Posts Tagged ‘emotional health’

A surefire way to reduce anxiety, worry and stress

Recovering soldiers knitting

Recovering soldiers knitting

Before I started homeschooling my daughter in the 7th grade,  I was never anxious for her to go back to school after summer break.  She is in her last year of college and I find I have not changed.  After Christmas this year she was ready to rush back to school and three more weeks of winter break.

She lives off campus in an international house where she is very happy.  I however, was somewhat crushed to see her run off.  After the busyness of the holidays and traveling, I felt as though I had hardly spent any one-on-one time with her.  Seeing my disappointment she decided to stay a little longer and spend some quality time with mom.

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My daughter, paddling off…..

I was grateful to have her all to myself for a little while.  While we were in my sewing room she began to complain about me not making her anything.  Mind you, I have made this girl a twin quilt, a scrap quilt, a full size quilt for college and numerous other smaller items.  I told her, find something you like, I’ll make it.  Within minutes she found a lovely pattern in my new quilt magazine Primitive Quilts and Projects.  With her birthday just three weeks away I had to get right to work.  She picked out some flannel and wool she liked and I was off and running as soon as she left for school.

This project took my mind off the fact that she was cutting the apron strings a little more.  I think she was subconsciously preparing us, herself included, for the day she will leave on a year-long internship (if all goes according to planned) or move out on her own.  It is coming soon and rightly so, we trained her for this, but it does not make it any easier.

Ahhh, but the project, the lovely project, working with soft wool and flannel was so soothing.  Tracing the pieces , ironing them onto the wool, cutting them out, all quieting thoughts about an uncertain future.  Then the sewing, stitch after stitch, repetitive but relaxing.   I know not everyone would find this enjoyable.  You may even think I am crazy.  The fact remains and it has been proven, that creating something is a way to get good feelings flowing .  It is a way to soothe and calm the soul.this is your brain on crafts small

In her article This is your brain on crafts,  writer and embroidery artist Lisa Borgnes-Giramonti explores this very subject.  I found it very interesting that in WW I soldiers were taught to knit  as therapy.

ca. 1918-1919, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, USA — Bed-ridden wounded knit to help pass the time. Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, ca. 1918-1919. — Image by © CORBIS

ca. 1918-1919, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, USA — Bed-ridden wounded knit to help pass the time. Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, ca. 1918-1919. — Image by © CORBIS

Let me highlight a few main points from the article for you:

  • Psychologist Robert Reiner says, “crafting can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and even improve sleep.”
  • Reiner says, “your breathing takes on a regular pattern, which shuts down the body’s anxiety-producing fight-or-flight response.”
  • Psychologist Robert Maurer says ” When the mid-brain is engaged by repetitive movement ….the temporal lobe is unable to focus on worry or stress.  The cortex which controls conscious thought becomes quiet and peaceful.”
  • Stitchlinks in the UK organizes knitting groups for people dealing with depression and other health issues.  The director, Betsan Corkhill says, “When concentrating on a pattern, you’re required to be so present in the moment that you can’t worry about the future. Even physical pain fades into the background.”

Some testimonial quotes from Stitchlinks:

  • “I am convinced that the repetitive meditative and creative aspects of knitting was what has gently helped me back into a more fulfilling life. I have absolutely no doubt that knitting daily for over six months ‘reset’ my brain in some way….
  • “It is so meditative. I sit and knit and am lost in my own quiet world. It brings me an enormous boost in self-esteem, making beautiful garments, bags and shawls that people praise.”
  • “Knitting requires me to think creatively, to plan, prepare, organise, co-ordinate and control just one small aspect of my life. Then any other changes are manageable.”
  • “On a bad day, I can think about projects. On a good day, I can work towards realising them.”
  • You can go HERE for many other uplifting testimonial quotes.

A few more interesting facts to keep in mind:

  • If you have struggled with the solution to a problem or with trying to recall something, taking a break to craft may provide the distraction your brain needs to find the answer on its own.
  • Giving away your creation provides addition pleasure.
  • For all of us with unfinished projects, it does not matter if we never finish the project, it is the process that brings us the calm and a variety of sensory pleasures.

So, the best thing my daughter could have done for me was to commission the pillow she wanted for her birthday (along with staying the extra day and a half).  It soothed my mother’s soul that is still in a bit of a transition as my only child moves ever closer to graduating college and living on her own.

The pillow Pattern from Primitive Quilts and Patterns

The pillow
Pattern from: Primitive Quilts and Projects

That’s not all, as I wrote last time in A Key to Living a More Enjoyable Life, the benefits for helping those of us living with lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases can be significant.  The key is, to find something you might enjoy, if you have not already found it.

As we have seen from this post, it doesn’t matter how good you are, or if you even finish the project.  It is in the process, as long as you enjoy what you are doing.  Cooking, gardening, reading, crossword puzzles etc are also acceptable things to try.

So like I said last time. Curious minds (me and the other readers) would like to know, “what do you do to soothe your soul or what are you getting ready to try?”

Until next time….happy crafting.
Leslie Rose K
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The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.-William James
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30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 28

As I begin to wrap up this series, I would like to pull together information scattered throughout my posts on encouraging yourself.  This is meant to get you thinking about what you like, what makes you happy and what could help you through a discouraging time.  Your lists will not look like mine.  You will find other resources.  I hope you will find some valuable suggestions here.

I bumped into a friend  that will have knee surgery soon.  I asked if she had help for after the surgery.  It is a wonderful thing when you need help, and friends and family gather around.  Some bring meals, others take turns driving you to appointments,  someone else helps keep the house clean, and others  cheer you up.  Then there times when you need to be encouraged and  there is no one there to encourage you.  Or, if they are there, they are unaware of the need, or unable to meetDiscouraged_thumb it.

What can we do to remedy that situation?  There are several choices we can make.

  • Give in to self-pity
  • Allow depression to take hold
  • Yield to destructive behavior such as self-medicating
  • Decide to be proactive on own behalf

It is this fourth option I want to write about today.  Whether we have lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases or not, we have all been in this situation.  I would like to share some of the things I have learned while coping with illness.

The information gathering

  • The internet has extensive information on encouragement.
  • If you are a reader, books can offer more details, examples, and Gathering-Information-How-to-Reach-Third-Parties-300x199strategies.  I highly recommend Being Sick Well by Jeffrey H Boyd M.D., M.P.H. It brings you  into the lives of others struggling with health issues and shows you how they cope.
  • Websites that pertain to your particular situation such as The Lupus Foundation of America may  help  in this area.
  • Certain TV programs offer valuable input on how we can help ourselves through different situations.   Oprah has her powerful Lifeclass weekly, which covers a variety of issues on personal growth, and freedom from emotional pain. 
  • People  have life experiences that can help us.  Small groups can be a big help.

Monitor Input

One of the biggest helps or hindrances to our frame of mind and state of emotions is input.  Everything we take in influences how weneg feel.  We need to faithfully guard ourselves against negative influences.  Just like the information in step 1 is helpful, the wrong information is harmful.  We do not want to feed on a steady diet of everything that can happen.  We want to limit exposure to people who make us feel more defeated than before we spoke to them.

Self Discovery

This is the time to figure out what encourages you, makes you happy, or gets your mind off your troubles.  To help you get some ideas here is what I have learned about myself  on this lupus journey.

  • quilting, wool applique, and doing handwork with friends has a way of shifting my attention.   It is really hard to be depressed when my hands are busy making pretty things.  See my Post A Body in Motion for more valuable information.
  • Prayer, the bible and church have lifted my spirits many times when nothing else could.  See Glazed Looks and God for more on this subject.
  • Being around uplifting family and friends does wonders to get my mind off of things.stick_figure_insert_key_black_hole_pc_800_1287
  • I have learned that proper sleep, exercise and eating right make it easier for me to stay upbeat.
  • I have learned about the crucial impact of gratitude on our frame of mind.  See A Grace Journal for more valuable information on this topic.

Action

After making our way through the first three steps, we are ready to carry out some of what we have discovered.  Unlike my friend, who has family and friends  to help her, we may have to be courageous and reach out to people.  We may have to fight guilt as we take quality time for ourselves, keeping in mind it is crucial for our well-being.   No one can do this for us.  Our emotional health impacts our physical well-being just like exercise, sleep and eating right do.  So, the next time you are feeling discouraged, decide what  you want to do to lift your spirits, and do it.  You will be happy you did.

Please read the links to the past blogs. They will give  more practical information and encouragement.  I hope you share  your thoughts with us. Thanks for stopping by.  I pray this blog is a blessing and encouragement to you.  Next time…encouraging others.

Until then,

Many blessings to you.  Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 10

As promised I am returning with more from Nick Vujicic, an amazing encourager.  In the attached video he shares his heart with a large group of school students.  I think you will find this moving and encouraging.  Perhaps you even know someone who could use this very message.

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Nick as a small boy

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At the beach

CLICK HERE for one of the  most inspirational videos you will ever see — Nick Vujicic  

Nick

Nick

Nick-Vujicic

Nick and his son

wedding nick

Wedding Day

Many Blessings, Leslie Rose K

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30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 5

GUESS THE STAR

Born Leslie Townes______

Lived to be 100

English born moved to USA with family at age 5.

In 1996 the US Congress declared him the “first and only honorary veteran of the US Armed Forces.”

Had a career spanning 60 years, appearing in over 70 films and shorts.

According to Wikipedia was awarded over two thousand honors and awards, including 54 honorary doctorates.

Was awarded five honorary awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

In her short story An Ambassador of Hope, Christine Dallman remarks “there was never a more aptly named entertainer than Bob Hope.”  He entertained troops in every war from World War II to the Gulf War.  While some did not care for him and his beliefs about war, many esteemed him for his tireless visits to military bases worldwide.

Hope had a deep respect for the men and women of the military. He worked hard to bring encouragement to them wherever they were Bob-Hope-Frances-Langford-USO-Show-Ponam-Is.-30-Aug.-1944-Official-Navy-Photo-located.  One soldier recalled that when Hope came to the small base at Pensacola, Florida he held nothing back.  “He showed up with a full-scale production.  There was a 100-foot stage, a full orchestra, a band, everything.  It was a complete traveling show, and it was big.”

history0016_1950sWhether in a small or large venue, Hope brought encouragement, and lots of it.  For a brief moment in time he made a difficult situation easier for US soldiers. They were able to forget about everything for a little while and enjoy the show.bob-hope-06

Until next time….Leslie Rose K

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I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.  -Bob Hope

If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.   -Bob Hope

Getting Rid of Negativity Once and For All (?) Part 2

I love this quote that is at the end of each of my blog posts.  The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude. –William James (1842-1910)

“William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism.”(Wikipedia) He was one of the first to discuss free will and it’s implications for the individual.

This quote says to me, that I do not have to be at the mercy of negative thoughts that want to drag me down, discourage me, or even debilitate me. Whether you deal with an autoimmune disease such as lupus or not, there is certainly no shortage of negative thoughts. They come storming into our minds. They sneak into our minds disguised as other things.  In some cases, they try to take up permanent residence  in our minds.  We do not have to succumb to them.  We can choose not to walk in agreement with them.

If the pain, discouragement, disillusionment etc.  you live with daily makes it hard to see anything positive in life, perhaps Tony Robbins’ powerful exercise Emotional Flood, will help “reboot” you.   If it is out of your comfort zone, watch it one time first. Consider trying the exercise yourself when you feel ready.  Keep in mind, most of us have no trouble getting in touch with all the negative in life.

When I saw this exercise, it reminded me of something I do sometimes when I am singing in church.  In my thoughts, I  travel back through my life. Sometimes  I think of  the many times that God intervened in my life, other times, the many blessings that I have been given, or the times when I felt God close.

I am sure you realize by now, that the  Grace Journal  is a great tool, but it is not enough.  There are many resources available to help change our thought patterns-people, music, words, books and media etc.  For me, two of the most influential sources of  help come from God’s Word and the Word as it is preached through my pastor each week.  There is life in God’s Word that I cannot find anywhere else.

As we fill our minds with positive influences we will find our thoughts become more positive.  We will begin to feel better and have more energy.  We will even be more pleasant to be around.

Can we get rid of negativity once and for all? If we choose to exercise our free will we can alter our life by altering our attitude and reclaim our life after a diagnosis of lupus/autoimmune disease.

If you enjoy reading this blog, click here to  Subscribe by Email. You will  receive it directly in your inbox and  not miss a post. Until next time…may God strengthen you for the task.

Many Blessings….Leslie Rose K

leslie@dominateyourdiagnosis.com

Get Rid of Negativity Once and for All

Negativity is like working a stair stepper, you put out a lot of energy but do not actually go anywhere.  However, unlike a stair stepper which strengthens your body, negativity weakens your body.

Dr. Robert H. Phillips in his book Coping with Lupus says a negative attitude can make existing emotional problems worse whether or not they are caused by lupus. Improving our attitude, will improve every other aspect of our lives.  Concentrating on the positive is key here. There are many resources available to help with this.  You can search on-line or go to the library. He  believes if you get one good idea out of book it will be worth what you paid for it. (My godmother used to say this about cookbooks. If you remember from a past post, I have no shortage of cookbooks.)

In November, I wrote about the Grace Journal.  I have faithfully been keeping a journal since then, writing in it at least five times a week, as recommended.  I do this right before I go to bed and find it to have a calming effect.  I am reminded of my many blessings and could sometimes fill a whole page with my grateful thoughts.  It has boosted my happiness and quality of life just like Dr. Emmons said it would.

Several years ago when I was outside mowing,  I was silently wishing I had a different house. I wanted one with more personality.  This was not the first time I thought about this. It was becoming a habit. Discontentment was slowly getting a foothold.  That day on the mower I sensed God speaking to  me about covetousness. The Oxford dictionary says it is “having or showing a great desire to possess something, typically something belonging to someone else.”  In this  age of living big, that is easy to do.  Now, whenever these thoughts come to my mind, I am reminded of that day and thank God for the blessing I have.

When you start doing something like this you begin to see how truly blessed you are.   There is always someone better off than us or worse off than us. The peace comes when we are content with our own life and ourselves. It is proven that when we think positive thoughts, we will feel better.  I have found when I  feel better emotionally, I feel better physically and even have more energy.

When you deal with a chronic illness like lupus, it is very easy to covet what others seem to have in the way of health, freedom from restrictions and pain etc.   It takes practice to keep your mind from focusing on the negative.  Starting with a Grace Journal will be a big help.  It does not have to be just for bedtime.  If you really struggle with focusing on the negative, carry it around with you. When you catch yourself beginning to focus on the negative, whip out your journal and write something positive. If you do this often enough you will find that your thought patterns will begin to change and you will reap the rewards  in your mind, body, and life.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

If you enjoy reading this blog, click here to  Subscribe by Email. You will  receive it directly in your inbox and  not miss a post.  Many blessings. Praying God will strengthen and energize you this week.  Leslie Rose K

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude. -William James

leslie@dominateyourdiagnosis.com

Why support groups?

Early on in my diagnosis, when I was much sicker, I inadvertently offended someone who told me how good I looked.  I was upset by their disapproval of my honest response.   I let the situation isolate me further because I then found it difficult to share with others what I was really going through.

For a variety of reasons, I found that with each passing year, I needed a little more emotional support than what I was able to receive from my family and friends.  I suspected there were others in the same situation.

I have since discovered on-line communities offering support on websites such as  Facebook and WebMD. I found support groups that met on the phone and in person.  It confirms to me that I was right.  It also shows me that support is crucial to our emotional well-being.

Some people are blessed with family and friends that genuinely understand what they are experiencing and are a tremendous support to them.    If you have people like that in your life, treasure them.  They are a rare gift.

Others find support from their church.  The prayer ministry I am a part of was a huge support for me.  The pastor in charge prayed tirelessly for me.  Some of the members listened to me, encouraged me, and prayed for me. I am sure that it was the many prayers that sent my kidney problems into remission in record time.  The rheumatologist marveled over my progress in that area for several years.

A support group specific to the issue you are dealing with can offer  benefits not usually found in normal daily life.  What makes support groups unique?

  • they verify that you are not alone in your struggle
  • they urge you to press on
  • they give valuable insight on the disease
  • they give valuable resources as to treatment possibilities
  • they give suggestions on how to make life easier with the disease
  • they give opportunities to make new friends, ones that understand your unique situation

It does take effort to attend a support group. You may not feel well enough to attend every meeting.  Do what you can, but keep in mind it is well worth the effort. If you are not thoroughly pleased with the group and how it is run, decide to be a positive influence and help guide it in a more positive direction. Although you may feel pretty good most days and not need a lot of support; there is probably someone there who  can use your encouragement.

Being in a support group has taken away my feelings of isolation.  I know I am not alone in my daily struggles with lupus.  What was the offending remark I made many years ago and have hardly ever said since? “I wish I felt as good as I looked.”   If that situation happened today, I would  chuckle with my support group about it and about how good we all look.

Until next time, many blessings to you and your support team. Leslie Rose K

If you are following along in our book Coping with Lupus, Dr. Robert Phillips, Ph.D agrees with me. pages 184 & 185

If you enjoy reading this blog, click here to  Subscribe by Email . You will  receive it directly in your inbox and  not miss a post.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude. -William James

leslie@dominateyourdiagnosis.com

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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