Thankful for choice…

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So I am currently partaking of the “30 days to be thankful” challenge (that I unknowingly created) that was inspired by my need to change my brain. I was watching NBC today and they mentioned they were doing a gratitude journal/routine and someone noticed how much negativity was in their brain before they got to the mirror in the bathroom. Reading this article brought out a huge point in which I was hoping to cover in my “last day” blogging about it (however I hope to continue to write about my gratitude… maybe less publicly but privately). That point? Gratitude is a choice! It really is. I was depressed because I felt like I had no control over my life – after purposely trying to change my brain by thinking of two things I am thankful for each day – I have noticed I do have choices – not just in my thoughts but in life. I feel like more is possible. So… in the spirit of being thankful – I am going to bring choices into this.

  1. The choice to love. I know it sounds generic but love is a choice – I emphasise this because recently with some more eye-opening situations that I am becoming aware of amongst friends or former friends – I am realising that in their relationships – love has been about control. Controlling each other is the OPPOSITE OF LOVE and the beginning of abuse. Please know this is a red flag. Now this is important for me because in the process of being thankful I have realised how much I have the need to feel like I need to control – thankfully not my husband but just minor details in my life. I have been able to examine anger I have had in my past when I felt like I was controlled by my situation or by others. It’s been amazing that with the choice of gratitude which led to the understanding of the choices of love of how clearly I am seeing where anger comes from in my life. Control causes anger, Choice – is love. It’s really simple but can seem complicated if you are not seeing things clearly because of the negativity within your mind and the lack of gratitude. So with the choice of being thankful, I am also choosing more love in my life. The other things I have noticed is that bad energy – or people who have bad energy seem to not affect me as much and they have become less prominent in my life. I haven’t done anything drastic like cut people out like some people advise others to do, it is just simply that my attitude has stopped attracting those friendships. More on that in my last blog about being thankful…
  2. Choice is teaching. With understanding my choices better, I mention my attitude has improved but also my reaction to my children has improved greatly. I will say that occasionally my children drove me insane and I could snap or yell at them over something. I realise this lack of control, was also teaching them a lack of control. Showing that I am choosing my emotions is actually helping them handle their problems better. My children recently have been afraid of telling me something for fear of my reaction – now that I am not reacting – they are telling me more and opening up. They are handling their problems with less tears and choosing to their attitude in life. Overall my children feel more capable. Please know that when I have snapped I have said sorry to my children and explained that I have made a mistake. I was so depressed in the last 6 months and I would explain to my children what I did was not okay. I am saying this in the name of being honest but showing how I knew there was a problem with the way I was handling things, as I did feel like my emotions were out of control. That has ended. My relationship with my children have improved and I have more energy for them. Maybe all the energy I was losing from thinking how much I hated myself before is no longer being lost and changed to positive energy for others. Anyway, I am thankful that I am teaching my children about choice – through my actions – not just by talking about it. I have always tried to show this before, but had been struggling since dealing with depression but now that this gratitude is changing my brain – my choice of how I react to others has continued to improve.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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Thankful for the unexpected…

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In case you don’t follow this blog, I am doing “30 days of Thankful to change your brain” challenge. What is weird is that not only am I changing my brain, but strange gifts keep coming my way. So the first thing I am thankful for is an unexpected gift I received today. I don’t want to give it away yet because I want to discuss the amazing miracles that have been happening during this time of thankfulness on my last blog about it.
Lets just say something unexpected happened today. I’m usually the one that calls people up and asks to get together with them – but for the first time in a year my sister asked to meet up with me and she gave me an unexpected gift. So… I am thankful that she called me up and instigated the meeting – without my effort. I am someone who usually makes the effort with most – the ones I don’t have to make the effort with are particularly close friends. It means a lot. Lets just say that some members of my family claim me to be the most “thoughtful” (not sure if I am thoughtful or an overthinker to be plainly honest) – but when someone thinks of me (and I know this is a fault) I get surprised and shocked and really moved. I usually don’t think people think of me at all really…  I joke it’s my “Youngest of 5” complex. So lets just say my sister thought of me in a big way – in which I will explain at the end of the 30 days.
Second… I used to be captain of a basketball team a long time ago. I would practice basketball and I thrived on feeling athletic (pre-lots of health issues days), so it’s a huge shock that both of my children, are not athletic. My oldest has the body type for it but she has no motivation for it. My son, who has some definite coordination issues wishes to be a personal trainer some day and likes to think of himself as “super athletic” and was proud of himself for running the whole race – even if he is last – which I am also proud of him for. So Why am I thankful for it today? Because they had their athletics’ carnival and both of them actually tried (which is unusual as at their old school last year they both opted out of everything and cried most of the time). So not only did they try but they both had mainly good attitudes and felt proud of themselves when we got home. I’m thankful that my kids, although not athletic as I wish they were – (I adored sports), actually tried. That’s all that mattered to me this year. They also both came away feeling happy with their efforts. Which I was too..

Anyway, Thank you for being blog readers! I’m thankful that anyone actually reads this to be honest. Ha ha… no but seriously – actively making efforts to be thankful has changed a lot of things – including my brain and I hope it is working with you!

Thankful for S…

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Well, The two things I am thankful for in my “30 days of Thankful challenge” (this is day 20) starts with S! Sleep and sisters.
I have had insomnia for a few days now… I have learned not to get too frustrated with it and to use my time productively if my body or brain wont settle. I’m not up worrying or anything, just thinking of other people or storylines or such that I want to write and end up getting something done. Last night I got sleep – I am especially happy for that. Why? Anyone with insomnia will tell you, that you can feel like you fly when you’ve had a good night sleep.  So – with that. I am thankful for Sleep.

Second one is sisters. This is a hard one for me because I have had falling outs with my sisters in the past. Recently one is going through a tough time that has been quite eye-opening but explains a lot of why we were not very close to begin with. It saddens me that I could not help her before now but thankful that we have an opportunity now. I was also able to chat with my sister today who is dealing with her own obstacles and as I had already been through them (You would been surprised that I am the last born…) I could be empathetic and less judgemental than most. SO it was nice to be able to be there for her now. No matter what our challenges are, we are at least at a point where I think we are all open to being there for each other.

Those are my two things, and with being thankful I am seeing changes in which I hope to post about soon…

Brain Changing – why it’s necessary

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It has been 4 days since my last blog post… that means that I have 8 things to write about what I am thankful for but let me start off with something that I am thankful for today because .

  1. Today I went for a walk – it hit me how thankful I am for walking. Now I know this sounds silly… but this is where my obsession with brain-changing started and I had totally forgotten. A walk – it sounds simple. However it’s the first thing I did when I got out of the hospital over 7 years ago now. Although doctors could not figure out why – I had what looked like a stroke. I had to relearn how to walk and talk. We take this for granted because most of these things we have learned to do before we can remember. However, let me tell you that if you ever relearn how to walk – you will find there are so many things the brain has to do to make this simple thing happen. What I learned about how to change your brain in that time was fascinating. I realised that no matter what had been damaged in my brain I was going to create new neurotransmitters – one of the only way to do that was to get exercise. I would force myself to walk – even though at the time I could not walk and talk at the same time as I had to literally think – ‘put your right foot forward, now the left one’ and it took all my energy to concentrate on what used to be normal and taken for granted. Anyway – I’m pleased to say I made a full recovery.It has been a while since I went for a walk because on top of that – as many usual readers know that almost 2 years ago I was dragged by my own car when it lost its brakes. My stomach down to my toes were affected but thankfully I came away with no broken bones and I was alive. The thing is, now that I have taken care of some serious issues that were highlighted internally when the scans were done because of the drag – I never actually got proper physio therapy. Fast-forward to now and – although you can’t tell – my hips are twisted and I am currently seeing a physio and Chiro to get this fixed. As a result – since in Australia we just came out of a blazing summer I have been doing mainly swimming to help my muscles strengthen. I love swimming. However now the weather has cooled – I stopped for a bit. I forced myself today to go walking – it hurts but as I took a walk around our local park, observed the birds in the trees and the types of native fauna around the area – I realised that this is also a vital brain-changing event. One of the best ways to get yourself out of depression is to spend time in nature. So walking was generating new neurotransmitters (and if you know your science – it was long thought that adults could no longer do this until recently),
    From my walk this morning
    From my walk this morning

    Nature is good for depression and here I was being thankful I could walk – which as we have been doing this 2 things I’m thankful for to rewire my brain for 30 days challenge as science has proven that it rewires the brain –  it was like a triple boost for my brain. So it’s clear that if you need change in your life – there are some things you can do to help give you a boost.

  2. Coffee – I have had some today- maybe I’ll get another cup – but lately I’ve had a huge bout of insomnia (especially over the last 3 days) and I am clearly needing it.
  3. Friday saw me at church – without going into detail – we observe different Holy Days. Either way – I heard some messages that provided a lot of comfort to me right now. One of them was how to overcome negative things in your life.
  4. That same day I got to see an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while and I was thrilled to see her. She was the only friend I allowed to see me in the hospital when I lost the ability to walk and talk seven years ago (because I felt like I looked stupid). I allowed her because she had her own obstacles and compassion having MS and struggles daily with walking and talking. So I knew she wouldn’t laugh or be too freaked out by how I handled things. We made a date that I could take her to the beach next summer in a big beach wheelchair. So that gave me some comfort being invited to see her – even if it’s another year away.
  5. Saturday saw me at church (I obviously love church – but I go to church on Saturdays), and I was able to chat with a new friend and give encouragement to her about overcoming trials in life. I am usually very busy at church so I don’t usually get that one chance to sit and chat and have a deep and meaningful discussion but I was thankful I had the chance to.
  6. Savings. Being so many days at church I hadn’t had the chance to spend money – what is the side effect of this? I have spent less money this week than ever before… so that’s a great effect to have and I am ahead of budget and not down to my last $7 before payday.
  7. Yesterday (Sunday – in case you live in a different time zone) – since we had a few extra dollars in the account and my daughter has been begging for more “coffee dates” (She drinks hot chocolate) with dad. I encouraged them to do so (my son is currently sick). She is a pre-teen and I am very aware that her relationship with her father is critical at this point in time. SO I am thankful that Daddy-Daughter time was had.
  8. Lastly, I was thankful yesterday to think of how my husband did not have to go to work today! He has two weeks off and I’m so excited to spend some time with him (as we had our anniversary 10 days ago) while the kids are at school. Well – we’re still looking forward to that – as I mentioned my son is sick – and home from school today… so we’re putting off our couple time till later.Hopefully I have caught up – I tended to do this daily but from looking after my son and myself (I am on the brink of getting his sickness), I had missed it. But I am enjoying seeing my brain change better than I had anticipated.

We’re Halfway to our goal!

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So we have achieved 15 out of our 30 days of Thankfulness today. Why are we doing this goal? Because studies show that if you find 2 things you are thankful for each day for 30 days, you will rewire your brain to get out of depression. Now I have made a disclaimer that in no way do I think anyone should go off of medication doing this and whatever decisions you make should be discussed with your doctor – but we here at Everything Better are working at rewiring our brain to start thinking of what we are thankful for each day instead of “why me”. With that said – here are two things I am thankful for…

  1. Today, in Australia (and New Zealand) is a holiday in which all our stores are closed for: ANZAC Day – which is Australian New Zealand Army Corp to commemorate the anniversary of the say in which many men gave their lives on the shores of Gallipoli in WW1. However, it is a day to honour all veterans but to acknowledge the freedom of our country, and to thank those that served. So it would be absolutely inconceivable for me to not be thankful for that today. One symbol of ANZAC day is the red poppy (a common one for soldiers who have given their lives). MY children got the most amazing gift from a teacher who hand knitted a red poppy for every single student in the school to wear. It was a beautiful gift. I am thankful for the freedom I have in this country every single day and pray it continues.
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    My daughter’s poppy

     

  2. My son has sensory issues. I have mentioned this previously . As a result, one of my husband’s favourite things to do: see a movie together as a family  – never happens. My son is extremely sensitive to sight and sound so a movie is quite overwhelming for him.  It’s hard to find things as a family to do. My daughter is prone to fainting and has a fear of hiking as she has had episodes of fainting after a lot of physical exertion. Hiking is my favourite thing to do. SO as a family both my husband and I have learned to do these things on our own. However we, for the first time as a family in a LOOOONG time were able to watch a movie together last night in our own home. My son did have to cover his face with a light cloth (it’s see through but dims the light from the movie), and cover his ears occasionally but he was so excited about the story line that he wanted to push through it. This meant a lot to my husband and I. It was an older movie, but a fantastic one that had my children (and me) in fits of laughter. So Thank you Wreck-it Ralph, thank you to the makers of Wreck-it Ralph – for having such a hilarious story line, and one my son was interested in to stick through it no matter how sensitive he is to these senses. IT was the first full-family night we’ve had in so long.

Growth: Time to be thankful

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I am still participating and loving the 2 things I am thankful for each day “to change the brain” challenge. Today, even though I could mention good friends as something I am thankful for (which I am) there were two subjects that came up in conversation that I was able to reflect on. My friend is my very best friend and she doesn’t know my family personally  but knows them from our discussions. It is wonderful to have a friend like this because you can talk about anything and discuss personal subjects knowing it will never get back to my family. However with this beauty in our friendship, has been opportunity to see things in a different light. Today we met up over coffee and many beautiful discussions were had.

1.  We discussed a situation where someone who had been quite hurtful for many years had finally changed. She was not a fan of my friendship with this person but I knew who they were before they had a behaviour change and I was waiting out a change for the good again. It took a while, I had almost given up on this friend but I was able to have an honest moment with them in their weakest moment and there was a plan to get help and change. My best friend was surprised to hear about the behaviour change and didn’t expect to hear about it, but it was good to reflect on the journey of change about this individual with her. It was lovely to share how this person went back to who I used to know but they just needed to be guided in the right direction. Thankfully this person  recognised they had a mental health issue after many years of being in denial. They sought treatment… and they were able to change. I am thankful for the ability to change. Simply that: Change. We don’t have to be stuck in the mental prison of our minds no matter what the situation is.

2. The opportunity to change. That’s right… I know that sounds just like above but it is slightly different. There was another situation where I know a person has hit rock bottom. They are dealing with many things on many different levels but they are facing them or at least appear to be. I am hopeful for them. I cannot tell you how long this person has been struggling – it’s been a long time. I got to the point where I kept my distance but they had their impact on my life, even from a distance. They are facing the worst difficulties they have ever faced – but I feel for the first time, because they are facing it for the first time that there is finally an opportunity to change. We can only change when we face the worst parts of ourselves head on. From the actions I have seen them take and read the words written by them I can only pray and hope that finally they are free to do what is best for them and their family as there is nothing to hide behind anymore. I have been deeply saddened for a few days now with the knowledge of how rock-bottom this person has hit, and how many people it has affected (including me). However I am hopeful that now that the secrets have stopped – there will be change. There is only opportunity to change when we stop hiding from what is preventing us from change.

My friend doesn’t have the same religion as us, but she is aware of our beliefs and she knows that if nothing else, this season is significant to Christians about facing ourselves in the mirror and taking steps to change the difficult things we see.

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6 Things I am thankful for

 

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Well it’s been three days of the long weekend in which I have missed writing about what I am thankful for. I am participating in ’30 days of thankful’, in which I write down two things I am thankful for. The reason for this is because according to research (depending on which research you choose) if you pick 30 days of finding 2 things you are thankful for you can rewire your brain. Others say 25 days and 3 things a day. Either way the research suggests it may be better than any antidepressant pill available and that rewiring your brain is better for your long term health. I strongly advise you do not go off medication for depression unless closely monitored. I know a few people who have done this successfully but there are some who have not. If your goal is to go off medication please consult an appropriate doctor or counsellor on how to do so because there can be some dire consequences if you do not do this with proper consultation (there has been a recent case in connection to my relatives in which this did not go well).

So here it goes:
Sunday

  1. Today I had the best day with my family. After a planned BBQ at my sister’s house we had a last minute decision to sit and play board games and drink wine. It was most fun with lots of laughter and jokes and just relaxation. This is fantastic because our family can be quite intense with strong opinions – the games and the drinks made it a more relaxing atmosphere in which we could just enjoy each other. Our favourite board game is Sequence – I highly recommend it as it’s one of the few board games that doesn’t take up too much time and most younger children can understand the rules.
  2. Today was the day of the Sri Lankan bombings. My heart is broken! I love Sri Lanka!
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    Me at the elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka

    Having been to Sri Lanka as an 8 year old I felt a deep connection to place that was suffering during the civil war. The Tsunami was devastating and now this…
    I cannot explain to you the generosity and kindness of the people there, but they are amazing. SO I am thankful that I have had peace while worshipping God. I have had the freedom to do so for this long. I’m not sure if that will last much longer but there seems to be some issues with peace among religions at the moment and I am concerned. I do live in a highly-multi-religious area. There is a Mosque, a Hindu Temple, and a Christian church, very close together near us and I pray that those violent sentiments do not enter our area.

Monday:

  1. I got sick today, and while I was sick I was thinking of how thankful I am that I have been well for so long lately. I hadn’t felt that sick in a long time. Thankfully, the sickness only lasted a few hours and my husband had started making dinner for the littlies so there was a lot to be thankful for there.
  2. I read to my daughter every night and we are currently in the middle of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It’s important that children hear someone reading to them no matter how old they are – however tonight I was too week to read and she offered to read – and how thankful I am that she still is willing to do that. I am thankful that not does my daughter read, but she’s willing to read to me.

Tuesday:

  1. Today I got time to myself now that the children are back at school. So thankful that I could do whatever I wanted while they were at school – which included running a lot of errands but it was nice to focus on me a little instead of the children ALL THE TIME.
  2. Today I was thankful for being able to win people over! Ha! My local butcher has the best meat (I know that sounds weird) but he was really mean to me for years. Only in the last 6 years has he realised I’m slightly likable 😉 and he now has good chat to me, provides recommendations and asked me how the last pieces of meat that I bought for him went. Anyway, It’s nice to be able to now buy great meat from a nice butcher. Not sure if he was testing me all these years to see if I would stick around after all his insults – and I tried shopping around but nothing quite beats those cuts of meat he has. SO for years I Just had to suck it up and be brave and walk in there and take those insults. So nice not to have to do that anymore ha ha.
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    There is more to come… on some deeper insights. Hope you are doing well and doing your 2 things to be thankful for journal or however you are expressing yourself.