Mental Health

Get a New Perspective

animals.nationalgeographic.com

animals.nationalgeographic.com

Life is challenging at times.  If we aren’t careful we can find ourselves feeling cornered, over whelmed, tired, and stressed.  Things happen, unexpected events, circumstances change in moments.

Life is merciless and can come at a rapid pace that leaves us breathless and feeling helpless.  The thing to remember at such times is, this too shall pass.  It’s a cliché, but it’s still true.  Moments both good and bad only last for moments.

Sometimes all it takes to change a situation is to change your perspective.  My art teacher taught me long ago, when getting frustrated while working on a portrait a long time, sometimes you get too close to the subject and the picture can start to look off.  The best thing to do is put the picture up awhile, go do something else, then come back to it later.  When you take it out later, turn it upside down and you will immediately see any flaws in the portrait.

There are a lot of things that work the same way.  When you work on something a long while, your stress level and emotional involvement can skew your perspective.  It’s important to work with a partner, or have trusted friends who will tell you when something is off, or perhaps help you take a break and see things differently.

Finances, for instance, can weigh heavily on the mind, cause lack of sleep, stomach aches, and stress that affects the body and mind.  Still, we have the option to ask for help, seek guidance, and the ability to look up possible solutions literally at our fingertips.

Jim Rohn said, “Everything you need is already available to you.”  I had to think about that awhile, because I tell you, it didn’t feel like everything I needed was available earlier this year.  Yet, after reading books, studying classes, searching for resources and taking advantage of just part of the things I have access too and have available to me, I realize Jim Rohn is right.

Don’t allow yourself to feel cornered or down.  You have a choice, you are in control of your attitude and the emotions you choose to use at any given moment.  If what you’re doing each day doesn’t leave you feeling fulfilled, or like your accomplishing something, happy, or content, then take a look at what’s going on in your life and how you’re responding.  Perhaps you need a break, a change in perspective.

Cherry Coley ©

Change 03/05/13

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.  And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom, a man cannot ride you unless your back is bent.” – Martin Luther King

 

Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world,  for indeed that is all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

 

Change is the one thing in this world that is certain.  Change comes into every life, into every circumstance, and makes it’s way into every situation.  Change simply…is.

How well we live our lives is directly related to how well we handle change, whether we live proactively and in a positive state of mind, ready for whatever life might throw our direction, or whether we live reactively and wind up being controlled by our on emotional responses to things that happen.  There is a choice to be made and we make those choices each day. 

What will we do? What if?  Don’t dwell on all the worries, live today, enjoy the moment, focus on what is right in front of you right now.  If you’re talking to someone, put down the phone, concentrate and hear the person in front of you. 

So many times we forget to slow down and just “be present.”  I know I learn to appreciate the people and things I have when I take the time to enjoy and focus solely on what I am doing.  It’s important, you will never have another moment like this one, change is coming.

Cherry Coley (c)

Decisions, Cross Roads, Challenges and Me

askvilleEvery now and then I find myself at a crossroad in life.  A time and place where you know you need to choose a direction, make a decision and that the choice you make will affect the rest of your life. 

I’ve sat at this crossroad wondering how I got there, trying to look at it objectively and thinking that once I saw the decisions I needed to make in the clear light of day, there was no debating, no wondering, no hesitation at all, the choices are simple.

You see, when I moved away from my ex husband my self-confidence was gone, my self-esteem was non-existent, and my self-worth was hiding in a dark corner somewhere.  The verbal and emotional abuse had taken its toll and it has taken a long time to get back to…me.

So, after going through a very rough holiday season where I spent a lot of time alone, grieving and generally feeling sorry for myself, I suddenly realized that I was choosing to feel alone, choosing to grieve, choosing to feel sorry for myself.  I had to stop and think about that awhile.  What else have I been choosing either by doing nothing, trying to ignore things, or just not dealing with things I knew I needed to own up too?

The answers have astounded.  How did I find them?  By truly looking at where I was and thinking about how I want to be remembered when I’m gone.  If I were to die 3 years from now, what would the people in my life say about me?  I didn’t like the answers my mind came up with.  I have a lot of work to do.  There’s nothing like visualization to get your goals clearly back in focus. 

One thing I’ve learned is that it takes far more energy to sit down and put up with things, force yourself to accept things, and look the other way, than it does to stand up, take responsibility, own up to your mistakes and take charge of your life. 

When you find yourself feeling bored, unhappy, depressed, or just down, ask yourself why?  Are you choosing to feel that way?  Or are there things you are allowing to go on in your life that are not in sync with who you are and what you believe as a person?  Either way you have choices, you have options and possibilities.  Stand up and take action!  It will change your perspective and your life.

Cherry Coley (c)

Grief as a Teacher

photo by Casey Keal

photo by Casey Keal

Grief can play with your mind and your perception of the way events happened.  The tricks of the mind can lead to feelings of regret and guilt, hurt and betrayal, and leave you with a feeling of loss that can drive you to your knees at times.

All week the residual feelings of the grief felt earlier this week have been with me.  I finally got to the point I was asking “what is it I’m supposed to see or learn here?” “What am I missing, and why am I feeling this way?”

By asking these type of questions the feeling of distress is lifted a bit so that I can see what I need see instead of lingering on thoughts of how I wish things had been.  My girls are teenagers and the oldest is getting ready to move on with her life.  She is trying to find her way, changing her mind, debating what she wants, and taking her first steps forward.

Through the other milestones with my kids, my mom has been here.  She was my voice of encouragement, my voice of reason, the person that would laugh at my worrying and say, “karma works.” 

I think of all the times I was out too late at night, talking on the phone and tying up the line (before the age of personal cell phones), trying to find my way and changing my mind, and often driving my mom crazy with my ideas and dreams.

There are days when I feel lost without mom, yet I know her words, her wisdom and her love live on in me.  I will not forget, Mom, I will remember and we will go forward.

Cherry Coley (c)

I Want My Mommy!

Today I miss my mom.  It’s not that I don’t miss her every day, but today the gaping hole in my chest where my parents used to be was hurting more. 

I had been doing so much better, I was moving forward, getting things done and looking forward to the future and SLAM, grief strikes again.  I hate that. 

Grief has a way of popping up at times and turning the world upside down when you least expect it.  It’s just the way it works unfortunately.  The name of this round of grief is called – “things I wish I’d done differently.”  The worst part of this round was not thinking of the things I would have done differently with my parents, (I went thru that part last year). 

This was about things I wish I’d done differently in other areas of my life, with my ex-husband, my kids, my school days, and all the time I wasted doing stuff that didn’t really matter or turn out the way I wanted in the end. 

My kids are growing up so fast and I still have questions, but no more answers.  There are things that they bring up and do that I don’t know how to approach, so I make suggestions and do research.  I feel inadequate at times, though I know it’s not true. 

If my mom were here she would listen to my worries and insecurities and tell me to “suck it up,” and “karma works,” then smile and even laugh at me because I put her through many of the same issues and how well I remember that. 

The things we thought were so fun as kids – like staying out too late, and talking on the phone all night, are not so funny as a parent.  Life is a circle, that’s for sure.

I am thankful for the time I had with my mom and my dad.  I’m thankful they always had my best interests at heart, even though they didn’t always understand me. 

I am thankful I have two daughters, that remind me that life goes on and sometimes you have to look back to appreciate where you came from before you can go forward. 

Cherry Coley (c)

The End or the Beginning?

“Every Beginning has an end, every end had a beginning.” 

It’s a funny quote that can lead to some deep thought if you let it.  It’s sad sometimes when things come to an end.  There are a lot of things we don’t like to see end, yet everything in life has a beginning and an end.

When relationships end it can be a sad event.  You don’t really want them to, but things just start to drift apart.  Sometimes you can stop the drifting and sometimes you can’t.  I’ve been in relationships like that where things just changed and it was time for the relationship to change too.  On a few of those occasions I was fortunate enough to see the relationship evolve and become a lasting friendship, in other cases it was simply time to say goodbye.

How we respond to the changes in life can help define who we become.  After all, if there is one thing that is constant and certain in life it is the fact that life will change.  We will lose people, animals, friends, family, in our lives.  They will leave, move, die, or just choose not to be a part of our lives anymore.  It’s just the way things go

We have a choice how we will respond to these changes.  We can hold on for dear life and choke any chance for reconciliation or healing out of existence.  Or we can learn to truly love with an open hand and realize that love, friendship, all relationships (other than those of parent and child) are a choice.  Actually, in some ways I suppose the parent and child relationship is a choice too. 

Keeping in mind that the people in your life are there because they CHOOSE to be there can lend a different perspective.  Realizing that it’s a choice that they are there can make a you appreciate the other person more, treasure and make the most of your time you do have together instead of wondering why the person falls short of all the expectations  put on them. Take a moment to appreciate that they are there because they care and they want to be there, and maybe a different approach is what is needed if there is stress in the relationship.  Take a break.

This is life, there are no dress rehearsals, no redo’s, no rewind or erasing moments that suck.  You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.  BUT…isn’t it nice, we have a choice, we can get up in the morning and change our attitude to thinking that each day, is a new beginning and then make it happen.

Tomorrow, will be the start of something new.

Cherry Coley (c) 

 

Let’s Do This!

startThose who really want to accomplish something will find a way; those who are not committed will find an excuse.

When you make excuses about why things didn’t get done, or create obstacles to use as an excuse to give up on that project, diet, or exercise routine the only person you are really hurting is yourself, right?  Wrong.  Like it or not we are all part of a community of sorts.  We each have friends, co-workers, and family members in our lives that pay attention to our choices and decisions.  What you do and don’t do, affects the people around you.

 Someone who make excuses about meeting deadlines, or personal goals rarely exceeds anywhere else.  I know for me I have to be careful because the excuses try to slip in there unnoticed when I least expect it.  “I can’t go jogging tonight, it got dark outside too quick,” or “I wound up running errands for other people the last few days and it threw me off my whole routine.”

 Life happens, accidents, incidents, whatever might come up can either be worked in, worked around, or incorporated into daily routines if you are really committed to a positive goal.

 Let’s make 2013 a year when we reach our goals.  Let’s make it a year of encouragement for the people around us, the year to do random acts of kindness and start something good. 

 I am determined to do some charity walks this year so I have started training to be able to reach those goals.  It’s something I used to do quite often, but it’s been awhile.  I look forward to doing my part, to giving back, to raising money for good causes and most of all, I look forward to crossing the finish line and knowing I stuck in there and made it! 

 2013 is going to be a great year!  Let’s do this!

 Cherry Coley ©

Start Something Right Now!

fellowshipThe news of the Connecticut shootings made me angry, then heartbroken.  I cannot begin to imagine the pain the families of the victims are feeling, or the pain of the children that survived and have to deal with great loss so early in their lives. 

 I don’t believe we should ever mention the criminals in these types of crimes.  They should remain nameless – “Devil Walking” – that’s how they should be referred to.  Never should they be reported by name, never should they be remembered.  Take away the fame and the pictures, the stories of their lives.  They are a Devil Walking doing unspeakable harm, and that’s all anyone needs to know. 

If they are brave enough to live through their crime spree then they should forever be stripped of their identity, they should have their names taken away and be made to spend the rest of their lives sending financial support to the families of the victims.  With a consequence like that they might think before committing such crimes.  Where are their rights? They gave them up when they took the lives of others

 Yet, the mass shooting Devils perform the ultimate cowardly act of committing suicide and going down in history.  Stop it!  They don’t need to be remembered.  The innocent lives they took – THOSE people are worth remembering, they were stripped of their lives, their hopes, their dreams, all taken in an instant. 

 On the flip side of this I can only say that mental instability is a growing problem.  The answer  - don’t just pray.  Prayer is good, but prayer is NOT ENOUGH!  Get involved, be aware of the people in your life.  Take time to get to know them individually.  Take time to find out what they are going through and if they need help, offer it if you can, or offer them a place to genuinely find help, above all – CARE

 There are at this very moment people all around each and every one of us that are hurting.  The economy is bad, there are people going through job loss, financial worries, sickness and dealing with losing family members and friends.  How many people do you ask how they are doing each day, and actually stay around to hear the answer?  Do you just want to see them smile and say “fine” So you can go on your way?  Would you like someone to ask you how you’re doing and know that they care what you say next?

 It’s interesting how in an age when we are all so “connected” with social media sites and texting, we are disconnected for the actual events in each other’s lives.  Those people that share their problems in the social media world can be shoved to the hidden lists or skipped over if they complain too much, or if things never seem to get better for them, God forbid the issues last too long.  It’s easy to stop answering the texts or stop checking on someone if they are continuously having a hard time, don’t move on, or things don’t improve after a while.  We are not a society that breeds patience. 

 Seeking help for working through problems, divorce, grief, job loss, abuse, health problems, from a therapist needs to stop being a stigma.  If you need the help, get it.  Stop worrying about what the masses think or say, it doesn’t matter what the social world thinks, what matters is that you are healthy and living the best life possible.

 What’s that saying? It takes a village to raise a child?  How about we rewrite that to read – it takes a community of caring individuals working together to create and maintain a healthy environment to live in.  Let’s start today, reach out to the people in your life and get to know them, you will be glad you did and so will they.

 Cherry Coley ©

Getting Here From There, and There From Here

Time management is supposed to be key to reaching your goals. Time management is the self discipline that will get you to where you want to be, along with a positive attitude of course.

There’s something to be said for major life changes.  Whether it’s getting a divorce, losing a loved one, moving, getting married, losing a job, a life changing injury, or addiction, they are called life changes for a reason.  For some reason I guess I thought I would be immune? Or maybe I thought I could just zoom past parts and pieces of it all.  Not! 

The truth is, sometimes I have a heck of a time adjusting.  Time management and I don’t always get along well.  Now and then I get out of sync somehow it all just knocks me completely out of the water and I feel lost until I can sit down, regroup and get back on track. 

As time management requires, I will set goals, create a “to do list,” create a calendar, prioritize and get everything going along really well, have a great week, then something will throw a spoke in my wheels and I am suddenly flying over the handle bars, and wind up lying on the ground and wondering what just happened.  For the record, I hate that!

What really bothers me is that for as long as I can remember I have lived a high-stress life.  I had for as long as I can remember, been running back and forth to do things for or with my parents, running to do things for or with my kids or friends, working one or two or sometimes three jobs at a time because to be constantly busy made me feel wanted, needed, productive and accepted.   IF there was any time or resources left, then I might do something for myself along the way, or spend time on something that interested me.

Now I am in unknown territory.  Here I am at a time in my life where I somehow seem to keep trying to get my momentum back and it’s not that it’s not there; it’s that it’s no longer necessary.  That is a very unnerving thing and I find myself feeling at odds and off kilter instead of wanted and needed.  Nightmare of searching through fog, looking for people or items that aren’t there.

So I rework my schedule, and redo lists, and still I wind up taking on too many things at a time, because I’m used to high-stress and being busy.  Then when something doesn’t work out, I basically trip, fall down on my face, then look around to find a tiny piece of nothing that knocked me not only off schedule, but completely out of sync.  It takes me a few days to get back in a rhythm of doing things again.

Here’s the thing, life changes are just that – life changes.  In my case, in the last two-three years, I lost an aunt, an uncle, a good friend – or two, my mom, my dad, moved twice and lost a job.  I have finally come to the conclusion that my comfort zones and old way of time management and project management just got blown away in the wind because no matter how hard I try, the old way of doing things, just isn’t working anymore.

I am now required to learn to do some things I’ve never really done, take more time for myself, personally relax, and get healthier, but at a slower pace. 

So, I will begin again, and try new things, set new habits, find out where my new comfort zones are, try to find a place to retreat and feel safe when chaos reigns, and learn to be a better surfer on this ocean of life.  I have a feeling this could take a while, a lifetime perhaps.  

Cherry Coley ©

Grudges and Resentment? Forgiveness is better

“Our purpose in life should be to see one another through, not see through one another,” – Zig Ziglar

I saw this quote this morning and had to stop and really think about it.  I have to admit, there have been times someone has kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I spent more time trying to see through them and what they were up too, and not just helping them along. 

I confess to not being the most trusting person, though I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when I first meet them, but if they should betray my trust or lie to me in some fashion then it will take a long time and a lot of good experiences with them for me to begin to trust them again. 

That’s not to say I am holding grudges.  I am not a grudge holder in the least.  I will, usually, forgive the action, but not be so willing to trust the person whole heartedly again.  Grudges are hurtful and can cause the holder of the grudge to become bitter, angry and resentful.  What’s more is the person you are holding the grudge against may not even know you are holding a grudge, so who are you really hurting?  

It took me years to truly own the gift of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is for you, trust is for them.  You can forgive and live your life free of bitterness, anger and resentment, and then decide who you will trust and who needs to earn your trust again.

I choose the path of forgiveness because I refuse to waste my energy with wasted emotions like hate, bitterness, anger, revenge, and grudges.  That’s not to say that those things are not justified at times and that I never feel them, because I do, but I choose what stays and what goes in my emotional bank.

It bothers me when I talk to people and they bring up some grudge they have been hanging on to for years.  They get animated when they talk about it, their face turns red, their voice gets louder, anger flashes in their expression, and their whole demeanor changes.  Stop and think about the changes that just took place in their body and what possible effects that could cause.  I have known several people, filled with bitterness that are constantly plagued with one illness after another.     

How we view others, respond to our circumstances, attitude and mindset have an impact not just on our mental health, but our spiritual and physical health too.  Everything works together and if we are holding onto old baggage like grudges and hurts from the past, then we are holding on to a type of spiritual and mental poison that is affecting us every day, and having no effect on the person we’re holding the hurt against. 

As for me, I am making it a point to discuss these type of issues as I come across them in my life.  I would rather choose to help someone along and see them grow, succeed and be happy.  Life is about celebrating milestones and learning to appreciate the things and people around us.  It’s so much easier to do that and be aware of what’s going on when I’m not focused on something that happened a long time ago.

Cherry Coley (c)