Exercise and the Brain – and Dancing to Enrique Iglesias

taylor swift

Greg went to arrange his annual colonoscopy.  Because he was having a chronic cough, his gastroenterologist (GI specialist) was wise enough to schedule him the “double dip” colonoscopy and endoscopy.  Greg was not pleased.  He was less pleased when Dr. GI found gastritis (inflammation) in his colon, an ulcer (inflammation) in his stomach, and esophogitis (location of inflammation intrinsic to word, esophogitis.)

I got the scoop on Greg’s inflammation story when he came in to see me, (yours truly, psychiatrist, brain doctor.)  And why?  Because of his colon and stomach?  Well perhaps.

True.  Greg was not happy.  He had not been happy for a very long time in fact.  Greg was suffering.  And no, he could not exercise.  He just could not.  Fill in the blanks of why he could not.  We have all given those reasons.

Discussing Greg’s story with him, we agreed that ignoring the inflammation story of his GI would be ignoring something that just might relate to the, “Why?” of why he was in to see me.  The same inflammatory process affecting his gut was affecting his brain, the same brain where his emotions and behaviors came from.

Inflammation.  We think about pus-filled blisters, puffy painful knees, spitting back spasms.  But do we think about frothing road rage?  Do we think about forgetting car keys in the supermarket where we bought five things we did not want and nothing of what we planned?  Do we think about divorce?  About losing our job, or not wanting to get out of bed?  When we hear about inflammation, do we think about brain disease?  I think not, Count Powerball.

The other day, we were in the Kaia, “Juicy JAM” class.  (Seriously. That is what it is called.) Coach Becca does these Juicy JAM classes about once every three to five months with us, just for fun.  It combines dance with athletics in a way that is designed to burn calories, yet effectively reduces grown women, responsible women of our community, parents, book-keepers, encyclopedia saleswomen, psychiatrists, (I am just guessing at least one of us moves like a psychiatrist) and such…, into giggling, hopping, human bumper cars.  And it is hard!  It is not easy to squat, pop, and then pull your fisted arm down super latino-drama-style over your just so angled body to Enrique Iglesias… I think it was, “Tonight I’m Loving You.”

By the time we had survived our first number, all I knew was that Becca looked really good.  Me, eh, not so much.  It is too bad we can not collect disability for this, not being able to dance.

When we dance, we do not usually notice how everyone else is dancing around us, as much as we think about how we are, ourselves.  Like any other behavior or emotion, we are trapped by our own design.  Look who is telling us that after all!  Our own brain.

Then Becca’s tattoo pokes out and we all think, she is such a bad ass!  (It’s right there just above the line of her pants.)

Where do these emotions, and behaviors come from?  Do they come from the good merit we have earned by hard work?  Maybe a really sweaty muscle bending Juicy JAM work-out?  No they do not.  You are right.  The emotions and behaviors come from our brain.  They come from that bit of us that is, after all, connected to the rest of our body.  Our body, where our muscles pump, where our pancreas balances our insulin levels, where our bowels, which flaunt the highest number of serotonin receptors of our whole selves, move and flow.  Our bodies, where nerves stop or start sending pain signals to our brain, where our heart and lungs pump all the blood that touches every part of us like a master control room – this is what matters to our brain health.  It is a relationship, like Garth will always go with Brooks.  Body goes with brain.  An inflamed body, an inflamed mind.

Now we know you are all thinking about bowels and what exercise does to bowels, and you are uncomfortable.  As you should be.  At least standing at a respectful distance.

I’ll never forget some months ago, and probably most of my Kaia-peers won’t either, when Coach Alyssa was taking us through Kaia-flow, a series of twisting yoga poses slash killer exercises.

Good job women!  This is also great for your stomach and bowels.

I thought, there-after only about stomach and bowels!  It was like a beacon.  No matter what I did, I was thinking about my gut.  And then like the answering horn of a trucker to a kid’s arm signal, “please honk,” there I went.  A slow twist, quiet music in the background, the soothing voice of Alyssa urging us on, and, honk.

There was no way to hide it.  No way to pass it off on my dog or kids or farmland creatures.  I was in the middle of the room and suddenly, like Taylor Swift on a center stage, everyone heard and looked.  Just one more bit of savory evidence that exercise decreases inflammation.

With this understanding, we can perhaps consider exercise like a pill.  Like a prescription.  Do exercise because we do what is friendly to ourselves.  Do exercise because we like being friendly to others.  We know that we cannot give what we do not have – to ourselves or to others.  We exercise because if we do not, we will be the barking mom we do not like, dad, sister, child or whomever.

We will not be nice to our partners when we have ill brains.  We will not feel pleasure as deeply.  If we are kindly toward ourselves, such as exercising, we will protect the soft underbellies of them others we love.  We will treat ourselves better.  We will.

One hour later, after dancing or twisting our inflammation, shame, and inhibitions into the ground, after passing a little gas, we are reduced to inspiration, humbly thinking, “Yes. I am that good.”  And that is the Magic there. We are bad arss.  Body meets brain meets community meets Magic.

And for you scholarly folk who don’t believe me when I say, exercise decreases inflammation decreases brain illness, here are a few articles:

Question:  How have you noticed your body speaking on behalf of your brain?  Or vice versa?  Please tell us some of your story.

Science & Sensibility » Research Review: Maternal Metabolic Conditions and Risk for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Hello friends.  Here is the link to my recent entry on obesity, autism and some of how to be a friend to yourself in the on-line Journal, Science & Sensibility.  Thank you for sharing space.  Keep on.

Science & Sensibility » Research Review: Maternal Metabolic Conditions and Risk for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Discover Your Sweetness – Value, That is To Say

English: Casimiroa edulis, White sapote fruit ...

Image via Wikipedia

My kids look at fruit as if they are inspecting a diamond for flaws.

Is this a good one Mommy? 

My daughter was pointing at a blemish that comes from fruit grown outside in dirt and not genetically engineered.

My huffing sounds are barred by something almost like maturity, just in time.  I pick up a different White Sapote with broken skin and beak marks where it is half eaten by whoever got there first.

After spitting out the seeds, I remembered bits of my filthy self as a daddy-chasing kid.  The words dusted off and important to me again, I heard Dad say,

Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at.  They know what’s good better than we do.  Here Sana.  Take this one.  This is really sweet.

The fruit turning in my daughter’s hand, the cast-offs still in the basket, her anxiety about finding the best and my dad’s words came at me like the sounds between Broadway and 42nd Street.  And out walked Jean.

Jean was a patient I had known, particular to me despite common problems.

Abuse since at least my daughter’s age or younger.  Neglect.  Disgusting trauma survived.

Jean who, after getting picked on for the first thirty years of her life, came to me, insisting on living.  She resisted being a White Sapote in a bowl on the counter, inspected by passerbys.  Her community had tried to declare her value, her second chances and hoped to cast her off.

Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at.  They know what’s good better than we do.  Here Sana.  

Jean’s face was in my memory.  Her white scar on her black skin shocked me; a large keloid.

Take this one.  This is really sweet.

I gave my daughter a squeeze and told her what Papa had said.  I’m so glad my daughter reminded me about this in we who have been hurt.  (Okay.  That’s all of us, see it or not.)  The way Jean grew, looked for light, the courage she answered to, the newness that came out of used up and shabbiness – Jean was teaching me about value.

Even when we are not behaving well, when we don’t look good and when we drop the market price, we have value.  Somehow, being chosen for life is more important than being chosen to suffer.  I wish I could explain why and how better but it’s just something each of us will have to experience for ourselves.  We will have to in humility and wisdom, like Jean’s or my dad’s wisdom, find the sweetness in Me.

Questions:  What is it about you that is particularly sweet?  Do you perceive your value?  Per what measure or qualifier? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Discover your sweetness.  Be a friend to yourself

Related Articles:

Purposefully Harness The Power of Social Influence

A piece of chocolate candy.

Image via Wikipedia

Hello Friends.

I’m starting the 4-week detox for sugar addicts.

I know I’m more empowered with your company, so join in if interested.  And because it is friendly to you/Me too, spread this around to others.

(#Obesity – Abstract of article: social influence affect #weight loss http://bit.ly/xn1Bjq #selfcare #community #service.)

This is my list of reasons re: my choice today as part of step 1:

Reasons why I am cutting back on sugar

  • inflammation,
  • clarity of thought and subsequent depth of experience,
  • #obesity and related illnesses (comorbidities,)
  • appearance and social stigma,
  • social influence,
  • self-esteem,
  • quality of life and
  • longevity

If you choose to participate, and are interested in what the power of social influence can do for you, please post your own reasons here.

Looking forward to connecting with you. Keep on.

Self-Care Tip – Deliberately and purposefully harness the power of social influence in becoming a friend to yourself.

Self-care is Not Selfish But You Might Feel Alone

Social circles of Influence

Many times I feel like a stranger because I don’t want to do what they want.  

Pilot was perplexed and sad. 

This is familiar to me.  There are lots of these times.  When I was a kid I didn’t know to call feeling like a stranger, “normal.”  I didn’t know I wasn’t alone.  I thought feeling like a stranger was qualified bad.  In the older Me, part of Me knows.  The rest of Me is conflicted.

Talking about self-care is like that sometimes.  I don’t know yet how to consistently teach others without hurting them.  

Self-care is not selfish, I say, but it doesn’t make sense.  

They hear me and the long anticipated enemy they knew would come suddenly wears my face and uses my mouth and voice.  People look at me in horror.  I watch their faces blanch and despair, as if they know they are holding a fork and knife to defend against magic and they will die a martyr’s death.  

No.  It’s not like that, I say.  

But they don’t hear more.  They crouch in a thicket.

Researcher, Jennifer Walters, describes how social influences such as team-based competition leads to a healthier BMI (basal metabolic index) and weight loss.  We may say, “Um, yah!?!” as if everyone knows that from Biggest Loser.  But just like holding an apple looks like crunchy food to Mary, John see’s a projectile.

It must be researched.  It must be said.

We don’t believe that taking care of Me is selfless.  We are scared.  To love ourselves means being alone and feeling the stranger.  Taking care of others “first” intuitively tells us that we are connected and right. This is a distortion.

I argue that this intuition to care for others first is not our friend.  The intuition to care for others first is not friendly when it is driven by fear of being alone, fear of being the stranger.   At some point in the timeline of selflessness to selfishness we find that we cannot.  We have ruined and thereafter cannot care, serve or do much for anyone but take. Now we, without getting consent from those same others, are in a place of being served.  We didn’t ask our loved one(s.) 

Would you like to take care of my wasted self?

We didn’t ask if it was ok with them that they be put in the position of now being our own caregivers. To answer their wants before our needs is a trick on them, an exchange for us taking care of them now for them taking care of our needs later when we cannot.  But we didn’t ask. We didn’t make a transparent negotiation.  If they knew we were taking care of their wants before our needs or wants, if we knew, would we un-crouch, step out, hear and consider?  However, we responded before we felt alone.  We gave before we felt the stranger.  We didn’t ask, we didn’t consider and now we cannot.

Growing healthy involves the sometimes happy journey towards a knowing that giving to self long enough becomes someone who gives to others; long enough a stranger to grow familiar.  And it isn’t selfish.

Caregiving for others starts with caregiving for Me.

Question:  How does becoming your own friend separate you from those you want close?  How do you survive feeling alone long enough to know that you are not?  When the stranger becomes familiar, does it make that time and difficulty worthwhile?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Remember, self-care is not selfish, even when you feel alone.

The First Premise of Being A Friend To Yourself. Me.

What is being a friend to yourself?  As long as we have been talking about this, we still wonder.  Although a dynamic concept, we have a premise that doesn’t change.  Everything starts and ends with Me.

Seated in any test, laid aside any stressor, blocked by a wall of most threatening construct, being a friend to yourself begins here.  We have that to guide us and will never ever have to ask again, “Where do I start?”  We never will lose ourselves to the confusions around us of looking for our home; our point of reference and direction.  There is immense usefulness in this.

Question:  How has this starting point helped to reorient you, to decrease negative climax and increase presence in your life?  How has starting with Me been friendly and/or how is/will be starting with Me be friendly?  Please break it down and tell us your story.

The Vanishing Point

Image by Roger's Wife via Flickr

Self-Care Tip:  Start with Me to start being a friend to yourself.

Related articles

Oxygen Masks and the Big Easy

Guest Post, by Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD

In the unlikely event of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first.  It’s a saying that’s standard for air-travel and has become a common cliché for life in general.

Taking care of ourselves is often associated with getting more sleep, eating less of the wrong kinds of foods and more of the right ones, moving our bodies to our personal limit, finding the right work/leisure balance, considering our kids’ needs as well as our ownmanaging our reactions to things, and sometimes doing things that are not so fun.  Not so fun at all.

Or maybe it’s just that they aren’t so “easy”.  We like “easy” much better.  “Easy” is quicker.  “Easy” is familiar.  And “easy” keeps us stuck.  I suppose as long as we are comfortable, we’ll keep choosing “easy”.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that “easy” doesn’t give us results, though.  It always does.   Not usually the ones we say or believe we want, but “easy” always bears fruit.

Do you like what “easy” has done for you?  Or, is it time to give “easy” the boot?

A Fond Farewell

Sometimes our better judgment starts to crowd “easy” out.  Those of us that are lucky get wake-up calls that help us bid a fond farewell to “easy” as we usher in a new relationship with the real work of self-care.  Cultivating this new relationship can be difficult or not.  It’s entirely up to us.

Bidding adieu to our habits, even though we know they are counterproductive, is often difficult.  Our brain craves consistency.  It wants us to do what we’ve always done.  Change requires that we desire a different result, one that can only be had by doing something different than we are used to doing.  It has been said that when the pain of doing what we have always done starts to become great enough, then we will change.  Sometimes, we can withstand a lot of pain.  And then some.

The Voice is a Choice

That voice in your head can tell you “I hate exercise!” or, “My body enjoys each new move that brings it toward health!” Likewise, that same voice in your head can drone, “This is never going to work!” or, “I’m sticking with this because I’m worth it.”   This is where the rubber meets the road.   Are you ready to do the real work of self-care, or do you just like the idea of it?

That voice in your head is a choice.  It is your own and you direct it.

Proverbial oxygen masks are easy.  Doing the real work of self-care is not necessarily so easy at all.

Have you been holding out on yourself?  Is it time to come “un-stuck” and be more intentional with the voice inside your head?  What do you need to change-up?

Self-Care Tip:  Be intentional about getting what you want from yourself.  You can start anytime!

Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD, is a mom of three school-aged children, a Child & Family Therapist (practicing in Michigan), and the founder of Kidlutions: Solutions for Kids, because kids have problems, too.  She blogs at Spin-Doctor Parenting {and teaching} and is the behavioral health expert for momtourage.com.  She monitors the voice in her own head and works to get herself “un-stuck” just as sure as everyone else does. She smiles through it all, because she can, and because it’s her favorite thing to do! 

Get You Some Support Where You Are Weak

Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) branch with fruit. ...

Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve ever lived where there is dirt, not New York City or downtown Los Angeles, some place with unpaved hills and bugs, then you’ve seen how fruit grows.  Maybe not exotic fruit.  Maybe nothing from the Amazon, but you’ve seen an apple or an orange most likely, dangling from a stem, light caught in a dew dusted curve around its belly.  Maybe a pear.

You’ve seen a tree, perhaps, on a “good year.”  It was heavy, bushy in all it’s productivity and weighted down with what it was designed to do in life.  If you have lived in a place where your home didn’t require an elevator to get to, you know that fruit can be beautiful just in its waiting-ness to fall.  So beautiful, it feels personal.  The season turned as did your admiration into impatience for picking time.

If you have woken up early to the opening day where air and hour and the absence of sound work on you like a special promise, you have known what it is like to put on your creased and cracked boots, to call your happy dogs and start out into your long work.

You know that every tree has potential and every tree has limits.  You remember when you first came upon the brokenness, the fractured limbs, the long fresh splinters cutting through the morning just so.  Too soon.  “Too soon,” you think and repeat out loud to your tree, trying to explain.  Too soon, fruit still holding the branch like they are drowning.  The last clutch in death.  Oh, shame.

If you have lived where branches so full of fruit break under the weight of their life’s work, you have lived to learn that to be productive, to sustain that kind of strain, to endure, a tree and her branches need support.  You have known forever after to put two-by-fours fashioned into braces under those loads and hope the big winds don’t loose their grip.  You can’t forget the loss.  Sometimes you have even thinned the clustered fruit, maybe peaches, reluctantly pulling out one of three, two of three.  You’ve done what it takes.  Dropping them and knowing that the others will grow. Your fingers, bitten with cold and regret, move between the leaves giving yourself and the tree hope.  You give yourself and you give the tree what is needed to produce well and to live.

In those deciding moments, if you have worked with these trees, you have learned that we also break and lose what our life would put out for the world.  If we could.  If we had support.  If we were buttressed.  No one can put out for long without it.  Not Me.

And so now, we look to see where our hopes have increased.  We identify where to tend, where we habitually, that is to say, or where we have on many other occasions been known to come apart.  Oh, the loss.  The memory with the knowing fear dances like a hologram until we simply or not so simply, this time, acquire help.

Questions:  How are you working to build up support where you are weak?  How do you find support?  What have you seen come out of your life when you have?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Get you some support where you are weak.  Be a friend to yourself.

What We Will Do For Brain Health – Looking For Heroes

Death and the Maiden #2

Image by CapCat Ragu via Flickr

My dad is turning seventy-seven tomorrow folks.  He could have died a gazillion times before now, but it is the tumbling of those near-deaths into big life that teaches and recruits me.  He makes life feel like open space, warm skin, color and lyrics.  Now his spine is crumbling, his legs are weak, his lips are always moving in and out like a rabbit and he’s almost too hard of hearing to comfortably socialize with.  Still, it is the life, the interest he has, the way he doesn’t stop growing that somehow dims the many times he might have died.  Why does the one time he will die seem impossible to juxtapose against any future then?  Where will life go, if he is not there to infuse us with his humble will?  I think it may fall asleep with him but I know it will not and I cannot imagine it otherwise.

These past few posts we have talked about “special efforts” for brain illness.  We asked, “Is there any treatment you think is too extreme to consider to get brain health?”  We have not said the reason we cannot fairly answer.

I don’t know how life will be without Dad; we never know how life will be when our brain is bad and then more bad.  It’s hard to tell.  We can only imagine and usually our imagination will be wrong anyhow.

Any answer to this question, “Is there treatment you think is too extreme to consider to get brain health?” is shaped by our understanding of what “extreme” means.  It changes shape and margins with the degree of brain illness.  With each turn, as our disease process exacerbates, so progresses our willingness to believe what is reasonable versus what is “extreme.”

Many of you have told us of your own specifics in your fight for brain health.  People do heroic things and I’m thinking you and I might have a bit of a living hero in us.  In part, it is the inherent unknown in growth that testifies to life itself.

“Is there treatment that you think is too extreme to consider to get brain health?”  I imagine my answer would be, no.  Please tell us more about yours.  Your view from your degree of extreme helps.  Keep talking.

Self-Care Tip – Let the hero in you speak, grow you and testify to life.

Get Your Hunting On – Insight is Empowering

But

Because of

He makes me

Finding insight can often feel like going on a bear hunt. There’s a children’s classic that tells this story about our journey towards self-discovery well with this title. You Tube even has a catalog of animations for it. One of my favorites is by Michael Rosen. This guy has a face made for story-telling.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunthttp://bit.ly/uItL6P YouTube

Sometimes when we venture out on our personal journey, a bit of the spirit of Columbus, a musketeer or a little boy with a stick in his hand. We have courage.

The screenplayer

Image by Darkroom Daze via Flickr

We are made beautiful by the courager; wind in our hair, weapon girded and travel pack filled with trail mix. And then mid-stride, mid-journey or in-process of anything our hand starts to shake. We remember more of our flaws rather than our merits. We remember abuse and encounter more of it. The tall grass becomes tangled around our ankles. We stumble often and start talking about why we cannot. We fear what we find or may find on the great hunt of accountability for our lives.

Words can be part of the tripping power over us. Words that point to all the power outside of us; over us. Words that erase our memories of what we have inside.

I am depressed because I have so much stress at work.

I hit him because he was being so rude.

I’m sorry but I wouldn’t cry all the time if you cared.

All the “reasons why” hover around us like angry weather, darkness or spooky caves.

I’m not forgetting the obvious. Hunting bears is dangerous. It is just a metaphor. Hunting for ourselves is less dangerous and more rewarding. We find that when we find our “bear,” and stay in the space of that fear for long enough over and over, it loses its power over us and our fears dissipate. We are safe and see that we have power.

Self-Care Tip: Get you some bear. You have the power and are not a victim.

Question: What keeps you from insight? How do you get past all the in-between that keeps you from seeing yourself and taking accountability for who you are? Please tell us your story.

A Bit Dull – Update.

Winter the Dolphin

Image by dbr Atl via Flickr

A few more dollars in the Family Money Jar.

My daughter asked me if I’d ever seen moldy boogers.  (We had just “learned” that often cheese she eats is “moldy” or “aged.”  Somehow that brought her round to boogers.)

Spent over $200 on groceries today.

Ate my weight in theater popcorn watching, Dolphin Tale with a crowd of children.  I was all weepy, popcorn imbedded in my sweater and the kids kept asking, “Why did they cut off the dolphin’s tale?”  During the movie I texted my cousin, a specialist in orthotics and prosthetics at Shriners Hospital for Children, and it turns out he provided the first prosthetic for one of the actors in the movie.  He is one of my heroes.  Somehow, I suddenly felt even more intimately connected with that darn dolphin.  (Follow that if you can.)

Some so-so reviews from work-related stuff.

Off to go ride the bike.

Thankful for you.

Adequate – Step Away From The Ledge

Repost.

How does one fight feelings of inadequacy?

With Truth I barricade against my lies that I am not enough.  Of course I am adequate; and I fight to know that in more dimensions than just cognitively.  After all, facts change if you don’t believe them.

Take parenting for example.  Wow!  Sometimes I think that strangers would do better.  That the very parts of my soul those children hold would be better off with more distance from their home in my heart.  Am I inadequate to be a mother?  No, but some days I have to beg not to believe the lie.

In these moments of calamitous thinking, I am reminded of the term “all-or-none” thinking.  I am reminded that feelings of inadequacy drink from them like fat mosquitoes.  Catastrophizing is an egotistical view and nothing could ever be that bad or that good.  Not Me.  Not anyone.

Fighting feelings of inadequacy means being a friend enough to yourself to say, step away from the ledge.  To say,

you aren’t so special that you could be that terrible.

To fight right, you have to slide away from all bad into some of the gray area, and stop before getting to all good.  Because believing you are all of anything is just arrogant.

There are temperaments that do better in gray zones than others, those who feel comfortable grazing between thoughts and situations of life.  There are others, however, also.  People who almost seem wired to self destruct; whose own genetics thrash them towards polarity.  Those people are tortured, familiar with the often lonely fight I speak of.

To fight feelings of inadequacy, perhaps you fight your own design.  Hopeless?  Well no.  That is an extreme word and not to be trusted.  Remember at some level, that the truth is in the gray.

Self Care Tip #4:  Move away from the edge.  Be a friend to yourself.

Pay a dollar

Repost from July 29, 2010.

We all have a number of our own eddies, currents that spiral behaviors. Assuming that when those are friendly behaviors, then like “casting your bread upon the water” you’re bound to see something nice coming back your way. Some people say these patterns come from neurological loops, grooves in your brain like indian trails. When you go back down over your same footsteps 100 more times, you now have an open path without resistance, easy to travel. That is how the connections – neurological, electrical, chemical, are all biased in our brains.  Adaptability to stress, in part, means that your pattern of coping is on a path that serves you well when you need it to.

Come on, though! Who spends even five minutes talking about good behavior? What we do ruminate over, is why we keep doing what we don’t want to do. …Such as screaming at the kids when what we really want to do is to grow up and practice the good skills we’ve read about in all those parenting books!

Why is it so hard to stop?  Why are we “triggered” so easily?  Grooves, my friend.  Grooves.  Any day we can list off several seemingly unrelated events – but our reaction is all too familiar.  It feels like getting sucked into a tornado with a word spout, as if today turns you round and round the same way you did the day before.  Inevitable self loathing follows, which can set off more self-destructive behavior.  The cycle goes on.

When you feel trapped by your own self, get friendly by remembering this.  You’re mistaken.  You’re talking about a groove, not a vampire.  It’s not hopeless.  Not much more, not much less than what it is.  A groove can be abandoned.  New paths can be made and when the stressor hits next time, you will have a longer moment to decide on which behavior to play.  You will have a choice and you will realize more often that you are not trapped by what you thought; you are not hopeless and ugly.

For example, now when I yell at my kids, regardless, I pay a dollar to the family money jar.  Anyone can call me on it.  That’s my effort to steer clear of the “yelling-groove.”  The innumerable reasons for righteous anger, took me on miserable trips.  Round and round.  Yelling equaled me jamming myself all over again.  That’s right.  Who did it to me?  Me.  Now that’s not too friendly.  So something’s got to change.

It may be something different for you, but if you end up hating yourself in the end, it couldn’t have been good.

Self Care tip #5: You are not trapped. Pay a dollar. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  What has helped you abandon old grooves and make new ones?  When you don’t feel hopeful, how do you recognize that even though you feel that way about yourself, there is hope and the feeling is deceiving?  Please tell us your story.

Fighting For Brain Health Is At The Core Of Being A Friend To Yourself

Nose-picking in progress.

Image via Wikipedia

Demanding what we cannot give is a cruel relationship with ourselves.  It is cruel that we must have insight to pursue health treatment for the brain whose variety of illness destroys our capacity to see into ourselves.

It’s one thing for us to choose not to do what we see is to be done.  We all choose not to take care of ourselves by degrees.  We all make choices against information and sight;

Smoking, exercise, sugar intake, sleep hygiene, working more hours, avoiding interpersonal connections, soda, driving fast, jay-walking, hand-washing, self-medication, self-injury, brushing hair from the top down, splashing our soup, flossing, nose-picking and eating with our mouth open.

Insight is there and we choose not to.

Even so, it is arrogant to presume insight into our own human condition and the more I know, the more I agree with the humility of any great teacher – there is so much out there that we don’t see into.  However this is critically different from the inability to see into and that is the cruel irony of requiring a decision that our brain is unable to be informed about.

There are a number of these.  I’m wondering if you can tell us about your own story of what healing has done for your ability to “see?”  It’s a service to many to know that fighting for brain health is at the core of being a friend to yourself.

Self-Care Tip – Fight for brain health – it is at the core of being a friend to yourself.

Victim to Emotions Versus The Friendliness In Accountability

Thin layer chromatography is used to separate ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s just hard!

It is hard.  Do you feel like a victim?

Yes I do?  It’s hard when they are making you feel this way and no one gets it unless they are here fighting against both sides like I have to.

Juanita’s self-perception and emotions; suffering is special and specific to Me, I am chosen to suffer, I am alone in my suffering and I am helpless, were carried by the air particles through our room.

In 1910, Russian botanist Mikhail Tsvet used water to do this to plant dyes.   The water in the plant dyes carried the pigment, separating them for his needs.  This is now called chromatography and we use it to determine what makes up a particular flavor or scent, to analyze pollutants, to find traces of drugs in urine, and to separate blood proteins.  You might remember doing this yourself as a child in the simple science experiment with a marker, a couple drops of water and a coffee filter.

Juanita’s son also knew about chromatography, I could tell.  He may not have called it that with words, but he did call it out with his body, his eyes and the muscles around his lips told me as I watched that the emotions had made their way over to him and that he was bringing them inside.

Some people call emotions contagious and others may describe them as spreading.  No one thinks they don’t travel.  No one thinks they remain stationary.  In fact, if we were to reduce everything in the known world, living and nonliving matter, and expand our thoughts into a large large amount of time, we’d agree that nothing is stationary.  Furthermore, everything is changed by the influencers in its universe.

Juanita’s son knew this even if he didn’t cognitively piece it together.  He was taking in his mom’s emotions and they were making their changes on him.

What I asked Juanita was if it mattered in the end.  She’s still left with herself, regardless of where things came from.  We’d like to think others should take care of us, at least not do damage to us, but if they don’t or if they do, in the end, we are left with ourselves.  All these perceived degrees of abuse she suffered – what now?

Saying we are left with ourselves, accountable to ourselves and should take care of ourselves is not making any statement about the condition of our connections with the world around us.  It’s just talking about Me.  Sometimes we perceive how others take care of us, sometimes we don’t.  The same goes with feeling alone and so forth.  But that isn’t about accountability to ourselves.

I would have liked to have said the same thing to Juanita’s son but couldn’t.  I hope he learns it from watching his mother.  If he or mom gain insight into this and can act on that insight, wonderful.  If they cannot do one or the other though, I’d bet there’s something biological going on and need to take care of themselves by looking for medical help.

Question:  How do you perceive accountability to yourself being different from where the problems drift towards you from?  Or from how you have been changed by problems?  Please tell me your story.

Related FriendtoYourself.com Articles:

Related articles

Insight Isn’t Worth Much For Self-Care… Or Is It?

Autumn Red peach.

Image via Wikipedia

Much of self-care is about taking accountability for our choices.  Choices come in deliberately – “Oh my!  I’m old already!  It’s time to have a baby!”  Or not deliberately – “Oh my!   He’s hot!  Whoops!  I’m having a baby!”  Both choices brought a baby.  Both choices accountable by Me.

In interpersonal exchanges this is ever in debate.  From parenting to being parented, from spouses to friendship and all up and down the Mississippi river – the martyrs stake rarely collects dust.

That baby keeps her awake and she can never sleep with her husband any more or else no one gets any sleep.

That’s a lot of responsibility to put on those tiny infant shoulders.  Don’t you think?

Mom just runs my life!  I have things to do but every weekend she expects me to be by her side!

Mom may run your life but you are choosing for her to do it if that is true.

The scenes could continue on our imaginary screen, but our own are enough to keep us busy.  We don’t need others from others to get the point.  But insight only takes us so far.  Sometimes I get all grumpy and say, “Insight isn’t worth much.”  Because, we all know that we don’t choose many of our emotions.  We are learning here at FrientoYourself.com also that we don’t choose many of our behaviors.  Insight sits in us like a stone fruit.  Eat it up or don’t, eventually all we have left is a stone if we don’t have the biology to work with it.

Self-Care Tips in a stone fruit:  To take care of ourselves, to take accountability for our choices, to use our insight for more than a midmorning snack fruit – we must have the working body to turn insight into production.  One stone fruit can germinate and grow.

Question:  What relationship does insight have in your self-care?  What limitations does it have in your self-care?  please tell us your story.

Please Get Back on Your Meds!

Please get back on your meds!

Pretha explained that her mom had done better on her medication.  It was the irritability that isolated her.  That and the boredom.

It’s just boring, her daughter said.  It’s boring because there’s just so little there before she falls into her fray.  The venere is so thin.  It’s just boring.  

Pretha’s mom who had taken her medication didn’t see what it was doing for her.  Every day it had hurt her a little, knowing what she knew.  She was better now that she had given it over to God.  Her life without medication was a testimony to the power of God.  She had not been faithful taking medication.

What do you think, doctor?  How am I doing?  Aren’t I doing well?

Pretha’s mom was difficult to maintain eye contact with.  I wanted to please her.  That’s not easy for a physician.  At least for me.  It was more uncomfortable because my thoughts had already skated down the path of what if’s.  Whatever I said, Pretha’s mom wasn’t going to get back on her meds.

Where’s the self-care in this?  Pretha?  Mom?  Physician?  You, reader?  Do you identify with any of us?

Pretha and I have similar jobs.  Keep what is about Me, right there.  Be present with ourselves first and subsequent to that more able to be present with Pretha’s mom.

Pretha’s mom has her job of sifting through her distortions, using her same organ that is diseased to understand her disease.  Pretha’s mom’s job is large.

What is your self-care job reader?  Please tell us your story.

Know When to Stand and When to Lean – Getting is Giving

Guest Blogger:  Asia Sharif-Clark

If I could compare us to part of a tree, it would be a solid trunk.  We stand firm, strong, and tall securing the roots beneath and the leaves above.

There’s only one problem and it’s a big one, most trunks don’t lean.  Leaning symbolizes receiving support from others, standing means giving support from oneself.  We’ve got standing perfected.

Now we must allow ourselves to lean. That’s where the branches comes in.  They move with the wind, sway in the rain; giving to leaves, yet receiving from the trunk.  Giving and receiving.  Standing and leaning.

I’ve learned to lean more and more over the years and am amazed at the immense joy others experience from giving to me.  I am open and happy to receiving.

Self-Care Tip – Wishing you more moments to lean.

Question:  Can you tell us about the leaning motion in your life?

I’m Asia Sharif-Clark, founder of Centered Self Worldwide, the Glow Weekend, and the Glow Circle. In 90 days, I take women from overworked and overwhelmed to empowered and energized. And, that’s just the beginning.   I invite you to Raise Your Joy!

Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe

Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe

This is a slight remake from 7/25/10. Hugs to all.

____________________________________________

When you feel the pull to do something that isn’t good for you, turn away from it. Do something that you can stand doing at the moment that won’t make you hate yourself now or later.

In the evenings, when the kids are just in bed, the backlash of the day seems to have a few last flicks. Despite the anticipated quiet, my shoulders are tight. Dusk, when the land meets the sky, is when I feel like eating …chocolate specifically.

I purposefully don’t bring it home, except the darkest chocolate sold with over 75% cacao for this very reason. It’s so dark, it’s practically bark.

Home is my safe place and I need to know that it is as safe as possible, even from me. I used to bring treats home that were to be eaten in moderation, but I found that when the monster in me crept out. I’d board myself up in the pantry and polish it off. That would turn me to self-loathing. It was a cycle. I got tired of being my enemy and knowing what was coming next.

Now, I choose to simply go out for my chocolate. I eat what I want when I’m out, when I’m less likely to eat myself into despair. Now, when I’m home, I can pick a different fight rather than fighting the urge to closet eat. Home is a little more safe for me.

Tonight, the kids went to bed ok, but I still took my turn around the fridge and pantry, even though I knew there was nothing, absolutely nothing, I’d want to eat in my house. I am in danger now of developing something of a ritual in this rummage around the kitchen. The good thing is that when I do make the turn, it leads me to the thought of just going to my bike and riding. Tonight, after a 30 minute spin, while watching the last 1/2 of the première to Glee, I am good again. I’m thinking about the muscles in my legs and the way my body doesn’t walk as heavy as it used to and I feel good about myself. Just like that, I feel a little less self-loathing. I feel more safe.

Self Care tip #1 – Run away before you self destruct. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions: Have you found a safe place? What is keeping your home safe for you? Please tell us your story.

Gathering Friend to Yourself Blog-Post References:
Choosing Safety:
  • basics on Weight Management 2011/06/25
  • Trusting our Clinician, or Not 2011/05/17
  • Self-Care Works You, Pushes You, Tires You Out Until You Are Happily Spent On Your Friend – You 2011/04/25
  • Participate – Work as Part of A Team With Your Medical Providers 2011/04/12
  • Choosing Connections – Take The Good and Take Care of Yourself 2011/04/04
  • Check Your Read. Even When You Feel Shame, Bullied and Herded, You Are Free. 2011/03/26
  • Living Where We Feel Safe is Part of Self-Care 2011/03/20
  • Afraid of Meds 2010/09/19
  • Get in Someone’s Space 2010/09/08
  • Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe 2010/07/25
Self-Loathing:
  • Number One Reason For Relapse In Mental Illness 2011/04/07
  • So Many Choices, So Little Time …For Self-Care 2011/03/05
  • Say, “I Can’t Control This” When You Can’t 2011/01/31
  • Emotions: The Physical Gift We Can Name 2011/01/06
  • Escape Self-Loathing 2010/10/29
Breaking Negative Cycles:
  • Loving Me without ambivalence – Perfectionism v. Passive Surrender 2011/05/28
  • You Can’t Barter With It. Sleep. 2010/12/03
  • Regardless The Reasons Not To, Go Get Your Sleep 2010/11/22
  • Choose, Gladly, Using Resources 2010/10/13
  • Sleep Hygiene – my version 2010/08/29
  • Pay a dollar 2010/07/29