Blog #600 Improving your relationship

8 Ways to Improve Your Relationship

https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/relationships/ways-to-improve-your-relationship

Let’s continue our thoughts about love, communication and relationships.

We’ve talked about communications and active listening; we’ve talked of trying to understand your spouse first (before trying to get them to understand you); we’ve talked of common ground.  This article has some additional ideas we can put into play.

-1 Be understanding AND compassionate.  

You have just come home from a long day at work.  You are tired and just want to put your feet up. But your spouse has a problem and wants to talk. Give your spouse your full attention.  Face him or her and listen actively – and with deep compassion. In your brain put the thoughts that this is YOUR BELOVED – this is the number one priority in your life.  Jobs, TV, emails, books, will come and go – but put this first.

-2 Set aside time for intimacy – at least once a week.

For this point, I will use the statement in the article “Couples who do the deed at least once a week report the greatest relationship satisfaction, according to a recent study. The catch? Don’t force it. Even though couples who have sex less than once a week report being less satisfied with their relationship, the findings don’t clarify whether having more sex makes partners happier or if happier couples simply tend to have more sex.”  Make each other happy. Words and listening are one sense (hearing); but being physical with touch, smell, vision and even taste can excite and bond couples together more than just listening.

-3 Set up a formal time to reflect.

I have a men’s group that meets once a week.  The first part of that meeting is to “check-in” – what is happening in your life (and in their life). This can work well with couples too.  Schedule this formal meeting when you bring up all that is going on in your life – work, children, appointments, health concerns, finances, spirituality, fitness, and social. Things that you thought your spouse knew and you thought you had communicated – may have been when he or she was brushing his/her teeth and went in one-ear and out the other.  Take notes if you need to. Make it a formal time (almost like ‘Date Night’ and/or ‘Intimacy Night’.

-4 Step away from technology.  

You NEED to wake up and listen!  Stand up – stretch, shake your arms and legs – get into the moment.  Turn off the TV, turn off the phone, put down the newspaper or book. If you are playing a game on your phone when he or she comes into the room, put it down.  The relative value of a game on the phone as compared to time with your spouse is so small. Who cares if you lose a game, you are building a better relationship with your special person.

-5 Send a spicy text.

Again, I’ll quote the article “A racy text message every once in a while may be good for couples. Those in casual or committed relationships reported that sexting increased levels of sexual satisfaction, according to research,”  (As a male, if my wife sent me a text a sexy text, I couldn’t wait to get home!!!  And, for my wife, if I am sending her a racy text, she know that I love her with all my senses – touch, sight, hearing, tast, and smell.  And that I do love her).

-6 Plan a date night.

The article says “Husbands and wives were 3.5 and 3.6 times more likely, respectively, to report being “very happy” in their marriage when they spent “couple time,” like date night”.

-7 Say “THANK YOU” often.

And even (or maybe especially) for the mundane things – like taking out the garbage, paying the bills, doing the dishes, etc.

-8 Buy into Romantic Notions.

And, what is wrong with flowers occasionally?  How about candy (his or her favorite kind)? I’ve heard of the wife who on occasion greeted her husband at the door dressed only in plastic wrap (which he got to take off).  Put up balloons. Put post-it notes on his (or her) bathroom mirror saying “I love you” (and other statements).

What do you think?  Time to spice up your relationship?

Bruce

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Blog #599 Handling conflict in marriage

Communications in Marriage – part II

Yesterday we looked at communication tips for couples.  Today we finish by looking at strategies to end arguments.  

-1 Validate and Apologize: The article states: “Let your partner know that you understand their point of view by validating them.  It may sound obvious, but don’t forget to take responsibility for what you’ve done and apologize if necessary.”

You need to keep calm (see yesterday’s blog).  Support your partner by indicating that they have validated their point of view.  Apologies are always appropriate (even if you are not wrong). Apologize for not understanding their point of view, apologize for arguing.

-2 Another way to end an argument is to change the topic of conversation.  Do this in a gentle and sensitive way. Arguments that seem to be stuck in the same loop, with repetition in the arguments may be put on hold with a change of topic.  You should agree that at that point in time, there is an impasse and suggest that you can return to the discussion/argument at a later time (that is, give both parties time off to think (and pray) about what is going on).  

-3 Use Humor.  When arguments are getting heated, it might be good to have some levity/humor to defuse the negativity.  

-4 Yield to one another.  Unless this is the “ULTIMATE” argument, then there might be times to yield.  Is this argument so significant to divide the couple in a divorce? If not, yield “I am sorry.  I understand that we aren’t going to solve this today. Let’s agree to disagree currently.

-5 Make physical contact. Put arms or touch the other’s shoulder.  Note this can backfire, so be sure your spouse is open to this move.  Touch can relieve tension

-6 Take a break from the argument/discussion.  The author suggests this is like rebooting a computer – bring a fresh view to the discussion.  If one or both of the couple are tired and cranky, this might be a good solution.

-7 Find common agreement.  If, say, you are discussing some discipline for a child, you might need to agree that the action of the child was significant and you can agree on that common ground – and then maybe you can work together on a punishment.

-8 Set a timer.  People need to be heard.  For example, set a timer for five minutes.  Person 1 gets five minutes to say all they want to say.  Then person 2 gets five minutes. No interrupting allowed.  And, the quiet person is to use active listening to understand.

The author ends the article with this statement:

“In general, when communicating with your significant other, try to both listen and speak in a non-defensive manner.  Keep in mind that anger is considered a secondary emotion; it’s usually fueled by the more primary emotions related to grief (a sense of loss/sadness) and/or fear.  Granted, anger can be justified, but when you or your spouse is feeling this way, it can be helpful to look at the broader emotional landscape. By addressing the underlying fear or sense of loss, anger can be greatly diminished.”

Basically, communicate openly, without emotions.  You are two human beings who love each other. You should be able to communicate within a loving relationship.

So, do you have a lot of arguments?  Can these ideas help you?

Bruce

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Blog #598 Communication Tips for Couples

Communications (in Marriage and more)

For the past three days, I’ve focused on love and Valentine’s Day.  But, what about the couples who are having troubles and thinking of divorce?  All the marriage articles suggest “communications” as the main factor. This article from Healthy Psychology has communication tips for couples.

Let’s look at some of their points about communications in Marriage

-1 Active Listening.  Sometimes we are not fully present when your spouse is talking to you.  First, some ground rules, if you can talk (and listen) at that time, then turn off the television; turn off your phones, get off the computer, and give your spouse undivided attention.  (Note, “if you can’t talk” might mean that you are up-to-your-neck in something and this is not a good time to talk. The toilet is flooding all over the bathroom floor and you are trying to take care of it – is not a good time to talk about how to raise the children!!)

Active listening means slowing down, facing your spouse and making an effort to understand.  Sometimes we are only listening partly – and we are formulating an answer (or retort). Listen intently.  Open your ears and heart. Do not interrupt. And, when you are speaking the other person needs to do the same.  

In Systems Analysis and Design we sometimes have ‘violent agreement’ (and sometimes violent disagreement).  Like the old Miller Lite commercials “Less Filling” versus “Tastes Great”. We really are agreeing, maybe not to the same ardor, but we do agree.  

-2 Avoid criticism – and especially personal criticism.  No bringing up the past. Don’t roll your eyes, have a positive body language.  Make this a discussion rather than a fight. Don’t put the other person down or insult them.  (on both sides). Think of a discussion with your boss. You would NOT bring up personal negatives like (sarcastically) “Yeah, will what you you expect from somebody who went to XYZ University”  [In Texas, that might be the University of Texas and Texas A & M].

-3 Be gentle.  Use a gentle tone and approach.  One of the proverbs is “A quiet answer puts away wrath”.  In a marriage, your conversation (discussion/argument) is with the person who once said you would love them ‘for better and for worse’ and ‘until death parts us’ – keep this on the better side.  The concept is “If you can be anything, be kind”.

-4 Seek first to understand (the other person) rather than for you to be understood.  What is really the issue. Put your focus on trying to listen and understand the other person. The old adage is to walk a mile in their shoes – understand them FIRST.

-5 Stay calm.  Try to keep emotions out of the discussion.  If things get too heated, you need (in advance) to take a break to calm down.  Maybe you can agree to discuss this later in the day when the anger has cooled.  

-6  Keep your emotions in check – find a way to ‘self-soothe’ yourself when things get too hot.  Take a time-out, count to ten, take deep breaths, take a short walk around the house, yard, whatever.  Make the time out sign (and as part of the ground rules that needs to be observed by both parties), Don’t come back with verbal attacks like ‘you just want to get away because you are wrong’.  (Be gentle, be kind).

-7 Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Is she indicating that she would like you to pick up after yourself, or that you should put the toilet seat down?  Think what that means to her – she has to spend 10 to 30 minutes a day picking up after you – then you need to understand that.  Or, the unfortunate situation when she sits down on the toilet and finds that the seat is up and she sinks down. Or, if you have left something out because you are going to use again it in fifteen minutes (like a ladder) – and you really didn’t want to carry it back to the garage and put it back only to get it again in a few minutes.  And, then you got busy and there the ladder is – three days later – sitting in the middle of some room.

-8 Accept influence from the other.  “research indicates that ‘a marriage succeeds to the extent that the husband can accept influence from his wife.’”.  [Guys, don’t think she is always trying to ‘change you’, but that she sees things differently. Listen before you get upset!!]

-9 Share appreciation – be positive.  Again, the article suggests that “research indicates that those in successful relationships make 5 times as many positive statements as negative ones when discussing problems.  [Aside, I’ve heard that you need at least nine positive statements for every one negative statement – so don’t be crabby and negative]

-10 Use “I” statements – You statements are ‘in-their-face’ and can put fuel on the fire.  Say “I feel <whatever>”. The article suggests this: “Remember the “XYZ” technique: “I feel X when you do Y in situation Z.” For example: “I feel frustrated when you don’t take out the trash on Tuesdays, the day you agreed to do so.”

Tomorrow, we’ll look at strategies for ending arguments. Stay tuned to Informal Education with Bruce White – also at:  http://drbrucewhite.com

Bruce

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Blog #597 Valentine’s Day – part II

Valentine’s Day – Part II

https://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/news/a40702/stay-in-love-forever/
https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

Ah Valentine’s Day!!    What are you doing today?  

Yesterday I started looking at the Redbook article “10 Ways to Stay in Love Forever by America’s Hottest Husbands”.  Today, I am going to finish that list (and throw in my thoughts).

-6 Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Really this should be the number one item. We frequently are on different wavelengths – talk it out!!!  The book “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” has some truth. We are different – communicate (and, that means with words and body language too!!!)

-7 Take time to let feelings flourish.  The article suggests that good marriages are like good wine.  Don’t just smell to cork, but drink the wine. Let love, respect and admiration grow!!

-8 Tap into your turn-ons.  Where do you compliment each other? One of you an extrovert and the other an introvert?  One visually oriented and the other audio oriented? Find balance and what turns each other on!!

-9 Channel your inner comedian.  Laughter can be the best medicine – even for marriage.  Find something EVERY DAY to make their life (and your life) special and better than ever.

-10 Respect the ground rules.  I like the adage “If you can be anything, be KIND”.  The two of you choose each other – keep that in mind.  Be loving, be kind, be sincere, and be true to them.

And, now, I’m going to add some comments from another source – 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

What about you?  Is Valentine’s day a special day for you and your spouse/partner?

Bruce

I, Bruce, take you, Connie, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

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Blog #596 Valentine’s Day

https://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/news/a40702/stay-in-love-forever/
https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

Ah Valentine’s Day!!    Today and tomorrow I’m going to be looking at Valentine’s day

Like so many other days, it has become commercialized.  Guys, you are expected to buy flowers, candy, a sentimental card, and take your girl out to dinner (and … not to a fast food place).  Girls, you are expecting the flowers and other treatment. (And, if you don’t get them, it is like an unexpected loss and some take it hard.)

Did you know? Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

But, what is it?  Sure it comes from Saint Valentine.  One legend (you can check the link for more legends), that the Roman Emperor thought that single men were better soldiers, so forbade marriage.  Valentine secretly performed weddings, contrary to the Emperor’s decree, and ultimately was killed.

But, let me go off in a different direction today.  Marriage (and divorce).

Marriage is a legal (often religious) activity united a man and a woman (and, if you will, men to men, women to women, etc in today’s society).  

Ah, yes, LOVE!!!  The birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and lovers are swooning in each other’s arms.  Life is so wonderful, so fantastic.

But, like other things in life, things change – children come along, financial difficulties occur, jobs change, the economy changes, health conditions change and the partners can slowly drift apart.  Hey – life happens.

Soon, there are the spats, the disagreements, the fights, and the talks of divorce.  Angry words are said, like “I never really loved you” (ouch). Things go downhill fast.

So, I want to highlight “!0 ways to stay in Love by America’s Hottest Husbands” (from Redbook Magazine).  (I was a little disappointed that I didn’t make the list of 10 Hottest Husbands!! <smile>)

-1 Give them your TIME.  I have heard the concept that love is spelled “T I M E”.  Spend quality time with them. Keep a standard “Date Night”, find off-beat ways to spend time together (the article suggested bowling, volunteering at a soup kitchen, and taking a painting class together).

-2 Don’t be afraid of growth.  The article suggests it is easy to get in a rut.  Spice it up, get out of the rut (hey bowling, volunteering at a soup kitchen and painting would be out of our rut)>

-3 “Be In It to Win It”.  I’ve written about attitude a lot.  You have to have an attitude that you and your partner are going to make it.  One year, ten years, fifty years – ‘until death parts you’.

-4 Up your small gesture game.  Make her/his/their life easier, make the coffee in the morning (without being asked), take out the trash (without being asked), do the laundry (without being asked), watch the kids (without being asked)!!!

-5 Look at your spouse through somebody else’s eyes.  How does your partner’s boss look at that person? Do they admire his or her work?  Is she recognized for that? How do the neighbors look at him or her – a good neighbor that keeps your property neat and yard trimmed?

Tomorrow we’ll look at the rest of the list.  

BUT – as tomorrow IS Valentine’s Day – how are you and your spouse going to approach it?  Just another day, or a day to celebrate your unity, your love and your commitment?

Think about it!!

See you tomorrow!!

Bruce

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Blog #595 Staying Married

Staying Married forever

With Valentine’s Day in a few days, I thought I would look at ways to stay married

The article has 40 items, I am just going to highlight eight of them:

-1 You are in it to go the distance.  Attitude makes the difference. If you think you can step away at anytime, you are NOT in it for the distance.  It takes a commitment – like training and running a marathon (and then a series of marathons). Go the Distance

-2 Keep the drama low. Don’t take things too personally and don’t make it all about YOU.  We all have egos – and want things our way, but yield (keep the first point in mind – you are in it to go the distance).

-3 Communication, communication, communication.  Listen before you speak. Never interrupt each other.  The typical joke for a wife talking to her husband while he is watching sports is for the man occasionally to say “Ummm”.  And, for the woman, listen to him. If you don’t listen to him attentively, he might look (and find) somebody that DOES listen to him.  And don’t contradict each other about the little stuff.

-4 Marry your best friend – AND stay best friends.  You need to be able to share anything and everything.  If either had a bad day, you need to support each other.  And, if either had a great day, also share that.

-5  Have common interests and hobbies (even if that means compromise).  If she wants to go dancing, then he should be ready to dance. If he wants to play bridge (or cards), then she should learn how.  Find hobbies that fit BOTH of you. Play together – and stay together.

-6 A little faith can go a long ways.  Let God be part of your life (however you conceive ‘God” and faith to be).  When you have challenges, see the challenges as ways to bond and grow closer to each other and to God.

-7 Keep it positive.  The article states “ “They tend to value and respect their partner above all else. This increases a couple’s ability to deal with the negative issues in their relationship. The difference between couples who stay married versus couples who may divorce comes from how they handle the negatives.”  Back to the first item, you are in it to go the distance. Keep your attitude positive.

-8 Date Night.  Keep a date night – and make it pretty ‘sacred’.  Don’t miss date night for just any reason. If your date night is Friday (as many are), and there is a football playoff game on TV that night, set your recorder to save the game.  Or … you can just check out the score after the game – but … NO checking on the score while you are out on your date night. Leave your phones and technology at home!!!

The article had 40 ways to have a long married life.  Keep it fresh, keep it vibrant, communicate, and keep a great attitude that you are in it to go the distance!!

What do you think?

Bruce

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blog #594 Beating Stress (III)

Are you STRESSED? Stressed 3

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

Two days ago, we started a mini-series on stress.  Today we are looking on how to fight too-much stress.

The article stated:

“If you have stress symptoms, taking steps to manage your stress can have numerous health benefits. Explore stress management strategies, such as:

-* Regular physical activity

-* Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or getting a massage

-* Keeping a sense of humor

-* Socializing with family and friends

-* Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music

-* Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways you may use to manage stress — such as watching television, surfing the Internet or playing video games — may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term.

-* And be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid tobacco use, excess caffeine and alcohol intake, and the use of illicit substances.”

Sounds like good suggestions!!!  In my looking at stress, physical activity seems to be on the top of most lists.  Get out and walk, and your troubles will (at least temporarily) leave your mind.

Clear your brain – actively.  Thinking you can relax by watching TV or surfing the net is like my first five minutes in bed at night.  Many nights, as my head hits the pillow, I remember things I need to do. Notes for the students I tutor, a note to myself on something I should do on the next day, even to setting things out for morning.  Find a hobby, do an activity. Even assembling a puzzle or doing knitting or crocheting is better than watching television as your mind will become lost in the activity.

And, on almost every list is get plenty of sleep.  [Here is a link of things to get to sleep faster – I’ll come back to it someday – https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/15-ways-to-fall-asleep-faster_us_55dde3e7e4b04ae497054470).  

You need to relax.  Recently I wrote about the unplug day and the concept of the ‘sabbath’ as a day of rest.  “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.

You might want to print out the items above and place them on your mirror or elsewhere so you can force yourself to relax and free yourself from stress!!!

Bruce

(I talked of the stress I had before my aorta/heart surgery.  There were three particular items that were in my brain. I needed to get them out of my mind – but I didn’t.  A perceived wrong was ‘debated’ in my brain for weeks. Sound I approach the person to reconcile? Did he know he had hurt me?  The same with a second situation – what should I do on another event where I thought I was right. Now, almost two years later, I think about the title of a book (that I only briefly read – “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff”.  In the big scheme of things the things I was worried about weren’t important to my life, and yet they (at least to me at that time) were instrumental in my health condition – and the more I fretted, the bigger the problems were. I eventually asked for reconciliation on the one, and wrote the second item off as “small potatoes” – and that the person was probably right in his judgment of me.)

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Blog #593 Stress – part II

Are you STRESSED? Stressed 2

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

Yesterday we started a mini-series on stress.  Yes, we all have it, and we need to deal with it.

Today, two topics from the Mayo Clinic article on stress – Stress on your mood;; and Stress on your behavior.

So, what happens to you emotionally as you get stressed.  The article points out these factors:

– * Anxiety
-* Restlessness
-* Lack of motivation or focus
-* Feeling overwhelmed
-* Irritability or anger
-* Sadness or depression

WOW!!!  I look over that list and agree with all of the factors.  There have been times I have been overwhelmed – too much to do, and not enough time.  I was doing things that weren’t a priority. Then there were the times when I got angry at little things – and I festered and let that anger boil over into words that should not have been spoken.

For some particular reasons I let stress and circumstances build in the spring of 2017.  I let three little (and probably insignificant) things build to be a mountain (from a molehill).  I would be dizzy when I stood up. I felt like fainting at times. I ended with a huge headache/backache.  I went to the emergency room who said my blood pressure was a little high and I was dehydrated, but otherwise go home.  I was back in three days with blood pressure of 213 over 161 (where normal is about 120 over 80) and I also had a pulse of 165.  My heart was pumping blood like a firehose puts out water. The second time I was there, the emergency room staff “let me” take a ride in a special vehicle (ambulance) to the hospital.  Later my doctor said I was lucky to be alive.

The article goes on with these behaviors:

-*Overeating or under-eating
-*Angry outbursts
-*Drug or alcohol abuse
-*Tobacco use
-*Social withdrawal
-*Exercising less often

In my case the angry outbursts added to the stress and landed me in the hospital – with holes and aneurysms in my aorta (and ultimately a 6.5 hour surgery!!)

Are you watching your stress?  Are you watching your blood pressure?  Are you letting little things overwhelm you?  Be careful, you might be in a hospital soon (or …. dead).

Tomorrow – stress busters (including saying “NO”)

Bruce

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Blog #592 Stress

Are you STRESSED?

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

Stress is a part of our life. And, believe it or not, it is natural.  High stress is part of a natural threat situation – to fight – or to “flight” (that is run/leave).

The dictionary defines stress as:

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood.

Maybe you are stressed as you walk on a podium to make a talk?  (“Butterflies in your stomach”); Maybe you are stressed when your boss calls on you in a meeting for some details.  The body reacts by sending hormones into the body. You are alert and ready to act. Good stress helps you give that talk or answer the bosses questions.

Or, maybe you are stressed by deadlines – a certain amount of stress can help you reach those deadlines, but too much stress in your life can debilitate you.  Today, and the next couple of days, we’re going to look at stress (mostly the negative aspects of stress).

In response to acute stress, the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous systems stimulate the adrenal glands triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels.

So, according to the linked article from Mayo Clinic, stress can affect the following:

Common effects of stress on your body

-1 Headache
-2 Muscle tension or pain
-3 Chest pain
-4 Fatigue
-5 Change in sex drive
-6 Stomach upset
-7 Sleep problems

So, your heart is pumping adrenaline through your body – you get an adrenaline rush.  If you are going to speak or run or answer your boss, that can give you that energy to do it.    Adrenaline increases the heart rate, elevates the blood pressure, even enlarging the pupil in your eye.

Too much adrenaline for too long of a time can negatively affect your body in many ways (like the list above).  

Have you had a sleepless night worrying about the activities of the next day?  Do you get muscle aches or headaches as you deal with a stressful situation?

We, unfortunately, get stress from my sources.  Our work can be stressful; then we come home and there are problems there that can add to the stress.  Maybe your daughter has been arrested for drug dealing – and you have to get a lawyer. Maybe the roof leaks and it is raining and damaging the walls and items in the house.  (And, maybe your favorite football team [Nebraska] is losing!!!)

Tomorrow, we will look more at stress problems and aim for some solutions in a couple of days.

And, although it is true:  STRESSED spelled backwards IS DESSERTS – that doesn’t mean you get to eat a dozen doughnuts when you are stressed!!!

Bruce

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Blog #591 Inner Peace III

https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-quotes/289-if-you-can-be-anything

https://blog.mindvalley.com/guides-to-inner-peace/

Continuing this link for Relaxing with Inner Peace.  Let’s see what is there and how we can apply it.

-18 Be Grateful.  Learning to have inner peace and being able to relax means being happy with who you are; and where you are in life.  Be grateful for your life, your health, and your situation. If you start envying somebody else’s house – you will lose your peace.  If you are unhappy that you have been passed over for a promotion – you will lose your peace. Be happy with where you are at.

-19 Find healthy ways to express negative emotions. The author suggests: “Never suppress or deny negative emotions (they come back with a vengeance), and don’t self-destruct because of them. Instead, exercise, play music, do art, practice martial arts, meditate, write… It’s often said that an artist’s best work comes from their “blue mood”.”

-20 Slow down.  Hey – we are talking about relaxing and inner peace – so SLOW DOWN.  Smell the roses. You are in the ‘race’ for the long run. You don’t have to finish everything TODAY.  Take a deep breathe, life is GOOD!!!

-21 Don’t compare yourself to others.  You are you, they are them. You are unique.  Judging (comparing) yourself with others will disrupt your inner peace.  You can find things you like about the others and try to incorporate it into your life.  Live YOUR live, not drool about theirs.

-22 Stop worrying about what others think.  If they are critical of you, don’t be critical about them.  March to the beat of your own drum. You are unique. If a person doesn’t like you – that’s their problem, not yours.  You can’t please everybody.

-23 Be Kind!!!  Yup – if you can be anything, be kind.  Don’t be nasty – be kind, try to understand, try to love unconditionally.

-24 Challenge the norm. I remember our children saying “But Dad, EVERYBODY is doing it”.  First – I’m sure it is NOT everybody!! And so what? You are unique. You don’t have to follow the norm.  (by-the-way, I think this is less an issue. I see middle school kids with purple, red, orange, green hair, with shirts for a lot of different teams and ideas.  Individual differences are okay.

-25 Simplify.  Less is more. Some suggestions I’ve seen over the years are if you haven’t used something in two years, throw it out.  Now, there might be reasons not to throw out your wedding dress or your academic gown [my case]. One of the biggest growth areas in the United States is the storage rental business.  In Central Texas (where we don’t have basements), people rent storage units and never touch it. When it is time to move again, out of storage it comes, and into the next storage area.  [Be reasonable. If you know that in a few years you are going to move back to Colorado, don’t throw out your skis.]

You have the choice.  You get to choose to be happy, to have inner peace, to be content with who are you and where you are going.  Yes, keep working on being a better version of you – but being jealous, angry, judgemental, and unhappy are bad choices!!!

What do you think?

Bruce

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