Just a reminder…

I love this! We all have that amazing day when we stand up for ourselves and say I’m done. We mean it too. Then life happens and we forget that we said “I’m done”. How about we remind each other. Let’s catch each other when we see one of us faltering. We don’t have to do things all alone. It’s time to surround ourselves with the people who will catch us when we fall and help us be strong again. I’m here to remind you that you’re done. Maybe tomorrow, you can remind me.

  • Tiny Buddha is one of my fave places for positivity. You can catch them on their own website or follow them at Tiny Buddha on Facebook! (No compensation for sharing their info). Click on the highlighted text and it will take you right there.

Weathering our storms

Yesterday was not a good day if we’re judging by mood. I woke up cranky. Everything was annoying. Even my walk didn’t make the difference that it usually does. I was just in a dark and foul mood. I was dealing with some heavy baggage from my past. I didn’t realize it until later in the day. The good thing was, that mostly I was on my own for the day and so had the time and space to go through it. I also had a great friend who called later in the day just sensing I was not in a good place. She was able to sit with me, albeit by phone, as I made my way through the storm and back to a safe harbor. She asked great questions that made me soul surf to find the source of what I was feeling. She doesn’t know it, but she’s my life coach. (Lucky me, she’s also my sister).

She did not try to make the bad mood go away with platitudes. She didn’t try to make me see all that I have to be grateful for. She did not try to steer me towards sunshine, rainbows and roses. Did you ever notice that those tactics just intensify what you’re already feeling? That is because they are dismissive. Inherently we know we are feeling an emotion for a reason. We truly want to work through it because that is the secret to “getting over it”.

What was done for me was extraordinarily therapeutic. She let me go through the bad mood. She gave me space to explore the whole thing. What an absolute gift it was. I did get to the bottom of it. I came out the other side feeling a great weight lifted off of my soul. She did for me, what I do for everyone else. I slept really well last night and this morning I woke up in a peaceful place. Thank goodness!

Bad moods happen. Anyone who says they don’t have a bad mood now and again I will call B.S. on. The reason people won’t admit to bad moods is, they are not acceptable. Mmm-hmm, I said it. We don’t like bad moods. First of all they don’t feel good to the person going through it. Second, they don’t feel good to anyone witnessing it, or on the receiving end of it. That is a big problem.

Bad moods, anger, sadness, grief, crankiness, however we want to term the corresponding emotions, are uncomfortable to say the least. They don’t feel, look or sound good. We’ve been taught to hide that from the world. We don’t want to feel them and neither does anyone else. The question is why are bad moods such a taboo issue? Why do we think only happiness and smiles are acceptable? Britton Peters, a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Washington shared that we are “scared of negative feelings because as a society we see these emotions as weak, as making us open to hurt or betrayal from others“. 

We’ve been teaching each other for generations that we are strong when we don’t show those bad emotions. “Walk it off”, “suck it up”, “big boys don’t cry”, “get over it” are just some of the phrases we use. They are demeaning to the person experiencing that emotion. They reinforce the idea that only happiness is a worthy emotion.

I hate to break it to you all, but we are human and all emotions are part of that experience. What we deem as negative emotions are actually a healthy part of the human experience. There is now growing evidence that negative moods, like sadness, have psychological benefits. One research project showed subjects film clips depicting different emotions. After the subjects watched those clips they were tested on cognitive and behavioral tasks. What was found was that those then experiencing a “bad mood” experienced the benefits of better memory, more accurate judgement, more motivation, improved communication and increased fairness. This doesn’t mean we should walk around in a bad mood all the time. It simply indicates that those negative moods actually have healthy benefits for us.

It is time we stop worshipping at the shrine of perpetual happiness. First of all, we just cannot maintain that level of happy with out doing harm to ourselves. Not allowing ourselves to feel these emotions has both short and long-term affects on our health and well-being. “Suppressing your emotions, whether it’s anger, sadness, grief or frustration, can lead to physical stress on your body says provisional clinical psychologist Victoria Tarratt. “We know that it can affect blood pressure, memory and self-esteem.” The long-term affects have been shown to include diabetes and heart disease as well as a 70% increase in risk of a cancer diagnosis. Those are some pretty serious risks to be taking with our health.

Let’s start giving each other the space to feel again. Even better, sit with someone while they go through it. Take the time to just listen. You don’t need to solve their problem. Chances are, they have the answer and will find it as they go through feeling what they feel. If they need help, they’ll ask for it. It may take us all a little time to build trust in each others ability to listen and render aid when asked for. But what a better place we will all be living in when we can help each other weather the storms and return to our safe harbors.

  • If you are experiencing prolonged bouts of sadness you may well be dealing with depression. It is time to reach out to a professional who can help you charter those challenging and sometimes dangerous waters. The following link is a place to start in finding a professional to talk with https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists. (I receive no compensation for sharing this website)
  • If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Please click on the following line https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/ or call directly: 800-273-8255

Noise vs. Nature

All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE

Dr. Suess

We don’t do quiet very well anymore. What’s worse is that we don’t even notice how much manmade noise is in the world around us all the time. We wonder why we can’t string a thought together and are easily distracted. It is all the noise jamming up our brains.

I really noticed this issue when I went down to the Dunedin Causeway today to walk. It’s a great way to clear the cobwebs out of my brain and get my creativity going. The problem was, I couldn’t get my zen on. There were cars going by. There were a few people sharing their high decibel bass music from vehicles. People were walking by sharing their phone conversation with everyone. What was missing was the sound of the breeze moving the palm fronds, the water lapping at the shore, the birds chattering to each other. What was missing was the quiet music of the natural world. I’m sure it was still there. I just couldn’t hear it over all the other noise.

I find that when I get out into the natural world (in a place I can actually hear it), everything just calms down. Time slows down for me. So does my heart rate and breathing. My whole nervous system goes into a rest and digest state. Then the magic happens. My brain stops jumping all over the place. I can string coherent thoughts together. Even better is that this overall effect seems to last for quite a while once I head back indoors to get things done. It is amazing what a little time with nature can do for us.

“Research has found that people who spent just two hours per week outside in a natural setting reported greater well-being compared with people who spent less time outdoors.” I already know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have two minutes in a week let alone two hours to be outside!” I get it. Sometimes, most times, I don’t either. Good news! Further studies have shown that listening to recorded natural sounds has the same benefit. Numerous natural sounds were recorded and played in lab settings in 11 different countries. The results were pretty impressive as those who were tested showed a decrease in stress, annoyance and pain. They also showed a great improvement in mood and cognitive testing.

So, when you can get out into nature, take the time for your happiness and health. Even 5 minutes sitting on a deck, park bench, or wherever you can find nature counts. When you can’t get out into nature there are all kinds of natural sound recordings that you can download to any device and just take a few minutes to listen and reset your balance. One of the apps I use is Calm.com. (I am not compensated for sharing their site). There is a free trial. Then there is a monthly subscription. However, there are plenty of other ways to download free natural sounds online. Just type free natural sounds into your device’s search engine. If you like something that will always be available to you then you can purchasing digital albums through sites like Amazon. (Again, not compensated. Just click on that highlighted Amazon you just saw and it will take you to what I found.)

I hope you get some time this week to get quiet and hear nature in some form. I like to check out new places, and so do others. So, go ahead and share your fave spot to get into nature in a comment and in the meantime, enjoy this quick little natural sound video I took:

Lake Valhalla, East Stroudsburg, PA Spring 2021
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