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 2, Taming The Tiger…

“Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into power, which can move the whole world.   ~William Shenstone

As you go through life, whatever you encounter demands some kind of response. And the way you perceive and interpret external and internal situations dictates what each response will be. Most of your responses are automatically just daily routine. But when a situation produces a strong emotion like fear, frustration, loss, insecurity, or hurt, anger may follow. And you let the tiger run loose on someone or something. Deep down you know it doesn’t solve anything, except maybe give you a false sense of satisfaction and power. But you still go there. Perhaps you’ve actually given it power over you.

During my years of angry outbursts, when I threw a chair through my backdoor screen, or slung spaghetti against my kitchen wall, or all my other angry episodes, I believed that lashing out would stop my pain. But it left me exhausted, and I still hurt inside. Then I learned there’s another side to this phenomenon. Anger can be useful if you use it as a tool for positive change rather than a remedy that doesn’t work. Yes, it needs to be controlled, but it can help you grow and find more peace in your life.

Anger is pure energy, and you can work with it to your advantage. If you see anger as a teacher, you can use it as a catalyst to help you understand your fears and correct your faulty beliefs and perceptions, the real causes of your anger. The better you understand yourself, the better you’re able to deal with life situations.

“Anger is a warning signal. It points to problems.”  ~Melody Beattie 

Anger doesn’t stand alone. Anger is a symptom, and its presence is always a clue that something inside needs your attention, some emotional pain crying out for help that you need to work through. So when you feel anger building, pay attention, and change your focus to resolve issues and find some peace that you may have missed without this intervention. It can teach you to look inside and begin your search for answers through inner and outer work. As you do the work and changes take place within, your anger will gradually diminish, even disappear.

Inner Work 
1. Begin your search within for answers.

Write
 letters to yourself with questions: What am I afraid of? What in me feels threatened? 
What in me needs changing? What situations make me angry?
Recall times when you were angry and, without judgment, analyze what you were feeling then…fear, panic, anxiety, sadness? Be clear about what you remember. 
Write down whatever answers you discover.

2. Clearing painful feelings.

Confront each answer with solutions for positive change, and work on ways to create the changes you want. Emphasize peace, strength, power, etc. You might address your painful feelings to release them like, “Now I release you with love.” Or use affirmations, “I let go of the pain. I am free.” If this process seems difficult, take some breaths and repeat. It gets easier.

3. Forgive others who may have hurt you.
And forgive yourself for not being perfect.

Outer Work
1. Stopping anger.
When anger appears, listen to what it’s telling you. Then quickly stomp your foot to get rid of it with a keyword that has strong meaning for you like, No, Stop, Whoa, etc. Repeat several times until it weakens and maybe stops.

2. If anger remains, repeat step 1 again and refocus on affirming statements.
“I have a right to be in control of my actions, I take back my power,”
 etc. Use whatever stops the angry feeling before it becomes full blown. Now you’re on your way to taming the tiger. Work with it until it gives up.

Anger may totally disappear, but if it still pops up once in a while, use your outer work and release it by doing something active. I do my best house cleaning when I’m angry. Ride a bike, run around the block, clean the car. Once you learn to identify and better deal with inner problems, anger won’t visit you as often. Just be happy.

I wish you peaceful days ahead to be your special self.

Marilyn Fowler, Author “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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Thank You, Readers, Friends, and All My Wonderful Self-Help Visitors!

Thank You, Readers, Friends, and All My Wonderful Self-Help Visitors!

Hello, and Welcome Everyone!

I wanted to take a few moments before I put my next post up to say; “THANK YOU!”  I reached a new milestone here on my WordPress blog of 500+ LIKES and I could not be more HAPPY about that. I know it is mainly because of all of YOU who have taken the time out of your day to come visit, read and YOU made this happen. It does make me feel good to know that I am hopefully helping others live a full and happy life with the “Ole Wisdom” this 80+ something woman has gained through the years!

I do enjoy sharing my thoughts, hope, and life experiences with you. I do love reading others as we all share together, it seems to make this world a little more kind and we all move forward in a positive direction together.  So please don’t be afraid to voice your comments as I do enjoy them.

I wish you much peace, love, and LIGHT… Marilyn

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Author, Marilyn Fowler

 
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Move Your Mountains And Find More Of Yourself…

Hello and Welcome All,

I apologize for this article being late, but I just came through a mountain of my own, and it took a while to catch up. I hope you enjoy this reading. Maybe it will sound familiar.

Many blessings to all.

“You are not IN the mountains. The mountains are in YOU.”  ~John Muir

Life is a series of the good times that warm our heart and put a smile on our face, or times so painful we wonder if we’ll survive, and all those in-between times we call routine. We hope for the good ones, but sometimes we’re faced with sudden challenges that knock us off our routine path. Each of us is on our own unique journey, and whatever is on one path may not be on another. we never know what each tomorrow will bring. But we’re all faced with something, some time. And we all have our mountains to move.

Pain comes on many levels. Some situations nullify your plans like when you’re ready for work and your car has a flat, or you receive notice you didn’t pay your mortgage, or you forget to register your kid for summer day camp, etc. Others can mean life-shattering devastation like sudden illness, loss of a job, a death of a loved one, financial loss, the list goes on. Some experiences are extremely hard while others seem less demanding, but whatever the severity, life pushes us to learn and grow from each experience.

How do you respond when a challenge hits? Maybe the first thought is to panic with a ‘what if’ attitude. What if I’m late for work; what if this ruins my credit; what if my kid thinks I forgot because I don’t care. Or more serious, what if I don’t get well; what if I can’t find another job; what if I can’t find peace; what if I lose everything. Our attention is usually so turned toward the outside, we often don’t listen to what’s going on inside. Are you thinking fear, lack, I can’t do it, or any other defeating notion? These thoughts may be your biggest mountains, and only you can move them.

“When you focus on faith rather than fear, you tap into a strength to carry you over even the tallest mountains.” ~ Gail Lynne Goodwin

Challenges in our life are teaching experiences, and every mountain serves a purpose. They present opportunities to discover something we need on our journey. And they help us realize our strength in overcoming. Turn your mind from fear to faith, and deny that any self-defeating beliefs have power over you. Then replace them with the truth. “There is nothing to fear, I have everything I need, I have faith in the Power within to move mountains, and I have faith in myself to be guided and strengthened. I can do it.” Give these ideas positive energy, and they will manifest in positive ways.

As you build on your faith, move away from worries, and move toward a solution. Step back, and gauge the size of the mountain you’re facing. There’s a saying, “Don’t make mountains out of molehills.” How big is your mountain really? It might be just a little hill to step over. Size up the mountain, and create a plan. Ask, “How big is it, and what can I do about it? What are the consequences if I can’t fix it? Where can I find help if I need it?” Etc. Accept where you are, and voice your intention to move forward.

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ~Confucius

Don’t feel like you have to hurry through this. Someone once told me that when you’re working with a life challenge, remember it’s a process, and you have to allow it to unfold in its time, as you’re doing what’s yours to do. She also said that each time we overcome a challenge, something inside changes, and we’re better for it. So take the time you need to move your mountain, and welcome the change within yourself.

“For every mountain, there is a miracle.”   ~Robert H. Schuller

Moving mountains isn’t easy. It takes practice and patience, knowing that each overcoming moves you closer to being more of what you’re meant to be. And if there’s something you can’t get past right now, it’s okay. You haven’t failed. Celebrate the mountains you’ve moved, and be grateful for those you haven’t. They’re part of your journey and will serve a purpose. Their time will come. And you are blessed.

I wish you the freedom to discover more of you.

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

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New Year Tip ~ Pay Attention This Holiday Season. You’re Making Memories.


Now that another New Year’s Eve is here, we humans, are magnificent creations. We have what we need to thrive and survive and display outstanding talents and skills. And one of the most wonderful and complex parts of us is our brain. Everything we ever heard or experienced is held in our brain. It’s all there, most of it tucked away in secret forever. But we have our memories. And some of our past is never lost.

“A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever.” ~ Unknown

Memories come to us in several ways. You may want to recapture something from the past, so you think of it, and it becomes real again. Other times you encounter things like a song, a special memento, or a similar experience that brings up a memory. And you remember what brought you joy and what brought you pain. And you relive those times.

When something comes to you from the past, you remember. You remember those heartfelt happy times, and you cling to the experience when you see it, you feel it, you taste it and breathe in the sweet scent. You remember. And for a moment, you’re lost in time. You reach out. You want it back. But you feel the bittersweet quality of memory, and you have to let it go…maybe with a smile…maybe not. And memories are a part of life. So you live with them and treasure each one.

“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.” ~Avena

But all memories are not the happy ones. Sometimes they awaken a pain in your heart you thought was gone, never to return and torture you. Maybe you remember the loss of a loved one, an opportunity you missed, a betrayal by a friend, words that cut deep to your soul, experiences you don’t want to ever see or feel again. But you remember and you relive the whole episodes with the same tips and turns, the confusion, the unbelief, the heartfelt pain. You cringe and turn away. And the more you resist the memory, the stronger it gets. But memories are a part of life.

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. Lewis B. Smedes

Many people remember situations involving themselves and others that need forgiving. When this is accomplished, the memory remains, but the suffering is healed and gone. Years ago when I was working, every payday I put money away for my retirement fund. Then a couple years into retirement, I lost my money due to neglect by the person handling it. A bitter memory. Everyone makes mistakes, but if I’d paid off my house instead, things would have been different. And I might have more pleasant memories now. But peace comes with forgiveness.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”   ~Dr. Seuss

There’s a saying, “Life is for making memories.”  But as we move through life with one experience after another, we don’t actively create situations that might later become pleasant memories. We don’t even think about or fully realize what our experiences will look and feel like in a memory. So why not create happy situations today to bring happiness again tomorrow in the remembering. And what a better time to create good memories than in a holiday season.

This is a time of year when people are rushing to get things done, with little attention on what they’ll remember in the future. So pay attention to happiness that simply happens, and make some of it yourself. Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, and maybe people you don’t even know.

Exchange lots of hugs, smile at strangers, play with children, sing out loud, skip up an aisle in the grocery store, call people by their names, share with your place of worship and charities. Be creative and do what makes you and others happy. This is a time to celebrate life and make memories you will cherish forever.

I wish you fun making your happy memories and in the New Year!

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

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I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social 



How To Create Peace Between You…

Now that the holidays are here, is there someone in your life who gets on your nerves and annoys you to the point of frustration? Maybe your boss, co-worker, neighbor, friend, life partner? Most people know someone like this. If you do, then you know that uncomfortable feeling that bubbles beneath the surface and drives you up a wall.

Years ago I worked in a pharmacy with a verbally abusive boss. Then one day I exploded, and we had a yelling fight across the store. I thought for sure I’d be fired. But when I carried my loud voice behind his counter, he was doubled up with laughter. I yelled, “What the hell are you laughing at?” With a wide grin, he answered, “I wondered how long it would take you to stand up for yourself. Bout time.” After that, he treated me with respect, and we ended up with a good relationship. However, I wouldn’t recommend my behavior to anyone. Don’t yell at your boss.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”  ~Unknown

Over time, I’ve learned better ways to improve my own response to people who push my buttons. There’s room for change on both sides. First look at your own responses, and honestly question any hangups that may precipitate or contribute to the other person’s behavior. Am I being unreasonable? Do I expect too much? Do I respond from my own insecurity? Is there something to me that needs to change? Look for answers, and make necessary changes if you need to. If you feel comfortable talking to the other person, do it. If not, there are other ways to bring about change.

One time I worked with a team of people and our Supervisor’s answers to the others were usually ‘yes’, but always ‘no’ to me, sometimes with a somewhat hostile attitude. I was confused and made every effort to please. But no change. Then I went to my Minister for help, and she recommended the following exercise. I used it each day, and in about a month, I saw changes with my Supervisor. Eventually, we became friends, and I valued her friendship.

Recommended Exercise: Your goal is to change the negative energy between you to positive energy, thus changing the behaviors.
1. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine looking at the other person.
2. Then say, “I love you, I bless you, I release you to your highest good.”
3. Now take another deep breath, and let go. Let go. Let go.

When you say these words, you’re sending the other person a love your neighbor type of love–the kind that’s wired in us to love others. At first, you may not feel these words, so saying them may be difficult. But you’re affirming blessings in their life, and you’re releasing them, and ultimately yourself, from negative energy between you. So say the words anyway. In most cases, this exercise does work if you stay with it. And you might just find the peace you long for between you.

 

 
“You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue in their actions.” ~Unknown

Not everyone is going to cooperate and make the change you want in your relationship. And it may be someone you can’t or don’t want to release from your life. But you don’t have to remain on the receiving end of their inappropriate behavior. Set boundaries with a plan to avoid emotional disturbance from a difficult person.

Boundary Examples: “I will be caring and considerate of your feelings; I will use yes or no when needed, and mean it; I will listen when you’re talking to me, but will walk away if your words or manner are hurtful; etc, etc. And I will grant you the same courtesies.” Create and present the plan appropriate to the person involved, such as your boss at work, your life partner, whoever, etc.

“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.”  ~Marianne Williamson 

Some people have a fear of losing control and will resist change. So if someone refuses your miracle, then honor it yourself as much as possible. You’re a special person with a right to peace and love in your life. Go for it, and be happy.

I wish you peace created between the both you.

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

 

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