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Even if things are going well, there’s a lot to do: presents to buy, cards to mail, schedules disrupted by fun stuff that somehow can feel a little like a burden. And if things aren’t going well – you’re alone, you’re broke or unemployed – the holidays can be a real setup for unhappiness. No wonder that stress, anxiety and depression run rampant this time of year.
Stop and take a breath. First, know that if you’ve got the blues, you’ve also got lots of company. Feeling melancholy during the holidays doesn’t make you some sort of freak, even if everyone else looks happy and …gay. One of the things that make the holiday blues more painful is feeling like you shouldn’t feel that way! This doesn’t mean seasonal stress is something insignificant. Far from it. Here are some suggestions:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Wishing You A Wonderful Thanksgiving
We'll be back on
Monday, November 27th
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Human beings crave experiences that take us beyond our everyday routines. If we want more out of life, we will want to look at patterns that are holding us back right now. We need to go beyond the ordinary from time to time and get caught up in something that feels bigger than we are. Getting beyond our sense of individual isolation that feeds our souls.
Sex does it for a number of us, and that’s what most people associate with the word passion. Some of us find passion in work; some of us find it in involvement with something bigger than ourselves. Some of us get to a transcendent place when we are dancing the night away – connecting with the beat, with others, losing our sense of ourselves as separated from the environment around us. What are you passionate about?
My friend Jim says he never feels more alive than when he is out on the dance floor – shirt off, sweaty, glowing, his body feeling alive and juicy. Spiritual experiences are often felt in the body as a subtle connection between the physical self and the emotional self. It can feel hard to explain to others; we may even feel a little embarrassed trying to describe what we are feeling. Modern English doesn’t have good words to describe these experiences. Probably the best word is transcendence – a sense of moving beyond our isolated selves and into deeper connection with our entire self, other people or the world around us. We feel moved to a higher level. It’s hard to explain, but we know it when we get there.
So you’ve danced yourself stupid and you’re feeling blissed out. What happens when you leave the party? If everyday life is just a spacer between times when you can hit the dance floor, take a look at your spiritual life. Jim learned that he couldn’t order up transcendent experiences like he would order up a pizza. He found himself feeling depressed on occasion.
[ continued from yesterday ]
Introducing ourselves and speaking to people that we don’t know is difficult for shy people - mainly because they’ve learned to fear rejection. They are overwhelmed by a sense of awkwardness and don’t know what to do. That anxiety can be so paralyzing that these men and women avoid trying anything new or speaking to people they don’t already know.
Their fear of rejection makes their world smaller. Rejection isn’t fatal, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem at the time. The problem is often what therapists call “catastrophic thinking” – a belief that it would be unbearably awful if rejection occurred. But is being turned down for a job or a date really lethal? Of course not. The consequences are far worse if you choose to take yourself out of the social game because you’re terrified of being turned down.
If you’re afraid of rejection – and most people are – why not practice getting really good at it? Realize that each rejection means that you’re succeeding in extending yourself and doing something challenging. Each time you experience it you’re actually getting closer to your goal of expanding your circle of friends, of getting that job that you want, of meeting your goals and succeeding in life. Tolerating a little rejection is a small price to pay for getting more of what you want in your life.
If you’re not doing well at meeting people in your current routine, try changing things. Too many people rely on the usual standbys – bars and the gym – for meeting people and striking up conversation. Try joining a club or organization, where you’ll find more things in common that can be conversation starters. Or get a cute dog and head to the park on a sunny afternoon!
( continued from yesterday )
Self-doubt and self-criticism are at the root of much shyness. We have mistaken beliefs (“Everyone’s looking at me!”) that hold is back.These beliefs keep us from having the sort of meaningful, intimate relationships we want. A good first step is to notice the self-talk going on all the time between your ears. Recognize negative voices that give you critical, defeatist messages. Once you start to recognize them you’re no longer on autopilot. A thought is not the same thing as a reality....
You can begin to assert some control. A good place to start is simply by labeling the thought, perhaps saying to yourself, “That’s just a thought.” Avoid arguing with the voice in your head. And certainly don’t compound the problem by yelling at yourself! “I’m an idiot for having such negative thoughts!” is really just another negative thought.
Try paying special attention to thoughts that include words like always, never, should, etc. These are rarely true and often just cause us more anxiety. And look for other ridiculous thoughts. Everyone is not always looking at you, for instance.
Changing patterns requires patience and practice. Don’t criticize yourself. See if you can work up some self-encouragement instead.