Staying Sane In Stressful Situations.

Stress blog 5

I’ve heard that problems come in threes, and I recently had my three. First I was ready to copy an important paper, but my printer was out of ink. Okay. Get more ink. But I forgot how to insert a new ink cartridge. So I got out the manual, studied, and did it right. That wasn’t so hard after all.

Then feeling smug about my first ordeal, the second one appeared. My land phone had been giving me less and less time to talk before it beeped and then cut me off. Finally, it just died. I know about people, but I’m a dummy with mechanical stuff, so I got out the manual. Manuals are so smart. They know everything. Well, I learned that phones need new batteries. Duh. So I got a new battery and solved that problem.

Then my third challenge came when my A/C wasn’t putting out cold air. Now that was really out of my league, and I couldn’t remember if I ever had a manual to solve that one. I figured a repair person wouldn’t need a manual, but they can be expensive. However, sweat running down my back convinced me there was no other way. So I called a brilliant repair person, then sat under the cool air reassuring myself that it was worth every penny.

By now I was sick of feeling stressed out solving problems, one after another. I know what to do with stress, how to manage it, or even eliminate it, but that’s hard to do when you’re in the midst of a crisis. I realize those weren’t big crises, but don’t they seem like giants when you’re confronted with them, especially when you’re one manual short? I envy people who can keep their sanity even when vultures are descending to eat their young. We could take a lesson from them. The people, not the vultures.

So now I’m retrieving my little Mental Stress Manual to remind me to pay attention the next time stress attacks me. I’ve been through some biggies in my life. Handled some well, some not so well. And if you ignore stress or don’t know it’s there, it can really do a number on you. You just gotta be prepared.

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So here’s how my little Mental Stress Manual says to handle stress in any situation. You have to catch the stress before it gets full blown because full-blown is too late. Right before you feel the stress, you’ll feel a very subtle knot in your stomach. Sometimes a knot in your belly is from something you ate, but with stress, it can come from something you’re thinking about. On the outside it can come from another person and/or situation. And it depends upon how you’re responding.

Do you feel capable to handle whatever’s happening? Or are you caught up in pangs of concern over the happening? If it’s the latter, and you feel that knot, you better get busy with your stress obliteration technique. It’s a monster if you let it get out of hand. And it’s a lot more difficult to solve a problem when you’re stressed out. You can begin with a few deep breaths to get you on the right track.

“One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to master how to remain calm.” ~Catherine Pulsifer

 

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1. Identify the beginning of stress (the knot) and talk to it. “Hello. I know you well, and I want you to know that I’m not at all afraid of you. I decree that no matter what you do, you have no power over me. You’re no more than a fly on a horse’s rump. And I’m the horse. I have the power to handle any situation in a calm, peaceful way, which I intend to do. So you might as well leave now.”

2. Whether the situation is internal or external, picture an image of something that represents peace to you. ie A dove, a white aura, angels, balloons floating in the air, a beautiful sunrise, whatever has meaning for you. And associate with that peaceful feeling as the stress loses its power, or better yet, doesn’t even materialize.

3. Express gratitude. No matter what the result, express gratitude. 

The more you do this, the more effective it becomes. And if you forget, like I did, you can even create your own Mental Stress Manual and start over. Stress can be a stubborn critter, but you can be stubborn-er, and turn it off. And you become stronger with each experience.

I wish you peaceful encounters in your life.

Marilyn Fowler, Self-Help Author, and Writer ~  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country available now on Amazon online.

 

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How To Let Anger Work For You. Part 1.   It Can Be Done.

How To Let Anger Work For You. Part 1. It Can Be Done.

Dear Readers, Today we’re living in an angry world, and some of it can rub off on us causing discomfort, even pain. But anger doesn’t have to be a bad thing when you understand it and know how to make it work for you. In the past, I published a blog post on that subject, and would now like to share it again.

Hopefully, it will turn some jangled nerves to more heartfelt peace …

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“At the core of all anger is a need that is not being fulfilled.”  ~Marshall B. Rosenberg

The pot of spaghetti slammed into the wall, and I watched my supper run down onto my clean kitchen floor. I stomped my feet in it, and then got a hammer and a box of nails to repair the backdoor screen through which I’d just thrown a chair. I already needed to buy a new lamp. The one I threw across the room last week was beyond repair.

That was me–way too often–for too many years when repressed anger broke down the dam and gushed through with a mighty force. I know about anger. When I was a child, I was forbidden to show anger. But it had to go somewhere, so it seethed inside, waiting until I became an adult and could let it out, uncontrolled and very painful.

Anger is a complex critter. When projected outward, it becomes destructive, sometimes even lethal. It can ruin relationships, careers, even property, as in my outbursts toward whatever inanimate object was within my reach when the monster reared up inside. Society tells us we shouldn’t get angry, and if we do, we should just suck it up. As if stuffing it down somewhere inside is going to dissolve it. But when anger is repressed, it can cause ulcers, blood pressure imbalance, heart disease, any number of illnesses. On my 30th birthday, I vowed to never have another angry tantrum. And I didn’t. But then my anger turned inward and caused severe depression.

According to Marion Ross in her book, ‘Removing Your Mask’, anger is a specific form of fear at a very deep level, and most anger shows that people’s internal and external realities are not in balance. The real message of anger is almost always about one’s own beliefs, perceptions, or actions in a given situation or with particular people, not the situations or people themselves. P 194-195.

“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” ~Eckhart Tolle

So what causes anger? Where are you hurting?

 

Sometimes repressed anger will surface without a conscious reason. But anger is often your response to a thought, idea or belief that you or others are being treated unfairly or threatened by someone or something–look what they’re doing to me, or that other person–or that you’ve fallen short of your standards for yourself–I’m so stupid. I should have done better. These perceptions may be associated with self-esteem issues, needing to feel secure and safe, your own imperfection, loss of something in your life, your sense of caring for others, or something as simple as a need to be right. For some, being wrong means invalidation of self, but being right provides a false sense of power.

When a situation arouses an inner fear, you may perceive anger as a way to deal with a situation, sometimes just to let off steam like throwing a chair through a screen door. Some of your perceptions may be accurate, but lashing out in anger is not the answer. Anger is a natural human emotion, and it can kill you or save your life, depending on how you use it. But you must use it wisely for it to work for you instead of against you.

Next week in Part 2, I’ll go into some ways to tame the tiger and put you in control, ways to allow it to help heal your fears and grow in truth.

I wish you a peaceful week.

Marilyn Fowler, Author “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country available now on Amazon online.

 

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The Many Faces Of Change And How They Affect Your Life.


Recently I was sitting outside watching leaves fall from the big oak trees, and I saw the first blossoms on my camellia bushes revel in the sunshine. A baby lizard ran behind the patio chair, and I heard birds talking bird language celebrating our early spring. I live in Florida, and we never know when an unpredictable weather change will arrive. So we go with the flow and welcome the beautiful change when it comes.

As I watched this change unfolding in nature, I thought about our own lives and the positive and negative changes we experience all the time. When life is going good, we coast along in the ‘status quo’ and don’t want anything to rock our boat. Then there are times we pray for or initiate a change to move us out of the mess we’re in. Change is a law of the universe. Things are always moving, repositioning, increasing and decreasing, or taking a different form. And nothing stands still.

“There are two types of change: the change we choose and the change that chooses us.”  ~ Linda Ellerbee

Some changes are so subtle we don’t even notice them happening. In the midst of a dull brain fog, I may notice a tremendous idea that quietly crept in. Or I’m amazed at how quickly dust accumulates on the furniture. It wasn’t there yesterday. But other devastating changes may hit suddenly, and these can affect our health, work, finances, relationships, any part of our life. Sometimes we have options, and we can choose what we want to change. But other times we’re forced to accept what we don’t want. And that’s life.

Changes may be easy or difficult, but either way, you could run into some inner obstacles. With a commitment to release something and create something new, you may feel overwhelmedHow can you let go of what’s familiar and learn a new way? Or maybe you cling to an uncomfortable situation because you fear the unknown. And resistance sets in. Or you might experience the loss of someone or something good in your life, and you have to make painful changes to adjust.

In the waves of change, we find our true direction.” ~ Unknown 

Change is inevitable, sometimes with unpredictable outcomes. We’re constantly being moved along our path with no two moments the same, and we can’t live in our status quo for long. Life is about growth, and we can’t grow with our feet in mud from the last rain. The new rain has new puddles. Maybe it’s time for new puddles.

“All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you.” ~Octavia Butler

Examine various issues in your life, maybe feelings, an attitude, a situation. Observe the bigger picture of yourself and your life, and imagine how you want it to be. Then decide if you’d like to release something, change for the better, or create something new. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed, afraid to change, or resistant to it. Everything you need is within you, and awareness supplies courage to make changes you might want. And if you feel now that your status quo is fine with you, just love yourself and be prepared for changes in the future. Remember change is inevitable.

Recently I came across a poem I’ve had for many years, and it reminds me of changes I’ve experienced in my life. The poem is quite revealing.

 CHANGE
I have resisted change with all my will,
Cried out to life, “Pass by and leave me still.”
But I have found as I have trudged time’s track
That all my wishing will not hold life back.
All finite things must go their finite way;
I cannot bid the merest moment, “Stay.”
So finding that I have no power to change
Change, I have changed myself. And this is strange.
But I have found out when I let change come,
The very change that I was fleeing from
Has often held the good I prayed for,
And I was not the less for change, but more.
Once I accepted life and was not loath

To change, I found change was the seed of growth.


I wish you a happy life filled with wonderful surprises.

Author, Marilyn Fowler


 

How To Relieve Stress And Find Your Holiday Miracles.

How To Relieve Stress And Find Your Holiday Miracles.

Welcome readers and friends and Wishing you all a very blessed and happy holiday season!

It’s December, and holiday planning is everywhere. More cars are on the road with fewer places to park, stores are picking up traffic, you see more ads on TV, holiday trimmings are going up, and everyone’s looking for just the right gift. In other words, everything’s progressing into the usual chaotic rush that strikes this time every year. It can be a time of constant stress OR it can be a time of wonderment and miracles…if you make it so. And isn’t it wonderful? Or is it?

Many people are so consumed with doing, they miss the fun of being. They try to move through each day on autopilot without much thought to where they’re going. It’s easy to forget things, then have to backtrack to remedy the forgetting. And pleasant experiences can turn into frustration and stress. If you’re someone who celebrates a holiday in December, you know what it’s like scrambling to get through it with a sane mind and a strong body still intact. Maybe you feel the reward is worth the stress. But with too much stress, it’s like walking through a beautiful garden and forgetting to smell the flowers.

In the midst of the clamor, this time of year can also tug at your heartstrings with sweet memories of times past when you held a certain loved one, when a family was intact and when life was slower and felt more stable, when so much was ‘just different’. You feel the stress of knowing you can’t go back and recapture what you had yesterday. And painful feelings prevent your full embrace of the season. But your memories and your love for people and things from the past will always be a part of you. And you don’t have to give them up. You can keep them close to and in your heart, while you focus on expressing love in the present.

As you move through your busy days, be vigilant and watch for opportunities to replace stress with love and joy in each experience. Recently I was in a check-out line in a grocery store, and I spied a small boy around 4 or 5 years old leaning against his mother also in line. I waved to him, and he waved back. And for a while we had fun giggling and connecting with back and forth gestures.

Words were not necessary. Then suddenly he left his mother’s side, darted over to me, threw both arms around me, and held on tight with his little head nestled against me. I was absolutely awe-struck, and I knelt down and gave him a hug. He finally left with both parents. And I’ll always cherish the joy that dear little boy brought to me.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie 

Send your love over time and space to those you want to hug. They will receive the blessings that your love carries with it. And put your mind and heart in your gifts. No money for gifts? Love is the greatest gift you can give. I remember when a friend had no money to buy me a birthday present, so she cleaned my house. I’ll never forget that gift or the precious angel who gave it.


Holiday seasons are rich with miracles if you know where to look. First, hug the miracle that is yourself. Then reach out to others with your love. And watch and listen so miracles won’t go unnoticed. Smile at strangers, and play with children. If you attend worship services, exchange hugs with others who need hugs as much as you do.

And call people by their name. We like being validated. Keep your mind and heart open and receptive allowing your love to flow into this holiday season. And you’ll find your holiday miracles. Then you’ll reach the finish line with a big grin, because you can finally sit back, put your feet up, and say, “Ahh. Yes, it is wonderful.”

I wish you a holiday filled with peace and love.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country available now on Amazon online and make great gifts!

 

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Better Late Than Never…

Dear Readers,

Sorry, I haven’t been around for a while, but due to a bout with illness, I just couldn’t make it. And since our past Veteran’s Day, I especially wanted to remember our veterans with an article. Didn’t make that either. But I do want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the men and women who served our country with their love and dedication. And if you know a veteran, let him/her know you care. Thank you.

Now since I couldn’t get an article ready, I’m offering a little poem on a different subject that I wrote a long time ago. I hope you all enjoy it and I will be back next week with a wonderful series to get “Uncluttered” and ready for the Holidays… Marilyn

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Laugh A Little. It’s Good For You

Although I hurt a lot inside,
I sometimes joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet another place
Along my weary path.

It usually comes up suddenly,
And takes its rightful place.
It stays around a little while
To fill the empty space.

Laughter drives away the tears,
And calms the hurt below.
It frees my soul to feel alive
Where I think angels go.

God knew I’d need this useful tool
To lift me high above the dark,
So I can see the truth of life,
And find that vital spark.

Thank you, Lord, for quips and giggles,
For making light of strife and pain,
For finding fun in spite of trial
To find my joyful way again.

I wish you a beautiful laugh whenever you need one.

 


Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon online…

 

 

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The Depression Pit: Part 1. “There Is Hope and Help From Depression.”

The Depression Pit: Part 1. “There Is Hope and Help From Depression.”

Ten years ago as I watched the miners in Chile being rescued from underground, I couldn’t help thinking about other kinds of dark pits that we humans experience–the kind we can’t see or touch, but just as frightening–a place called depression. It seems as I have read from others it is like being lost in a black abyss with no way out.

I am also sure there are times when everyone feels a degree of depression. It’s part of our human experience. But some feel it down to a desperate place of soul suffering. Just as no one can fully understand the pain those miners went through, no one can fully understand the pain of depression unless they’ve been there, ‘been through it’ so to speak. But the darkness, fear, and despair can be equally painful. And being in a dark pit seems like an appropriate analogy.

 “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~John Wooden

As long as we’re in the human condition, we’re exposed to painful experiences–some on the outside, some on the inside, and some in both. But with depression, no matter the source of the pain, it seems to hurt everywhere. It can actually immobilize us to a state of inertia where it feels like a permanent condition from which there is no escape.

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“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  ~Helen Keller

But just as those brave miners escaped, there is hope for those who know the prison of depression. There is in each of us a will to live. It’s our greatest gift–the key to freedom. We can use it if we search and find it. One step is one step closer to abundant life, and the first step could be the intention.

“A good intention clothes itself in power.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

In part two, I’ll talk about some steps we can take to crawl out of the dark pit. There is a way out, even if we can’t see it when we’re at the bottom. The light is there.

Peace be with you ’til we meet again.

Marilyn Fowler, Writer/Author of   “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon online…

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The Sea Of Life. Are You The Ocean?

Dear Readers, I live near the ocean, and sometimes when I look at that vast body of water, I think of the multitude of water droplets it takes to create the oceans, and I think of all the people it takes to create our world. We are the world. But it seems we’ve lost our sense of who we are in the great sea of humankind. I remember when we created our world together, each a part of that creation. But today we live with an ‘us and them’mentality, and we deny our belonging to each other. I feel sad. Today I want to share an article I posted a few years ago on this subject.

The Sea Of Life

Yesterday I spent the day at a hospital with a friend who had surgery. I’ve been in many hospitals in the past, but this experience made what I already knew more real to me. Each of us is unique, traveling our own individual journey through life, but at the same time part of the great whole that makes us the human race. It’s kind of like each unique drop of water being part of the whole body we call the ocean. And the ocean is not the ocean without each drop.

“Individually, we are one drop. But together we are an ocean.” ~Rhunosuke Satoro

While my friend was in surgery, I wandered up and down the halls. I’ve always been a people-watcher, but yesterday I was more keenly aware of everyone and everything I came across. I saw people in wheelchairs or walking with canes while others walked straight and tall. I saw a nurse consoling a woman who was crying, and I noticed a beautiful little boy grinning at me. I saw people in pain and heard their moans, while medical personnel saw to their needs. Contracts everywhere. Yet, in their humanness, they were all a part of each other.

Later I went outside of the building and found a concrete ledge where I sat down. I took off my shoes and rested my bare feet on mother earth, while little ants scampered around as if they knew where they were going. The sun was warm, but there was a cool breeze under the big oak tree where I sat watching a black crow scrounging for his lunch in the dirt nearby. Once in a while, someone sat next to me. Some were happy. Some were not. But each had a story to tell–a unique story, yet part of all the stories that portray who we are.

“Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough and rigid, but in the end, it is always beautiful.”   ~Unknown

As the day moved on, the hospital became a microcosm of the bigger world, and I became more increasingly aware of life and our connection with each other. We each know sadness and joy, pain and bliss, feast and famine, love and hate, lack and plenty, illness and health–everything in the human experience. And we’re never alone in any of it. While we’re going through something, another person somewhere else is going through the same thing in their own unique way. How sad we don’t claim the ocean in which we swim. It’s really quite a beautiful ocean in spite of the differences we believe separate us.

I’m grateful for this hospital experience. It reminded me we’re much more than what we see in the mirror. In essence, Mother Teresa says, “We know that what we are doing is only a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” You serve an important part in the sea of life, and your unique presence helps maintain the sea in which you live. Love yourself, and pour your love out to others. And claim the beautiful ocean in which you swim. It is your home.

I wish you much happiness on your journey. 

Marilyn Fowler, Writer/Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon online…

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