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To live a well balanced, rewarding life of our dreams by day and sleep restfully at night.

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What makes you feel the most shy? (a post for those of us with mild social anxiety)

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If you have been here a while, you know that I have a history of social anxiety. I believe that social anxiety is one of the leading causes of insomnia and preventing us from living the life of our dreams (our mission). So, perhaps we need to take a closer look at this…

Tonight I am asking you to look at something that may be a bit uncomfortable for you but do ask yourself:

What makes me feel the most shy?

If you get in a relaxed place in your journal writing and respond to this question in your journals I believe you may gain some insight.

As hard as it is, I will share with you what makes me feel the most shy:

1. When I have to go to big parties and I don’t know anybody

2. When I have to attend small gatherings and I don’t know anybody…

3. When I am in my reflective, introspective world, and suddenly find myself having to be “on”.

4. When my energy is just not there and I want to be in my cave.

That’s a few. There are others.

If you are willing, please share with us your challenges with shyness and social anxiety. I know there are many of us out there.

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We need to accept ourselves and know deep down that there is nothing wrong with us.

This topic will be continued in future posts.

Wishing you peace and a restful night tonight and every night.

Debra

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All things sweet… tonight’s list for our journals

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There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate. ~Linda Grayson, “The Pickwick Papers”

For the last week I have been on a no-carb diet and I am literally dreaming about dessert. The night before last I dreamed about gourmet ice cream. Last night I dreamed about layered cake with frosting and pudding between the layers…

I also have been challenged the last few days with a wrist/arm injury that has caused me to be a bit blue.

Hence, I declare tonight to be a night of thinking of all things sweet! (you all know how I love writing lists) Are you with me?

Photo credit: vinepair.com

Photo credit: vinepair.com

In your journals, list as many sweet things as you can think of. Write quickly. Don’t edit yourself. Just have fun and see what comes out. I have a feeling that once you are finished with this list you will be feeling quite effervescent and happy…

Okay,

My list of all things SWEET:

1. Chocolate: especially Cadbury milk chocolate or Lindt extra creamy milk chocolate
2. My husband
3. My daughter
4. My cat, Mew
5. Honeysuckle
6. Gardenia flowers or fragrance
7. Banana loaves baking in oven
8. A full tank of gas
9. A check in the mail
10. A great story

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I could literally write about a hundred more things because this is such fun but I know you have your own list of sweet things, so what are you waiting for? :-)

In Peace,

Debra

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The light has returned! I am writing in my journal outside for the first time in months!

I love it when we spring forward an hour and daylight savings returns. That means I can return to my favorite writing place in the world: my back patio garden! Perhaps the calendar is not saying this is the first day of Spring but it certainly feels that way to me.

Here is the view I have at this exact moment as I write this (and it’s almost 7:00 PM):

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It’s still a little cool, yes. My plants have not recovered from the few hard freezes we got this North Florida winter. Hmmm…..

but, you know what?

I am outside!!! I am writing outside. Do you ever take your writing practice outside? If not, I highly recommend it. There is something about being in the fresh air and connecting with the natural world that makes one’s spirit soar and creativity leap off the keyboard or flow from the pen…

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I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

In peace,

Debra

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran

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Eight things to keep track of in your sleep journal

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I have been writing about sleep for four years and I have been challenged with sleep and anxiety issues most of my life. One thing I find very helpful and healing is writing. There are many kinds of writing we can do to nourish ourselves. We can write a story, poetry, free- write… we can focus in a fun way and write down specific lists such as our top ten bucket list, etc.

This post I want to explore the idea of a more clinical way of writing and that is keeping a sleep journal.

What is a sleep journal? A sleep journal is a place to observe and gather data… data about your daily life that may or may not affect the quality of sleep. if done consistently and frequently enough, patterns will emerge and you will gain some insight as to what is causing your insomnia.

Dieters may keep a journal about their eating habits. Runners have their running logs. People who work out have their training journals. Wine enthusiasts have their wine tasting journals. Travelers have their special journals.

We sleep-challenged folks can have our own special journals!

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This is not a place to be creative or judgemental. This is a place to simply observe and record your findings.

You can use a plain notebook, journal for this purpose, or manage your sleep journal on your computer in a Word document or one of the many on-line diary programs or apps that are available.

Here are the things that I encourage you to monitor. You can edit or add any ideas of your own:

1. Record how much caffeine you consume throughout your day

2. Record what you have eaten during the day

3. Record alcohol consumption

4. Record medications taken

5. Record any exercise you have had and time of day

6. Interactions with other people that are notable (this could be at work, at home, or on the highway or supermarket).

7. Record the time you went to bed the night before and the time you wake up

8. Every morning, describe how well you perceived that you slept and how well rested (or not) you feel that you are.

This is a good start and I will stop here. Feel free to add any ideas you have. Commit to keeping this journal for at least 30 days.

In Peace,

Debra

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My Ten Wishes: this morning’s journal entry

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Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching? ~Dennis and Wendy Mannering

Good morning! Happy Friday. Today in our journals make a wish, ten times (remember our current theme of lists of ten).

Without over thinking it too much, write ten wishes you have right now. Ready, set, go!

My entry for this morning:

I wish

1. I wish for continued good health for myself and my family

2. A productive day today

3. Plenty of money for new living room furniture and going on adventures

4. A fun night with my husband tonight (it’s date night)

5. For everybody to feel safe and loved

6. For you all to know that I appreciate your being here and supporting The Warm Milk Journal

7. An easy commute to work this morning and back home later…

8. For the air fares to come down

9. that I could eat all the chocolate I want without gaining weight

10. to stay young, always

Your turn, friends. Have fun!

Debdress

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Ten all-time good smells

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Our sense of smell is very powerful. It can most certainly affect our well-being and whether we sleep well at night.

My top ten list tonight is simply:

Ten all-time good smells

1. Banana bread baking in the oven

2. Potpourri simmering on my stove top (I like to use: citrus and apple slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks).

3. Plumeria flowers

4. Gevalia’s finely ground coffee

5. Italian herb-baked chicken cooking in the oven

6. A lavender bubble bath

7. A really good glass of wine

Photo credit: vinepair.com

Photo credit: vinepair.com

8. Walking out on a crisp fall day and smelling neighbors’ chimneys

9. My sweet hubby

10. My cat

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Your turn. What is your list?

In Peace,

Debra

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My Top Ten list for when I need to breathe…(deeply)…

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Our top ten list series continues. Tonight I am going to share with you ten life experiences that require deep breathing to get me through them.

Perhaps a few of you out there can relate?

I really need to breathe when…

1. I am stuck in traffic.

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2. I am running late for an appointment.

3. When faced with too many choices

4. When we get an unexpected expense.

5. When I am in a crowd.

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6. When I have to socialize and “be on” and I don’t know anyone.

7. When I am in a loud environment (leaf blowers in my neighborhood, vehicles and motorcycles with no mufflers, screaming babies in restaurants…)

8. When I get my feelings hurt. I am sensitive and reasons vary.

9. When I am feeling impatient (doctor’s waiting room, line at grocery store when checker is chatty, Disney lines, waiting for waitress or waiter for service…)

10. In the middle of the night, when I just wake up with anxiety or a panic attack.

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Smile, breathe and go slowly. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Wishing you a peaceful and restful night,

Debra

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The top ten reasons to smile on a Monday Morning. Introducing a top ten list series…. (for our journal writing).

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What is it about lists?

I think for our purposes here at The Warm Milk Journal, when we write or think about “top ten” it focuses our brains in a positive way (usually).

For those of us who are prone to insomnia and anxiety at night it is usually because our minds are all over the place and we get stuck on worries, fear, etc.

When we think about a top ten list… whether it is our list of top ten movies, things that make us smile, places we wish to visit,etc… it puts our minds in a focused, kind of flow… I highly recommend this kind of journal writing anytime of day. It is great first thing in the morning and right at bed (so long at the list is positive).

If any of you have been here a while you know that this is a common theme that we do. For this last week of February, a somewhat dreary time for many, I thought it would be fun to do a series of top ten lists for the next few (or several posts).

As always, you are welcome to comment here or on Facebook or Twitter. Come up with your own top ten list if you like and perhaps you can be a guest blogger here…

Let’s see. Here we are. It is a Sunday night. I think the first list for this series ought to be…

My top ten reasons to face Monday morning with a smile…

Ready?

Let’s go!

1. It’s another day of life

2. I have projects at work I am excited about

3. If Monday didn’t happen we would never get to another weekend, now would we?

4. I love my office

5. I love my colleagues

6. Monday morning reminds me that I have a purpose, that I am needed somewhere!

7. Starting tomorrow morning with a smile will set the whole week off on a good note…

8. Having a good week could lead into having a good month…

9. Having a good month could lead into having an exceptional year…

10. String some exceptional years together and you will find yourself the recipient of an exceptional life!

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Your turn, friends. This kind of journal writing is so much fun and very uplifting. Let’s see where this series will take us, shall we?

Cheers!

Debra

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Where can I build bridges and take down masks? A journal writing entry

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So I will begin by thanking:

1. Old friends who have been here a while (and continue to come around). Thank you!

2. New friends who have discovered us and decided to look around. Thank you! We are glad you are here.

A couple of questions for our journal writing:

1. Where (or how) can I build bridges?

2. Where can I tear down walls or take down masks?

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Where (or how) can I build bridges?

1. By listening more than I talk

2. By not taking things personally

3. Focusing on empathy and the other person’s point of view

Where can I tear down walls or take down masks?

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1. Being myself without worrying about what others’ think

2. by not taking things personally (sound familiar)?

3. Looking for the “win” for all parties rather than being right

4. Knowing that all I have is this moment and it is no longer important to hold on to past hurts/resentments and future worries…

Your turn…

Good night!

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Mid-Week Blessings: May you have too many to count! (Our journal writing entry for tonight)

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We often celebrate Friday but here we are at hump day and the weekend (and Valentine’s day) are not quite here yet… why not focus on our blessings now? Why wait for the weekend or a particular holiday to celebrate our many blessings?

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.
~Irish Blessing

Tonight in our journals we are simply going to list all of the blessings that come to mind.

Remember, what we focus on grows. Let’s give some deserved attention to the good in our lives. Ready?

Let’s see… tonight, this Wednesday night, I am blessed because:

1. I have a job I love

2. I have a nice home to come home to at the end of the day

3. My husband loves me and shows me in many sweet ways such as pre-setting the coffee maker the night before (I wake up before he does).

4. The sweet unexpected hugs I get from my teenager

5. The incredible chocolate cake I had for dessert today at work…

6. All of the opportunities I have to help others, learn new things, and create.

7. My good health

8. My sweet cats who are always nearby keeping me company

9. The beautiful classical music I am enjoying on Pandora right now as I write this…

10. The fish that is baking in our oven that smells so good right now

11. All of you. I realize there is much vying for your attention out there in the media these days and I truly appreciate your taking a few minutes to be here at The Warm Milk Journal. Please know you are loved. I wish you a restful night tonight and a magnificent day tomorrow.

In Peace, (It is now your turn to write your blessings…)

Debra

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