In October of this year I watched for two weeks with anguish and concern the consuming fires sweeping through Northern California, taking homes, incomes, and even lives. This past week I watched again as fires destroyed parts of Ventura County, Los Angeles, and San Diego. As a Native Californian, I have never seen such devastation from fires. As I watched the homes burn, I thought of the many who are now without homes this Christmas. I was also reminded of how my father lost his family farm from a tornado when he was a young man. Read More
Hold up an empty picture frame and look through it. What do you see? Now move it to the right or left. Do you see something different? Now turn around and look behind you. What new thing are you now focusing on? How did the different frames make you feel?
Our feelings start with our thoughts. If you think someone is good looking and smells good, you may feel attracted to him. If you think that same person is rude and dirty, your feelings for him will most likely change. Anxiety is no different. Anxiety starts with a thought. A scary thought. A negative “what if” futuristic thought: Read More
As we prepare to get together with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving, feelings of anxiety and fear is normal. Being with family is not always a peaceful happy time for some.
It may mean having to sit with someone who you would rather not be with;
Fear of criticism, judgement, and lack of acceptance starts to kick in.
Maybe, you are going to be with someone whom you have a fractured relationship with and you are trying to heal it;
Fear of another family argument can cause increased anxiety and even depression.
Maybe you are confused as to why a family member or friend always ends up getting angry at something you said, and you feel like you are walking on eggshells every time you see them;
Fear of being blamed for “someone else’s problems” creeps up.
To help you reduce the risk of a painful and stressful family get-together, here are three communication mistakes to avoid: Read More
As a child, I remember my mother teaching me this song:
The foolish man built his house upon the sand. The foolish man built his house upon the sand. The foolish man built his house upon the sand, and the rain came tumbling down.
The rain came down, and the floods came up. The rain came down, and the floods came up. The rain came down, and the floods came up, and the house on the sand went “splat!” (clapping our hands as loud as we could as we would sing “splat”. This was my favorite part of the song!)
The wise man built his house upon the rock. The wise man built his house upon the rock. The wise man built his house upon the rock, and the rain came tumbling down.
The rain came down, and the floods came up. The rain came down, and the floods came up. The rain came down, and the floods came up, and the house on the rock stood firm!
I had forgotten about that song, until last year when I attended a training on Therapeutic Mindfulness. The speakers included Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. I was surprised to hear, for the first time, that pursuing self-esteem does not work and can actually be dangerous. Read More
Has anyone ever told you, “you’re reaping what you’ve sowed”? It’s true that some things that happen to us are a direct result of something we have done. However, that is not always the case. There are also times when we reap what we do not sow.
Those who know me know that I like to garden. I have a vegetable garden. This past year I saw the leaves of a tomato plant sprouting in the garden. I began to cultivate it, and for the past three months my husband and I have been enjoying the sweet juice of delicious yellow tomatoes. I have no idea where this plant came from. I didn’t plant it. Was there a loose seed in the soil of another plant I purchased? Did a bird drop the seed from a neighboring garden? I don’t know where or how it got there, but I do know that I reaped tomatoes I didn’t sow.
In addition to good, we also, unfortunately, can be the receivers of pain, sorrow, and agony that we don’t deserve. Read More
Anxiety and depression can steal our joy. It can stop us from doing the things we love, and impede on our daily activities including sleep, appetite, and overall peace. It can also have negative effects on our relationships, and even our faith. Living with anxiety is not always living. Sometimes, it’s barely surviving.
However, fear, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Fear is an emotion we need. It’s fear that drives our sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as fight and flight. Read More