Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Display your Affirmations on Washer Necklaces!

I have had an epiphany. I am so excited to share it with you, I can't stand it. I just hope you like the idea as much as I do.

I used to work in an office 40 hours a week and would struggle with my anxiety every day in my cubicle. I didn't want everyone in the office to know about my personal health so I would post pictures of random things that no one else would know the meaning of but me. For example, I used to have a picture of a footprint in the sand. This was to remind me whenever I saw it of the affirmation "I can take as small a step forward as I choose. There is no need to push myself." Everytime I glanced at the picture I would think of that. I had a sticker of an upper case "R" on my computer monitor. This was to remind me of the positive affirmation "I respect and believe in myself more than other people's opinions."

This worked great while I worked in the office. Then as a work at home mom, I would post the affirmations around my bedroom and bathroom. However I found it embarrasing if any guests came over if they saw it.

So this idea is a way to carry those thoughts with you all the time- at home, at work, and on the go. Simply wear them as a necklace!

I have created these really cool hand stamped customized washer necklaces that are really popular in the crafting community. It started out as putting my child's name on one and making some as Christmas gifts with family names and birthdates. Then I started to think about other things I could stamp into them and I thought of phrases that could help with anxiety such as:


just to name a few. But really, ANYTHING can be stamped into these necklaces. Initials, numbers, phrases.  These can be worn underneath clothing for privacy, or they can be as stand-outish  as you want with additional charms and beads. I only have one picture on here to give you an idea of what I am talking about, but there are so many other styles that I can do as well.

So here's the thing. I decided I would share these with anyone that is interested. I have set up an etsy shop 

and will be posting these necklaces for sale in the very, very, very near future. I will probably only post a few to see what kind of interest there is. So if there is something you hold dear to you that helps you find hope, encouragement, or valuable affirmations, let me know and I can make it for you. All the details will be in the shop but I wanted to let you know it was coming so you could swirl the idea around in your head. 

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year! Are you thinking of resolutions that you want to do for 2010? I know I have. I am a believer in them. Do they work for you or stress you out?


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Grinching Christmas

I don't know why I am suprised, but the last few days for me have been filled with anxiety. I never even thought seriously about preparing for the family get togethers. So wouldn't you know it Christmas Eve morning when I am supposed to go to a family Who-ville Christmas Breakfast, I am in pure panic mode in my closet. "What if I am sick and can't eat anything and I ruin the breakfast? I know its so important to my sister and I didn't want to be a downer..." and on my thoughts raced.

I tried to login to the website but my computer's battery was dead. So I decided to nip it in the bud instead of letting it draw out all day long. I simply called my sister up and told her that I was having a lot of anxiety and we would still come, but I may not be able to eat much since I wasn't feeling good. Worst case scenario, I could put it all in a doggy bag and eat it later.

There- it was out in the open, she knew, and I didn't have to try to be perfect anymore. And then the wave of anxiety quieted. That was the worst of it. I still had more ripples here and there, but no more panic attacks. Christmas morning and this morning I found myself uneasy, but nothing overly serious.

I am always a mess during the holidays. I get so wrapped up in how they need to be perfectly memorialized events that the thought of me ruining them with my anxiety always creeps in. I am my own Christmas Grinch. For some reason I feel that if I am sick, it will ruin it for everybody. When in reality, if I was really sick, it would really ruin the holidays for me, and most likely just me.

So I will say it again, being open and honest about your panic and anxiety with those around you always seems to be better for me than trying to hide it and pretending like everything is just fine.

How was the Christmas holiday for everyone else?


Monday, December 21, 2009

Featured in SELF Magazine January 2010 edition

Browsing through Costco today for some last minute Christmas gifts I saw the new SELF magazine edition for January and hurried to flip through the pages to see if my article was there. Sure enough, on page 120 a little paragraph about anxiety and my experience with sleeping. I was so stoked!

Don't want to buy the magazine but want to check it out? Click here to see it online. They took a lot of information that I gave them and tried to summarize it all up in a few sentences so I feel as though its like seeing a movie without reading the book first. You get an idea of the plot but there are so many details missing. But its still pretty cool!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keeping the Focus on Others

I have been trying to write out a long post about my service efforts for this month, but I can't help but not like the way it comes out. It's like the scripture in the Bible about saying your prayers in your closet, as opposed to the street corner where everyone can see you. If you say them in private you do it because its between you and Heavenly Father. If you brag about it, saying them loudly where everyone can hear how righteous you are, than you are doing it for everyone else's approval and that is your reward.
Matthew 6: 5-6
 5 ¶ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the ahypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
  6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy acloset, and when thou hast bshut thy door, cpray to thy Father which is in dsecret; and thy Father which eseeth in secret shall freward thee openly.
The idea of doing service this month is to take the focus off of yourself and think about others. Therefore, I don't want to sit and list the things I have been doing to get kudos or nice comments, because then it all goes back on me and my focus is lost.

So I will just say this. I am holding my end up on the monthly challenge by being more thoughtful for those around me and by helping a friend in need. Its been harder than I thought it would be, but I guess that's how all good behaviors are.

I hope you are finding the joy that comes with serving others. If you would like to share whether you participated in this month's challenge I would love to know, even if its just to say you did it.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Holidays From Our Family to Yours!

I knew this month would be super busy with getting everything ready for Christmas, and I am so not even close to being done! However, I just finished this baby yesterday so I can get them out in the mail, and wanted to share it with you.

I hope you all have a great holiday season filled with the peace that we all strive so hard to obtain.

I still haven't figured out what service idea I am going to do this month. Anyone else done theirs? By the way in case anyone looked, I am not featured in the December issue of SELF, so I am almost positive it will be in the January issue.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monthly Challenge: December 2009- The Helper's High

For the month of December I tried to come up with a reasonable challenge that wouldn't be too overwhelming with all of the holiday get togethers and celebrations taking up so much of our time. So I came up with the idea of having this month's challenge revolve around service. When you are feeling down, sad, or lonely, having a pity party for yourself, the BEST thing you can do is to forget about yourself, and focus on others. So much of our time is focused on analyzing ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, our minds and bodies, that its a good exercise to turn our attention purposely elsewhere. This article entitled How Volunteerism Can Make You Healthier and Happier by R. Murali Krishna, M.D. really says it so much better than I can:

I recently received a letter from a man who told me of the impact I'd had on him when he attended one of the many seminars I offer throughout the country on the mind-body-spirit connection.
This man is now approaching mid-life, but when he was younger his mother suffered from manic depression. His mother's illness was so severe it eventually drove her to shoot and kill his father. This man who wrote me spent many years grappling with this family tragedy.
It haunts him still.
Eventually, however, he decided to cope with his own pain by serving others. After attending one of my seminars, he volunteered his services to a local hospice organization, a place where the terminally ill can die with dignity and peace.
Most of us are fortunate enough to avoid terrible tragedies. But each of us experiences pain, sadness and loneliness. One of the best ways to overcome these feelings is to connect with others through service.
It's one of the fundamental ways I suggest people can achieve balanced lives, whether through volunteering in the community or through finding a quieter connection with someone.
We must serve others to feel like human beings. Serving others provides a spiritual connection. Mother Theresa told us that God comes to us through suffering human beings. We can't all be Mother Theresa's. But we each possess inner strengths and talents given to us so we can share them to others.
A wave of volunteerism has swept America in recent years, with calls from prominent names like Colin Powell and Jimmy Carter. George Bush exhorted us to become one of the "thousand points of light" delivering comfort to those in need.
Such service certainly has altruistic rewards. It makes us less self-centered. It increases our empathy. It expands our life experiences beyond the narrow realm of what we encounter at work or on television. We gain a healthier perspective on life.

The Helper's High
Service and volunteerism may also have an impact beyond simply making us feel better about ourselves. Recent research suggests serving others can have a physical impact on your health. It's been called "the helper's high," and it may even have a positive effect on the immune system. Information in this area is still emerging, but a few studies stand out:

A 1988 study by the University of Michigan showed that life expectancy increases for people who volunteer (a 250 percent increase for men in the study).
Another study conducted over a ten-year period found a two-and-a-half-fold decrease in overall mortality for those who attended volunteer philanthropic group activities regularly when compared with those who did not volunteer.
The Duke Heart Center Patient Support Program at Duke University in North Carolina suggests that former cardiac patients who have volunteered to help newly-diagnosed patients may improve their own mood and alter their psychoneuroimmunological function (a technical term for the connection between the mind, the nervous system and the immune system).
A study of Japanese elderly found that, regardless of gender, those who provide assistance to others rated their health more favorably than older adults who were less involved in their communities.
More studies at Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of California, National Institute of Mental Health and Ohio State University support similar findings.
Why? Scientists theorize the good feelings that come from volunteering may release chemicals called neuropeptides that bolster the immune system and provide a sense of well-being.
Human biology seems to be designed in such a way that it drives us to satisfy our sensations. We want to own things. We want to taste savory food, to smell lovely fragrances, to hear beautiful music or to sleep on the softest sheets. We want to feel secure and comfortable.
There's nothing wrong with aspiring to fulfill these needs. After all, we are hardwired for desires and aspirations.

The Missing Link

Nevertheless, most people feel deep down that something is missing from their lives if they only focus on their own needs. Within each human being, I believe we possess a deep need to make a difference in the lives of others. Often, stress or the layers of obligations that can accumulate in our lives have buried this innate awareness. Serving others can stimulate this inner core once again, bringing it to life.
The social connection provided through serving others also makes us aware of fundamental truths, first among them: We are each born with a guaranteed return ticket. When you wrestle with this fact, you'll also begin to understand you are surrounded by fellow travelers – each with an ending no different from your own. Once you glimpse this certainty, you might allow yourself to ask, "What will be my ending? What can I contribute to aid other human beings as we travel through this life?"
Life is like a training ground. We learn the lessons we choose to engage in. Volunteering and serving others teach us the highest lessons with the noblest results. We learn that our lives have meaning. We raise ourselves to a purpose beyond our own immediate needs.
How to do it?
Make it a part of your daily life. Don't forego the other parts of your life – your family, your job, or your leisure time. And don't overload yourself with burdensome volunteer commitments. You won't be connecting with anyone, and you won't be reaping the physical and psychological benefits either. Objectively measure your time and your commitments.
At the same time, don't wait until the end of the year to simply write a check. Do something that has meaning for you.
The smallest actions can make a difference, accumulated over time. Each day, when I interact with someone, I try to offer a word of comfort or encouragement. I try to connect with people in the present moment. I try to create optimism. In this small way, I am not matching the enormous accomplishments of Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa. But I am making a difference. I am serving others.
Simply being involved with your neighborhood association or in the philanthropic endeavors of your religious congregation can function in the same way. And these are easy ways to involve your family, too.
There is something essentially right about this balanced addition to our lives. You'll find making the time to serve others will provide you with more energy, instead of taking it away. And as medical research is beginning to suggest, you're likely to live a longer and happier life as a result.

So here it is- this month's challenge:

This month, do at least one act of service for someone else. It can be anything you want. From doing something extra nice or extra special for a member of your family, to donating your time at a soup kitchen or food bank or homeless shelter. Whatever you want to do. The idea is to forget about yourself and help others.

I want to hear what you have decided to do and what happened. How it made you feel, how it helped others, etc. Maybe we can get a cool collection of stories. I haven't decided what I am going to do yet, but I will keep you posted. I created a new post on the discussion forum, or if you would like you can leave a comment with your experience under this post.

Need Some Ideas for Inspiration?

Here are 30 to get you started:

  1. Surprise your parent(s) or neighbors and offer to babysit a sibling, relative or friend.
  2. Cheer up a sick friend with a visit or phone call.
  3. Rescue a pet from an animal shelter. 
  4. Can't keep a pet? Volunteer at an animal shelter. Help clean up, play with the animals, or do whatever's needed to make the shelter a nicer "temporary" home for the animals.
  5. Become a foster parent. Some shelters have temporary foster care programs. You take care of a pet until they can find a permanent home for it.
  6. Ring the bell for Salvation Army during the holidays.
  7. Christmas boxes for needy children/families
  8. Clean someone's car (inside and out)
  9. Clean someone's home
  10. Cook meals for needy/elderly
  11. Do someone's laundry
  12. Donate blood
  13. Donate clothes/toys/house hold items
  14. Celebrate a birthday by asking friends to donate items for causes instead of gifts.
  15. Give Christmas trees to needy at Christmas time or decorate a Christmas tree at a nursing home, hospital, school or homeless shelter.
  16. Help out at shelters/hospitals/nursing homes
  17. Make hygiene kits, or first aid kits (for shelters)
  18. Litter cleanup (roads/parks)
  19. Make stuffed toys/dolls for children
  20. Read to elderly
  21. Service Scavenger Hunt
  22. Singing at hospitals/nursing homes
  23. Story telling to children
  24. Teach reading to the illiterate
  25. Wash windows (members/church/other buildings/homes)
  26. Yard cleanup (grass/weeds/leaves/snow/etc)
  27. Clean an elderly neighbor's driveway and sidewalk after a snowfall.
  28. Serve as a coach for a youth sports team.
  29. Serve as an usher at a sporting event.
  30. Adopt a pothole and raise funds to repair it.

These ideas as well as many others can be found here and here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...