Friday, July 29, 2011

Fantastic Fridays (Life's Tiny Delights)

Happy Friday! I love Friday, because not only does it signal the end of another work week and the beginning of the weekend, but it also means another Life's Tiny Delights post! If you're new to my blog and want a little background info, you can click here. Without anymore hesitation, here's a tiny delight from my week:

Sorry for the lousy phone pictures. I was that creeper who got a massage, and as soon as the massage therapist left the room, I took a few pictures. My tiny delight for the week was a massage! If I could, I would get a massage once a week, but that would get pricey. Massages tend to force the practice of mindfulness, as you quiet your thoughts and focus very much on the present moment. I felt so relaxed and flexible after the massage, and I'm fairly certain I could've fallen asleep on the table if I had let myself. 

And of course, I couldn't end the post without a few search terms that brought people to my blog this week:
  • Cognitive Distortions
  • Black & White Thinking
  • Chobani (lots of variations on chobani, health foods, Greece, and lactose intolerance)
  • Mediterranean Pizza Recipe (This is consistently getting multiple hits a week now, which I'm pretty surprised about)
  • Being a Fellow Traveler
The first 3 brought in a number of hits with different variations on key words. There wasn't anything funny this week though. Sorry about that!

Here's what I'd like to know:
Have you ever gotten a massage before? Do you like it, or feel like it's weird for a strange to rub your body?
What's the funniest search term someone has found your blog through?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: {Life Task 2: Self Direction}

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! If you haven't read the rest of the series, you can catch up on the posts here:
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction}
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction pt. 2}
Wellness Wednesday: {The Wheel of Wellness Part 1}
Wellness Wednesday: {The Wheel of Wellness Part 2}
Wellness Wednesday: {Life Task 1: Spirituality}

For those of you who have read some of the posts, you might recall that I'm using the idea of the Wheel of Wellness to visually represent wellness for the individual.

Last week I discussed the first Life Task, Spirituality. Today I'll start with the 2nd Life Task: Self Direction.

Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer define Self Direction the following way:
"The process by which one directs, controls, manages the self in ways that are self-enhancing, within societal norms, through the following 12 subtasks". 

If you click on the picture above, you can find the 12 subtasks in the spokes of the wheel. These life tasks are about how you are living within the world, and includes things like realistic beliefs, stress management, emotional awareness and coping, and self care. I find that a few of these subtasks are often overlooked when it comes to defining wellness, and that is part of the reason why I love the concept of this Wheel. 

These 12 life tasks are positive, healthy traits of an individual that help lead to a decrease in stress and an increase in the resiliency of that person. Resiliency, of course, is important in helping an individual survive and come back from a difficulty in life. 

I'll be talking through the next 12 subtasks individually, so I don't want to go into too much detail in this post. 

A few things to think about:
1. What's one of the most surprising of the 12 subtasks under self direction?
2. Rank the order you believe for yourself from healthiest to least healthy. Is this ranking surprising to you?
3. How do you think your health (or lack there of) in one of these subtasks changes the wellness level of the other subtasks?

Thankfulness Project Monday

Happy Monday (are any of you asking if there is such a thing as a happy Monday?)! Today is a busy day for me, so I'm going to get right to the things I'm thankful for this week!

  • Pets: Pets are maybe one of the best things about coming home in the evening! They are a source of unconditional love, and bring so much laughter into my life! There's nothing better then curling up with a little furbaby and watch a movie. 
  • Sunshine: Nothing lifts my mood and energizes me more then a beautiful sunny day! This week has brought nothing but sunshine, and I'm soaking in every minute of it!
  • Fires: Last night some family & friends got together and had a great fire in my backyard. We sat out there for about 4 hours, and it was a really great time. In my mind, nights like that can't happen enough. 
  • Greek Food: Ok, I'm pretty sure I've put this on a list before, but it deserves a spot this week because I've made it twice in the last week. Delicious, healthy...I'm pretty sure I could eat it every night.
  • Family: This was on my list last week, but I don't care. My brother is home on leave from the military, and I'm LOVING IT! I don't get to see him enough, and it's so great to spend time with him.
That being said, I'm off to spend some time with him. Sorry for the incredibly short post today.

What I'd like to know:
Did you do anything fun this weekend?
What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Don't Use Words Too Big For The Subject

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. 
- C.S. Lewis

If you've read this blog for very long, you know that I love talking about cognitive distortions! If you've missed some of the basic posts, you can check them out here:

One way we can distort our thinking is by assigning words that are inappropriate for the situation. This can make us feel even more anxious, stressed, depressed, or angry. Here are some examples:

  • "I'm SO ANGRY at that person!" Ok...are you really SO ANGRY, or just a little annoyed? You'll be more likely to feel more and more angry at the person if you continue to say how angry you are.
  • "I'm COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED right now!" Let's step back for a minute. Are you actually completely overwhelmed, or are you a little busier and stressed then is ideal for you?
You get the idea. We often use words that are inappropriate for the situation, which can blow the situation out of proportion. Plus, when we are in a situation that is really terrible or completely overwhelming, what word will use to describe the situation. Interesting thought, isn't it? I expanded this idea a little in the post I linked above called "What's the Deal with all the catastrophizing"...I think it's worth checking out! 

I think it's incredibly easy for most of us to use inappropriate words in situations. I sure struggle with it. I grew up definitely exaggerating a lot of feelings, and I didn't realize until college how damaging and destructive this can be. It's been a many year battle to try to decrease this behavior in my life, and while I've often been successful, I still have those moments. I think that's part of being human. We may never be completely able to cut it out, but we can decrease it, and therefore make ourselves just a little healthier! 

Here's what I'd like to know:
Is it easy for you to assign an incorrect word to a feeling or a situation? 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fantastic Fridays (Life's Tiny Delights)

Happy Friday! Because I was at the beach last Friday, my post was just a little different, and you can read it here.

"Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven."
-John Lubbock

I got to see this beautiful sunset every single night while at the beach! Beautiful and breathtaking! I was definitely not experiencing any Nature Deficit Disorder this week! The sunset was actually a really great time to develop the practice of mindfulness, as the entire "sunset time" lasted for about an hour or so. In that hour, I tried to think of nothing that was going on except the very present moment I was living in, and it was really pretty easy to do. I feel like the sunset sort of envelops you into it, which makes it easier to focus only on that. It was beautiful... 

And of course, here are some search terms for the week:
  • mediterranean pizza recipe (this gets at least a couple hits a week now)
  • Can you wear contacts while flying (this has gotten at least one hit a week since I posted it...I definitely never expected the post to bring in much traffic after I hit "publish post")
  • Challenging Cognitive Distortions
  • Greek Yogurt Found in Greece (This is one of my favorite "fun" posts!)
  • Therapist Burnout and Boundaries (VERY important!)
  • Shoved on a plane (my post from yesterday!)
  • loveinvest 2011 (not sure what this is about...)
  • What Your Counselor Is Thinking
Ok, so no funny search terms for the week- except maybe the last one made me smile a bit. I actually haven't done a post called "What your counselor is thinking" but now I'm starting to think it would be interesting to write a post on that! What do you think?

Here's what I'd like to know:
Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?
Where have you seen your favorite sunset?
Have you ever wondered what your counselor is thinking?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One time I was pushed by a passenger on a plane...

If you read my blog posts from a few days ago, you'll remember that I was on vacation at the beach! It was a great vacation, full of fun, laughter, and sun! But then came this tweet from me:

And here's the blog post: 
After boarding the plane an hour and a half late (weather problems... and then maintenance problems), my mom and I made our way to our seats. I had a window seat, and she was across the aisle from me in an aisle seat. The flight attendant noticed we were talking, so she told my mom to just switch to the other aisle seat (next to me), and she'd ask the woman if she'd mind switching to the other aisle seat. Well, the woman made her way down the aisle, and the flight attendant asked if she'd be willing to switch to the aisle seat across the aisle. She threw a huge tantrum in the aisle, gaining the attention of the other passengers nearby, screaming "THIS IS THE SEAT I PAID FOR AND I WILL BE SITTING IN THAT SEAT" followed by incredibly rude words to the flight attendant. Now, she has every right to say no, as that was the seat she paid for and was planning on sitting in during the flight. To scream the way she did though was completely uncalled for.. In all my years flying, I've never heard one passenger ask another passenger to switch seats to sit by a family member and be turned down by them, especially if it was an aisle seat for an aisle seat. Anyways, my mom stood up and, without saying anything to the rude passenger, moved and sat in her assigned seat. I said nothing to the passenger who sat down next to me, and continued to read the blog post I had earlier been reading. The woman and I spoke no words at all back and forth as we waited to take off. At the last minute before take off, the flight attendant grabbed us and said there were 2 available seats at the front of the plane (!!), and moved us up there. The passenger sitting next to me stood up (without being asked) so I could get past her. I slipped past her but as I took my first step towards the front of the plane, she shoved me in the back, and I flew a few steps forward. I'm really wondering what was going on her head that made that an appropriate move! I hadn't even spoken to her (and even if I had, when is it ok to push people?), so it seems a little weird that she would've considered that to be the appropriate action.

Anyways, after that, we were seated in the front of the plane and took off. And then this happened:

We hadn't complained to the flight attendant about anything related to said passenger, but as the flight attendant got the brunt of this woman's harsh words, and the fact that I got shoved, I think she felt bad for us. And gave us free wine. And LOTS of cookies and pretzels. The flight attendant proceeded to spend the entire flight teaching little magic tricks to the passengers the entire time, and I laughed throughout the whole flight! What started out to be a really lousy flight experience turned out to be one of the most fun flights I've ever taken in my entire life! 

As I was sitting there, I had to wonder what was going on in that woman's life that made her behave in such a miserable way. If she didn't want to switch, she could've said no and left it at that, but she verbally beat up the flight attendant, and then shoved me. My counselor brain really wants to know the "why" behind the whole thing? Anyways, I decided to ignore the rude passenger, and I ended up having a really fantastic time. 

We all have bad travel stories right?

What I'd like to know:
What's one of your crazy travel stories?
Would you have ignored the passenger, spoken to her, or shoved her back? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wellness Wednesdays: {Life Task 1: Spirituality}

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! If you haven't read the rest of the series, you can catch up on the posts here:
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction}
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction pt. 2}
Wellness Wednesday: {The Wheel of Wellness Part 1}
Wellness Wednesday: {The Wheel of Wellness Part 2}

For those of you who have read some of the posts, you might recall that I'm using the idea of the Wheel of Wellness to visually represent wellness for the individual.

Today we will be moving to the first Life Task, which is Spirituality. This is placed at the center of the wheel, because spirituality is at the core of each individual. Now before I scare away those who don't consider themselves religious, just keep reading, and you'll understand what it all encompasses! 

This is how Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer define the Life Task of Spirituality:

Personal, private beliefs that enhance one’s life; hope and optimism, purpose in life, moral values, transcendence, over-all spiritual well-being.

Does religion play a role in spiritual wellness? Absolutely! Religion certainly can inform each of the aspects listed above, but if you don't hold to a certain religion, that doesn't mean that this life task is scratched out for you!

Each of us lives our life by a certain code of beliefs, morals, and values. At least we should! If we believe one way and act in another, this can cause great stress in our life. Our beliefs, optimism towards the future, and purpose in life affect every aspect of who we are. Looking at it that way, it makes sense as to why this would be at the center of the wheel, doesn't it? Having a purposeful meaningfulness to life helps one cope with difficulty and trouble, and is a huge component to the "hardiness of an individual". 

You can see the aspect of spirituality in the everyday sayings of individuals. For example, the Golden Rule of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a well-known phrase throughout many different cultures, countries, and religions. Living life as this phrase suggests would be an indicator for spiritual well-being. 

Here are a few questions to get you thinking:
  1. What breaks your heart and baffles your mind? How does this relate to your purpose in the world?
  2. Do you feel like you know what your purpose in life is, or are you still trying to figure out what it might be?
  3. What are the values in life that you believe are important? How do these play out in your life?
  4. Is there a relationship between your beliefs and values and how you behave in the world?
  5. How do you live life in a way that is true to yourself?
  6. Do you have hope & optimism for the future? If not, how might you begin to develop a sense of hope?
  7. How would you like to transform your life to become a more spiritual being?
What I'd like to know:
What other phrases besides the one mentioned above indicate a sense of "spirituality" within our culture?
Is this an easy component of wellness, or is it difficult to live life according to one's beliefs and values?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thankfulness Project Monday

Thank you all for your patience as I was on vacation last week! I tried to schedule some posts ahead of time, and respond to your comments as I had time. Obviously, my main purpose was to relax, engage in self care, and enjoy time with family, and in my mind, the trip was a huge success. After a pretty bad flight home (post on that coming soon), I'm happy to be getting back to my regular schedule.

And with that, here are some of the things that I am thankful for today:

  • The Beach: I got to spend 8 glorious days sitting on the beach, watching the waves gently roll in, taking long walks in the surf, and bobbing on the ocean. Sounds amazing, right? I think it does wonders for ones mental health, and it was such a wonderful time! 
  • Vacation: We each need time to get away from the hustle and bustle of time, be by ourselves, and get some self care! That's exactly what I did this past week, and it was wonderful! 
  • Family Time! I spend the entire last week with my family, including a brother who is in the military and got 3 weeks of leave time! It's so great to be together, laughing and hanging out! I'm so thankful for them:)
  • Protein Bars: Kind of funny to go on a list like this, don't you think? But seriously, I'm so thankful for protein bars. They make traveling so much easier, both because they travel well and are easy to eat on a plane or on the beach, but because they are healthy and filling as well! 
  • Safety: Besides a minor foot cut from a shell, there were no injuries this week, either on the beach or in traveling! This is always a huge praise, and I'm thankful when everyone arrives safely home once again. 
Ok, I'm off to go collect my luggage. It didn't make it home with me last night (again...story will come soon), and get laundry done! 

Here's what I'd like to know:
What are you thankful for today? 
Would you rather take a trip with family or friends?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Self Love: Learning To Relax

Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, I'm at the beach right now!

Fantastic, isn't it?

It's beautiful, and I'd definitely be fine staying here another week or two! One thing I love about vacations like this is that there are no real responsibilities. I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it. I can disconnect from the world of email, clients, chores, and grocery shopping to focus on taking care of me! Remember that, generally speaking, we cannot give to others what we don't have. And so, from time to time, I think it's crucial to take some time away to relax, breathe, and rejuvenate. 

That being said, here are some of my favorite ways to take care of myself on a relaxing vacation:
  • Reading: I love to read, but most of the time when I have the time to read, it's something related to work. While I love that type of reading, it's good to kick back with a fun book and enjoy it without having to apply it to work!
  • Walks on the Beach: I obviously love being around people and observing them, and the beach is a perfect place for that! The beach obviously draws all sorts of people, and many times I break down in laughter over the characters I see there. Besides that, I love walking in the surf with waves hitting my legs! Thrown in a yummy drink, and it's even better!
  • Yoga By the Pool: Let's be honest. What better location is there for yoga then under palm trees or by a pool? This slows my mind and my breathing, and gets me to focus on my body and the movements I'm making. It's the perfect component to a self care week!
  • Journal: We see things different on paper then we do in our heads, and writing provides that different perspective on ourself or a situation that we are in currently. Writing provides a way of working through. It's also a great place to keep track of goals and progress. 
  • Sleeping in! No more early morning alarm clock this week for me!
Alright, I'm off to continue my self-care vacation! 

What I'd like to know:
What's your favorite beach activity?
How are you taking care of yourself this weekend?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fantastic Fridays (Life's Tiny Delights)

“I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.”


Hello from the beach! This week I've been blogging to you from the beach, which is why my posts have been a bit scarce. I'm taking my own advice and getting some time out in nature, and getting some good self-care. Needless to say, the beach, sand, waves, palm trees, and pool have been my tiny (...actually it's been pretty big) delight of the week. Developing mindfulness meant for me that I was trying to engage all my senses in the experiences, whether I was sitting in a chair, walking on the beach, standing in the surf, or  feeling the sun pound down on my shoulders. It's been fantastic! 

Since I'm writing this post a bit early to free up my schedule, I can't actually give funny search terms for the week, so I'm going to leave it at that!

What I'd like to know:
What's your favorite beach to go to, and what's your favorite thing about a beach vacation?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wellness Wednesdays: {The Wheel of Wellness Part 2}

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! If you've missed the previous posts in the series, you may want to catch up on them here:
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction}
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction pt. 2}
Wellness Wednesday: {The Wheel of Wellness Part 1}

This week I'll give a little more information on the Wheel, and next week we'll jump in and start discussing the components of wellness. To give an overview of where we're heading, after that, I will be discussing steps to successful behavior change, and creating health habits.

To remind you, this is what the wheel looks like:

Here's what you need to know about the Wheel:
  1. The 5 main life tasks (spirituality, self direction, work & leisure, friendship, & love) are interrelated, and each has an effect on the other. The idea of the Wheel is that is explains not only the characteristics of wellness, but the nature of the relationship between these different characteristics. This is a very holistic view of the individual. 
  2. Changes in one area have a direct impact on other areas. So, without realizing it, by working on one area, you may notice changes in another area!
  3. Surrounding the Wheel are various global events and characteristics. We don't necessarily think that the media has an influence on our overall well being, but it does! An individual's wellness affects each of these global events (because, for example, the government is made up of a group of individuals with varying levels of wellness), and global events affect each one of us and our levels of wellness. 
  4. Because the levels of wellness from others affect our own levels, we need to be cognizant of how various factors (i.e. a certain family member or TV commercial) trigger our wellness. 
Alright, that's the basics you need to know about the wheel. Start getting excited, because next week we'll start a more in-depth look at each of these areas! 

Here's some possible next steps:
-Start evaluating what around you changes your levels of wellness, either in increasing it or decreasing it?
-What are some of the triggers for you?
- How can you help to fight against these triggers to increase your levels of wellness?

What I'd like to know:
Have you ever noticed something in the community, on TV, or in your family changing your level of wellness (either good or bad)? What did you do about it?
Are there any areas of wellness that you're thinking about trying to increase?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How You Think When You Lose

"How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win." 
-G.K. Chesterton

Throughout the last few months on this blog, I've talked a lot about cognitive distortions, how to challenge these, how our thoughts & feelings deeply affect behavior, and how our definitions of success and failure are crucial in our behaviors and attitudes. 

Here are a few of these posts:
When we lose at something in life, we have two choices. We can beat ourselves/the other person up, complain, and quit, OR we can learn from what went wrong, and create a game plan for the future. That is the choice that YOU and YOU ALONE have to make for yourself. I see people blaming a situation for years, and in the meantime they've missed out on a number of opportunities because of the way they were talking to themselves. Please don't cheat yourself in life. Do yourself a favor, and learn to fail better in life! You deserve it:)

How do you talk to yourself when you lose?
What is one thing you'd like to commit to in order to help yourself "fail better"?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thankfulness Project Monday

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  
~William Arthur Ward

What a great quote, don't you think? This is partly what this Thankfulness Project is about- expressing gratitude for the things I've been blessed by in my life. Of course the other part is that there have been proven benefits to this practice both physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

Here are a few of the things I'm thankful for right now:

  • The Outdoors: Seriously- check out the picture on the link...isn't it BEAUTIFUL? I don't think I can tire of the beautiful aspects of nature. And, once you start looking for it, there are a lot more beautiful things then you originally realize. Why not spend time looking for something beautiful in nature that you hadn't noticed before?
  • Fun TV Shows: I have the TV on a lot as I cook dinner, do dishes, complete tasks for work, or blog, and because of that, I'm always looking for TV shows to have on in the background. I love looking at these characters (either scripted shows or "reality") through the view of psychology and counseling! Plus, a little laughter in life is always healthy!
  • Lightning Bugs: I think these little guys are so beautiful, and I'm so happy they are now out for the summer! Don't you think they make a summer evening even more beautiful and peaceful?
  • Blogs: I'm thankful for the hours of time you each put into your blogs. Thank you for sharing your own pieces of advice and wisdom, and welcoming us into a piece of your life. I find myself motivated towards a healthier life just by reading each of your blogs! The blogging community is wonderful, don't you agree?
  • Spinning: You can read my recap of my first spin class by clicking on the word "spinning". While I haven't been on a bike in a decade, i've recently started going to a spinning (cycling? does the term matter?) class on a regular basis. It's fantastic, and a great start to my morning!
Now it's your turn:
What are you thankful for today?
Is there a difference between a "spinning" class or a "cycling" class?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Are You A Champion?

"A champion is someone who gets up when he can't."
-Jack Dempsey

Most of us out there would love to be considered a champion for something we've done or accomplished. The fact of the matter is, however, that most of us will not be handed the title of "champion" by others. But even if you don't win the SuperBowl, get a gold medal, or come first in a marathon, you can still be a champion!
How many times in life do we hit the brick wall, feeling like we can't move forward? Whether it's at work, school, household chores, or in a personal relationship, we have those moments where we feel we can't move forward. Do you remember my post on being a Success or Failure? (if not, you may want to check it out!) While we may give up for a little bit, or feel like we've failed, when we stand up and keep fighting to go forward, that's where success is. THAT is a CHAMPION. I think we all need to be challenged on our ideas of success or failure, which is why I wrote the blog post that I linked above. It's a good reminder to keep moving forward in life. 

What I'd like to know:
Do you consider yourself a success or a failure? 
Have you ever felt like you can't get up? How did you motivate yourself to continue to fight?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: {The Wheel of Wellness Pt. 1}

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  ~World Health Organization

Happy Wellness Wednesday! This is the 3rd week of this made up "holiday" on my blog:) If you missed the first two posts, you may want to check them out:
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction}
Wellness Wednesday: {An Introduction pt. 2}

As I said before, we often tend to think of health in terms of physical, mental, and spiritual. I think looking at only a few types of wellness misses the point, though. I prefer this:

The Wheel of Wellness

Source (click for full size image)

I love visuals, and I think this is an excellent way to view health. This model, created by Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer uses the idea of a Wheel to describe wellness. 

A wheel doesn't function well when a part is broken. It gets lose, wobbles, and eventually can no longer function properly. Overall wellness is important, and is made up of many smaller parts. Even if some of these parts are working well, if there's a part that's broken, that will decrease the overall wellness of the whole. 
The important thing to realize is that one area affects another area, so while physical wellness might be excellent, a lack of mental health will begin to affect the physical wellness component. That's why it's so important to work on increasing your wellness in more then just one area!

This wheel is made up of 5 life tasks with a total of 17 different components of wellness (did you think there were 17 components of wellness?!). 

The 5 Life-Tasks include:
  1. Spirituality
  2. Self-Regulation
  3. Work & Leisure
  4. Friendship
  5. Love
There are 12 components under Self-Regulation (which make up the spokes on the wheel), and many of these components are what we generally think of us health. If you click on the picture above, you can see what each of these factors are. I could spend a years worth of wellness wednesdays talking about each of these factors. I promise I won't. But I am planning on talking about each of them to some extent. And obviously it can't be just one or two blog posts:) 
It's easy to look at the wheel of above, and realize how much work we each need to do in these areas, and feel completely overwhelmed! Remember that wellness is a process that is never complete! Even if we can't get to a perfect level of wellness, 60% of wellness in that area is better then 40%. Of course this type of thinking means you need to let go of the "all or nothing thinking" and embrace the shades of gray, but you'll be more successful in changing behavior if you can do this!

Here's what I'd like to know:
What do you think of the "Wheel of Wellness"?
Does it surprise you that there are so many different components of wellness?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My First Attempt At Spinning

Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  
~Albert Einstein

Do you remember this post on living life as a daring adventure?
How about this post, on doing one thing every day that scares you?

I took both of these to heart this past Thursday as I decided to do one thing that scared me: take a spinning class. I'm sure you're thinking something along the lines of "seriously...why would getting on a stationary bike scare you?" or "what does that have to do with living life as a daring adventure?". Here's the deal. I haven't really ridden a bike since the summer of 2001. I was on the back of a tandem bike for about 1 minute last fall, so that hardly counts. Essentially, I haven't done the biking motion in exactly one decade. I decided it was time to "get back on the bike" and try something that freaked me out just a little bit.

I decided to start off with a 30 minute spin class. The instructor started class off by coming over to make sure I got the bike set up well, and giving an encouraging word. I LOVED that. It led me to feel cared about in the class, and empowered that I could actually do this thing. We started with a short warm up, and then started climbing the hills. We would climb hills for up to 3-4 minutes, the whole time standing on our pedals, and then sit down as we "went down the hill." A few times she got off the bike and walked around giving encouraging words to people, which I thought was fantastic. Towards the end as we were climbing our final big hill, she walked around with a bottle of water and cups for people who hadn't come prepared.
I guess my other workouts have gotten me more in shape then I thought, because I didn't struggle too much!

The other thing I loved about this was that immediately following the spinning class, the instructor walked us to a different room for 30 minutes of stretching and core work. I loved the combination, and I'm sure helped me be less sore the next day too.

What's the verdict? I would definitely do spin class again, and already have it on the schedule for this week! This also fulfills one of my new years resolutions, which was to try a new form of exercise!

What I'd like to know:
Have you done anything lately that's "scared" you at all?
Do you like riding bicycles, or would you prefer another type of exercise? 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thankfulness Project: 4th of July!

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  
~Abraham Lincoln

If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.  
~Author Unknown

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.  
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

HAPPY 4th OF JULY to all my fellow Americans, and welcome to my 4th of July Thankfulness Project! Today's post is dedicated to this country (I'm sorry to all you non-Americans...but don't worry! I'll be back to my regular posting tomorrow!).

Here are a few of the things that I'm feeling overwhelmingly grateful for today:
  • Being a woman who is allowed to choose her career: There are many women in countries today who wouldn't be allowed to work, or certainly to follow her own passions in life. I try to regularly remember that my ability to go to work every day is a gift that many people would give anything to have. I'm so happy I live in a country where I am free to be the person I want to be, and follow the dreams and desires that I have!
  • Freedom to practice religion: There are some countries where people don't really get a choice of their religion. Of course they have a choice, but they risk being killed for their decision. The idea of this absolutely breaks my heart. I'm so thankful that I have the freedom to practice religion without fear of persecution!
  • The Brave Men and Women Who Defend Our Country: These men and women give of themselves to their country, and I'm so thankful for them. Not only them, but their families, who are also deeply affected. They defend our rights and our freedoms, and I'm so incredibly thankful that they are there for each of us and our country. 
  • Patriotic Experiences Where Americans Join Together: I wish that we joined together more in the feeling of patriotism. I wish our actions were more patriotic. I wish more people truly loved our country. I have had the experience of standing in a stadium full of people serving in the Air Force singing this song. At the end of it, they let out a huge cheer, and it brought me to tears. 
  • Beautiful Weather: Today is a gorgeous day: sunny and in the mid-80s! A fantastic day for picnics and fireworks:) I'm off to enjoy the pool!
Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness...

Did you do anything fun for the 4th of July?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nature Deficit Disorder & The Beauty of Outdoors

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." 
~John Muir

I got to spend my Wednesday night out in this! Absolutely beautiful:)

It is agreed upon that contact with nature increases mental health and holds many psychological benefits. Nature is SO healthy to be in, yet in our culture today, we often spend very little time in it. We get up, get ready & go to work or school, participate in other activities, clean, do homework, pay bills, go to bed, and do it again tomorrow. There are days I get so busy that I forget to even look at the scenery as I drive past it! This certainly isn't healthy!

When I was growing up I was expected to spend most of my summers outside playing, making up games, and being creative. I loved it, and still look back at those summers as some of the best times of my life! Not only is nature psychologically healthy and can lead to a decrease in stress, but it allows children to engage in imaginary play, and helps them to develop creativity. Computer and video games, and watching TV, don't lead to these things. I fear that many children today are lacking this.

Within the last few years, the psychological community has started to recognize the extreme importance of spending time outside. Besides what I've already mentioned (stress relief & creativity/imaginary play development), it creates a situation where physical activity will likely happen. Walking, running, biking, hiking, playing sports, and swimming can all occur outside. Being outside in nature helps us to slow our thoughts, and live life in the present moment. This is where the development of mindfulness comes into play!

Go outside sometime in the next week! Sit outside and read a book, lay out in the sun (use sunscreen!) and take some deep breaths, play a game with your kids, or talk a long walk with your significant other. Notice what changes when you step outside, and enjoy the physical, mental, and psychological benefits of it!

Here are a few resources on "Nature Deficit Disorder"
Video on The Movement to Overcome Nature Deficit Disorder
Article: No More Nature Deficit Disorder

What I'd like to know:
What was your favorite activity to do outside when you were a kid? Do you struggle to spend time outdoors now, or do you take the time to enjoy nature?

**Confession: This is a repeat post from something I posted at the very beginning of this blog (in Dec 2010). Due to it being a different season (and the fact that I'm sure none of you were reading back then), I'm posting it again with a few things added into it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fantastic Fridays (Life's Tiny Delights)

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

-Robert Brault

I have to admit that I REALLY look forward to my Friday posts all week. It's not because I think they're amazing or anything like that, but because it's starting to change how I view my entire week! And that's the goal, isn't it? To get the background on my Friday posts, you can click here.

With the start of spring, my tiny delight for the week has been: SUNSHINE! After a long week of rain, it was nice to feel the sun beating down on me once again (and catch a few days at the pool). I sometimes get so focused on my life and responsibilities that I miss what's going on around me. So this week, it was all about focusing on the sunshine. Here are a few pictures I snapped throughout the week:

Pretty, isn't it? I definitely don't feel like I get enough days of sun a year, but this week instead of grumbling about that fact, I chose to be happy for the time I did have to see the sun!

And for a little Friday Fun, here are some of the searches people did to find my blog:
  • how to deal with catastrophizing
  • chobani for my diet/chobani for lactose intolerance (this seems to get lots of hits a week...)
  • identity perfectionism
  • morning oatmeal with chocolate and peanut butter (i hope this person tried it and Loved it!)
  • counseling encyclopedia- cognitive distortion
Have a great start to the weekend, and enjoy the sunshine:)

What I'd like to know:
Do you prefer sunny or overcast days?
Do you have any fun plans for this holiday weekend?