what specific health problems are best alleviated with this traditional method of treatment? Here are six examples of acupuncture benefits stemming from scientific claim…

Improves Effectiveness and Efficiency of Medicines

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that was carried out in China back in 2009 discovered that small doses of a certain pharmaceutical, when accompanied by acupuncture treatment, was just as effective as a full dosage.

The pharmaceutical used in the study was fluoxetine, which is commonly used to treat depression and relieve anxiety symptoms. It was also found that acupuncture reduced the side effects commonly associated with the drug, such as weight gain and nausea.

Reduces Side Effects from Radiation Treatment

Cancer patients who pursue radiation treatment are likely to experience various side effects depending on the area of the body that is being treated. Acupuncture is capable of relieving many of the symptoms experienced as a result of these side effects, including nausea which is a common side effect for those who are being treated in the head and neck area.

However, a study published in a journal from the American Cancer Society showed that a number of cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment weren’t necessarily relieved of their symptoms despite an improved quality of life after the treatment.

One of the studies described the experiences of a cancer patient using an acupressure band. The patient experienced less nausea but still had the same occurrence of vomiting afterwards. Another study focusing on the “dry mouth” side effect of radiation treatment found that patients experienced less discomfort despite similar levels of saliva being recorded.

These studies seem to show that the symptoms weren’t relieved after all. Instead, acupuncture seemed to improve the quality of life of the patients once treatment had come to an end.

Lessens Persistent Headaches

Migraines and tension headaches can be extremely pleasant for those suffering from them on a regular basis. They are one of the most common reasons for people to visit their GP and tend to occur more often in women, although anyone can be affected by migraines and tension headaches.

A review of 22 studies that involved acupuncture and its effectiveness in treating tension headaches and migraines found that acupuncture could prevent headaches becoming a consistent problem. The studies also found that acupuncture worked well treating existing headaches.

Treats an Aching Back

Scientific studies relating to acupuncture have focused much of their time on back pain due to the common affiliation between alleviating

back pain through the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment for chronic back pain has been well documented by scientists as more and more people are visiting clinics seeking acupuncture as a method of treatment.

A study from an issue in Archives of Internal Medicine found that people provided with simulated acupuncture, which involves pressure being exerted onto the afflicted area of the body without the use of needles, resulted in a 15% improvement on symptoms compared to the treatment offered through standard chiropractics.

Helps Fight Obesity

This is an interesting one as it hasn’t been well documented in the past, but Korean researchers claim their findings have enough substance to suggest that acupuncture could become an effective weight loss treatment in the future. 31 studies were analysed and it was found that acupuncture resulted in a greater decrease in body weight compared to lifestyle changes and other forms of medication.

However, the researchers also said that, despite their ambitious efforts to find a proven affiliation between acupuncture and weight loss, numerous flaws in their studies were found making it very difficult to determine whether obesity in the long run could be treated with acupuncture. The findings were published in a 2009 Obesity journal.

The only conclusion we can take from this type of study is that incorporating acupuncture into a weight loss programme wouldn’t cause any harm and may even result in further healthy gains.

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