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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

 

 

Aging Gracefully: Health and Safety Tips for Seniors

 

 

 

 

 

Photo via Pixabay by Congerdesign

 

Aging Gracefully: Health and Safety Tips for Seniors

by Maria Cannon

Aging gracefully involves many things; staying healthy is a priority, but safety is also a crucial part of getting older. For many seniors, making sure their home and lifestyle are in line with those imperatives can be difficult. You may have a disability that makes things a bit more challenging, or you might be on a budget that requires you to limit the amount of money you spend on improving your home to make sure it’s safe and accessible. Many seniors find it hard to get used to a different diet when they’re focusing on their health, especially if they’re living with diabetes or other conditions that require big changes.

 

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to boost your health and safety no matter your age or lifestyle,starting with maintaining or adopting the right mindset. Everything that’s going on in the world, combined with the challenges we all face on any given day, can make it easy to focus on the negative. But positive thinking can help improve your health and help you live longer. The key is to be intentional with your thoughts and reactions, focus on what’s good in your life, practice gratitude, and surround yourself with positivity.

 

Once you have your mind right, you can move on to more specific goals. For example, you might consider looking for a grant that will help you pay for modifications to your home, or working out a spending budget for the week that will allow you to cook healthy meals at home. With so many ways to stay healthy, you have plenty of viable options. Keep reading for some wonderful tips on how to get started.

 

 

 

 

Look Over Your Medicare Plan

 

Medicare is crucial for most seniors, but it doesn’t always cover everything you need. Supplemental insurance, such as a Medicare Advantage Plan, can help pay for extras such as dental and vision insurance and prescription medications. This is a huge benefit for seniors who are on a budget but have health issues they need to prioritize. Look at the website to learn more about this type of plan and how it can help you save money, but take special note of the open enrollment period, which runs between October 15 and December 7 every year.

 

Pick Up a Hobby

 

Hobbies can be invaluable for many seniors; not only does it provide relief for stress and anxiety, but it can also help you stay social and boost your mental and physical health. Think about the things you enjoy doing the most and work them into your routine. Whether it’s gardening, reading, or playing a sport, practicing a hobby you enjoy can help you feel good about yourself and can even help keep you happy. Hobbies that include friends or loved ones are even better.

 

Modify Your Home

 

Because your home should be a safe and comfortable place, it’s important for you to go through each room and take a look at how accessible everything is. Would a grab-bar or seat make showering easier? Would changing the flooring prevent slips and falls? Home modifications are common for seniors and individuals with disabilities, but they can be costly if you don’t have a good plan. Look online for information about grants that may be available in your state.

 

Get Enough Rest

 

Many seniors find it difficult to get adequate rest, either because of a physical ailment that makes sleep elusive or because of stress. You can prioritize good rest by making sure your bedding is comfortable, that your diet contributes to a healthy sleep routine (cutting out caffeine and eating foods like turkey and yogurt can help significantly), and exercising daily. With better sleep comes an improved ability to cope with stress, which will help with your overall well-being.

 

Staying healthy and safe well into your golden years can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful undertaking. Start a new plan for your lifestyle, and look for small ways you can change to avoid becoming overwhelmed. With some preparation, you can ensure that your mind and body stay healthy for years to come.

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

4 Ways to Stay Strong and Positive in Times of Sickness

4 Ways to Stay Strong and Positive in Times of Sickness

In times of sickness, it can be hard to keep your morale high. Medical conditions can make it difficult to get on with your normal routine. No wonder people undergoing any sort of treatment have to look for ways to keep them busy in order to enjoy their time. A positive attitude and motivation are necessary to get on with your life and stay calm.

Even though stress and painful treatments might seem as though they are taking a toll on your life, keeping yourself occupied with anything that your physician allows can help you stay motivated and lessen the amount of stress. This can be anything from meditation and easy yoga poses to reading a long overdue book. Sickness has a deep impact on the psyche of a human being. The recovery greatly depends on how motivated you are to put a brave front in times of hardship, be it any ailment that time and again causes pain or any sudden deterioration of health.

So, what are the things that you can indulge in during times of sickness to keep your motivation levels intact? Here are the activities that can cheer you up and help you cope with any situation:

1. Read a book or watch overdue series/movies

The more you keep yourself engaged, the better you can take your mind off the treatment. Being constantly reminded of your sickness because of your routine will make you feel isolated. So, let the doctors worry about your medicinal schedule while you can read a book or two with timely rest.

If the medical condition permits, movies are great to brighten the mood and stay connected with the outside world. Laughter is the best medicine and a comedy series or movie will only make you feel good.

2. Do not spend your time in isolation

While it is necessary that you take sufficient rest, do not avoid the company of your friends or family members. Do not hesitate to talk about your feelings. They know how difficult the phase is for you. Talk to them instead of feeling lonely. Your friends will make sure that, when they leave, you’ll have a smile on your face. They know you inside out, especially what makes you happy. You can rest assured that their company will brighten your mood and be just the distraction you need to keep your stress at bay.

It is the hardships that bring a family together and, with their support and encouragement, you are sure not to feel lonely.

3. Make your health your top priority

The only way you can recover fast is to make your health your number one priority. Your professional life and other commitments can take a back seat. This is the time to eat healthy foods. Even if you don’t feel much improvement in your overall health, it is necessary that you consult with your doctor and continue with a healthy diet. The important thing is to take rest and give your body time to recover.

4. Go out for walk and stay positive

You are either holed up in your room or are lying on your bed all day. Yes, you are sick but that does not mean that you will stop going out. Ask your doctor if you can go out for a walk. Even if it is hard to walk, see if you can go visit a park with the help of your loved ones. It will get out you out of sickness mode and help you relax amidst fresh environment.

Most importantly, you cannot let the situation get the better of you. It is just a phase that will eventually pass. You have to stay strong and positive to ensure your speedy recovery, even if that means reading motivational books or browsing through the Internet to read the experiences of other people who have gone through the same disease.

Motivation is all about mental toughness. How an individual can go through the entire medical procedure and still not lose hope is key to the respective person’s mental toughness. It is important to stay positive and indulge in something that helps to relax and get distracted. Be it reading a book or adopting a healthy lifestyle, it is essential to stay strong and positive and not lose your motivation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Suzanne Winchester

Suzanne is a chief editor at The General Post, and an independent healthcare industry analyst, speaker and entrepreneur, she is also a contributor writer for Bookyogaretreats.com.  Having hands-on experience in the health segment, she has answers to many health-related queries.

 

 

Take Steps to Have Better Life After Recovery

Take Steps to Have a Better Life After Recovery

Adam Cook – addictionhub.org

take steps to have a better life after recovery
Image via Pexels

 

 

 

 

Addiction and Treatment

 

Addiction is a disease affecting millions of people all over the world. There’s no one main factor that can predict if a person will struggle with substance abuse. A combination of genetic, environmental and developmental influences generally contribute to a person’s inclination towards addiction. While the best solution is prevention, there is hope for people who find themselves in the throes of this chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol use.

 

Substance abuse treatments help addicts cease their drug use, stay drug-free and reintegrate into society as a healthy and productive person. There are various different methods of addiction treatment, but the principles behind them are essentially the same. Effective treatment doesn’t just remove drugs from the equation, it also addresses the various mental and emotional issues behind a person’s proclivity towards self-destructive behaviors. Detoxification is only the first step; patients also need behavioral therapy and counseling to help identify stressors or triggers that contribute to their addiction. Often medication is also administered to help relieve withdrawal symptoms and restore balance to neurochemicals.

Life After Treatment

 

Whether you admit yourself into an inpatient treatment or you simply begin going to a group, life after treatment is markedly different compared to how it was when using drugs or alcohol. As addiction tends to overtake a person’s way of living, addicts have to figure out what their lives mean after becoming sober. Often they have to cut off certain places and people while making major changes including finding employment or a residence. It’s a big adjustment, for sure. But with these helpful tips and habits, life after addiction is manageable.

 

  • Positive thinking is paramount. Unfortunately, the damage drugs and alcohol inflict on the addict’s life make positivity counterintuitive. To reframe a negative mindset, identify the inner monologue that contributes to negative thoughts. Once you’ve identified the monologue, you can figure out what in life triggers these thoughts. Identifying negative thoughts and their triggers gives you the power to tell yourself “stop” once they begin.
  • Find the right place to live after rehab in order to encourage sober living. As Redfin.com explains, “You’ll want to find a place that helps you create a healthy, consistent routine without throwing you into the paths of old triggers. You’ll also want a loving environment to rebuild your relationships and bond with your family, a place where you can heal and focus on your recovery.” Avoid living situations that permit sneaky and destructive behaviors that lead to substance abuse.
  • Exercise is a healthy habit many addicts turn to when in recovery. Not only does physical activity release stress when facing triggers, it also plays a part in balancing neurochemicals and hormones misaligned due to drug abuse. Exercising stimulates the same reward center in the brain that drugs and alcohol stimulate. That activity helps to ease cravings and makes recovery more comfortable for the addict.
  • Meditation has a reputation of being something only New Age hippies do, but, in fact, it is a not-so-secret tool many of the world’s most successful people use to deal with stress and anxiety. Create a space in your home where you can be alone without distractions. Spend 10 to 20 minutes a day sitting in quiet while meditating. Focus on breathing naturally and let thoughts enter and exit your mind as they come while returning your attention to your breath any time it wanders.

 

***

 

Addiction is a serious disease that damages a person’s mind, body and life overall. There are many different paths to recovery, but life after treatment is markedly different than life before. To facilitate sober living, it is important to implement healthy habits that help balance the body and mind. Positive thinking takes a lot of work, but with time and focus you can rewire your brain to stop negative loops of self-doubt and hatred. Picking the right environment for life after recovery prevents falling back into old habits. Furthermore, exercise and meditation are two habits that can help balance the mind and body for comfort and happiness.

 

 

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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Gratitude

Today’s guest post is by Luke Goodwin

 

GRATITUDE

 

For me, this is one of the most powerful things that can influence every single area of your life and something that has completely transformed my way of thinking and also the way I conduct myself.

 

Each day, I utilise something called ‘The Miracle Morning’ and within this I have added in an exercise called ‘priming’ by the one and only Tony Robbins. Priming is something that has completely opened my mind, allows me to channel my thoughts, create energy and positivity. While I am doing this priming exercise, which lasts for 14 minutes, there is a part of it that focuses on gratitude, and I cannot put a measurement on how much this has affected me. I didn’t drastically notice immediate changes, but they were happening daily, just really small minor changes in my thinking, but over time, when I look back at my journal entries and how I used to conduct myself, I have realised how much, just spending a small amount of time being grateful, has impacted my life. It allows you to see yourself, other people and the world in a completely different light. It allows you to see solutions and not problems, it allows you to see obstacles as a way of improving not failing and it allows you to enjoy life, complain less, and be positive.

 

I used to be one of those people that would moan about 5 minutes of traffic, moan that someone didn’t arrive on time, moan about a lot of things, and I wondered why my life wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to go in, and that was due to my thought process and way of thinking. I was very negative, thought I was unlucky, and made bad decisions. Now all of those have completely flipped. I now think positively, generate amazing results, think clearly, work efficiently and have so much more energy.

 

I urge everyone, to practice being grateful, because then it will become an automatic process in your mind. Imagine this, if you are genuinely grateful to have a family, kids, partner, job, LIFE, do you think you would complain about half of the things you currently complain about? Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect, I still huff and puff now and again, but this has dramatically reduced since taking the time out to be grateful. I used to allow myself to get wound up when my kids misbehaved, which occasionally I still do, after all, we are human. But when I spent every single day being grateful that I am able to be a father, getting wound up over silly things reduced. I used to allow myself to let setbacks and obstacles completely swallow and drown me, and change my thinking into negativity, but when I spent every day being grateful that I have a life, and being grateful that I can even experience these challenges because they are developing my attributes and personality, I now see setbacks and obstacles as strengthening by character and giving me room for improvement. I used to moan that I had a bad day in business, and that I didn’t earn enough money, but when I spent each day feeling grateful for the fact that I am self employed and don’t have to commute, answer to a boss or line someone else’s pockets, it made me see those bad days as development. I am not criticising anyone that is employed here, I am merely stating the fact that for me, those were fundamental reasons why I made the decision to be an entrepreneur.

 

Each day, I would recommend taking time out to practice being grateful, it WILL transform your life. You could try the Tony Robbins priming exercise like I do, if not, simply take 5 minutes out of your day, go somewhere quiet with no distractions and completely zone in on what you are grateful for. This does take practice, and it takes commitment and consistency, it doesn’t happen overnight. For me, at first, I allowed other thoughts to enter my head whilst I was thinking about what I am grateful for, and my mind wondered, but over time, I became better and better and now I can completely zone in and be focus 100% on being grateful. When you do spend time being grateful, don’t worry about what you are thinking about, it could be something huge or it could be something really small, what matters is, how does it make you feel? Sometimes, I think about holding my little boy’s hand when I drop him off at nursery, or cuddling my daughter when I get back from the gym, but for me, it makes me smile when I think about these things. Now, I have spent so much time being grateful for things, I can think about broader things such as being grateful for having a life, and that the possibility for me even existing is so small, I am very very fortunate to even be here, living on this earth today. I sometimes imagine myself hovering above the earth, looking down on it and being blown away at how stunning it looks, and that underneath the atmosphere, are so many amazing miracles to be cherished. That somewhere on that earth is me, living an life. I am extremely grateful for that.

 

I wanted to keep this fairly short, because I think sometimes, things can be over complicated when it doesn’t need to be, and ultimately being grateful is a very simple thing in essence, but it does need to be done consistently in order for it to influence your life. I would love for people to read this, take my advice and get in touch with me and let me know how it has influenced you, no matter how big or small. I take great joy in providing content and value to people, and if it only affects one person, it genuinely makes me happy.

 

Feel free to link up with me on Facebook, I would love to hear your feedback.

 

https://www.facebook.com/luke.goodwin.142

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