Anchor Your Day ~ a mental health blog by Counselwise ~

From Young to Old

A quote by Kristen Butler caught my eye:

“Sometimes you just need to talk to a four year old and an 84 year old

to understand life again.” 

There is no doubt about it, we get caught up in life. Deadlines at work, kid’s busy schedules, our volunteer duties; not to forget squeezing in some fun and self-care once in awhile. Although we may aim to remain grounded, and do so through thoughtful intent, there is nothing like the experiences we share with the little ones in our life as well as our elders. With the four year old, we are going to get the wide-eyed wonder of the way they view the world, and we are kept young ourselves by embracing their innocence. With the eighty-four year old, we are given wisdom beyond our years, drawing from their own experiences and how they navigated through their own time in history.

In either case, the perspective we gain is the same; an inherent feeling that our time on this earth is relative. It is a calling to place priority in our relationships, in building connection to our values and goals, all the while creating experiences for ourselves that bring into being both wonder and wisdom. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

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The Final Word (for now) About Anger

Following up on our last two posts is an article entitled “The Wisdom of Anger” by Melvin McLeod and featured on Lion’s Roar. In it, McLeod talks about the energy of anger: “What defines aggression is ego. Aggression is the energy of anger in the service of all we define as “self,” ready to attack anyone and anything we deem a threat. But when anger is released from its service to ego, it ceases to be aggression and simply becomes energy. The pure energy of anger has wisdom and power.”

Drawing from Buddhist wisdom, McLeod also points out that:

  • Anger is the power to say no.
  • When not driven by ego, anger brings good to the world.
  • The practice of mindfulness can help us to take advantage of the brief gap in the mind between impulse and action.

And as to the wisdom of anger, he states, “We all experience the wisdom of anger when we see how society mistreats people. When we have an honest insight into our own neuroses and vow to change. When we are inspired to say no to injustice and fight for something better. This wisdom is a source of strength, fearlessness, and solidarity. It can drive positive change.” 

The wisdom of anger; what a wonderful way to begin looking at the feeling that is at the ready, to be a useful, guiding and healthy emotion.

An article well worth reading: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-wisdom-of-anger/

Photo credit: http://Photo by Jarl Schmidt on Unsplash

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Lessons from Ziggy

When I was a kid, my favourite cartoon character was Tom Wilson’s Ziggy. An insecure little guy, his experience was often of the “Murphy’s Law” variety; if something unlucky was going to happen to anyone, it was going to be to Ziggy. What I loved most about him was his bright side; he always had a way of looking at the world that fostered and built resilience. His loving nature and the way he nurtured both plants and animals taught readers about the simplicity of life and how you can create kindness and tenderness in a sometimes difficult world. Ziggy taught me that character matters. In Ziggy’s words:

  • The present is what slips by us while we’re pondering the past and worrying about the future.
  • That’s what I like about sunsets..they’re not for sale but you get as many free samples as you like!
  • If life knocks you flat on your back, just tell yourself “Things are looking up!”
  • I’d rather be a loser with an optimistic attitude than a winner who’s a pessimist.
  • If your ship still hasn’t come in, take a lesson from Noah and build it yourself. 

And lastly, quintessential Ziggy advice: “Even the little guy can cast a big shadow once he’s found his place in the sun.”

Photo credit: Me 🙂

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Marianne Williamson Quote; An All-Time Favourite

I am a quote person; I love jotting down little bits of wisdom from books or movies. My  favourite quote of all time (so far!) is one that I first heard on the movie “Akeelah and the Bee;” a scene in which Dr. Larabee (Lawrence Fishburn) is helping to coach a young girl (Keke Palmer) for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Although it was edited for the movie, I will quote it in its entirety:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

This quote for me encapsulates the very concept of movement and growth. It is about self-reflection; an inherent need to understand who we are and to allow our true nature to shine, regardless of the lessons we may have been taught about ourselves as a child.  It is a quote about giving ourselves permission to find our way; allowing humility and love for ourselves to create an avenue of growth for others.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

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Depression Fact #5

Alcohol and marijuana are depressants. As much as we want to lean into the argument that having a glass of wine relaxes us or that marijuana has beneficial effects, it can’t take away the fact that both alcohol and marijuana depress the brain. Seems pretty counter intuitive when dealing with depression doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, self-medicating is not going to get you well; you are much better served to talk to your doctor about medication therapy, seek counselling, and get outside into nature on a daily basis.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

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Anxiety Fact #6

Anxiety can become a problem. This is when people usually seek therapy as their anxiety has reached a disruptive place in their life. If your body is reacting in alarm when there is in fact no danger, it creates a distressful cycle as we try to manage our worries and fears physiologically. Our body produces symptoms based on our fearful thoughts, but without any real danger, our body then has no signals that “Everything is okay. We got this.”

If anxiety reaches a level that has become disruptive, it really is okay to ask ourselves, “Does it have to be this way?” Reducing stress levels as well as actively reducing worry can help.

“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” – W. Clement Stone

Photo credit:http://Photo by Alex Perez on Unsplash

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The Memory of Smell

Walking into a bakery instantly brings me back to my childhood and the memory of visiting Pilon’s bakery in Vankleek Hill. The smell of the ocean reminds me of Long Sands Beach in York, Maine; my mother instructing us to roll down our windows so as to smell “that fresh, ocean air.” Stick my nose in a hard cover book and I am roaming between the shelves of our small town library. The smell of coffee in the morning I associate with the start of a new day.

Unfortunately, for anyone who has suffered trauma, smells can also produce an instant and visceral reaction that can trigger their fear response; bringing them back instantly by way of flashback to the experience. It is important when this happens to take some deep breaths; reminding yourself that it is a flashback, that you are safe, and that you are in control of your surroundings.

Though often underestimated by way of our senses, smell plays an important role in our psychological system; instantly warning us of potential danger or bringing us back to a memory that nurtures our comfort system. Smell is our only sense with links directly to the parts of our brain that are responsible for emotion and memory; explaining how a smell can trigger an instant reaction.

As you have read this post, you most likely thought of your own favourite smells associated with memories. Please feel free to share in the comments section 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Miti on Unsplash

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On the Eve of a New Year

Typically sung when the clock strikes midnight, the traditional Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne,” literally means “old long since,” or in layman’s terms, “days gone by.” There is a particular line in the song that I especially resonate with:

“For auld lang syne my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindess yet, for auld lang syne.”

It is at this time of year that we often reflect upon the year past. It may have held memorable moments, ones that brought joy as well as ones that brought sadness. We may have achieved some important goals in our life, or struggled in feeling lost.  We may have felt fulfilled in our relationships, or contended at times with loneliness. Regardless of the type of year we had, the thought that we can take a cup of kindness for the year gone past is a gracious act. It is saying thank you; for both the gifts and the lessons that this year has brought; encompassing gratitude for the experience.

It is also at this time of year that we often put to mind resolutions for the year to come; it is a time to begin again. Perhaps in our reflection of what we wish to improve in the new year, we can take a second cup of kindness; this one as a reminder to be gentle to ourselves. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Sarthak Navjivan on Unsplash

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The Gift of Thoughtful Intention

To all of those celebrating Christmas today, I wish you the merriest of days. I wish you joy and laughter, the warmth of gathering and the comfort of sitting around a table in festivity. And if Christmas is a hard day for you, I wish you strength and courage. What I hope for you most of all is the gift of thoughtful intention; not only for today but for every day.

I hope that you can be both thoughtful in your intentions to others and receive that in return.  When we hold someone in our thoughts, we are considering them; we are protecting them with benevolent energy. When we make an intention towards someone, we have moved to action. That might be in the form of a prayer, a gift, an act of love, an emotional bid, a genuine hug or a warm smile.

Thoughtful intentions are both validating and liberating; they create peace and build grace. Sounds like a lovely way to spend the day 🙂

Photo credit:   http://Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

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Podcast with Katie Couric on Grief

While Alan Alda was on vacation, he featured a guest podcast with Katie Couric entitled “Katie Couric and Sheryl Sandberg Take Over the Pod.” Accompanying Katie and Sheryl was Adam Grant who co-authored a book with Sheryl about facing adversity and building resilience in the face of raw grief (after the sudden death of her husband).

Some of the key points that I reflected on from the podcast:

  • Acknowledge people’s pain; and not just once. Sheryl noted that she often found grief to be an elephant in the room and was always appreciative not only when people passed on their condolences, but in the following weeks, asked her how she and the kids were doing.
  • Grief is a demanding companion. What a descriptive way of explaining grief; a companion by your side, always pulling at you for attention.
  • Lean in to your feelings versus resisting them. Sheryl stated that it really is okay to experience your feelings so as to process them instead of pushing them down.
  • Give yourself permission to find and experience humour in the midst of death. Not only is laughter filled with healing qualities, being able to find humour amidst sadness reminds us of the blending of human emotion.
  • Find meaning. It helps us to move towards acceptance.
  • The human spirit has the capacity to persevere. Grieving is a way to honour our loved one; it is also an avenue for growth.

To listen to the full podcast: http://www.aldacommunicationtraining.com/podcast/katie-couric-sheryl-sandberg-take-pod/

To visit Sheryl’s website and get details about her book: https://optionb.org/

Photo credit: http://Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

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