Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oct 26: Everybody Calm Down

Wow.  Dealing with so much drama today.  Usually I can kind of separate myself from all of it, be surrounded by it, and yet have this inner calm, and deal with the situation.  But today I got so defensive of a loved one and so frustrated that this ignorant, selfish person was attacking them, that I lost it.  I was heart-pounding, hands-shaking, nail-spitting angry.  So now I am trying to calm down.  It's really hard, once you've let yourself get all worked up.  But getting angry doesn't solve the situation. 
I've been looking up tips online for controlling anger, calming down after a confrontation, etc., and I have found some interesting and diverse tips.  From things like prayer, journaling, venting to a friend, taking deep breaths, getting exercise, burning lavender or vanilla candles, to unique things like tearing paper and beating a couch with a plastic bat, there are plenty of options and one is bound to work for you.  I do know one thing: after you've calmed down a little, you must deal with a situation, not ignore it, if you expect to feel better.
So here's to calming down and dealing with things in a more dignified manner. Horray...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct 24: Get in the Spirit!

It's my favorite time of year- Fall!  When the air is cool and crisp, harvest colors appear, and the calendar is filled with festivals, haunted houses, corn mazes, and costume parties.  My mom is wonderful about decorating for holidays, and so our porch is strewn with pumpkins, a skull, a black cat, and orange lights.  Tonight we carved pumpkins. (The picture is unfortunately not one of them, but one of the coolest carved pumpkins ever, and a good movie as well.)
So I was thinking tonight about how important it is to get into the spirit of the events in our lives, to embrace the holidays, birthdays, and anything else that comes our way, because that is what makes life rich.
Here are my top picks of movies that inspire the Halloween spirit:
1. The Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile
2. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
3. Chucklewood Critters- Which Witch is Which?
4. Disney's Halloween Treat
5. Casper
6. Hocus Pocus
7. Monster House
8. The Haunting
9. The Others
10. The Shining

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oct 21: Open Up!

So... this week has brought a few changes to my life, one of which is a new job.  This one change has brought other changes, like meeting new people, learning new things, getting up at ridiculous times.  And perhaps all this change has given me a little more confidence, because the other day I dealt with what might have been an awkward situation in a very new and refreshing way.  So it got me to thinking about much change helps us grow, how stretching out in new directions creates more opportunities for good things to come into our lives.  I have always loved change in most areas of my life, but in one particular area, that of opening up socially, I keep reverting to my comfortable old solitary ways, which a. is not healthy and b. makes people think I am a snob.
Anyway, in order to further my progress (and because I am a dork), I looked up some suggestions online, here are some of my favorites:
1.) try new things (sounds familiar), trying new food, music, places, meeting new people, joining clubs, all these things make you a more well-rounded and interesting person, which builds confidence
2.) volunteer (again, familiar), focusing on the needs of others makes you focus less on your own insecurities
3.) be friendly and approachable (this is the hard one for me, not because I am mean, but because I am often in my own little world and mostly happy that way, but we all need balance)  smile at people, introduce yourself, ask people about their lives
4.) jot down notes about people so that you can follow up on important events in their lives, it shows that you care about them
5.) face your fears (tough), most of the time when we don't socialize, it is out of fear. Conquering our fears, a little at a time, builds confidence and opens our lives up to new possibilities.
p.s. just realized this is my 100th post, hooray!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oct 19: Look Up, Step Up, Cheer Up!

This is something I heard in General Conference and LOVED!  I decided to make it my quote for the month and try to apply it to my life.  The idea is that when you are more positive and try a little harder, you will be happier.  For tonight I'll focus on part one of this concept: Look UP.  To me this has several meanings, such as looking to God- His love for us, his desires and plans for us, and what we are capable of with His help.  It could also mean to think with an eye toward the future, instead of being distracted or bogged down by present cares and circumstances.  It could also mean to be more positive, something I've been working on for a long time.  Here are some good suggestions I've found in my research:
1.) Accept that there are problems. (Ignoring them does not make them go away). 
2.) Make some small, achieveable goals.  (Where there are no goals, there is no progress, which can lead to negativity.)
3.) Count your blessings.  (The more you do this, the easier it gets to name more and more things, and you will be amazed at how many you can come up with.)
4.) Avoid negative influences.  (We can't control the attitudes of others in our lives, and it can seem like the more you try to be positive, the more negative others will seem.  But if you tell your friends, family, and co-workers what you're trying to accomplish, most will curb their negativity for you.)
5.) Surround yourself with positive images, colors, and music. (Yellow, orange, and pink are all happy-making colors, and I love listening to "On the Sunny Side of the Street" by Billie Holiday when I need a pick-me-up).
6.) Get involved in positive activities.  (Volunteering is the best way to gain a positive outlook, because you are focused on the needs of others instead of yourself.  Any wholesome group activity- sporty, artistic, intellectual, spiritual, etc. is good too.)
7.) Try new things.  (The more things you try, the better you'll know yourself and the richer your life will be, which leads to fulfillment.)
8.) Plan things that you can look forward to, follow through, and then document the occasion. (Studies show that the anticipation of an enjoyable event is often more intense than the event itself.  Following through with plans shows you that you have power to make things happen.  And documenting the event, by writing in a journal, taking pictures, or sharing the story with others is like reliving the experience.  It releases endorphines, making you feel positive again and again even though the event is past.)
9.) Realize that what you focus on becomes your reality.  (Thoughts become actions, which affect your circumstances.  Think negative, get more negative.  Think positive... you get it.)
10.) Last but not least... Make a commitment to be happy and remind yourself of it often.  (Happiness is not a destination we arrive at, it's a way of traveling.  It requires a conscious effort.)

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”  - Aristotle

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct 17: Begin Anywhere

  Wow. So there is an obvious time gap between this post and my last one (in case you missed that).  I am happy to say I have made progress in several arenas since then.  But sadly I have become slack in others, such as this blog, which I love and miss.  Going back and reading my old posts makes me realize that this blog has been like therapy for me.  That blogging about my problems and challenges, and then researching solutions, finding a visual and an inspiring quote, has helped bring some focus and clarity to my life.  I am sorely lacking this lately.  I have been feeling very inspired, but have had trouble channeling that into something productive.  The more time goes by, the harder it is to jump back into something: church, school, a job, a hobby, anything.  And if you're anything like me, you WAY overthink the whole process, causing further delay.  I waited so long to start blogging because I had so many thoughts since then that I didn't know where to start.  I felt like this post had to be powerful, had to somehow redeem me for all the time I missed.  But then I realized how silly that is.  It doesn't matter where I begin, only THAT I BEGIN.

"Not knowing where to start is the most common form of paralysis.  Begin anywhere." - John Cage