Archive for the 'Healthy Living' Category

Consider change as an invitation to freedom

September 21, 2011
posted by Admin

The temperature outside drops! The leaves change their colors! Squirrels hide their nut-food in the soil. Autumn is here! It is the changing of the seasons – the time to look at our own response to change and transitions.
Like nature, life is in a constant state of change! The seasons, the weather, the political environment even our immediate home environment is ripe for continual change. I believe it is our human nature to fight change! We kick and scream, like the kindergartener or First grader who doesn’t want to go to school and leave the safety of home and mom and dad. Or what about the middle aged female that goes and receives Botox injections, because the idea of having and seeing wrinkles on her face upset her. She doesn’t want to realize she is getting older. Or what about the college kid who gets sick right before going off to college. Or the middle-aged male who spends a great deal of money on a hot car or motorcycle and ignores the reality of his own aging reflexes. There is no difference between the kindergartener, the middle-aged female, the college kid or the middle-aged male.
How if we see change as an invitation to grow and learn more about ourselves, our likes and dislikes, our hopes and dreams? How if we see the demand for change as a call to pay attention to something more important than our need in the moment?
Change expands our minds and hearts. It opens us, like the opening of an oyster to reveal the translucent beauty of a pearl. It is the feeling one receives when they are driving to something they want to do and a rainbow unexpectedly appears in the sky. There is the potential for a serendipitous adventure if we open to that moment and not fight what we fear is coming.
So the next time you notice a red, orange or yellow leaf falling from a tree or the sun setting or you notice that your child has grown an inch this summer realize in that special moment that change is in the air and is inviting you to learn about your reaction to it!

In the moment summer

July 13, 2011
posted by Admin

It is mid-July. The summer has flown by along with the spring. Both clouds and rain swept away the Spring flowers. Was I not watching the action? Had I fallen asleep at the wheel of my life during this time? Why was I not enjoying what was right in front of my face when Spring was there in all of its glory. Do I realize that life is in the details of the moment? When I thoughtlessly toss those details away then there really isn’t much else to enjoying life . This is a true lesson on enjoying the detail of the moment in the moment when it occurs. I cannot replace or resurrect the Spring, but I can look for those precious few moments that exist in this an eternal Summer.
So let me share with you a few joys that may inspire you to more deeply enrich the humdrum routine of your summer days.
• A two year old building a sand castle in his sandbox and sticking two twigs in the top of it. He then sang Happy Birthday to his Grandmother who lives far away, but whose birthday he remembered.
• A 11 year old excited about being “ungrounded” after her parents admitted that maybe three months of “grounding” was a little extreme for a child in this age group and that the punishment was too extreme.
• A packed shore-line of beach goers enjoying the beautiful, sunny, luscious summer day with just the right temperature water.

So now, go out and look for and enjoy your own summer moments!

Giving ourselves permission

May 26, 2011
posted by Admin

When we are little guys and gals, we entertain all different kinds of dreams. We picture fun things to do. We idealize certain people and situations. We want to become a ___________ (fill in the blank). As little kids, we want to feel less small and more powerful! We want to explore what it means to become our own version of a Super Hero. However, as we get older, we come up against the obstacles that interfere with what we want to attain in life. The promise of realizing ours dreams are often dashed and before you know it, a sense of disappointment takes over. We feel led down a path of certain failure. All the doors of opportunity and dreams appear closed to us!
As we grow older, we tend to be closed to our dream possibilities. We protect ourselves from the hurt and pain that we felt as a little kid. We fear feeling our original disappointment and we do not want to look back on our original dreams. We are afraid to open ourselves to possibilities and the chance to build something brand new in our life. In our self-conversations, we ask, “Why did I ever think that I could have what I wanted? We deny ourselves what we long for, mostly out of habit and fear. Without our fullest awareness, we bathe in our helpless, powerless feelings. We tell ourselves we cannot have what we want.
But what if we were to revisit the place of our original dreams? What if we took up a hobby or sport that we have a vague memory of enjoying and we felt passionately about it? As adults, why do we so easily toss away stuff that feels like pure play to us?
I grew up with a piano in my home. I always had a desire to play it. But I kept this as a secret. Coming from a large family and understanding the financial strain my parents were under, I never verbalized my desire to play it. I felt like what is the use. I knew that I would be turned down and disappointed if I had asked my parents for lessons. The lonely piano stood un-played against a wall in our dining room for years.
Recently, I’ve re-discovered my original yearning! I realized that it was connected to my love for classical music. So, each day I sit and practice classical pieces that my piano teacher has assigned. I have the experience of magic flowing through my fingertips. Sometimes, when I play, I spontaneously cry. Why? I think it is because I am following through with a yearning to reconnect with a lost, past love. By uncovering that which was buried, I have re-connected to a part of myself that brings me pure joy!

What to do when tragedy strikes?

May 16, 2011
posted by Admin

Every day, in my office I hear words, I listen to phrases and I try to capture a section, a moment, an event of a person’s life. Not in a sensational or dramatic way, but rather in a way where I am able to break down all the various parts of a person’s interaction with a significant other or the critical timing of events in a patient’s daily life. Inevitably, in listening to all of these individual moments in any one meeting, I come up against my own uncomfortable feelings of helping a patient “face” a mini-tragedy (like losing a wallet or ring) or at times, a life-changing tragedy (like death of a family member or loss of a job). Our knees quiver and shake when we come face to face with tragedy. Of course, as the professional, the patient looks to me for answers. But, I plain and simply don’t know what to do. In short, I too feel helpless!
Our world is colored and painted with tragedy. Yet, as we go through our daily lives, we don’t expect tragedy to befall us. We often are surprised when someone is diagnosed with cancer or has a serious car accident. As we vigorously swim our way through the obstacles and problems of life, we will be forced to face tragedy. The reality is this is a natural part of being a human being! So here’s the question that begs asking: What if we were taught to slow down and develop an awareness that tragedy does exist in our world. At any one tragic moment, our bodies move into fight- flight response and our brain gets distracted and our hearts feel helpless. But what if we took that helplessness and followed it all the way out and simply just sat with it? What if we did nothing and simply decide to take a walk, breathe, pray or meditate or self-reflect? What if when tragedy struck we just sighed deeply and often. Or what if we spoke so softly to those we live with or softly and gently to ourselves. My guess is if we did these things we would open ourselves to the possibility of healing.

Short-term Forgiveness Therapy Groups to Start

April 25, 2011
posted by Admin

Jed Rosen, MSW, LCSW, an expert in Forgiveness Work and trained by Fred Luskin, author of Forgive for Good, will be starting short term Forgiveness Therapy Groups. These groups will focus on helping members “let go” of past hurts and grudges that stop them from moving on in their lives.
It is true that suffering is a part of life. When we hold on to our suffering, we emotionally cripple ourselves and impede our personal growth. Forgiveness therapy, as a cognitive behavioral approach, is a way of letting go of suffering that has not been resolved. The group participant will be able to sensitively explore the source of one’s suffering and receive guidance to let go of it.
Jed, a highly skilled and experienced group clinician, has been teaching Forgiveness for the past five years to groups of various sizes. This time around, groups will be short-term (5 weeks) and small to provide for more individualized attention to each member. Through his professional guidance, Jed will facilitate therapeutic connection and support among group members. The goal is to help each member move past the areas of their lives in which they have suffered for too long.
So, if you are “stuck” with a life partner, child, parent, boss or therapist this is the place to come! Come and learn how to let go of the suffering from difficult relationships, losses, mistreatment by others or by life, health problems, and career frustrations.
If you are interested in joining a group or know someone who would benefit from this type of group interaction, please contact Jed Rosen at (201) 825-3672 or email Jed directly at: jed.rosen@verizon.net

Keeping your anxiety manageable

April 25, 2011
posted by Admin

Anxiety is one of those states of mind that can creep up on us in subtle ways. We start off our work week, thinking that we are just going to easily move through it. We often believe and expect everything to be predictable. But then, a phone call upsets you and the one co-worker you get along with tells you that they are leaving and before you know you experience your week as going haywire! Without realizing it, your breath becomes shallow. You chalk it up to too much coffee. Then your spouse calls and tells you that your kid is sick! Ugh! What is an adult to do when overwhelmed by life’s daily occurrences?
The simplest thing to do is breathe slowly and deliberately. Focus on your very next breathe. Whether you are standing in line for lunch or driving somewhere, concentrate on the intake and output of each breath. This small act will slow down your heart rate. You will begin to feel more grounded and feel more in your own skin.
Write down what, which incident is upsetting you the most. Ask yourself, can you do anything about it? Can you send positive thoughts to your kid? Can you plan a time to speak with the colleague outside of work? Can you solve the phone call problem or must you just let go of it this moment and move onto something else that you might be able to successfully tackle?
Realize the items that you can do, something about and the ones that you can do nothing about. Let go of those things you have little or no control over. This is easier said than done! But certainly try to drop out of your mind those things that you cannot effectively tackle right now.
Accept the day for the challenges that has been presented to you. Be grateful that your day is one where you are being challenged to rise to a certain level. These times make us stronger. If all else fails, know that tomorrow is not that far away!

You do me Proud!

March 5, 2011
posted by Admin

There is something about the splendour of a human birth that brings out the best in all of us. Our witness of this event makes us hopeful and bold! We “ooh” and “ah” at this tiny human specimen, that resembles something of our past, present and future all in a blast of one moment of viewing. Recently, when one of our children gave birth to a “beautiful” 6 pound baby boy, we felt a surge of pride for this little guy, who appears single-handedly to want to take on the world. In all of his innocence and vulnerability, he lifts our spirits and gives us hope!
Think about it for a moment. Logically, there are probably a zillion reasons why a couple should not bring a child into this world. Poverty, pollution, war, famine, domestic violence, amber alerts, declining educational systems, bullying….I will stop here. There are so many negative energies in the universe that push against the wind and the drive/motivation and desire to have a child. Yet when the season is ripe and the desire is strong, couples push to either impregnate, surrogate or adopt! They just do it! Bravely, they block out the stark reality of sleepless nights and months of the physical labor of active parenting and the consistent, bad news of universal events and make this daring decision to bear a child and parent him or her. And they make this decision in the light of not having been fully parented themselves. They push back! They push-on – blazing their own trail, willing to make their own mistakes, not knowing what major or minor obstacles that lie ahead in this daunting task of parenting.
We take this step for granted! We assume that having a child, starting the next generation is a given. We automatically believe that our child should want a child of their own in the way that we wanted them. It very well maybe a mystery or over-riding biological drive or the delicate mixture of both that thrusts two adults to take on this awesome task!
So, the next time a mom, dad, grandparent, nanny with a baby in a stroller, backpack, sling or crib, comes across your path, absorb like a sponge, the wonder and hope of this unique, precious, sleepy or crying treasure! Kudos to brave parents everywhere, who cherish life enough to take this most dangerous, exhausting, exhilarating, and unknown step to raise a child in a world where danger lurks. You give us hope and you do us Proud!

Anxious?

March 4, 2011
posted by Admin

Do you wake up in the morning filled with dread or a quiet terror that the day is starting? Do you think it will pass if you jump out of bed and start your day? Or are you more likely to cover your head with the blankets or pillow and hoping and pretending that the morning has not quite arrived yet? Do you fear going to a party or traveling in unknown places? Do you fear new situations or illness or bugs? All of these fears can be generally listed under “anxiety.” The way I look at it you are either an anxious person or you are not. So for all of those anxious people out there…the reality is if you “cope” translate
“live with” your anxiety here are a list of antidotes that I recommend you try. None of these are new ideas, as I don’t believe I have to re-invent the wheel. But these are tried and true ways of correcting or distracting oneself from one’s own worries. This is not a complete list. But pick out one activity and run an experiment on yourself. You don’t even have to tell your therapist you are doing it. Just pick out one and try it.

So here’s the list to combat stress and anxiety and worries or whatever ails you in that category.

1. Relaxation Exercises: this is includes visualization, guided imagery and providing a safe place for your body and brain to relax for a short period. The goal is to slow down your breathing.

2. Breathing. Try taking a breath, long and slow. And then take another. Try to slow your breathing down breath by breath!

3. Take a beginning yoga class locally. Try a community yoga class.

4. Meditate! Put aside 5 minutes at night or first thing in the morning to sit still and listen to your breathing and clearing your mind!

5. Try to be creative. Paint, draw, sing, play an instrument, sculpt, mold. Do something that makes you feel highly inventive.

6. Learn how to relax your muscles. Lie down and as you follow your breath, scan your body with your mind’s eye and relax each area of your body section by section.

7. Plan a week or a weekend away! Don’t break the bank! Make it simple! Enjoy!

8. Listen to music that sings to your heart and calms your brain.

9. Find a pet and pet it! This experience releases endorphins that make us feel better.

10. When was the last time you experienced the feeling of getting your hands dirty in great, rich soil? Planting anything will ground you to the earth and return you to your rightful self.

11. Massage – We don’t utilize this approach to healing enough. One good massage can cure, and I mean cure a list of ills including our anxious self. If all you can handle is a sit-up back massage, try it. But it must be with trained someone that you can consistently trust.

12. Biofeedback.

13. Is the same old schedule boring you? Change it up….throw in a lunch with a friend or take an unplanned 20 minute walk.

14. When was the last time you walked through nature? No explanation needed here.

15. Practice Gratitude. Thank someone for something!

16. Practice Forgiveness. Whatever hurt you are holding onto is preventing you from living the rest of your life.

17. Water, water, water! Swimming in it, dreaming about it, walking along it…..is all good!

This list is not complete in and of itself. Certainly, professionals can medicate all of us into comatose states if that is what is needed. We need to discipline ourselves to utilize other natural means available to us. Happy searching for what works!

Finding that which brings us peace

February 5, 2011
posted by Admin

We are so accustomed to attaining a certain predictable control over our daily lives through all four seasons and their varying changes of weather, that we are deluded into thinking that we have full control over our daily lives. In this severe winter of snow, wind, ice and rain, we are not as in control as we think we are. Mother Nature has emerged as our life coach. And she is teaching us how we are not “in charge.” She and her cohorts, Inclement Weather, humble us each time! At the start of our busy, active day, we are unable to guarantee things, our schedule, delivery of services, and or our plans. We are totally dependent on the whims of Mother Nature. Whether we acknowledge it or not, our struggle for control this winter is with Her.
As we try to accommodate Mother Nature’s Will, we apparently experience a battle within ourselves. The more that Mother Nature tries to slow us down; the more we turn our energies to override her!. We try to keep up with what we have planned for the day or week only to know that it will collapse and that we will have to give-up what we want for something else. What happens if we stop the battle? What happens if we don’t heed Mother Nature’s message?
If we stop the battle, we can then turn to the Wisdom of Mother Nature. This is a time of hibernation and turning inward… a time of rest and restoration….a time of reflective listening to ourselves and those we live with….a time of spiritual hopefulness. If we just are able to let go of our attachment to activities and our self-imposed pace of life and focus on staying still within ourselves and listening to our own intuitive voice, we may just be able to renew and rejuvenate, restore and re-create, re-charge our bodies as well as our minds and hearts. Turning inward implies finding that which brings us peace. Maybe we have our priorities all wrong!

Valuing relationships before they end

January 25, 2011
posted by Admin

Today, I said goodbye to someone I love. It was very painful but mostly my heart ached. I felt for both of us as she granted me this last goodbye hug. I had expected this move…the sudden withdrawal….not returning phone calls. I knew that the separation was imminent and now it was here!
Up to now, I had never really thought about the natural cycle of a relationship. To take the step of loving another human is risky! Now, once I stepped out into loving someone and I am committed in a relationship, there is a beginning, middle and end to a relationship. At the start of the relationship, we often don’t realize this. We are flooded with feelings of curiosity and excitement about the other. We believe and hope that this beginning can last forever. We trick ourselves into thinking and believing that this is the way I should feel when I am with this person. We feel nourished when we are with this person, male or female, it doesn’t matter. Oh, our expectation that suspends us through the air of possibilities! But then, we are forced to view the reality, the limitations of time and space – the limitations of our simple, human condition. It is certainty that all relationships will come to an end!
We plead with our God, the Universe, Mother Nature to keep the love energy flowing between me and the other – that our relationship with the one we love will never end. But, of course, it must! When this happens, we are heart-broken!
It is the heart break that draws us to appreciate the middle, which most of us would agree is the daily, hum-drum part of the relationship. We also know in our heart of hearts, that this is the staple, the life-blood of any relationship. It’s like licking the cream out of an ordinary, yet quite extraordinary Oreo cookie! If we could enjoy the day to day with those we profess to love, the way we enjoy that Oreo cream, the quality of our lives would be vastly improved!