Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Turn it down, turn it off or tune it out.

Words are like seeds. If you dwell on them long enough, they will take root and flourish. -Joel Osteen

Lately, my inner critic thinks it's time to speak up--and I must admit, it seems I have been listening. I've been going hard on myself lately, and the critic isn't anyone else's voice--it's my perception blended with the critic that we all have. I've been interpreting some actions as critical, and then the inner beatdown starts.

I think all of us have an inner critic, and many anxious people probably battle this even more. This is why I'm glad I've recognized that I'm going too hard on myself; I guess that's me reaping all the therapy I have put myself through. I love when you can start to see positive changes.

The truth is, there's enough things out in this world against us. Maybe people are being mean and critical to you, or maybe you're the one that's just too tough on yourself. Why? This critic doesn't really get us anywhere. And when we know how to spot the voice, which loves to mimic our unconscious thoughts, we can turn it down or tune it out.

So today, I'm turning the volume down on my inner critic. Will you do the same?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Articulate it.

How do I put it into words? Writing is never really difficult for me. That is, until I started writing my own memoir.

I feel that "it" is all ready to come out. But I'm so far removed from the acute moments and memories. I feel as if I can relive them and write about it, but only to a certain degree. Is that enough?

I fear I will never be able to write this book, this book that I feel is so much my purpose in life. I want to show readers the depths of where I was, and I seem mostly to only be able to vaguely look back on the moments that changed, defined and healed me.

I'm just going to keep on believing in myself. I'm going to keep on working in small doses. And most importantly, I am going to keep the faith that I am right where God wants me....that gives me the most peace.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rave: Joel Osteen

I'm kind of obsessed with Joel Osteen. When I first heard him years ago, I thought he had such a funky Southern accent and smiled perhaps too much. I almost let those things overlook his inspiring messages. Nowadays, I can't get enough. Why?

It's his message. (Now I love his accent, smile and funny jokes!) He doesn't focus on religion--he's all about bringing people to God. I love that. I love that instead of trying to sell people on a relationship with God, he just brings people to God's goodness and lets God handle the rest.

The pressure is off, there's no judgment. You just listen to his inspiring messages without any condemnation. He brings all the great things about God to the masses. He doesn't preach fear-based messages. Because of him, I've learned all the good things God wants for us. That God wants us to be happy. And as a person with an anxiety disorder, that it's perfectly okay to take care of ourselves. That's huge--usually we're taught that we're not good enough for God,. We are--God loves us! Life can be wonderful and there are so many good things out there for us!!

I encourage you to listen. He's not preachy at all...in fact, half his messages aren't really about the Bible as much as its principles. He also uses real-life experiences to inspire you. (Not that hearing about the Bible is a bad thing.)

My point is that Joel brings a whole new perspective to what people otherwise write off as religion. Anxious people need spirituality; in fact, all people do. If you want to hear something inspiring and not feel like someone is pushing religion down your throat, check out one of his sermons. I think he has a great way of speaking to anxious people especially. Through his sermons, I've learned so much about taking care of myself and giving myself permission to be happy, and how to be at peace during the hard times. He's taught me so much about thinking positively--something I have needed so much because of all the negative messages that are somehow ingrained in my mind.

Even better, he's on SiriusXM Channel 128. I can't stop listening:)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sand bar.

Fed up with my ever-so-slowly-ending cold, I decided to get back to physical activity today. There could be no other perfect place to go than Sea Girt, N.J. It is my bliss, my heaven. Thank God it is a short drive away.

I walked on the boards and blasted Il Volo. They provided the perfect soundtrack to my day of exercise, which on the boardwalk, is always about inner discovery as well. How can you not look inward and feel small and powerful and motivated when you're on the beach? It's so big, so vast. It has so many lessons to teach us--in the water and out.

After my walk, I went down to the water. I was in about a week ago and it was cold, but it was not as bad today. I went in up to my calves and enjoyed the most majestic sand bar ever. Yes, when inspired, even a sand bar can move you!

I wished I had my phone on me, but I have a Galaxy Note 2, which is similar to bringing a small laptop on the beach...it's too big to carry. I thought about how God wanted only me to capture the moment. No Instagram, no blog. Just my memory, and a gift to me on this otherwise ordinary day.

Little things, I tell you.

Let the joy in and you'll be overwhelmed by all of the goodness. You just have to look for it and let the flood gates open.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Study on emotional abuse, neglect.

For those of us who have been emotionally abused, this probably isn't anything shocking. But interesting, to say the least.

Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

"Given the prevalence of childhood psychological abuse and the severity of harm to young victims, it should be at the forefront of mental health and social service training," said study lead author Joseph Spinazzola, PhD, of The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, Brookline, Massachusetts. The article appears in a special online issue of the APA journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.
Researchers used the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Data Set to analyze data from 5,616 youths with lifetime histories of one or more of three types of abuse: psychological maltreatment (emotional abuse or emotional neglect), physical abuse and sexual abuse. The majority (62 percent) had a history of psychological maltreatment, and nearly a quarter (24 percent) of all the cases were exclusively psychological maltreatment, which the study defined as care-giver inflicted bullying, terrorizing, coercive control, severe insults, debasement, threats, overwhelming demands, shunning and/or isolation.

Children who had been psychologically abused suffered from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, symptoms of post-traumatic stress  and suicidality at the same rate and, in some cases, at a greater rate than children who were physically or sexually abused. Among the three types of abuse, psychological maltreatment was most strongly associated with depression, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, attachment problems and substance abuse.

Psychological maltreatment that occurred alongside physical or sexual abuse was associated with significantly more severe and far-ranging negative outcomes than when children were sexually and physically abused and not psychologically abused, the study found. Moreover, sexual and physical abuse had to occur at the same time to have the same effect as psychological abuse alone on behavioral issues at school, attachment problems and self-injurious behaviors, the research found.

"Child protective service case workers may have a harder time recognizing and substantiating emotional neglect and abuse because there are no physical wounds," said Spinazzola. "Also, psychological abuse isn't considered a serious social taboo like physical and sexual child abuse. We need public awareness initiatives to help people understand just how harmful psychological maltreatment is for children and adolescents."

Nearly 3 million U.S. children experience some form of maltreatment annually, predominantly by a parent, family member or other adult caregiver, according to the U.S. Children's Bureau. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 identified psychological maltreatment as "the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Live on.

Life goes on. It's a beauty and burden.

My mind still stings when I remember the day Leo passed. I miss him dearly. I loved his gentle, "easy lion" soul. I have no choice, I have to move on.

Sometimes though, that's the best thing for us. Even though we have no say in going forward. We're all going forward in some way, just by breathing into the future.

I think a lot about just living life and being in the moment. That's how we're supposed to live, right? I mean, realize that things can be gone in a snap, but you can't really focus on that all the time. Or should you remind yourself that life is fleeting, life is short, etc....so you don't miss a thing?