Becoming the best you possible! Escaping FEAR!

Most of us are worried and fearful in today's culture. We worry about others. What they think of us. What they like or dislike about us. Sometimes this line of thinking descends into the depths of despair. We worry about our boss. Why didn't he smile at me? He didn't include me in his 'atta boys during the meeting....did he not like my last product? Is he worried I am not doing my job?

With friends it's the same - did she get her feelings hurt when I said that? Are they mad at me? Why didn't they include me?

Family stressors include worrying about being included as well, but also not understanding changing roles.....

Now those are issues in a normal world, but we do not live in a normal world. We live in a world afraid of socialism, afraid of capitalism, afraid of vaccines, afraid not to vaccinate, afraid to go out in public, afraid to eat at a restaurant...the list is endless. Where does it end? How do we enjoy life despite the world around us? What are we able to control? 

First, our jobs. Try to have a job where your leaders are supportive and empathetic. A place where you love to work. Not just a job, but a joyful place....After you listen, try to emulate that leadership in your life - in your family, with your group of friends, with those with whom you work!

Take 15 minutes to stop and watch the above url. It's amazing. This guy gets it. We need leaders with empathy. He states it so clearly. 

Secondly, pay attention to your body. Right now lower your shoulders. Did you realize that you were so tense? Try some deep breathing. Listen to some beautiful soothing music. Look at nature. Just focus. Be in the moment. 

Release the trauma from your body! Peter Levine is famous for somatic healing. Watch this video and understand a little more about yourself.

Watch as the psychologist explains what is going on with our bodies filled with trauma. You may not have trauma from war or battle, but  you may have trauma from an unhappy life or childhood or even just depression that becomes stagnant.

We know we need empathy in our lives. We know we have trauma we need to rid our bodies of... 

Strategies to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

  • Step 1: Learn More About Your Fear. This first step can be the hardest one, but it's also absolutely necessary. ...
  • Step 2: Use your Imagination in Positive Ways. ...
  • Step 3: Use Your Brain in a Different Way than Usual. ...
  • Step 4: Focus on Your Breathing. ...
  • Step 5: Practice Mindfulness. ...
  • Step 6: Use Nature as Your Therapist.


 Deep breath! I am shaking and angry and I want to share why. As a therapist and as an educator, I know that I am to keep my personal feelings and thoughts mostly to myself, especially around my students and clients. Today I received a blog from a large entity that supports counselors and I was triggered by one of the points the blogger was making: Trump caused irreparable damage to our country and world....Some synonyms for irreparable are irreversible and irrevocable. Are you serious??? You can't change things a president does? You can't undo laws, mandates, etc? Who says they are wrong? Who says that the current administration isn't even worse? Or, better yet, what if the Trump administration was on to evil and was trying to combat it? No matter what side of the fence you are on and how righteous you feel about your beliefs, the solemn duty of educators and counselors is to go where the client/student is and teach them from an unbiased viewpoint. 

Conservatives, liberals, middle of the roaders - call if what you may. There is no absolute. There is NO black or white in knowledge and. I believe in the little gray matter in my head, as Poirot might say. These little gray cells help me maintain a balanced position in life. 

Once, while teaching at a middle school (of course, public school, as if it were private I may have replied differently), a student asked if I personally believed in abortion. This kid was 12-years old. The age of my sweet granddaughter now. I told this child and the class that SOME people believed in abortion and some did not. They were to go to their homes and speak with their parents and decide what they believed. I left it at that. We did not have a discussion about it, but if kids had asked more questions, I would continue to be the voice of reason and balance. Developmentally, they were not ready for more in-depth discussion. They demonstrated this by not even asking any more questions. I am fairly easy to talk with, so it wasn't that they were afraid. They simply were satisfied.

We learn as counselors to ask, "Why is that important to you? Why do you want to know?" That's a great question that deals with the issue at hand. Perhaps the student/client is unsure of what to believe. Perhaps they want to be informed, in which case I would calmly (if it was the appropriate moment/time) share what prolife folks commonly believe and what pro-choice people believe. I would not take either side. I would be TEACHING. What a concept, huh?

Working on my own countertransference about this matter, I chose to write this blog. I feel a bit better. I don't feel superior. I simply affirm what I believe and I pray and hope that every educator, counselor, coach, adult, etc., realizes that we cannot brainwash our students or clients. We must allow for critical thinking and free speech. God bless America!

Quarantine & Increased Mental Anxiety

Coronavirus tips: How to deal with your anxiety | The IndependentWe, the human race, have united for a very dubious cause. Why dubious? No one knows exactly where this virus started (we have an idea, for sure) and no one knows why. With all the uncertainty and the plethora of news about the virus, people are told to shelter at home. Some places are more stringent in their mandates than others. For me, my defining occupation - that of teacher - has changed drastically. I feel overwhelmed by the amount of phone calls, computerized classroom, packets, and four classes I must juggle - well, there would have been 5, if I consider the independent packet some seniors are trying to finish so they can graduate.
If we had an idea for when this distance learning and living would end, perhaps then it would be easier on all of us. If I, an adult, am so stressed out, how do we think our students feel? I have spoken to a few and they are all overwhelmed. What is the answer? Is there one that fits all? I doubt it, but for me and mine, I am going to work on doing what I am able and doing it well. If I don't get to all the online meetings, so be it. I am responsible and will finish what I start and try to create some semblance of a schedule. For those of you working from home, especially kids, try to remember the following:
  • Create a flexible schedule. Emphasis on flexible.
  • Alternate passive with active times. For example, 20 minutes of schoolwork and 20 minutes of!
  • Walk around the neighborhood and practice mindfulness with nature.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Eat a balanced diet - avoid sugary concoctions, but don't eliminate them totally! Give yourself a "treat" when you've accomplished something difficult (like vacuuming or doing the toilets???).
  • Improve your spiritual life.
  • Practice daily gratitudes.
  • Read a good book - not one for work or self-improvement - just a sweet story. How about trying the Mitford Series? Very relaxing and easy read.
  • Contact one person a day via Hangouts or by phone.
  • Smile- that very act creates a hormone release that helps you feel emotionally well!
  • Draw or paint - do something creative.
  • Listen to music or play music. Drum with your fingers on your desk!
Read, listen to, or tell jokes!
Find a good series to watch on Netflix or Hulu or whatever.... the list is endless. Try your best to be upbeat and positive and happy! May you have a peaceful spring and may you find joy in your life that you uncover through this crisis....Maybe one day we will know the whys....

Our World Has Changed and I AM CONFUSED

To tell the truth, I am confused. I don't know what or whom to believe anymore. The media is out of control. I hear one thing from one station and the opposite from another. On social media folks are outing those who aren't adhering to the government mandates and then there are those folks who are protesting the Machiavellian power seized by government. Where will this end and what can I do about it?

As an educator, I am influencing many young people. Fresh minds. Open minds. Minds I don't want to blemish with untruths and negativity. But if I am confused, how am I able to do that?

Anxiety thrives on uncertainty.
And, as the coronavirus spreads, our unanswered questions can make us feel vulnerable or fearful. "Will it come to my community" or "Am I at risk?'
"We've got national anxiety at the moment, a kind of shared stress, and we are all in a state of extreme uncertainty," says Catherine Belling, an associate professor at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, who studies the role of fear and anxiety in health care.
And here's a catch-22: The more you stress, the more vulnerable you can become to viruses, because stress can dampen your immune response.
Listen to this advice from a learned colleague from NPR:
So remember good health hygiene - something for now and for the future, no matter what!
1. Sleep at least 7 - 8 hours.
2. Increase your water intake.
3. Express gratitudes daily. 
4. Unplug from the news
5. Do something fun.
6. Exercise more - move, move, move!  
7. Don't isolate socially - use social media to connect with others.
Neighboring During a Pandemic — Neighboring

Therapists have stress and emotional issues as well as others

A few weeks ago I wrote that I was very happy with the quarantine - I was fulfilled being with my beloved husband and I had many things to do. But out of the blue lately, I've been attacked by that ole' demon hyperventilation. If you've never hyperventilated, it's kind of like feeling you need to take a deep breath or that you need to yawn. It's persistent and usually goes away, but once it gets into a cycle, it takes some meds to stop it. That's where I am this week and last week. I get stressed and don't even know why. I have been content to stay at home and do my favorite things - read, write, and binge-watch videos with my husband. So why the sudden attack of anxiety?

Deep breaths help a bit, but it is a struggle. People who've never experienced this sometimes see it as a weakness - a way of not being in control. I wish I could mentally control it and eradicate its presence the minute I begin to feel it. In the past physicians have told me to breathe into a paper bag. Somehow that never worked. My pulse is racing as I write this and I feel fear. Fear of what? I imagine most of us have experienced some fear as this is a new world for us. New expectations. New standards. I am as confused as the next person about this coronavirus. I'm not sure if we are doing all the right things or if we need to do it differently. I feel that there are so many opinions, I don't know what to do with all the information. But I do have a plan:

1. Stay in the present. Practice mindfulness.
2. Self talk - I am safe. I am good. I am loved.
3. Preventive measures - get enough sleep. Last night I had less than 5 hours sleep. That may account for some of the anxiety....
4. Drink more water!
5. Continue trying to move more, as my hobbies aren't conducive to movement!
6. Think positively.
7. Practice gratitude - what are three things I am grateful and think of it daily.
8. Do my best to not allow my anxiety to infect others.
9. Keep busy. Too much free time is not healthy, I've found.
10. Read, write, and keep social contacts alive and well....

So know that you are not alone. Even we therapists have our issues and we are working together to come to a place in our lives where we can experience true inner peace and balance. It's not easy sometimes.

Hyperventilating clipart images and royalty-free illustrations ...

The Awakening of My Soul

It's very difficult to put into words, but this quarantine business has actually been a time of rejuvenation for me. I have not suffered physically, emotionally, or even socially during this time, although I have practiced social distancing and any other mandates set forth by our government. How can this be when others are struggling, stressing, and obsessing about what they are being deprived of? Of course, I miss my grandchildren. I miss my sons and their wives, but not to the point of it making me internally unbalanced.

I am a teacher. I am a therapist. But not in that order. Primarily, I am a loving and caring wife. That is my first order of business during these times. I cherish being at home with my spouse of 45+ years. I cherish watching television with him, just knowing he is in the house when I am studying or reading. What has further given me pleasure is the satisfaction of following a schedule these past few weeks.

I am never at a loss or entertaining feelings of boredom. On the contrary, I am setting up goals that are both pleasurable to me and complement my relationship with my husband. I am working on a picture book and a guide for parents based on a five-year stint writing a column called "Parent's Relief." I am studying for my LPC exam, reflecting on my basic counseling practice and filling in holes and learning new strategies....I am able to take the time to just be. Before I hated getting up at 6 am and today I was up at 5:30, ready to work! What is the difference? At home, I can be in solitude. I don't have to get dressed - nightgown all day works. No worries about my appearance - gray growing in? So what. I am free inside and out now....

Love keeping up on family and friends on social media, but not obsessed with it. Love reading funny memes and sharing those in my group FUNNY STUFF. Love updating each of my beloved books with information pertinent to that group. All of this fulfills some inner desire for peace. It balances me. I am happy.

So what can I share with you that will help you find that priceless feeling of self worth, contentment, and love during this difficult time in the world's history? Notice all the blue highlighted words - they are positive affirmations of how I feel. The more we dwell on the positive, the more our lives with turn towards that path of positivity and joy. It can be done. It is all about thought. Think and therefore you are....Praying that your next few weeks can be a rejuvenation of spirit and body. It's time to look within.

                                   Dalai Lama Looking within Quote | look within quotes, everything ...