Tag Archives: self-worth

From 50 to 600 Kids Fed!

Bookmark and Share

Community Tackles Quality of Kids’ Lives

When children of low income families face a weekend, their quality of life may suffer. Their school source of healthy food comes to a halt. No so in White Pine County, Nevada, where three concerned community members decided to make a difference in these children’s lives.

Paula Sims, Red Sims and Margaret Bath learned of programs in other towns that met such hunger needs. That was all it took, a great idea made passionate for their community. St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church where Red Sims is priest began laying the foundation for this community action.

The result is the Committee Against Child Hunger (CACH). This community group was formed to provide nutritious “back pack” food supplements to certain White Pine County students for the weekends, giving them a healthy start. From a meager beginning of helping 50 kids to 600 this month, the program grew to a community volunteer effort and is funded by donations.

You Get More Than You Can Imagine

There is nothing quite like helping others who are in difficulties, especially when they have no control over their circumstances. It can make a retirement blossom! Your personal growth awesome! Sometimes you only need to look beyond your own life to see that so much help is needed and what you have to give is really worthwhile to those in need.

CACH is now operated by volunteers and fundraisers in the White Pine community, including support from local businesses like the Robinson Nevada Mining Co. and the White Pine County School District.

The backpacks are packed by high school students and distributed weekly. The backpacks have non-perishable, nutritious food easily prepared by children. School personnel recognize that students do better in school when their bodies are fueled with nutritious food. In some families, weekends can be sparse for nutrition. The backpacks supplement the food prepared in the home.

P.S. Ely, NV has grown its own answers to small communities that fall on difficult economic times, especially communities that lose their business foundations. Check out my post “Personal Growth Through Community Service”. More community development has produced much pride in the community since I wrote that post in 2010. I’ll be telling you all about it in future posts.

Brain Changes Aid Personal Growth

Bookmark and Share

Improve Coping Skills at All Ages

Awareness and learning about the brain can be a scary topic. Many people, including seniors, just opt out of neurological information as too complicated to spend much time exploring. Not so! Continue reading

Send Me An Angel

Bookmark and Share

Finding Your Angel May Mean Being an Angel

As I listen to the Family’s and church’s service for Whitney Houston, her greatness becomes clear. Her talent reigned always. But, what drove her mourners to celebrate her life was the person she was deep inside. A clear theme proclaimed, she was great because of her inner self. So, too, all of our greatness comes forth from within, not just from a talent or charmed life the few are able to live.

Getting Out of Yourself as a Coping Skill

Getting stuck in sadness and why me? keeps us focused on what we don’t have, instead of what we do have. Always, care givers, personal and professional, are besieged with “how can I rise above my sorrow, my pain?” And there is no short miracle that happens when we are simply heard by another human being! However, eventually we professionals, turn to teaching and helping the person in pain build a way to keep pain at bay. Listening to the person is part of the teaching way.

The foundation of living successfully in this life is simply learning to make your life count. Since we are social beings in various ways, making your life count will entail helping others make their lives count.

Where Do I Find the Strength to Make My Life Count?

The answer lies deep within and having the courage to reach for the strength. Give me “one moment in time/when I’m racing with destiny/Then in that one moment, I will feel eternity”. Those lyrics sung by Whitney Houston at the 1988 Summer Olympics opening in honor of guiding athletes to believe in one’s self against all odds.

Thus finding the strength is closely related to awareness of others’ challenges and struggles, and the courage of reaching beyond ourselves. It is made much easier by adopting a spiritual side where strength is given for the asking. Expect miracles!

Evaluate Your Success as a Caregiver–10 Tips

Bookmark and Share

Caregiving Runs the Gamut of Emotions

Being a caregiver is one of those jobs that can provide indescribable joy, and other times it may seem thankless, even hopeless. In most jobs in our lifetime, there are different markers that tell us if we are succeeding, e.g. raises in pay, boss’ evaluations that give us the needed “atta boy/girl”, inner feelings of pride in our work.

Alas, especially if you are a caregiver of friends or family, you may be expected to do a great job, with little positive feedback. The patient has suffered a traumatic time for whatever caused the disability and may not have a lot to give back to a caregiver. It is just the job you are expected to do!

Now the discussion so far may not be as negative for you. You may be feeling rewarded and satisfied. That is ideal. But just in case the caregiver role may have burned you out, evaluating your own success can help you cope with some of those overwhelming feelings that caregiving pulls from your emotions. You can give yourself an “atta girl/boy!

The Tips

1. Begin with an examination of your own attitudes, beliefs and work ethic. If you uncover feelings of negativity, being overwhelmed, out of control with anger, and otherwise detrimental attitudes proceed directly to Number 10 below. At the very least do some thoughtful caregiving to yourself. It may be possible that you could be depressed from this very stressful job. No shame in getting help!

2. Plan your care giving time to include time just to listen to your patient. Being heard by another human being is one of the most important gifts that we can give and a magic cure for so many worries.

3. Educate yourself about the many products, such as mobility and bath safety aids that are available to support and make life easier and more comfortable for the elderly and disabled. Some products will make your job incredibly easier and safer for you and your patient.

4. Evaluate your patient in terms of what you would find helpful, if you were in his/her shoes. Then try to include helpful aids or behaviors that you identified as something you would like. No harm in trying out a new activity.

5. Tally up the patient’s likes and dislikes, and make a concerted effort to magnify the “likes” for the patient.

6. Understand that the patient’s “grumbles” may be more about disappointment and feeling of helplessness, than a direct criticism of you.

7. See the environment from the patient’s eyes with respect to needs for privacy, access to meeting personal needs, lack of ability in independent self-care, and general comfort in living. Use your findings to solve problems.

8. Recognize signs of depression (feeling down, apathy, anger, poor concentration anxiety, fatigue, restlessness, irritability) and get a mental health consult, if you aren’t sure. Depression is treatable, but you may need a professional’s help for your patient.

9. If you think at times that your patient may not be physically well, or even not thinking or expressing themselves like they have previously, don’t hesitate to involve the primary care physician. Caregiving is best when it is a team effort, and you know when to involve others!

10. By all means, recognize that you need a break from caregiving duties on a regular basis. You will be better at your job, if you have a respite. All too often, caregivers are dedicated to the patient to the degree of letting their own needs run amok. Burn out will never result in good caregiving.

Now honestly assess your efforts. If your motives are pure, you should be able to reach around your shoulders and give yourself an “atta girl or boy” for a job well done! Or, at the very least, you have a blueprint to improve your caregiving!

Yes, You May Be Angry–Don’t Ruin Your Life Quality/Health!

Bookmark and Share

Anger Can Destroy Your Quality of Life

When the rage hits, it can seem like you are being swallowed by it! As soon as you can begin to think straight, you know that you need to regain control.

Anger has a way of taking over your life, your thoughts, your well-being–if you let it. The worst time is when you truly feel wronged, when something happens that would make anyone lose their cool, or so you say to ease your pain. Now is the time to take good “selfish” steps to take care of you by breaking the pattern of anger, regaining emotional control, and stopping obsessive preoccupation with what happened.

Yet, it probably seems beyond your ability to gain control in the midst of the storm. This is the time to use all your power to halt negative, replay of events, and turn your energies into saving yourself, in spite of the unfairness, unbelievable events that have stopped you in your tracks!

Regaining Control Takes Relentless Attention to Your Thoughts

Those of us who are cognitive-behavioral therapists rely on you rediscovering the power of your thinking, and we work to focus you on “coming to your senses,” quite literally. Somewhere in your inner wisdom, you know the rage offers no solace, no answer. The quicker you can move from the incessant preoccupation with the circumstance of your rage, the quicker you can move from problem to solution. Take steps to begin using mind-body techniques and controlling tensions. Changing thoughts will require you to be in a mindfulness state; relaxation is a critical step in the process.

Time is on your side; eventually, the obviously destructive nature of rage becomes apparent. It is then that you can work on developing a plan for managing anger and turning it into a more productive endeavor. The starting place is positive thinking!

The Energy of Anger

Numerous well-known psychologists, counselors and physicians have presented dialogues focusing on emotional healing as the path to health. The “mind-body” approach to using your inner wisdom has much proven information to encourage you to take charge of your health and quality of life

Dr. John Rifken, a Boulder, Colorado psychologist, offers a different take on using the energy of anger to heal. He points out that anger’s energy can be used to transform your life and empower you. Granted, it will be necessary for you to get past the rage when it is consuming you and into a place that you can logically talk to yourself. Using cold logic on yourself is important in stopping the rage from taking over.

Dr. Christiane Northrup has long been a voice for womens’ health; however, the overall “mind-body” information she provides is easily applicable to both men and women. The answer to health is recognizing that thoughts and emotions impact your health.

If thoughts and emotions are positive, their effect on the body’s overall health and immune system is positive. Conversely, negative thoughts and emotions disrupt healthy body functioning. You influence your body’s functioning by changing negative thoughts to positive. Granted, the process is more complex; however beginning with awareness and stress relief techniques get the process started. See our last post for specific techniques to help you on your way.

Waste No Time

Call upon your inner wisdom; engage yourself in deciding your most effective plan of action. Spend time and energy in learning what are the triggers and negative thoughts that lead you off track, back into rage, and useless rehashing of the anger situation.

Begin with awareness of negative thoughts by writing them down for a base-line assessment–don’t let your assessment go on too long. Once you have your triggers and negative thoughts, replace them with a list of positive affirmations and force yourself to use your positive thoughts!

The least you need to know:
1. Repeating rage thoughts leads to no good.
2. You can make a change, do it now.

Your mission, should you choose to accept, requires:
1. That you to strictly forbid yourself to think negatively.
2. That you learn positive thought to replace the negative.
3. That you learn stress relief skills from last post.

Exercise –A Must For Persons With Disabilities

Bookmark and Share

Strengthen the Body Core

Benefits of physical activity can add new depth to the lives of seniors and the disabled–they simply have to discover the right exercises for their particular abilities. The exercise/fitness market offers so many products, it becomes difficult to find the exercise equipment that will be the best to meet specific needs.

Exercise and fitness strengthen the core, increase flexibility, and improve cardiovascular and overall health–the same as it does for the non-disabled! In the last 30 years, increasing fitness and including exercise in the total lifestyle has been a national preoccupation, especially in the beginning of a new year. We may even start out with best of intentions, then it becomes too much and most people quit their New Year’s resolution.

Disabilities Make Exercise Difficult, But Not Impossible!

The extra challenges of a disability are certainly a valid hindrance to exercise. Overcoming the very real difficulties of trying to live with decreased mobility by adding more mobility may be too much for many persons. The added strain of attaining more movement when it is already too hard can tax the person to the core, and it may be too discouraging to keep trying. Finding appropriate exercise equipment that focuses the person on the specific exercises needed, may make exercise easier and more possible.

Here’s where building resilience and a positive “can do” attitude will guarantee more success! The goal is to do the best possible and take pride in new achievements! Exercise takes the mind off the negative limitations and onto setting new goals for working with what is available.

Lack of Movement Results in Deterioration

Exercise is often lacking in the lives of the physically disabled, leaving them even more open to health problems. Physical inactivity is a contributory factor in susceptibility to diseases and overall poor physical health.

Functional skills in everyday living can be improved with regular physical activity. Even ambulating in a wheelchair is more difficult with a sedentary lifestyle. Adding muscle tone and strength makes using various mobility aids easier, such as walking with a walker or cane. Guidelines for your exercise program can be checked out at The National Center on Physical Activity

Never Forget: Exercise Lessens Stress!

One of the most powerful tools for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression is exercise. The body responds to the natural release of endorphins through exercise, helping the person to feel less stress and more able to manage life!

Pride in mastery of difficult tasks will benefit self-esteem and self-worth. The idea is not to win a marathon, although some do, but everyday to build new ways to manage the disability.

Motivation Is the Key

The disabled can take advantage of many forms of physical exercise, it just has to be tailored to their special needs, and they must find the motivation to keep on truckin’!

Exercise will not only feel remarkably good, it will help manage weight, lessen stress, and increase self-esteem.

Checking it out with their physician or health care providers, such as physical therapist, is a must!

The Least You Need To Know:
1. Exercise is necessary in whatever amount and form you can do.
2. It doesn’t have to be a huge regimine, just whatever you can begin to.
3. Build slowly to reach the goals you set for yourself.

The Mission Should You Decide To Accept:
1. Begin thinking about what you can do, not what you can’t.
2. Check it out with your health care professionals for guidance.
3. You only need to compete with yourself!

Self-Esteem–From Loss To Letting Go

Bookmark and Share

Acceptance Bridges Loss To Letting Go

Following the experience of loss, progressing to moving on with life is a bumpy road with many in between steps hovering over acceptance before settling into letting go. Self-esteem is usually deeply scarred by loss, whether the loss is one’s own abilities (an injury or medical condition), a loved one, a job, a relationship, money, status, property…

Loss is a universal happening that few are spared, and that encompasses the person’s life until the loss is accepted and the person goes on, in spite of the new circumstances, until the grieving work is completed. It is only then that self-esteem begins to repair.

Few go through major losses without damage to self-worth in some form. The questions “why me? what did I do?” often seem locked into the grief process, as though the loss is a personal vendetta. Loss has numerous “stages” that seem universally experienced, such as those laid out by psychiatrist Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Suggestions For Coping

The ability to center oneself and rely on the inner wisdom you have gained just by living long enough will set the tone of all other skills you develop. Easy to learn techniques can be enhanced with tapes, cds or software programs.

At each point in the process of grieving, the danger of losing self-esteem is woven into the picture. Sharing with others helps put the loss in perspective and to keep the focus on the process, not inaccuracies in thinking such as I am not worthy or I need to be punished.

Journaling is a good resource. Writing daily helps the process move along. Write your journal longhand, not on a mechanical device. There is a body connection to handwriting that is not made by typing.

Knowledge about the universality of the process is a further way to put self-esteem issues into perspective. Read about loss and how others cope, read personal stories and professional suggestions. There is no time table or specific route that one must take. Everyone’s process is different, individual progress is the norm.

Acceptance Is The Key

Ultimately, the grieving will lead to acceptance and moving on. Acceptance does not mean that the loss is viewed favorably or that now life goes on as usual. It merely means that the hurt is in a place where day to day functioning can proceed, that one can live life again. The pain is moved from encompassing every waking and sleeping hour to being on the periphery, still able to be touched, but not overwhelming.

Acceptance of loss is the key to moving on. In order to accept loss, a series of processing emotions must occur. Reviewing thoughts and feelings, preferably with another person and/or in your writing will lead to relief.

The emotional pain can be devastating; the person may have gotten stuck in the loss, often because of fear–fear that the emotional pain will be too much to handle. It often feels like the emotional pain will destroy the person, if allowed into awareness. Emotional pain is scary, in itself, emotional expression will build tolerance, and eventually, will move the person into acceptance.

“I’ll Just Stuff It”

The resistance to feeling the emotions is often carried out by avoidance–avoidance of thinking about the events of the loss. Distraction by immersing one’s self in extraneous activities, even “running” from one activity to the next, prevents thoughts, let alone emotions, from being brought into awareness.

The coping mechanism of “running” may even have an appropriate place at times in the assimilation of the loss. No pain can be felt for extended periods without affecting functioning. However, when “running” never stops long enough to process loss even in a minimal way, dysfunction, likely severe depression, ultimately is a risk.

Therapy Is One Answer

Clients tell therapists, “I want to let go, I just don’t know how. I know I have to let go” Invariably, the answer is to process, work through, verbalize, feel the feelings, learn coping skills. In the big, world picture, few go to therapy, and therapy isn’t the only answer. Coping with loss is part of the human condition. For those amenable, therapeutic processing is a welcome answer. At this point the therapeutic process is one of uncovering, layer by layer, the events and pain of the original loss, moving through the loss into acceptance and eventually letting go. When coping with loss has progressed into complicated grief, therapy will restore balance.

Stay The Course

The resolution is process, process, process the loss. Don’t grieve alone. Stay in touch with your positives, those ideas that you believe about yourself that can compensate for your loss. Little by little develop a new way of being. Let the loss be a column of strength that guides you to build a new you. You never have to forget the loss, but evidently you have more work to do.

The least you need to know:
1. There is a way out; it is a process; you need others to help.
2. You are beginning a new life phase.
3. Self worth will return.

The Mission, should you choose to accept, requires:
1. You open yourself to not running, to trust that you can handle the emotions, to let others help.
2. You put the proper perspective on self-esteem: you are worthy, you can survive, you accept loss for what it is and go on to do the best you can.

Resilience–And Self-Esteem–22 Tips

Bookmark and Share

Bouncing Back After Life’s Lemons

Self-esteem permeates all we do. If it is low, it definitely impairs resilience and stress management skills, in addition to most other aspects of our lives. When trauma or bad events hit, it is difficult not to get inundated with thoughts about failures and perceived inadequacies. Coping with the worst and bouncing back, resilience, gets detoured into long periods of self-doubt, lack of self-confidence and feelings of worthlessness, if self-esteem is low. It drains motivation to cope and leads to feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. Resilience is at a standstill.

Some of us don’t even need particularly bad circumstances to play the “self-worthless” tape. We may let our thoughts about how we have been weighed in the balance and found lacking obsessively take over our attention. Low self-esteem causes us to “roll around in the dirt” of our thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, wondering if it is just our lot in life to fail and never be good enough. So when bad times hit, functioning adequately and overcoming stress is severely limited. Poor self-esteem is at the heart of the matter.

Self-Esteem Makers And Breakers

1. Do find positive answers. 1. Don’t drown in negativity.
2. Do seek out others and interact. 2. Don’t withdraw; friends & family want to help.
3. Do celebrate your accomplishments. 3. Don’t make yourself miserable remembering failures.
4. Do distract yourself by activities. 4. Don’t stay stuck and sit around ruminating.
5. Do respond with skills you have. 5. Don’t react without thinking
6. Do learn new response skills. 6. Don’t be afraid of change.
7. Do think for yourself. 7. Don’t let others’ opinions outweigh yours.
8. Do nurture perspective. 8. Don’t allow “I can’t stand it” to guide you.
9. Do forgive yourself, if needed. 9. Don’t allow guilt to reign.
10. Do get over perfectionism. 10. Don’t forget, no one or any event is perfect!
11. consult with your inner wisdom. 11.don’t throw away any suggestions that will come to you.

The least you need to know:
1. Like resilience, self-esteem is a work in progress.
2. Raising self-esteem bodes well for coping with everything.
The mission, if you choose to accept, is:
1. Decide for yourself what changes need to be made. Consult your inner wisdom.
2. Work on raising self-esteem, you are not assigned this space unless you passively agree or actively reinforce negative behaviors and thoughts.

Quality Of Life –Who Is In Charge?

Bookmark and Share

The Courage Of Personal Growth

Let’s begin with 2 caveats: 1. true victims of either abuse or tragic circumstances are victims; 2. whether your past places you in the authentic role or you perceive yourself as powerless and at the mercy of others, the treatment is essentially the same. You must put yourself in charge now in order to heal, do your work and improve your quality of life.

“Bad things do happen to good people.” This post is not to point fingers in search of who is to blame for your struggle. Rather, it is to focus you on how to overcome negative self-esteem and powerlessness, how to overcome the inertia and destructive emotions that may be permeating your life. Basically, the theme here is to help you discover what to do to get unstuck.

A “victim” mind-set colors perceptions and muddies the water until clarity appears impossible and hopelessness sets in. It is hard to overcome the old tapes about loss of hope and loss of power playing relentlessly in your chattering mind. It is normal for a mind always to be thinking; if you are stuck on certain beliefs that have no answers or solutions, those thoughts are damaging to you. Your job is to take back control, and turn your direction to solutions.

Change Has To Start With Willingness To Rethink Your Position

Somewhere in trying to understand your world, you may have concluded that you have been the subject of unfair practices–strong forces that have brought your dreams and hopes to a screeching halt. It could have even happened in childhood. Thus, the ease with which your self-assessment reveals that you are helpless to overcome circumstances settles you squarely into a “victim” stance. You likely tell yourself that you cannot overcome what has happened.

You may not be able to change the past; however, this is the present, leading to the future. It is time to focus on a new mission: take charge and become the master of your life. The attitude that you are ready to change empowers you. First, you must accept that you want to change and are no longer willing to stay stuck! Change puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to choose the best direction for you.

The First Step Is Be A Scientist–Find The Baseline

Become consciously aware of the content of your thoughts. Catch yourself in the act of repeating negatives to yourself. (Check other posts regarding Personal Growth, www.healthyavatar.net) Write your thoughts that you feel are the problem in order to clarify them. Awareness is a powerful tool and will suggest your next step: to create a strong, powerful, assertive identity to bring your “healthy avatar into play.”

Next Step: Take Action

Once you begin tagging the persistent negative thoughts, begin to counter them by substituting positive self evaluations. Reading positive literature provides ideas and techniques that work. Remember, you are the only one inside your head, and you can, therefore, think what you choose. You likely would not say degrading comments to a loved one; don’t say them to yourself. Grow into that powerful, healthy being that you are meant to be.

Now with the use of new inside tools, watch the quality of your life transcend from where you have been stuck. Positive attracts positive, and conversely.

The Least You Need To Know:
1. If you play the “victim” card in your head, it limits your healing and moving forward.
2. Even if you are rightfully a victim, find a more positive identity.
3. You can change to an empowering mode.

This mission, should you choose to accept, requires:
1. Redefine your role from victim to activist.
2. Become aware of self-destructive thoughts.
3. Correct your thinking and internalize your power to change.

Adapting To Change After Breast Surgery

Bookmark and Share

To My Friend, The Day After!

(Surgery was yesterday. Check out her post:  “The Other Shoe Fell.”  Amazingly, she went home the same day.)

Every time one has surgery, the next day is a trying experience any way you look at it.  So, try to keep your sense of peace.  It is the first day of your whole new life–one without the complications you have recently been through!  It has to be different, and it has to bring in new energy.

Time is needed now to adjust to your new body; to give it the time and place to be solidly a part of you. You may even grieve what you have lost–that’s perfectly normal.  And you will likely give thanks for all your blessings, because that is you.  If a tear escapes, let it fall into the healing pool.

It takes courage to face new developments, anything new.  But in time all will be assimilated, and you will have a new you,  just as fulfilling as the old you.  Ah. adapting to change.  What we humans can accomplish.

Slow and steady, opening to processing what ever feelings arise, and if you need help, I”ll be right there.  It’s time to just be the little mouse in the corner, observing whatever comes forth from deep inside.  Your inner resources are strong, developed, and ready to serve you.

Rest, let yourself have peace, nothing you have to prove or do.  Just give time to you.

With Love.