Give Yourself The Gift Of Journaling

Gram’s Wisdom 10 A Gift of Journaling

My Gram didn’t keep a journal as far as I knew, perhaps she did earlier in her life but that was not something she shared with me. None the less, the Christmas before I turned eleven, she gifted me with a diary. They were very popular in those years and every young girl looked forward to receiving one either for Christmas or her birthday.

I admit to making entries in a very spotty manner. Yet, I had several instances where I wrote faithfully for weeks at a time. And guess what? It wasn’t always about who had a crush on who at school this week or an outing canceled due to weather.

Some of those entries were about the very things that Gram had been teaching me. What I didn’t understand then, was the lesson I got in self-development. Luckily for me, my Mom must have felt I got enough use out of that first diary that, she gave me one the following Christmas.

To this day my stream of consciousness journal is a spotty affair. I only write when I feel I have something to say or remember. My gratitude journal, on the other hand, gets entries every single day. Both of these, I feel help me to continue to develop into the person I want to be.

 

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Nine styles of journals you can create

 

When you begin journaling it will occur to you that having more than one kind of journal could be best to keep everything organized. When you have more than one style of journal you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time.

 

1. Bullet Journals – This type of journal is useful for anyone who has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper, and who enjoys goal tracking. Your journal should have a table of contents that you create as you add to the journal so you can find things. You’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make your bullet journal. You should be able to understand at a glance what’s on the page.

 

2. Vision Journals – You may have heard of vision boards and this is essentially it, except it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. The way it works is that you set up the journal to have only one goal per page. Then you can write words, add pictures, or draw something that enables you to make plans to reach that goal. When you do reach the goal, be sure to go back and add the date of achievement.

 

3. Line a Day Journals – Basically this journal is what it’s called – you write down only one line a day. You will simply write in the journal a short line about what you did that day. It should be only a sentence or two at the most and should not take up that much space in your journal. Some people like using a calendar and a pen for this.

 

4. Classic/Stream of Consciousness Journal – This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long, short, or you can skip days if you want to. The classic journal is just like the diary that you may have kept as a child. You write whatever you want, as much or as little as you want, as frequently as you want.  

 

5. Dream Journal – Some people really like tracking their dreams because they believe that dreams provide signs for life. If you want to track your dreams, you should train yourself to write in your dream journal every morning while you still remember the dream. Write about the dream and then research what it means and write about that too.

 

6. Food Journal – Write down everything you eat every day. Some people like to include the calorie contents and so forth. It can also help to write down why you eat it, how you felt about eating it, and things like that.

 

7. Travel Journal – A wonderful way to remember your travels is to keep a travel journal. Some people like making one for each trip so that it’s easier to remember. You can write your thoughts in your journal, but you can also attach tickets, photos, and memories.

 

8. Gratitude Journal – This is just what it sounds like. It’s a journal where you record each day what you’re thankful for and grateful for. Nothing can be negative in this journal because it’s designed to help you think more positively.

 

9. Project Journal – This is a handy journal to keep, especially for anyone who regularly works on projects. Keeping a journal of each project you work on that records actions taken, results, and data will help you improve every project but will also help you look back on this one with excitement.

 

Your journal helps you to work through a problem. It’s also a great way to store your thoughts and memories in an organized and useful manner.

A diary is useful during conscious, intentional, and painful, spiritual evolution.
— Andre Gide


 

Daily routine journaling tips

 

The best way to ensure that journaling is working for you is to do it long term. Long-term journaling gives you more insight into your life as you write in the present. In the future, when you read what you’ve written, you can see how your development is shaping up.  

 

* Make It Easy – Don’t make it a huge deal, and it’ll be simpler to get done. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer for most people. You can have the book in your bag or on your bedside table or wherever you plan to write in it.

 

* Choose a Time That Works – The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. However, that might not work for some people. If you know a better time, do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch at work in the park. It’s up to you.

 

* Get a Drink and Eat a Snack – You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re fed and hydrated.

 

* Create a Comfortable and Accessible Space – It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how bad your tailbone hurts or your wrist hurts. Some people like using a desk, some a comfy easy chair, others their bed.

 

* Combine It with Something Else You Enjoy Doing – If you enjoy cleaning the house, then reading in your clean house with the windows open and the breeze flowing in, why not journal at that moment? If it’s a daily thing, add journaling to it, and it’ll create a habit fast.

 

* Add Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood – Now it’s true that some people prefer silence, so that’s fine if you do. But consider trying some music that doesn’t have words and that is relaxing, to help you gather your thoughts and stay calm and focused. 

 

* Consider Using Journaling Prompts – You can also find journaling prompts online for any type of journal you want to use.

 

* Reward Yourself – When you have been diligent for a month writing in your journal, take some time to read what you wrote, then reward yourself for doing it. You might buy some colored pens or some fun stickers so you can add some definition and interest to your journal.

 

For more information on journaling:

Five Reasons You Need To Keep A Gratitude Journal

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. I would love it if you let me know what your favorite idea or part of it was.

How Journaling Improves Your Life

Discover Journaling Benefits

How you keep your journal, be it pen and paper or digitally is less important, but just as personal a decision as what you record. You can record the events of your days, plan a vacation, analyze your dreams, remember your gratitude, or use a bullet journal to organize your life. Journals can help you capture your thoughts, plot out your future career path, or provide light-bulb moments of clarity for a better understanding of yourself.


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As well as decluttering your mind, keeping a journal can have many other benefits. Here are four important ones.

 

1.     Stress reduction

By putting your feelings on paper, you acknowledge your stress rather than ignoring it. All those anxieties and worries stop swirling inside your head, allowing you to step back and view from another perspective the things that are troubling you. It can even help with problem-solving!

 

2.     Improved mental health

Journaling is often recommended by psychologists and therapists. Journaling helps you to work through the issues that come up in your therapy sessions, supporting and complementing the healing process. It can be a powerful tool in removing psychological blockages. And, once you feel better, burning or throwing that journal away, can feel positively liberating.

 

3.     Improving your cognitive skills

Your journaling habit helps your brain to function more efficiently. Studies have shown that the act of writing strengthens the learning process and stores facts and concepts more firmly in your memory. Writing helps to develop new neural pathways in your brain, connecting new information with data already stored in your memory.

 

4.     Goal achievement

Studies have found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down! Journaling gives you the space to work through ideas, setting out the details and the possibilities. Writing about the process helps you to track progress, so you can see how close you're getting to achieving your goal or where you may need to pivot instead to reach that goal.

The habit of keeping a journal gives you a physical and mental discipline and focus that will influence other areas of your life. Writing down your goals and aspirations gives you a strong motivation to achieve them!

In the journal I am at ease.
— Anais Nin


Activate Your Creativity

Keeping a journal is not just recording the events of your life or how you’re feeling. It can be a way of supporting your creative life. It’s a low risk, private as you want, way of writing down your brilliant thoughts, your ideas, your dreams, and your resolves.  And once allowed to soar, there’s no telling what sort of creative magic your mind will come up with.

It can be very instructive to read the journals of writers, artists, and actors and get an insight into how they used journaling to grow and develop in their field.

 

Here are five ways that keeping a journal can enhance your creativity.

 

1.     Capture your ideas

Between the pages of your journal, you can keep safe all those ideas that are just beginning to form, that are not quite ready to be explored on canvas or turned into a short story, book or article.

 

2.     Ignore your inner critic

Journaling can help hush your inner critic, that little voice that polices all your thoughts and ideas. Research has shown that when you write without expectation of an outcome, the part of your mind that acts as a sensor steps aside and lets you get on with it. Journaling, free writing or morning pages allow you to write for the sake of it, no editing, no agonizing. And that frees up your creative flow!

 

3.     Find your voice

Journaling is freeform, messy writing. No one is going to read it, so you can feel free to test out and build your own voice rather than copy someone else. It’s a time to experiment, explore styles, and not worry about what doesn’t work.

 

4.     Create new ideas

As you get into the creative flow of journaling, you free your mind to bring forth new ideas. The process makes space for ideas to well up, ideas you may not have had if you were trying too hard. And there’s no commitment to take any of them further unless you want to, and it feels right.

 

5.     You choose what is important

Your journal is yours and yours alone. You can write down your secret fears; you can write your truth. Once it’s down on paper, then you can decide if you want to do anything with it. You can take aspects of your truth and turn them into a poem or a painting. Journaling gives you practice in acknowledging and embracing your truth. And your art will sing more authentically because of it.

 

Create A Journal Jar 

You may have bought yourself a beautiful journal, all ready to get going. But maybe it’s hard to start. Perhaps it’s hard to think of what to write. After all, you don’t want to spoil that beautiful new notebook.

Help yourself get into the habit of journaling by creating journal prompts, and making your own journal jar, using these five easy steps.

 

1.     Find a suitable jar. You can use anything, a mason jar, cookie jar or a vase.

2.     Then write down the prompts suggested below onto slips of paper and put them in the jar.

3.     Whenever you’re stuck for journaling ideas, just pull out a prompt.

4.     Set your kitchen timer for thirty minutes.

5.     Put your prompt in front of you and simply write down whatever comes into your mind.

Here are some suggestions to help get you started.

 

Lists

Start easy by making lists. You can write as little or as much as you want under each listing.

1.     Dream vacation destinations

2.     Best meals you’ve had and where you ate them

3.     Favorite movies

4.     Favorite books

5.     Favorite songs

6.     Top goals to achieve this year, in five years, in ten years

Reveal

1.     Something people don’t know about you

2.     Things you wish you had done

3.     Your secret desires

4.     The most outrageous thing you’ve ever done

5.     Biggest gamble you’ve ever made (this could be a career, relationship, travel – anything that felt risky)

6.     Letter to someone you’ve wronged

What if

1.     If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?

2.     If you could meet any fictional character(s), who would they be?

3.     If you could host a dinner party with anyone from history or fiction, who would you invite?

4.     If you could go back in time and fix anything, what would you choose?

5.     If you could change one thing about yourself right now, what would it be?

6.     If you could make money doing what you love, what would that be?

It’s the little things

It’s easy to think of the big things you love in your life, what about the little things? Like maybe the way your dog greets you when you come home, or the narcissi that bloom without fail every spring? Think across every part of your life.

1.     Family members

2.     Pets

3.     Movies

4.     Books

5.     Food

6.     Activities

7.     Nature

8.     Home

Take a backward look

Try to think as widely as you can, from managing to get the early bus to trying a new recipe or meeting your exercise goals.

1.     Write down all the things that made you feel good.

2.     What did you learn this week?

3.     What did you achieve?

4.     What promises did you keep?

5.     What were you grateful for?

 

I hope this post encourages you to begin your own journaling habit. In many ways, it is one of the most rewarding and empowering habits you can adopt.

 

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Coping With The Loss Of Someone Close

Seasons of life and loss

Throughout our lives, we move through seasons. Some seasons bring much joy to us, But, our seasons of grief or loss can be the most difficult we face as human beings. As we discovered in the previous 2 posts of this series, we all suffer some type of loss in our lives. It is safe to say we will face multiple kinds of loss. It can also be said that how we manage our loss is as individual as we are.

While some losses are just harder the closer, we were to the loved one. Some losses challenge us at the heart of who we are, such as, a mother, who had lost her only child, can struggle to find her place now that she has no claim upon the title of ‘Mom’.

If your loss was sudden, shock and disbelief can take over. If protracted, you may be exhausted and relieved, yet, feeling guilt and remorse.

 

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How to cope with guilt when you lose a loved one

When you lose a loved one, it can be incredibly difficult to carry on, as you’ll find yourself feeling empty and possibly depressed for a long time following. This is a normal part of the grieving process, and by facing and embracing these emotions, you will gradually be able to heal and remember that person in a more positive way.

But another common emotion to be struggling with at this point is guilt. While this is another common emotion, it is not as adaptive and can be unhealthy. Here we will look at where the guilt comes from and what you can do about it.

Why you feel guilt or remorse

When someone dies of natural causes or an accident, it is no one’s fault. However, it is very easy to end up blaming yourself and feeling remorse. Perhaps you think if you hadn’t called them over, then they never would have been on the road when that car came. Maybe you think you could have encouraged them to go to the doctor sooner.

This is one cause of guilt during grief, but it is far from the only one. Likewise, it is also common to feel guilt over the way you’ve handled their death. Perhaps you feel guilty for not being sadder or too sad. Maybe you feel guilty for not being more supportive of your family. Or maybe you feel guilty years later for moving on with your life. Sometimes, you can simply feel guilty for being alive when your loved one isn’t.

All these things are very normal, but they are not healthy, and ultimately, they need to be overcome for you to move on with your life.

Overcoming your guilt

Overcoming guilt is about learning to forgive yourself and let go. Because, ultimately, your loved one would undoubtedly prefer that you were happy and getting on with your life as you should.

This means sitting down and honestly assessing your feelings. Of course, if events had been different, then your loved one may have died, or they may not have. You could not have known the future, and you acted as you thought was best at the time. Likewise, everyone else is equally culpable for their actions or inactions, and most likely, nothing anyone did would have made a difference anyway.

Likewise, you should not feel guilty about being alive or for being happy. If anything, you should cherish your happiness even more out of respect for those who don’t have it. You owe it to your family who are still alive to be the happiest and best version of yourself.

It is easy to say these things and less easy to believe them or act on them. Consider seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist, and they will be able to help you come to terms with reality and adopt better-coping strategies.

 

Some pain is simply the normal grief of human existence. That is pain that I try to make room for. I honor my grief.
— Marianne Williamson

 

Dealing with the practicalities

When a loved one dies, it can sometimes seem disrespectful or churlish to think of the practical implications. Seemingly, the best thing to do is to focus on the emotional aspects, on how much we are going to miss that person and how tragic it is that they have died.

And, of course, in some ways that should be your primary concern. But at the same time, it’s important not to forget the considerable, practical implications that can also have a big impact on your life and that can contribute to your feelings of love and loss.

Losing a partner

Losing your partner essentially means losing your plans for the future. It means facing life alone or, potentially, having to go through the stresses of dating again one day in the distant future. What’s more, it might mean a lot of financial strain. Perhaps you’ll need to leave your home now that you are only on one salary. Perhaps you will struggle to raise children if you are at that stage.

Final preparations

Whether you are a relative or a partner, there is also a good chance you may be responsible for funeral preparations. This can involve another big expense on your part, as you pay for the costs. Likewise, the sheer scale of the event to organize, especially one that has such an emotional element, can be overwhelming.

Paperwork

There’s also a lot of stressful paperwork involved when you have lost a loved one. This might mean claiming life insurance, or it might mean removing your loved one’s name from bills and other official documents for example.

There is no stopping

Meanwhile, you will find that life just doesn’t stop, as much as you might wish it would. Eventually, you will need to return to work, children will need to be taken to school, and you will need to do your food shopping.

How to Cope

All this makes it considerably more difficult to deal with the powerful, negative emotions you will be going through.

The first thing is simply to recognize this element and to be prepared for it. If you are struggling, then note that this is something that other people can help you with, and they will surely be willing. Asking someone to do a food shop, to take the kids to school, or to help you with legal documents can be a lot off your mind, and they will be happy to help.

If possible, you should prepare for this eventuality before the fact. This is why life insurance is so important as well as creating a will. While we never like to think of our mortality, doing so can be a huge help for our surviving family and is well worth the effort.

What you can do to support the person who’s lost someone close

When someone is going through the loss of a loved one, it can be incredibly hard for the friends and family who are watching on. When you see someone in so much pain, you will, of course, want to help and support them, but what can you possibly say or do that will make them feel better? How should you act around them?

Be there for them

The first thing to recognize is that no ‘blanket advice’ is going to be particularly useful. Everyone is different, and thus, the right approach will depend on their personality, their experience, and the relationship they had with that person.

But no matter who your friend or relative is and no matter what their circumstances, one thing that isn’t helpful is to try and avoid them. This is the reaction that some people have when they’re too unsure as to how they should treat the person who is suffering. Of course, this is an unintentionally selfish reaction that will make someone who is going through a terrible loss feel ostracized and more alone.

Talking does help

While people differ, you shouldn’t assume that your friend or relative doesn’t want to talk about their loss, especially a long time after the fact. For someone who has suffered a great loss, it’s often hard to speak openly about that person or their relationship without worrying they will make people feel uncomfortable. This results in a situation where they are left feeling as though they must swallow an awful lot of pain and where they can’t talk about someone very important to them. Often, the best thing you can do is to ask them about that person or how they’re feeling but follow their lead on this.

Never offer comparisons

While your impulse might be to say, ‘it will be alright’, or ‘it’s like the time I lost my rabbit’, these are not helpful comments. Unfortunately, when someone has died it has already ‘not been alright’. Likewise, it is folly to compare grief and it can (unintentionally) come across as though you are undermining their pain.

Be sympathetic and listen, but don’t claim to understand, and don’t try to reassure them that it’s ‘not that bad’. Just be there to listen.

Offer diversions

The offer of a meal out, a movie, or a walk in the park to your friend or relative might allow them to forget their troubles for a while. Again, follow their lead. Don’t treat them as though they’re made of glass because sometimes a bit of normality is exactly what they need.

 

I hope this post has given you food for thought both as someone who has lost someone close or in the supporting role of someone who has had to assist a friend or relative. I would be most grateful if you share this post.

Moving Forward After Losing A Loved One

Grams Wisdom 9

My Gram and I shared a very important loss. Her eldest daughter, my Mother, had an aneurysm the day after her 72nd birthday and was gone in the blink of an eye. Leaving us to learn this lesson together. How do you move forward after losing someone you love?

I moved through the time until the funeral as if in a daze. Gram had given me my instructions the day after Mom was gone, and that carried me through. She, on the other hand, once the last guest had gone, never spoke my Mother’s name for the next 6 months.

Note: Gram and I navigated through our grief together, yet with very different approaches. I spoke frequently of my Mom, telling stories about her from my childhood, while Gram looked through photo albums with pictures of a serious faced little girl who grew up to be that woman.

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Getting over a loved one’s loss

Losing someone that you love is one of the most painful and distressing experiences that many of us will ever go through, and it’s something that other people just can’t relate to unless it has happened to them.

In the days and weeks following this hurt, it can sometimes feel as though nothing will ever be the same and as though you can never go on. It can often feel as though you shouldn’t want things to return to normal or even for yourself to be happy, as though your happiness is disrespectful to the one you’ve lost. The thought of laughing or playing again can be enough to make you cringe and maybe it was poet W.S. Merwin who said it best:

Your Absence has gone through me

Like thread through a needle.

Everything I do is stitched with its color.

So, the question you might be asking now is whether things ever will get better. How can they?

Time the great healer

The important thing to understand is that you never ‘get over’ the loss of someone you love. You will always carry the scars of that loss with you, and it will influence everything you ever say and do. It will make you more sensitive to others, it will change your idea of ‘what matters’, and you will never forget that person.

But this does not mean that you aren’t allowed to move forward with your life and that you won’t be happy again. And in fact, what you will find is that it is far from being disrespectful. Being happy is the most respectful thing you can do for the deceased.

You will know that you are coping well when you are able to remember something that your loved one said or did and smile. When you can look back on your memories of them happily and smile about it, then you can more effectively keep them alive in your mind, while moving on with your own life.

How long does this take? That depends on a lot of factors and there is no hard and fast rule. Generally, though, after a couple of months you should find that you spend a little less time focusing on the feelings of despair and that you’re able to slowly start picking up the pieces.

Keeping their memories alive

When we lose someone we love, one of the most painful things we must deal with is the knowledge that we’re not going to see them again. This is ultimately a ‘selfish’ perspective that focuses on your own feelings, but it’s also a very human response and a testament to your love for that person.

But worse than not seeing someone again, is not remembering them at all. That is why it’s important to fight the urge to ‘avoid’ painful feelings and why it’s so important to find ways that you keep their memory alive. Here are some ways you can do that.

Tell others about them

As briefly alluded to before, some people will respond to grief by shutting down and pretending it’s not there. If the memory of someone is too painful, then it can be tempting to avoid it all together.

Instead though, try to keep your loved one in mind by bringing them up in conversation. Don’t be afraid to point out how much your friend, partner, parent, or child would have loved what you’re doing, or how much you miss them. The more you talk about them, the easier it will become, and the more you’ll be able to enjoy their memory with others.

Display photos

Keeping photos of your loved one around is also a nice way to keep them in mind. Keeping them in group photos is a nice way to prevent those photos from being morose.

And consider where you’re going to keep those photos. Sometimes, it’s easy to have a photo on a desk and never to look at it. One unique idea is to keep a photo of your loved one in a drawer that you will open regularly. That way, you’ll find yourself having to look at it occasionally.

Emulate their best qualities

When someone dies, their humor, their beliefs, their good nature, and their ideas can live on in you. Try to remember the best qualities of the person that you miss and to emulate those in your own actions. If a deceased friend was notable for their enthusiasm and positivity, then try to channel a bit of positivity in your own approach to things. When you do, you’ll be keeping their spirit alive and ensuring that they made a positive contribution to your life.

I hope you have found this post useful. Please share it with anyone you feel could benefit from its message.

We All Face Loss And Grief

Illustrating grief

When you think of “grief” do you conclude that it means the loss of a loved one? While that is the most obvious of its meanings it is certainly not the only one. Grief can encompass many differing life circumstances and have similar emotions to the loss of a loved one. Let’s look at other less considered examples of grief to see how they are different in form, and yet alike in the feeling of loss.

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Sources of grief

Resembling the loss of a loved one, a divorce or break-up can also cause grief. Often, the assumption is that breaking up isn’t ‘as bad’ as someone dying, but of course, you can never compare emotions. If a breakup is final, then you will experience many of the same things: you will never see that person again (potentially), you will have to reassess your future, and you will have to think of the implications it has on other people you know either directly or peripherally. At the same time, you will have to deal with the idea that this person no longer loves you and that a once very close friend now harbors negative feelings toward you.

Likewise, losing a job can also cause types of ‘grief’. This results in the loss of the future you thought you had secured. It affects your sense of self-esteem. It forces you to reassess your identity, and it means a drastic change in your routine and the people you were seeing regularly. Losing a home, losing a beloved pet, or even being ill or injured can all have similar effects.

Many kinds of grief

With so many different causes, it should come as no surprise that different types of grief can be categorized differently. Often grief is described as ‘normal grief’, with other types including ‘anticipatory grief’ (grief that results from something expected), ‘complicating grief’ (grief mixed with other more complex emotions), ‘chronic grief’ (grief that does not subside as expected), ‘delayed grief’, ‘collective grief’, ‘inhibited grief’, and more.

Learning all these labels is not necessarily helpful as, even then, you may experience a form of grief that defies description or that can fall under several headings. The point is that ‘grief’ can emerge in many forms and as a result of many different triggers. You should never approach grief of your own, or of anyone else’s, with preconceptions or prejudice. Our grief is just as individual as we are.

 

Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.
— Anne Roiphe

 

Grief should never be compared

‘Why are they crying so much? It was only their Granddad!’

If you have ever thought or felt the above, then it’s important to change the way you think about grief and sadness. Likewise, if you have ever thought that your own personal experience of loss ‘trumps’ that of someone else, then you, again, are probably wrong.

The key thing to keep in mind here is that sadness and grief are not quantifiable. What’s more, no, one instance of loss is ‘worse’ than another.

Grief is an individual feeling

One reason for this is that every relationship is different. Just because your Granddad is ‘old’ doesn’t mean you will feel less or be any less sad when they die. If you have a close relationship with them, if you talk to them often on the phone, and if you consider them one of your closest friends, then losing them can be just as bad as losing someone who is traditionally closer.

Likewise, the way people respond to grief is different. Some people are simply more sensitive than others and more inclined to react very badly if they should lose someone they love. Regardless of whether you think they are being ‘overly’ sensitive, that sadness is very real to them.

Moreover, every situation is different and has its own tragedy. Losing someone suddenly can be a terrible shock that leaves you reeling and unable to come to terms with what has happened. Losing someone slowly though will often mean watching them die over time and having to deal with a drawn-out loss.

Then there are the subsequent complications: the way that your children deal with the loss, the way in which your employer reacts, the fact that you might also fall ill at the same time.

No two situations are ever the same, and thus, they cannot be compared objectively. You can’t put yourself in someone else’s shoes unless you have experienced the exact same thing that they have and even then you may not feel the same..

Seek for objectivity in grief

For these reasons, you should never compare grief. That means you should never judge someone’s reaction as being over the top or too detached, and you should never get a sense of superiority out of your own experiences.

At the same time though, it also means you should never judge your own reactions. Allow yourself to react as you react, and don’t have any expectations for what you consider to be appropriate feeling. It’s by objectively accepting your emotions that you will be able to move on healthily in time.

 

I hope you found this post beneficial and that you will share it with anyone you believe might also benefit from its message.

Better Mornings Begin The Night Before

Gram’s Wisdom Number 8

When I was a young girl and woke up out of sorts, tired, disorganized, or unready to meet my day on time, Gram said I should have thought of that the night before. She told me I would wake up in the morning in a better mood, less tired, and less frazzled if I would prepare for the following morning prior to going to bed each night.

Gram suggested I put homework and books in my book bag, lay out my clothes for the next day, and tidy my room before going to sleep. This, I was told, was so I’d have no worries about the coming day, and thus allow sleep to come easily.

If you have been following Gram’s Wisdom you will remember in a previous post, I said she was a firm believer in a fix it or forget it philosophy. (I have placed a link to this post at the bottom) So, I went along with the fix it and added 30 minutes reading time before lights out in addition to the suggestions she made.

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It has been more than fifty odd years since those days and I still adhere to a nightly routine. Yes, my routine has changed with the seasons of my life many times over. A good routine needs to work with you and for you. And yes, I still believe it is the best way to achieve a good morning.

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine
— Mike Murdock

Achieve your good morning

The cornerstone of a good nightly routine is to get the sleep your body needs to recharge and repair itself. You know you wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle your day when you’ve slept well. You also know it’s easier to work when you aren’t fighting cobwebs in your head or the lethargy of your body.  

 

Finding a routine that works for you

Here are 11 suggestions for you to try:

·         Read something, anything for 30 to 60 minutes. Your choices are limitless, and you can access your books in a variety of formats.

·         Take a warm bath.

·         Listen to music that puts you in a relaxed frame of mind.

·         Tidy up your kitchen before going to bed. Dishes washed and put away, sink and counters wiped clean.

·         Reflect on what your victories were today and celebrate those wins.

·         Set your goals for tomorrow, start with 3 important ones and add a couple less important for good measure.

·         Meditate for 15 to 20 minutes.

·         Write in your journal for 15 to 20 minutes.

·         Spend some time visualizing what you want your life to be like next year or 3 years from now.

·         Lay your clothes and accessories out for tomorrow.

·         Prepare your bedroom for optimal sleep. It should be dark, somewhat cool, no distracting clutter or technology. Keep your linens clean. After a week or so your sheets are a breeding ground of germs comprised of sloughed off skin cells, airborne allergens, and pet dander.

 

These suggestions are designed to help you 1 sleep better and 2 wake up feeling more organized. Begin with 2 or 3 of the suggestions to create your routine and add or change them as you like. Give yourself time to adjust to what you have chosen, say 3 or 4 months, and make changes as needed.

 

I would love hearing what your nightly routine is and what makes it work for you.

 

Resource Reading from Previous Posts

Happiness Begins Within You Gram’s Wisdom Number 5

Your Routines Favorable Or Failure

My morning routine

I have been asked by a few people to share my morning routine. So, before I begin for those who don’t know me well, I am fortunate to work at home but, my honey still works a 9-5 job and we have 4 dogs.

6:30 Get up, let the dogs out, visit the powder room, and put the coffee on. I like to get comfortable on the patio, weather permitting, with my gratitude journal and write down what I felt grateful for on the previous day. These are large things like being grateful for the roof over our heads, or work that is fulfilling, and small things such as playing catch with our dog Luke, or taking food to a widowed neighbor.

When I complete my journal entry it’s time to sit quietly and mindfully soak up the beauty of a new morning. The consistent breeze is always welcome and the birds gathering for breakfast with their different songs are a joy to hear. 

7:15 I stack a couple of records on the Victrola, I believe music should always fill a home. Michael gets up and together we prepare 4 dog breakfasts and hand them out. While he goes off to ready himself for work, I make his breakfast, pack his lunch, wash up dog bowls fill bird feeders, change birdbath water, and put breakfast out for my stray cat.

8:00 A kiss goodbye and out the door he goes. Time to gather laundry and start a wash. While the washer runs for the next hour or so, I do housework. Different tasks based on the day of the week.

9:00 Hang laundry on the lines, play catch with Luke.

9:30-12:30 Work on my business. I do the harder tasks early since the dogs, nap longest in the morning.

12:30-1:30 Eat lunch, play with the dogs, and take the laundry off the line.

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My morning routine today is different than it was ten years ago when I worked out of my home. Yet it still serves me and allows me to be productive. As I am prone to frequent migraines my aim has always been the same. Enough structure in a routine so I needn’t think and can save that for my work. With enough flexibility to put off anything that is not either a necessity or urgent.   

 

The most important thing I do each morning is steady myself by not allowing a sense of urgency to penetrate.
— Matthew Weatherly-White

Are your routines beneficial or unsuccessful?

I know many people who hate the word routine. For them it conjures up images of drudgery and lack of spontaneity. But, we all have them to lesser or greater degrees and they save us time and increase our productivity by reducing the amount of decisions we need to make throughout our day. The trick is to keep them fluid and not so rigid that they feel like a straitjacket holding us back

Your present routines may be alright, but are they helping you to close in on your goals? What about supporting your priorities and values? When was the last time you looked at how well they are serving you?  

Are your routines changeable? Are you able to make incremental changes that enable them to serve you? Even the smallest tweak in a routine can make a huge difference, because they’re performed with regularity, and that adds up.

 

Questions about your routine:

 

Morning routine. From the time your alarm goes off until you’re out the front door, what do you do?

●        What time do you get up? How many times do you hit snooze?

●        What do you think about while lying in bed?

●        Do you have a healthy breakfast?

●        Do you do anything besides eat and prepare for work? If so, what? Are you doing those things optimally?

●        How much time do you waste that you could be using productively?

 
Evaluate your daily routine

How is your usual routine working for you? Are there any distinct faults or places/times where you would like to make alterations?

Learn to recognize wasted time. Look at your routines and ascertain how much time you squander every day. Include all valueless activities, such as watching TV. You may find it shocking when you realize the number of hours you’re wasting. Instead, consider how to improve the use of that time.

Examine your goals, values, and priorities. Make some time to write these down. It’s not feasible to assess your routine without having a standard to evaluate against. This step is necessary. If you haven’t any idea about what’s important to you and what you hope to accomplish, you’re seriously wasting a lot of your time.

Don’t forget any challenges you presently have in your life. Do your routines help, harm, or have no effect on solving those challenges?

 

Now, go back to your routines and make those changes that make sense for you.

 

●        What activities can you do each day that contribute to what you’re trying to accomplish?

●        What can you do each day that will put you closer to reaching your goals?

●        What is the optimum way to use your time in each of your routines?

It’s possible to accomplish more in the morning than just getting yourself to work on time. And, with a proactive pre-bedtime routine, you could teach yourself to play an instrument or acquire a new skill that could help your career.

 

Resource Reading From Previous Posts:

Do You Feel Your Gratitude

How Mindfulness Helps You Enjoy The Journey

 

You can accomplish so much more with effective routines. What are yours? If you liked this post, please share it.

Appreciate The Little Things

Gram’s Wisdom 7

One of the most important lessons Gram taught me was to appreciate the small. The tiny wins, the little casual conversations, the minute unremarked events, the small kindnesses. She said they were bits of gold and silver that fill out the majority of time between larger happenings. It’s when you buy a new house. Sure, you remember that event, but what you appreciate are the years of small things remembered as you raised your children in that new, now old home.

Gram also said we should set an example of what it is to be appreciative for others to see. How the people in our lives not our possessions are most important. That what you appreciate should become entries in your gratitude journal so that you don’t forget how fortunate you are

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 Be the example for those around you

 If you could help others find appreciation for all the small aspects of life, you make life better for everyone associated with you. People can forget that life has much to offer. They become bitter over time. It happens to many people, and they become unpleasant to be with for any length of time.

You don’t have to go overboard, but frequently mention how you enjoy your life giving them reasons why. Relate experiences about your weekend to your friends or colleagues and explain why you felt appreciative of those experiences.

Stay as positive as you can, even if the bitter people are negative. That is not easy as negative people can sour the moods of the people around them. But, by keeping a positive outlook, they will have a difficult time justifying their negative behavior.

Sometimes, bitter people just need to talk to someone. They haven’t been able to get their problems off their chest. These problems often build, which is why they become bitter. They feel as though no one is listening and no one cares about them. It’s not necessary to advise them, and this can be the wrong tactic to use. Simply let them talk. It can make a world of difference.

Get them talking about hobbies, sports, etc. Even if they aren’t active in these events, ask about their past experiences. When they start talking it may reignite a spark. That can be a great starting point in helping them get through their issues.

Some people will never break down their barriers, and that is unfortunate. They have stopped living their lives, and they are unappreciated of any aspect of it. Attempting to help them through their situations can bring some people around. If you can change one person’s life for the better, you are doing something good. Part of their change is usually to become more pleasant to be around.

 

I think the best way to show appreciation for things going well is to make things better.
— DAVID DROGA

 

People are more important than possessions

You spend a good portion of your time protecting your possessions. Certainly, you may appreciate them, but the problem is, you may be putting too much emphasis on them. Consider that when you depart from this world, those possessions are no longer yours.

Even if you inherited them from the day you were born, somewhere along your lineage, someone didn’t have possession of them. They were acquired during the short duration of your ancestors. You can show your appreciation of someone by gifting them with one your possessions that they have long admired.

Suppose you somehow lost some material item you valued. Perhaps you misplaced it, or it was stolen. Can you replace the item? It is understandable that it’s inconvenient to have to buy something that you already possessed. However, it’s not the end of the world.

The relationships you form are much more important than the items you possess.  Loss of a family member who passes on cannot be replaced. You should hold this form of possession as being much more valuable. However, many people take this for granted until it’s too late. You don’t get back the time you spend (or don’t spend) with them.

There are other ways to lose family members. If you are constantly working and not spending time with your family, they feel unappreciated and you will alienate them. Your spouse may decide to move on, and your kids may be resentful after a while.

If you are so focused on obtaining material possessions, you risk losing friendships as well. Many of these friendships took a long time to develop. They can be destroyed quickly by your prioritizing of your possessions.

Money does help make your life easier. There’s no doubt about it. It’s just that you cannot make it your entire purpose. If you find you are too focused on obtaining money and possessions, take a step back and determine what your family and friends mean to you. Learn to appreciate them for they are priceless.

 

Show your appreciation by being grateful

You may forget the little things you appreciate in your life. However, if you have them in plain sight, it can help you reinforce your gratefulness. Therefore, why not write them down, and keep them close to you?

Think of all the things you appreciate and start listing them. What makes you feel you have a fortunate life? If, you get stuck, think about the people in your life. Who makes you happy? List out the aspects of what those people do to make you happy. If you love the way your spouse smiles at you, write that down.

Your entry can be something simple, such as I am grateful for the time to read the newspaper on the train. The point is, no item is too small to add to the journal. Perhaps, you love the jokes that the coffee person tells you when you get your cup of coffee and your muffin. That goes on the list, too.

Your list should never be complete as you will find new experiences and people to add to it. Each day, there is potential for people to make a small difference in your life. But, remember that you make differences in other peoples’ lives as well. Try to make those experiences positive.  

Your gratitude journal can be a paper notebook, or you can store it electronically. How you store it is your choice, but you want it to be accessible. Commit to reading it and update it regularly. Add to it as you find more things that you appreciate in your life.

Maintaining your journal could be the basis for a book that you write about appreciating your life. By publishing your list, you may help others do the same. When they read your ideas, they may become inspired to appreciate what they have in their life and be grateful. Their list will not likely be the same as yours, but people are different so it’s only natural their list would be different.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I would appreciate it very much if you would share it with your friends.