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Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

  1. How to Worry Well

    October 23, 2016 by Diane

    Last weekend, it rained. Hard. And steady.

    When it rains hard and steady in California, we stay indoors. We don’t know what that stuff is pouring down from the skies, and if we can’t go out in shorts and flip flops, we just don’t.

    So indoors I stayed. In my box of a playhouse.

    I felt like a caged animal, which is sometimes how I feel in my head. Imagine my delight when I discovered a program on PBS called The Healing Mind. I tuned in, and although my reception was spotty (because I’ve still got squirrels in the doohickey), I got the gist of what Dr. Martin Rossman had to say about worry. The good, the bad, and the huh? what should I do about it?

    Worry is something we all do, sometimes to the point of driving us squirrelly. But according to Marty, we can learn to worry well.

    A worry well? Where we drop our worries and make wishes?

    No. But that’s an interesting idea.

    Worrying well looks something like this:

    Take a sheet of paper, and divide it into three columns. Label the columns:

    Good Worries

    Bad Worries

    I Don’t Know Worries

    Then list all those nuclear nuggets rattling around in your head, all those worry thoughts.

    Is the worry something you can do something about? Then it’s a good one. Is it something you can’t do anything about? It’s a bad one. The rest go in the “I Don’t Know” column.

    Now, for the good worries, decide on steps you can take to deal with them. Brainstorm. Write down your ideas. Make an action plan.

    For the bad worries, visualize a positive outcome. Visualize what you’d like to have happen. This doesn’t guarantee that it will happen, but at the very least, it will help you feel better.

    For the worries you don’t know how to handle, ask your wise self for advice. According to Marty, we use only a small portion of our brain, thinking. The rest of it, the vast uncharted territory, is where imagination and wisdom resides.

    You don’t think you’re wise? Think again.

    If a friend asked you for advice about a problem, you’d have an answer. Where does that wisdom come from?

    Your wise self.

    So lie down, or sit in your comfy cozy chair, close your eyes, breathe deeply from the abdomen, relax your muscles, and visualize your wise advisor. Ask your advisor what you can do about your specific concern. And listen for the answer.

    I was eager to jot down my worries, and found that most of them fell under the “I Don’t Know” column. Just seeing them written down in their various columns lifted a weight from my soul.

    Our minds are tricky buggers. But, as Marty says:

    You are not your mind. You have a mind, but you are not your mind.

    There’s a part of us that can observe our thoughts. Which means, we have the power to choose what we want to think, or not think. We have the power to change our thoughts, our brain chemistry, and its wiring.

    We have the power!

    Here’s another interesting tidbit:

    Worry is a thinking activity. Anxiety is our emotional response. Stress is our physical response.

    To tamp down our anxiety and stress levels, we need to use our heads. We need to nip it in the bud at the source of the problem: our minds.

    So breathe deeply, relax, and go to your imaginary safe place, somewhere the rain don’t pour. And start visualizing.

    Wanna learn more? Get the book, The Worry Solution.

    Here’s a guided imagery by Marty Rossman.


  2. Today I’ll Feel Joy, No Matter What

    October 14, 2016 by Diane

    Start Each Day Like Its Your Birthday quote

    Today I’ll find a reason to feel joy. It doesn’t need to be a good reason. It can be real or imagined, big or trivial. It can be the smile someone sends me, or the smile I send to someone. It can be the penny I find, and the happy dance I do in celebration, or the unexpected gift of one thousand dollars (come on, universe!). It can be the time I spend at the ocean hand in hand with a terrific guy, even if that time is spent in my imagination. It can be the chocolate Javiva from Peet’s that I take to the park, along with a sigh-worthy romance novel. It can be the smell of a book, the taste of a cupcake, the hug from a friend, a new pair of shoes, the view of the mountains from a hiking trail, the sound of rain on the leaves at night, and the feel of cool, fresh, moist air through the window. Today I’ll find a reason to feel joy.

    Today I’ll find a reason to laugh. It doesn’t need to be a funny reason. It can be for no particular reason. It can be while sitting in my car at a stop light, or while walking in the neighborhood in the evening. It can be while folding laundry, washing dishes, taking out the recycling, slicing strawberries and bananas for my granola, or pausing in nature. It can be because of a screwy thought I have, or an odd comment I overhear, or a mistake I’ve made one too many times. It can be while watching an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show on DVD, or while talking to my mother on the phone. Today I’ll find a reason to laugh.

    Today I’ll find a reason to shove my anxiety aside. It doesn’t need to be a big reason. It can be small or silly, real or imagined. It can mean setting aside, for five minutes, my worry over the weird pains in my head and the fact that I’m getting older. It can mean sending my short story to someone to read, even if it’s not perfect. It can mean driving over a bridge in the rain, or looking someone intimidating in the eye, or refusing to engage in the latest political discourse. It can mean observing, with great compassion, the adrenaline shooting through my nervous system, and not reaching for an Ativan. Today I’ll find a reason to shove my anxiety aside.

    Today, and every day, I’ll find a reason to feel joy, to laugh, and to set aside my anxiety, no matter what.

    This is my birthday wish.

    This is my birthday wish for you, too.

    Every moment, we’re born anew. And every moment is a gift, an opportunity to experience joy, merriment, and peace.

    Happy birthday, world!


  3. Random Thoughts While Meditating #3

    October 10, 2016 by Diane

    Yogi meditating under a tree

    When the darkness comes, take it lightly.