December 15, 2017

Christmas, Anxiety and Peace.

Box with old key in the sand

Peaceful Christmas

May this Christmas time bring joy, peace, love and as many fruits of the spirit as possible into your life. Speaking for our family, we have had a hard year and look forward to a wonderful 2018.

Stress and anxiety may rear its ugly face during the holidays so I’d suggest you get your tools out of your toolbox and start using them now.

  1. Pamper yourself. Take nice, long walks to decompress, take hot relaxing baths, nap if possible, listen to soft, calming music, eat healthily, and smile more even if you don’t feel like it.
  2. Avoid the naysayers. This one may be hard if they happen to be members of your family. Still, you can make an effort to not engage in negative behaviors and not fall prey to their own unhappiness. Repeat your own affirmation to stay focus, for example, “I am loved by the King of kings and Lord of lords,” “I am a child of the living God,” “I feel safe, calm, relaxed and peaceful.”
  3. Do not overspend. You’ll thank yourself a few days from now when you don’t have a big credit card debt.
  4. Be thankful. Thankfulness brings such a sense of wellbeing to or soul! And there is always, always, something to be thankful about.
  5. Keep your feelings in check: choose to not get offended by someone’s thoughtless remark, let it go, rise above it. Pray for them.
  6. Engage in the real meaning of Christmas, Jesus and His birth.

I use my on relaxation CDs every morning, night and throughout the day as needed. Please visit or store and listen to or samples.

Blessings, Silvia

December 6, 2017

More About Loneliness and its Possible Roots.

 

sepia picture of small resolute looking adobe church on knoll in autumn

Peaceful setting

I decided to write more on loneliness because my last post struck a nerve; many people felt a connection to the fact that loneliness is created by not being around the right people to us, not about lack of people.

We may feel alone while surrounded by others, or feel very connected just knowing someone loves us even though they may not be present.

Another component to loneliness is based on how we grew up with our family of origin. Were your parents available to you? You may have had more needs for connection that what you received, not necessarily making your parents neglectful, simply unaware of your needs. Or when you had a need you were too young to voice it and the need went unmet.

Growing up, whenever this feeling showed up in your life, it made you susceptible to recreate the time you felt lonely as a child, thus repeating the pattern and  lonely feelings.

Working on ourselves to feel connected may begin with connecting to ourselves, not so much people around us. The ability to spend meaningful time in solitude and not feel lonely reflects a healthy self bonding, an ability to take care of self, not always depending on others. I am all for healthy connections, and being relationable people. I am talking about the fear of being alone. This fear shows a part of our identity that did not completely grow up to the adult form it needed in order to feel comfortable being alone. Always needing someone’s company may show unresolved anxiety, stress, fear, and other negative emotions that may need attention and processing them my help the negative feelings.

Self-talk is directly connected to our fears of being alone. What are you telling yourself? Are you feeling inadequate? Less than? Afraid of somebody breaking in? Rejected? How can you counter those negative thoughts and convert them into truth?

For example:

Negative thought: I am feeling anxious being alone in the house, if anything were to happen to me no one is here to help me.

Truthful thought: It is nice to have a safe, quiet house to work on my own projects, reading, sleeping, etc. I can enjoy the peaceful time and replenish my soul.

It is all in the perspective we choose to focus on. If you are going to try enjoying solitude:

  • Start slowly, maybe an hour the first time.
  • Add in half hour increments.
  • Plan and write down what you will be doing and what you are going to be telling yourself.
  • Plan it as a positive experience you are looking forward to.

Let me know what how the experience went for you,

Our relaxation CDS and MP3 may help you achieve freedom from fear of being alone, or any other fear. Please visit our store.

Blessings,

Silvia

 

 

November 27, 2017

Loneliness is Not About Being Alone.

 

Holy Spirit

I remember like it was yesterday, that ugly, creepy feeling of being completely alone; but how could that be? I was surrounded by lots of family. Unfortunately, I had learned at a young age to feel loneliness because when I was 13 years old my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my world, as I knew it, was shattered.

Growing up with a Catholic mom and a Jewish dad had its advantages: we celebrated twice the amount of holidays that most people did. It was a lot of fun growing up and looking forward to the celebrations. I felt safe, connected, secured, and loved.

One night, when my dad was ill there was a big Jewish celebration at my Aunt’s house and my brother and I went while my mom stayed home with my very sick dad. I did not want to go but my mom insisted hoping and thinking that it would distract me and make me feel better. The opposite was true, I wanted to be home with my parents. The joy of celebration was dimmed by my dad’s cancer. I wanted to stay home but I went with my brother as I was told. I remember seeing the many loved and familial faces, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives that I knew so well and cherished so much, yet, I felt nothing but loneliness being there without my parents.

That particular night I felt the pain of loneliness in a very deep, sad and dreadful way. I wanted to cry and tell everybody that I was very sad and did not feel like being at a party. I felt so alone while surrounded by so many. Just the year before this same celebration had been full of joy and fun just because the two people that meant the most to me at that time were there. The other family members helped to complete the happiness I felt but we all have those loved ones that make us feel connected to others and to this world through them. Their absence makes everyone else near you a reminder of the loss you are experiencing.

If those connecting people were the only ones you had in your life you would not feel loneliness. The opposite is true, if those few were missing and you were surrounded by many others, you would still feel loneliness.

So, what is loneliness? It is the lack of physical or emotional connection to someone that makes you feel safe, cherished, protected and loved. It could be one person or a few.

Let’s be mindful and take good care of those who make us feel safe and loved, they are an integral part of our emotional well-being.

Please visit our store, our Relaxation CDs make wonderful Christmas presents.

Blessings your way,

Silvia

 

November 18, 2017

To think or Not to Think…

Serene pasture

Relaxation helps to tame our negative thoughts.

To think or not to think…

Like most everything, to much of a good thing is not good. A piece of dark chocolate, OK 5 pieces, is a good thing, ten is not. In fact, it may cure us for a while on chocolate. A good cup of coffee is delectable, five cups will drive us up the wall, a small sugar doughnut.. delicious…four will make us sick. Thinking good thoughts are healthy, twisted thoughts are hazardous for one’s health. I know this too well. My thought process, I learned years ago, was “maladaptive” or distorted. I had to train my mind to mind my will, and I had to will my thoughts to comply. Thoughts are random, involuntary brain waves continually in use.

Getting away from my own thoughts was imperative for my health and well-being. 

“To think or not to think” requires first of all, awareness, work, and willingness. My thoughts would creep up on me to the point of leaving me in tears from some awful feat that my imagination had created. Time after time of this had worn down my body, making me physically sick with anxiety and panic attacks. It was a very slow awareness process for me. My feelings, meanwhile, didn’t know that my thoughts were not real because it was causing a physical reaction as if all these awful situations were truly happening. Wow! I didn’t know that all this was going on until one day my weary body said “No more” and I had a panic attack that sent me to the doctor’s immediately.

Today, many years later, I believe that this experience was a good thing. I hated the “going through” process of restoration, but I found many kindred spirits on my trek. It was like a closet full of them that came out and screamed for help. It isn’t easy to talk about this issues specially in the body of Christ. After all we should know better. We should take our thoughts captive, we should be anxious for nothing, we should cast all our anxieties on Him… and the list goes on and on. Easier said than done for someone running with a wild mind, inadequate serotonin levels, and full of self imposed adrenaline.

Worry is lack of faith. I knew this intellectually. I was, after all, reading my Bible, praying, attending church, carrying on a leadership roll. But my guard was down somehow. I say it over and over, that the biggest struggle that many of us face is to transfer God’s word from our brain to our heart. It requires daily fellowship with the One that created us. We fell, yet we are redeemed, making our connection dim and cluttered with our own sinful nature. Until the day we see clear again we will struggle with different situations. I just hope that we would able to help carrying each other burdens until the glorious day when we’ll see Him face to face. Can’t wait!

Please visit our store. Our Relaxation Cds make wonderful Christmas gifts

Blessings your way,

Silvia

November 13, 2017

Shifting my Anxious Thoughts to Make my Brain Focus on the Truth.

Safe relaxation and meditation

Whenever I introduce the concept to my clients to think and speak whatever we want to see our brain do, I encounter resistance, “Well, I do not believe it myself, so saying it won’t help,” is a common answer I receive.

I will admit that it takes faith to begin this process but it has nothing to do with believing it or not. It has to do with sending a simple command to our brain to help it shift from looping debilitating and negative thoughts to renewed, transforming thoughts. When we are driving a car, the focal point we fix our eyes toward will be where eventually our arms will turn the steering wheel and take us. It is similar with our brains.

If we constantly tell ourselves how worthless, fat, ugly, stupid, helpless we are, regardless of whether it is true or not, we will believe it and become it. On the other hand, if we tell ourselves how worthy, healthy, nice, smart and helpful we are, given time, that is what we will become and believe as our brain will take us to that destination, and in time, we will believe it.

We need to phrase our command in the positive. Our brain hears the main words we say, like anxious or peaceful. If we say “I’m not anxious” several times, we will stay anxious because the words we are using are negative. We need to find the opposite word from what we want to become and use it. Instead of saying “I am not anxious” we would say “I am peaceful.” Remember it does not matter right now if you believe it – that mindset can change with time – we are just choosing a destination, ‘peace’ in this case. If you tell me you are going to Hawaii and have never been there you are not lying about Hawaii, you just haven’t arrived at your destination yet.

Here are some examples:

  • If you are feeling anxious say “I am peaceful, calm, serene,” several times and shortly you will feel more calm as you arrive at your destination.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed say “I am in control of this much of the situation, I will do my best today.”
  • If you are feeling depressed say “I will go for a short walk to feel some fresh air in my face and enjoy the sunshine.”
  • If you feel stuck say “I will problem solve and come up with different possible scenarios for this situation and work slowly toward them.”
  • If you feel stressed say, “I will choose what to focus on today, because where I place my focus is where my emotions will go. I will be kind and compassionate to myself as I tackle the issues at hand one by one.”

I think you get my point. I know there will be resistance and many “buts,” yet I encourage you to try it. Remember it took you time to convince yourself of all the negatives, it will take time to bringing them back to truthful statements. Most of the negative thoughts are lying to you; just because you think something does not make it true.

Please visit our store and get extra help with our Relaxation Cds and Mp3s.

Blessings your way,

November 8, 2017

A Lot Of People Will Get Angry at Your Boundaries and That Brings a Lot of Anxiety.

If someone is angry at your boundaries, it’s their problem, not yours and your job is to keep the boundary in place, no matter what.

The Book boundaries by Drs. Cloud and Townsend explains clearly that many people will not like you setting boundaries especially when you did not set them before. They are used to you being a push-over and will fight your assertiveness to bring you back to they way you were before.

When you establish a new boundary with someone else, the most common form of resistance one gets is anger. People who get angry at others for setting boundaries have a character problem. Self-centered, they think the world exists for them and their comfort. They see others as extensions of themselves.

When they hear the word “no,” they have the same reaction a two-year-old has when deprived of something: “Bad Mommy!” They feel as though the one who deprives them of their wishes is “bad,” and they become angry. They are not righteously angry at a real offense. Nothing has been done “to them” at all. Someone will not do something “for them.” Their wish is being frustrated, and they get angry because they have not learned to delay gratification or to respect others’ freedom.

The angry person has a character problem. If you reinforce this character problem, it will return tomorrow and the next day in other situations. It is not the situation that’s making the person angry, but the feeling that they are entitled to things from others. They want to control others and, as a result, they have no control over themselves. So, when they lose their wished-for control over someone, they “lose it.” They get angry. Here are six steps to consider when someone responds with anger:

“1. The person with the problem is the one that cannot respect your boundaries.If you do not realize this, you may think you have a problem. Maintaining your boundaries is good for other people; it will help them learn what they did not learn from their families of origin: to respect other people.

2. View anger realistically. Anger is only a feeling inside the other person. It cannot jump across the room and hurt you. It cannot “get inside” you unless you allow it. Staying separate from another’s anger is vitally important. Let the anger be in the other person. He will have to feel his anger to get better. If you either rescue him from it, or take it on yourself, the angry person will not get better and you will be in bondage.

3. Do not let anger be a cue for you to do something. People without boundaries respond automatically to the anger of others. They rescue, seek approval, or get angry themselves. There is great power in inactivity. Do not let an out-of-control person be the cue for you to change your course. Just allow him to be angry and decide for yourself what you need to do.

4. Make sure you have your support system in place. If you are going to set some limits with a person who has controlled you with anger, talk to the people in your support system first and make a plan. Know what you will say. Anticipate what the angry person will say, and plan your reaction. You may even want to role-play the situation with your group. Then, make sure your support group will be available to you right after the confrontation. Perhaps some members of your support group can go with you. But certainly you will need them afterward to keep you from crumbling under the pressure.

5. Do not allow the angry person to get you angry. Keep a loving stance while “speaking the truth in love.” When we get caught up in the “eye for eye” mentality of the law, or the “returning evil for evil” mentality of the world, we will be in bondage. If we have boundaries, we will be separate enough to love.

6. Be prepared to use physical distance and other limits that enforce consequences. One woman’s life was changed when she realized that she could say, “I will not allow myself to be yelled at. I will go into the other room until you decide you can talk about this without attacking me. When you can do that, I will talk to you.”

If you keep your boundaries, those who are angry at you will have to learn self-control for the first time, instead of “other control,” which has been destructive to them anyway. When they no longer have control over you, they will find a different way to relate. But, as long as they can control you with their anger, they will not change.

Sometimes, the hard truth is that they will not talk to you anymore, or they will leave the relationship if they can no longer control you. This is a true risk, and when people choose their own ways, you let them go.”

 

Parts of this article is from Boundaries, Dr Henry Cloud, one of my most respected mentors in my own journey.

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October 31, 2017

Anxiety Comes When We Feel Powerless Under the Negative Situations That Life Brings Our Way.

Anxiety comes when we feel powerless under the negative situations that life brings our way.The opposite of being anxious is feeling calm, rested, relaxed, peaceful, safe, in control, heard, understood, appreciated, and belonging.

Anxiety robs us of so much peace in our lives. That is why we need to learn to accept life as it comes and stop fighting against circumstances that are truly out of our control. Learning to deal with them as they come does not mean we give up and throw in the towel. It does mean that we accommodate our thinking to understand the circumstance and truly decide how to manage the situation for the best. Panicking and reacting inflexibly to a negative circumstance is going to put us behind in our ultimate achievement: accept and make peace with the circumstance and learn how to make it work for us instead of fighting it, which, in turn, will make us sick without accomplishing any forward movement.

That is where relaxation and meditation in God’s word comes in and teaches us to internalize His word and our ability to place our trust in His hands. There are so many things we choose to fight about that are not for us to fight. God Himself said that the battle is His. Let Him fight it for us.

Learn to take deep breaths, relax your body and hear His wise words.

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Many blessings your way…

October 24, 2017

Death of a Loved One, Specifically a Young Adult.

Death of a loved one, specifically a young adult seems unfair because they did not get the chance to fully develop into the man or woman they were going to become.

Pain seems to come either all at once or in small doses. Let me explain what I mean.

In the last few years I have observed myself and others going through rough, difficult times. They may not be situations hard enough to break a person, yet sufficiently intense to rob joy out of life. These happenings, though, wear people out, they wear me out. Overwhelming feelings flood our very souls, life becomes difficult to live, bills are hard to pay, and work becomes too big to go to. We may just feel like going back to bed and stay there forever.

Then, one day you open your phone text and see your dear friend telling you that her ‘son was killed last night.’

Life stops, you read and re-read the message not being able to truly internalize it. It is too painful to admit what you just read so all you can reply is “no, no, no, what is going on?”

Once your own denial subsides you begin to put things into perspective. Whatever situation was taking over your life half an hour ago, no longer matters. You rush to your friend’s side and feel an array of emotions that overcome you, but you need to be there and present for them.

I noticed that people want to DO something for the families going through horrible experiences like death and bringing food, coffee, cakes, plan the wake, etc. come to mind. Reality is, they will have to go through the pain and there is no way around it. It will take what it seems forever and they will never be the same. Eventually they will adjust to their new lives.

What are some of the things we can do for them in the meantime?

~Take their lead, offer a couple of options and leave it at that: “I am available if you feel like walking close to your home.” “I can watch your younger children.” “I’ll make phone calls for you.”

~Give them permission to say no to any of your offers.

~Text something short like (((Hugs))), “thinking of you, text me what I can do for you,” and do not expect a reply.

The first week may seem like a whirlwind to the family, and there is so much to do for them too. Between notifying people, planning a funeral, and so forth, they may not feel much of anything. They are partly in the denial stage, feeling like they are floating or watching a movie and reality escapes them.

But, when the funeral and celebrations of life are over, slowly but surely reality will set in. This may be the time that our loved ones may need you more than ever.

If or when that happens plan to be a good listener more than anything. They may need to re-tell the story of what and how things happened, they may share feelings, they may be angry, hurt, sad, etc. Your job is to listen, the fewer words the better. Your presence will be more than sufficient. And no platitudes. What I hear most about grieving families is a desire not to hear things like:

~God needed him/her in heaven (God doesn’t need us like that.)

~He/she is in a better place now.

~There is a new angel in heaven.

~You have other children. (This is a really bad one, which one of your children are you willing to give up since you have a few more around?)

~You can have more children. (See above)

~There is a reason for everything.

I know there are more and you get the idea of what I am saying.

Above all BE SENSITIVE to their needs. Nothing you do or say will make this any easier. Let them discover the way together as a family. There is a time to mourn and when death occurs, that is the time.

I wish things were different for my friend. I will be there for her when she needs me. I will sit comfortably in silence.

 

 

 

September 26, 2017

Meditation God’s Way.

Meditation involves a process of focusing our attention on only one thing at a time and letting all other thoughts go. Simply put, meditation is “focused thinking.” If you know how to worry, you already learned how to meditate, although your focus is in the wrong thing. Meditation God’s Way includes God in the process
If a thought comes to a meditating person’s mind, she should not resist that thought or judge it, rather she should notice it and let it go.

This is easier said than done because we are not used to it, it goes against our training to “doing” instead of “being”. Most people in the industrialized Western cultures have come to enjoy being busy, filling time with activities, people and noise. Many do not understand the art of quiet, solitary meditation.
It is hard to find moments of quiet reflection left that are not filled with:
~Listening to the Ipod, ~Cell phone conversations/texting, ~Checking email or the blackberry, ~Doing a google search, General business, Face book. I am as guilty as the next person on this matter. Whatever happened to appreciating the moment, introspection, free play, doing nothing.

*From ancient times God has instructed His people to meditate on His Word:
“Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

I continually stress the importance of body, mind and spirit connection, how one affects the other and as all three components work together well they make us whole.

*Harvard medical school tested the benefits of meditation:
~ A decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption
~ An increase in electrical resistance of the skin and alpha brain wave activity (both associated with relaxation)

*Meditation has repeatedly been found to reduce chronic anxiety and worry. Some long-range benefits may include:

~ Sharpened alertness
~ Increased energy level and productivity
~ Decreased self-criticism
~ Increased objectivity
~ Decreased dependence on alcohol, recreational, and prescription drugs
~ Improved self-esteem and sense of identity
~ Meditation helps to uncloud your perception of yourself and your life.

With all these good stuff happening, why do some of us resist relaxing and meditating, or don’t even like it? Besides what I mentioned before about busyness and noise, there are internal resistances to it.

*Meditation in Scripture not only helps us calm the mind and relax the body, but it also helps us to control our thoughts:

“For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

*The Word of God has the power to reveal our wrong thinking patterns and help us to change them so we can be filled with peace and calm:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

The unnecessary stressors this culture presses upon us can be overcome as we choose to meditate on God’s Word. Jesus said “The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” John 6:63. It is good practice to focus on God’s words and allow them to sink deeply into our hearts.

In our childhood we discovered the art of daydreaming. We used our imaginations perhaps to escape the circumstances we were in or to dream of what we would like to be or do. Unfortunately, as our minds take on more distortional thinking, hurt, pain, and worldly ideas, our imaginations become more corrupt and negative. People imagine catastrophes that will come to them, and many kinds of unclean thoughts.

From the beginning of mankind, after sin entered the world, our imaginations have been bent to evil:
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis: 6:5

* As Christians who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we can fight this negative inclination to evil. Paul said:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think (meditate) about such things.” Philippians 4: 8
Choosing to think about what is noble, just, pure, and lovely things will cleanse our mind of many stressful factors.

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August 1, 2017

Choose To Have Freeing and Liberating Thoughts Away From Anxiety, Stress and Despair

If someone discovered how to have freeing and liberating thoughts that would take you away from anxiety, stress and despair, you would find a wise, sensible, ‘together’ person that takes life and its challenges as they come. They accept “what is” and move forward without having to process everything for too long or too deep.

Grieving, has been said, is the inability to let go of someone or something. When one loses a loved one, grieving is the stage we enter into to unstuck ourselves. Grief could be defined as being stuck in a particular moment unable to keep on moving, breathing or feeling.

Freeing and Liberating thoughts are the opposite of being stuck. One can argue that this is easier to do when the situation we are stuck in is not one of the biggest tragedies of our lives. As we all know, “time does not cure all things,” but time gives our emotions, our brains, our bodies, our spirit the much needed opportunity to make some sense of what we have left. In other words time without processing may be just a waste of time and a means to get even more stuck in the pain we are trying to get away from.

Acceptance does not mean agreeing with what happened. In time, acceptance brings permission to embark a completely different life realizing it is OK that we will never be the same person we once were. A big piece of our previous personality was buried with the death of the loss we are experiencing.

Giving ourselves permission to, in time, entertain the thought to re-enter life as a different person is what I mean about having freeing and liberating thoughts that would take us away from the tremendous amounts of anxiety, stress and despair we may be feeling.

A few tips:

~Decide you are ready to move forward without fighting it or feeling guilty.

~Take a few safe steps to re-enter your life

~Ask for help from good friends and trusted family

~Map your new you and go for it.

As you choose to free your mind remember to relax. Our Cds amd Mp3s were designed just for that. All you have to do is close your eyes and breathe…

Blessings your way,

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