Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Good Things in Life Make for Good Therapy

Margarita Therapy

While I was working today, I mentioned to a coworker that I was experiencing too much anxiety, and the coffee I was using to rev myself up was making it worse. I think I wondered aloud about some sort of something to relieve my anxiety.

And then, without a blink, my coworker, a nursing student, started listing alternative therapies that she was learning in school.

Music Therapy, she said
Or Yoga.
Acupuncture and Massage, she said, although those cost money.
I've been studying pet therapy, she said, and they use it in nursing homes and even prisons to reduce agression.
And then there's always Vodka Therapy, she said.

I think I love her.

Usually when I mention anxiety, people will immediately jump to pharmaceutical solutions, but I personally prefer non chemical cures.

So then, after talking to her about this, I started thinking about the other non traditional therapies that might help anxiety.

I definitely think I have been practicing art therapy. I'd thought it was only to deal with past issues and identity issues and so forth, but recently, I have definitely been feeling the calming and peace inducing effects of art.

Perhaps there's also water therapy. I mean, a nice bath or swim or dip in a hot tub can do wonders.

But let's think about other activities that can lessen stress and depression and sadness and all sorts of other negative emotions.

Nature therapy? A walk in the woods.
Or gardening therapy. Hands in the soil.
Laughter therapy. There's nothing like a really good laugh.
Dance therapy. Use your body, feel the music, express yourself.

And of course, the above pictured Margarita Therapy. Yumm.

What other kind of "therapies" can you think of to deal with the stresses of every day living in the twenty first century?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Happy List.

Screw it!

I have no picture. But I need to remember the joy. How about you?

Grab a pen and paper or a keyboard or a blog or a camera and record the things that are making you happy today.


  • Yummy steak wrap with mushrooms, avocado, cheese and green salsa.
  • Beer for lunch.
  • Kids lounging on the new couch.
  • A hummingbird outside the door which I didn't get to see but still.
  • Considering different shades of blue. Navy blue. Gray blue. Teal blue. Mediterranean Blue.
  • A little flowering plant on the stoop.
  • Sunny skies.
  • Green lawn.
  • Little girls with hair falling into their eyes because they won't let mama cut their hair.
  • Being within walking distance of town.
  • A place for my books.
  • An internet day.
  • Ordering new art supplies.
  • An antique dresser.
  • A man who loves me.
  • Being able to remember good things even when I don't feel like I can keep up.
  • The smell of chicken in the oven.

That's all the time I have for today.

Please play along. Documenting these happy things is a big step in living life with joy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Enjoy The Falling Rain

Down Pour

Lately, I find myself anxious all the time.

Good things are happening, but for some reason, I am full of vibrating nervous energy, and it is really hard to enjoy the good things.

Because of this, I decided to sit down here, even though I don't know what I am going to say, and remind myself that joy is the reason.


Exulting in the beauty and wildness and craziness and moments of grace that fill every day.

I don't want to cover all that stuff up with worry about whether things are going to work out or how I am going to manage this or that, or fears about success and failure, wondering if a tornado is going to hit tonight and blow us away from the foundations up.

How does that help us live well? How do all those overwhelming, vague fears help us experience the joy of living?

I'm going to take a lesson from my three year old daughter, who, when the skies opened up in torrents didn't complain that it wasn't sunny, but laughed and sang and reached her arms out to the falling rain.

Spend a day (or an hour, or a week) reframing your experiences. When you are confronted with something that brings you anxiety, stop. Take a deep breath and realize the feelings of nervous energy. Shake yourself out and take a look around you. Instead of seeing what isn't there, what you have to do, what might go wrong, pay attention to all the things that are wonderful. The weather, your children, a smiling face, a good book, the sweetness of a soda... whatever is around that delights the senses and comforts the soul.

This can be very hard, sometimes. It is easy to fall back into negativity and anxiety. So when the negative emotions come back, do it again. Instead of feeling out of control when faced with a challenge, reframe the experience into a challenging game, an exciting adventure.

I'm going to try this myself. I'll report back on how it went.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Messages I Need To Hear (I Tell Them To Myself, Because You're Not There)

I said this to myself when I was afraid of the choices in front of me.
I said this to myself when I felt like I was in the wrong place in life, as if I shouldn't have ended up where I am, as if I didn't deserve this life, or things should be better, be somehow different than they were.

I said this to myself when I kept feeling anxious that I wasn't moving fast enough, going far enough, doing enough, becoming better, when I felt that some other day things would be right.
I said this to myself when I was mad at everyone and they all seemed wrong and stupid and I felt out of control.

And I said this to myself when I was taking everything too seriously and spending FAR too much time feeling anxious and sad and upset and overwhelmed and over-responsible.

What about you?

Any of these messages resonate with you?

What do you need to tell yourself?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Joy: Right Here, Right Now

Because we want you to remember the joy in every day life, because we want you to remember the joy inside of you and we want you to connect with that beauty.

Try this: Take a moment and find a place that makes you happy, whether that is inside or outside, in nature or in your bed with a nice cup of tea, where it is does not matter. For me, it might be sitting in a cafe with a latte and a journal. Find your place. Bring a journal with you.

Look around you. Open up your senses. What do you see that is beautiful. Lovely. Joyous. What makes you happy. Write it down.

Listen to the world around you. What sounds do you notice? Remember that you are part of this world that vibrates with life. Even if it feels chaotic sometimes, or intrusive, imagine that you are part of the web that is spinning around you. Write down any sounds that cause you joy.

Take a sniff. What do you smell? Scent is a very powerful trigger for memories and emotions. Write down what you smell that makes you happy. Take it a step farther, write down some of your favorite smells. Write down the happy memories that they conjure.

Use your hands, your skin. Feel the world around you. Do you feel sun or a warm breeze? Soft sheets? Your hair brushing your cheek? These are the reminders that you are solid. You exist. You are part of the earth. Write down any sensations that are joyous.

Last sense: Taste. Do you have something to eat or drink? Take a bite, a sip. What does it feel like? What joy does it give. Remember some of your favorite tastes. Write them down.

Now take 5 minutes and write about your emotions. Just let them flow. Negative, positive, these are all part of what you feel. Write them down on your paper and let them go.

Breathe. Thank yourself for giving attention to your life.

Now go live it.