Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 31: An End and A Beginning

Today is the last day of my month to cultivate the habit of positivity. I have had a lot of success, and turning away from negativity is definitely a habit. It still isn't always easy. The urge is probably the biggest part that has become habit. After I get the urge, I can't help but keep seeking for some way to move out of negativity's path! That can be a struggle, but it is a worthwhile struggle that always feels good in the end!

Tomorrow I begin cultivating a new habit. This one just might take a bit more determination. It will affect not only me but my whole family! I am going to start exercising everyday. I am going to write a formal statement of my commitment here.

I commit to spend the month of November cultivating the habit of exercise. I will exercise everyday after lunch for one hour. This exercise will usually take the form of walking outdoors. I will walk where ever I wish, however I wish, but I will always continue for one hour. Below are some anticipated problems, and my planned strategies for dealing with them.

First, if I am not home when I eat lunch, I will do my hour exercise when I arrive home. If I eat lunch at home, and absolutely can't stay home to finish my exercise right after my lunch, I will exercise immediately when returning home. I will do my best to eat lunch early enough on days that I know I need to go out in the afternoon to avoid this problem as much as possible. If I have delayed my exercise for some reason and get home when it is too dark to walk outside, I will spend one hour exercising in the house. This exercise could include informal things like dancing and playing actively with the kids and more formal things like exercise tapes. This same routine will be followed if the weather is too bad to exercise outside or to do the whole hour outside.

Perhaps the most important thing is that I will use my positivity to help reinforce this habit. I know how much I love being outside! I know how wonderful it makes me feel! Adding exercise on a daily basis will make my life so much better. I am excited for this to become habit during the month ahead.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 30: More Thoughts on Gossip

Yesterday, I missed posting here. My girlfriend is sick, and I went to bed really early to be with her. I felt bad about not posting here because I consider regular posting here to be part of my commitment to being positive, a checkpoint of sorts to keep me on track. Life moves on though, and I realize that there will occasionally be days that I don't post for various reasons, and I am going to be positive about being able to post here most days!

I have had the topic of gossip on my mind. Not necessarily my gossip, but other people's gossip. It seems that lots of people are eager to say negative things about others. Everyone is fair game. It seems that if you are famous you must be a bad person who deserves to be badmouthed. Any politician you aren't voting for must be a horrible person or not too smart or just out for him or herself. It doesn't stop there. I here gossip about co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family frequently!

Most of the time, I think that people don't even realize what they are doing. I have noticed that these types of conversations can arise from different places. Sometimes someone is genuinely angry at someone. It is OK to be angry at someone who you feel has purposely hurt you, but there tend to be so many factors in every situation. Do you really have a reason to be angry? Are you sure of the person's intentions? How would you have behaved in their shoes? Have you ever made a similar mistake? Is the anger helping you in anyway? Is there anything that you can do to resolve the situation? Have you learned anything from the situation?

Even if you feel that your anger is justified and that it is serving a purpose, do you have to share your views with others? What tends to make this negative talk worse, is when the one who is angry shares their views, and everyone else (who most likely have no anger and may not even really know the other party) agrees. I have seen this happen so often. No one wants to make that scene, and everyone wants to be a part of the conversation, so people start not only agreeing but adding things. Before you know it, you have a whole social situation focused on negativity!

I want to make a conscious effort to stay out of this kind of negativity to the best of my ability. When negative topics come up, I am going to focus on the positive in everyone the best that I can. If the situation can't be turned around, I am leaving.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 28: Working on Loving Myself

Today has been a mixed day. I had a period when I was feeling down on myself. It is instinct now to turn my thinking to the positive side, but it is still a struggle when the process first starts. I managed though! I am proud of myself for getting this far!

I have thought more about next month. I am leaning hard towards exercising after lunch. Mornings are just too dark and cold. I think I would like exercising in the morning, but I am not to that place yet. I still need to work out the technicalities.

I was hoping to write more about gossip today too, but I am just too tired! I will try to get that tomorrow; now, it is bedtime for me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 27: Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday is here once again. I have been doing a pretty good job following my menus. This week I only have one to carry over. There was one night when Diana had a craving for something else, and we went with it! Without further ado, here they are:

Monday: spaghetti w/meatsauce, salad

Tuesday: chili, corn chips, shredded mexican cheese

Wednesday: chicken a la king, homemade biscuits

Thursday: buttery tuna-rice casserole, crudites

Friday: dinner at my mom's

Saturday: Samhain Feast

Sunday: fried chicken breasts, scalloped potatoes, peas (carried over meal)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 26: Looking Towards Next Month

Since my goal is to incorporate one new habit a month, I have been spending some time the past couple of days thinking about next month. I have decided that I will cultivate the habit of exercise in November.

November is the perfect time to cultivate that habit. It is not too hot and not too snowy. I will be able to have the habit of exercise before the heavy snow hits and makes traipsing outside more difficult.

I haven't yet cemented just exactly what this habit is going to look like. I realize that it may change and grow also. All I know right now is that I want to cultivate the habit of exercising every day!

One of my areas of indecisiveness at the moment is timing. I know that to make exercise a habit, I need to tie it to another regular activity and a certain time of day. The easiest time would be first thing in the morning. My favorite time to exercise though is right after lunch. My problem I think is that I tend to eat lunch too late, and I am worried that if I tie my exercise to that other things might get in the way.

I am going to think on it some more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 25: Progress Report

I have been doing OK. Lots of dialogue mostly with myself everyday is the key. Movement is a big boost to my positivity too. I get outside moving everyday even if it is only for five minutes in the rain!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 24: How Do You Define Freedom?

I wrote a bit yesterday about my recent period of struggle, and how yesterday was a turning point for me. Today I had even more opportunities to grow. I had tons of energy for most of the day. Thoughts and clarifications were flying through my head at a stupendous speed.

The cornerstone of my breakthrough yesterday was the realization that I need to do the things I want to do. That may seem like a simple statement, but it really isn't. I think many people, especially women, rarely do what they really want to. Fears, anxieties, and the wrong kind of concerns about others hold them back.

Today I was thinking more about what I want to do. I was thinking about the essentials. I had a clarification about what is essential to me. My relationship with Diana is essential. It is the foundation of a lot of other things. I want to do what I want to do, and being a part of Diana is top priority in that hierarchy
at the moment. I was able to follow that thought to doing other things which made my day very fulfilling. Freedom to me includes the freedom to choose to work with and play with another person who I love and am bound to. Freedom to me also includes the freedom to choose to take care of my children full time at home. Both of those things include responsibility.

Freedom is not the absence of responsibility. I wonder how others see freedom?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 23: Growth

I have been going through a struggle in my head the last few days or so. I have worked very hard to not be negative during this time of struggle. I have stayed as honest as I could and used dialogue whenever possible to avoid negativity.

Today, I acheived breakthrough. The thing that helped the most during this difficult time was remembering that a struggle of some sort often precedes growth. If you are getting bogged down and are discontent, it is OK to think about it and talk about it and work through it. That is not being negative! That is moving forward.

It only becomes negative when you wallow in the discontent with self-pity. See it as a problem or a challenge that you need to solve and keep seeking positivity one day at a time!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 22: Weight Loss Tip Wednesday

Nuts! Go nuts is the weight loss tip of the week! Lots of dieters cut out nuts thinking that they are high in fat and calories. The truth is that most nuts are high in those good fats that will help keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Nuts are all natural, taste great, and will fill you up.

The key to eating nuts is to keep your serving size small. I like to eat a small handful of nuts for a between meal snack. The fat and protein in the nuts keeps me from needing to eat again until the next meal time. If I eat a high carb snack, I often find myself hungry again in a little while.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 21: Love Yourself

It seems that most of us have been conditioned to see love as conditional. How many of our parents were disappointed in us? How many gave rewards for "good behavior"? How many of us had teachers that told us that we could do better, even that we need to do better? It is easy to say that these people loved us and just wanted us to do our best, but in reality, most of us do do our best on the things that matter to us, and if they don't matter to us, why do we need to do our best or more honestly do them at all?

How does this affect us as adults? Well, it affects us in a lot of ways! What I want to focus on today though is how it affects our ability to unconditionally love ourselves. I hear it audibly and see it in actions, people saying, "When I lose weight, I will go on that cruise." People turning away from pleasures because they haven't met some goal that they have set for themselves. People looking in the mirror and thinking that they will be good enough when...

Staying positive means living in the moment. You could not see the next moment. Now is the time to live your life! In order to live your life to the fullest, you need to love yourself to the fullest. You need to realize that you deserve a good life full of love and joy now. Don't set conditions for your love. Be yourself, love yourself, and live the life you want now! You can't get now back, so don't waste it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 20: Menu Plan Monday

Here it is Monday again, and I am ready with my menus for Menu Plan Monday!

Monday: Mexican Rice Bake (planned for last week but we went to a birthday party that night and had dinner there)

Tuesday: Creamy Chicken Bake

Wednesday: BBQ Pulled Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Coleslaw

Thursday: Chicken-Stuffing Casserole, Cooked Baby Carrots

Friday: Fried Chicken Breasts, Scalloped Potatoes, Peas

Saturday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Double Noodle Soup, Raw Baby Carrots

Sunday: Baked Chicken Legs, Fried Potatoes, Baby Brussel Sprouts, Brownies

Yes! This does seem to be the chicken and potatoes week!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 19: Being Comfortable with Myself

I have spent some time visiting with friends and relatives the last few weeks. Being with people, especially people that I care about, can be an anxiety producing experience for me! Somewhere inside myself I feel like I am not good enough for other people. I feel like I am not going to live up to their expectations.

It is difficult for me to admit that in a public forum like this, but I suspect that many others have the same problem. The truth is that I am very in tune with myself and who I am. That is a good thing! Another truth is that I do my best at everything. I am proud of who I am.

Why then do I fall apart at the thought of being surrounded with other people, even other people who love me very much? A little bit of it is probably that no matter how strong I think I am, I am not 100 percent confident in myself. Either I am not 100 percent confident who I am, or I am not 100 percent confident that I always do my best. Most likely there is a litte bit of each, for I am not perfect.

The biggest reason though is that I am conditioned to care what others think. I care what others think about me more than I care about who I am and how I feel about myself! This is not a positive way to be. If am doing my best and being true to who I am, then that is enough. I must remember to affirm who I am regularly. I must remember to concentrate on being the best that I can be. If others disagree with me, it is OK to agree to disagree. If others judge me harshly or bring negativity into my life, it is OK to limit the time that I spend with them.

I am walking forward with positivity filled with self-knowledge and strength.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 18: Keep Moving with Play

I could write about how busy I was today or all the challenges I faced or how dialogue worked to keep me positive through the tough times, but instead I want to focus once again on the importance of movement, and how to incorporate movement positively in your life!

I moved a lot today! I played at the playground, I walked through beautiful outdoor places exploring as I went along, and when I was shopping, walked extra just enjoying looking at new pretty things. I am now exhausted, but it is that wonderful exhaustion from having a fun, movement filled day. Days spent sitting at the computer never leave me feeling this wonderful.

If you are having trouble staying positive, incorporate more playful movement into your life, and it will benefit both your mood and your waistline!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 17: Along the Road to Freedom

I mentioned yesterday in my progress report that I have been having some problems with my physical health lately. I have also been having some problems with my mental health. The physical and mental problems tend to get all mixed up together to the point where I don't know where one starts and the other begins. Sometimes I think that the physical problems cause the mental problems. If I am always in pain, then it makes sense that I will have problems with anxiety and depression. On the other hand, if I am anxious or depressed, it is only going to exacerberate any physical health issues that I have.

Despite these issues, I have been doing better overall than I have in a long time. What has been getting me through it? Positivity! Having a commitment to turn my thoughts around keeps me on the right path even when it isn't easy. I don't flounder in a place of uncertainty. I move along my chosen path even if I am not feeling quite as well as I would like.

This evening, I was talking to my partner about my needs right now, at this time in my life. I need to think, I need to learn, I need to spend quiet time by myself and with her, I need to walk outside, and I need to not have scheduled activities to cause anxiety or to distract me from what feels right and important. I need time and space to heal.

It would be easy to feel guilty about this need. It would be easy to feel angry that I am hurt like this. It would be easy to be sad about the lack of place in my life for all the time and space that I crave. I am choosing not to feel any of those things though because those feelings are not necessary. I am choosing to feel positivity that if I seek I shall find. Moving forward with positivity I will take what comes my way knowing that in the end all shall be OK.

My ultimate goal is freedom - freedom to be me but first freedom to remember me! I am positive that I am moving down the road to that place each and everyday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 16: Progress Report

I am more than halfway through the month, and it is time to report on my progress in cultivating the habit of positivity.

I am definitely doing better than I was! At the beginning of the month, everyday I would have a lapse, a time of wallowing in negativity even if brief, or a time when although not wallowing, I couldn't seem to turn my thoughts around. Those were learning experiences though!

I have learned how to use internal dialogue to work through negative feelings without letting negative thoughts take over. I have learned to make positivity a priority at all times! This is still not a habit. It is something I have to consciously work through at least once everyday, but I can see that it is happening! The habit is forming, and I am optimistic that it will get easier and easier until it is second nature to me!

My partner Diana has told me that she can see the changes happening in me. I am surprised because it seems to me that most of the changes are internal. I am glad that they are already showing to the outside world. This has in some ways been a difficult month. I have been challenged many times! On top of that my physical health hasn't been the best. I am so proud of myself for sticking with this. Just choosing a few times a day to take a few moments to turn my thoughts around is all that was needed to help me have a more joyful life!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 15: Never Forget that You Always Have a Choice

I will be honest. There are going to be times in your life when all of the choices seem yucky to you. Even at those times, it is useful to remember that we have a choice. If you don't feel like going to work, don't tell yourself that you are going to work because you "have to". You don't have to! You could stay home. Even if staying home means no pay or possibly losing your job, you still have that choice to stay home or go. Most likely you will choose go, but it is still a choice. You are not powerless.

Let's also remember that there are usually more than two choices. It is important to think outside of the box to see all of the choices available to you. Perhaps you will go to work today but will put in your two weeks notice so that you soon won't be going to that job you hate. That is another choice. Perhaps you will go to work but will make a commitment to yourself to set aside an hour a night to work on a home business or to take a course or to look for a more fulfilling job. Those are also choices. Perhaps you will go to work but while at work will make an appointment with your boss to discuss doing some of your work from home or cutting back your hours or maybe switching to a four day, ten hour a day work week. Those also are choices. Another choice might be to call in and go to work an hour late or get out an hour early or take a personal day just for today. Those are excellent choices if you just think you need a breather.

The point is that everything that you do is a choice. You have a lot of power. Remembering this can really help you stay positive. Powerlessness makes people angry or depressed. Having the power to make choices and change things you don't like can't help but make you feel more positive as you go about your days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 14: Dealing with Guilt

I have a huge problem with guilt. I have a near photographic memory, and it seems that I remember as if it had happened yesterday, every single thing that I have ever done wrong in my life. I do remember the good things too, but I don't want there to have been any bad things. Learning to deal with guilt is a huge part of staying positive for me.

What have I found that works? Just remembering a simple fact! You can't get back the past. You can't get back one single moment of it no matter how much you might want to! I can mourn things that I wish had been done or turned out differently, but I can't go back and change it. I need to stay focused on the now.

So today and every day, I am determined to move forward with positivity, passion, and play, that I might have fewer regrets in the future and a wonderful now!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 13: Menu Plan Monday

I have decided to participate in Menu Plan Monday to both promote menu planning (which I definitely think helps budgets, waistlines, & calm dinner hours) and to share a bit of what my family eats. Here are our menus for this week:

Monday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Homemade Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Bean & Cheese Burritos, Corn

Wednesday: Baked Chicken Legs, Mashed Potatoes, Peas

Thursday: Tuna Macaroni Salad, Cornbread

Friday: Italian Penne Bake, Green Beans

Saturday: Mexican Rice Bake

Sunday: Chicken Rigatoni Soup, Tuna Sandwiches

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 12: Staying Out of Others Misery

"Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people
miserable, too. But it never helps." Lemony Snicket, Horseradish ~ Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

I live with five other people. Everyday at some point or other, I have to deal with someone who is caught in a moment (or more) of negativity. Everyday, I practice staying out of it. I am learning to offer love, support, and comfort without dropping into a pit of negativity myself. It isn't easy. I am glad that I still have a few more weeks to cultivate this habit of choosing positivity.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 11: Positivity Doesn't Mean Limiting Your Emotions

Another criticism of choosing positivity that I often hear is that it is wrong to suppress your negative emotions. Thinking that a habit of positivity means never being sad or angry or afraid is not the reality of the situation. Sometimes you are going to be sad. Things are going to happen that make you angry. You may find yourself in a situation where you are afraid. The point is not to not be sad, angry, or fearful. The point is to choose to face these situations with a positive attitude and to continue to seek joyful moments and peace.

I will share an example from my own life. One of our cats is missing. We have had her for three years and not only do I love her, but she was the first pet that Diana and I acquired together and is therefore extra important to me. I am very sad that she isn't here. I have looked for her in our woods and had the kids help me look under the trailer and throughout the neighborhood. I do not know for sure that she isn't coming back at this point, and so I can't even really mourn her being gone.

So I am sad. I could feel guilty that I should have not let her go outside or should have watched her every second. That would be negative. I took care of her the best that I could. We all did. Even if I had made mistakes, it would do no good to dwell on them because you can't change anything in the past.

What do I do? I think positive thoughts about her. I imagine her coming home tomorrow after a few adventures or being safe in another home. If she has died, I imagine that it was quick and painless and that she has moved on. I don't dwell on the uncertainity of it because once again, I have done all I can do at the moment. That is choosing positivity. I am still sad. I still wish that our little Tenkitty was home, but on the other hand, I am going to still live my life joyfully because weeping all day or drowning in guilt will not help Ten or myself or anyone of my friends and family!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 10: Positivity = Freedom

One criticism to positivity that I hear fairly often is that people have the right to be negative. Critics loudly (and grumpily) proclaim that they are adults, and they are allowed to be negative so they will be negative! This is so silly. The one they are likely to hurt the most with their negativity is themselves. Negativity pulls you down and takes your freedoms away. If you are wallowing in negativity, it is far less likely that you will be able to reach your goals. The truth is life is full of setbacks. Journeys rarely go one hundred percent smoothly. A key to getting through the problems to the other side is resiliency. Being resilient involves seeing the positive and not letting the negative get you down!

One thing I have noticed is that when people are negative they tend to put a lot of blame on things that they can't change. They look for reasons for the negative and when they find an explanation they hold onto it tight! This is not a good thing. To fully embrace our freedom, we need to be able to see outside of the box to find ways that we can change those things that bring us down. Believing that one is a slave to circumstance is only going to stifle your freedom in the long run.

Yes, you have the freedom to be negative. I have the freedom to do my best to avoid your negativity. I am choosing positivity to give me the full freedom to achieve my goals and live my life with joy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 9: What's Right?

I discovered a new blog today that I really like. It is Illuminated Mind. There was a post in the blog about recognizing what is right in your life. I think I am good at this, but when I succumb to negativeness, it seems that the real trigger is usually forgetting the good.

So in reminder to myself, here is the good:

Diana, a woman who I love very much and who is a soul mate to me, is my partner in life, here everyday showing her love in a million ways.

I live in a very beautiful place and get to enjoy its solitary beauty each and every day.

I have five wonderful children. The oldest is my very best friend, and the rest are here every day living life with me. They are all so helpful and even more importantly joyful!

We have a car that runs and plenty of food, and even when finances are tough, we have options.

I am relatively healthy with full use of my five senses and all of my limbs.

I am pretty and intelligent.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 8: Weight Loss Tip Wednesday

Positivity is coming along great! I had a big challenge this evening, and I did great! My thought patterns are already changing.

I thought I'd get in the habit of adding a healthy living/weight loss tip each Wednesday. On my old blog, I use to do a weight loss tip each day. That is really a challenge so I'll try once a week here.

Many of you may be experiencing autumn weather with its cooler temperatures. This is a soup time of year! Having a bowl of light soup (as opposed to a rich cream soup) before you eat a meal will help you eat less. It will warm you up too! Consider having soup more often as the temperatures drop.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 7: Only One Goal

My only goal for this month is to develop the habit of positivity. Lots of good things are coming from this goal. I find myself doing more each day. I find myself developing morning and evening routines. I find myself enjoying my family more. The laundry is almost caught up!

The thing that I have to remember though is that even though those things are happening. They don't have to happen, at least not right now. My only commitment to myself at the moment is to keep the positive attitude flowing each and every day especially when I am stressed.

If I start to feel like all those other things that are happening are required too, it is likely that I will get overwhelmed and drop everything.

Today was a difficult day. I remained positive, but there was a lot of stress! I am reminding myself that the positivity is what matters most now! If it leads to other good things so be it. If it takes all of my concentration and energy so be it. Keeping it up day after day is what will turn it to habit, and when it is habit, it won't be so much work anymore!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 6: The Importance of Remaining Honest

Today was a day of struggles. Everything that wasn't perfect seemed to set off a bit of negativity in me. I recognized it, and my conscious mind rebelled actively against positivity! The only way to stop this is to be 100% honest with myself!

I didn't want to write tonight. I thought about skipping it. I never thought of giving up though. I know the solution to my struggles is remaining honest, especially with myself!

It is hard to give up a coping mechanism, even if it is not good for me!

I am going to give myself some mantras to help me throught tough times:

This will pass.

Walking forward with positivity.

Find fun.

Succumb to passion and play.

Choose joy!

I hope these simple phrases will be positive things that I can repeat in my head to reinforce positivity when negativity is my first reaction.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 5: Self Esteem Issues

Positivity is going well today. I have had some challenges, but they were not big challenges, and I did well.

This evening, I was thinking about goals and success, and I had a revelation. I feel like I have never really succeeded at anything difficult that I have set out to do. I know that I have had short term successes, and I know that lots of others would say that I have been very successful at many things. The point is that I don't feel that way. I am wondering if my feelings accurately reflect reality.

Perhaps I undervalue things just because I am successful in them. This could be a self esteem issue. If I succeeded, then it must not have been that hard. Perhaps I expect too much of myself. I know that I can hold myself to perfectionistic ideals.

This is all interesting for me to think about. You see a lot of my negative thoughts take the form of: "So many bad things have happened in my life because I am not good enough, don't work hard enough, am in some way flawed, etc." Being honest with myself, yes a lot of things that I didn't like happened in my life, but I know that that is the way it seems to lots of people.

In one extreme, I can take the view that I am 100% in control of my life, and that everything that has happened to me that I didn't like was because of choices I made, mistakes. In the other extreme, I can say that I have no control over what happens. I was born who I am with my particular set of traits and whatever happens is fate either determined by a Creator figure or my genes; it doesn't really matter in the end with a deterministic point of view. A world with no real choices is worse that a world were every bad thing is a sum of my mistakes in my opinion.

Where is the truth? I like to think somewhere in between. I am who I am, but I can learn and make choices also. The positive way to look at it is that I do my best, and if bad things still result, then find the joy as best as I can in the moment and move forward.

I want to keep pondering this topic. The habit of positivity is my goal for this month. I will be making more goals for upcoming months. Perhaps I can manage to succeed at something big. We shall see!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 4: The Importance of Movement

Positivity has really been flowing out of me. My moods are up and down this time of month, but I have handled the downs with philosophical positivity today and even when a major physical pain struck, I did not let it bring me down.

Everyone knows that exercise is an important part of a weight loss program as well as being good for our health. Exercise also can be a big help in sustaining a positive attitude. Moving regularly keeps our metabolism up, and vigorous exercise can even cause the release of mood boosting endorphins.

It is common to hear people complaining that they don't have time for exercise. The truth is that exercise doesn't need to take a lot of our time. Just a little bit of extra movement can have positive affects on your mood. Try taking a ten minute walk at lunch time or after dinner. Walk or bike for quick errands. Play outside with your kids! I love playgrounds.

It has been rainy off and on here (mostly on) for the past week. It has been hard to squeeze in walks during the dry periods, but I have been trying. Today I didn't manage so when my computer started working extremely slow, I decided to exercise while things were loading. Stretching and dancing just for a few minutes at a time over the course of an hour really made me feel great! It is easy to get bogged down on the computer forgetting our need to move.

To get the most benefits from moving for your mood, make sure that you relax into the moment. Concentrate on your breathing, on how your body feels, on the sights and sounds around you. Don't strew your mind with worries. Be in the moment, filling your body, mind, and spirit with the positivity of "now."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 3: Learning to Slow Down

Today has been a very good day both in the positivity department and just in general. I have had to squash negative thinking a few times, but I am getting better at it and rebelling less. One thing that I really have problems with is slowing down. If I don't slow down, I don't have time to both squash the negativity and reshape it into something positive. Just squashing it isn't enough. I need something to replace it with, or I am just left in an anxious mindless state ready to break down or accept the first thing flung my way no matter how ridiculous it might be!

There is no reason not to slow down. When I am in the midst of an unwanted torrent of negative thoughts, I nearly always have a few minutes to spend on the thought processes necessary to make it better. (This may not be true for others who work outside the home or have a more rigid schedule, but nearly everyone can take a moment, and if longer is needed, you can usually find a way to secure it.)

I think when I realize it is a tough time, I am going to concentrate on breathing. Just concentrating on breathing is a good way to slow down, giving myself the time I need to return to positivity.

Slowing down can be a positive thing in many areas of our lives. I often feel like I don't have enough fun, that everything is just rushing by so fast that I can't truly experience anything. By concentrating on my breathing and slowing down, I hope to dispel that illusion and give myself the space I need to enjoy more of the moments of my life!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 2: Precise Speech

Today was somewhat better than yesterday. The worst part of today was having random panic attacks. These attacks weren't triggered by anything in particular, and sometimes they hit when I was doing something that should have been relaxing!

All day, I have been puzzled about these episodes. Just right now (when I was about to write an entry on precise speech not my panic attacks) I thought of a possible explanation. I think the panic attacks are sort of a rebellion against giving up negativity. You see, adding positivity is great, but a part of me knows that negativity has been a coping technique that I have been using with increasing frequency in the last few years. It is hard to let go of a coping technique, even one that isn't very effective or a good thing in my life.

That is a good segue into precise speech! I have always been a fan of precise speech. I attempt to use words carefully to make myself as clear as possible when communicating with others. I found today that using precise speech when talking to myself can help me to squash negativity and turn it around to positivity. This can be a very honest coping technique in difficult situations. When we use precise speech to tell the absolute truth to ourselves, we find that things don't tend to be as bad as mindless self-chatter and random mood strikes make them out to be!

As I work through this month, forming the habit of positivity, I will keep focusing on using only precise speech and honest communication not only with others but with myself too!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 1: Fine Tuning My Support

Today is day one of my month of developing the habit of positivity. I was awake after midnight last night and was very excited when I realized it was the first of the month. I wasn't feeling my best, but my mood definitely brightened thinking about the benefits of positivity.

This morning, I awoke and was raring to go! I knew there might be struggle, but I was up for any challenges that might come my way! Well, those challenges didn't wait too long before arriving. I had an altercation with my significant other this morning. Neither of us was feeling our best, and we have been experiencing a ton of stress due to financial difficulties. This morning, that, coupled with miscommunication, led to some areas of contention between us. I knew that I didn't want to go into negative thinking mode, but the whispers of negativity were pushing up in the back of my mind. I pushed myself hard to listen to them so that I could turn the situation around. I was being very methodical, going slowly through the process. It was not easy. I was in the midst of the most difficult type of situation for me to maintain positivity during. I did not want to fail! My partner was trying very hard to do the right thing too. She knew today was my first day, and she pointed out that I should not be being negative thinking that it would help me to get back on track. She pointed it out more than once.

That was exactly not the type of support that I needed. It made me feel bad inside. Here it was only the first day, and I was failing! What I needed was quiet listening ears while I worked through my problems. We hadn't talked about this before so the situation escalated.

Later though, I had a chance to talk with her and discuss the type of support that helps me most: quiet listening while I recognize, verbalize, and then turn around the negative thinking. She knows me well and could immediately see what I meant. I realize that there will be other people whom I will have to deal with who will not support me. When I am with her who loves me the most though, it is nice to know that I will have someone who can support me to the fullest in exactly the way that I need most when I am struggling.