Monday, May 21, 2018

Commitment And Exercise

You don’t need to be a “gym rat” to reap the mental health benefits of exercise. Start with 10-15 minutes a day and slowly increase your time with weights (or your aerobic routine). The more you exercise, the more energy you’ll have. The “key” to all of this is commitment. As your exercise regime becomes more consistent, you can slowly add minutes to different types of activities. If you keep at it, the benefits will pay off.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Out of the Closet

Whether you  know it or not. We ALL have a dark side. These secrets keep us sick. They keep us feeling ashamed and unworthy. If we don’t talk about them, we can’t be healed. This is something that I’ve learned in counseling. Although, I learned it many years ago, I have to put it into practice. I don’t want my secrets to destroy my body and bring me any illness.

The above was reinforced when I read Two’s Company  by Suzanne Sommers. She came to notoriety as “Chrissy Snow” in the popular sitcom Three’s Company. Her character put her on the “celebrity map.” Her situation might sound familiar – catapulted to stardom BUT keeping a secret. Her father was a raging alcoholic. It affected everyone in her family. When you’re touched by family alcoholism, it stays with you. You develop coping behaviors that you think help you cope. In fact, they hinder you, and push you into a closet.

In Sommer’s book, she realizes that her inability to talk about her secret, led her to breast cancer. She learned that her hiding (literally) in a closet, stayed in her system, and eventually came out as cancer. Why? Her secret was that she was the daughter of an alcoholic.

Throughout my life, I’ve seen how “secrets” destroy a person’s spirit. Some examples include, abortion, AIDS, mental illness and homosexuality. Each person held one of those secrets until their mortality (health) was challenged. Once their health was in jeopardy, they deduced it was due to the secret they carried. In turn (just like Sommers) they came out of the closet and revealed their secret. I was raised in a home where what happened there, stayed there. At first, keeping those secrets seemed “right.” That is, until I saw the long term effects of them. In a safe, counseling environment I was able to talk about them and heal. I don’t want to be like Suzanne Sommers. I want a life unencumbered by secrets.

I urge you to do the same!

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Focus: Family, secrets, spirit

Questions for you: 1) What secrets are you keeping? 2) What kind of a toll has it had on your body and spirit? 3) What steps can you take toward healing?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise

Regular exercise is good for the body. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a PROFOUNDLY positive effect on depression, anxiety, ADHD and more. In addition, it relieves stress, improve memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

ViewPoint: RISK

Stephen Covey has a central theme to his books: win-win and work from the inside-out. The
two ideas go hand-in-hand. It’s an easy concept but very hard to put into practice. The hardest part is making the commitment to dig deep and understand your stuff.

When you communicate, you have to understand what drives you – why do you act in the way that you do. In many cases, fear is present and creates an obstacle. When you are involved in any type of communication situation, you have to take a risk. Without risk, there is no movement. That risk may be asking your boss for a raise or confronting an employee or a colleague, or just being vulnerable. The bottom line is you will never know the outcome, until you try it.

When you understand the inside, the outside comes naturally. And when the inside matches the outside, you are in a win-win situation … everytime!

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Forgiveness (Maria Shriver)

What is forgiveness? It’s letting go of resentment, giving up feeling harmed or damaged. That doesn’t mean the harm or damage didn’t happen. It means that you’re not going to keep revisiting it over and over again, staying stuck in your resentment of the person who caused the harm. Even, if it’s you.

I’ve prayed for help with forgiveness. I’ve tried to talk myself into it. And often, I’ve pushed myself to the forgiveness finish line before I was really ready to take the action of actually forgiving, only to find myself right back where I started: resentful and feeling bad.
So to truly get to the place I wanted to be – which was to be a steady, solid, peaceful, forgiving person – I started with myself.

When I found myself berating myself for choices I made, opportunities I missed, people I misjudged, behaviors I condoned, the whole thing – I stopped. “No more.” I started being kind to myself. Over and over again.

Once I started easing up on myself in this way. I found myself being able to ease up on others. I realized that what I needed, so did they. If I made mistakes and deserved to be forgiven, so, too, did they. If I had hurt another and could be forgiven and move on, so too, could they. If I had been critical and judgmental of someone and could be forgiven, so, too could they.

In other words, If  I could let go of my resentments and judgments of myself, I could and should let go of my resentments and judgments of others and just plain move on, instead of staying stuck. I had to give what I was seeking for myself.

Forgiveness is letting go of the need to feel like a victim. Work on it. You’ll lighten your load – the load of negativity you carry around.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

A Good Idea: Theme Songs and Confidence

Want to be EMPOWERED? Get yourself a theme song and play it when you need a
boost! Back in the 70’s, Helen Reddy wrote the song I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar). It became an anthem for women, and won a Grammy Award! We all need encouragement and a song can do it! What lyrics inspire you? The next time you are stuck and need to move out of a rut, play your theme song and see what happens!

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

How Zumba Saved Me!

I’ve  ALWAYS believed that testimonies are tools for personal growth and transformation. They “speak” to what’s possible and how to triumph over adversity. Here’s mine about how I did it!

Three years ago, I was in a bad space. My house went into foreclosure. I was evicted and I lost a teaching job that I loved. Prior to this experience, I attended zumba 3-4 times a week. Being in class brought me so many positives. That all went away when I just “gave up.”

The depression was overwhelming. I couldn’t concentrate. It was hard for me to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. I dropped from 180 to 155 pounds. I averaged 2-3 hours of sleep per night. (That was with sleep medication.) My friends dropped out of sight. Many of them  couldn’t be bothered. I felt like my life was over. I thought about suicide. That seemed like a viable solution since nothing I did worked.

One day, I turned on the television. Joyce Meyer, the Christian evangelist said, I need to stop what I’m saying and preach to my television viewers. If you’re thinking about suicide, STOP! That is the enemy. God has a better plan for you.  That moment  wasn’t an accident. It was God telling me to move.

At this point, I was away from my Zumba routine. A friend of mine suggested I return. It helped her overcome fertility issues. In her words, Bob, you’ve got to come back and enjoy the music and fun. I told her I’d think about it since coming back to my local gym was 40 miles, round trip. I said to God, Your plan is better than mine. You know my circumstances and my limitations. I started one day a week. It took me about six weeks to get back into the groove and enjoy dance.

This is my tenth year doing zumba. When I was in the midst of foreclosure, eviction and job loss. I lost myself and  ALL its benefits (i.e. endorphin rush, lower blood pressure, positive camaraderie with others). Now, I’m better. Life is picking up. My weight is back, my blood pressure is lower and I no longer have suicidal thoughts.

For me, zumba is not just a class. It IS a lifestyle that incorporates wellness and restoration of spirit.

Focus: Exercise, Spirit, Joy

Question for You: 1) What exercises can you do to replenish your spirit? 2) What physical challenges are you experiencing that warrant an exercise plan? 3) What is stopping you from an exercise regime?