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6 Easy Steps to Put Zing into Your Swing

Happy Hump Day!

Note: This is a repost of one of my Life List Club posts you may have missed. Enjoy!

We’re not talking about golf or tennis swings. We’re talking about the swing of your life…bringing back the jazz, the zing, the excitement! I have to admit that I am constantly working at this. I have to remind myself to stay in the NOW because I spend far too much time thinking ahead, worrying needlessly or wasting the moment.

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Remember that tired expression? Let’s revive it!

1. Sleep – Almost daily you can find a report somewhere online telling you the importance of getting enough sleep. We know it’s true, so why do we shortchange ourselves? Lack of sleep can cause apathy, irritability, flat emotional responses…no zest, no zing. Sleep to restore your bodily functions and rev up your brain…hence, more zest and zing. If you’d like to read more about the damage lack of sleep can do, click HERE.

2. Play – No one has more zing in their lives than children. They wake with energy and are excited about the day. Adults can feel the same way. Put more play into your daily life. Create fun activities to amp up your energy. Play tennis, go swimming, play in the garden. Playing with your spouse in bed creates feelings you get nowhere else – the feeling of being younger, being desired, and of being able to then jump out of bed and tackle the day with vitality. Simple acts like eating an ice cream cone in the backyard, giggling over corny jokes, having a pillow fight, or running in the sprinkler can bring back zesty youthfulness.

3. Declutter – We can get weighed down by all the clutter in our lives. Get rid of it all! Clean a junk drawer, a closet, the attic or garage. Excessive obligations are also classified as life’s clutter. Even the people in your life who are a drain on your energy and add nothing but negativity to your life amount to clutter. Clear it all away and you’ll feel refreshed and renewed!

4. Revisit – Take another look at the goals you’ve written for the future. How many have you already accomplished? Cross them off the list. Can some of them be broken down into smaller, more easily achieved steps? Are some goals still valid? If not, get rid of them and replace them with something more meaningful and attainable. Life is constantly in motion, changing all the time. Don’t expect every goal you wrote down a year ago to be relevant today. It’s okay to make changes. After this exercise, you should have a smile on your face and a little more spring in your step.

5. Balance – This is a big problem for most of us and one of the hardest things in life to maintain. Swinging too far to one side creates stress and, often, negative self-talk when you realize you’ve overburdened yourself. Swing too far in the other direction also causes stress when you’ve lost focus and lose track of your responsibilities. You berate yourself for not handling life better and waste time feeling badly about your decisions. Sometimes writing it all down gives you a clear picture of how to swing back toward the middle. Unleash yourself from the ball and chain tasks that weigh you down. Make a plan to get back on track with responsibilities you’ve neglected. The first example that comes to mind is regaining the balance between ‘overeating and inactivity’ and ‘running yourself ragged to keep up with all your health commitments’. Cutting out desserts and walking three times a week can center you with small steps and will bring back some of the energy and zest you had before.

6. Focus – “Today is all we have. Live it to its fullest.” We’ve heard this before and it sounds like a huge mountain to climb. Break it down.  Living life to its fullest is simply focusing your thoughts on and enjoying what you’re doing NOW.

a. Have mindfulness. It creates a serene feeling, making you less reactive and aggressive. It takes your ego out of a conflict and gives you an opportunity to make better decisions. Just breathe. Mindfulness opens your eyes to the beautiful view, the succulent taste, the sensual pleasure, the melodic sounds of life at the moment.

Take control of your thoughts, give NOW your full attention, otherwise you may be missing out on some wonderful experiences.

b. We only have so much energy. Wasting energy on worrying over things we can’t change is fruitless. “If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth doing something about it.” Change what you can and let the rest slip away. We can’t do anything about the past and what’s to come in the future will be dealt with in the future.

c. We live in a world of distractions. To live more in the NOW, allow yourself to get completely absorbed in a task. This is called flow. To create flow, choose an activity with an attainable goal, but one that is specific and will cause you to stretch your abilities. For example, increasing your speed during running, knitting a new challenging pattern, writing the next chapter of your book or playing the next bar of a scroll of music. The focus required makes time slip by, blocks distractions and creates a state of flow.

So, now that you know how to get that ZING back in your life, what are you going to do with it? What can you enjoy more fully? What gets you excited?

Embracing Midlife – Part 3, The Best Sex of Your Life

If you’re between 40 and 60, you’ve entered an age of change. Most people fear or are uncomfortable with change.

Change means accepting a new set of circumstances. What if they’re bad? What if I can’t be the person I’ve just come to know and love?

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

Change is neither good nor bad. Change just is. And it’s what you make it.

Remember puberty? Your skin changed, you grew more hair, your voice matured, and you suddenly noticed the opposite   sex. You survived it, right? You also came through that time a little different but a better you.

Midlife is pretty much the same. During this time your hormones ride a roller coaster. ..and then finally, they diminish.

Most of the changes you face are due to certain hormones slipping away. Don’t get nervous! There is something you can do.Lost youth cartoon

First, let’s look at the changes men can expect:

Your hair gets gray, your skin wrinkles, you put on a little weight and you don’t feel like doing anything. You used to be able to lift your 50 lb. child like he was a sack of potatoes. Now a 30 lb bag of mulch has you huffing and puffing.

Nothing has the zing it used to have. You can’t figure out why. Your mood is bland and the only thing that gets you excited anymore is when your team wins the tournament, and you know how seldom that happens.

In addition:

  • Fatigue
  • Body hair loss
  • Trouble with concentration

Worst of all, sex isn’t so hot anymore. Sometimes you even have trouble holding an erection. How many excuses can you make to your wife? You get up the nerve to talk to your doctor because you know you can’t talk to anyone else about this.

How embarrassing. Uh oh, the doctor is telling you he’ll prescribe VIAGRA. He might as well have told you…YOU’RE OLD…and sex, as you knew it, is over!

There are various body changes that conspire to cause erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Reduced testosterone levels
  • Decreased blood flow to the penis
  • Impaired nerve function
  • Erectile tissue that has become less elastic over time

In addition, health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes head the list of physical causes of E.D. Men who experience erectile dysfunction have various options, including drugs in pill form like Viagra, drugs injected directly into the penis, mechanical devices (stop giggling!) or surgical implants.

HOLD IT! ( not literally)

While E.D. is the leading sexual problem for men, it is not inevitable.

The changes women can expect:

menopause

  • Fatigue
  • Body hair loss
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Thinning skin
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Vaginal atrophy (use it or lose it) and dryness

Your hubby is giving you signs he wants to play tonight, and you’re trying to pretend you don’t notice because you just don’t feel like playing. Your tired and you’d rather be left alone to watch TV or read.

Lately you’re feeling as though you can’t juggle all the usual balls. You can’t focus. You forget things like your sister’s birthday, where you left your glasses, and what was it you meant to pick up at the store?

Every time you shower, you find too much hair clogging the drain. While you’re drying off, you notice your once flat stomach is now a pouch and no matter how many sit-ups you do, it doesn’t get any smaller.

And forget about trying to get a decent night’s sleep. If you aren’t sweating through the sheets, then it’s that your brain won’t shut down.

What can we all do?

Many of these changes are due to decreases in testosterone levels. Testosterone diminishes for both genders and women have the added problem of their estrogen and progesterone levels dropping.

You can increase your levels of testosterone and your circulation to increase blood flow to all parts of the body.

Some doctors will suggest testosterone therapy and that can be helpful. But there are more natural ways to get results, too. Begin with the following:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet, low in fat and high in protein, with plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, and peanuts
  • Maintain a good weight
  • Get a minimum of 7 hours sleep a night
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid stress

Try these:

Herbs and supplements –

> Herbs such as St. John’s wort and ginseng, are a good option as they increase circulation of blood in the body. They also provide more energy which is essential as fatigue is the common symptom associated with testosterone deficiency.

> Testarol is a popular testosterone supplement that is beneficial for increasing testosterone levels. It contains natural ingredients like Tribulus Terrestris and Beta-ecdysterone, that elevate testosterone levels and enhance physical performance. Beta ecdysterone is a steroid found in various plants. As it is made from natural ingredients testarol is safe and gentle to the body. Diminishing female libido in women can be treated successfully with testarol due to its ability to elevate testosterone levels as found out through clinical studies.

> B-complex vitamins improve your outlook on everything.

> Behind the funny name, Horny Goat Weed stands as  a time-tested aphrodisiac that increases libido in men and women, and improves erectile function in men. And while the exact way that horny goat weed works remains unknown, the plant has long been employed to restore sexual fire, boost erectile function, allay fatigue and alleviate menopausal discomfort.

Foods –

> According to Real Age: “Citruline, which your body converts into l-arginine, a blood vessel relaxer that enhances circulation to all your vital parts. American experts have found that knocking back a couple of glasses of watermelon juice a day raises blood levels of l-arginine significantly. (And, yes, you can buy 100% watermelon juice; if your local health-food store doesn’t have it, Amazon does.)

There are many other sources of citrulline — almonds, cantaloupe, chickpeas, cocoa, cucumber, dark chocolate, peanuts, red meat, salmon, soy, and walnuts — but none come close to delivering the amount in watermelon’s pretty pink flesh and crunchy rind. Don’t care for pickled watermelon rind? Then scrape out those little close-to-the-rind bits that are so full of citrulline.

Citrulline has another advantage: It turns into l-arginine in your artery walls, so you get the benefits right where you need them.

> Foods such as oysters, eggs, beef, cabbage, radishes and broccoli act as natural testosterone enhancers.

Other remedies –

> Lubricants for a  woman’s dryness can make sex more comfortable and thus enjoyable.

> Meditation for relaxation and better sleep.

 Note: Even though the aforementioned supplements promote sexual well-being and improve testosterone levels in men and women, consulting a qualified doctor or a competent herbalist is very necessary to know the exact dosage and the duration of treatment. Also, to minimize occurrence of testosterone supplements side effects, having them during meals is advisable. This information is based on internet research and anecdotal information. Please ask your doctor which remedies are best for you.

alec baldwin and meryl streep

That was the best sex of my life!

All that seriousness aside, sexual pleasure and interest in sex does not decrease with age for many people. Older men and women can enjoy intimacy and pleasure through sex, as well as reaffirm their shared feelings of warmth, love, and affection.

The great things about sex at an older age are that women no longer have to worry about getting pregnant! Lovemaking is more intimate, sensual and a prolonged experience.

Sex is an intimate  experience that can be shared and enjoyed throughout your life. Don’t assume that sexual activity must slow down just because you’re getting older. Address the effects of age, and keep enjoying intimacy.

Grab your main squeeze, get busy and have the BEST sex of your life!

If you’re in mid-life, are you experiencing any of these issues or are you worried about experiencing them?

Do you expect to enjoy sex with your partner well into midlife and beyond?

Do you have any funny stories to share on this topic?

You know I love hearing from you! Please share!

Please visit here on Friday…It’s Life List Club Milestone Party! We’ll all be celebrating our progress on goals and giving away prizes to a lucky subscriber!

NEWS FLASH: The Life List Club will be starring in their own blog. It launches on March 30th. You will be able to read all about the authors and find out what the LLC is all about, if you aren’t already familiar with it.

On April 4th, our newest member of the team of authors, Sherry Isaac, will be kicking off the new blog with her inaugural post, Life. List. Club! Please welcome her by stopping in to read and comment.

We’ll be posting every Wednesday and Friday. You’ll find all the authors’ blog posts in one place — no more hopping all over the blogosphere! we can’t wait to see you there!

#HotWriterBods Health Challenge Update #3

It has been 3 months now since Gene Lempp and I began our Treadmill Challenge simultaneously with my overall health challenge. If you remember my first #HotWriterBods Health Challenge update on 12/31/11, I reported as having a rough month. So did Gene. I suppose we should have figured that plans during a holiday month could easily fall apart in so many ways. 

Mine did. December is not only the Christmas season which means traveling for my hubs and I, but it is also the month in which both of our birthdays fall. Add to that being needed to babysit my granddaughters and help move my Mom into an assisted living facility…well, it made for a very challenging month.

Treadmill

My exercise room

Here’s a recap of December’s progress:

  • Total of 3 lbs lost for the month.
  • Walked 30 minutes a total of 12 days

So, along comes January. Gene and I are both ready for it with bigger plans. Gene actually did better than I, but my month was far from a washout. My second #HotWriterBods Health Challenge update on 1/31/12 looked like this:

January’s progress: 

  • Total  of 8 lbs  lost for 2 months and 3″ disappeared from my waist and hips each
  • Increased my intake of fruits and vegetables slightly; cut the majority of sugar from my diet
  • Reached my goal of 16 walks and increased my speed by 3 mph
  • Added a second workout on 4 days of the final week for a total of 60 min exercise each day

Gene Lempp and I agreed to do another 60-day round of the treadmill challenge, and I’m so happy about that. Now, after three months, I can feel my body changing in small ways. I climb my double staircase with much more ease. I have more energy. My clothes are getting loose. It’s a great feeling.

During February and March, I had planned to increase my speed on the treadmill to 3 mph and walk 40 days out of 60. I was to lift weights 15 minutes 3 times a week; write down all my foods and balance my intake of carbs and proteins, making better dinner choices. I planned to lose 10 lbs in 60 days. Here’s a look at how I’m doing so far:

February progress:

  • My treadmill speed is now 2.8 mph and I recently began walking on an incline; still at 30 minutes.
  • Hubs and I are now going to the gym twice a week for 60-minute sessions of weight training and a 30 minute walk.
  • I was a borderline diabetic, but my glucose levels are now normal.
  • I’ve lost another 3 lbs. for a total of 11 lbs lost.
  • Dinners have been fine-tuned to healthier options.
  • My monthly facial couldn’t be managed this month but, my daughter and I did get manicures and she showed me a new way to do my eye make-up that I love!

If you remember my original post on Marcia’s Health Challenge, my Real Age according to Dr. Mehmet Oz’s Real Age website was 57.3 on December 1st, 2011. Due to the changes I made my Real Age dropped to 56.9 by January. After 3 months of making a sincere effort to improve my health, my Real Age is now 56.4! I wonder…how low can I go?

Chicken soup

Quick Tip:

You have probably heard the advice to drink a glass of water before a meal so that you feel full faster and eat less. However, your body recognizes it as water and disposes of it too quickly to have the effect you want.

Here’s a better way according to John La Puma, M.D. – Eat foods that are full of water, instead. You’ll eat less calories and lose weight. Some great foods full of water are: fruits, vegetables and broth-based soups. “Large enough portions of thick soup or a smoothie stretch the very end of the stomach to turn on the hormone CCK (tells the brain when you’re full) and turn off hunger.

If you eat chicken and rice with a glass of water, your body recognizes the water as water and flushes it out. If you make a soup with chicken, rice and broth, your body identifies the water as food and you’ll feel full faster.

I hope you’ve made significant progress in the months that you’ve been following mine. I’d love it if you’d share that with me! Your positive comments are feel-good motivators that keep me working hard. I’d love to do the same for you.

Come back to visit me on March 31st for my next #HotWriterBods Health Challenge update. Please join me on Twitter at the same #.

Your turn to share!

ROW80 – 2/5/12 – Hits and Misses

Happy Sunday!ROW80

With the milder winter most of us have been having, I hope you’ve had an easier time of brushing off the holiday letdown we talked about in my 10 Tricks to Ward Off the Holiday Blues at Gary Gauthier’s blog a few weeks ago. The view of grass rather than dirty snow and ice is uplifting for me.

So, my head is really into completing all my goals…my ROW80, #HotWriterBods and The Life List Club goals.

I wish you the same concentrated focus on your goals this year!

Updates are in pink:

  1. Continue with my 13-month Health Challenge. Read about that Here. Gene Lempp and I have renewed our 60-day Treadmill challenge. Gene’s new goals will be post on his site soon. I won’t give a way what they are but I will tell you he’s ramping it up! Last week, I posted new goals for the 60 days from February 1st to march 31st in #Hotwriterbods Health Challenge, so please go see how I’ve made this challenge…uh, more challenging! 
  2. Write on my projects – 4-5 days per week for a weekly total of 2,500 words. Again, I have not written that many days on my short stories an I haven’t made my goal. I’ve written 25% of it and no excuses as to why I wrote so little. Next week WILL be better.
  3. Streamline my social media and support efforts so that I visit all my blogger friends and ROW80 friends over the course of each week. Tweeting, also, for my friends to help promote their work.  SCORE! I think I’ve finally got it managed!

I’m disappointed in my lack of desire to write this week, but will force myself to get back to it starting tonight! The rest of my goals are on track and I’m excited about that.

If you haven’t tried a writing challenge before, ROW80 is not intimidating or full of pressure. It’s the challenge that knows you have a life. Set reasonable goals and work at meeting them each week. So many ROW80 veterans will tell you that they’ve learned a lot about themselves and the best methods they’ve found to get the job done.

Please check out ROW80 for yourself! Creator, Kait Nolan, offers a flexible, supportive atmosphere for meeting your writing goals. There are sooo many awesome people involved and they make it so much fun! Meet the Sponsors, too. They are the best cheerleaders you could ever hope to have.

Thanks for all your support! I hope your week went well. Please share with us in the comments. What are your struggles?

#Hotwriterbods Health Challenge Update

Hi everyone!

This is my 60-day update on my health challenge that included a Treadmill Challenge with my friend, Gene Lempp. Gene and I set our own individual goals and agreed to keep each other motivated over the course of 2 months. We also chose rewards for ourselves if we met or exceeded our goals.

My goals were:

  • Walk 30 minutes, 4 days per week at 3 mph
  • Lose 10 lbs

I learned something over these two months that I wasn’t really happy to know. That is, at 59 years old, it takes longer to regain the same level of fitness as you had the last time you were working out regularly than when you were even just a couple of years younger.

Just a few short years ago, if I took a month or more away from exercising, it would have taken me only 2-3 workouts to get back to the same level at which I had previously been working.

This time it took me several weeks. Very disappointing, but a reality I had to face and deal with. The upside is that I don’t intend to EVER take a few months off from exercising again.

There was a time when my son was training me in the gym. Oh I had always had a gym membership, that I used more than not, for 30 years. I knew all the right exercises and how to use all the machines. I owned several books on exercise, as well.

Matt Crittela

Look at that chest and arms!

My son Matt, in the photo, is very fit and muscular and was trained by professionals to get the physique he wanted. So, when he trained me, he used a professional approach and allowed NO EXCUSES. Yes, he had me in tears a few times, but he pushed me to limits I never thought I could reach. He taught me so much about the mental part of physical exercise and I’ll be forever grateful.

It’s truly amazing how much we are capable of, if we let go of our fears.

I’ve tried to carry on in the same vein at home, trusting my body to respond to being pushed harder than it thinks it can go. Guess what? It’s working!

At my age, it’s easy to fall into a fearful frame of mind – worrying about falling, having a heart attack and various other scary circumstances. Looking at getting older makes you think about your mortality and hormonal changes are what give you that old lady outlook on life. It takes presence of mind and a desire to stay young and to fight, what I call, mental aging. I refuse to get old!

If you remember my original post on Marcia’s Health Challenge, my Real Age according to Dr. Mehmet Oz’s Real Age website was 57.3 on December 1st, 2011. Due to the changes I’ve made in my eating and physical activity my Real Age has dropped to 56.9!

I’m younger already, in just a few weeks! Imagine what I can do by my 60th birthday on 12/12/12!

The results of my work toward my original goals are:

1. 3 mph was too fast for me. I changed my speed and began walking 4 days a week @ 2.3 mph. For the past 2 weeks, I have been walking everyday at 2.5 mph. For one week now, I have also been adding a second daily workout–using a walking DVD for 30 minutes.(A total of 60 minutes a day of walking.)

2. I have lost 8 lbs  (not the 10 lbs. I projected) and I have lost 3″ on my waist and hips each.

For the 60 days beginning February 1st and ending March 31st, my new goals are:

1. Gradually increase my speed on the treadmill to 3 mph. Continue walking daily and adding a 2nd walk each day. I am out of town at least twice a month, sometimes more, so I will walk 40-50 days out of 60.

2. I will increase my use of weights doing a 15 minute workout 3 times a week.

2. I have been writing down everything I eat and will continue to do so. I need to balance my intake of carbs and proteins better and find some new healthy dinner choices for variety.

3. I will work toward losing 10 lbs. in 60 days.

4. A fun addition, I will have my esthetician daughter give me a facial at least once a month to improve my aging skin and keep it looking as young as I feel.

I feel good about my progress and have found ways to make it better in the coming months. Getting rid of the initial “oh, my feet hurt”, “I’m too tired”, “I’ve got to get on that treadmill AGAIN?” and the ever popular, “I just don’t have time for this” excuses was the best part of my first month. I have a NO EXCUSES attitude now and nothing can stop me from reaching my ultimate goal of being fit and healthy at 60!

I hope you’ve been practicing some ways to get healthy  in the past 2 months right along with me. Please join me and my friends at #hotwriterbods  on Twitter. Make your own health challenge…we’d love to support you!

How have you been doing the past couple of months? Are you feeling better/different/thinner? Please share your story!

Who wants to join us for the fun of getting fit?

Marcia’s Health Challenge Update #1

I know this is kind of cliche’, but WOW! December flew by! So, we’re 31 days into our Treadmill Challenge, Gene Lempp and I, and it’s been a rough month for finding time to take care of myself.  Here’s how it all panned out:

The first 10 days: I was on track with my walking. I had cut out high fats and most sugar. Lost 2 lbs.

On the 11th day:  I found out that we would be moving my mother into assisted living on the 19th. We had one week to pack her apartment. My husband and I traveled to help several days that week, while my sisters and brothers-in-law did the bulk of it since they live in the same town.

Week of 12/12:That week I felt as though I had tougher workouts than the treadmill…bending, lifting, being on my feet for hours at a time. Every morning that I woke, I felt re-energized which said to me that circulation was improved. My eating was good, too.

moving day

image source: google images.com

Moving day: We were at Mom’s new place from 10 am til early evening – moving boxes, unpacking and organizing. The only access to food that I had was a box of cookies my sister brought and the McDonald’s burgers and fries my husband brought in for us.  😦
 
12/20 – 12/25: Baked cookies like crazy to be ready for the holiday, but didn’t eat them! Walked 3 days. Other eating was on target, until Christmas Eve when I had salty ham, cheesy potatoes and cheesy broccoli. It was all topped off with and amazing chocolate bread pudding! Christmas Day was healthier. My stepdaughter made pasta caprese with delicious turkey meatballs (baked-not fried),  salad and cheesecake for dessert. I cut teeny slices of cheesecake for everyone. Maintained my 2 lb weight loss.

12/26 – 12/30: We brought our eldest granddaughter home with us during Christmas break. Walked once this week. Spent most of my time playing with Alexa, took her to a movie, etc. 1 lb.weight loss – even with eating Christmas candy and cookies!

Results:

  • Total of 3 lbs lost for the month. Had hoped to lose 5 lbs.
  • Walked 30 minutes on 11 days on the treadmill. Gene and I had agreed to also count one day when I was packing my mom’s things and he was running around with his girls. We felt we had done the equivalent of walking for 30 minutes. So, a total of 12 days of exercise – had planned on 16 days for December.

How do I feel about these results?

I’m somewhat disappointed, since I should have  walked more this past week. However, I didn’t fail. I worked at eating better and did lose a few pounds. I worked at exercising and do feel more energetic and more flexible.

I know January will be better since I won’t have so many obligations that take me away from the treadmill.

For January, I plan to walk 20 days to meet my 32 days goal. I also plan to have snacks that consist of fruits, whole grain crackers, nuts, etc. Sugars in my diet will be severely reduced so I can meet my 10 lb weight loss goal for the 6o-day period.

Wish me luck! I’ll be checking again on January 29th.

Would you like to join me in the Sugar- Reduction plan for January? Let me know in the comments and we can support each other over the coming month.

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

Note: This post was originally published on June 29, 2011. Since it was, and still is, highly viewed I thought you might enjoy seeing it again.

Would you like some cheese with that whine?” Say that to the person you’rechesse with your whine listening to, and he/she will either smile and quit whining or get upset and say, “I’m not whining, I’m venting.” Same thing in my book. I’m not saying we shouldn’t whine to a good listener sometimes, and it’s not an easy task to stop complaining about the stressors in our lives. It can help, at least temporarily.

What happens when you keep all your complaints, anger and sadness to yourself? They can build and build culminating in an explosion, or they can fester inside your psyche causing you to develop physical malfunctions like high blood pressure and heart problems.

How have you handled situations like losing your job, divorce or being in an unhealthy relationship, the loss of a spouse or parent? Find a friend, pour some wine and let it all out. Then make a plan to fix the problem, change your attitude and move on. 

Unfortunately, some people find themselves complaining constantly and others hold in the anger, fear and frustration until they spiral down into depression or explode uncontrollably.

blowing off steam

Photo courtesy of thebookishsnob.blogspot.com

Of course, venting or “blowing off steam” relieves the pressure of emotional stress. Although, sometimes venting, the very thing you thought would help you feel better, becomes excessive to the point of getting sick of listening to yourself. Maybe we should take that “steam” you want to release, and use it to power a positive action, instead.

Try abstaining from venting for a period of time and allow that steam to build. Instead of exploding, use the power of your harnessed frustrations to cause a change in the status quo. Ghandi wrote, “As heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.” You can move your world.

I remember only one time in my life that I was able to abstain from venting and use that power positively. We had lost our business and were about to lose everything else. We decided to move out of state for better employment opportunities. My husband left in August to find a home and a job. It was my job to keep food on the table, keep the kids from being scared and do what was necessary to prepare to move 2,500 miles across the country. I, subconsciously, used my own fears and frustrations to help me power through the necessary tasks. I was working, carting my son to karate lessons and providing my daughter her time for piano and voice lessons. I held a monstrous garage sale, to raise money for the move, selling most of our furniture and belongings I would not have otherwise given up.

I kept telling the kids and myself this was an adventure. I would tell my son, who was 9 at the time,  that we’d have so much sunshine he could ride his bike to school and practice his golf swing everyday. My daughter at 15 was not as easy to charm. The prospect of getting her first job was alluring. She’d be going to a cool high school with no roof and a grand lobby with a fountain and vending machines, which gave her something to brag about with the friends she’d miss so terribly.

My stomach churned every time I thought of losing our home and moving so far away. This was our best choice to get back on our feet financially.  I couldn’t break down and make the children worry. I had to be strong. 

It was November before my husband found a stable job and rented a house for us. Then it was time for me to pack what was left and wait for my husband to come home to load the truck. Off we went on our “adventure” cross-country.

Later, my friends asked how I was able to stay so positive when our lives were completely turned upside down? I honestly didn’t know at the time how to verbalize it. I just took everything I was feeling and used it to power us through this upheaval. 

I learned that I may not be able to change my circumstance, but I can change my attitude.

Can you vow not to complain about anything you can change? Keeping that promise would, indeed, be a challenge. Confiding to a friend provides us with support and validation that would be tough to do without. Whining is venting with no effort to find a positive change.

Have you been able to power through your difficult times? How has that changed you?

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