Tag Archives: Blues

How Your Friends Influence Your Life?

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin.

Friends add meaning to our life, they enrich our experiences, bring joy, and share our problems. If there were a fourth need besides food, water, and shelter, we could say it would be the need for human interaction, closeness, and friendships. After all, what if great things happen in your life—you got a new job, a promotion, or fall in love—and there is no one to share the news with? What is the use of getting that new dress, purse, car, or house if there is no one to tell you, “I’m so happy for you!” And what can give you more relief in time of frustration, grief, sadness, or “the blues” than talking to a friend? Our friends are an important part of our lives, and also a necessary part; they are our mirrors, and our sounding boards.

Choosing a friend is not an easy task, for we all had one or two experiences in our life when a person who we thought was our friend let us down. Those lessons were hard to swallow, yet necessary to our inner growth. Later we learned that it is better to be alone than to be in wrong company.

It is of utmost importance to carefully choose the people we will associate with, for they will have great influence on our life. ‘‘Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.’’ (Assyrian proverb). We are the average of the five people closest to us, and that relates to their lifestyle, manners, income, etc. If you make friends with someone who is always looking for an easy way out, tells “white lies,” makes excuses, is envious, sarcastic, and avoids taking responsibility, it is only a matter of time before you start slacking off in those areas and justifying your own behavior as acceptable. Somehow what seemed unthinkable before, will gain a new perspective and become the norm, for if you run with the wolves you too will learn how to howl, and just like a mirror you will start to reflect the behavior of your friends—the good and the bad.

Stop for a moment now, and take a little inventory of the person you are right now compared to the person you were a year or two years ago. What qualities have you adopted from the people you surround yourself with? What character traits, attitudes, vocabulary, even quality of your self-esteem, confidence, acceptance of yourself and others? How did your friends (consciously or unconsciously) influence you in those areas? If the change is positive, and you feel yourself moving toward more, that’s great! How about if the change is negative, slowly but surely getting you down, making you feel that you are less instead of being more?

It is up to you to make the change, for as long as you tolerate mediocrity from others, you too will find mediocrity in your own life acceptable. Know, however, that this will be one of the hardest changes you will have to make, for your friends will not want you to grow. They have spent months or sometimes years getting you to a point where they themselves are, and now they are feeling comfortable with you right there, and it will not be of benefit to them if you should decide to change that. They don’t want you to grow, for the result of your personal growth will be outgrowing them and their comfort zone. At all cost they will want you to stay where they are, where they can continue to influence you and will not have to worry that someday you may become better than them. Their intentions may not even be based on jealousy but rather on fear, so forgive them quickly so you can go on your way to become the person you are meant to be.

Sometimes you have to leave behind those who are not willing to climb the mountain with you, if they refuse to share your vision of personal growth, then they should not try to discourage you in reaching your dream. How will you know what their true intention is for you? Look at their own lives, in which areas have they already reached the success that you are striving for? If they tasted the victory, they will want the same for you, however if their life never left their personal comfort zone they will be eager to share thoughts of fear and discouragement with you. So on your travel to a greater you, only take counsel from those who have already been there. Surround yourself with friends who are models of something instead of experts of nothing, for if you share your problems with someone who is incapable of contributing to a solution dipping in their own life’s experiences, your time and energy is wasted. Oftentimes though, it is those who never did anything who are the first with their ill-fitted advice. Know then, that at those times you can reserve the right that not everyone has the privilege to speak into your life. Instead of wasting your time with those people, invest in some time spending a few hours with people who have ‘‘been there and done that” and came out of it successfully.

It is said that there are three kinds of people in this world:

• Those who watch things happen.
• Those who make things happen.
• Those who wonder “What happened?”.

So let’s make things happen. Start today!

Choose good friendships in your life, the kind of friends who will enrich your life, pull you up when you are down, and push you when you can’t go on by yourself, who will be generous with praise at your successes and eager with encouragement at your struggles, those who will not patronize you to make you feel good for a moment, but those who will tell you the truth and help you get better for a lifetime.

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Relationship Advice: Breaking Up Hurts For Real And How To Recover Faster

In studies of life’s most stressful events, being divorced or break up is the number two top life stressor, following right behind number one, being widowed. Both can plunge you into severe depression and health problems. Breakup of a significant relationship or marriage creates a panic response in the brain and such stress in the body that neuroscientists believe it can lead to a lowered immune system and illnesses. If you fall into either of these categories, you absolutely need to take care of yourself and do all the activities we discuss.

Women who hadn’t gotten over a relationship by 16 weeks after the breakup had decreased brain activity in the regions associated with emotion, motivation and attention. This is a physical change in the brain. That’s why it is so hard to concentrate on anything-so hard to get up and go. Do not let yourself go this length of time without intervention.

Researchers at UCLA have pinpointed the part of the brain that registers the pain of a break-up. Being rejected activates one of the same areas of the brain as physical pain! In the study, the more ignored the people felt, the more activity they had in the anterior cingulate, which also registers physical distress. So your pain is physiological.

Other researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that a breakup can create physical heart pain and shortness of breath. They call it Broken Heart Syndrome and, of course, it affects more women than men. Emotional stress or rage can actually precipitate a heart attack, so on this one you need to get it medically checked out.

Relationship Advice: Getting Over the Heartbreak Faster

Getting over heartbreak isn’t easy but there are definitely some clinically proven methods to beat the blues. There are five recovery methods I recommend: sharing; meditation; sleep; exercise; and, having imaginary conversations with the ex. In one study, talking about their negative feelings lessened the participant’s activity in the pain-feeling part of the brain. Among the recommendations coming out of the UCLA study is that a good remedy for heartache is to spend time sharing with close friends, because this activity causes the brain to release natural opioids, which are like the painkillers found in opium. So make a beeline for your friends, a sponsor, a minister or someone else you confide in.

A second group of recovery methods recommended by the Johns Hopkins researchers emphasizes practicing relaxation techniques, including meditation, deep breathing or journaling out your feelings.

Sleep is very important to helping immune function but with the depressive reactions that many have, sleep may be hard to come by. This is another reason to consider starting a regular relaxation or meditation program-these have been shown to help people sleep better. Also, working out at the gym may help, because it releases opioids.

One final way to beat the blues comes from a study that showed that people who had imaginary conversations and then said goodbye to their partner had more relief from grief than those who didn’t. Here is one imaginary conversation that Darlene, had with her very narcissistic ex:

“You are so classically narcissistic! You only think of yourself. You sucked me in at first with all this generosity, but once you had me, you only took, took, took. And you were the one who abandoned the relationship, even though I bent over backward for you, you jerk! Withdrawing slowly from me to the point where there was nothing left. You stonewalling jerk! Even though you were the one withdrawing, you provoked me into ending it by actually going on Match and chatting online in the same room as me! How humiliating! And now I hear you are happy. It makes me so upset! You never deserved me and I hope in your next relationships you’ll get exactly what you dealt out–a lot of bullshit in a charming voice. You wasted my time and my life these past 2 years. I fell for it, I didn’t self-protect, I was too anxious to be in a relationship and I ignored the signs. I wanted someone else to do the hard work for me. Well, I have learned that I have to do it. I will watch out for myself. I will speak up for myself!”

Airing these pent-up issues and feelings helped Darlene let go and later she moved forward into a relationship with a terrific guy she met at church. Similarly allowing yourself to be with and process your own thoughts and feelings, no matter how painful they are will also allow you to move beyond them and the guy who triggered it all.

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How To Overcome Your Greatest Disappointments?

Maybe you didn’t get the promotion. Maybe a thief broke into your house and made off with every precious thing you owned.

Or maybe the person you fell in love with and wanted to marry didn’t return your feelings.

It happens to all of us. If you’re ambitious about life, you’ve suffered disappointments along with success.

In fact, it seems like the more you find success, the more it stings when things don’t go your way. You wonder, how in the world could this happen to me?

I hadn’t planned to write this post. But then I realized it’s danger in not talking about the real disappointments in our lives. So I’m going to talk about it. Because I know my readers, who are successful and ambitious, will face disappointments of their own. And sometimes, the best time to write about how to find your way out is when you’re in the middle of it.

So here’s everything I’ve learned, from my own experiences and others, about overcoming the emotional toll of defeat, and more importantly, how to keep on living well in spite of it.

1. Take time for reflection.

Sometimes our disappointment is driven by a fear of change that isn’t real. We wrap our self-worth around awards or promotions that aren’t meaningful and people who are not worth (or if they are, it makes that self reflection even more valuable). Whether it’s therapy or just discussing things with a friend, get clear on why you wanted what you did. You might find that your disappointment is an opportunity to change course towards a more positive direction.

2. Don’t give up too soon.

Once you know why you’re fighting for a dream, it’s a lot easier to keep going. There’s no magic number of times you try something before it either works or you concede to quit with honor. There are no guarantees your persistence will pay. You just have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and believe, “I gave it everything I had.”

3. Find a way to laugh.

Most people won’t do this. They’ll blow it off as silly, but it’s really powerful. Laughter releases “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin into the body, relieving tension and providing a momentary escape from the emotions that plague you.

It’s also a heck of a lot more fun than crying.

I’m convinced you can find a funny video on almost any topic on You Tube. If that doesn’t work, nothing cures the job blues better than your favorite comedy, a bowl of ice cream, and a great big belly laugh. Just do it.

4. Don’t dwell in your disasters.

During times like these, gratitude only comes with practice. Focus on what’s going right in your life; make a list of all the “lucky breaks” you’re probably taking for granted. Then allow yourself to enjoy them. You don’t have to pay homage to what could have been by being miserable. Pay your respects by acknowledging that what you have is enough.

5. Grieve.

A dream has died.

One of the big myths about grief is that it’s something you just “get over.” In fact, though you never stop grieving, you do learn to live with it. The problem is, you can’t get there logically. You have to follow the soggy breadcrumbs of your emotions and hope they take you home.

Recently I had a nightmare. I was taking my kids to school and I was (as usual) a bit late. We were rushing and I was pulling them along beside me. When I looked down I realized one hand was empty. I was frantic. I couldn’t find my child. How could a child go missing without me even realizing it? When I awoke, all was right with the world.

Setting and reaching for ambitious goals are important. It’s what keeps life interesting. But there’s no point in ruining the life you already have in pursuit of the one you can’t. Don’t let your dead dream become a ghost that hovers over your life.

“I’m grieving what was never there to begin with. I’m grieving an idea of myself and of my place in the world. I am not grieving what is or what was. I am grieving what doesn’t exist and what has never existed, except in my own thoughts. [But] there will be new dreams, different dreams, dreams that are based on what is real.”

You can’t always be lucky. And when your heart is broken, you can’t always be happy.

But you can be brave. You can embrace hope like an old friend. . . the one who lied, the one you forgave.

Keep dreaming.

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10 Tips To Help You Keep A Smile On Your Face.

Believe it or not, YOU are the one that decides whether or not to be happy. No matter how much we have to deal with in this life, it is up to us to determine our state of mind. Smiling is one of the best ways to keep a positive outlook in life. So I just wanted to share with you a few things that have helped me turn that frown upside down.

1. Live a healthy lifestyle.
Nothing makes you smile like feeling great, having lots of energy and knowing that you are treating your body with respect. So a great way to keep a smile on your face is to exercise, eat right, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. I think this is a no brainer, but very important none the less.

2. Stay focused on the positive.
Another one that is very obvious and yet not so commonly implemented is to stay focused on the positive. No matter what the situation there is always a silver lining. Find the good that is always present and keep it at the forefront of your mind.

3. Be prepared to take a step back.
When the going gets tough you need to be ready and able to step out of the situation and get some air. By remaining in a bad place you will be making it that much harder to see the way out. But by taking a step back, clearing your head and getting a fresh perspective, you will be much more capable of maneuvering through any situation.

4. Spend time in nature.
I always find that nothing brightens my day like a good outing in the beautiful outdoors. Sunshine, fresh air, greens and blues, there’s nothing better. Always make time to stop and smell the roses, literally.

5. Serve Others.
People usually shy away from the word serve as something they would ever do for another human being. It sounds so demeaning. But serving others and putting their needs above your own is a wonderful way to keep a healthy perspective and show someone you care. Keep a look out for opportunities to fill a need and help another human being. There is no greater antidote to an unfulfilled life than that of helping others.

6. Never lose the kid in you.
The kid in you is the source of your greatest imagination and the innocence that allows for a fresh perspective. When we ‘grow up’ we should never loose this child inside, but instead we should embrace it as part of who we are and the great asset that it provides. There is no more genuine smile than that of a little child. That child is still inside you, you just have to let it out.

7. Always be flexible.
As important as it is to always have a plan, we need to remain flexible so that we can roll with the punches. Life is always going to throw us a curve now and again, but it is up to us to either let it get us down or make the necessary changes to keep moving forward. So always be prepared to make a change and your smile will stay intact.

8. Find healthy escapes.
Sometimes life is just too much to deal with. We need a place where we can feel safe and are able to think clearly. Whether it’s a hobby, location or just an experience, find that place where you can get away from the trials of life so you can rest and recoup to go back out and hit things head on. Just make sure it is a ‘healthy’ escape. It can be tempting to escape into those places that are hard to come back from. You will know it when you are in it. Just be clear with yourself that you will only stay if it is truly beneficial to your life.

9. Keep your priorities straight.
There is nothing more dangerous to your mental well being than misaligning the things that matter most. A common cause to an unnecessary frown is an over focused mind on that which is of little importance.

10. Appreciate the things you have.
Last but not least, never forget what you already have and how blessed you are to have it. Things like your family, friends, pets, etc. Always appreciate these things and you will never have to live another smile’less day.

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