Purpose and direction

Note, photo by Flaviu Lupoian, Cluj-Napoca, RomaniaTo be happy we need to have purpose and direction in life. Planning a timetable can create the feeling of productivity which leads to happiness and contentment. Of course, it is important that we avoid making lists which we don’t act on. Sometimes that happens when we feel anxious and in making the list we gain relief but not carrying out the tasks we can feel unnecessarily guilty and is self-defeating.

she made a list and backed it up with the
relevant affirmations but
on a daily basis she only achieved
one or two tasks off the list!
that led to the realisation that
not only was she suffering from burnout but at least
on the bright side she was doing one or two tasks at a time
which made her feel better, little by little
nevertheless purpose and direction lessened the stress
and the outcome was rewarding

Relationship with self

elisa_hiding_pose, Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria, self loathingTo have fulfilling relationships with anyone else we need to first develop a loving relationship with self. It’s the foundation for any type of love we have with others. Without the ability to love ourselves we feel emptiness or self hate which leads to needing feelgoods such as food, alcohol and other drugs or addictive processes like work, gambling, love and sex. To develop healthy self love we list our strengths and weaknesses, because that raises our self awareness – education is 50% of achieving the outcome we want. Then we list what we want out of life and what we definitely don’t want. Try it and see.

Yvonne was a pleasant person who
made friends easily but she was
extremely overweight from using
food to medicate her resentments
at times she appeared “sickly sweet”
and so apologetic that it seemed
she was even apologising for breathing
that is codependent behaviour and
can only lead to unhappiness
as she got into recovery from codependency
she developed her relationship with herself
in listing her strengths and weaknesses
as well as her wants and needs in life
her self esteem was strengthened and
in time her relationships with others
became more fulfilling
eventually she lost a lot of weight because
she didn’t need to self medicate with food

elisa_hiding_pose, photo by Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria

Time doesn’t have to fly

Savoring time, photo by Tim Nisly, Albuquerque, NM, United States, slowing downPeople say “time flies”. In actual fact we are responsible for how fast time passes. Remember when we were children how long one year seemed like so long? That was because we weren’t in control of our lives, others were – our parents, teachers and so on. As adults we are in charge and we can forget how to stay in ‘the now’ and enjoy just being. Instead we live from gratification to gratification – the next pay cheque, the next outing, the next shopping excursion, the debts being cleared, and many more excuses to be in the tomorrow. Then we are surprised that time flies.

I noticed how quickly Christmas comes and goes
and as I get older it unsettles me
if I am in charge of my life then
I am responsible for how quickly time flies
so I cleared my symbolic plate of
as many commitments that allowed me
to have more relaxation time and
life enjoyment activities
but definitely less busy time!
how amazingly slow the week went
giving me enjoyment and serenity
it’s as simple as that
now I just have to be vigil about
maintaining that pace

Relaxation

Candles, photo by xlucas, Germany, meditationPeople underestimate the importance of relaxation for settling the temper, creating accelerated learning, accessing motivation, and contributing to recovery from addictions and other ill health. An effective method of relaxation is meditation with candles and our favourite relaxation music. If meditation by candlelight is not possible then a short walk will work wonders to relax us enough, and that is called walking meditation.

Wards of the State had developed serious
violent outbursts which were life threatening
my message to youthworkers of
this residential program was to teach
these youths how to relax when they
became frustrated and agitated
so the appropriate first stage for relaxation
was that they go for a walk as soon as
they felt the rage fester and if they did this
they would receive incentive points which
would be rewarded weekly
in time the smashing of windows and walls
ceased completely and the youths either
went for a walk and/or resorted to
hitting the punching bag in the rumpus room
till they felt relaxed enough to negotiate
a solution to their conflict

Noise

Cymbal, photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert, Concord, United States,  loud music So many of us have particular noises that we cannot bear and yet loud sounds that we love. Some can’t stand the scratching of fingernails on a board. Others can’t stand the clicking of a biro pen. Yet some aren’t bothered about those noises. Sometimes it has to do with the experiences we have previously had and that leaves us with feelings that are pleasant or not which are associated with different noises. This is a normal disparity in intolerance and in pleasure and we need to express our needs as they arise.

my 7 year old granddaughter plays games
on the computer at a very fast rate and
when I am sitting near her I feel anxious
because the clicking sound of the keys
is reminiscent of the rescue team that
was cutting me out of a crashed car
she couldn’t really understand why
until today when there was a tap dripping
and she ran into the kitchen to turn it off
because it was annoying her, and only then
did she realise how noise can annoy us

How to handle feelings

Orchadee 2, photo by Frank Muller, Wallenfels, Bayern, Germany,  positive outlookAtlanta left this positive comment on my previous post on “Addiction and anger”. I show it here so that people can see yet another example of how people can handle their feelings in a manner so that ‘they run their feelings instead of their feelings running them’. Congratulations to both of you, Atlanta, for practising smart living.

“Thanks for this post Affie. A friend and I were talking just last night about this very thing. She is a person that is responsible and likes to take care of things but underneath the anger was brewing. She didnít rage, but identified that she wasnít expressing how she she wasnít happy with a situation. I think bringing awareness to emotions is a way to start to process them and bring about some relief.”

Let’s talk

Talking, photo by Rakesh Vaghela, Leicester, United Kingdom,  conflict resolutionPoor communication is the No. 1 problem area in relationships. As long as people are prepared to talk about their feelings, needs, wants and give feedback about what they’ve understood the other person has said, then conflict can be transformed into negotiations for solutions. As people develop the art of expressing themselves appropriately they also discover that it is beneficial to the sender as well as the receiver of the message. Another important tip is that if the message is not being understood clearly then it is up to the person sending the message to rephrase it. Communicating effectively creates inner peace for all parties concerned in the interaction.

I was feeling uncomfortable about something
and decided to mention it to him
halfway through he became defensive
I felt anxious so I relaxed my breathing
and then started again “I mustn’t have been
clear in what I said so I’ll start again…”
changing how I expressed my thoughts
in so doing I felt calm again
then a more appropriate message came out
he too became more relaxed and from his reply it
was apparent? that he understood my point
although we did not agree
we agreed to disagree and
that was good enough for me
so our friendship strengthened

Leisure time for good health

Exercise by the sea, photo by Adam Kurzok, trinec, Czech Republic, wellbeing We can get swept up by work commitments, which results in emotional and physical burnout. We are not aware of this happening because usually the process is enjoyable. Having purpose and direction is very potent for us human beings, whether paid or voluntary activities. However, without leisure time for good health, we can become sick. This can creep up on us, manifesting as common illnesses, depression, addiction and/or moodiness. Being vigilant about these symptoms? can be an early remedy. Better still is prevention, so we need to have a balance between our work and leisure time – no excuses.

I was chosen to run a new program and
we had great success with it which was
most beneficial for the clients involved
I was on call 24 hours a day
for their safety and that of the workers
and after 2 years at this pace
my weight increased and I got
chronic bronchitis and diabetes
my moodiness was not apparent to me
then I developed depression
which took 6 months to recover
I realised how run down I had become, so
I quit the job and found more relaxing work
to this day I am amazed at how intoxicating
that project was that I did not notice
how hard I was working and how
my leisure time had become minimal

90 meetings in 90 days

Chairs 1, photo by Anka Draganski,  London United Kingdom, http://www.fofiles.co.uk, 12 Step meetingsRegardless of which addiction we are afflicted with, a trusted and true recovery method has been to go to 90 meetings in 90 days with a willingness to abstain. Just getting to sit in 12 Step meetings, until the message gets through to your subconscious, is the key. As you sit with the feelings that were the reason you needed to self medicate, you own them as being your feelings which releases the fear about them, then you can relax. Relaxation brings us peace in our inner turmoil. The other powerful influence of attending meetings is that when we identify with others’ experiences they model solutions for us and “monkey see monkey do”. If we don’t do 90 in 90 then at least 3 meetings a week are absolutely necessary.

he told his therapist that he was
really pissed off with her because she
set homework for him to attend
7 meetings a week with other tasks
such as writing, reading, walking and
affirmations on a daily basis
a therapist himself, he felt he lived
the program and 1 meeting a week
would be sufficient, however
he surrendered and was amazed
that this meant he had needed to
let go of the control that had been
ruining his recovery
and it worked
a proven remedy

Exercise for healing and fitness

A Walk in the Park 1, photo by Curtis Fletcher, Thornton, United States, easy  fitnessMany people love going to gyms and/or exercising like jogging, swimming, horse riding, dancing and bicycle riding. Others participate in sports such as tennis, bowling, football, squash, and more. Some of us who find exercise too daunting can manage walking, slow dance, aqua-aerobics, yoga, and mowing the lawn to name a few. Any exercise is vital for gaining and maintaining fitness. Furthermore, exercise is especially beneficial for healing such basic illnesses as depression and diabetes.

she sufffered from severe depression but
although she new the benefits of anti-depressants
she was loathe to take them but she did know
that exercising was therapeutic for many illnesses
she attended the gym and yoga regularly
which she told me kept her hopeful of
a speedy recovery as it had helped in the past
another wise choice was that she drank water and
ate healthy food which she mostly prepared herself
a good balance of protein and vegies
were the major ingredients and
I loved to eat them with her