November 28, 2017

I’m Giving A Little Love From My Heart

Posted in Compassion tagged , , , , , , at 10:06 pm by kellyfdennis

treeinsun2So, did you have a bad day? Or maybe a mediocre one? Did you and your daughter have a disagreement before she left for school? The car wouldn’t start; when you finally got to work your supervisor said “we need to talk” and the talk wasn’t great. You couldn’t find your favorite pen, the dog peed on your best shoes… UGH! I hate bad days.

For all the bad, I want you to know that you are deserving of good. You are capable, strong, tenacious, fearless, and bold. You know what bad days feel like and you conquer them anyway and go on to face the next day. Do you sometimes feel like giving up? Sure, sometimes the tasks seem insurmountable. Do you sometimes believe that you are the only person on the planet with sense, and wonder what the heck has happened to the rest of us? Yep.

I want you to know that even with all that stuff, you are lovable, lovely, worthy of respect and good caring from those you love. You are smart, kind, caring, and courageous. Even when you’re in your jammies and your hair’s a mess and you haven’t brushed your teeth, you are still an awesome person, waiting to give and receive love and affection.

You, my love, are my hero; courageously encountering your day even though you may struggle with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, ADHD, have children on the spectrum, are recovering from trauma and abuse. You do what you have to do to take care of your family, your job, your life.

Now, go and do what you need to do for yourself, to take care of yourself, to love and nurture yourself. Just like you do for everyone else. Shut off the TV, turn off your phone, say “no” to watching the neighbors kids, and just do something lovely for yourself, right here, right now. I want you to take care of yourself. You deserve it.

 

November 27, 2017

Need to Chill Out? Try This.

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness tagged , , , , at 12:55 pm by kellyfdennis

Goat These are trying times; add the holiday hubbub in there and you may be feeling stressed out! Of course, there are two kinds of stress, eustress and distress, but it’s usually the distress that we notice the most. It can cause irritability, difficulty sleeping, headaches, elevated blood pressure, and elevated blood sugar levels as well. So, what if you could do a few things every day to help you feel less stressed out? That’d be great! Right? Well, actually, even though we there are things we can do everyday to help ourselves with our stress, we are also really good at talking ourselves out of doing them.

So, do what you need to do to get yourself to try one or all of these things this week:

-Bring your attention to the here and now by focusing on a physical sensation for a few moments. One example is to pay attention to your feet, right now. How do your feet feel in your socks and shoes, or barefoot resting on the ground, or in boots standing in line? What do you notice about the physical sensations in your feet? Just notice, no judgment, just curiosity.

-Breathe. I know it sounds cliche or maybe too simple to actually work, but conscious breathing is a great thing because it reduces the over stimulation of the “fight or flight” response which contributes to your feeling stressed out. So, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your belly to expand, and then blow it out through your mouth. Do it 3 times, a couple of times a day, and I bet you’ll notice a difference in your stress level.

-Do some active muscle relaxation. Stand up and reach your arms to the sky, bend over and touch your toes, turn your body to the left and then to the right. If you have a little more time, practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation, a yoga pose or two, or take a nice warm bath. All the while noticing how good it feels to relax your muscles.

-And finally, Feel the Love! Place your hand on your heart (skin to skin contact is best), visualize someone who is dear to you, a person, a pet, a spiritual figure, and then allow yourself to feel the love coming from that person, pet, or figure, and allow yourself to feel the love flowing from you back to them.

Some pretty easy and not-so-time-consuming ways to de-stress this holiday season. I hope you’ll try it!

Be Well and Have a Wonderful Day!

 

November 16, 2017

How to Find Your Life Purpose: An Unconventional Approach

Posted in identity tagged , , , , at 3:02 pm by kellyfdennis

longfence A loonngg post, but well worth the read~Kelly

BY LEO BABAUTA ZenHabits.net

Let’s say you’re feeling unmotivated, unsure of yourself, aimless, can’t find your passion, directionless, not clear on what your purpose in life is.

You’re in good company — most people are in the same boat.

Now, there about a million things online telling you how to find your passion in life, and that’s a good thing. It’s a search worth undergoing.

I’m not going to give you a fool-proof method, or a 5-step method, nor share my passion manifesto with you today.

I’m going to give you a one-step method.

However, that one step is a doozy.

The One Step to Finding Your Purpose

It’s simply this: learn to get outside your personal bubble.

Your personal bubble is the small world you live in (we all have one), where you are the center of the universe. You are concerned with your wellbeing, with not wanting to look bad, with succeeding in life, with your personal pleasure (good food, good music, good sex, etc.).

This is the bubble we all live in most of the time, and people who say they don’t are trying to prove something.

When someone tells you you look fat, this only hurts because you’re in your personal bubble. You take that statement (a colleague who says you look fat) and believe that it’s about you, and feel the pain or embarrassment of how the statement affects you. It matters a lot, because in your bubble, what matters most is how everything affects you personally.

I’m the same way, and so is everyone else.

Some other problems caused by this personal bubble:

  • In our bubble, we’re concerned with our pleasure and comfort, and try not to be uncomfortable. This is why we don’t exercise, why we don’t only eat healthy food.
  • This fear of being uncomfortable is also why we get anxious at the thought of meeting strangers. It hampers our social lives, our love lives.
  • Because we don’t want to look bad, we are afraid of failing. So we don’t tackle tough things.
  • We procrastinate because of this fear of failing, this fear of discomfort.
  • When someone does or says something, we relate that event with how it affect us, and this can cause anger or pain or irritation.
  • We expect people to try to give us what we want, and when they don’t, we get frustrated or angry.

Actually, pretty much all our problems are caused by this bubble.

Including the difficulty in finding our life purpose. But more on that in a minute — I ask for your patience here, because this is important.

What Happens When We Get Out of the Bubble

If we can learn to get outside this personal bubble, and see things from a less self-centered approach, we can see some amazing things:

  • When someone says or does something, it’s not really about us — it’s about pain or fear or confusion they’re feeling, or a desire they have. Not us.
  • When we have an urge for temporary pleasure (TV, social media, junk food, porn), we can see that this urge is a simple passing physical sensation, and not the center of the universe.
  • We can start to see that our personal desires are actually pretty trivial, and that there’s more to life than trying to meet our pleasures and shy from our discomfort. There’s more than our little fears. Including: the pain and suffering of other people, and compassion for them. Compassion for all living beings. Wanting to make the world better.
  • We can tie our daily actions, like learning about how our minds and bodies and habits work, or getting healthy, or creating something, not only to our personal satisfaction and success (trivial things) but to how they help others, how they make the lives of others better, how they might lessen the suffering of others.

We become less self-centered, and begin to have a wider view. Everything changes, from letting go of fear and anger and procrastination, to changing our habits and finding work that matters.

How does this relate to finding our life purpose? Let’s explore that.

The Wider View, and Our Life Purpose

Once we get out of the bubble, and see things with a wider view, we can start a journey along a path like this:

  1. We can start to see the needs of others, and feel for their suffering.
  2. We then work to make their lives better, and lessen their suffering.
  3. Even if we aren’t good at that, we can learn skills that help us to be better at it. It’s the intention that matters.
  4. As we go about our daily work, we can tie our actions to this greater purpose. Learning to program or become healthy (for example) isn’t just for our betterment, but for the betterment of others, even in a small way. This gives us motivation on a moment-to-moment basis. When we lose motivation, we need to get back out of our bubble, shed our concern for our discomfort and fears, and tie ourselves to a bigger purpose.

In this path, it doesn’t matter what specific actions you take or skills you learn to make people’s lives better. What career you choose is not important — what matters is the bigger purpose. You can always change your career and learn new skills later, as you learn other ways to fulfill this purpose. You’ll learn over time.

What matters is becoming bigger than yourself. Once you do, you learn that you have a purpose in life.

How to Get Out of the Bubble

Sounds great, but getting outside this personal bubble isn’t as easy as just saying, “Let it be so.” It takes work.

First, you must see when you’re stuck in the bubble. Whenever you’re angry, frustrated, irritated, fearful, anxious, procrastinating, feeling hurt, wishing people would be different … you’re in the bubble. These are signs. You are at the center of your universe, and everything is relating to you and your feelings. When you can’t stick to habits, or have a hard time with a diet, you’re in the bubble. Your momentary pleasure is what matters in this bubble. Outside the bubble, they’re just little events (sensations of desire, urges) that can be let go of.

Second, when you notice that you’re in the bubble, expand your mind and heart. See the bigger picture. Feel what others must be feeling. Try to understand rather than condemning. See how little and petty your concerns and fears have been. Realize that if others treat you badly, it’s not about you, but about their suffering.

Third, wish others well. Genuinely want their happiness, just as you want your own happiness. See their suffering and wish for it to end or lessen.

Fourth, see how you can help. How can you lessen the suffering of others? Sometimes it’s just by paying attention, just listening. Other times you just need to be there, just lend a hand. You don’t need to go around solving everyone’s problems — they probably don’t want that. Just be there for them. And see if you can make people’s lives better — create something to make them smile. Make one little part of their world — a cup of tea, an article of clothing you’ve sewn — be a little space of goodness.

Repeat this process multiple times a day, and you’ll get better at it.

You’ll learn to be bigger than yourself. You’ll learn that the life we’ve been given is a gift, and we must make the most of it, and not waste a second. You’ll learn that there is nothing more fulfilling than making the lives of others a little better.

So…I Wrote You a Love Song

Posted in Compassion, Self Image tagged , , , at 8:55 am by kellyfdennis

blackeyedsusansI know that sometimes you feel like you messed up. There are days when you feel like you can’t do anything right. You might wake up in the morning and are convinced that you cannot possibly face the day and all there is in it. Or maybe you look in the mirror and say to yourself “if people knew the real me, they would not want to hangout/be with me.” You try again and again and again and believe that you just aren’t measuring up.

So, I wrote you a love song; not because you asked for it, but because you deserve it:

Nothing that happened yesterday has to determine who you are today; you are strong and resilient; you are worthy of health, happiness, love, and affection.

You are radiant, beautiful, important, and worthy; you can claim your happiness, peace, grace, and love.

May you be grounded and centered; may you move through your life with mindfulness, grace, and compassion.

My wish for you is to face today with an open mind, speak kindness to yourself, capture the love that is waiting for you.

You are enough, what you do is enough.

You are loved.

November 14, 2017

Can’t Make It to the Office? No Problem!

Posted in Online Counseling tagged , , , , , at 10:28 am by kellyfdennis

computerandtabletwvseeTry video counseling!

Sometimes it just doesn’t work to stop what you’re doing and come into the office for a counseling session. One of the kids woke up sick, you woke up sniffling, the furnace broke and you have to wait for the repair man, or maybe you’re at a conference across the state and don’t want to miss your session. All very good reasons to try video counseling.

I use VSee, a HIPAA compliant platform similar to FaceTime or Skype, but secure. It’s a free program, you can download it on your computer, your table, or your phone and take your counseling session wherever you go! I like it better than telephone counseling because we can see each other and feel more connected.

So, instead of canceling or rescheduling next time you have a conflict, give video counseling a try!

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

November 11, 2017

Eating Disorders Anonymous Meeting

Posted in Eating Disorders tagged , , , at 11:50 am by kellyfdennis

EDABanner

Where: Christ Lutheran Church 125 E. High St., Elizabethtown, PA (downstairs in Luther Library)

When: Tuesdays @ 7:00pm

More info: elizabethtowneda@gmail.com

About EDA (from eatingdisordersanonymous.org)

“Balance – not abstinence – is our goal.

In EDA, recovery means living without obsessing on food, weight and body image. In our eating disorders, we sometimes felt like helpless victims. Recovery means gaining or regaining the power to see our options, to make careful choices in our lives. Recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves, a gradual process that requires much motivation and support. As we learn and practice careful self-honesty, self-care and self-expression, we gain authenticity, perspective, peace and empowerment.

Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA) is a fellowship of individuals who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from their eating disorders.”

*This support group has a similar structure to AA, and is very open and diverse. While Eating Disorder support groups have mixed reviews, this framework seems to create the most success. Consider attending and checking it out (be curious!) and determine if it might be beneficial for you if you are in recovery from an eating disorder. Or pass this along to someone you know who might benefit from this type of support. (One note, Kelly is not involved in managing or leading this support group. It is entirely peer based.)

 

 

November 10, 2017

Today’s Great Idea!

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy tagged , , at 10:07 am by kellyfdennis

cornandcloudsTake charge over the “voices” in your head today. Don’t listen to the one that says “I can’t do this”, or that one that says “I’m such an idiot”. Ignore the ones that say “I’m not good enough”, “I’m all alone, no one loves me”, “I’m such a failure”. Maybe your “voices” say “I’m defective, broken, or too needy.” Whatever the “voices” say today, give yourself a break. Even though, on some level, the “voices” (aka, negative internal dialogue), are trying to help by spurring us on to do something in a different way, ultimately, they just make us feel crummy!

Try something like, “thanks for letting me know, but that’s not really helpful right now!” Or if you’re feeling really feisty, talk back,”You know what? I am lovable; even though I make mistakes, I’m not a failure.” Or “everyone’s got stuff, mine’s just bugging me today!”

Make it a Fearless Friday and take charge of that Nasty Person inside your head!

 

 

November 6, 2017

Just because I, too, wondered about things as a kid…

Posted in News at 9:10 pm by kellyfdennis

GiraffeElephant sculptureFrom the book “Big Questions From Little People and Simple Answers  Great Minds” (check it out apparently a good chunk of the proceeds from book revenues get donated to Save The Children):

Alain de Botton explores why we have dreams:

“Most of the time, you feel in charge of your own mind. You want to play with some Legos? Your brain is there to make it happen. You fancy reading a book? You can put the letters together and watch characters emerge in your imagination.

But at night, strange stuff happens. While you’re in bed, your mind puts on the weirdest, most amazing and sometimes scariest shows.

In the olden days, people believed that our dreams were full of clues about the future. Nowadays, we tend to think that dreams are a way for the mind to rearrange and tidy itself up after the activities of the day.

Why are dreams sometimes scary? During the day, things may happen that frighten us, but we are so busy we don’t have time to think properly about them. At night, while we are sleeping safely, we can give those fears a run around. Or maybe something you did during the day was lovely but you were in a hurry and didn’t give it time. It may pop up in a dream. In dreams, you go back over things you missed, repair what got damaged, make up stories about what you’d love, and explore the fears you normally put to the back of your mind.

Dreams are both more exciting and more frightening than daily life. They’re a sign that our brains are marvellous machines — and that they have powers we don’t often give them credit for, when we’re just using them to do our homework or play a computer game. Dreams show us that we’re not quite the bosses of our own selves.”

Neuroscientist David Eagleman explains why we can’t tickle ourselves:

“To understand why, you need to know more about how your brain works. One of its main tasks is to try to make good guesses about what’s going to happen next. While you’re busy getting on with your life, walking downstairs or eating your breakfast, parts of your brain are always trying to predict the future.

Remember when you first learned how to ride a bicycle? At first, it took a lot of concentration to keep the handlebars steady and push the pedals. But after a while, cycling became easy. Now you’re not aware of the movements you make to keep the bike going. From experience, your brain knows exactly what to expect so your body rides the bike automatically. Your brain is predicting all the movements you need to make.

You only have to think consciously about cycling if something changes — like if there’s a strong wind or you get a flat tire. When something unexpected happens like this, your brain is forced to change its predictions about what will happen next. If it does its job well, you’ll adjust to the strong wind, leaning your body so you don’t fall.

Why is it so important for our brains to predict what will happen next? It helps us make fewer mistakes and can even save our lives.

Because your brain is always predicting your own actions, and how your body will feel as a result, you cannot tickle yourself. Other people can tickle you because they can surprise you. You can’t predict what their tickling actions will be.

And this knowledge leads to an interesting truth: if you build a machine that allows you to move a feather, but the feather moves only after a delay of a second, then you can tickle your- self. The results of your own actions will now surprise you.”

Fascinating! What a marvelous wonder is the human brain, that’s my contribution:)

stefdennis

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