Friday, July 11, 2014

Patience : A Blessing Delayed but not Denied!


It's been some time since I have been here...In the time that I was away not a lot has change...Everyday is still a press. I am determined not to quit even though there are times when I can not see pass the pain as it is so prevelant on a day to day basis. ( I am referring to the physical pain that goes along with the Fibromyalgia as well as the side effects from my surgery last September)
I have not lost my faith in God because he has done so much for me...He still answers prayers and continues to show himself mighty by answering prayers. 

I have not been able to work since the beginning of the year due to the increased demands of my job and my ongoing issues with pain and being so tired.. I have to admit that some days are discouraging but I know that brighter days are ahead and I take one day at a time.

I went ahead and filed for my disability Social Security. I am not sure how all of this will go as it is a long journey trying to go through all the red tape ( procedures) that goes along with filing for social security.  I have done a lot of research on the process but I do realize that every case is handled differently.

For this journey, in all instances requires Patience: Patience, does not come  easy,  but it is a skill / attribute that can be achieved.

 Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.
( self-restraint)



Monday, February 24, 2014

Keeping the Faith


The last couple of weeks have been just a little trying. I have been to the several different doctor appointments as well as ER visits.  I have been having increased pain episodes as well as problems keeping my pressure under control... At my most recent ER visit, they gave me a new high blood pressure medication to help with managing the elevations in my pressure. I was also referred to one of the local heart doctors for additional testing to rule out any medical conditions with my heart.  

 I am reassured in my faith in God and realize that no matter what is going on that I have to trust God and know that he is in charge. I have been through so many things and he as not left me without a witness of his power and might. With each passing day, I am able to see him working on my behalf. Just in the simple things of getting up in the morning to having the ability to go and come without incident. By his grace, I am still here and for that I am most grateful!

On last week, I started a new process of drinking more water along with detoxing...The purpose of this is to clean out the impurities in my system and I would like to share. 
Acording to the word, it is God's desire for us to be in good health.. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 1:2)
In order to be in health, we we must take control of what we put in our bodies....

I found this recipe (and take not credit,but am willing to share)
Recipe 1
-2 liters of water
-1 medium cucumber
-1 lemon
-10-12 mint leaves
(I added strawberries for additional flavor)
Steep overnight and drink everyday....

Recipe 2
-1.5 liters of water
-1 tsp cranberry juice
-2 tsp lemon juice 
-1skinnyMe Acai tea bag
Mix all together and sip through out the day..

....give these recipes a try and let me know what if any changes you experience and always remember to pray and ask God for guidance in your situation and most of all don't lose your faith!

*Disclaimer: always consult your medical care provider as these are my thoughts and views on how to cope with chronic pain.  
Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is characterised by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure).[1] Its exact cause is unknown but is believed to involve psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors.[2][

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Laughter is a Good like a Medicine......

How often do you laugh in a day?.....or do you laugh? Or do you just let the pressures of life  and your day to day situations get you down.... Did you know that it takes more muscles and energy to frown than it does to smile? 

All writers look for inspiration when they write.   So on tonight, I have to give cordite for my subject due to two totally different situations. One was my lesson tonight in bible study lead by my Pastor that always gives us a word for our souls on on mid-week service.    He is totally led by the spirit of God and knows just what to say ... For that I am so greatful..

My other inspiration comes from a dear friend that I had a phone conversation with last night ....it was very uplifting and she also helped me with her positive attitude and wonderful spirit and she to listens to God and always know just what to say at the appropriate time.  It is good to surround yourself around spirit-filled people. 

Everyone of us should just take a few minutes and just laugh....take a few minutes now to just think about the funniest think that has happened to you or a loved one..... (Now laugh out loud .....it okay(lol)

Life is too short to not to enjoy it....Focus on the positives in your life and look for the beauty in everything....

"There is a growing body of research indicating that a good guffaw may improve immune function, help lower blood pressure, boost mood and reduce stress and depression. And despite a dearth of more rigorous, long-term studies, the sum of these findings is compelling, says cardiologist Michael Miller, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who has researched the topic."( feel free to review the full study)




The word says: Genesis 1( feel free to read the entire chapter) " in the beginning God created Heaven....and good said let there be light and there was light. And God saw light, that it was good and God divided the light from darkness....
As the word says...God saw that the light was Good...in the beginning he set the stage for us to know to look towards the light and he separated the two...and still today we have have the ability to see the difference in light and darkness in our lives....We can choose to go towards the light or to stay or to focus on the dark and sad places in our lives.... God created a design in the beginning and if we follow his design and plan we will be victorious in our lives and when you are victorious you do not have a problem laughing and being happy...

So my challenge to you is to laugh and be happy....Look for the beauty and the positives in your life. Look toward the light and not the darkness in your life...we all reasons or situation to frown but you look better when you smile!!! And it will help you to feel better

" LAUGHTER doeth good like a Medicine"

Disclaimer: Fibromyalgia is chronic wide spread pain....please check with your doctor for pain management and a formal diagnosis to receive additional information on how to cope. These are my thoughts and views. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A family affair: Moving forward with Hope



2013 has come and gone...our family as been through many changes/challenges during this year but we never lost our "Hope"   We kept the faith and God kept us....although everything may not be in place as we desire or just how we want them to be: we must remember that God has the final say....Everyday I am gaining new strength through him to take the next step in living a victorious life....I am more than a conquer through him that gives a peace that surpasses all understanding...

A few months ago, I had a major surgery and continue to struggle in my physical body, but with God all things are possible. On a day to day basis, I am able to get things done that I need to because of the strength that I get from him above...I appreciate God for always taking care of our family and giving us what we need..... 
In the next few months, I am looking forward to better things to happen and will share the blessings of God with you to try to keep you encouraged as well as myself....


Many people suffer with chronic illness such as myself and sometime just a positive word helps you to know that brighter days are ahead....so keep your head up high...keep the faith and continue to look to God....Stay positive about your situation...surround yourself around postive people....the best is yet to come...declare and decree that this is your best year.....most of all get closer to God as he is the author and finisher of or Faith!



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reflections:: Oh give thanks...

Often times we may find it difficult to see pass the pain....You and I may not have the same pain...I mostly deal with physical pain due to health issues but on today I refuse to focus on even though it is so real and present.  You may deal with the same type of pain or you may have emotional pain due to heart break....but today as this is the Season of Thanks....let us just take a few minutes to reflect on the good in our lives and all the many blessing that have been bestowed on us and our families. Now just take a few minutes to just Breathe.....GOD IS GOOD ALL BY HIMSELF....He gives us life....He supplies all our needs...
When you go about your day today...Do not forget to take a moment to just look around and observe how the season is changing...The trees colors are so beautiful and a sign that the seasons are changing. Just as the trees are a sign of the changes, reflect over your life and your situation look for the signs and signals in your life that a change is coming to your situation. Make sure you are in tune with God and what he is doing right now in your life and prepare for the change...Do not let your season pass you by for it had been set for an appointed time.



So just be thankful today as it is Thankful Thursday....Oh give thanks unto The Lord for he is good: for His mercy endureth for ever! Psalms 136:1
                                    



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

You can be happy even with physical pain....mind over matter

So it's been a little when since my last post.....I am trying to get back in to doing my regular activities...most days it's  not easy, but I try my best to maintain a positive attitude. Most of all I trust God and know where my help comes from... I heard something today put the facts where your faith are....I am always looking for a word into my situation and also and avenue to share because I know that is someone that is worse off then me....

                             

Today,  I also want to share a article that I found to help increase your personal happiness..
I did not write this article. I am only sharing as I thought these were some good tips for people like yes show deal either physical pain and discomfort where the simple things in life become a chore and one feels they can no longer find pleasure!

Happy reading retrieved from the HuffPost. Hope these tools and research will help you on your journey to feeling better and as always before any new routines or changes, address your concerns with your MD for appropriate feedback..
THE BLOG

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science


2013-11-11-happiness.jpg

Happiness is so interesting, because we all have different ideas about what it is and how to get it. It's also no surprise that it's the Nr.1 value for Buffer's culture, if you see ourslidedeck about it. So naturally we are obsessed with it.

I would love to be happier, as I'm sure most people would, so I thought it would be interesting to find some ways to become a happier person that are actually backed up by science. Here are ten of the best ones I found.

1. Exercise more - 7 minutes might be enough You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. So if you thought exercise was something you didn't have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all.

Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it's actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor's book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:

The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!

 

You don't have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don't lose any weight.

study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes:

Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 mins exercise and 6 × 40 mins reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.

We've explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier, as you can see in the image below.


2. Sleep more - you'll be less sensitive to negative emotions

We know that sleep helps our bodies to recover from the day and repair themselves, and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out, it's also important for our happiness.

In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects our positivity:

Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like "cancer." But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like "sunshine" or "basket."

The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task over the course of a day, the researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive late in the day to negative emotions like fear and anger.

Using a face recognition task, here we demonstrate an amplified reactivity to anger and fear emotions across the day, without sleep. However, an intervening nap blocked and even reversed this negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear while conversely enhancing ratings of positive (happy) expressions.

Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day. Especially this graph showing how your brain activity decreases is a great insight about how important enough sleep is for productivity and happiness:

make yourself happier

Another study tested how employees' moods when they started work in the morning affected their work day.

Researchers found that employees' moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers' moods.

And most importantly to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.

Sleep is another topic we've looked into before, exploring how much sleep we really need to be productive.

3. Move closer to work - a short commute is worth more than a big house

Our commute to the office can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to do this twice a day, five days a week, makes it unsurprising that its effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.

According to The Art of Manliness, having a long commute is something we often fail to realize will affect us so dramatically:

... while many voluntary conditions don't affect our happiness in the long term because we acclimate to them, people never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it's not. Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, "Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day."

We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don't work:

Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.

4. Spend time with friends and family - don't regret it on your deathbed

Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. If you want more evidence that it's beneficial for you, I've found some research that proves it can make you happier right now.

Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel, generally.

I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:

We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almostall the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.

George Vaillant is the director of a 72-year study of the lives of 268 men.

In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, "What have you learned from the Grant Study men?" Vaillant's response: "That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."

He shared insights of the study with Joshua Wolf Shenk at The Atlantic on how the men's social connections made a difference to their overall happiness:

The men's relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics states than your relationships are worth more than $100,000:

Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

I think that last line is especially fascinating: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as if we increased the strength of our social relationships.

The Terman study, which is covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:

We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest.

Surprise: our prediction was wrong... Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.

5. Go outside - happiness is maximized at 13.9°C

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:

Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory...

This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.

A UK study from the University of Sussex also found that being outdoors made people happier:

Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.

The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found thathappiness is maximized at 13.9°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.

The connection between productivity and temperature is another topic we've talked about more here. It's fascinating what a small change in temperature can do.

6. Help others - 100 hours a year is the magical number

One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is theoptimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.

If we go back to Shawn Achor's book again, he says this about helping others:

...when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities--such as concerts and group dinners out--brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called "prosocial spending," also boosts happiness.

The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:

Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.

So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. What about spending our time on other people? A study of volunteering in Germanyexplored how volunteers were affected when their opportunities to help others were taken away:

 Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before the German reunion, the first wave of data of the GSOEP was collected in East Germany. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. sports clubs associated with firms) collapsed and people randomly lost their opportunities for volunteering. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.

In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:

...we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.

7. Practice smiling - it can alleviate pain

Smiling itself can make us feel better, but it's more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:

A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts - such as a tropical vacation or a child's recital - improve their mood and withdraw less.

Of course it's important to practice "real smiles" where you use your eye sockets. It's very easy to spot the difference:

make yourself happier smiling

According to PsyBlogsmiling can improve our attention and help us perform better on cognitive tasks:

Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.

A smile is also a good way to alleviate some of the pain we feel in troubling circumstances:

Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don't feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition).

One of our previous posts goes into even more detail about the science of smiling.

8. Plan a trip - but don't take one

As opposed to actually taking a holiday, it seems that planning a vacation or just a break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal, Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as employees enjoyed the sense of anticipation:

In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.

After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.

Shawn Achor has some info for us on this point, as well:

One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent.

If you can't take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar--even if it's a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.

9. Meditate - rewire your brain for happiness

Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out it's also useful for improving your happiness:

In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants' brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.

Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it's been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier live. I believe that this graphic explains it the best:

calming-mind-brain-waves make yourself happier

According to Shawn Achor, meditation can actually make you happier long-term:

Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.

The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn't permanent.

We've explored the topic of meditation and it's effects on the brain in-depth before. It's definitely mind-blowing what this can do to us.

10. Practice gratitude - increase both happiness and life satisfaction

This is a seemingly simple strategy, but I've personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you're grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.

In an experiment where some participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:

The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.

The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that used letters of gratitude to test how being grateful can affect our levels of happiness:

Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period.

Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants' happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms.

For further reading, check out 7 Simple productivity tips you can apply today, backed by science, which goes even deeper into what we can do to be more grateful.

Quick last fact: Getting older will make yourself happier

As a final point, it's interesting to note that as we get older, particularly past middle age, we tend to grow happier naturally. There's still some debate over why this happens, but scientists have got a few ideas:

Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.

Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods -- for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing.

So if you thought being old would make you miserable, rest assured that it's likely you'll develop a more positive outlook than you probably have now.

Want to chat about this article? Leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.

Oh and before I forget, we've recently launched the new Buffer for Business. Take a look, it's the most powerful Buffer yet to help you better manage your social media everywhere.

If you liked this post, you might also like "10 of the most controversial productivity tips that actually work" and "A scientific guide to saying "no": How to avoid temptation and distraction"

Photo credit: Spencer FinnleyChuck HillmanClifford Saper (Harvard),


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mind over what really Matters:17 years in the making.....

Though the days have not always been easy....It is very important to keep up with the things that matter the most...I have been trying to get back to the normal hussel of life, but it has been a chore...With each day there are new challenges that I must over come but I am very thankful for each new day....I tell myself that even with the pain, I am still here to see my family and my children and that is a blessing in it's self....It could be worse....so still I smile....on thus past Sunday we out as a family after service and took a few pictures as Saturday was our Anniversary. Each day I activate my faith and trust God to get me through the tough times and trust him to get me to the Brighter Days as I know that Brighter Days are ahead ! 
My daughters' had to assist in getting the shots that I am about to share...Special Shout out girls!



And still I Smile.....