Earlier this week I challenged you all (and myself) to the 7 Days of Not Complaining. Well, the first day was an epic fail. I guess I shouldn't call it epic, but it was not so great. I have to be honest though, I believe I've gotten a little better every day since then, and I believe this is something I can get used to. For those of you who regularly check out my blogs, you know how I feel about the Serenity Prayer. For those of you who are new, let me tell you, I try to apply it to everything. This 7 day challenge has been no exception.
In the last week I've noticed something about myself that was a little concerning. Life has been happening, and it's been a little more chaotic than usual. Instead of taking it in stride, I've been complaining... a lot! I am not a chronic complainer. As a matter of fact, I usually find myself not only finding my silver lining, but finding it for others as well. This week, I've just been frustrated. When I get into a "funk," I usually remind myself that my gratitude determines my attitude. However, in all honesty, there are those moments that I'm truly grateful, but still discontent. I've decided I'd give myself a 7-day challenge. I'm appropriately naming it "Seven Days of Not Complaining." It will be really interesting to see how this goes.
My daughter truly fascinates me. Over the last few days I have been watching her and learning a lot. It's amazing what you can learn from a one-year-old. She celebrates everything. When she throws something away she smiles, when she finishes her food she claps and even when she managed to put a cookie in the XBox, she did a little dance. She celebrates every accomplishment whether it's big or small, and why shouldn't she? Why shouldn't we? How often do you take the time to celebrate your accomplishments? When is the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back for finishing a task? When is the last time you finished dinner or a load of laundry and applauded yourself? I thought about this and couldn't remember the last time I had. So I started.
This week was filled with unexpected events. It started with a trip to urgent care after my daughter felt the appropriate place for a green bean was in her ear. It was followed by unexpected illnesses, crises at work, and another trip to urgent care after my daughter’s face lost a war with a mosquito lurking in our car on the ride home. As we all know,“life happens,” and this week it taught me the importance of remaining calm in stressful situations and dealing with the unexpected. It’s not that any of the events I mentioned were particularly anything to pull your hair out over. It was simply the culmination of events compounded by the fact that I had too many other things that needed to get done. The green bean incident was in the middle of preparation of dinner. The illnesses were during a time I couldn’t afford not to feel well, and the crises at work took place when I needed to catch up on paperwork. So what do you do when life presents those unexpected events during a time you have planned to get other things done? Well, you can roll with the punches. You choose to get up and push, or lie down and die. However, there are some things you can do to alleviate the stress of the unexpected.
What would you do if you absolutely had to make lemonade with no sugar? I thought about this earlier this week. Personally, I’d start by making sure I had some lemons. Then I’d consider all things sweet that could mimic the taste of sugar. I’m pretty sure I’d come up with something close, even if it wasn’t “lemonade.” I know this is a random thought and a random way to start a blog, but let me fill you in on where it originated. I remembered a conversation I had with my dad. Frustrated and irritated, I called him one day to vent, and he asked me the age-old question: “Well Donna, what do you do when life gives you lemons?” As I took a breath between crying I managed to respond, “I don’t have any sugar.” He laughed, I cried some more, and eventually laughed with him.
My last two blog posts explored exercising and eating well for emotional health. Now that we've covered eating and exercising, this blog will explore relaxing for emotional health. Relaxation is your body's way of rejuvenating. Relaxing allows time for your mind and body to repair. It has also been shown that relaxing improves your mood and improves brain function and memory. I have found the importance of relaxation in my own life. I've discovered when I neglect finding time to relax, I do not perform as well in any area of my life. It's not that I don't like to relax, but in the midst of a chaotic schedule, I found it hard to find the time. Here are some ways I've learned to incorporate relaxation into my daily schedule. If you try them, you may find they work for you as well.
My last blog included information exploring the benefits of exercising for emotional health. This blog will explore the benefits of eating well for emotional health. Nearly two years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to be under the care of a wonderful naturopathic doctor. After years of trying conventional medicine to provide some relief from endometriosis pain, I decided to give the natural way a shot. My doctor placed me on a special, personalized, anti-inflammatory diet that really changed my life. The diet reduced my pain, but what I also found was that I felt better overall. Many people do not realize it, but you actually are what you eat. Eating healthy can drastically change your mood and improve your way of life. Scientific research shows there are many links between what you eat and your mood.
Over the next few weeks, I will be randomly blogging about ways to improve emotional health. Our emotional health is equally important as our physical health, but we tend to neglect it. People who are in good emotional health are better equipped to handle the stresses of day to day living. They are also better at handling their behaviors and emotions. Improving our emotional health can be a very rewarding experience. This week, the focus is exercise. Exercise has so many benefits. For starters, there is weight loss. Even if weight loss isn’t your goal, there is always weight management and toning. Exercise can prevent and reduce the instances of diseases and other health problems. It can also boost your energy levels, help in achieving a better night of sleep, and it can also be a good way to socialize and get to know others. Exercising is also a good way to improve our emotional health.
Yesterday I sat in awe, watching the adventures of my soon-to-be one year old daughter. I sat back and reflected on how much she has grown in the last year and how independent she’s become. It began with her morning feeding. I watched her feed herself and become frustrated with my efforts to help. That afternoon, we played with her blocks and as I’d build a tower, she’d knock it down and reconstruct it to her liking. Throughout the day, I watched her tackle her newest feat – running. I watched her take off with no fear; moving obstacles, running blindly around corners, and beaming in pride as she reached her destination. Later that night, much to my surprise and fear, I discovered she’d conquered the stairs. As I sat back and reflected on the day, it hit me… what if we had the courage of babies?
Most of us have heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” What if I were to tell you some laughter each day keeps the pain away? Research has shown that laughter is healthy. Laughter has been proven to have numerous physical and emotional benefits such as: improving mood, alleviating stress, improved oxygen to the brain, reduction in physical pain and relaxing the body. I find that laughter is one of the best stress management techniques. In a tight economy, laughter is free. I am also a big believer in laughing at and through my pain. I will sometimes share a story with friends about something hurtful, embarrassing, or difficult and when I begin to laugh they ask why. I simply tell them, “Sometimes I have to laugh so I don’t cry.” Laughter brings about a physical release, not to mention the reduction of stress-related hormones such as cortisol. Since laughter releases endorphins, it is also a natural relaxant and painkiller; the more you laugh, the better you feel. Laughter also works as a distraction.