Tag: wellness

How do you get rid of Holiday Depression? #Christmas #holiday

How do you get rid of Holiday Depression? #Christmas #holiday

This is such an exciting time of year… Ecstatic shoppers out and about with all their holiday cheer, laughing children, stars bright, Santa and his elves are giving out gifts, family gratefully enjoying time with one another!! WAIT…

santa

OK, that’s what we think is happening in everyone’s lives, but let’s be real. Yes, there are some awesome things about the holidays, but for many people it’s a very draining and emotionally depressing time. And believe me, all the above holiday cheer is often times lost just hours later or even faked by some.

Think about all the happy people you see in the mall as you shop for your holiday cheer. You notice them, right? Look around though, you’ll also notice many tired, stress out faces. You’ll find people arguing and fighting with their families.

The reason I point that out is because you choose what you pick out. We pick out the happy people and get depressed because we are not them. We dismiss that fact we may have just caught their one and only happy thought in the last 6 months.

Holidays are busy, which alone can be stressful. Holidays can remind us of past devastating experiences that occurred during the holidays, lost loves ones that we wish were here with us…

Because we pick out what we want to I’ve tried to make it my mission to pick out happy activities and then focus on the activity itself. Let in the smell of holiday spices, listen to the wonderful sounds of music, enjoy the creativity of the holiday artists, feel the crisp air… one mindfulness.

happy snowman

Then as I create my own happy place I tend to let others into my life more AND have learned to enjoy the holidays a bit more.

Keep yourself involved in holiday gatherings and festivities but also give yourself some personal space.

If you are happy you will spread happiness to others, if you are sad or angry you will spread this to others. As you become happier you’ll notice the people near you tap into your mood.

Remember others. Depression is real for so many people, let people in and help them to feel love this season.

Allow yourself to feel happiness. You are not alone in your struggles.

How do you get rid of depression around the holidays?

Increase Your Willpower! #willpower

Increase Your Willpower! #willpower

Do you lack willpower? Ever wonder why some people seem to have so much more willpower than others?

Let’s start with the continued debate:

-Can willpower be depleted as it’s used, like a muscle? Can glucose intake increase willpower as it begins to deplete?

-Or is willpower self generated, hinging on your beliefs?

The concept that willpower can be depleted greatly concerned me and drew my attention to the subject.

If willpower can be depleted what happens to the poverty stricken person that has to use willpower throughout each day just to fight through hunger, to push on until a safe place is found for the night? How will this person continue the fight with such a high level of daily willpower depletion? Some individuals do however fight through this, How?

Are there other factors in willpower? You finally have enough willpower to push yourself outside to exercise. You return home to indulge in your favorite cheesecake? Why?? Was your willpower depleted during your push to exercise or did you simply feel you worked off enough calories to “deserve” the cheesecake. Many of us realize the workout did not truly offset the cheesecake input, but we still do it. Then we often feel horrible about it afterwards. Where was our self control??

If willpower is not depleted due to use, is it due to a lack of self worth? Do people believe willpower cannot be self generated? For example, I exercised, but I know I will not keep up with it, so who cares I’m eating my favorite cheesecake! I have no energy left to believe otherwise. What if this person trained themselves to believe willpower can be self generated? Would they have more power to overcome the cheesecake craving?

Thoughts??

willpower 2

Both sides of the debate agree that achieving better self control can help you to achieve more success in life, more peace, and better health.

So, How can Willpower be Increased?

1- Incentives definitely play a role in many cases of willpower. You may not be able to will your empty glass to become full of water, but you may be able to push through a race if someone promised you money for simply finishing it.  Pick a small reward for yourself each time you show willpower.

2- Willpower is a positive attribute. Some people describe willpower/self-control as constricting. Allowing binge drinking may feel rewarding at the time, but keep in mind the following day will be restricted due to your physical and mental health, and could possibly keep you in bed all day! By having the willpower not to binge drink you kept yourself from constricting your health and well-being the entire next day.

3- Being told to do something can lower some individual’s willpower. This is one reason some people may be seen to have better willpower than others. Some of us like to follow rules and others of us feel trapped by rules. So think of having the willpower to do these positive things for yourself, not necessary for others.

4-Use One Mindfulness to focus your willpower on one task at a time. This focus can help distract you from the negative powers outside your current task.

5-Use meditation and breathing exercises to increase willpower.

6-Take small steps to increase your willpower. Use willpower to complete a task. Prove to yourself it was possible and feel the empowerment, then move to the next task.

7- Keep temptations far away. It’s easier to deny the temptation the further you are from it. So if you have a deep love for potato chips, keep them out of your house. Having to drive to the store can often times stray you from the temptation. Plus you will not have to watch others in your household eat them in front of you.

8- Practice resisting your negative temptations. Many theorize that you can build the portion of your brain that supplies willpower by resisting temptations. The more you resist, the stronger your willpower will become. Exercise your willpower.

9- I would say, at this point, don’t run to sugar to increase your willpower. We already have a society facing high levels of obesity and diabetes.

10- Don’t give up.  If you succumb to low willpower, pick yourself up and try it again.  You are worth it!

How have you increased your willpower?

Reference Professor Roy Baumeister for information with regard to willpower depletion.

Reference V, Job, Walton, G., Bernecker, K., and Dweck, C.S., “Beliefs about Willpower determine the impact of glucose on self-control”.

Stress From Being Underemployed??

Stress From Being Underemployed??

A recent 2015 Gallup survey still shows nearly 1 in 6 working citizens of the United States are underemployed.  The percentage is even higher when looking at people with full-time work but feel underpaid or feel their status is too low. You may currently be underemployed or fear it may happen to you. You are not alone.

Underemployment can be a huge stress which can affect your physical and mental health. It can cause you to feel angry, undervalued, less respected, tired, embarrassed, worried, and frustrated. These are all normal feelings.

There are several different types of underemployment. A person can be underemployed in the fact they have part-time hours but want full-time, due to their position in the company, income level, type of work, blue collar vs white collar.

Most of us fear what people around us think. People need support during these times from supervisors, friends, and family. Your job does not make you who you are. People like to be around friendly, happy, compassionate people. Most people are not too concerned about your status at work. Keep that in mind.

You are OK. Continue to strive for what you want to achieve. Being positive and persistent will pay off. Your mood is contagious. If you want to achieve better employment attitude is a huge piece of the path. It’s important to know many people are in your shoes so it’s nothing to be ashamed about.  Pick yourself back up, hold your head high, like yourself, and push forward.

During these stressful times find other areas of your life to feel good about:

-What hobbies to you have? Maybe it’s time to start one.

-Find the positive aspects of your current job. Maybe you are under paid and your status is lower than desired, but is your job fun? Do you like your co-workers?

-Play with your children. Spend extra quality time with them. Enjoy them!!

-Play with your pets. Get a pet.

-Exercise and learn to eat healthy.

-Go out with friends or family.

These things can keep you busy and direct your focus to positive areas. They will help you remember you are a great person and your job does not define you. In the meantime, this lowered stress, lessened anxiety, and higher self confidence can help you achieve better suited employment or maybe even learn to enjoy your current position.

How do I Snap myself out of this BAD mood? – Affirmations

How do I Snap myself out of this BAD mood? – Affirmations

This is a question everyone asks at times. It should be easy, right!! Unfortunately that is not always so.

Affirmations are groups of meaningful words, used for self improvement, that feed into your subconscious.

Years ago I used to use the affirmation “I’m not as bad as I think I am” because other affirmations just did not feel up to par for me. As dull as this sounds it actually started working. At first it would only help for an hour or so, but anything helps when you are down. I would say it over and over again whenever I felt depressed. Now I never use this phrase because I feel better than that! I am a true believer in affirmations!!

No worries, at first affirmations may only work for a few minutes, but over time they will work longer. They are simple to do and can change your life.

You can make up your own affirmation or find one on line. There are even books written containing 100’s of short phases you can use.

You can use them to lift up your mood, bring peace into your lift, turn failures in your life into achievements, or even to rid yourself of fears. There are so many uses for affirmations!

SAY them to yourself or out loud, WRITE them down, SING them, you may want to do this one in your car! Use ones that flow for you and are easy to remember.

They can be as simple as:

I Love My Life

I am Peaceful

I am Safe

I am Loved

I Think of Happy Thoughts

I Love my Job

I Feel Appreciated

Change is Good

I Love Who I am Right Now

You may not believe these words when you start, but that’s OK. After you SAY, WRITE, and or SING them regularly you will start to feel the healing.  Be easy on yourself, it takes time.

Being negative is contagious! It will spread to the people around you. Someone has to make the decision to stop this cycle so why not let it be you.

What is Social Intelligence and How Can it Help Me?

What is Social Intelligence and How Can it Help Me?

SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE (also called interpersonal intelligence) is the psychology of how individuals interact with other people. New research has been found to show this interaction between people is rooted in a person’s biology, which I always find so very interesting!

A high level of social intelligence can greatly reduce the psychological stress in a person’s home, work, and social environments.

A Little Bit of History:

The concept of social intelligence has been around for many many years. Back in 1920, Psychologist E. L. Thorndike began publishing data concerning social intelligence. Thorndike suggested that intelligence be separated into three separate categories: mechanical intelligence, social intelligence, and abstract intelligence. Thorndike defined social intelligence as “the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls – to act wisely in human relations” (E. Thorndike, 1920, p. 228).

Another Take on the Categories of Social Intelligence:

Note: There are several different categorical breakdowns. It’s an ongoing debate.

Goleman, Ph.D, an internationally known psychologist and graduate from Harvard University, and known leading expert in the science of social intelligence, described a high road and a low road in the brains circuitry (Goleman, 2006), and has broken social intelligence into two main categories.

The low road operates outside a person’s awareness at a particularly fast pace. It uses emotions on which to base much of its outcomes. Goleman identified this road as “wet”, dripping with emotion. On the other hand, the high road operates at a slower, more methodical pace. It utilizes a lot more control than the low road. The high road was identified as “dry”, coolly rational.

These two roads are hard at work in every situation that occurs. At times, individuals do not take enough time to listen to the high road and will allow the low road to direct his/her actions. This is really important stuff to remember! Wait to hear what that high road has to say before you take your anger out on that customer service person or your family!

Goleman (2006) proposed two basic categories of social intelligence.

The first category is SOCIAL AWARENESS. This is what is sensed about others in regard to their feelings and emotions (primal emotions). It includes people listening intently to each other. To be socially aware one must have empathy with others and also have social cognition (understanding of how the social surroundings play into the current situation). Social awareness is being aware of other people’s feelings and thinking about the possible meanings of what is being seen. Empathy is extremely important in order to connect with others.

Goleman’s second category is SOCIAL FACILITY. Social facility is what a person does with the social awareness. It is the understanding of how to interact at a nonverbal level, logically deciding the outcome of social situations, and caring about how others will feel due to an individual’s actions. It also deals with self-presentation or being able to present one’s self in the most effective manner.

Becoming in touch with these aspects can really help take some stress out of your life!

As I mentioned above there are several other takes on how social intelligence is broken down.  I’ll add more information on that in the future.

Goleman, D. (2006). Social intelligence. The revolutionary new science of human relationships. New York, NY: Bantam Dell.

Thorndike, E. L. (1920). Intelligence and its uses, Harpers magazine. 140, 227-235.

Need some Calmness in your Life? Just Breathe…

Need some Calmness in your Life? Just Breathe…

Breathing Exercises

Are you feeling stressed, tired, having a hard time sleeping, is your mind running in circles? Try adding some breathing exercises to your daily routine.

Here’s a very basic technique I regularly use.

Take a slow deep controlled breathe. Let the air fill your diaphragm and count to 3 or 4. Hold it and count to 3 or 4, then slowly release. Do this at least 3 times. Concentrate on the sound of your breath. Do not allow yourself to become dizzy, this should be relaxing 🙂

When you exhale you can also try keeping your mouth shut and exhaling through the back of your throat.

Another option is to picture something calming as you are taking these breaths, such as the blue sky, yellow aspen leaves, or red tulips. You can also picture the negativity leaving your body.

There are many different breathing techniques out there and many can take less than just 10 minutes a day. Find one that best works for you. Breathing exercises can increase your energy, help you feel calmer, and help you relieve yourself of stress.

Try one out today!

One Mindfulness

One Mindfulness

The great thing about One Mindfulness is that you can do this any where at any time. This technique is used quite often within Behavior Therapy.

The basic concept of One Mindfulness is to be 100% in the here and now. It helps you train your mind to focus completely on one item or task, which in turns helps you move your focus away from any negative thoughts you may be having. It also helps you become less distracted.

First choose an item or task. Use as many of your senses as possible with each try.

I’ll use an orange for this example. Ask yourself what color is the orange, take in the color and how beautiful it is. Do this slowly.

Then ask yourself what does the orange feel like? You can feel the small bumps of the orange rind and the circular feel of the fruit. How heavy is it? What else can you feel about it?

Then start to peel the orange. How does the skin of the orange feel? What does it smell like? Take in the sweet smell. Again take this process slowly and try to be fully focused on the orange.

Then take a bite of the orange. Think about the taste.

Continue this process and work to be one mindful of the orange.

You can do this with anything, a river, the sky, flowers, a soft blanket, running, even a writing pencil will work. Just keep your focus on the object and think of every sense you can use to explore it.

No worries, it can take a lot of practice to be completely present in this technique. It’s very easy for your mind to stray. But keep practicing and you’ll get better and better at it. It can become quite calming and help bring more awareness of your surroundings. You come across beautiful things every day. Enjoy them!

I really love this technique!