Tag Archives: Self-help

What Do You Want, Positive Thinking or Positive Change? Know the Significant Difference. Part 1

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

“Money! Money! Money!” The chanting crowd grew adamant as voices surged in pitch and volume. “Money! Money!”

For a few minutes my sixteen year-old ears recoiled against the deafening noise. I could feel the room pulsating, vibrations swelling from the floor. 

Hundreds of people, mostly men, led by a motivational cheerleader of sorts, were doing their best to build self-confidence and enthusiasm for another year of slammed doors and occasional big wins in the uneasy world of house-to-house sales.

Positive thinking makes us rich, right?

Some attendees, like my father, had other full-time jobs. His was as a life insurance agent, having paid his dues to build a substantial word-of-mouth reputation. Yet he never seemed satisfied. Our property was inundated with inventory and even live animals as he chased one get-rich-quick scheme after another.

The latest was cosmetics. It was this Avon-wannabe company who had employed a male force to present cosmetics to women in living rooms across the country. Perhaps that was the reason for the chant, “Money! Money!” No doubt it was easier to grow  excited about cash than cosmetics and wigs. Gearing up for daily rejection by women may have discouraged some as well.

Sales is a respectable occupation in and of itself. It helps to feel confident.  In the scenario I am describing, the message was about making money at all costs. “No never means no.” Sound familiar?

People are actually  important 

Later, my dad told me the way to make people do what you want is to make them feel important. My response was, “People are important!”

The day of the chant, the atmosphere was one of worship of money, and disrespect for potential customers.  In the name of positive thinking, confidence-building, and raising company morale, this convention promoted the demeaning of persons for the sake of riches.

I do not think it goes too far to suggest that the men (and few women) who literally took on that charge also leaked that philosophy into other areas of life. The rah-rah did nothing but encourage a morally compromised mindset.

Positive thinking does not change us

A sickened feeling filled my heart. I can still sense it. This is one example of how positive thinking can fail. If it is not founded on constructive and compassionate intentions, it is simply a catalyst for more harm.

Positive thinking is different from positive change in that it has no moral compass of its own.

With regard to mental health, employing only positive thoughts as a hopeful cure will disappoint. Positive change requires more than superficial attention. We need awareness of false core beliefs and the skills to challenge them. 

Positive thinking and denial – are they the same?

Stay tuned for the second in this series when we take a look at how positive thinking and denial relate to our mental health.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

 

Feeling Better Feels Better – 2 Mantras to Help You Find Joy

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Driving up to a CVS drive-thru, a thought that has been on my mind lately paid another visit. 

You see, a few years ago I used the term “assuage” (meaning to lessen an intense feeling) in an email to my therapist.  The reply included, “I never knew that word until I helped my daughter with her spelling list last night. One of the words is assuage. HaHaHa. It’s in the small stuff!”

It’s in the small stuff. Joy.  Amusement at life’s little quirks.  Relief from negativity. Hope.

My aunt, who has been a huge inspiration since my childhood, once talked about finding beauty spots wherever she travelled. Lovingly cared-for flower gardens in a front yard, a wild daffodil on the side of a freeway, a pretty city square – these are all types of things we may not notice every day. 

Inspiration in motion

When I first moved from  country to city life thirty years ago,  the idea could not have been less appealing. Why, cities are ugly with cement and wires, very little grass, few trees, and more cement!  These were my thoughts concerning Cleveland; I needed to find beauty in my new town.

The first house was old with prism windows. Rainbows splattered across the furniture and floors every day. Later, the home I am still in,  has woods out back. Deer come regularly to munch and sun themselves,  birds sing,  and even a family of ducks once waddled down our sidewalk.

At CVS this morning, I noticed the bright yellow of the poles protecting the building from careless drivers. It brought a small smile to my face because that shade of yellow is my favorite color. Talk about small stuff! That made me laugh, too. 

It takes practice, but anyone can start today. Start noticing.  Start appreciating.

Two mantras to keep in mind

  1. It’s in the small stuff
  2. Beauty is everywhere

Discovery is a fun game to play whether alone, car-pooling, playing with children, or at work. What is beautiful in your life today? 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 106:1, 2

 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?

 

 

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

  • log pic by kozzi.com tree pic by RWLINDER on rgbstock.com

Are You Faking Mental Health?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Violet questions her value.

Tom yells and cusses at other drivers.

James is brutal with self-criticism.  

Makia apologizes frequently. 

Shannon avoids important social events.

Do you have a similar experience?

What mental health looks like

We think we know what mental illness is (whether we do or not). Do we understand mental health? According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” 

How do you think you score in those departments?  For Violet, Tom, James, Makia, and Shannon, well-being in the following areas may be goals. 

Well-being is believing in your worth.

Well-being is calm and patient toward others.  

Well-being is accepting your imperfect humanness.

Well-being does not apologize for existing

Well-being is the ability  to function and participate in life. 

It pays to check

Are you at premium mental health?  

Mental illness is diagnosed with ongoing symptoms that interfere with one’s ability to function. The person with a mental illness suffers frequent stress due to those symptoms.

Nevertheless, how often do we bother to assess our mental health? This requires some introspection and a desire to achieve well-being.  I believe mental health is akin to contentment. It does not make sense to skip over that.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33: 13-15

The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.  From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

-pictures from qualitystockphotos

How to Fix Your Bah Humbug When Life is Not Easy

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

oqd61peGrieving, lonely, angry, anxious, and otherwise dreading that family get-together? Here is the good news. We are not victims; we have control because we have options.

Yes, we do! We have opportunity to choose what we value and who we want to be.

Think about it, and possibly write your values. What is important to you? Then write what kind of person you want to be.

Example:

I value honesty. I want to be an open and transparent person.

I value calm. I want to be an even-tempered person.

The list can be as long as you like. What do you want?

We can struggle, sometimes very hard, against pain brought into our lives at the will of others. Maybe you lost yourself long time ago. Remembering your values might take some time. That’s ok, go for it anyway.

Waves of grief can strike us during the holidays when we least expect it. A conversation yesterday changed my demeanor from smiles to sobs. It’s not a character flaw to feel sad over loss! Denial is not the answer. What do you value? What kind of person do you want to be?

Maybe this season you question if you have enough stamina to go on. Pain, physical or emotional, may be due to terrible relationships, stressful jobs, or that all-time king of suffering – loneliness. It is always your choice how to respond. What kind of person do you want to be?

We may find we lack the know-how, or the strength to finish a list like this alone. Perhaps the concept of being the kind of person you want is a bit mind-boggling. That’s ok, too. I’ve been there. Support groups and therapists tend to be safe; church groups, good friends, and teachers may have insights into who you are that you have missed.

It is always our choice to seek support or not. We can decide to pursue antidotes to the status quo and Bah Humbug thinking. It is in our power, regardless of our feelings, to live on purpose and believe for hope.

I decided yesterday to fight what I’ve experienced as an annual holiday emotional torture. I did this for the first time two years ago, and it changed everything for me. Spontaneous invitations went out to a few friends, new and old, for a game night between Christmas and New Years Day. I do not know yet who can come, but the point is I am pursuing my values. I love treating people! The kind of person I want to be focuses on honoring God  by loving other people. It sure beats feeling depressed.

To all, I wish and pray for a happy holiday season. May you live by your values, and experience peace in striving to be who you want. Maybe your greatest blessing will be admitting you cannot do this by yourself.

A red poinsettia in the Christmas seasonToday’s Helpful Word

Luke 6:45

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

62 Plus 1 Reasons to Overcome Fear

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

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This afternoon, dozens of birds landed in my city-size backyard. They were different types; I saw a bluejay, robins, a downy woodpecker, sparrows, brown thrashers, what I think was a brown-headed cowbird, and grackles. My yard must be a buffet of worms and bugs following yesterday’s rain. They also seemed to enjoy the berry bush, especially the robins, who lingered long after the party was over, cautiously dangling from its flimsy branches.

The 62

I stopped counting at sixty-two. They were jittery. One wrong sound and they scattered as a mass in every direction. There was no actual danger, just what seemed a birdie panic following one bird’s flighty reaction to fear.

Fear weakens us. It may on the outside be covered up with pride, bravado, or confidence. Life seems manageable. We can often live in relative strength, not understanding how deeply fear affects us.

Then someone nearby says the sky is falling, and we flee, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually along with the panicking crowd. What we thought were our values fall by the wayside in the pursuit of survival. We leave loved ones behind for the sake of escape. Escape!

Society-at-large is pandering to fear right now. Some are screaming for laws and regulations to protect us. Others are shouting for politicians to step up to the plate. A few loud mouths resort to bullying as they promote themselves as ultimate power. The world is noisy. Some men, women, and children hide.

Fight or Flight is a human response to fear. (And sometime Freeze). Fear weakens us. Look around and watch how susceptible we are to following what is popular or loudest. In a moment of panic we may just follow the crowd off a cliff.

And the 1?

After the birds’ great exodus, one young deer ventured into the yard. It saw the berry bush close to the house and dove into red, lush pleasures. Branch after branch, the reckless deer munched, oblivious to how far he had wandered from the safety of the woods.

It too was jittery, and now and then the deer’s whole body shook. Instinctively, it knows the answer to danger is to run. I have no idea what it heard, thought it saw, or smelled that caused those legs to jump, change direction mid-air, and sprint so fast from the berry bush. It’s too bad, because no one would hurt the deer in my backyard. Everything inside his being told him to flee.

He missed out on a great dinner with seconds and dessert. How many times fear interrupts our joy, too! We love only to a point, receive love cautiously, trust at arms’ length, and believe we are always in danger of a broken heart. So we run before we can experience the best parts of life.

62 plus 1 reasons to challenge and overcome our fears. Look around and inside yourself. Observe. Ask God to show you what are your fears and the way out of them. You can know inner solidity and deep peace.

1muxnjToday’s Helpful Word

Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.