Viewing entries tagged
depression

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Two Quick and Easy Ways to Lift Yourself Out of a Funk

1 minute 47 second read

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Right now, you might be struggling with some sort of life challenge. Perhaps you've even got a few of them weighing you down. You're certainly in good company; heaven knows I've certainly been there and loads of others are in the same boat. 

You might even feel so low that you're having a tough time doing even the most essential things to take care of yourself. I know what that's like, too. Getting dressed or even brushing your teeth feels like climbing Everest. And forget about preparing healthful meals. You might feel like you've accomplished a monumental task by opening a tin of soup and throwing it in a pot.

There are lots of things you can do for yourself to shift out of this energy and begin to feel better. I don't want to overwhelm you with a long list so I'll keep it simple. Let's stick to just two.

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First, how you feel is always directly related to what you're thinking about. If you've got sad, heavy, depressing thoughts roaming through your mind all the time, it's no wonder you haven't got the energy to do anything more than breathe. Those thoughts are loaded with heavy, oppressive negative energy and they'll weigh you down just as surely as if you've got a boulder around your neck.

For example, if you're always thinking things like, "My life sucks and it's completely miserable," no wonder you feel awful. There's nowhere to go with that. It's like you're stuck in it and that's that.

So the first thing you've got to do is start adding some positive thoughts into the mix. Every time you catch yourself thinking something negative, add a positive, progressive statement, something that allows movement toward things being better.

Add something like, "but I'm ready for it to get better." Or even, "but I'm open to it being better every day." The more you do it, the quicker and easier it gets. There are few things you can control but one of them is your thoughts. It just takes a little practice.

The second thing you can do is find a way to help others. Whether it's someone you know, or if you offer to help as a volunteer somewhere, do something to brighten someone else's day. Leave an inexpensive grocery-store bouquet on the doorstep anonymously. Or ring the bell and say, "Hey, want to get out for a walk?" 

Charities are often looking for an extra pair of hands. Diving in and being of service in your community can give you a new perspective on your own troubles, and the positive energy you'll get from doing something to make a difference in the world will be well worth it.  

The more you can get out of your own "stuff" and help someone else, the better you'll feel. It's one of the quickest ways to lift your spirits and remind you of what's really important in life.

Please pop into the comments below and share your favourite way(s) to lift your spirits. You could really help someone else with your ideas.

Is anxiety keeping you stuck? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on either the photo or the button below!

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Are You Stuck on the "Toxic People" Merry-Go-Round?

1 minute 52 second read

There are those people in life who are struggling, lost, or challenged in a way that adversely impacts not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them. It might have been due to a messy childhood or other unhappy circumstances. Or perhaps too many things caved in on top of them all at once and they've gone off the rails for a while. Some people just seem to live there and we never really know how they got there.

We love these people even if we don’t like their behaviour. They might say and do some terrible things to us, to themselves, and to others. They might shock us with how much hurt they can inflict, or just how plain mean and spiteful they can be.

Sometimes they're simply misguided...lost and seeking answers, seeking help, rescue, love. They might not even know what it is they are seeking. Rather than taking action regarding the circumstances they don't like, they live in constant "reaction". They make choices that usually involve a lot of emotional response with little (if any) rational thought or helpful decision-making ability.

We see the hurt. We see their pain. We may or may not understand it but we recognise it. We see their self-destructive choices, their Egos that are desperately trying to protect themselves from further damage but really they're just causing more by hurting everyone around them.

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They say they want help and that they just want to be happy. We offer our support and our love. We suggest and coax and encourage. But they keep throwing themselves off one figurative bridge after another, disregarding all efforts to help them and refusing to help themselves. And worse, they take a lot of prisoners with them, hurling insults or accusations about how no one cares about them, no one loves them, or no one ever wants to help them.

Perhaps they fear change. Maybe it just feels too hard and overwhelming. Or maybe it's because they're just so used to living in a state of crisis and drama that they really don't know how to be any other way.

Whatever the reason, their refusal to help themselves wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone around them. We get yanked along on the horrifying roller coaster of too many crises and too much chaos to the point where it adversely impacts our health and our happiness until we say, "ENOUGH."

It is absolutely true that you cannot help those who do not want (or try) to help themselves. It's one thing to support and assist loved ones who are obviously doing their part to try to turn their lives around. Does that mean they won't slip now and then? Of course not. But as long as they keep doing their best, it makes sense to continue to support them.

As for the ones who just keep living in the midst of a nightmare and they want you to live there with them...as long as you choose to stay there, you're destroying your own life as much as they're destroying theirs.

Is anxiety making you feel stuck in life? Click on the button below for my FREE GUIDE - “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck!”

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Grounding: Great for Easing Anxiety

2-minute read

It's awful when anxiety lurks in the dark recesses of your mind, always waiting to grab you by the throat and make your life a living hell for a while. Whether it's a low level anxiety that keeps you constantly on edge, easily startled and nerves jangling, or you're dealing with full on anxiety attacks as a regular occurrence, it's a misery to be invaded by this bloody-minded monster.

I know it can feel like you have absolutely zero control when that happens, when it's got you in its grip, your heart racing and your mind suddenly paralyzed by fear.

Perhaps it's just that you're feeling extra stressed. Sometimes that can feel like anxiety, too, especially as tension increases.

There are many ways to reduce and/or eliminate anxiety permanently, without the use of drugs or other treatments. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I did it and I've taught countless others to do it, too, so I can promise you it is absolutely possible.

And it's also possible to reduce or eliminate stress. Okay, I must be joking, right? Wrong. Stress isn't in the events and circumstances of your life. It's in your responses to those circumstances. Now, of course certain events are going to be difficult to manage, such as the death of a loved one, losing a job or getting a divorce. But even in these highly challenging situations, you can still do a lot to find ways to relax and find a place of inner calm, at least to some extent.

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One of the simplest ways to reduce anxiety is to spend some time every day making sure that you're grounded. This is just a way to balance the way your mind spins out of control when you feel anxious or extra stressed.

An excellent way to bring yourself back into your body is to get yourself outside and into a natural setting. Even if all you can manage is to walk or sit on grass, that's better than staying indoors or being surrounded by concrete.

If possible, sit with your back against a tree trunk for a while or if you're not concerned about what others might think, face the tree, put your arms out and give it a lovely, long hug. You'll be amazed at the energy that you'll feel pouring up from the earth into the trunk and into you, too.

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If the weather isn't conducive to that kind of outing, see if you can find a garden center or even a hotel or office building with a lobby filled with plants. Go for a drive in the country. Anything that lets you enjoy nature as much as possible in your circumstances.

Or if you're stuck indoors, close your eyes and visualise deep roots growing out of your feet and extending hundreds of miles into the earth. Feel those roots firmly planted in the ground, where they gather nutrients and energy that then move back up the roots and into your body. Beginning and ending each day with a few minutes of this wonderful visualisation exercise can really help to keep you grounded. It can also become a quick and easy "go-to" answer when anxiety rears its ugly head throughout the day.

The more you do it, the better it works.

Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!



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The Most Powerful Tool You Have is the Power of Choice

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2-minute read


There are many of us on the planet who are blessed to live in countries where there is great freedom. We have the freedom to pursue careers that we want, to be educated, to go shopping and buy whatever we want, to move about from place to place if we feel like it, uprooting ourselves and setting out on new adventures.

We have the freedom to vote for the government we prefer, to dress as we please, and to travel and explore as much or as little of the world as we want.

Yet in spite of all of this freedom, it is astonishing how easy it can be for some of us to feel trapped, helpless and powerless. We might feel forced or pressured into careers, relationships, financial decisions, or parenthood. We feel like we have "no choice" because of the needs, expectations and demands of others who want what they want from us, and their happiness seems to be the only kind that matters.

Some of us will stand up to that sort of pressure, say "Not happenin'!" and run the other direction.

But far too many of us will feel like we don't have the right to do that. "I couldn't! He/She would be furious!" "He can't do it for himself (usually means "won't" do it...). "I have to do it. They're expecting it." "I hate it but they'll be so disappointed if I don't!"

And on and on and on.

I do understand how that feels. I lived there for a very long time. Too long, in fact. Like many others, I was brought up to believe my needs and feelings weren't important. I was not allowed to stand up for myself, to say what I wanted, or to say "No." Because of this conditioning, even into adulthood I was easily manipulated into making decisions that were about the happiness of others while ignoring my feelings.

Consequently, I didn't feel like I had any choice but to make decisions that felt completely wrong even though I tried desperately to make them feel right. I got into the wrong marriages or other situations that left me feeling trapped and like a hostage.

I take full ownership of that...I'm not pointing fingers. At the time, I couldn’t see that my upbringing and other factors contributed to it and ultimately, I was the one who made those decisions.

But all I could see was that I felt trapped, helpless and powerless.

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The thing is -- and it took me years to figure this out -- I wasn't trapped, nor was I helpless or powerless. I just felt that way.

If you're feeling trapped, it's probably got something to do with obligations, demands and expectations that others are placing on you. But you don't owe anyone your happiness. It's your right and your responsibility to make the most of your life, whatever that means to you, and whether or not anyone else approves. If we can just recognise that, it can help to keep us from making choices that are not in our best interests.

And there's the key phrase..."making choices." This is truly the most powerful tool you've got - the ability to make choices.

Don't waste it on people who pressure you to use it for their benefit and not yours.

Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

 

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the Art of Trusting Your Intuition: Sharon Sayler Interviews Liberty Forrest

Each week, Sharon Sayler, host of The Autoimmune Show, brings you top-notch experts and fantastic 'thrivers' interviews, chats and positive thoughts to empower you to live well regardless of your diagnosis. Honestly, it's the info she wants to hear... because she's an autoimmune thriver too!

In this episode, Sharon interviews Liberty to discuss the importance of listening to your intuition, and in particular, listening to your body’s wisdom to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Did you know there are over 100 conditions that people are suffering from every day that compromise their immune systems and if it’s not one of the “big ones” like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis you might be told 'it’s all in your head,' or 'people your age…'

Your host for The Autoimmune Show, Sharon Sayler knows the pain and suffering of autoimmune disease. Her struggles to find the right answers to her decades-long autoimmune disease experience created what friends call an “irrational-passion” to encourage and inspire others to live well, whole and complete… 

With that, The Autoimmune Show  was born… the premier location for information to empower you to live well, thrive and create a happy, healthy, wealthy life regardless of your diagnosis. The Autoimmune Show, the #1 listened to show on OMTimes Radio has new shows every Friday night at 7 PM ET on OMTimes Radio. 

You can watch video selections, full interviews, positive thoughts and meditations on our YouTube channel.  And grab the podcast at all the great podcast places like Spotify, Spreaker, Blog Talk, Podbean, SoundCloud and many other popular places plus on iTunes at iTun.es/i6Y95hR 

Be sure and join the Courage Club for The Autoimmune Show! They have most shows in transcript PDF available at no-cost at www.understandingautoimmune.com/TranscribeTribe plus more goodies like videos and downloadable meditations....

And other great opportunities to be part of their community: 

www.understandingautoimmune.com/Facebook www.understandingautoimmune.com/iTuneswww.understandingautoimmune.com/OMTimes www.understandingautoimmune.com/YouTubewww.understandingautoimmune.com/Google+ Instagram: autoimmunehour Twitter: @autoimmunehour

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Feelings. Better Out Than In.

Far too often, most of us choke on our feelings. We feel tears welling up with that awful, aching lump in the throat, and we take several deep breaths, forcing the emotions back down where they can do all kinds of damage. They make us sick or depressed, give us physical pain and discomfort, sometimes with the weirdest symptoms that doctors simply cannot explain.

We fear being seen as weak. For some reason, our culture thinks a display of emotion means we're out of control. But there are only two occasions on which emotions can hurt us.

One is when we stuff them and do not acknowledge them. The other is when we make hasty decisions purely because of our feelings, without thinking them through, and end up hurting ourselves - or others - as the result of our poor choices.

But there is nothing wrong with having painful or difficult feelings, and there is nothing wrong with expressing them (appropriately). Having them makes us human. Expressing them helps to get rid of them and it connects us with others, many of whom will offer support and comfort, thereby strengthening our bonds with one another.

The best way to get rid of unwanted feelings is to immerse yourself in them. Take a little time and allow yourself to really feel every bit of whatever it is that hurts. If you want to cry, cry. Lots. Until you can't cry any more. You'll feel a whole lot better for it. If you're frightened, feel the fear. Ask for some hand-holding. And remind yourself that you are strong enough to get through anything.

Do whatever you need to do when bothersome feelings are standing in the way of you and your happiness, and let them out. Get it over and done - once and for all.

Think of it as housecleaning. Gathering all the rubbish and putting it out on the drive to be collected on trash day. If you keep digging, eventually you'll find less and less “stuff” that needs removing and turfing.

This doesn't mean it's a good thing to sit around and feel miserable every waking minute either. You must strike a balance. But certainly, choking back unhappy feelings is not any better for you than spending 24/7 whining about your miseries for days, weeks and months on end. Once the crying jag is behind you, take some time to look at the positives in your life. Set some goals and take a step or two (even if they're teeny) toward achieving them.

Just don't be afraid of your feelings. Allow them to be heard. You can't fix what you don't acknowledge, as the good Dr Phil says. Give your feelings a chance to speak up so you know just what's on your plate. Chances are, the more you do this, the quicker the issue will dissolve or will find a resolution in your heart.

You wouldn't let an infection fester below the surface or in your blood. You'd be off to the doc, figuring out how to fix it because you know that infections left untended can kill you. Well, negative emotions can do it, too. Quietly and insidiously by giving you cancer, heart disease or a million other ailments, or a little more overtly by making you say and do some very hurtful things to yourself and/or to others.

Expressing your emotions is the great equaliser. It makes you the same as everyone else. It levels the playing field. It shows your strength. It shows your vulnerability, your softness.

It helps people get to know you because they see just what affects you on a deep level, which then connects you with everyone else on the planet because really, we are all pretty much the same in many ways. We are unique in our personalities and in our perceptions of our life experiences, of course, but everyone hurts, everyone needs, everyone feels some version of the same emotions. How we do all of this and how we express these aspects of ourselves is what separates us from one another.

But we're really not so different in terms of our emotions. So go on. Stop hiding behind a wall that you think keeps you separate and sets you apart from everyone else. Because I can assure you, you're not fooling anyone. We know you hurt, too.

And we'll be here for you when you're brave enough to tell us about it.

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Graham Kay: A Professional Comedian's Inside Look at Stand-up Comedy

We've all heard about comedians who have suffered with deep depression and taken their own lives, such as Freddie Prinze, Richard Jeni, and the extraordinarily brilliant Robin Williams.

But is it essential to suffer such extreme torment in order to be funny? And just what does it take to be a successful comedian?

I chatted about this with professional stand-up comic, Graham Kay. "I think it starts when we're kids," he speculates. "It has to be somebody who's smart but has to deal with adversity...you deal with stress by using humour as a safety valve."

He hastens to add, "You don't have to be miserable to be funny. I write some of my best jokes when everything's going well and I'm happy. But you had to have been unhappy in the past, or gone through something in your formative years because that forms your personality."

As an amateur comedian, I can definitely relate to that. I grew up in a hostile, toxic environment, doing my best to be "a good girl" and was painfully shy.

Until I turned 13 and suddenly became the mouthy class clown.

It wasn't a decision; it just sort of happened. I guess something in me knew it was the best way to keep my crazy family secrets and to make sure no one could see my bottomless pit of pain and insecurity.

For decades, my life continued to spin out of control and eventually, I found my way to the comedy stage where I could poke fun at myself and my biggest challenges.

Kay, a multi-award-winning Canadian stand-up comic now living in L.A., notes another key ingredient to becoming a successful comedian. "You have to know what it is to be on the outside looking in. I think that's why Jewish people dominate comedy, and black people dominate, and why American comedy is dominated by Canadians. We can all speak the same language, but some of us are out of the club."

One aspect of the comedy scene that Kay finds frustrating, particularly in L.A., is that there are "...a lot of rules about how many white males you can have on your show." He estimates that 85% of comedians are white males so it can be tough for anyone in that category to get those coveted spots.

"Sometimes the rules are too strict," he remarks. "You're only allowed to have, like, one white male on a show with six people, and the rest are women and black guys - which I like, don't get me wrong. I would hate to see a show with all straight white guys. It would be boring; it's one perspective over and over again. But I just mean they're going too far the other way."

The result? "It's an interesting phase we're going through where they're pushing really hard to include people, and discriminating at the same time...[On the west coast] their mentality is very different from the east coast...I notice this about Vancouver. No one has black friends but they're so over-the-top worried about race problems, they won't hold a door open for an old white lady but they will for a 20-year-old black man just to prove to themselves and everyone around them that they're not racist.

"I think political correctness is good," he continues. "But I think it can morph into racism when you start treating another race differently than you treat your own race."

I've only dabbled in doing stand-up as an amateur but for decades have held onto a secret dream of doing it professionally. Aware that it takes a concerted effort and many years of hard work, I tell Kay that I figure I've missed that boat because I'm older than dirt (well, maybe not quite).

"In comedy, it doesn't matter how old you are," he replies. "There are lots of mature comedians. And it makes you better. You have more to talk about. You have more life experience. All the 20-year-old comics talk about their dicks. Who cares? You have actual things to talk about. You have five kids. You've dealt with teen pregnancy [and much more]. That's the shit people need to know about; people are going through it themselves. Misery loves company."

So what "misery" has Kay experienced to help shape his work and success as a comedian? "Nothing crazy," he smiles. "I had really good parents...I had learning disabilities that I didn't understand. I had really bad OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder] that my parents didn't understand...I had an autistic brother...my only sibling. That's the major factor that shaped my personality...taking care of him, worrying about him all the time, being embarrassed a lot by him in public and learning how to deal with it."

Kay acknowledges, "The crippling OCD never goes away. When I'm tired, it'll creep up...it doesn't affect me day-to-day. For all intents and purposes, it's gone. But I know that if I don't keep an eye on it, it'll come back."

Kay has managed to keep this powerful anxiety disorder at bay without the use of drugs. "I have to use my brain to suppress it so I'm constantly tending to that. A little part of my brain energy every day is devoted to keeping my foot on its neck."

On-stage, Kay is witty, opinionated, and obviously tuned into what matters in life and in the world. He is quick, clever, deliciously sarcastic and brilliantly funny, yet it never feels like I'm listening to a well-crafted act. It's more like Graham just being Graham - the mark of a polished professional.

Off-stage, the unassuming Kay is quiet and kind, a true gentleman, his heart, compassion and humanity evident in both word and manner. "I love that I can...tell a joke...and I can make [people] see my light and make them laugh."

Yes, indeed. His radiant light is shining brightly and he is definitely making us laugh.

For more about Graham Kay, visit comedybythegraham.com

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How to Climb The Mountain That's Staring You in the Face

Have you been to hell and back a million times in your life? Have you felt like you were standing at the base of a mountain, your destination the other side of it, but not seen one bit of figurative climbing gear to be seen? - not one harness, not one descender, nope, not even one little crampon?

I know what it's like to look up at the top of that mountain. You feel like you'll never get there - but you know you have to do it; there's no turning back. So now what?

If it's too much to look up, turn your attention to the base of the mountain. You'll feel a little less pressured if you just focus on what you can achieve right now in this moment, and leave the rest to unfold as it will.

I know that sometimes when I've glanced up at that mountain top, I've felt immobilized. I've wanted to give up before I started. So I just grabbed onto the first bit of rock I could reach, picked up a foot and found a little step up. As long as I continued to do that, I made progress. Looking up was not an option. I could afford to look only at what was directly in front of me.

Whatever it is that you're facing, find the first rock that you can handle and take that small step. Leave the biggest, scariest rocks if you can, and get some of the smaller ones out of the way first.

Soon you will feel a bit of relief. Your anxiety will diminish; you will feel stronger. It will reinforce your belief that you must not, under any circumstances, look up, not just yet. To do so might be paralyzing. Forward movement and momentum are paramount. So just keeping grabbing for one small rock at a time, and don't look up.

Before long, you will feel ready to tackle the most challenging rocks. They might not put you at the top of the mountain right away, but you'll be well on your way to reaching it. You might even be able to look up after that. Because the beauty of it is, you'll also be able to look down and see how far you've come.