Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: 2013- My Year

I am a big believer in setting goals. I have always done New Year's Resolutions because even if I don't accomplish them all, I feel it helps me stay focused throughout the year on whats important. The last few of my goals this year deal with my anxiety. I made this scrapbook page and printed it out so I can hang it up in my office and I also made it my computer desktop wallpaper so I will see it everyday as a reminder of what I should be doing and focusing my time on.

#7. Baby #3?!?- Although I am much better anxiety wise while I am pregnant and nursing, both times I have had to deliver a baby my experience has been pretty traumatic for me. I want to have one more child for our family to be complete but I am terrified of going through that again. I don't want the age gap to be too big so if I am going to have another baby, this it the year to do it. This terrifies me. I'm excited for my mental state being better, but not wanting to be pregnant again or dealing with a newborn.

#8. Discipline Yourself to Add More BALANCE to your Daily Routine- I tend to be an all or nothing kinda gal. If I get immersed in a project, I can spend hours on it and neglect other more important tasks. I want to be better disciplined about my time. Allow certain times for projects and fun stuff, and make myself stop to do other non fun but important tasks such as cleaning, oh yeah, getting dressed, and exercise.

#9. Make Health an Important Priority- There are so many things I could do to improve my mental health but I am just too lazy. I need to make it a priority and take my multivitamins, drink my water, do my yoga, adjust my diet. These are no brainers but for some reason I never do it. Again, I need to not be so lazy!!!

#10. Travel Abroad- We have been planning to celebrate our 10 year anniversary as well as my 30th birthday by cashing in some sky miles and taking a trip far away. Like Thailand far away. This is exciting but also very scary for me. I have a lot of anxiety about traveling and have spent many a vacation sick the whole time throwing up on the side of the road. I know its important to face these fears and so even though its scary I plan to follow through and go. 

What are some of your New Year's Resolutions for your anxiety?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Stress Affects the Body

Today has most literally been an uphill battle with my anxiety. I started my day at 6:30 am and attempted to hike The Timpanogas Caves with some extended family. Pretty much any early morning activity is going to cause me to have anxiety, but include a lot of family which is a trigger for me anyway and its a disaster waiting to happen. I was so anxious I couldn't eat anything. I threw up in the parking lot of the trail. I was very jittery but I wanted so badly to make the hike up to the caves. My husband's ancestor discovered the "Middle Cave" section of it so it was a really cool idea for all of us to go check it out together. 

The hike was hard but at first it was fun. It was pretty steep right at the beginning but I was a trooper up until the 1/2 way point. Then I started to have a hard time breathing. It may have just been the altitude but I already have issues with my heart rate spiking while exercising so all the additional factors weren't helping either. As we continued up I was at the end of the line of our group and the space between us were widening. I had to stop frequently to try to catch my breath. I tried to channel my inner "Biggest Loser" and kept telling myself, "pain is temporary, glory is forever!" But I could tell I was getting dizzy. Suddenly everything started spinning and I couldn't stand up or I would fall over. It was frustrating to me to see old men and women or little kids passing me on this trail. I didn't want to be the weak straggler. But when my vision went black for a minute and I was all tingly I knew my body was not okay.

I was determined to not give up. However all the water and Gatorade I drank I kept throwing up. A firefighter was there by chance and he checked my pulse and told me I needed to find a way to calm my heart rate down. I said, "I am going to get there." Even though I was tingling and dizzy from head to toe I really wanted to go through the caves. However looking at our watches we knew there was no way I could make it by the time the tour would start. I was soooo close, but yet so far. I was at the homestretch but it didn't matter. I disappointedly turned around and went back down the mountain and went home. I was so sad that I was so sick and I felt like I let my family down as well as myself. Could there have been a different outcome? I don't know. Mentally I was there but my body just shut down on me. Had I not had anxiety I know I would have been able to make that hike with everyone else. It's hard to accept that my anxiety really is debilitating at times. And its amazing the effects it can have on our bodies.  

Here is an interesting chart that explains How Stress Affects the Body.

My only concern now is that we are leaving in the morning with the family to go to Bear Lake, Idaho and I am worried I will be sick on this trip now that I am all sensitive. Ugh so frustrating. I plan to prepare as best as I can and I am telling myself that this trip is for me to have fun so whatever I want to do to be happy is what I am going to do regardless of what everyone else has planned. 

One more thing. For those of you who don't know it yet, we have an AWESOME group on facebook where approximately 130 people are members and browse and talk and help each other out everyday. Its a closed group so no one in your newsfeed can see what you post, so this means you have to ask to be invited. Its really simple. Just click here to go to the page. I have made some real online friends from this group and I wish we lived closer. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Positive Affirmation Flip Book

I am a big believer in using positive affirmations to reprogram your negative thoughts. 
As I have learned from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, here are a few pointers from the book to quickly explain what Negative Self-Talk is and how it works:
  • It is so automatic and subtle you don't notice it or the effect it has on your moods and feelings.
  • It appears in telegraphic form- one short word or image ("Oh no!) contains a whole series of thoughts, memories, or associations.
  • Anxious self-talk is typically irrational but almost always sounds like the truth.
  • Negative self-talk perpetuates avoidance.
  • Self-talk can initiate or aggravate a panic attack.
  • Negative self-talk is a series of negative bad habits. (You have to reprogram your brain to say helpful uplifting confident talk to remove the negative thoughts)
There are different kinds of negative self-talk. The Worrier often promotes "what if..." thoughts and promotes anxiety. My biggest what if thought is always, "What if I get sick and throw up?" The other kinds of sub personalities are the Perfectionist ("I should, or I have to" thoughts) which promotes chronic stress and burnout, the victim ("I can't. I'll never be able to) promotes depression, and the Critic ("Can't you ever get it right?") which promotes low self esteem.

The important thing to do is be able to recognize when you are promoting this behavior and what you are telling yourself. Then you counter your negative self-talk with positive counterstatements that you believe in or want to try to believe in. The book goes into more detail about questioning your thoughts and working through them rationally to prove they aren't true. It also helps you to create the positive counterstatements so that when you are in a situation where you are anxious and start to worry and promote the negative thoughts you can replace them and prevent your anxiety from going out of control, and giving yourself the confidence and respect you deserve.

When things get rough for me I tend to put positive affirmations or counterstatements up all over my house to remind me to hang in there and to reprogram my negative thoughts with positive ones. However, when things get better I throw them all away. The next time I need them, I find myself having to look them all up again online. This got me thinking of a more permanent solution so that I could have all of my favorite quotes and affirmations where I see them often and easily accessible.

I came up with the idea of making a flip book. This now sits on my nightstand where its the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. The cover title is, "I Choose Peace"

I chose that because it helps to remind me of the following excerpt from the book "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook Fourth Edition":
"Focusing on a fear always makes it worse. I can change my focus to loving, supportive constructive ideas. I can't make fearful thoughts go away. Struggling with them only makes them loom larger. Instead I can redirect my mind to more peaceful calming thoughts and circumstances. Every time I do this I am choosing Peace instead of Fear.The more I choose peace, the more it becomes a part of my life.With practice I get better at redirecting my mind. I learn how to spend less time focusing on fear. I grow stronger in my ability to choose wholesome, helpful thoughts over fearful ones. I make time to relax- to reconnect with that place deep within myself that is always at peace. When I make time to do this, I can choose to move away from fearful thoughts. I can allow my mind to expand into a wider place that is much larger than my fearful thoughts. When I relax or meditate my mind becomes deep enough to transcend fear.
I'm learning to see that my fearful thought grossly overestimate risk or threat. The true risk I face in most situations is actually very small.
I'm learning to recognize my tendency to exaggerate risk, to blow them out of proportion. Every fear involves both overestimating the threat of danger and underestimating my ability to cope.
The important thing is not to feed fear. Not to dwell on it or give it energy..."
Here is an example of one of my favorite positive affirmations.

A lot of my anxiety stems from me worrying about worrying and how that will effect what others think of me. I have to remind myself that it doesn't matter if people think I am weird because I get panic attacks. It only matters what I think of me and I have to remind myself that I love and respect myself the way I am even with my anxiety no matter what anyone else thinks.

This particular page has a little bit of symbolism on it. The handwriting and the crackled paper are to remind me that I don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. The number one in the corner is to remind me to put myself and my happiness first.

My overall plan is to have 4-5 sections in it, one for each negative self talk personality- (The Worrier, The Critic, The Perfectionist, and The Victim) and maybe one for general quotes. Then I will list the positive affirmations in each area that help address those types of negative self talk. Then when I am getting anxious I can flip right to the section I need and see all the warm fuzzy thoughts to help me feel better.

I made it a point to hand write (Ok trace) the words myself because it allows the affirmation to really sink in and it means more to me that I did it all instead of just printing it out from the computer.


This was REALLY easy to make for anyone interested in doing their own. If you are not a scrapbooker but like the concept you could buy a rolodex from Office Depot and fill in the notecards with your affirmations.

My supplies all came from my local Hobby Lobby or home and were:

2, 8X8 pieces of thick cardboard from the back of a sketchbook
1, 12X12 and 1, 8.5 X 11 piece of cream cardstock paper
1 8X8 piece of patterned scrapbook paper
Tim Holtz grungeboard book (This will be for the different sections) I will use a thinner grungeboard paper for the individual affirmations so the book isn't so thick.
Photo splitz and a gluestick

I used the tutorial found here to make my blank flip book. It took me maybe an hour.

The stand looks like this from the side:

I'm really excited about this because I really need the access to these positive thoughts more than I am looking them up. As I make more pages I will share my positive affirmations with you so you can hopefully learn new ones and use them in your life to be the best you.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Scripture Journal Tutorial

There is a quote by Susan W. Tanner, “When I know who I am, I can do anything He asks me to do.” I have been working really hard this year on learning more about who I am, where I came from, where I am going. This brings me peace. I used to not even be able to talk about death because it made me really uneasy. Knowing who I am is helping me to value myself more. I am feeling more at peace with my trials in this life, why I have them, and that I won't always have to go through them.

This is a post that I am sooo excited to share with you. I feel very passionate about it because it has CHANGED MY LIFE. I recently came across the idea of making scripture journals from Shannon at The Red Headed Hostess blog and I have spent the last few months creating my own through trial and error. I want to share with you what I've done in hopes of helping you feel enthusiastic and excited about studying scriptures. It's no longer a chore for me. It's my favorite part of my day and I want it to be yours too.
It doesn't matter what religion you are. If you study the Bible, Book of Mormon, or any scripture you can apply this idea to your studying. 

If you are not religious you can apply this same concept for anxiety related quotes, uplifting thoughts, positive affirmations, etc.

The best part about this is that you can be as simple, straightforward, and logical as you want, or you can get as artsy and creative as you want. Wherever you are in the crafty spectrum and have time and patience for YOU CAN DO THIS. The important thing to remember is to make this yours. Do what works for you.

Why keep a scripture journal? 
Here are a few reasons:
"We often leave the most precious personal direction of the spirit unheard because we do not record and respond to the first promptings that come to us when the Lord chooses to direct us." -Elder Richard G. Scott
"I've found, as I'm sure you have, that when you are trying to learn from the spirit, it's important to make a note so it will not be forgotten. The more you not only hear but abide by what you've been told, the more the Lord will give to you. It will come more and more rapidly and you will begin to hear and feel those impressions of the Spirit more quickly than you have previously done." -Elder Gene R. Cook
"The prompting that goes unresponded to may not be repeated. Writing down what we have been prompted with is vital. A special thought can lost later in the day through the rough and tumble of life. God should not, and may not, choose to repeat the prompting if we assign what is given such a low priority as to put it aside." -Elder Neal A. Maxwell
In the few short months that I have started my scripture journals, the knowledge that I have learned and retained is more than I have learned about in years of just reading a chapter a day (which is how I used to "study").

My main reason for doing scripture journals is to give them to my children as a family heirloom after I am gone or when they are old enough to appreciate them. As Shannon said (I'm paraphrasing)- it's a way to keep teaching my children after I am gone. 

I give full credit to Shannon at her blog for this idea and I thank her for all the work she put into sharing her journals. I want to help spread the word to more readers because its worth sharing if it helps people grow spiritually.

Materials Needed:

  1. First you have to pick some journals. This is important. You want to find some that is the right size, enough to hold lots of information, will function the way you want it to, and look the way you want it to. If you plan to keep it simple, pick a lined journal that you can do lots of writing in that has thick pages so your ink won't bleed through. I planned to be more artsy and wanted to decorate my covers using scrapbooking supplies so I bought a coptic journal kit from Etsy. When it is all done I will bind it so that it will open and lay flat.This may be a little more extreme but for me this is my creative outlet so I needed a blank canvas. Any journal will work. The way I have mine set up is I have TWO journals. One that is for chapter by chapter study and another is for Topic based study. They can be referenced to each other.
  2. Also get a good ballpoint pen that won't bleed through pages, or leave puddles of ink that will smudge and make a mess.
  3. OPTIONAL: Colored pencils, glue stick, scissors, scrapbooking supplies (paper, stickers) art supplies

What do you put inside?

This depends on you and your style. This is not a daily record of your personal thoughts like a diary. This is a record of what you have been learning during your scripture study. This means a record of quotes you want to remember, promptings, stories, talks, word definitions, scriptures you looked up, etc. 

Some of my pages are purely artistic in nature. Others hold pictures that I love. Others are journal entries with my personal insights from a story, others are character analysis on the people I have been reading about.

I created a template in photoshop that I print out and glue in and write on. 

But getting it all organized is the tough part. Here is a post from Shannon that talks about how to set one up. 

I Have Been Born of Goodly Parents
If this is something you are interested in trying I highly recommend checking out the following sites for additional inspiration and tutorials:

UPDATE: I am now selling downloadable journal templates in the store at my other blog here if interested.
  • Here are more of my journal pages and tutorials on the techniques I use.
  • Here is my pinboard that I keep for my scripture journals if you want to follow that. It lists sites, talks, quotes, etc. that I plan to put in my journal somehow or art supplies I plan to use.
  • The Red Headed Hostess- she even has some journals you can purchase that are already set up and ready to go (I bought a set and they are really great for outlining how to study). She is the main source for all my inspiration so you should really check her site out. I want to be her when I grow up.
  • Here is a sheet you can download with some ideas from Dana Cockrum that was also taken from The Red Headed Hostess. 

I hope you find this as fun and uplifting as I do. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 31st- Support Group Call! Be there!!

I know I know, could it be any shorter notice? I have had a whirlwind month but I still want to get a call in if you are up for it. The date and time is January 31st at 6:30 p.m. MST. I've now made signing up even easier. Here's the scoop:

A Returning Member:

  • If you have already signed up for a previous call and sent me your username for Skype, all you have to do is pay the $2.00 fee. To pay simply click on the paypal button on the right sidebar.
A New Member:
  • Please download the instructions here that will explain more about the call (system requirements, how to sign up, what to expect, etc.) (Please note that the time is actually 6:30, not 7:00).
  • Pay the $2.00 fee by clicking the "Pay Now" button on the sidebar to reserve your spot.
  • Sign up for Skype (its free) and email me your username and I will add you to the group list.
The $2.00 fee is simply to pay for the premium membership at Skype to facilitate the calls. I have to make sure that if only 5 people show up for the call, costs will still be covered. Sign up for the October call is officially OPEN! Only 14 people can be on each call and it is first come first serve so sign up today :)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guatemala Trip Update

First, let me say thank you to everyone that sent me well wishes and good vibes for my trip to Guatemala. Overall I am really glad that I went. It was truly a trip of a lifetime that helped strengthen my marriage and my relationship with my kids.

The first three days were unbelievably PERFECT. I had no anxiety whatsoever. I enjoyed everything.
The land there is absolutely gorgeous

and the people are so humble, kind, and hard working.

The food was delicious and I was eating soooo much! I kept marveling at how well everything was going. It was too good to be true. It was awesome! I was actually starting to think I may gain weight on the trip.

We had to do a lot of driving and by a lot I mean aLOT! And the roads are constantly twisting and  turning around the mountainside and I am prone to getting carsick. Everywhere we were going was at least an hour and a half away from our hotel. So by day three I was so grateful that I was feeling so well and happy.

Then came day 4. I don't know if I talked myself into it because of how happy I was, but I woke up with anxiety. I was able to shake it off and still enjoy my day. But everyday after that I woke up with anxiety until I got back home. Also, by day 5 I started getting car sick (which for me is a headache right behind the eyes and feeling nauseous). So out the window went my appetite.

But I decided instead of letting it get the best of me I would just accept that this is my body doing its thing and I would just have to tough it out for a few days. Which I did.

I am glad the first few days were so amazing because I was able to experience what a vacation should be. And looking at the silver lining for the rest of the time- it's good to be reminded that I can do hard things. And that I can still enjoy life WITH anxiety.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Look What I Got for Christmas!

I sent Santa Clause my wishlist in December and I must have been a good girl. In my stocking I found this:


Can you believe how expensive this is for one DVD? I couldn't justify buying it so that's why I asked Santa for it. I was tired of the same 4 episodes on my DVR and it wasn't playing any new ones. I also got this to help me drink more water and use it at the gym:

I recently hurt my tailbone by being my usual clumsy self, so I have been hesitant to try the yoga out. But my body stress levels have been getting higher and I knew I needed to do something to decompress. So today I braved through and just had to take it easier on some poses. So refreshing. I love it.

Did Santa bring you anything for Christmas to help you out with your anxiety related goals? Did you make any New Year's resolutions to better your current mental or physical health?

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