Doing Some Mental Gymnastics…

Doing Some Mental Gymnastics…

Ugh… Today just seems to be one of those days. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s just one of those days. You know, you just wake up and seem a little irritable, just seem off, just seem like the world’s axis has been tilted. This happens every once in a while and though often not sure why I do know one thing… I have to take control of it. I now do this with a technique I call “mental gymnastics”: taking the thought processes in my head flipping them around, throwing them around, and putting them back on track. This wasn’t a skill that I always had, though. Depression and anxiety were things that were very real for me and could take over my mind before I even knew what happened. I felt like a victim to the circumstances around me. I feel like a victim to the crazy uncontrollable thoughts in my mind. I felt a victim to circumstances. I felt a victim to life.

I have since learned that I don’t need to be a victim to anything! I have since learned that I am the one responsible for my own happiness. I have since learned that I can make decisions on what thoughts I allow to play in the playground of my mind unchaperoned! I may not be able to control the thoughts that travel through my head but I don’t have to invite them in to sit down for tea. I am not responsible for the thoughts that pop into my head but I am responsible for how long I allow them to hang out and play.

And this is where the mental gymnastics comes in. It’s all about perspective. It’s about re-positioning myself to look at my circumstances in a different light, through a different lens, from a different angle. You’ve probably heard that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!“ Things happen in life that we are not responsible for, that is very true! And during this time of heightened anxiety and stress we may be dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic it is the perfect opportunity to practice some new strategies. Besides, what do you have to lose by trying something new? Maybe losing some anxiety? Or decreasing stress? A decrease in self-condemnation? There is a therapy technique called rational emotive behavior therapy that takes the approach that our thoughts influence our emotions which then influence our behaviors. As if rampant thoughts running amok are not overwhelming enough, a roller coaster of emotions can seem almost unbearable! And while in a state of emotional upheaval many of us do dumb things. We should never take a severe permanent approach to solving a temporary problem. Take a breath, think about what you are thinking, think about what you are feeling, and think about what you are doing…before doing it.

How have regulating your thoughts and emotions been difficult during this time of quarantine and social distancing? How have hastily done something only to realize later that your thinking and feeling may have been off-track? What is one thing you can do NOW to make a difference in how you handle intense emotions?

Finding New Pastimes in the “New Normal”

Finding New Pastimes in the “New Normal”

This morning I sat on the patio and enjoyed the many birds singing and strutting around. I sipped on my coffee and thought of how peaceful it was, how serene and tranquil, right here in my yard in the middle of town. Then I remembered how much pleasure I received from bird-watching. It is like playing detective: you listen and watch for clues about a bird, you take mental (or literal) notes and then use a birding book or app to deduce who the yard guest is, along with what it eats, how it nests, and how it raises its young. I especially enjoy this activity now as it is fulfilling to connect with nature and all that live therein. And also that I can do it from a chair, or if I am tired, or if I am feeling “off,” or if I am lazy or if I am ready to jump in (not literally!). 

There was a day where my idea of fun was being out on my stand-up paddle board, playing basketball, working out at the boxing gym, or riding the motorcycle. However, due to changes in my body over the years, and maybe you can relate to this, I have had to adjust my top 10 favorite things to do for fun. Initially, this was a painful process as I had denied for years the decline in my body’s abilities. I would shift to being angry that I couldn’t just “push through” as I had at other times in my life and then I would shift a bargaining stage where I would “do this” but “not that” but pay for it the next day. Some days I was just downright depressed and wondered if I had to resign myself to a boring life or to settling for mediocrity. It took quite a few years and some mental gymnastics as I learned to twist a negative into a positive, but finally I have (mostly) accepted that I have a “new normal” and that this is ok!

After my lazy morning on the patio with my feathered friends we went out to try a new place to fish. Let me tell you about me and fishing…Yuck! How boring! How can people stand there for hours and even if not catching anything feel like it was a good day out? Well, let’s just say I get it now! I never saw myself getting into fishing but what a great way to connect with nature and the earth itself! I can now put on my own line, hook, split shot and even bait! I cast it out and slowly reel it back while doing a little pop every few seconds so my bait mimics an injured fish. I can stand out in the water while thinking about whatever I want or nothing at all. We pack sandwiches and lots of water and even a pair of sneakers in case we want to explore a nearby park or trail. Today, for example, we caught nothing but had a great day out! I get it now and this is one of my favorite pastime activities.

I would like to hear from you, my friends. What are some activities that you are unable to do or learned to make adaptations to? What are some newer activities that you picked up once realizing you needed new activities? And especially, how did you get through the stages of grief to accepting your new normal? We all have different ABILITIES and what you have to pass on to others can be the difference between someone staying stuck or successfully moving forward. Thank you in advance for your personal sharing! 

Getting Back Out There

Getting Back Out There

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#10 Vive Sheepskin Crutch Pads

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