How I’m Calming My Inner Storm a.k.a Crazy Days

A few months ago, my sister shared an article that she contributed to and it has had my mind going ever since. It’s a fast and easy read, basically about how when a person is emotional, sometimes they have a secondary response to how they are feeling. According to the article the most common emotional response is negative emotion can bring a second negative emotion.

I can relate to this. In a way it was somewhat liberating to read. You might be wondering why I felt liberated. The topic isn’t exactly fun or sassy, but it was something I immediately related to.

The link below will take you to the full article.

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_deal_with_feeling_bad_about_your_feelings

Have you ever been so frustrated that you took that frustration and lectured yourself about how you knew better, and you can’t believe how stupid you were to expect anything but the worst? Or have you had a hard day, tears are flowing and feelings are hurt, maybe it’s heart break or maybe fear has you overwhelmed, or maybe you’re just having one of those days where you’re sad for some unknown reason you can’t even pin point (those are the worst, I blame hormones regardless of age!). If I’m having a day like this, I’m likely crying in the shower, I’ll manage to make myself pull it together and then as soon as I look in the mirror, BAM, I burst into tears all over again!  What is it about a mirror that can keep the tears flowing?!?! Maybe I’m the only one this happens to, I kind of hope so, because it’s not a pretty sight.

Or has your heart ever been broken and besides crying and yelling at yourself in the mirror the next thing on the list to keep the tears flowing is turning on the sappiest, most heart wrenching music that will keep the sobs going?  Music can be a very emotional trigger for me. If I’m angry, I’m probably going to play some Demi Lovato, that woman knows how to put emotion into her music! Depending on what might be influencing my emotions depends on what I play.

This is true for my happy moods too, I love anything that makes me want to dance! My absolute favorite music choice is anything that makes me feel close to the people I love. There are a hundred different reasons I may have a strong response to a song, maybe it’s a shared memory, maybe it was a milestone moment, maybe it’s the emotions of the lyrics and what they mean, but music can bring me down or be wonderfully therapeutic. From Bishop Briggs, to Meghan Trainor, to Foo Fighters, to Incubus, to Ludacris there is meaning and emotion to it all. When I think about it, the music I choose evokes far more positive influences and uplifting emotions than negative.

This article made me realize that not only am I not alone in the chain reaction of emotions, but that the negative ones really stand out and can shake my foundation. When I started thinking about not just the feelings I have every day, but the way I react so strongly to negative feelings, I realized I’m treating my emotions like I tend to treat compliments. You know what I mean, one person says something critical like, why did you color your hair? Immediately I feel awkward and dowdy. Ten others can ask where I got my hair done and compliment me but the one I stay hung up on is the one that was critical. This is something I’m trying to work on. It’s so easy to accept negative feedback, but positive comments are easily brushed aside. This is so wrong, and yet I must actively remind myself to enjoy the compliment. Basically when it comes to feelings, in my opinion, anger, frustration, hurt, and fear do not deserve a louder voice than pride, happiness, hope, and love.

I’ve been quiet for the last few months, a little was the holidays, a little was life and honestly some was me taking in how I handle and appreciate my own world. I’m very fortunate, I spend far more days happy than I do sad, scared, frustrated or angry. Yet the hard days can seem to overtake the ease of everyday life even though there are fewer of those moments. So, I’m trying something different. Why not take my downer days and whatever takes me there and combat it not by crying in the mirror, but by playing some music that reminds me of a better day, or some music that makes me want to dance, or by turning on Hallmark channel. Don’t laugh, Hallmark is my go-to sanctuary, no thinking required, only warm and fuzzy moments, heck the commercials are even easy going, zero horror movie commercials on Hallmark network😉 Yes, I’m a big wuss, but what works, works!

What I am finding is, life is emotional, and I can’t control my immediate response to what is thrown at me on the daily, but I can try to make my long-term response easier to handle. Part of me has always known my own perspective is the difference between a good day and a bad day. I think until I started taking in my emotions, I didn’t realize how much I allowed my feelings to wildly control my day. I feel like I finally realized I’d been doing it wrong. Why would I hold onto the negative??? Why wouldn’t I cherish all the happiness that surrounds me each day?!? I’m shutting out the negative white noise that inevitably enters each day and focusing on the parts of my day that matter: family, friends, home, and joy. By making small changes, and honestly by not being hard on myself, I’m learning to let the negative go, and hold on a little tighter to the happy moments.

If you see someone dancing and passionately singing completely off key in the car next to you in traffic, it might be me getting my happy on😊 Sending BIG hugs and hoping everyone has something that helps keep a little extra happiness in their day!

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Is There a Silver Lining to a Failing Diet?

I am without a doubt failing on my diet goals. Technically I’m still below where I started, so we will call that a step in the right direction. Although Thanksgiving is this week, and I for one plan on enjoying it, soooooo that might mean I’m right back to where I started a couple of months ago.  Even so, I think there is a silver lining.

Why am I not mad at myself? That’s a good question. Like most people in their 40’s I have a plenty of things that distract me from my personal goals. Work, the kids, a house, and I have had some medical challenges mixed in along the way. That’s life, a bunch of distractions from the focuses we feel are important. Dieting usually finds its way to a top focus. Maybe I’m trying to hold onto or regain my figure from my younger days, maybe I feel like if I do lose the weight, I’m still young.  Hahaha I know, some of my thoughts are somewhat delusional😉. Whatever the reason, dieting usually has a way of either making me feel good or feel really horrible about myself.

Failing while dieting happens, and yet I use the failure as an opportunity to squash any confidence I have in myself. Rather than considering what life is slinging at me, or even just understanding that I’m human and its ok to fail sometimes, my inner voice has all kinds of nasty it throws my way, making me feel even more miserable. You know the kind of defeat that makes you want the extra slice of pizza, followed by a tub of ice cream, all eaten while watching The Biggest Loser. All of which reminds me of my serious lack of backbone.

ENOUGH!!! That’s me yelling back at myself! I’m saying enough is enough. While I haven’t lost all the weight I wanted to, and I certainly haven’t jumped on a treadmill, I have done some good things. No, I haven’t adopted any life changing eating habits, I have managed some minor adjustments to my old habits. So, what have I done that’s good???

I have found a way to get through the normal daily challenges, a move, a couple of medical procedures and some not so exciting news about an upcoming surgery. I have managed to do this because thankfully I have help and support. The love and support in my life is something I am beyond grateful for and fortunate to have. Without that support I may have seriously shut down. Instead, I have been able to spend time with my loved ones and friends. We have been having fun, getting dressed up for trivia night, planning holiday gatherings, decorating and enjoying the wonderful life that unfolds in front of us every day.

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Maybe its because of the holiday season but I feel like this is where my focus should be. If I can be there to support my friends and family, if I make time to teach the kids a life lesson(whether they are ready for it or not), if I can find time to relax and share a laugh with my unconventional family or a friend, isn’t that what I should reflect on at the end of the day? Um, HELL YEAH it is! Basically 90% of life is headed the right direction, that’s just about as good as it gets!

My 40’s have made me appreciate that time is a gift. I don’t want silly distractions, like a number on the scale robbing me of it. Each year I am reminded of how much the kids change, and how the moments throughout the year and especially at the holidays are unique every time. I want to soak it all up, even the inevitable family bickering. Let’s face it, the bickering is often the entertainment😉

I would love for everyone to give themselves the gift of kindness and understanding this holiday. It’s easy to take a breath and be kind to a stranger, we’re taught that from an early age. It should be just as easy to be kind, and patient to ourselves. Be as understanding and forgiving when we miss a goal as we would if a friend did. I want to focus on enjoying all the wonderful moments the holidays are sure to bring and better yet truly enjoy and have fun with all the wonderful people in my life. Hoping your holiday season is already off to a warm, cozy and happy start!

Pet Peeves, Just Everyday Annoyances or Something More?

There are such a variety of Pet Peeves. Here are a few things that get my blood simmering.

I hate when I am blow drying my hair and it gets sucked in the end and knots up causing me to rip the hair out of the blow dryer, leaving a mangled mess, GRRR!

Another one that gets me, when cabinet doors are left open after someone grabs a cup. I’ve done this and yes it was like a double whammy I’m annoyed and then annoyed at myself… You know, I rolled my eyes at my own laziness, and I totally deserved it!

There’s nothing worse, especially on a Monday, than getting in my car with my morning RedBull, hands full, and all the cupholders are filled from the day before.

How about when you go through a drive through and you are looking forward to the fries and they forget the sauce, I mean seriously how hard is it to throw sauce in the bag?!?

Does it bother you when you hold the door open for someone and they don’t say thank you? I mean I know its not going to change their life, but come on how hard is it to smile and nod?!?

Then there are the daily offenders, socks are at the top of this list. How could socks possibly be a pet peeve? I mean they are cozy, they can be comforting, they keep the stink out of our shoes, and they have all kinds of cute, fun prints, so really what could possibly be my issue with socks?  Maybe the issue is with my daughter and socks just get a bad rap. She is notorious for arriving home and immediately taking her shoes and socks off and leaving them wherever she was at that moment. She might leave them in the foyer, family room, kitchen, even the bathroom. Where she never leaves them, her bedroom or the laundry basket. No, no, she’d much prefer to get the daily eye roll and lecture asking why is it so hard to put them in the laundry?? Every day, I see them and still somehow, I’m surprised each time.

My BF hates when laundry doesn’t get completely done. I like this one because there are levels to this pet peeve. If the clothes are left in the dryer, but dry that’s just annoying to him, insert eye roll and sigh of annoyance. I get it, you either have wrinkles or a repeat dryer cycle which wastes time and energy. The bigger offense is if the load gets left in the wash over night. Imagine the discovery of clean clothes sitting in moisture slowly turning to a funky, wet mess, now that’s not how anyone wants to start the day and definitely qualifies as a serious offense. He’s right too, that smell is hard to make go away! Thank goodness for the timers on our phones, cell phone technology that can save the day😉

Why do Pet Peeves get to us? The reactions are varied; it could be anything from an annoyed sigh, an eye roll, a muttered lecture given under my breath seething with annoyance and possibly some creative language. If it’s a serious annoyance and I’m alone in the car and having a bad day it could even be full blown yelling at the poor unsuspecting person. Thankfully, they can’t hear me.

I find people are passionate about what annoys them. We can seriously commit to being appalled by things others do, like heavy breathers or people who drag their teeth down their fork when they eat. Overall when I think about my own pet peeves I am amused. In general, none of my pet peeves will change my day or impact me long term. Most of them either can’t be controlled (heavy breathers, traffic) or the annoyance can easily be remedied.   I mean how hard is it to throw out a couple of old soda cans to clear space in the car, or pick up a pair of socks, or close the cabinet that was left open???

There are so many challenges that creep into each day, I wonder if the reason we let the steam out on pet peeves is because we are expected to keep it together at work, at home, for the kids, at practices, with friends, during family gatherings etc. I think pet peeves might be our safe place. The few moments we get where it is safe to temporarily lose our minds and let out a little crazy! Think about it, friends and family, even strangers are typically understanding of losing your cool over something otherwise considered most likely a petty inconvenience.  Maybe pet peeves are the key to staying sane in this wonderful yet frustrating, sometimes exciting and scary, fast paced world we all live in.

What’s your biggest pet peeve and how do you let out your frustrations? Go ahead and let the crazy out, you’ll feel better later!

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