Nov 27, 2015

Let's Meditate

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"Meditation reduces stress hormones in your body."

People may think that meditation should be easy, should be without thought.  It is very rare for our brains to be without thought, and it might be better if we approached meditation without that expectation.  Research has shown that 20 minutes of meditation a day improves health and decreases stress.  It might be unrealistic to try for 20 minutes at first.  Maybe it would be good to try for even 5 minutes, and then build up the time.  The point is to gently guide the mind back when it wanders into thoughts.  

Nov 26, 2015


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"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." Aesop

The only thing in life over which we really have control is our attitude.  We can look for the positive events in our lives, or we can be oriented toward what is going wrong.  We will always have both of these in our lives:  the seeming blessings and the seeming challenges.  I have learned in life that the seeming challenges also end up to have been blessings, for the learnings they allow.  So, perhaps all of life is a blessing.  On this day which is recognized by many to be a day for thanksgiving, let us consider:  what if all life events are really blessings?

Nov 25, 2015

Getting Enough Sleep

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"A happy bedtime starts at dawn.  Sunlight sets your body clock, which determines when sleep hormones like melatonin trigger a nighttime drift toward dreamland."

So, get up at the same time every day regardless of what day it is or how much you have slept.  Then head outdoors to get some sun within 1 hour of waking up.  Also, avoid light-emitting devices like computers and phone for an hour before bed.  Most of us sleep best in temperatures between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.  I installed a number of nightlights for my loved one to prevent falls, but I have now removed some of them, so that I have a more darkened area in which to sleep.

Nov 24, 2015

Ways to Curb Stress Eating

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"Try these four mindful tips to break the cycle of eating without thinking about it."

1.  Eat a clementine instead of a cookie.  The smell of citrus is healing, so peeling and eating a clementine can support health.  
2.  Wrap yourself in a robe warm from the dryer.  Research shows we eat less when our body temperature is a bit warmer.
3.  Eat your lunch with a nondominant hand, to prevent gulping it down, and avoid checking email or texts while eating.  Being mindful while eating can help us eat 30% less food.
4.  Take off your shoes at the door when you get home, along with telling yourself:  I leave my troubles/work at the door.  Changing immediately into comfortable clothes also helps.

Nov 23, 2015

Love Defined

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"Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I love that definition of love.  Have you ever been loved in the way of being led gently back to yourself?  I have realized that life's bumps have caused me to lose parts of myself along the way.  I think we all do that.  True love is when someone loves us enough to lead us back to who we are authentically.  It is what I think is the goal of therapy, at least in the type I do, to gently lead a person back to the essence of who they are -- because at the essence we are each beautiful.  Anything not beautiful is a result of building defenses against the world.  

Nov 22, 2015

Observing One's Life

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"The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.  You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought -- that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence." Eckart Tolle

Life is different when I can participate as an observer of myself.  I am more at peace, more detached.  I notice more things.  I think it is true that we can then access more wisdom.  We can all do it.  Just observe oneself, observe the bigger picture.  I read that before technology, generals used to sit high on hilltops to see the whole battlefield in order to strategize.  It is rather like that -- sitting back in one's awareness and observing the whole, so that we can better strategize how to live, what our impact is on other people, the interactions of other people and how they might affect us.

Nov 21, 2015

Reality of Caregiving

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"We live in an intensity that most people don't." caregiver speaking of experience

Yes, caregiving puts us in a situation of intensity.  Depending on the type of disability and whether difficult behavior is involved, the intensity can increase.  Even when my loved one was in a care facility, I noticed I was anxious every time I went to see him.  I never knew what would be the condition he was in, whether he would be lucid, whether he would be belligerent; and, of course, that sense of anxiety was much worse when I was the 24/7 caregiver.  I speak of this so that each of us caregivers knows the extent of the intensity of the situations we are trying to manage.  There are some good tips in the Oct/Nov AARP magazine.