Tuesday, October 29, 2019

When Your Fears Are Real

Facing real fearAs Halloween approaches, we are surrounded by scary images. Giant spiders, grinning skeletons, ugly witches and flickering jack-o-lanterns can give you the creeps as they seem to pop up everywhere you look. You may be brave enough to venture into a haunted house and allow the ghouls and ghosts to scare you out of your wits, but deep down, you know it’s not real. Before long, you come out into the light and tease your friends about how loudly they screamed.

If only every scary thing in life were so simple! The incidence of anxiety is increasing in the US, thanks in part to the speed with which we can hear or read a barrage of bad news all day, every day. Many people are afraid to let their children play because they’re sure they will get hurt or a stranger will kidnap them. They worry constantly about the state of the nation and are convinced the world will end soon. Some people are panicking over every minor ache or pain because it could be some new disease that was just discovered overseas. If you’re looking for a reason to be anxious, just click into social media or turn on the news.

Often these fears are irrational, exaggerated and unlikely to ever actually happen. Of course it’s important to supervise children appropriately. Yes, we need to be informed about national events so we can vote according to our values and consciences. It is always wise to live a healthy lifestyle and check out persistent symptoms with your doctor (not just Google). But living in constant fear of everything that might happen will steal your energy and your happiness.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A Visit to the Park Improves Emotional Well-Being

Emotional Well BeingSpring is in the air in most areas of the country, and we can’t help but be drawn outdoors to enjoy a break from the icy chill of Winter! We know from studies and experience that getting outside can be a refreshing break from “cabin fever” but now we know that it might be easier than you think to enjoy the benefits.

The University of Alabama Birmingham conducted a study at three urban parks in Alabama that regularly have visitors. The study participants reported that they felt better after spending as little as 20 minutes in the park – even if they weren’t being physically active. An excerpt from the University’s report says:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How to Exercise More Patience

PatiencePatience is a virtue, they say. If your patience is being tested and tried, it can be hard to see what value you receive from your situation. Being “good for goodness’ sake” may seem like a low return on your investment of frustration, but in reality you gain significant value by exercising patience.

People often confuse patience with apathy or being a wimp, so I looked it up in a thesaurus and found an impressive variety of synonyms – words like composure, endurance, perseverance, poise, tolerance and self-control. None of those words suggest weakness or indifference – and in fact, those two words are actually listed in the thesaurus as antonyms (opposites) of patience!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Left-overs – What to Toss and What to Keep

LeftoversMost people are still excited to open their refrigerator to see if there is anything left of their Thanksgiving dinner. They don’t mind a week of eating leftovers if it includes turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

Just as the leftover food brings memories of your special holiday with family and friends, certain feelings, behaviors and thoughts can be “leftovers” from experiences in life. Some of them are delicious, but some are bitter or sour, and you must decide what to keep and what to throw away. There can be times when I open a container of leftovers and the smell lets me know that I do not want to keep or consume the contents because I don’t want to suffer negative consequences.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How to Be Good and Angry Over Politics and Other Stuff

Angry

Man, have you seen the news lately? As if you could miss it…

It has been a brutal year, politically speaking. If there has ever been such a widely disputed campaign with such visceral reactions to the candidates, we’ve never seen it in our lifetimes. And no time in history has it been so easy to flood people’s lives with rhetoric, accusations, name-calling and polar-opposite viewpoints. If our earliest presidential candidates produced such hot controversy, the news didn’t travel so fast. We hear from multiple news outlets that Americans are responding to anger. Some were angry before the election; enough to vote for major change in the government. And now others are angry after the election because of the outcome. Government leaders are being met with a barrage of angry American citizens from both sides of the political spectrum.