Journey Forward Workbook

The Truth About Emotional Health: Part 1

Want to know the truth about emotional health? I think we all want to know what we can do to have it and keep it. No one really enjoys being in an emotional spiral or even an emotional swirl. We like it best when we are stable, when life around us is stable, and we have a sense of all is well. Unfortunately, that is not reality. And that is the first truth.

Accepting the hard moments or hard days is necessary for experiencing emotional health. Emotional health is not synonymous with emotional neutrality. Living in a narrow range of emotion with no high or low is denying reality. Life is full of pain, hardship, uncertainty, disappointment as well as exuberance, explosive joy, and celebration. Actually feeling the rhythms of life is not being bipolar. If you find yourself so low you cannot get out of bed for several days in a row and at others so high you don’t sleep at night for several days in a row while rearranging your home for instance, it’s possible you are bipolar and you may need an evaluation. The normal highs and lows of life however are not a cause for alarm. But many of us don’t like those highs and lows. What’s your alternative? To live in a restricted response to life around you and that is not emotional health. You are stunting your true experience. 

To enlist the first truth of emotional health, start noticing what you are feeling. Allow the feeling to be there for as long as you are comfortable with it. Name it. Are you feeling sad, discouraged, disgusted, pissed off, concerned, unsure, afraid, content, excited…? Notice the full expression of the emotion in your body not just the cognition of it. If you are feeling pissed off, what does it feel like in your body? Be aware of its physical sensation. Simply let it be there. You don’t need to do anything with it, just notice and let it pass, like a wave.

For some, allowing emotion to be fully experienced is unsettling and may even trigger such an extreme connection that you feel out of control, like the emotion is going to take you over. If that’s the case, don’t feel it. Shut it down. Anchor yourself to the given moment: My feet are touching the ground, I can see the clock on the wall, I hear it ticking, I am right here in this room. Then, find a good counselor to help you with processing your emotion.

Sometimes, especially with sadness tied to grief and loss, it feels so strong that we cannot sleep well or we sleep too much, our appetite changes, our interest in things we once enjoyed disappears, we have lethargy, maybe even an increase in anger. These are all signs of depression. Depression can be situational: I lost my job, I’m going through a breakup or divorce, my child died, I have cancer. It can also be a physiological issue in your brain. For both, see a counselor and a medical provider. You may benefit from working through the situation with a counselor and taking medication, either to help you through a really challenging time or to help balance your body’s chemical production. 

To sum up this truth: feeling deep feelings is normal, being neutral all the time is not emotional health. Sometimes we do feel too deeply and we can serve ourselves well to get that checked out by a counselor and a medical provider. If looking for a counselor, check out your insurance for covered providers or PsychologyToday.com. You can put in parameters for location, insurance they take, therapy techniques they use, and more. 

If you can’t wait for the rest of this series, check out my book: The Journey Forward Workbook: Daily Steps to Achieve Emotional Balance and Healthier Relationships or my course The Journey Forward Workbook Series

Categories: Acceptance, awareness, Emotional Healing, emotions, Growth, Journey Forward Workbook, Recovery, Self-Help, The Truth About Emotional Health | Leave a comment

Dreaming Of A _________ Christmas

Fill in the blank. What kind of Christmas or Holidays are you dreaming of? What kind is actually happening? For some the answer is exactly what you’re dreaming of. For others, it’s not at all what you’re dreaming of. I have been dreaming of a Christmas where Anna comes home to Colorado from North Carolina. I’m dreaming of smooth sailing, few challenges and a time of joyous reunion. I’m not so sure that’s going to happen. Anna is back in the hospital again. She has RSV and an area of fluid in her chest cavity that is infected. Surgery helped remove some of the fluid, and chest tubes will hopefully draw out the rest. Anitbiotics and an anitviral are on board to battle the infection and RSV. This hospitalization is a setback…or perhaps it will help Anna really move forward. That fluid has been an issue since she got her transplant. Now that it is finally draining, maybe she’ll be able to fully heal. We don’t really know…we know what’s happening now which is she’s in the hospital and getting the care she needs.

Sometimes our dreams are exactly what we get, and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes it’s up to us to make our dreams happen and sometimes there isn’t anything we can do. Being aware of the type of situation you are in and how you feel in the midst of it is critical to your emotional and physical health. Awareness and acknowledgement help you decide what you can do. Maybe there isn’t anything you can actually do to change your situation but you can always enlist self care and connection with others in the midst of it. Don’t know how to do that? One action you can take is to purchase my WORKBOOK or take my recently released VIDEO COURSE.

NOTE: The link for the video course will take you to a site called Teachable where I am hosting my courses. Currently I have two options available: A free mini course on Awareness and the full course. Try out the free Awareness course with no obligation from you…who doesn’t want something for free?!

Categories: Acceptance, awareness, Journey Forward Workbook, Recovery, self care, Self-Help | Tags: | Leave a comment

Journey Forward For Life Test Group

cover againI have been using this blog to notify you of upcoming videos that will be available on my website. Every day gets us closer to the release date. We’re working out the kinks and are ever so close to being ready. I’m going to be creating a Test Group, people who are interested in being guinea pigs. There will be a limited number of spots available in the Test Group. If you are part of  the Test Group, you will get free access to the videos in exchange for feedback. If you are interested in being part of my Test Group, you actually need to be on my email/newsletter list. If you haven’t already signed up to receive my newsletter click on the button

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Categories: Journey Forward Workbook, Self-Help | Leave a comment

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Neural Pathways

cover againTo get to this blog, you may have turned on your computer or picked up your phone, took the steps to get onto Facebook and perused people’s posts. You did most of this, if not all, without really thinking about what you were doing. That’s an example of a neural pathway. Neural pathways are these cool connections in your brain that get developed over time as you are exposed more and more to a stimulus and response. They can be for knowledge, like cat is spelled C-A-T or ‘gato’ is the Spanish word for cat. They can be for behaviors, like when you criticize me I get defensive.

It takes a lot of repetition for a neural pathway to become like a default setting: something you do without needing to consciously think about it. It’s a lot like cutting a new path in the rainforest. It takes a long time and a lot of work for a path to be well worn and easy to find. Anytime you want to change a behavior or learn something new, you will have to be very intentional about it for awhile. We get frustrated when we are trying to change because we keep doing the old unwanted behavior. Be gentle with yourself. Remember it takes time to cut a new path in the rainforest. 🙂

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website: Journey Forward for Life. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

Categories: Growth, Journey Forward Workbook, neural pathways, Self-Help | Leave a comment

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Community

cover againSome of us like to live in solitude. It’s easier. Unfortunately easier isn’t always best.  I know this all too well. I have a strong pull toward independence and isolation. I prefer to do things alone and keep to myself. Sadly, this is also a primary reason I got involved in an affair about nine years ago. There wasn’t just one reason for the choices I made, but isolation from true community was one of them. Ironically, I was around more people than I am now but they only knew the surface parts of me. The parts I was comfortable sharing. The parts that got involved in an affair were not being revealed to others…bad choices are conceived in darkness.

Today, I know it’s critical that I share the deepest darkest parts of me with people who are my cheerleaders and advisors. These are people in my Inner Circle. I know my Inner Circle people well and they know me. I can trust them with anything. Some people are in the Middle Zone. I am getting to know them and determining whether or not they are Inner Circle people. Some are in the Periphery. It’s the safest place for me to keep them because they are either too distant for me to deeply connect with or they have proven themselves untrustworthy.

How about you? Who are the people in your circles? If you don’t have any Inner Circle friends, consider taking steps to change that. Healthy community is crucial for our growth!

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

Categories: Journey Forward Workbook, Relationships, Self-Help | 2 Comments

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Community

Some of us like to live in solitude. It’s easier. Unfortunately easier isn’t always best.  I know this all too well. I have a strong pull toward independence and isolation. I prefer to do things alone and keep to myself. Sadly, this is also a primary reason I got involved in an affair about nine years ago. There wasn’t just one reason for the choices I made, but isolation from true community was one of them. Ironically, I was around more people than I am now but they only knew the surface parts of me. The parts I was comfortable sharing. The parts that got involved in an affair were not being revealed to others…bad choices are conceived in darkness.

Today, I know it’s critical that I share the deepest darkest parts of me with people who are my cheerleaders and advisors. These are people in my Inner Circle. I know my Inner Circle people well and they know me. I can trust them with anything. Some people are in the Middle Zone. I am getting to know them and determining whether or not they are Inner Circle people. Some are in the Periphery. It’s the safest place for me to keep them because they are either too distant for me to deeply connect with or they have proven themselves untrustworthy.

How about you? Who are the people in your circles? If you don’t have any Inner Circle friends, consider taking steps to change that. Healthy community is crucial for our growth!

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website: Journey Forward for Life. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

Categories: Journey Forward Workbook, Relationships, Self-Help | Leave a comment

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Self Care

cover againSelf care is a critical practice most of us long to enact but few of us have the time…at least that’s what we say. Reality is, you actually don’t have the time not to use self care. Without self care, you sabotage and run yourself into the ground. Self care is something you do that restores you physically, mentally and spiritually. Not all self care activities address all areas of need, but some do. Not to be missed are the basics like adequate rest, nourishing food, basic hygiene, shelter, clothing and exercise. Once those are met, it’s important to add in at least a few minutes a day of additional self care. Think through activities that you enjoy, that relax you, that fill you up. Write them down and keep a running list. That way, when you’re not sure what to do you can look at what you have already discovered.

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

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Categories: awareness, Journey Forward Workbook, Self-Help | Leave a comment

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Codependency & Boundaries

cover againCodependency and boundaries go together like exhaustion and sleep. Essentially, boundaries are the antidote to codependency. Codependency has many nuances but in a nutshell it is thinking for others. If you are codependent it could be that you think you know what others want from you and function in a way to get their approval. It may be that you rescue, save or solve for others, believing it’s out of the kindness of your heart, but deep down it’s your way of gaining a sense of purpose or validation. Most people, if not all, have some codependent traits.

When it comes to boundaries, the most obvious is your skin. You are responsible for everything from the outermost layer of your skin, in. Our skin literally separates us from others. You are not responsible for others, unless they are incapable of caring for themselves, for instance, your three year old child but not your 30 year old! Boundaries also clarify what you like and don’t like. You develop a clear sense of who you are. This clear understanding is not based on what others want from you (or what you think they might want from you) but on what you want or think or agree with or…

Use your Awareness skills to notice when you are being codependent and begin to define where you begin and end.

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website: Journey Forward for Life. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

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Categories: Boundaries, co-dependency, Journey Forward Workbook, Self-Help | Leave a comment

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Processing Thoughts & Emotions

When we are willing to take the time to process through our emotions and thoughts, we give ourselves a gift. It’s the gift of time before reacting. So often we react instantaneously without slowing down and thinking through what’s going on within ourselves. The very first step in processing thoughts and emotions is from Tip #1: Awareness. You have to know what you are feeling and thinking in order to process them.

The process is fairly basic. Identify your thoughts and emotions. Understand how they are connected. Put your thoughts through the fact-checker filter. If it’s not based on fact and is a created story, it’s generally best to let go of the thought. If the thought is based in truth and reality, allow yourself to feel the accompanying emotion for a time. Find out where you have some responsibility or power regarding the situation and take appropriate action (keep it healthy, legal and wise!). If there’s not much you can do, enact self care (again, keep it healthy, legal and wise!).

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website: Journey Forward for Life. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

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Categories: Journey Forward Workbook, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Self-Help | Leave a comment

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Awareness

Awareness is the foundation to any change you want to make. Focusing your attention on your mind and body will help you become aware of what you are doing and why you are doing it. When you understand what you are doing, saying, not doing, or not saying, you have a much better chance at actually changing.

Awareness involves giving attention to what you are thinking, emotions you are feeling and body sensations you are experiencing, without judgment. As you notice a thought, let’s say it’s anger, your role is not to judge the anger or tell yourself you shouldn’t be angry.  If you feel tension in your lower back, stay away from reprimanding yourself for not exercising. If you are thinking your boss is an idiot, stay away from shaming yourself. At the awareness phase, it’s all about noticing, just noticing. Awareness without judgment. In the change process, there’s a place for deciding what you want to do about your thought, emotion or body sensation, but it’s not in the awareness phase.

Begin taking time each day simply to notice yourself. Notice your thoughts, emotions and body sensations without judgement. For some, writing these observations down is helpful, for others it’s not. Do what works for you. The most important piece is that you notice and grow in your awareness of yourself.

I’m super excited (emotion) about a new video series I have created (thought). I am aware of a bubbly feeling in my body (body sensation).  It’s the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website: Journey Forward for Life. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button

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Categories: awareness, Journey Forward Workbook, Self-Help | Leave a comment

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