Gaining New Perspectives in the New Year

Another year has come and gone for many of us.  There are many who are not fortunate to see the beginning of this New Year.  It makes me ponder the question of whether these people are fortunate or unfortunate that they are not here.  It is all a matter of perspective.

Let’s cover the unfortunate area first.  We consider losing our loved ones unfortunate because we love them and miss them, and because their absence is heart felt.  With them gone, the entire family structure changes, and friends also undergo critical shifts in their lives.  We will continue to live and be affected by their absence until we ourselves leave this earth.  We question the universe with “why” and “how could you”, and we begin to think of all the wonderful things in life that our love ones will miss (marriages, births, graduations, picnics, museums, or great movies).

Now why would it be a fortunate thing that our loved ones are no longer here?  Many cannot fathom thinking about something so seemingly heartless.  But I invite you to think about this perspective.  Our loved ones no longer have to deal with heart ache, shame, hurt or despair.  They are free from hate, the physical pains of chemotherapy, fighting with inner demons, or bullying.  They have also escaped the anxiety of walking down a dangerous path, or wondering if our world ever be at peace.  This is a good point to ask ourselves, what has our loved one taught us?

My thoughts on this topic come from my own experience with watching my brother live a healthy life for over 20 years with HIV/AIDS, only to succumb to death from pneumonia.  He was not Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King or any other well-known contributor to the world.  He was my brother who affected my life and the lives of my immediate and extended families.  During his lifetime, I learned to live my life better, freer and certainly take more chances, of which he was often my champion.  He has been gone for over three years now, and I often think of something he has said or done to help me down life’s path.  He continues to be a part of my journey, and through his inspiration I learn to guide others.  I am saddened that he will not be physically here to witness my daughter (his only niece) graduate from high school and then college, or get married.  I miss his laughter, his singing and his sharp tongue.  But I am glad he does not have to take 25 medications on a daily basis or that he no longer is in excruciating back or feet pain.  And I’m glad he is not here to see the insanities of this world.

What are your thoughts on gaining new perspectives in life?

Processing Everyday Worries…

Where did the time go?

The last time I wrote was back in January.  Since then my life has been a world wind of ups and downs.  You too? Nothing major, but the main issues for me since January were WORRY and FEAR.  Fear of what’s next… fear of what’s around the corner… or fear of doing something well.  Have you ever had a time when your worries turn into the fear of “something” that just cripples your existence?  When it is a new relationship, you may wonder, “will he like my family”?  “Does she want children”?  All sorts of crazy things pop into your head when thinking about a new relationship with the hopes that it will work out great.  When I speak with friends and clients (male and female), everyone seems to want the same thing, which is simply a warm, safe and loving partner to share their life.

OK, say its not a relationship but worrying over a recent medical exam.  Do you need a biopsy for that?  Aside from financial reasons, most people will not go to the doctor for routine screenings for fear of what the results may be.  When a routine exam requires further testing, this is where most of the worrying begins.  With a country that has had an increase in preventable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol; or the staggering increase in all types of cancers, it is no wonder why some people play the ignorant card and just simply do not want to get checked out.

How often have you found out that you spent so much time worrying about something, only to learn that the actual “thing” you worried over and feared was much less problematic for you?  Too much worrying and fear that goes unchecked, naturally leads to depression.  When we are joyful, we enjoy the moment we are in.  We never want the feeling to end and often try to relish in that emotion for as long as possible.  Like joy or happiness, fear is a process by which we need to be mindful of being in that moment.  We have no problem lingering in joyous moments, so why don’t we do the same with worry or fear?  Although an uncomfortable emotion, we need to understand worry and fear as guides that prepare us for what comes next, without allowing these emotions to overtake our mind and body.  Try following these three simple steps that can help you understand and process every day worries without letting it lead to fear:

  1. Breathe – in that moment, taking deep soothing breaths will slow the mind and allow you to focus your energy on not being consumed by the worry or fear of the unknown.  This will allow you to clearly think about your next step.
  2. Determine if it’s real or imagined – once you are able to focus, you can asses whether your fear is real or imagined.  When you are focused, you will be able to clearly make that determination.  When you determine that it is imagined, then you will gain more control of your life, leaving less time for worrying.
  3. Knowledge is key – once you can assess your emotions and determine you have a legitimate worry or fear about something, then you can begin to focus your energy on obtaining the necessary information to act in your situation.  You are apt to make a rash decision about something when you have not stopped to breathe and assess what is going on.

None of us enjoy the emotions of  worry and fear.  We cringe and do not look forward to hearing the results of a medical exam, when we embark on a new relationship, or prepare for an important presentation.  However, embracing the journey of these emotions helps us to be more in tuned with our lives and creates a more balanced outlook on life.  Practice being in the moment of your worries and fears, and I promise you that your joys will be more appreciated.

 

Getting Back On Track

I do not know about you, but the holidays have left me feeling depressed, fat and broke. Ok, so the less dramatic way to say this is that I am feeling emotionally drained, unhealthy and financially challenged!

Even when life is going well in all these areas, the holiday season has a way of challenging our lives to the core! Don’t forget, the holidays bring about good and bad stressors. We hurry around being people pleasers, and this can be difficult when some folks are not used to it ☺. So, how do we get back on track? Here are three easy ways to get back on track to a balanced life.

  1. Step back and take a deep breath for 30 seconds. Doing this first step is quick and simple, and allows us to be in the right frame of mind for step two…
  2. Re-group and re-assess what is happening. Are you in physical pain? Begin each morning doing simple stretches or light yoga postures that can help ease many ailments. Is your mind all over the place? Emotions usually run high during the holiday season. Collect your thoughts and consciously think before acting or reacting. What about finances? Yes, this is a topic for another blog. However, be truthful with yourself about what your finances look like and begin to tackle debt and save more.
  3. Build better habits. Start creating better habits to live a healthier lifestyle. Incorporate more exercise, eat more greens, take a class on budgeting or volunteer with a community service project.

The one smart thing I did over the holidays was to begin my exercise regimen early in December to build a habit, before the rush of “new year’s resolutioners” take up gym space. There are millions of other ways in which we can work towards getting back on track. Find your way, start small and work your way to creating better healthier habits.

What are your suggestions for getting your life back in balance?

A Perspective Holiday Journey

As the holidays approach, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Joy? Sorrow? Food?  Drink?  I wonder what I’m getting for Christmas/Hanukah?  So much happens at this time of year and it eventually leads to S-T-R-E-S-S.   So why are we so stressed out?  This is supposed to be the happiest time of year as we celebrate gift giving, the festival of lights and many other holiday traditions.  However, many are still struggling with issues of unemployment, which greatly hamper these celebrations.  Some of us are still dealing with the minor and silly inconveniences of clean up after Super Storm Sandy, compared to others who continue to hold on to courage, patience and faith after losing their homes or loved ones.  Ok, so our stress is clear and real, but is it manageable?  ALL STRESS IS MANAGEABLE!

Here are some quick thoughts on de-stressing over the next few weeks:

Family/Friends – My parents always said, “you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family”.   Which means, we are not always going to get all our needs and wants met from blood relations (another blog for another time).  There is always one relative that we can talk to and share our thoughts and we should take advantage of being able converse with someone.  Life is too short for foolishness, so spend time with close family or friends you believe are like family.  This is where we are in the best position to pick positive supportive people to share our lives.

Food – believe it or not, food has a special impact on us during the holidays.  Now is the best time to practice some restraint on heavy and unhealthy foods (like fried foods, desserts, or heavy saucy foods).  Too much weighty meals, meats and other dishes or alcohol can drain us from appreciating our holiday with family and friends.  Have your favorite dessert (me I love holiday cookies), but don’t have three pieces of cake or ten cookies!  Keeping your food in proper proportions will allow you to enjoy all that you wish to partake in during this holiday season, with little or no guilt.

Peace – take time to breathe and listen to your heart.  Many of us do not practice being with our inner thoughts.  As a result, our minds are racing from one place to the next and often our bodies are running along side to keep up.  Give yourself some moments of peace each day to regroup.  Escape to a quiet corner, the restroom, or outside in the beautiful fresh air for a short walk. Think of it as gratitude time with yourself.

At a time of the year filled with love and life as well as stress, think about the people you spend time with, the food you eat, and the peaceful moments you will experience over the next few weeks.  If you keep things in perspective, you will have many things to be grateful for this season.

What are your thoughts?

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog!  It is an opinion on life that I hope will help you to embrace your world a little better each day.  I write about everyday matters of life including but not limited to overall health, spirituality, education and nutrition.  I am not an expert in these matters, but just another voice to confirm what you already know or to challenge your thoughts.  I welcome your questions and comments!  Respond here or feel free to email me at info@askdianeblog.com.