Spiritual Fitness

"Spiritual fitness seeks to answer important questions in life, the big questions like 'What's my purpose, what do I believe,'" said Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas Fussell, 354th Fighter Wing protestant chaplain. "Questions like those operate our daily lives and our beliefs; those beliefs in our heart of hearts will come out in our behaviors naturally.....Life happens and all that stuff tends to sit on us and we have to get it out somehow," said Fussell. "When we get the concerns and cares off of us, then we can be more focused, we can be more efficient and effective at what we do."


Welcome to my blog. Yes this is all about me... and maybe about you and things in your life.I am new at this so I will teach you patience and endurance... hopefully a laugh along the way. I will try to make following me as easy as possible.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bridges.. seeing from both sides

What can bridges have to do with mental health?  What do they even have to do with life in general?  I read this poem as I thought about bridges in life and I would like to share it.

The Bridge Builder

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

Why do I bother doing a blog that many people will not even read or share?  Again I am building a bridge.

There are many bridges in life.  And once you pass from one side to the other you are not the same person.  Marriage, children, and all the standard things we "graduate from" in life.  We are not the same person.  The same is true with struggles, loss, heartache, disease, mental health, loss of job and all the struggles we face daily. When we cross that bridge we are not the same.  How it affects us depends on us.  Once over that bridge we cannot spend our time looking back.  We can learn and the scars will be there, be they outside or inside.  They will never be gone.  But they are a reminder of strength.

These are not punishments but ways to prepare us and to strengthen us for what may lie ahead.   Trust God.  Be Grateful every single day for those struggles because you would not be who you are without them.  God is loving you and building these bridges for you and for me.  They are bridges of love.

I have mental illnesses, degenerative Disc disease, I need implants for teeth, I cannot keep food down or eat as I want.  Today I made steamed vegetables.  They were meshy and I ate them and it was like heaven.  I felt blessed and joyful because the food stayed down.  Something great happened and Praise God!!  My knees are bad, arthritic,  a hernia that needs removed but can't be until we have money that causes pain, insomnia, sores that I have to take care until surgery can be done so I do not have them.  I had 14 surgeries in a 2 year period of time.  All of these are bridges.  Pain lets me know I am alive and I am grateful that God thinks I am strong enough to handle this.

Yes I crossed many bridges to get to where I am now.  I had to leave people behind that were only bringing negative into my life.  People that judge and just are not of my "tribe".  People who accept me for who I am and when I have bad times my Tribe yells ME TOO!!

I have a long way to go.  I don't feel I deserve the family I have and it is a struggle to fight it.  "They would be so much better off without me and all my troubles.  What good am I?"  Those voices are a moment by moment fight.   Sometimes I win with my mental illness and sometimes I am not.  But I keep building bridges.  I look for positive and stay away from negative.  And I count the blessings that I have.  Because no matter what I know that I am rich in the ways that matter.  I know Heavenly Father and my Savior love me and are there for me.  As I ride the waves I remember even in the rain the sun is still shining.
Share this text ...?
            “That God may bless you on your journey and that you may successfully cross the ‘deep and wide’ chasms in your life is my prayer for you.” —President Thomas S. Monson
"Love can build a bridge...don't you think it's time?"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mental Illness and Job

I spent years with mental illness and still do.  I have spent time in scriptures to understand and get strength.  Job is who I feel closest too.  He was treated bad, beaten down by Satan.  People accused him of being bad, which is why all these things kept happening to him.  I heard that too and believed it until a kind and loving Bishop sat and talked with me.  Because people don’t understand they judge.  They accuse and think because you are not like them that something is wrong with you.  Job lost everything but stayed true to God.  Job was not weak but gained great strength through his trials because he chose too.  He could have gotten mean and bitter but he didn't.  No one can or will understand the buried that he carried.  Tears he shed and how hard it was to get up and keep going.  Just because you have fighting a good fight doesn't mean you are applauding and having fun.  It’s a moment by moment fight.  The most loving people for Job was those who just came and sat with him.  No words needed.  Just there and sometimes that is all that is needed.

Don’t judge me because I am not like you.  That isn't your job.  Your job is to love and this world could use a whole lot more of loving in it.

I am blessed because two years ago a Doctor put me on anti-seizure medication thinking it was for depression.  I usually pay careful attention to what is given to me.  I let this go and that 3 weeks was horrible.  Taking me off one and putting me on something that has nothing to do with depression.  My new doctor said that drug has nothing to do with depression and gave me something else.  Guess what?  I feel better.
You have to take charge of your life.  YOU are the only one that cares and goes through what you do.  So stand up and fight.  IF someone is handing you wrong advice... get someone new.  And never ever let someone make you feel like you are less important.  If they really want to be in your life they will make the effort and make you feel safe.  It’s amazing how we help people in wheel chairs but because you can’t see mental illness it can’t be important for you to make an effort.  I finally found peace knowing that if you don’t want me in your life, I don’t need you in mine.  I have the right to fight my fight without criticism, judging and negative.  So I live my journey and love those that live it with me.  And say Goodbye to those who have no good purpose in my life.

And I am thankful for mental illness.  Because I am kinder, compassionate, loving and more empathetic to others.  I understand suicide, cutting and many heartaches.  Not because I am there but I have learned pain is pain.  There is no more or less.  There is just pain.  With my Heavenly Father and Savior I can handle it.  A farmer never puts the blade of a plough into a field in which he doesn't expect a rich harvest!

Check it out and there is one in Richland.  It supports families who have members with mental illness.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What so you think? You have opinions and they count.. what does this article means to you?

The 10 Most Unexpected Ways to Be Happy, Backed By Science
Kevan Lee  Aug. 26, 2014

A user's guide to having it all

1. Embrace opposing feelings, at the same time

Cheerful + Downcast = Happy

Acknowledging the complexity of life may be an especially fruitful path to psychological well-being
The above quote from psychologist Jonathan Adler of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering sums up the idea that happiness can come from noticing and embracing a wide spectrum of emotions—good and bad.

Adler and his colleague Hal Hershfield performed a study on this so-called mixed emotional experience and how it relates to positive, psychological well-being. They monitored participants who went through 12 weekly therapy sessions and who filled out questionnaires before each.

The results: Feeling cheerful and dejected at the same time was a precursor to improved well-being in the following sessions.

For example, someone might say, “I feel sad because of the recent losses in my life, yet I am also happy and encouraged to be working through them for a positive outcome.” According to Adler:

Taking the good and the bad together may detoxify the bad experiences, allowing you to make meaning out of them in a way that supports psychological well-being.
And Hershfield followed up with a another study about mixed emotions and health. After studying participants over a 10-year span, he and his team found a direct correlation with accepting one’s mix of emotions (e.g., “taking the good with the bad”) and good physical health.

We’ve enjoyed sharing among our team about mindful meditation and reflection. This process was even highlighted in a 2012 study by psychologist Shannon Sauer-Zavala of Boston University who found that mindfulness helped participants overcome anxiety disorders by accepting their wide-range of feelings and working toward improvement.

2. Keep your happy friends close, geographically

The sweet spot: a happy mutual friend, living a mile away

The town of Framingham, Massachusetts, was the focus of a multi-generational study on happiness, known as the Framingham Heart Study. Beginning in 1948, the study has tracked three generations of Framingham residents and their offspring to discover trends in the way that happiness moves among a population. A few of their takeaways:

Individual happiness cascades through groups of people, like contagion.
The more happy people you add to your life, the greater positive effect it will have on you. (This is not true of sadness.)
Geographically close friends (and neighbors) have the greatest effect on happiness.
Below is the chart that summarizes this last point about geographic closeness. Basically, researchers broke down the happiness effect based on a participant’s relationship to others (the so-called “alters” in the chart) and their proximity to one another.

The breakdown:

Nearby mutual friends (literally off the charts, the actual probability percentage is 148 percent)
Next-door neighbor
Nearby friend (a person whom the participant named as a friend but the “friend” did not reciprocate the label)
Nearby alter-perceived friend (a person whom the participant did not name as a friend but who claimed to be friends with the participant)
Nearby sibling
Coresident spouse
Distant sibling
Non-coresident spouse
Same block neighbor
Distant friend
Proximity of nearby mutual friends, according to the study, included those who lived with one mile of each other. Others fall into the “distant friend” category.

Is it possible to have mutual friends that close by? I’d love to hear your experience. Personally, it reminds me of the happiness and fun of dorm life, big-city living, and vacationing with friends.

3. Learn something new, even if it’s stressful

Master a new skill—stress now, happiness later

If you are willing to push through a bit of added stress in the short-term, you can experience huge gains in happiness for the long-term.

Learn a new skill. Take on a bit more stress. And research says you’ll be happier on an hourly, daily, and long-term basis.

The gains from this investment in time and energy were documented in a 2009 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies. Participants who spent time with activities that increased their competency, met their need for autonomy, or helped them connect with others reported decreased happiness in the moment yet increased happiness on an hourly and daily basis.

The key, according to the study, is to choose the right new skill to master, challenge to undertake, or opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.

The greatest increases are experienced (with) any behavior that a person feels they have chosen, rather than ought to do, and that helps them further their interests and goals
4. Invest in good counseling

Therapy is 32 times more effective than cash

Can money buy happiness?

Not according to research by psychologist Chris Boyce. At least, not as well as a regularly-scheduled counseling session.

Boyce and his colleagues compared the data sets from thousands of reports on well-being and noted how well-being changed either due to therapy or due to sudden increases in income, like receiving a pay raise or winning the lottery. Basically, do we get more happiness for our buck by paying for therapy or by receiving cash in hand?

The results were incredibly lopsided.

Therapy was 32 times more effective than cash.

It would take a $40,000 raise to equal the benefit from $1,300 worth of therapy.

This study certainly highlights the value of counseling, and it also points to the general benefit of intangible experiences, relationships, and communication over possessions, things, and money. If you’re seeking happiness, never be afraid to question if you’re looking in the right places.

5. Press pause on the breathless pursuit of happiness

Chase happiness at a safe speed

Here’s a cool story about cats.

One day this old alley cat crossed paths with a younger cat who was frantically running around, trying to catch its own tail. The older cat watched carefully for awhile. When the young cat stopped for a breather, the older cat asked, “Would you mind telling me what you are doing?”

The young cat said, “Sure thing! I went to Cat Philosophy School and learned that happiness is in our tails. So I am going to keep chasing my tail and someday I will catch it and get a big bite of happiness.”

The older cat responded, “Well, I have never been to Cat Philosophy School, but I agree: Happiness is in our tails. However, I have found that when I just wander around enjoying life, it follows me everywhere I go.”

This idea of not chasing happiness was highlighted in a 2011 study by Yale psychologist June Gruber and colleagues who found that pursuing happiness may lead to increased expectations that, if gone unmet, would actually have the opposite effect of happiness.

So instead of chasing happiness to the extremes, we may be better off pursuing happiness calmly and rationally. Trying new happiness experiments is a great way to go, so long as you keep expectations in check.


6. Say no to almost everything

Specifically, say “I don’t”

The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything. Warren Buffett
Overworked and overburdened is a recipe for unhappiness. So if you want to be happy, might be some quick wins by saying no!

So then, how should you say it?

Say I don’t.

Believe it or not, the phrase “I don’t” is up eight times more likely to work than saying “I can’t.” It’s more than doubly effective versus the simple “no.”

The Journal of Consumer Research ran a number of studies on this difference in terminology. One of the studies split participants into three groups:

Group 1 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals they should “just say no.” This group was the control group because they were given no specific strategy.

Group 2 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, they should implement the “can’t” strategy. For example, “I can’t miss my workout today.”

Group 3 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, they should implement the “don’t” strategy. For example, “I don’t miss workouts.”

And the results:

Group 1 (the “just say no” group) had 3 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.
Group 2 (the “can’t” group) had 1 out of 10 members who persisted with her goal for the entire 10 days.
Group 3 (the “don’t” group) had an incredible 8 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.
Results from this study make a pretty great blueprint on how to say no. I’d love to hear how this works for you if you decide to add this to your happiness toolbox.

7. Celebrate strengths, recognize weakness

Allow yourself permission to be yourself

You’ve perhaps heard the old maxim, “You can be anything you want to be.”Strengths Finder author Tom Rath has an amendment:

You can be a lot more of who you already are.
When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists.
Psychologist Paul Pearsall calls this “openture” (his coined phrase for the opposite of “closure”). Pearsall’s desire is that people embrace imperfections and celebrate strengths.

Research has shown that wedging ourselves into places we don’t fit can lead to undesirable results. As an extreme example, a study from Joanne Wood of the Univeristy of Waterloo asked people with low self-esteem to say to themselves “I’m a lovable person,” and at the conclusion of the exercise, participants felt reaffirmed in their low self-esteem rather than empowered to change.

If happiness seems elusive because you feel a need to be someone you aren’t, then the words of Tom Rath should be comforting. Celebrate what you’re good at and appreciate that we all bring unique characteristics to the table.

8. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

The Samurai approach to happiness

Samurai warriors had two essential elements to performing their best: They trained extremely hard and they prepared for the worst.

The latter element, so-called “negative visualization,” has its roots in Stoicism. Oliver Burkeman wrote a book about counterintuitive happiness, including sections on this idea of Stoic thought. In an interview with writer Eric Barker, Burkeman explained:

It’s what the Stoics call, “the premeditation” — that there’s actually a lot of peace of mind to be gained in thinking carefully and in detail and consciously about how badly things could go. In most situations you’re going to discover that your anxiety or your fears about those situations were exaggerated.
Another benefit of this visualization is that you feel more in control when you have planned for all outcomes. Navy SEALs undergo psychological training so that they feel in control at all times. And according to neuroscience, the brain can continue to function as normal so long as we maintain the illusion of control (via training and visualization).

9. Give up your favorite things

Just for a day or two, not forever (phew!)

Here’s a gem of an idea from Eric Barker, author of the Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog:

Denying yourself something makes you appreciate the things you take for granted.
The scientific elements at play here are self-control and willpower. Researchers who conducted an overview of 83 studies on self-control concluded thatwillpower wanes as the day goes on, yet you can train willpower just as you would a muscle. Exerting self-control leads to more self-control over time.

Harvard professor Michael Norton has a great way of thinking about this:

The idea is that the things that you really like a lot, stop. Stop it. So, if you love, every day, having the same coffee, don’t have it for a few days and, when you wait, and then you have it again, it’s going to be way more amazing than all of the ones that you would have had in the meantime.
The problem with that is, on any given day, it’s better to have a coffee than not, but if you wait three days and don’t have it, it’s going to be way better once you finally do. Interrupting our consumption is free. It actually saves you money and gets you more happiness out of the money spent. It’s like the best of all worlds, but we’re completely unable to do it, because we always want to watch the thing or eat the thing right now. It’s not “give it up forever.” It’s “give it up for short periods of time, and I promise you you’re going to love it even more when you come back to it.”
Think daily coffee, Netflix binging, iPhone games, etc. Find more happiness by practicing patience with the things you love.

10. Keep your daydreams grounded

Expect great things rather than fantasizing about great things

Is there such a thing as a grounded daydream?

Hopefully so. A German research project found that students who fantasized about the future met below average results in their real-life futures. The following occurred with those who fantasized:

Put in fewer job applications
Received fewer job offers
Earned lower salaries
Were more likely to struggle academically
Failed to ask their crush out on a date
Here’s the chart from the series of studies. The specific explanations can be found in the full report, but generally-speaking positive numbers are good and negative numbers are less so.

London School of Economics professor Heather Kappes says, “Wild fantasies dull the will to succeed.” This would appear to be true of the participants in the study.

So instead of wild daydreaming, perhaps it is better to remain grounded, hopeful, and eager to see happiness in one’s future. After all, once you get a vision and idea in mind, it’s difficult to extract it. Social psychologist Dan Wegner even came up with a psychological theory on the topic, dubbed theIronic Processes of Mental Control:

in order to insure that you aren’t thinking about an unwanted idea, you have to continually turn your mind to that very idea. How do you know that you aren’t thinking of a white bear driving a red Ferrari unless you think about whether you’re thinking it?
Maybe you can apply the same to happiness, albeit remaining firmly grounded while doing so.

Over to you

Which of these unexpected happiness hacks ring true to you?

Are there some you agree/disagree with?

I’d love to hear your thoughts here in the comments! I am always eager to find out what works for you and to learn new experiences in living happily.

Did you read to the end or ignore?  Type yes if you did.  Education is the only answer.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Everyone has an opinion about Mental illness

... and, sadly, some don't even come close to helping.  I write this blog not for me only but in hopes it helps others and families understand.  Eventually I will probably bore you with what I do, go through and wish I could fix.  The one thing I think those without mental illness and those that do, have in common is that neither can go into a mall and scream at the top of their lungs just to let out frustration.  We both end up in the same place.... usually bars are involved.  And no that what some consider fun places.

You will find mistakes in my blogs because well one of the things I go through is it is hard for me to concentrate.  And in complete acceptance of myself, I say too bad... let my imperfection shine.

Below is yet another post from a Therapist that I want to share.  He also has a website that should show at the end of the post.  I say should because people SHOULD be able to post comments on here but for some reason I can't get it to work.  Oh happy days when someone feels pity for me and says, "HEY!  BOZO  ( How they know how big my nose is I don't know)!  You do it like this... speaking to me like a 3 year old and then patting my head.

Here it is.....

From a Therapist: 5 things you don't understand about depression
Depression is one of the most common mental health difficulties in America. But despite how common it is, there are still many misunderstanding and misconceptions. Here are 5 that you need to know.

By Aaron Anderson

The recent death of Robin Williams has brought a lot of attention to depression. It's tragic that a beautiful life of laughter such as Robin Williams' could be cut short without it being the result of an accident or chronic illness like cancer.

But the truth is, Robin Williams' death WAS the result of a chronic illness. But instead of it being a more noticeable chronic illness (like cancer) it was the result of less obvious chronic illness called depression.

Many people misunderstand depression. In fact, many people don't even know that depression can be a chronic illness. Despite that depression has been around for ages, there are still many misunderstandings and misperception about depression and those who suffer from it.

So in an effort to help you understand and help those around you who suffer from depression, here are 5 things you probably don't understand about depression:

1) Depression is debilitating

A lot of people think that depression is just really bad sadness. And people think that because it's "just really bad sadness" you should be able to continue with life as you always have until you get over it. But depression isn't the same "everyday sadness" that comes and goes.

Depression is different from regular sadness because it is debilitating. In other words, it keeps people from being able to live the life they want to live. In fact, The World Health Organization has identified depression as the fourth leading cause of disability around the world and projects it to be the second leading cause by 2020.

2) Depression is common

In a recent study, it was discovered that approximately 10 percent of the U.S. suffers from depression. And that number is growing by 20 percent each year. That means that one out of every ten people you know has some sort of depression. And you'll likely know more and more people who have depression over time.

3) Depression isn't caused by a chemical imbalance

In fact, nobody really knows what causes depression. The National Institute of Mental Health states that, "Most likely, depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors." Because it's not specifically known what causes depression, it can be difficult to treat. It's also difficult to prevent. As a result, it can't be cured simply with medication(s) or with psychotherapy. Because there are many complex factors behind depression, sometimes the treatment is complex, too.

4) You don't just get over depression

Because many people think depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, a lot of people also think that you get over depression just like you get over a cold. After all, if depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, you just have to wait for your body to correct itself.

The truth is, many people who struggle with depression struggle with it for a long time. In fact, if you have depression once, you're 50 percent more likely to have depression at least one more time in your life. Often, the treatment for depression isn't a one-time solution, either. It's often a mix of ongoing medication and psychotherapy to make sure it doesn't come back.

5) Depression isn't for sissies

A lot of people think that it's only the weak or feeble who get depression. But the truth is, many great people have had depression including Abraham Lincoln, Emily Dickinson, J.K. Rowling, Terry Bradshaw, Daryl Strawberry and Robin Williams just to name a few.

These 5 things aren't the only misunderstandings people have about depression, but they are some of the most common ones. Knowing these misunderstandings can help you in case you ever experience depression.

Most importantly, knowing these 5 misunderstandings can help you be more empathetic to those who suffer from depression. It can also help you as you try to help others who are suffering from depression. It will help them have a safe place to talk about their difficulties and give them a shoulder to lean on when they need it. And most important of all, you may be able to offer them shelter from a storm of misunderstanding.

Aaron Anderson

Aaron Anderson is a therapist and owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert.
Website:  http://blog.themarriageandfamilyclinic.com