The 15th of December!

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This is the day that I had originally planned to have all my Christmas shopping done.  I have to hang my head in shame.  It’s not completely finished yet.   However, I am close, and I’ve got what’s been bought so far wrapped.  So, it’s not a complete disaster, yet.  How are you doing with your preparation?

This time of year can be so stressful, please take some time out and just enjoy your life.  Think about what you are grateful for, and what the season is really about.  Love.  Not what you can buy for someone, just the very fact that you love them.  Let’s try to cut the materialism out, and just celebrate each other.  My gifts are not going to be expensive this year.  I’m giving what’s practical and needed instead.  My house is full of “stuff”, and we don’t need any more.

What’s your plan for the holidays?  Have you gotten most of it done yet, or are you like me, dragging your feet and feeling overwhelmed?  Let me know how you cope with the “stress of the season” in the comments below.

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Take a Breath

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We all know that today marks the beginning of the Christmas Season.  So, along with all the excitement there is way too much worry and stress.  The stress of whether or not people will like what you’ve bought, how the decorations will look, when will the cookies be done, etc. etc.  Not to mention how much in the hole of debt you may or may not want to go.  So, what to do?  Just take a breath.  Decide what is really important about this time of year.  Stop buying things you and others don’t need.  The whole season should be about love, and not more “stuff”.  Calm down and relax.  Try to not get caught up in things that in reality are simply not important.

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What is brain dump, and is it for You?

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I recently read about this method of de-cluttering your mind, called a brain dump.  It encourages you to write down any excess information you’ve been cluttering your mind with in order to leave your brain with more open space to fill with new information.  What is being suggested is that at the end of every day you spend ten minutes writing down all the “stuff” that is unnecessary, or extraneous information so that it’s not floating around in your brain.  If you can’t think of anything to write, just write “I can’t think of anything to write” until the dam opens and you can release the excessive build-up.

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I actually think this is like writing down your problems, extraneous thoughts or emotions in your journal.  Once you get things out, you can either stop worrying about them, or come up with solutions to problems.  Or you can just get it out, and stop thinking about it. There are times when we spend way too much time thinking about something that is not really important, but because we’re thinking about that we aren’t as productive as we should be.

That’s what a “brain dump” is.  It’s a way to empty out the unnecessary, useless crap from our minds so that we can focus on the things that are important.  Personally, I just call this journaling, since that seems to do the trick for me.  However, a brain dump can be used to write down important information that you might need later (and perhaps for public use), while a journal is usually private.

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However you want to accomplish this, you can decide.  Maybe both ways are good for you.  I do have a notebook where I will write things I might want to use later, and a separate journal for private things.  I do find that once I’ve written “stuff “down, I feel much more grounded in the now.  Let me know if you do some kind version of this in your life, and if it helps you.

http://www.lifehack.org/620550/how-to-declutter-your-brain-and-get-organized?ref=mail&mtype=newsletter_tier_2&mid=20170811&uid=188713&hash=6f7e757f413f454145424c6d7b783a6f7b79&utm_source=newsletter_tier_2&utm_medium=email&action=click

 

Camp NaNoWriMo

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This month, I’m going to be attempting the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo.  I’m trying, once again, to finish my short chapter book for a little boy I know.  It feels like I’ve been working on this forever (mostly because I have).  But, I really want to get this done and move onto other projects.

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Writing can often be the most difficult thing to do.  There are so many things that sound great in my head, but once I get them down on paper I find that they’re not that great at all.  Also, it’s so easy to be distracted.  Ever since I stopped going to the library to write, my progress has slowed down to – no progress.  I’d like to go back to the library; however, I don’t feel that I should leave my elderly dog on her own.  There would be no one here if she needs help, and of course I just can’t do that to her.  I just have to learn how to not get distracted by things.

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Is anyone else attempting Camp NaNoWriMo?  Let me know how it’s going for you.  Maybe we can  commiserate – or more hopefully, celebrate together.

Stress, What is it Good For?

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We’ve all been told that stress is extremely bad for us, especially long-term stress.  The high blood pressure, the rapid breathing, the clammy hands, the shot of adrenaline that can leave us shaking in its wake.  All these things are really really bad for us, or so we’ve been told.  I recently watched Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk, and she made me rethink what I thought I knew about stress.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en#t-123462

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In the studies that McGonigal talks about, subjects were simply informed that stress was actually good for them.  That’s all.  They believed that contrary to what they thought they knew, stress was good for them.  The blood pumping through their veins was so they could think better; the adrenaline was getting them ready to respond to what was going on around them.  Once these subjects really believed this, their bodies reactions to stress changed.  So, if we believe that stress is bad for us, we can die from it.  If we believe that it’s not bad for our health, we don’t die from it.  Our beliefs can change our bodies reactions, making me think of the Buddhist teaching that we are what we think. Our body is a system, so if we can change our thinking about stress, we can change our reactions to it.  This actually gives me a great deal of hope.  I really can control my reactions, and so can you.  Make sure you watch the video, since McGonigal has fantastic things to say, and then work on changing your thinking.  You may just save your own life.

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What the Heck is Mindfulness?

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I keep hearing about mindfulness.  It seems to be all over the place, most especially in regard to the workplace.  According to the definitions I’ve found, mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment by moment basis.  As far as employers are concerned, mindfulness is focusing all your thoughts on the task at hand.  Sounds good, but how easy is it to simply focus on what’s in front of you?  My mind jumps around flitting from one thing to the next like a jackrabbit.

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The reason I practice Yoga is that for that half-hour to an hour during my day, I turn my focus to my breath.  If I force myself to think only “breathe in breathe out”, I can empty my mind of all other thoughts and relax my body.   The only other time I can do that is when I say my affirmations to myself while lying in bed waiting for the sleep fairy to knock me out.

I understand the concept of mindfulness, and when I try it while working, the longest I can manage it is in half-hour increments.  Although, I must admit, those are the most productive half-hours I have during the day.  But the effort to reel in my busy little mind that is usually running off in a hundred different directions can be exhausting.

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Does anyone else try this?  And, if you do, how is it going?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Tears and Yoga

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Okay, I can be funny here and say that Yoga does indeed make me cry.  When I realize that my lack of flexibility has gotten worse, since I stopped doing Yoga, I can cry with anger.  However, I’m talking about that crying that you do when you do a pose.  Something that opens up your flexibility and just suddenly you find yourself with tears running down your face.  That kind of crying.  I was wondering if that was a thing, since it’s happened to me twice this week, so I looked it up and discovered that I really am not insane.  It happens to other people too.  For some reason the hip-opening positions seem to start the tears for some people.

From what I’ve discovered, people tend to store emotions that they haven’t dealt with in their bodies.  Just think of how tense we become in stressful situations, and then we don’t totally relax after the situation has ended.  Later, when we stretch, those muscles relax and the tension is released, sometimes in the form of tears.  Hip openers seem to hit the tear trigger for me.  This is the area of my body where I’m the least flexible, so I assume that my tension resides here as well as my neck and shoulders.  However, it’s really easy to relax your neck and shoulders, since all you need to do is flex them, but the hips are more difficult.

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While I’ve been doing the Sun Salutation for a while now, I realized that wasn’t enough, since I do tend to have flexibility problems. I was able to find my favorite yoga tape on YouTube recently and hence my tears.   I’m so glad that I’ve added to my Yoga routine, and that I’m not insane.  If you don’t do Yoga, you should try it since the benefits just keep adding up.  If you do cry while doing certain poses, just know that you’re not alone.

http://ask.metafilter.com/144861/Why-do-I-get-emotional-during-one-particular-yoga-pose

https://blog.yogaglo.com/2012/10/why-are-students-overcome-with-emotions-after-yoga-class/

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