Coping With Change

bench-forest-trees-path-largeWe are averse to change. As thinking human beings, we strive to keep our worlds the same.

We live in bubbles as we take care of our families, our vehicles, and our homes. A small thing—an inconvenient illness, a flat tire, a burst pipe—can put us into a tailspin. So how can we handle change without turning a situation into a crisis?

We may not have control over things that happen, but we can control how we handle them. We can control our thinking.

pexels-photoThought Control

Sometimes, our minds run rampant and turn the smallest thing into a potential nightmare.  For example, we get a flat tire and realize we will be late for work. What if we get fired? What if we can’t make rent? Our thoughts take on a life of their own, but the reality is that we are just experiencing a temporary setback.

Our thoughts sometimes make our experiences appear more dramatic than they actually are.  So when we find ourselves in a downward spiral, we ought to question whether the thoughts we are thinking are true, or whether we are worrying about something that will probably never happen.

benchphotoLife Can Be Easy

Anything—and we mean anything– that erupts in life is temporary. Whatever we worry about today will surely morph into something else once again.

So it makes sense to put ourselves first, and when an inconvenient situation arises, raise our awareness and decide on an appropriate response. Do we allow that situation to affect our whole day and cause stress, or do we simply take care of it without adding negative emotions so we can feel good about the day?

Whatever we are going through, we ought to eat well, take rest, sleep enough, and sprinkle exercise and sunshine into our days. Plus, carving out some time to fill a soul need can add pleasure to even the most melancholy periods.

The Introvert Myth

imagesThe world wants us to believe that there are two kinds of people: introverts and extroverts. Introverts prefer alone time and extroverts thrive on social contact. But the truth is that humans are social creatures. We all need social contact. And as spiritual beings, we need quiet time, or time to connect with our higher selves.

Every individual is unique and each has different preferences. If you label yourself an introvert as an excuse not to connect with people, you may want to re-examine your thinking. Distancing can thrust you into periods of loneliness and deprive you of human contact that aids personal growth. Similarly, if you label yourself an extrovert and are never alone, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to get to know yourself.

Balance is key to any successful life. Some alone time. Some time with others.  But never feel pressured to shift the balance based on the advice of others or based on what you think you are supposed to do. Get in touch with your inner self, which provides all the guidance you will ever need.

And Now for a Little Indulgence…

We meant what we said when we suggested distributing healthy Halloween treats last week, but there is always room for a little indulgence, and the wonderful thing about Halloween candy is the portion control. With the exception of a few overly generous individuals who distribute full-sized bars, most of the treats come in tiny packages. Here is a 100 calorie list of candy you are likely to see in your travels next week:

 Candy                                     Approximate Amount to Equal 100 Calories

           Candy corn                              17 pieces

           Hershey’s Kisses                      4 pieces

            Reese’s Pieces                        26 pieces

            3 Musketeers (mini)                   4 bars

            Reese’s peanut butter

             cups (mini)                                    2

            Almond Joy  Fun Size                  1 bar

            Fun Size M&M’s –either plain

              or peanut                                    1 bag

            Dum Dum Lollipops                         5

             Tootsie Rolls                                   4

            Snickers  Fun Size                       1 bar

 Another thing we love about Halloween is that it encourages walking, and it is not only for kids. If you have  young school-aged children, you will be getting your share of exercise, but when they want to do just one more block and you are ready to call it a day, just say yes.

Do go to neighborhoods where the homes are far apart, and go early when residents are less likely to be home. Such tactics translates to more walking and less candy.  And if you don’t have children of your own, or they are too old to be seen with you, tag along with a niece, nephew or a friend’s child. It’s a holiday. The more the merrier!

So if you dread Halloween, focus on the good part of the holiday: healthy snacks, plenty of exercise in the fresh autumn air, the permission to play dress-up, and chocolate in controlled portions. Enjoy!



Cultivating a Genuine Look

Our faces are the focus of attention so much of the time. Women put on their “faces,” they say, as if they don’t have a face without all the Cover Girl or Revlon brightening, hiding and tweaking their most valuable asset. Our faces are how we are recognized. They are unique and individual. Why cover them up with expensive, manufactured products, largely designed to hide them?
On the other hand, we live in a society where women are expected to have a finished look. A  rejection of social expectations is not the answer and no one feels good tramping around with unkempt hair, and wearing worn, oversized clothing just because it is comfortable.
Looking good is all about balance, but it starts with perception. Stop looking for your imperfections. Instead, focus on your strengths. How do you want to look? Put on makeup not to hide your imperfections, but rather to show the world who you are. Wear colorful clothing if you like and you might even want to purposely mismatch styles. Be bold. Be beautiful. But do not waste too much time in front of the magnified mirror. Take a quick glance to see if everything is how you like it, and you are good to go.

How it feels when you do put yourself first

When you do not get caught up in life, and you work on being present and feeling your body and feeling good, you achieve balance. There is nothing more important than that.

Part of the reason we stray from the path is that we seek instant gratification, and taking care of our bodies takes time. We rather put in an hour of overtime at work, or do another household chore, than hit the treadmill. Realize that while doing something else gives you external rewards, there are intrinsic benefits that come with exercise. Pay attention to how you feel after you exercise. If you choose to take care of your body before you take care of the next obligation, you will feel good.

So let’s look at someone who is taking care of her body. She feels good about herself and her life. She is better equipped to handle stress or anything life throws at her. And the secret to living this kind of life stems from the experiential knowledge of how it feels after you exercise. Such knowledge contributes to the development of the right motivation and is something we will address next week.