Five thoughts to keep us centered:
1. We are doing our best. God, our families, our employers, can not ask any more of us.
2. If a project or just life in general seems too big and overwhelming at times, remember: baby steps, small bites, at our ease..
we can handle anything.
3. We are safe.
4. We are loved.
5. We are strong.
Have a blessed day,
Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~Brendan Francis
Does fear keep you awake at night? Some of my worst nights have been ones full of scared anxious thoughts about: health, my children, money, the economy, world affairs, getting older, my parents, feeling fat, etc. You name it, I have probably feared or worried about it.
These days I have far fewer angst filled sleepless nights. There are tools we can develop that really do work.
You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith. ~Mary Manin Morrissey
If fearful thoughts are robbing you of a good night sleep, here are some ideas to help:
1. Meditate. Take some time to be still and quiet. You don’t need any special equipment or mantras or anything. Just close your eyes and breathe. Try to become the observer of your own thoughts. If they come, let them pass, and breathe….
2. Condition your mind with the use of affirmations. You can write these down on sticky notes, cards, or in your journal. You may include them in your prayers and use them when you meditate if you find it useful for your mind to have something to focus on.
I have used several affirmations over the years. A few that I am currently using that are working well for me are:
I expect success
I Am safe
Life supports me
3. Limit your media exposure. I still get the morning newspaper but I am very selective about what I read in it. It is no longer the first thing I look at when pouring my first cup of coffee. Instead, I write in my journal, read something spiritual and uplifting, or write a morning prayer for The Warm Milk Journal. I have never watched the news on television. I am very picky about what I read on the internet too.
Our experience is what we believe it is. The “bad news” out there that is constantly being reported (because it sells papers and advertising) does not have to be our focus or personal experience.
4. Limit your exposure to negative people. We are who we spend time with.
5. If you are overwhelmed with worry write your concerns down in your journal. Then let them go before bedtime.
6. Get plenty of exercise during the day. A well exercised body makes for a more calm and centered mind.
7. Focus on the things you love. Love and fear are opposites. Which do you want to steer you?
8. Focus on gratitude and the good that is all around you.
9. Look for and see beauty.
10. Let things go.
11. Be present.
Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop. ~Usman B. Asif
12. Light will always overcome the darkness. In the morning, things will not seem anywhere near as bad as they do in the middle of the night.
When we feel stress we need to have tools to deal with it. I find it best to deal with stress head on and quickly rather than let it manifest into illness, depression, anxiety, etc.
Here are a five ideas to soothe us if we are feeling stress:
1. Think of an image or color that soothes you (the color blue or a mountain top vista does wonders for me).
2. Pick up the phone and call mom or an old friend.
3. Make goo goo eyes at your pet, kids, or spouse.
4. Try a laughter meditation. See if you can sustain a robust laughter for two minutes!
5. Plan your next vacation. This works every time for me. The anticipation of a getaway gets my feel good hormones going.
Have a blessed and stress free Monday!
If you are tired today,
give yourself a rest.
If the sharp focus you were enjoying yesterday is just not there?
Accept the fuzziness of the moment.
Like the blue sky that is covered with clouds…
those clouds will pass,
and the sky and your mind will be clear again.
Have a blessed day!
Three Goals of The Warm Milk Journal:
1. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, for you to know that you are not alone.
2. If you have anxiety, for you to know that you are not alone.
3. Life getting you stressed out? We want you to know that you are not alone!
Remember that whole six degrees of separation idea? We really have so much in common with one another. Add on the miraculous things we can do to connect with one another thanks to today’s technology… nobody needs to be alone in this day and age. Period.
We are here for you. We are here for each other.
Feel free to comment and share your experience and challenges.
If nothing else, I hope that when you visit The Warm Milk Journal you will find a place of love and support.
Sweet dreams to you tonight and every night,
When I am not centered I don’t sleep well, I am moody, worry a lot, feel more sensitive and critical (to self and others), and tend to blow things up out of proportion. This is not a healthy state and I do not like it when I permit myself to get to this unhappy place.
Here are eleven ways that help to keep me centered (living a well balanced life by day and sleeping restfully at night):
1. I walk every day
2. I take times of solitude in the morning and night (and during the day when I can fit it in)
3. Write in my journal
4. Stretch and practice yoga
5. Breathe deep in my belly
6. Smile first, then think, talk, or act
7. Keep my faith
8. Talk things out with someone close to me when I need to
9. Read spiritually inspiring books or poetry
11.Spend time outdoors
Raise your hand if you got mad today. Raise your other hand if this anger turned to sadness at some point.
For us sensitive people emotions can catch us off guard. Everything is rocking along quite smoothly and then something happens to rock the boat: a spouse has to work late and can’t be home for the nice dinner you had planned, friends cancelled your plans at the last minute, you were taken aback by a comment said by a colleague or boss that you were not expecting, etc. etc.
We are going to get upset. What if we gave ourselves permission to just have our upset? 99% of the time the anger and sadness are going to go away. I think they will pass even sooner if we just let these natural emotions be. Yes, let them be.
When we torment others or ourselves when we are upset we set ourselves up for a prolonged state of being angry or sad.
I say, if you feel sad, be sad. If you are angry, be angry (a nice long walk helps a lot). Don’t do or say anything too rash or hasty.
The emotions will calm, you will recenter, and peace will return. I promise, they will!
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
What have you been avoiding lately? A drawer full of unpaid bills? Filing your taxes? Asking the boss for that much deserved raise? Making that medical appointment?
When we practice avoidance we are inviting anxiety into our lives. How?
1. The things we are putting off doing don’t magically go away (and we know this).
2. It creates and prolongs any worry about these things
3. It gives our minds plenty of time to blow things up and out of proportion.
4. Avoidance makes us feel weak and not very good about ourselves.
5. During that “witching hour” we spoke about in our prior post, it is these things that we are avoiding that get churned about over and over again when all we desperately want to do is not think at all and sleep!
Taking action is a confidence booster and sleep producer.
Pulling our heads out of the sand and dealing with our issues and challenges will give us many benefits including:
1. We will feel greatly empowered. Even little steps will make us feel so much better about ourselves and the situation (call the Student loan company, pull those bills that have been piling up in the drawer, initiate that conversation with your spouse, etc.)
2. Once we start taking steps towards resolution rather than avoidance, so much free time and energy is freed up to live our lives, be in the present rather than worrying.
3. The magnitude of what we perceived as our problems will be much deflated once we start dealing with them.
4. We will get some perspective and realize things aren’t as bad as we thought.
5. Peace of mind will return (along with a good night sleep).
Here is a list of common thought patterns that lead to anxiety and sleepless nights:
1. “I am not good enough”
2. “I don’t have enough”
3. “What are they thinking about me”?
4. “I look fat”
5. “I am a failure”
6. “I am broke”
7. “I am a paycheck away from being bankrupt and living on the street”.
8. “That’s impossible!”
9. “I can’t”
10. “I’m no good at___”
These are just a few “bad tapes” that many of us torture ourselves with on a regular basis, over and over again.
Sometime between the time we were born to the person we are now we have learned and been conditioned to fear and be anxious and feel bad about ourselves(either by parents, siblings,teachers, friends, and other people our environment,media, our culture,etc).
Well, the good news is that we can work on cancelling all this bad thinking.
Tonight in your journal please write down a list of your negative thought patterns that you play on a regular basis. You know you have them. Now write them down. Or if you can’t think of any right now, have a notebook handy and when you catch yourself doing it, you can jot it down. Enlist a spouse or close friend to help. They can “bust you” if they hear you utter any negative self talk.
Once you write a fearful or anxious thought down, draw a big X across the phrase. That step alone would be really great. I also like to imagine myself cutting my own throat when I am thinking or saying one of these toxic messages to myself while yelling: CANCEL!!!!!
Now, you can actually re-write your own thought patterns to the reverse (the positive tape instead)
1. “I can’t” can be cancelled and X’d and then “I can!” can take it’s place.
2. “I am fat” can be cancelled and X’d (really imagine yourself slashing your throat here!) can instead be “I love and appreciate my healthy and beautiful body”.
3. When you see something that you think you can’t afford such as a nice car on the highway, a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood, or a pretty Spring dress on the clothes rack, cancel “I can’t afford this”, and replace it with: “I can afford that!”.
You get the idea. It takes a little time. Be patient with yourself. Perhaps tackle one negative thought pattern at a time.
Before long you will be confident, worry-free, and sleeping like that innocent perfect baby you began your life as!
Anxiety can be subtle and sneaky at times. It may show up unassuming at first…a funny feeling in your stomach, a slight headache, a worry starting up in your mind…
If we let it, anxiety will continue on this journey until it grips, bites, and attacks you in the form of: panic attacks, sleepless nights, depression, and the feeling of helplessness.
Newsflash: we are far from helpless.
Anxiety and the fear it promotes does not become anything of consequence if we don’t grant it a ticket for its reckless ride on us (our bodies, our peace of mind,our jobs, our relationships, our sleep, our health, our life)!
When you first feel that first hint of anxiety presenting itself, here are eight ways to shoo the offender away:
1. Breathe deeply and slowly
2. Realize you are bigger than this. YOU are the one with all of the control and power.
3. Each time you focus you create a new reality. You can choose to not put any energy into anxiety’s arrival.
4. Laugh at it and look it straight on! Fears can’t get much of a grip on us if we face them. So often we will look back and think “why was I so worried or what was I panicked about”?
5. Get busy doing something: exercise, a project, helping someone else.. Keeping our minds and bodies busy at something will often help.
6. You can take John Parkin’s advice in his book: f**ck it . Essentially the message of this great little book is not to care or attach meaning of things in our lives so much and we will be free…let it go, release. Peace!
7. Write in your journal. Writing can be very healing. If you feel worried about something or feel something is not quite right, get it out on paper.
8. Always remember that fear is not real. This too shall pass. Let those anxious thoughts that are flirting with you right now pass by like the clouds on a beautiful breezy Spring day. They will go away!