Power of Mindset

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” 

~Buddha~


 

The power of our mindset is a concept that has been discussed more in recent psychological literature; however, it is not a new concept as Buddha had taught many related ideas.  According to Buddha, our thoughts shape who we are and who we will become, making it very important to consider our current mindset as it relates to our future goals.  Do you think and act like the person you want to be?  Is the person you think and act like the person that will achieve the dreams for your future?

In our society, our surroundings have slowly created a more negative overall mindset.  There are many contributing factors to this negative mindset including the impact of sharing our lives on social media, the stress of living in such a fast paced world, and even the constant connection to the world through media and electronics.  Based on Buddha’s teachings, over time this negative mindset may lead to negative outcomes.  If a pure mind creates a joy that follows us like a shadow that never leaves, what could be the potential outcome of having a negative mind?

Determining the impact of a negative mindset is not the important factor, but instead to discover if you have a negative mindset.  If indeed you do have a negative focused mindset, the next step is to work on shaping it to become more positive and pure in nature.  Self awareness through self reflection can be one of the best methods of keeping our mindset in check.  To truly self reflect, there are a variety of different approaches that can be utilized either individually or in conjunction such as meditation, journaling, and social media sabbaticals.

Finding the best method and guide to reshape our thoughts to achieve a positive mindset is vital.  Seeking individual based professional coaching services may be the best approach to determining the most appropriate individual path for positivity.

Mind Free to Wander

A wandering path appears to provide a less than opportune method of traveling.  A path that requires twists and turns takes more time and effort to get from point A to point B.  A straight line is the more efficient method of travel.  So, what is the best method?  

A winding body of water such as a river or stream appears to wind, twist, and turn in many directions with little effort.  At times it almost looks peaceful as it runs in the direction it has since carved through the land.  Despite the peaceful flow, there was a time during the creation of the path, that the water had to work hard to create a way to get from the origin to the destination.  The work put forth creates a path of easy, peaceful flow for the remaining time of the flowing water’s existence.  

In life, there are many approaches to building a lifestyle of optimal design for each individual.  The design itself is even unique, to what each individual desires to have as a key component to success.  This makes a holistic, individualized approach to lifestyle design optimal for ensuring a peaceful flow throughout the span of life.  

Our society’s current lifestyle of rushing and fixing issues after they have occurred is not conducive to creating a path of peaceful travel.  Supporting wellness and preventing issues from developing through optimization of physical, time, and emotional balance is the key to inner peace.  The path of life will certainly wind, twist, and turn with the presence of many large and small obstacles along the way; however, setting out on the journey without a peaceful flow will fill the journey with turmoil.  Providing the mind time to wander, dream, and feel at peace through a foundation of balance will provide the best method for traveling on the path of life.  

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy birthday to me…Happy birthday to me!  Happy birthday dear meeeee….Happy birthday to me!  

Yes…I just sang MYSELF happy birthday!  What a wonderful day….it has always been (and likely always will be) my favorite holiday!  Does that sound a little selfish?  Yes…maybe.  But it is the truth and we are all about truth here!  

While many people focus on the negative fact that a birthday results in adding another year, I choose to see it more as gaining an additional year of wisdom, experiences, and spreading love. Every day, month, year is full of opportunities to learn and be better than we ever thought we could be!  So I say, embrace that! Aim to do those things you never thought were possible, because if you don’t try then they certainly never will be possible!  

The years seem to fly by, but I work to make the most of each and every day— making the days worth it and the years successful in the process.  As I enter my 32 year, I can truly say I feel I have made the valiant effort to make the most out of each and every day for at least the last few years.  

Prior to a few years ago, I would say my focus was less on positivity and making the most of things and more on being critical.  Making the mindful shift to positive thinking and a positive approach in life has most certainly made a huge impact on all aspects of my life.  I have found myself experiencing more success and feeling less stress and anxiety when things may not necessarily go the way I “planned” for them to play out!  Writing goals and having aspirations is a huge part of achieving success, but a positive mindset and open mind about the plan to achieve those goals and aspirations can make the difference in your quality of life!  

Over the past five years, I have worked and worked to achieve many of my life aspirations.  While it began five years ago, when I made a vision board 3 years ago it sparked the true achievement of my goals!  When revisiting the vision board just one year later many of my goals were achieved!  Just putting my goals out there, writing them down and making them real helped guide me to make the right steps in order to make things happen!  Since that time, I feel like I have been unstoppable!  

Today is my birthday…and I am so excited to say I am also officially only a few days away from completing my PhD!  This journey to earn my degree has been long and painful at times, but the learning experience along the way has completely been worth it!  I know keeping my mindset positive and working toward all of my goals will keep me on the path for future success in building my blog, writing a book, and becoming published in the academic realm.  I look forward to see what my future brings as I continue pursuing my dreams! 

The Need for Prevention in Mental Health

 

Occupational therapy began when it was identified that people could heal the mind with the use of their hands in daily activities.  Since the profession of OT was formally established in 1917, advancements in many areas of the field have occurred.  Unfortunately, financial changes within the medical care system have created significant cutbacks on the way occupational therapists are able to provide services, impacting many of our clients in need.  One population that has significantly been impacted by these changes is individuals in need of mental health support. 

There are so many things changing in our world in the last 2 decades.  It seems all moments are fleeting and everything is moving so fast.  Increased issues within the realm mental health have also climbed with these fast paced societal changes.  In an article released by the CDC, suicide rates have been rising to the point that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and continues to climb in frequency (CDC, 2018).  To make this statistic a little more concrete, almost 45,000 Americans ages 10 and over died by suicide in the year 2016 (CDC, 2018).  Think about that number right there!  There were most certainly 9 other illnesses that lead to death more frequently than suicide in 2016, but those numbers are hard to swallow when we think about the individuals being lost.  They were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, significant other’s, children, teachers, doctors, lawyers, housewives…the list could go on forever.  They were not a number, but those 45,000 people were PEOPLE first!  Although suicide is “just” number 10 on the list the cause of death in 2016, it was not on the top 10 list just 10 years ago in 2006.  

The CDC is working to determine the linked causes of suicide and to implement a comprehensive approach to addressing this rising issue in America.  It was noted in an article published by the CDC just days after the reported suicide of Kate Spade that suicide is not typically caused by a single factor.  Currently, suicide prevention is focused on individuals that are noted to be at risk for suicide, particularly those with an identified mental health condition.  Unfortunately, the CDC noted that more than half of the people that die by suicide do not have a diagnosed mental health condition.  Other circumstances led to emotional stress such as relationship issues, substance misuse, physical health problems, and personal stresses related to money and housing contribute to an individual’s risk for suicide (CDC, 2018).  If prevention of suicide is only aimed at the individuals with an identified mental health disorder, then we still would have lost 22,500 people unexpectedly to suicide in 2016.  So, the question lies in what we can do to address this issue from a prevention standpoint that reaches all people that could potentially be struggling with mental health issues and possible suicidal ideations behind closed doors.  

Balance was identified as a major component related to mental health issues, leading to development of stress and possible regular mental health symptoms (McKenzie, Patel, & Araya, 2004).  Balance is an equal proportion of various factors.  One could make a case for the fact that moderation in all areas would result in successful balance.  In our society, balance of occupations has become an afterthought.  Our lives are so busy and full of “things” we end up in autopilot, just trying to survive each day, year, and month.  Working toward achieving a balance of all occupations could provide a much needed opportunity to feel balanced internally, in turn preventing the development of distress and mental health symptoms.  These occupations that need balancing include self care, caring for others and our home, sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation.  

Occupational therapists are the health care provider most equipped to work on addressing the important need of balancing occupations.  Helping individuals already experiencing issues is most definitely important; however, imagine if health care provided an opportunity to prevent the start of these issues!  If occupational therapy services could be provided to all on a regular basis, along the lines of going for an annual check up at the family doctor, it could promote mental health and overall wellness.  Too often we address issues after the fact, rather than preventing the issues from developing in the first place!  Prevention in the end would be cheaper and promote improved overall outcomes, therefore resulting in improved quality of life for all individuals!  

References

CDC. (2018, June 7). Suicide rates rising across the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0607-suicide-prevention.html

McKenzie, K., Patel, V., & Araya, R. (2004). Learning from low income countries: Mental health. British Medical Journal, 329(7475), 1138-1140.

2017 recap…2018 intentions

 

 

It is crazy to think I have taken a sabbatical from writing for almost an entire year!  Although so many amazing things were in the works during this time…I miss the writing and reflection that comes with it!

In 2017, I planned a year of hard work that would result in success.  Simplifying life, renewing health, and following my heart and dreams.  We managed to move twice…yes TWICE in 2017.  The second move was a relocation to Palm Bay, FL.  This was a three and a half hour move away from our initial Florida home in Lake City.  Although the move was sparked by landing my dream job teaching full time, it meant leaving our Lake City family.  This decision did not come lightly, but was ultimately the opportunity of a lifetime we could not pass up!

There is just something about writing down the plans for a year and having the opportunity to look back on them a year later!  Seeing what I had planned for 2017 I can say some things were a complete success…while others will still remain a focus for 2018!

Last year I wrote:

“2017 will be a year of hard work and success.  Life will be more busy, but simpler in many ways.  Simplifying every day, week, month, and ultimately the year by decluttering, organizing, and planning.  In the past, just doing these three things would lead to stress and anxiety…but not anymore!  Letting go is now going to be a daily habit.  As hard as it can be sometimes, it also gives a fantastic feeling of accomplishment!”

I truly plan to continue this in 2018!  Our new home has a fantastic 1200 square feet…meaning organization is the ONLY way to survive!  I still struggle with letting things go, but this needs to remain a focus in order to not drown in all of our “things”.  Experiencing moments and creating memories with my family is by far more important than collecting things!

My planner and goal writer are full this year and I cannot wait to pick back up and continue with my writing as a part of my personal goals for 2018!  This will be the year I officially complete my PhD and move forward with my professional goals with teaching.  My oldest “baby” will begin Kindergarten this year, so there will be so many exciting changes for us as a family!

Self Love

After a loooooong day that was particularly draining…which was topping off a week that was basically the same.. I did a little research on what I could use as a quick fix to reenergize!

I have been interested in the use of essential oils in daily life for a long time, but a few months ago I finally took some time to learn more!  Since then, I haven’t turned back!  From helping with anxious feelings, poor energy, and sleepless nights with little ones…my oils have always been a great resource!

So once again, I found a great way to use my oils to relax and recharge!  This new recipe I used when getting a bath provided detoxifying effects to help cleanse my body of the toxins that lead to feelings of fatigue.  It also offered a relaxing feature for my aching muscles!  Within one minute of running the water and adding the ingredients, I could feel the tension begin to release!  After soaking for approximately 20 minutes, I felt like a new person!

It was amazing how just a few minutes of taking care of myself left me feeling so great!  I have found so many awesome ways to use my oils in every day life!  This was no exception…so I knew I just had to share it with others!  Have you ever tried essential oils before?  Is there something you have always wondered about how or when or why they are used?  Please feel free to reach out for some answers…I never knew who to ask and I am so happy I finally took the time to learn more!

 

bath-detox

 

Dreamers versus Realists

We often hear “there are two kinds of people” in relation to a variety of comparisons.  Planners and wingers, Type A and Type B personalities, those that fill a gas tank at half full and those that roll into a gas station on fumes, etc.  This list can go on and on…

In general, there are two types of people in regards to the way they approach life.  Maybe there are more than two types, but I see two.  There are dreamers and realists.  Dreamers are always dreaming of more, thinking of the future, striving to reach for the stars with all that they do.  While being a dreamer is great for life motivation, being a dreamer can also lead to feelings of discontent and stress trying to constantly reach to the next level or goal. Realists are generally very real about their world, their life, and how they are living it.   Although being a realist does not mean there will be no advancement or strive to reach goals in life, they tend not to push themselves much beyond the comfort level of where they currently are to reach those goals.  So, which one are you?

To the Dreamers:

I am truly a dreamer down to my core.  There are so many ways in which I would love to be more of a realist…to stand still and just enjoy the moment of who I am and what I am doing…but that is simply not in my nature!  I often find my brain spinning…trying to figure out how to finish my dissertation, write my book proposal, finish the book, continue with blog posting and developing my brand, and ultimately achieving my dream of being a full time writer, life coach, and college instructor one day.  It is difficult to manage all of these dreams that I have as well as all of the things that I want to do while still raising my two little boys, being a good wife, and working full time at a job I do love.  It can be so overwhelming!

So, when I find myself spinning I just think maybe I need to be real for just a moment.  I need to see what I have right now…right now I am blessed to have this full time job.  A job that I love and provides money so that I can live a life that I love with my family.  I am also so fortunate to have a supportive and loving husband.  He has supported me as I continue to go through school these last three years…and even now as I continue on with completing my dissertation.  I am also so blessed to have two little boys who I spend as much time as possible with because they are just growing up too fast!  I also have a wonderfully supportive family that has helped me reach my goals to this day to be the person that I am.

So I challenge you to be real today and a little every single day!  Dreaming can be a great thing.  It brings you hope for future things to come and motivation to get yourself to that point.  Dreaming can also take you through a whirlwind of a life that you float on through and do not experience all of the wonders along the way!  My focus each day is to take at least a few minutes to think about the experiences of the day.  What happened? What did I see?  How did I feel?  I give myself a few minutes to answer those questions and take in the answers.  Writing these experiences in a gratitude journal can be a great way to tuck away those experiences to make memories.  After all, one day memories will be what we have of all of our life moments and we want to be sure we actually remember the experiences we had!  Not just a blur of fast forward images in our mind.  So dreamers be real!

To the Realists:

I commend you realists for being so real and honest with yourself!  I am not able to express much personal experience as a realist, because as I noted above I am a dreamer.  I can say that I know many realists, including my husband who I love more than anything!  I think this is one of the reasons we are so perfect together!  He encourages my dreaming…keeps our life in check as I’m out floating around among my millions of dreams!  He is able to work and come home and enjoy just being…existing…living in this world.  He is not always caught up in the drive to do more; however, that is not to say he isn’t motivated to be his very best every day!

My husband is truly amazing.  There are so many times I come home a little late from work and he has the house cleaned, dishes washed, kids ready for bed, and maybe even vacuumed a little!  I always marvel at the fact he could possibly complete all of those things in just an hour or two!  But see, that is the great thing about a realist!  They are doers!  While it would take me an hour to make a to do list and dream about how perfect I want each corner of the house to look before actually jumping in and doing it…he is already done!

While realists are wonderful, productive individuals that really keep this world moving…I have a challenge for you too!  Dream!  Take a few minutes a day and dream about what you want.  What are you currently doing in your life that you are content with, but not actually happy with doing.  Take out a journal, or just a sheet of paper will do, and write down your dreams.  Answer these 3 questions: What makes you happy?  What do you love about your life?  Where do you see your life in 5 years?  Now that you have the dreamer part of your brain working…keep going!  In a journal write down every day what you loved about that day and what you would love to add to your day to make it even better in the future!  Realists…go dream!

Together We Make the World Go Round

In the title of this post it almost seems as if dreamers and realists are in a battle; however, is completely the opposite of the truth!  Together, dreamers and realists make this world a wonderful place!  Just like my husband and I, dreamers and realists together make magic!  Embrace who you are at heart and strive to be the best you.  Striving to understand and put yourself in the shoes of the opposite type of person will help you grow.  The more that I practice realist activities the happier I am and more I am able to achieve the dreams that I have!

 

PS…I would LOVE to hear from you!  I want to know what you think about this post..do you agree?  Do you disagree?  Why?  Send me your thoughts and I would love to know how then challenges worked for you!  ❤️

 

Extra Marshmallows…yes, please!

I recently had a quiet day (I know…this doesn’t sound right!  haha I think lasted about 30 min…but I take what I can get!!!) where settling down with a cup of hot chocolate just seemed necessary!  As we all typically are…I am watching what I am eating.  Trying to make some healthier decisions to make sure that I am taking the best possible care of my body.  So although I LOVE a gourmet cup of hot chocolate with all the accessories like marshmallows and whipped cream…I know being healthy sometimes means a little compromise…or should we say some bargaining to find a balance!

The thing is….I have to bargain and balance things all the time!  Not just with eating healthy…but with a lot of other areas of my life!  Isn’t that what life is really all about?  Finding a balance between all the things we want to do and all the things we need to do?  For example, I love my “9-5” job…but when I am at work I am compromising because of course I would love to be home with my kiddos snuggling them!  But…without that job I wouldn’t have the nice, cozy house to snuggle them in!  Ahhhh…its all a game of give or take…essentially a balancing act!

Relationships also often require a lot of balancing to truly be fulfilling for all involved.  Unfortunately, it often ends up that someone in a relationship has to give more for too long which depletes the relationship of the benefiting factors that had once been present.  There are many different types relationships such as relationships with family members, authority figures such as a boss or teacher, friends, colleagues, significant others, etc.  The list can go on and on…and ultimately most of these relationships are unique and require a very specific type of balance to remain successful and positive.   The goal of a good relationship is for each individual involved to give and take equally…to create a partnership that allows each person support when it is needed.  This can most certainly be tricky…which is exactly why there are so many workplace upsets, lost loves, forgotten friendships.

So…how does one balance all of the various demands of life and relationships to lead a happy, healthy life?  There is one relationship I have not discussed…and it is the most important one!  Balancing, nourishing, and supporting the relationship with ourself is vital to the success of balancing everything else!  I have been missing this for many years…but not anymore!  This year I have been making it a point to take time to be good to me!  Since then, I have found myself less stressed, happier with my work, more patient with my kids, and more loving of my husband.

Life is always full of a lot of fluff…a lot of unneeded extra stress and distractions…so when you need a time out say yes to the marshmallows!!  This 10 minute cup of hot chocolate was one method of me taking care of myself that day…and the marshmallows were so necessary!  ❤️

Extra Marshmallows edited.jpg

I’MPERFECT ILLUSION

have-joy-sunriseThe world is essentially one big illusion that can be seen how you choose to look at it.  We perceive others to have the illusion of a perfect life, perfect marriage, perfect house, perfect job, perfect financial management status, and on and on and on!  Do you remember looking at a book of optical illusion puzzles as a child?  Looking at a picture with others while trying not to let your eyes play tricks on you.  As an adult, it can often feel like our entire lives are filled with these puzzles that play tricks on our eyes and minds.

So…how does one weed out the illusions to see the real world while also allowing ourselves to also live within our own illusions to remain happy and content our current life situations?  As I follow friends on Facebook and cheer on their successes while also supporting and consoling those facing hardships…I find myself lost among the happy pictures of smiles and good times.  Can everyone really be this happy all the time?  Can all the moments with children be so great and heart warming?   Because…I know in my house the good times with my children are most certainly equal with the difficult times spent disciplining, scolding, just plain yelling, and crying (and yes…sometimes I am even the one doing the crying!!).  Being a parent isn’t easy…nor is being an adult in general!

Working, keeping up a house, balancing finances, nurturing relationships, etc. are all difficult time consuming things to do on a daily basis!  So why does the world of social media (which is simply what WE have made it) portray all of these things as easy?  Part of what I love about writing is my opportunity to express myself.  I most definitely love writing about happy times and successful times…but I also find it relaxing and somewhat freeing to write about my times of struggle!  In a world that presents illusions of perfect people leading perfect lives everywhere I am so happy to have the opportunity and courage to share my imperfections!  I am not perfect…nor do I hope to display an illusion of perfection!  I am real…and I am me.  I hope in this new year that more people realize and understand the importance stopping the spread of the “I’m perfect illusion”….instead show the world the real you!  Express yourself…share yourself…for in return you will be loved for who you really are!

2017 Vision

Just a short note…of the things to come from a deep vision of 2017!

2017 will be a year of hard work and success.  Life will be more busy, but simpler in many ways.  Simplifying every day, week, month, and ultimately the year by decluttering, organizing, and planning.  In the past, just doing these three things would lead to stress and anxiety…but not anymore!  Letting go is now going to be a daily habit.  As hard as it can be sometimes, it also gives a fantastic feeling of accomplishment!

2017 will bring an office space with organization to bring success with writing, blogging, and helping others.  There will be more free time to spend with the kids, and it will be quality time for snuggling, reading, and loving.

2017 will also bring about a time of renewed health while launching a new 4 week meal plan.  The goal will be to decrease the need for developing a plan for meals each week, allowing the opportunity to have a stress free plan in place to move forward with healthy eating.

Finally, 2017 will be a year of continuing to follow my heart and dreams…while teaching my babies how to build their own! ❤️

I have truly enjoyed spending time creating an action plan for paving a way to make all of the above dreams come true!  Excited to share this action plan method as we all jump start into the new year!  What is your vision for the new year?  Have you you been dreaming and listening to your heart to take action to create your ideal year?  If not, it is not too late to get started!  Sit down and write  (yes write…like with an old fashioned pen on a piece of paper) how your ideal year of 2017 will look for you!  Picture it, love it, and nurture that vision to make it a reality!