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Holistic approach for the wellness of a body, mind, and soul

Holistic approach for the wellness of a body, mind, and soul

by Lena Hemsworth – Lifestyle Blogger

source: unsplash.com

The holistic approach to life has many definitions, but all of them have one thing in common. You’re focusing on improving all aspects of your life and looking at the big picture. Instead of treating the symptoms, you’re getting to the root of each problem and transforming your life as you go. If you try the holistic approach, you’re bound to improve your physical and mental health beyond recognition.

We are made to move. Unfortunately, the life of an average person in modern society revolves around sitting and laying down. Your body aches to feel

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the adrenaline rush of exercise, your heart aches to pump blood, and your mind needs exercise to produce happy hormones. If you truly love your body, you will give it an outlet.

Any kind of exercise is good exercise. From yoga to jogging to intense workouts, your body will be thankful. It will process stress better, become stronger, and be almost invincible to disease and viruses.

 

2. Daily meditation

In a world that is a storm of chaos and stress, your best weapon can be the calm you carry within. Though it may seem buried deep, each and every one of us possesses this serenity which can ward of evil. All you have to do is tap into this power with meditation. By searching deep within yourself, you’ll come to realize many things about who you are and how and why you react to things.

Daily meditation will help you relax more easily and deal with every challenge daily life throws at you. Your subconscious is your friend, and mediation can help you unlock this friendship and use it for good. You will become a steady rock, unmovable in the storm, unwilling to break, and strong enough to get through any issue you may face.

3. Healthy eating

The path to optimal health can’t be achieved without proper nutrition. What you put in your body greatly affects your cognitive function, as well as your other bodily functions. How vital and healthy you are, depends mostly on the kind of things you put into your body.

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Australians have taken this a step further, as they realized each person can have different dietary preferences that work for them best. This belief is so widely spread, that you can even find a Sydney wellness center which offers meal planning services through naturopathy. Though some may regard it as a pseudoscience, naturopathy can have real and positive results. When used correctly, it is the number one thing that helps you understand how your body processes food. Thanks to this practice, many have found peace in nutrition and are now living much healthier lives.

4. Positive thinking

Your mind is like a garden, there are flowers and weeds. The flowers represent the positive thoughts you have about yourself and your environment, while the weeds are the negative thoughts which have the potential to eat away your beautiful mind garden. In order to have a healthy mind, you’ll need to focus on getting rid of the weeds.

Finding positive things about yourself and the world you live in is more of a skill than anything else. You’ll need to work hard to see the bright side, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Until finally, one day, your primary response to a situation will be an optimistic view. This is how you’ll know that your mind garden is flourishing with the most beautiful flowers taking center stage.

Conclusion

There are many aspects of the holistic approach, so you should try to introduce one after another, gradually, to your life. You’re bound to be much happier and more energized, as well as more positive and mindful. Taking care of your body breeds positive effects for your mind. In the same way, optimal physical and mental health cleanse and purify your soul like nothing else.

 

Love Yourself First

Love Yourself First

Helen Bradford

 

As Louise L. Hay once said: “Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.” However, loving yourself requires effort, not just words. It may seem challenging though, especially considering how hectic our lives can be. Juggling with work, family, and many other obligations can leave us neglecting ourselves. It’s time to change the game and give yourself some much-needed TLC. It doesn’t require any groundbreaking transformations. On the contrary, adopting these few self-care habits will give you a healthy body and a healthy mind.

1. Getting started.

Self-discipline is the key when it comes to physical activity. Most of us make the decision to start exercising rather easily, but when it comes to putting it to practice, well… it’s another story. A good idea is to make a workout schedule. Keep track of your activities (and energy levels) for a week. This will give you insight into what times work best for you. Our energy levels are usually highest in the morning so that would be a good time for more intense workouts. However, if you see it as a way to vent out after a busy day at work then you’ll dedicate time to it in the evening. Take baby steps and be realistic when making your schedule. This will help you to stay focused and motivated.

2. Make your home gym-friendly.

For some people, taking trips to the nearby gym can sometimes be discouraging. If you are one those people who aren’t keen on working out with a bunch of strangers, don’t give up just yet. A great alternative is to bring a gym to your home. You can make some room in your home or a garage and turn it into your own private gym. Next, you’ll need to put in some Cyberfit gym equipment or similar high-quality fitness items. If you do your research, you’ll find that many shops offer great home gym packages. This way, you’ll enjoy exercising in the privacy of your own home and ensure good physical and mental health.

3. Moody no more.

No matter the intensity of the workout, people generally feel better after a workout. Many studies have shown the connection between physical activity and better mental health. One of the reasons is that physical activity produces endorphins or so-called “feel-good” chemicals. What’s more, it increases blood flow to the brain and lowers the blood pressure and cholesterol. It reduces stress and helps you sleep better. Exercising regularly indeed does wonders for your brain. Better concentration and increased cognitive functions are just some of the benefits physical activity has on your brain. In the end, boosting your energy levels you’ll boost your mood, too.

4. Give your self-esteem a boost.

Taking care of your body is maybe the easiest way to love yourself. Aside from the numerous benefits exercising has on your overall health, it also makes you look good. And by doing that, your confidence levels increase. If you’re persistent, the results will be your biggest motivation and not only that. If you used to have chronic pain in your neck or lower back, you’ll be thrilled to find out that sitting all day at the office isn’t a nightmare anymore. Yes, working out will strengthen your core muscles but it will enhance some other skills of yours. Mastering self-discipline at the gym will transfer to work, and healthier mind means better productivity, too.

5. Stay motivated.

Staying on point with your workout routine may not always go so smoothly. There will be days when even getting up in the morning seems like a challenge. If that happens, try not to avoid your workout completely. Alter it, adjust its intensity to your current state, but don’t skip it. Even a short walk or a bike ride can elevate your mood. Having the support of your family and friends can help you stay motivated. However, it’s best to learn how to do that by yourself. Not only will this bring you independence, but it will also boost your self-esteem and mental health. Stay persistent and whenever you feel like you’re about to fail, remembering the reason you started will keep you going.

Other people may not always be there when you need help and support, but the only person that actually matters will, and that’s you. Loving yourself doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Taking care of your body can be a fantastic start that will lead to a leaner body, better mood, and most importantly – sharp and healthy mind.

Take Mental Health Day

6 Reasons Why You Should Take A Mental Health Day

by Adam Durnham

What Is a Mental Health Day?

Although there is a formal Mental Health Day celebrated every October 10 to bring awareness to the spectrum of mental health conditions, you can have your own special day devoted to healing your mental state.

Just as sleep refreshes the physical body, our minds need to take a rest, too. A mental health day could simply mean a regular day of rest, freeing yourself from stressors, and refocusing on or seeking your purpose in life. By taking your own mental health day, you can rejuvenate your mind and care for it like you would any other part of your body.

Why Should You Take a Mental Health Day?

1. It helps improve your thinking.

Anything you think about—responsibilities at work, home, or school—can take a toll on your mind. Like small blocks, they can that pile up in a haphazard fashion and tumble down when not managed. Studies show that people under acute stress tend to make “risk-taking decisions even with disadvantageous outcomes”. This is why taking a mental health day can be so important.

A mental rest can help improve your thoughts and mood. From being pessimistic and paranoid, you may become calm and intentional. Thoughts that promote anxiety also tend to prevent you from making rational decisions on a daily basis. A peaceful setting can revive your mind from a chaotic state to one where you think better and make better choices.

2. It gives you a clear picture of what truly matters.

You can get so caught up with the nonstop demands of your everyday life that you lose sight of the big picture, of what truly matters to you. When everything else is stripped away, what are the things you cannot live without? Perhaps it’s your loved ones, a hobby, or even spirituality.

Taking a mental health day helps clear your mind and ruminate about the true priorities in your life. You may realize that the things you spend most of your time on aren’t what you love, but what society has pressured you to do. Through having regular days of mental rest, you can discover your true life’s purpose and dedicate your remaining days to the things and people that truly matter.

3. It can restore your health.

We live in a society where being busy is glorified, and suffering is a virtue. Although being busy and sacrificing for others is sometimes admirable, too much of it can be damaging not only to your mental state but also to your physical health.

Constant stress is a risk factor for degenerative diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Stress causes many biological reactions to the body such as high blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, tensed muscles, and sleep deprivation. When we don’t take time to restore our mental health, we also run the risk of harming the other parts of our body.

4. It lessens symptoms of mental health disorders.

By taking the time to restore your mental health, you are avoiding triggers that can harm you and, by extension, your loved ones. For example, some common depression triggers include being overwhelmed, losing your job, money problems, the death of a loved one or your relationship. These triggers can be minimized or avoided when you take steps to improve your mental health. Try a change of environment, a new hobby, journaling or meditating. Taking a mental health day can help you make time for these activities.

5. It can help you find support.

Among the most common obstacles to people seeking help for their recurrent mental health issues is that they’re afraid of the stigma or that they don’t have time to seek help. A mental health day allows you the time to reach out to others and find a community that can help you deal with your problems in a healthy manner.

Whether from a therapist, counselor, a spiritual leader, or a peer support group, there are different ways to get emotional help for the things that you’re going through. You are never alone, and there is always someone who walks through a similar journey as you do.

6. It can aid in better performance.

It may sound counterintuitive but resting now can give you the top performance that you need later.

 Some scientists suggest that without proper mental rest, the brain shrinks, affecting your speech, your memory, and even the way you interact with others.

 If you have to accomplish a big task, deal with a tough client, or finish a complicated project, studies show that taking your mind off these things for a bit can improve your mind’s performance.

Start Your Own Mental Health Day–Now!

The key to looking great, feeling great, and living your life well is through caring for your body holistically, including your brain. Start by setting up your own mental health day. Your mind will thank you for it.

4 Positive, Simple Ways to Improve Your Health and Well-Being

4 Positive, Simple Ways to Improve Your Health and Well-Being

Brad Krause

Practicing positivity can take some effort. But one of the best ways to spark positivity in your life is to take more control of your health. Thankfully, there are many simple head-to-toe habits you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. Here are some great health tips that can help you make the most of your health and this gift we call life.

 

Use the Right Filters to Clean Your Home’s Air

 

The simple act of breathing can bring you peace, but only if the air you breathe is actually clean. While there’s not a lot you can do to prevent pollution outside, you do have the power to reduce irritants inside your own home. Change out the filters in your furnace or HVAC system and opt for MERV 8-rated filters when doing so. These highly rated filters have been shown to reduce up to 90 percent of toxins and pollutants, including mold, dust mites and even pollen. To add even more air purity to your home, and a touch of natural beauty, consider adding some air-cleaning plants to your home as well. Snake plants, ferns, and peace lilies are lovely options.

 

Use Wholesome Food Habits to Nourish Your Body

 

We don’t often stop to appreciate the simple act of eating. However, more than any other health step, the foods we eat can do so much to preserve our minds, bodies and overall well-being. In fact, whole, natural foods like oatmeal, leafy vegetables, and even healthy sources of fat can be more effective in combating disease than most prescriptions. What you eat matter, as well as how you eat, can have an major impact as well. Being grateful for food can help you appreciate the small miracles that make your meals possible and help you be more thankful for what you do have in your life. So often, we tend to get so wrapped up in what we don’t have that we forget this important step. Having access to necessities, such as food, is something we should all stop taking for granted, especially when so many are going without.

 

Practice Gratitude in Other Areas of Your Life Too

 

Being thankful for your food can be such a powerful step toward positivity. But gratitude, when practiced on a regular basis, can have even more power of your quality of life. Getting into the habit of being thankful, however, can be much harder than it seems. You can get off to a positive start by making gratitude a daily habit. There are many tiny little steps that can help you feel happier, but try taking a few moments each morning to be thankful for someone or something in your life. Maybe you can appreciate the health of your children or the blessing of your home. Nothing is too trivial to be thankful for in your everyday life. For an even bigger impact, write these notes of gratitude in a journal to really drive the positivity home.

 

Chase Daily Stress Away With Some Simple Self-Care

 

We all have stress in our lives, but not all stress is bad. Activities that may stress you out can actually have a positive payout in the end. However, when even good stress becomes overwhelming, you become more vulnerable to chronic stress reactions. When you experience stress, your brain and body responds in a natural way designed to help you react and escape potentially dangerous situations. When this response is constantly triggered, however, it begins to take a toll on your mental and physical health. This is why it is essential to include plenty of balancing self-care, like journaling and deep breathing, in your  health and wellness routine.

 

When you stop to think about it, you will find that there’s so much to already be thankful for in your life. By taking steps to manage your physical and emotional health, you can can boost your well-being even more. Because at the end of the day, your health and wellness really is something to be treasured. So, start taking better steps to take better care of yourself.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

 

Alternative Treatment Therapies for Stress and Depression

Alternative Treatment Therapies for Stress and Depression

It is projected that 40 million American adults suffer from some form of anxiety problem — that’s just under 20 percent of the population. It’s an alarming statistic, but perhaps more concerning is the fact that many who have an anxiety disorder do not seek treatment out of fear, shame, or because they’ve had a negative treatment experience in the past. Traditional therapeutic approaches sometimes do not meet the needs of patients who require treatment, leaving many to look for alternative methods. Some of these may seem offbeat or even radical, but the essential goal remains the same: to get better with few or no side effects.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation therapy teaches patients with anxiety or depression to focus their thoughts and feelings away from negative concerns using a variety of techniques. Meditation therapy relaxes the body and the mind by focusing on breathing, which lowers the blood pressure, reduces stressful feelings, and helps eliminate panic attacks. Breathing therapy pulls more oxygen into the body, which relieves tension and improves your sense of well-being.

Supplement Therapy

The ability of herbal supplements to alleviate anxiety and depression is also under study by scientists, though researchers have discovered positive links between the use of specific herbs and the reduction of some anxiety symptoms. Some of the more common supplement remedies involve vitamin B-12, which can affect the central nervous system, and chamomile, which has a soothing effect on people suffering from symptoms of anxiety. Supplements such as inositol and valerian can also reduce feelings of anxiety. CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical found in hemp that has a number of medical benefits, including pain relief and the ability to reduce inflammation in the brain. Keep in mind that you should always consult with a physician before taking herbal supplements.

Yoga

Yoga is a meditative discipline that seeks to develop a healthy connection between mind and body through a series of poses. In addition to reducing depression and anxiety, yoga improves flexibility and alleviates joint pain. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, yoga is one of the top 10 alternatives for treating a range of mental disorders. It’s an especially popular alternative to more commonplace methods because learning to relax through yoga can help in other aspects of daily life.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another possible treatment, but it can be a hard sell for people who have a problem with needles, even though it is a centuries-old Chinese discipline known to be effective at treating depression and anxiety as well as many physical ailments. Thin, sharp needles are inserted into the patient’s upper skin layers at points of the body associated with specific organs. Acupuncture’s effectiveness continues to be a source of scientific study, including its ability to engage the body’s natural painkilling chemicals.

Art Therapy

Creative pursuits such as dance, drama, music, and the visual arts help patients become mindful of their feelings through self-expression. The art you create provides a means of creating art that helps you better understand yourself and your responses to external stimuli.

Ecotherapy

People struggling with anxiety or depression sometimes respond positively to spending time in nature on a regular basis. This method may include taking long walks in the woods, growing your own food in the backyard, or spending time around animals.

With 40 million Americans suffering from anxiety or depression, there’s currently a great need for successful treatment therapies, whether they’re considered traditional or alternative. It’s worth considering that more people might seek help if so-called “alternative” therapeutic approaches were more readily available to them.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

How to Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Business

 

How to Turn a Hobby into a Legitimate Business

Maria Cannon

For many, the idea of starting a small business holds a certain appeal, but the hurdles to actually doing it seem too much to overcome. One of the main hurdles is the question what would I even do? Well, it is possible to do something you enjoy and make money. Turning a hobby into a legitimate business could be just what you need. Here’s how to get yourself set up to succeed.

 

Decide if it’s feasible to even try

Yes, the first step may sound discouraging. But it’s not – it’s just smart. Do the math. Take a deep dive into your finances and see if it is feasible to start a new business from the ground up. If you need some help, then get some help. Do not forget to include your partner/significant other in these discussions. It’s not just you that will be affected by the work that comes with starting a new business.

 

Know what your business truly does for people

If you don’t know what your business does, nobody else will either. The first thing you have to do if you are serious about turning a hobby into a business is find its main focus. If you make something and sell it, what is that product exactly? Why should people want to buy it? If you are offering your services in some other way, then what are those services – specifically? Why are you more qualified to dole them out than someone else? I’m just going to sell stuff on the Internet isn’t focused. I’m going to be a life coach sounds nice, but what services are you really offering?

If you are unsure and lack focus, some tried-and-true business ideas include selling hot items such as wireless earphones, phone cases and backpacks for men and women.

 

Plan before action

Do you have a strategy for one week out? One month out? How about next year? Without a clear plan for business growth, you’re not really starting a business – you’re just charging people for something you do as a hobby. Ask yourself what you want to do, how you’re going to do it, and when you’re going to do it. Time is important. As a post on Forbes suggests, “to ensure your strategies are brought to life, there needs to be specific action plans … and the necessary steps to get you there in an agreed time frame.”

Write out a business plan. Really – write it out.

 

Think positively

While you can’t simply will success into being you can certainly increase its chances of occurring by harnessing the power of positive thinking. Research has shown that those with a positive outlook in business tend to have more energy, better problem solve, and better bounce back from hardships (resiliency). The good news is that positive thinking can be learned and trained. That positivity will show through to your future clients and customers.

Most importantly, treat your hobby like a real job. If you treat it like a side project, that is all it will ever be. Consult experts in your field. Grow an online presence. Set work hours each day and grind. You really can make money doing what you love, but it won’t come easy.

 

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Pay it Forward – Teaching your Children Kindness and Compassion

Awesome guest post from Erin at Gravity Life Coaching

 

 

Try out this free workbook!  Create AWESOME behavior in Children in 4 Steps!

 

I’ve always enjoyed giving to others, but I never understood the significance of it.  If there was one quality I wanted my children to have, it was kindness and compassion.  It’s difficult to truly know if you’re teaching it, when your so caught up in the chaos of daily life. Chores, work, chores, kids fighting, chores…it seems that there’s not a lot of time to embrace the simple things, teach them values and be pro-active as a parent.  Sometimes we are doing these things, but just don’t realize it until we see evidence of it, which I recently did.

 

I’ve been making more of an effort to give and donate.  I have always donated my time and energy, but rarely have I donated money.  I’ve always found excuses, that I just don’t have enough or that I have too many things to provide for my own children.  What I’ve recently discovered is that when you feel restricted in your giving, the money is restricted in coming to you.  If you make an effort to live in abundance and try to donate a portion of your earnings, then you will see it come to you in various ways.

 

Try out this free workbook!  Create AWESOME behavior in Children in 4 Steps!

 

I was discussing this with my step-daughter and talking about how I try to pay for the person behind me in line at Dunkin Donuts once in a while.  She took this and ran with it, later she told me that she never went through the Dunkin Donuts line if she could not also pay for the person behind her.  I was so impressed with her selfless attitude, but it gets better.  She had been trying to raise money to attend a training in Nashville with a group she was involved in through her school.  As a part of the process, she had to write letters and make phone calls to businesses to ask for checks.  She came home a few times after work, reporting to us that she hadn’t had any luck and had very few responses.  Shortly after this, she began her magic at Dunkin Donuts and the checks started rolling in.  She made enough money to attend her trip and then some.   Not only did she see the benefits of her efforts, but she inspired me to be less stingy!

 

It didn’t stop there.  I now make an effort to do what she does and pay for people in line behind me – consistently.  Little did I know, my boys were paying attention.  We went on a field trip last week through their day camp.  My 9-year-old asked me how much he could have to spend in the gift shop.  I told him that he could have $10, he said “okay, that’s $5 for me and $5 for my friend who didn’t bring any money”.  Later that day  I complimented him on his kindness.  He told me that he wanted to make millions…on his Youtube channel…so that he could donate to people who didn’t have a lot of money.  Even when we think we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing as parents, we might just be.  

 

Try out this free workbook!  Create AWESOME behavior in Children in 4 Steps!

 

We’ve now taken it further – Dunkin Donuts just wasn’t enough!  I decided that I wanted to contribute to a bigger cause, make regular donations.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to donate to.  After thinking about it for a while, I remembered growing up, when I didn’t make my own money, I always wanted to sponsor a child from a poor country.  I was cautious about this because you always hear stories about where the money actually goes.  I did a lot of research and decided on an agency to donate my money to.  My son and I went through the website and chose a one-year old boy from Zambia. My son decided on him because he was so young and he might have a better chance later in his life.  We began our regular donations and about a month later, received two letters from Jonathan’s mother.  She thanked us for our kindness and shared things about Jonathan and about their way of life.  

 

Sometimes I think I learn more from my own children than they learn from me.  Now I’m always looking for ways to reach out to others in acts of kindness, with no expectations.  I know that my children are paying attention and hopefully paying it forward…  

 

Challenge yourself to reach out to someone, with no expectation of return and see what happens.  

 

Struggling to figure out how to create the character traits and behaviors you’d like to see in your children?  Try out this free workbook!  Create AWESOME behavior in Children in 4 Steps!

 

Fun Ways to ROCK Your Sober Halloween Party

Hey everyone – we have another awesome guest post from Constance at Recoverywell.org

Fun Ways to Rock Your Sober Halloween Party

 

Photo via Pixabay

 

Halloween is right around the corner, marking the first end-of-the-year holiday that millions of people across the country celebrate, with jack-o-lanterns, loads of candy, and an astonishing variety of spooky events to host and attend. However, for people in addiction recovery, particularly those who are freshly sober, it can be hard to figure out how to spend the holiday without succumbing to temptation.

 

The truth is, as many long-time sober addicts who still love to throw a festive party will tell you, celebrating without alcohol or drugs can significantly enhance your experience of Halloween, rather than make you feel like you don’t fit into the costumed holiday scene. Yes, alcohol doesn’t have to be part of the picture. And you really can throw a sober and fun Halloween bash of your own.

 

Here are five games to consider when hosting a sober Halloween party, for a howlingly good time:

 

  1. Pumpkin Carving Contest

 

Pumpkin-carving is one of the ultimate Halloween traditions. For your alcohol-free party, buy a load of small-sized pumpkins that guests can comfortably take home with them, and set out carving knives and small festive candles on a large table ready with bowls at the ready for pumpkin guts. Have your guests carve their own Halloween-themed designs, and at the end of the evening, give out prizes for the most impressive creation. Like decorating the Christmas tree or dyeing Easter eggs, no Halloween party is complete without a nod to traditional pumpkin carving.

 

  1. Costume Contest

 

It’s the time of year when you can dress up as anyone or anything you want, and some people take the task seriously. Why not invite your friends who are dedicated costume dressers and everyone else who “dabbles” in the art to come all dressed up to the party? Sponsor a costume contest to motivate the shy and bashful to go for the ultimate prize. You can have guests nominate the best costume, collect the votes, and give out prizes to the winners. To vary up the awarding segment of your party, give out prizes for most creative costume, scariest costume, best couples costume, and so on.

 

  1. Host A Murder Mystery Dinner

 

This one is for those who want a small, more intimate kind of party. The idea here, which will require a lot of planning – be forewarned – is to conduct a murder mystery dinner. Basically, each new guest that arrives is assigned a role, and throughout the dinner, players must guess who is the killer and who is secretly the victim. Variations include a Clue kind of theme to a Pretty Little Liars set up.

 

  1. Have Everyone Tell Scary Stories

 

A familiar pastime during Halloween of years past when you were a kid, was to swap scary stories while passing around the flashlight in your friend’s basement. Such stories probably scared the daylights out of you then, which can be fun to do to others. A tradition that spans centuries, swapping ghost stories is a terrific way to generate laughs and spine-tingling reactions, while entertaining guests all around.

 

The Takeaway

 

Putting yourself out there to throw an alcohol-free Halloween bash at your home takes a bit of courage when recovery leaves you feeling sensitive to the connection in your mind between partying and consuming alcohol. However, by inviting supportive friends and people who live a 100% healthy lifestyle and don’t imbibe at all, you’re giving yourself permission to try out a new kind of festive form of celebrating without dangerous substances present.

Though different, and only if the party is organized right, you should find it comparatively fun to the alcohol-laden parties of your past. If anything, congratulate yourself on trying something new and exercising that festive side of yourself.

 

The Power of Positivity: Amy’s Story

Today’s guest post is by Constance Ray of RecoveryWell.org

“I’m so grateful to be set free from living a fear-driven life and carrying the burdens of that fear and worry. I am so thankful that I am happy the majority of the time today.” – Annette, Sobriety Advocate

Depression and addiction are serious illnesses that affect millions of people — and sometimes, they work together to make someone’s life completely

Photo credit: Pixabay

unbearable. And while it’s important to receive treatment for these conditions, whether on their own or as co-occurring disorders, the power of positive thinking can go a long way in helping people find their way back from despair. Amy, a brave addiction warrior, is proof that dancing in the rain is an effective first step in making a positive and permanent life change.

 

***

 

Amy started struggling with mental health issues when she was just a little girl.

 

“From a young age, I started having panic attacks,” she said. “I was in and out of the doctors’ offices, and eventually diagnosed with depression and panic disorder.”

 

Though her parents worked hard to get her the help she needed, she still suffered some dark times during her adolescence.

 

“I experienced quite a bit of childhood trauma growing up. My parents divorced when I was about 12 or 13 years old, and that’s around the time I started drinking. It was also around that time I started having suicidal thoughts.”

 

She continued, “By the time I was 16, I was experiencing constant panic attacks and was unable to breathe and unable to cope. I was drinking, but hadn’t started using drugs yet. I was kicked out of my mom’s house, and instead of going to live with my dad, I moved in with drug dealers.”

 

When she was 18, she underwent open-heart surgery to treat a life-threatening medical condition.

 

“I was so excited to have the surgery because I thought it was really going to help me — so I could breathe normally, be better at sports, and have less anxiety,” she remembered.

 

Sadly, things didn’t turn out the way she hoped.

 

“What no one had told me was that surgery can significantly worsen depression,” she explained. “I couldn’t do the things I normally did to cope with it, like sports or driving. By the time I left the hospital, I was severely addicted to morphine. Everything went quickly downhill after my open-heart surgery, and I turned to pain medication.”

 

Amy continued to try to live a normal life — at that point, she didn’t yet realize that she was addicted. She moved from Chicago to New Orleans for college and completed her freshman year. Unfortunately, she couldn’t keep the momentum going, and soon found herself homeless on the streets of New Orleans.

 

“During that time, I experienced more trauma. I was diagnosed with PTSD. Things got really bad. I was down to about 80 pounds, and I crossed just about every line I had ever established in my life,” she said.

 

She was in and out of counseling, but it wasn’t until a friend connected her with a man who worked in an outpatient treatment program that she got the help she really needed — including the power of positive thinking.

 

She said, “That man, his wife and his family came to meet me on a 12-step call, and I went to a meeting with them. Immediately afterwards, I went out drinking; but the next day, [which was] Mardi Gras when I was 21 years old, I got a sponsor.

 

“Before I went to to that meeting, for the first time in my life, I actually wanted to live,” she continued. “While I was there, I saw people who were truly happy. The family that took me to that meeting — they saved my life. I felt a sense of community I had never experienced.”

 

Now, with over three and a half years of sobriety under her belt, Amy works tirelessly to ensure that others who are struggling the way she once did practice positivity and other body- and mind-healthy habits in their everyday lives.

 

“I am now the regional coordinator for the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network … I bring public education to topics like suicide, substance abuse and mental illness,” she beamed.

 

She shares her story whenever she can in order to help others.

 

She noted, “I realized I couldn’t do what I was doing for a living without expressing myself and my story. Part of my self-care today involves having people around me who are aware of my past and what I’m doing. When I speak with groups, I start up conversations about mental illness, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.”

 

Although Amy worked for years to achieve everything she has accomplished today, she couldn’t truly battle her demons until she committed to having a changed perspective — one that allowed her to view things in a positive way.

 

“The first step is to want it — to really want it. I wish that wasn’t always the case, but it is.”

 

If you are struggling with a mental health condition like addiction, depression or anxiety, know that there is always help available for you. You can overcome any obstacle life throws at you — but as Amy proves, you have to want it, and embrace your strength with hope and positivity.

 

As she said, “It’s so important to have … a willingness to keep walking. No matter how small the step, keep moving forward. It’s all about daily action.”

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Give it Time

Time heals almost everything. Give time time. – Regina Brett

I posted this in my personal blog, but I felt like it worked well here as well.  I was out in the kitchen thinking about something I’m trying to forget, when the phrase give time time popped into my head.  A few second of googling gave me the whole quote, and I love it.  Some things just take time.  If you’re searching for a new job, you send out your resume and apply and then you wait.  If you’re trying to create a new habit, or get rid of an old habit, it takes time.  If you are struggling to move past an unpleasant event, or get over a failed relationship, all you can do is wait it out.  It’s not easy, in fact, it’s pretty darn hard.  But there are some things that are just a matter of time.  How do you move past a failed relationship when you have such strong feelings for someone?  What do you do when they keep popping into your head at the the most inopportune time, or all the time, or they’ve never left your heart?  How do you not fixate on that perfect job that you saw advertised, and get your hopes up too much?  Sometimes, it’s a matter of acknowledging the event.  “Yes, this relationship is over, and yes, I will always have feelings, but I’m letting go of the negative ones.”  Don’t harbor hate or anger in your heart because that’s not any good for anybody.  Acknowledge the fact that the job you applied for would be perfect – visualize yourself doing that job, and then get back to work applying for other job.  And this is going to sound super weird but if you have a big goal you’re working toward – for instance getting more healthy, don’t focus on the end goal of that certain magic number on the scale. It’s going to take time to get there, so give time time and just focus on today.  Today, I am going to not have soda, or today, I am going to go for a walk.  Give time time to do it’s magic. All things pass, and change can and does happen, it’s just a matter of time.

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