Sunday, September 23, 2018

Being There

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a memorial service for a lady who worked at my local bank. Although I have not attended a funeral/memorial in decades, my conscience told me to make this a priority. I went, but with trepidation. I didn’t know what to expect.

The service was lovely and respectful. Many people came. I was concerned though that many of this lady’s colleagues didn’t show. It was on a Sunday afternoon. In the weeks leading to the service a number of them asked me if they’d see me there. I said yes and believed they’d show their support. They didn’t. This bothered me A LOT. How could they just not be there?

As I absorbed the moment. I pictured myself as the deceased. I know that sounds maudlin but at 61, you think of stuff like that. Over and over I thought, “In the past, people haven’t been there for me. I’ve supported them when they needed me; why not the reverse? Even in death, would they drop everything to remember me?” Each time I asked myself this, the response was the same. NO!

The service lasted an hour. I left in a hurry. I couldn’t breathe in the intensity of everything. The realization of the lack of people not in attendance bothered me (for this lady), and myself. I got to my car and sobbed at the behavior of people.

When I was younger and a person died, people showed up. It didn’t matter whether it was a family member, close friend or neighbor. People showed up. They showed respect and offered condolences. This behavior reflected integrity.

What has happened to society and our values?

Focus: Kindness, empathy, spirit, friendship, legacy
Question for you: 1) Are you showing up for people or are you making excuses?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Anger Warning Signs

Sometimes, anger can affect what you say or do before you even recognize how you’re feeling. You may become so used to the feeling of anger that you don’t notice it.
Even if you aren’t aware of anger, it influences your behavior. The first step to managing anger is learning to recognize your personal warning signs.
How do you react when you feel angry. Some of these warning signs start when you are only a little irritated. Which ones apply to you?

  • ·        Mind goes blank
  • ·        Body or hands shake
  • ·        Heavy or fast breathing
  • ·        Scream, yell  or raise your voice
  • ·        Punch walls
  • ·        Become argumentative
  • ·        Pace
  • ·        Insult the other person
  • ·        Start sweating
  • ·        Clench fists
  • ·        Feel hot
  • ·        Go “quiet” and shut down
  • ·        Headaches
  • ·        Face turns red
  • ·        Feel sick to your stomach
  • ·        Become aggressive
  • ·        Crying
  • ·        Can’t stop thinking about the problem

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Monday, September 10, 2018

4 Ways To Resolve Conflict

1.   Focus on the Problem: When a disagreement turns to insults, the conversation is no longer productive. Focus on the problem and don’t blame your partner. If a disagreement becomes personal, take a break from the conversation.
2.   Use “I” Statements: When sharing a concern, begin your sentences with “I” Here’s an example, I feel hurt when you don’t call and tell me  you’re going to be late for dinner. “I” statements show that you take responsibility for your behaviors.
3.   Take time outs: When you and your partner get argumentative, it’s good to take a break or a “time out.” When you’ve  both calmed down, come back to resolving the problem. Make sure that you come back to the conversation and get closure!
4.   Work toward a Resolution: Disagreements are a part of a relationship. Try to find a compromise that benefits the both of you.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Your Brain and PTSD

Here are some “tapes” that we tell ourselves when we’re in a post traumatic stress cycle:

·        “Sometimes, I wish I was dead.”
·        “I’m in pain a lot of the time.”
·        “I feel spacey and I can’t concentrate.”
·        “I have a lot of nightmares.”
·        “I can’t handle the simplest of tasks.”
·        “I’m a doormat.”
·        “I’m so depressed. What’s wrong with me?”
·        “I just want to be alone.”
·        “I can’t concentrate or sleep.”
·        “I feel angry and worthless.”

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Monday, August 27, 2018

The Longevity of Stupid Questions

Don’t ask stupid questions!

I heard that recently in church. A wife said that to her husband. I saw the effect that type of verbal abuse had on both of them – DEVASTATING.
The wife looked angry. The husband looked beaten down. I couldn’t help but think what they looked like “pre-marriage.”

In a way, they looked like my parents. In our home my mom was an “alpha-male” – calling ALL the shots, making ALL the decisions. My dad was emasculated every day. I never saw him argue or challenge her. I can’t imagine living in that oppressive environment for 18 years. Yet, they both did! Both of them were unfulfilled. Not a good example of LOVE or respect.

In counseling, I explored the idea of dating and sharing my life with someone. As a product of my parent’s divorce, I’m apprehensive in getting to know someone in a way that goes beyond sex. The sex part is something I know. I also know myself and the baggage I bring. That baggage carries a DEEP wound. I know that’s the case with the woman I am with. I don’t know whether our baggage can withstand a healthy relationship. I guess I won’t know that until I jump in and find out.

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Focus: Dating, Intimacy, Spirit

Questions for you: 1) What baggage (drugs, alcohol, bi-polar) are deal breakers for you? 2) What baggage prevents your self-disclosure/intimacy with others?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Exercise Your Heart: 6 Benefits

Physical activity is as beneficial to your heart as medication. Here are 6 benefits:

1.   Exercise lowers blood pressure. It works like beta-blocker medication to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.
2.   Exercise is key to weight control. Being physically active is an essential component for losing weight and keeping it off. Being overweight puts stress on the heart and is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
3.   Exercise helps strengthen muscles. A combination of aerobic workouts (i.e. walking, running, swimming) and strength training is considered best for heart health. This reduces the need for the heart to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles.
4.   Exercise helps you quit smoking. As smokers become fit, they often quit. People who are fit are less likely to ever start smoking.
5.   Exercise helps stop, or slow the development of diabetes. When combines with strength training, regular aerobic exercise such as biking or swimming can reduce the risk of diabetes by allowing the muscles to process glycogen, a fuel for energy.
6.   Exercise reduces stress. Stress hormones can put an extra burden on the heart. Exercise can help you relax and ease stress.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Exercise: Fit It In

How can you fit more exercise into your day? Begin with small steps. Here are some ideas:
  • ·        Park your car at the end of a parking lot so you have further to walk.
  • ·        Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • ·        Spend part of your lunch break walking.
  • ·        On bad weather days, walk indoors at the mall.
  • ·        Wake up earlier and exercise before you do anything else.
  • ·        Use a wearable fitness tracker to count your steps. Increase your daily steps by 500  each week with a goal of 10,000 steps per day.

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