Tuesday, June 30

Six Steps to Emotional Resiliency ............. 6/30/15, 1,100th Post

    Thriving during difficult times.

     Emotional resili-ency. The stuff that allows us to not cow-er to abusers.  It is inner strength that prevents us from surrendering when the feet of our character are put to the hot coals of stress.  Resiliency is  relating with difficult people. While  maintaining our confidence.

     Our happiness is not robbed.

     Hara Estroff Marano, Editor-at-large for Psychology Today, wrote in "The Art of Resilience" 
Resilient people do not let adversity define them.  They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.  It's possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent.  It's possible to fortify your psyche.  It's possible to develop a sense of mastery.
    Yes, there is hope.  The following are strategies for over-coming stress. Do you want to know how to overcome unpleas-antness?  Interested in thriving when circumstances have their hands around the throat of your joy?  Would you like to maintain your dignity and freedom while under pres-sure?  Read on.

    Resilient people know the value of:

1. Boundaries.  Resilient people do not let others or circumstances dictate their moods. They clearly know who they are.  Stress plays a part in their story.  But it does not overtake their identity.

     We are not what happens to us.  Let me say that again.  We are not what happens to us. Resilient people weather rough times well. They use boundaries.

     Resilient people have a firm understanding of what they will accept. They also know what they will not tolerate.  This understanding is their shield.  It protects them against the dragons of manipulators and vulnerability.  Standing true to their values protects them from emotional predators. Boundaries shield emotionally hardy people from emotional wilting when stressed.

     They don't know this information mentally.  They act out their principles, applying boundaries. They are fearless.  They do not get their worth by how others react.
2.  Seeing the Big Picture: present persistent pressures do not narrow the vision of the emo-tionally strong, those with strong character. They eye steps that remedy their dire circumstances. They stay in the solution.  Resilient people do not use inadequate coping measures.  Strategies used as children are abandoned. They are seen for the inadequate ways of handling stress that they are.

      Passivity is dismissed.  Seeing life from their Victim Story is re-placed.  They view life from the strength, hope and love that is within their lives now.  The resilient take responsibility for their lives.  Making excuses or not standing up to difficult times are not measures they take.

      They have the psychological and emotional wherewithal to handle pressures. No longer do they respond like children.  Past coping patterns that had them stuck emotionally and mentally when faced in dire times are tossed away.  Staying present allows them to operate from their present strength and power.

3. Emotionally stable people---those who face the storms of life with equanimity---are clear about their identity. They realize they are not what happens to them.  Calmness during trying times comes from perspective.  Circumstances fluctuate.  Resilient people don't. They surf---not fight---the waves tossed their way.

4.  Those resilient keep good company.  They surround themselves with emotionally mature others.  Balcony People give them space to grieve. They help resilient people work through what troubles them. They don't chide nor give advice.

     With this supportive network, transparency is possible.  A safe environment is possible. Authenticity and vulnerability is expressed. What ails the resilient is voiced.

   The good news about having such a network is that, with practice, we develop our ability to express our needs.  This caring community plants seeds. We learn how to commun-icate.  An environment is created, allowing us to declare our wants. With practice, we take this skill out into the scarey world.

     With the practice in expressing ourselves within our supportive community, we move beyond its safety.  We develop emotional strength and verbal skills that enables us to confront tormentors, manipulators.

     A good support network involves braided relationships. These are relationships that go beyond superficiality.  We can be real with these people, unveiling our vulnerabilities without being judged or shamed.  These relationships undergird us during times of trouble.

      While a chain is as strong as its weakest link, a rope is as strong as its strongest strand.  When we emotionally or situationally fall apart, the strands of good company bind us together.  All of us were meant for this kind of bonding.

5.  Emotionally resilient people know what they need to do more of, less of, what to stop doing and what to continue doing. This requires making time to do an inventory, usually the last thing on our mind when in crisis.

6.   Key is knowing our vulnerabilities. And admission of our weak-nesses is a sign of strength, rather weakness. "Pride goes before the fall," the saying goes. Same is true when we operate as a Lone Ranger, in our strength, using our mind alone, not from the strength gotten by living within a community of Balcony People.

How About You?
Do you have braided relationships that hold you together when you are afraid and the rope of  your life is "a-frayed"?

      I look forward to your visits. I'll see you later today.  May you have a great and grateful day!

Saturday, June 27

One Way of Slowing Down Our Hectic Life (An Example Inside.).... 6/27/15

     I am squeezing this in, before the day changes it's name, before the new week starts in a few minutes, before I fall asleep from exhaustion, a good tiredness.

     Busy working, I am.  But it is stuff I

Thursday, June 25

Three Tips Towards Having Peace of Mind................. 6/25/15

     Not long ago, someone screeched at me through a letter.

      Threatening all kinds of evil.  Yes, at me, the Attitude of Gratitude guy.  She was my dragon lady.  Writing the word "was," in the previous sentence was a comfort.  It relaxes my heart, not seeing her.

       What did I do, when reading a letter of hers, dripping with venom?  I

Tuesday, June 23

Four Steps to Freedom From Fear................. 06/23/15

Image: "Woodland: The Edge of the Forest" by Tim Blessed
Copyrighted photo used by permission. 
        I'm thankful God controls my life.  I can't.

        Days fraught with tension or fear, are not taken one day at a time, as recovery suggests.  Instead, the following help:

1.  Staying present, going through rough days

Sunday, June 21

Celebrating Life, Faith and This Special Day ...... 6/21/15

        Loved the day.
        I was loved in the process.  Still amazed, the oppor-tunities for personal growth that continue every day.  Church was fabulous.  Deep-ly encouraged by what I heard about

Thursday, June 18

Freedom From Unhealthy Relationships ..... 6/18/15

He's in a bog. Care needed when enmeshed in a bog of 
circumstances that don't serve us.This fellow is a co-
dependent. That's why he'shappy. He's accustomed to
 being stuck in a mess.  Life offers more: peace of mind. 
Innkeeper's Note:  You may not have read this, written more than three years ago. I am sub-mitting it again. The update is this woman remains with this person because she loves misery.  And he is still in jail, manipulating her.
      Below, is a letter I wrote to someone enmeshed in an des-tructive, emotionally abusive, addictive relationship. He is in prison.   Depression and oppression are her normalcy, her companions.  It is what she

Tuesday, June 16

Never My Responsibility, Revisited............ 6/16/15

"Amidst the constant turmoil and drama that surrounds us, as we live life, many stop noticing 
what is going on with themselves. Something more important and life threatening always
 seems to intervene. When we  acknowledge a situation as it is, we want look at our options
 instead of looking at the options available to other people."  Courage to Change, p.359

        Fortunately, I've matured. 

        What follows reflects personal growth I have gained over the past eleven years. The result of hard work done on my personal

Thursday, June 11

Key to Celebrating Life, Knowing Priorities............... 6/11/15

     Tonight I made the better choice.

      I am following the local Warriors basketball team play in the finals for the NBA (National Bas-ketball Association) Championship.  This week, in the eve-nings, I've camped at the

Monday, June 8

Gratitudes....... 6/8/15

        Much going on.  Only so much I can handle.  Boundaries help.  I am not interested, busying myself with activities not consistent with my vision for the

Sunday, June 7

Two Antidotes for Ruminating, A Defeating Addictive Mental Habit........ 6/7/15

       Ruminating and depression.

        A big problem for many.  Key is connecting at the heart level with emotionally ma-ture friends.  This action can break us free from self-sabotage.  It liberates us from limiting beliefs.

       Overthinking is easy.  It's like a rocking chair.  It gives us something to do, but it gets us nowhere.  The problem, fretting often leads to depression.

     “Your mind goes round and round over negative events in the past. We focus on prob-lems in the present.  Or we place attention on bad things you’re worried will happen in the future,” says Nolen-Hoeksema, who pioneered the study of wo-men’s rumination and depres-sion and is considered the go-to expert in the field.
         This inability to release bad thoughts and memories gets us down.

        “You rehash events. You analyze them.  But you don’t do anything to 
solve the problems.  No steps are taken to feel more in control of your situation,” Nolen-Hoeksema says.  We will discuss two antidotes for this tendency. 

         Women are twice as likely as men to become de-pressed.   They’re also more prone to rumination.   No coin-cidence, states Nolen-Hoeksema.

How Does Ruminating Lead to Depression? 

       Negative thoughts breed hope-lessness.  It produces despair.  Along with causing low motivation and self-esteem. When rehearsing negative thoughts, they can grow more powerful, disturbing. 
As a person thinks in his or her heart, so is he or she.   Proverbs 23:7
        Stresses seem bigger.   We’re likely to react in an intense, lasting way.  If vulnerable to depression, we can end up seriously upset.  Where is the growth in that?   Yet, for many, this is our default mode.  

        As an alcoholic binges on drinking, the depressed person binges on depressed feelings.  

       They are his or her normalcy.  The downcast individual clings to self-sabotage.  He also lives using  limiting beliefs.   Usually, these negative thoughts have been his constant companions since childhood.  

       Unfortunately, such mental strategizing effectively distracts the person from experiencing what is.  Our mind is full of all sorts of ideas about how people are.   It debates how circumstances should be.   It ruminates how things work or how they should. 

       Our mind is so full of mental noise that there's little space for noticing what is.
Automatically responding to your worst internal fear is a common control pattern. Your buttons are pushed, and you react.  This pattern keeps you in familiar emotional territory, where you don't have to risk learning anything about yourself.  You don't have to change.  Susan Campbell, Getting Real,  23
       Wow.  All we can deal with is what is, not our limiting beliefs and fears.  

        It's key, directly experiencing the present moment.  Many of us have a mind that won't stop telling us what to watch out for.  Often, rumination is focused on the past.  We recall bad things that occurred.  

        Or we imagine situations we wish had gone differently.   Then we start thinking nothing is going right at work.  Or  co-workers don’t like us and our marriage is falling apart.

        The emotional downward spiral begins.

How Can You Tell If You’ve Crossed From Brooding to Depression?

     When a person suffers from major depression, they are down most of the time.  

      They lose interest in almost every-thing.  There are other symptoms.  Changes in sleep is one.  Eating habits are affected.  There is residual tiredness.  

      Or there may be trouble concentrating.  Topping it off are feelings of worthlessness.  The symptoms are bad enough to interfere with the ability to handle daily life.

        Ruminating makes these symptoms worse.  If we are only a little down, this mental self-torture can tip us over to severe depression. Problem-solving becomes harder.  Increased depression saps motiva-tion to try any solution.

Do Women Suffer More From Depression?

         A long list of biological, social and psychological factors increase women’s chances of becoming depressed.  But they may also be gene-tically disposed.  And dramatic hormonal changes can trigger it. 

Is The Cause Mostly Physiological?

      Social factors contribute also.  Women often have more traumas.  That can lead to a higher depression rate.  They also may live with chronically stressful situations such as job, sex discrimination or living with an abuser.   Psychologically, women can get wrapped up---due to codependency and passivity---in relationships.  

      They can become unable to pull out of unhealthy ones.  This is usually a result of not having boundaries or discernment.   Conflict with others is a common trigger.

Why Don’t Men Ruminate?

      Men are generally less prone to rumination.  Men typically spend less time thinking about relationship problems.  When they do, they're less likely to brood over conflicts with others, how they feel about things.   Instead, they take constructive steps to solve the problem or destructive steps to avoid it.

Should Women Try to “Man Up”? 

       We want to cultivate our strengths.   Women usually are good at understanding feelings.  When a person is not mired in rumination, it allows that individual to cope with distressing situations.   Women more often anticipate the emotional consequences of life choices.  

      This helps in making well-informed decisions.   Sometimes antici-pation of all possibilities related to a problem stymies us, paralyzing us.  The 3 P's come into play---which is actually a regression---perfec-tionism, procrastination, paralysis. 

One Antidote

       With problem-solving, women can be mentally flexible, focusing on getting things done, not just getting their way.   With clients, most ses-sions end with creating action steps.  We look at healthy alternatives to the problems they face. When we do this, we are creating a better today.

       This is "staying in the solution."  It involves not giving up our power.  We may not be able to control our circumstances but we can con-trol how we respond to them. 

Second Antidote     

       Asking for help is a good idea, too.   This permits us to use the combined strengths of those around us, instead of doing everything ourselves.

       All in all, thinking can be helpful.  The trick is not to get mired in overthinking that leads nowhere but down the road where the cross streets are Depression and Despair.

How About You? 
What do you do, to slow down your mind, when it is in overdrive? 

Tuesday, June 2

Experiencing "What Is" Helps Us Feel Safe (One of my all-time favorite posts) 6/2/15

    What a ride down a waterfall it has been, the past few weeks.

     I love that I hold every-thing with an open hand.  It's exciting, resting in God's will, not mine.  It is wonderful knowing a strength and peace that transcends my circum-stances.

     There's so much I still need to learn. Interpreta-tion isn't reality.  I know that.

       Most those I relate with don't.  I suffer as a result.  Interpreting is a result of our mind, not necessarily the facts. When we judge---based upon our imaginings---we are being

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.