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Best of Our Blogs: January 13, 2017

I'm currently working on a wellness article. A few experts recommend an easy, and life-changing tip that we simply don't do enough.

This isn't about decluttering or exercising. While those are great wellness tips, it's not as emotionally freeing as this.

Pause.

We've been trained by television, computers and our phones to jump from one thing to the next. This makes us impatient and emotionally reactive. To be adept at problem solving and decision making, however, we need to stop, breathe, and think before we react. It requires conscious response.

Same with whatever healthy habits you're trying to adopt or unhealthy habits you're trying to avoid. Before you take on home organization, saving the world and dealing with your seasonal blues, stop. Become aware of what you're doing and why you're doing it. Just by doing that, you've taken one step in the right direction to a happier, healthier 2017.
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Best of Our Blogs: January 10, 2017

I've been talking a lot about self-care lately. I think it's pivotal if we have any chance at succeeding in our New Year's Resolutions. But what is self-care really and how do we start doing it for ourselves?

I struggled with this personally. On the surface, I was eating healthy, exercising and taking my vitamins. I thought I was doing everything right, but I still didn't feel well. Not until I heard this podcast on a completely different matter that I finally got it.

Tami Simon from the Insights at the Edge podcast talks to biodynamic farmer and beekeeper Jacqueline Freeman about her fascinating relationship with bees. When I listened to what Freeman asked the bees, it taught me an important lesson in self-care.
"Every day, when I would go and see my bees or do something with my bees, I would say this little thing to them. I would say, 'I am willing to do just about anything to provide you with the best life that you can possibly have. I just don't know what to do. So it'd be really nice if you could share some wisdom with me.'"
What if we directed this sentiment inwardly? What if we were to say, "I want to do everything I can to give you the best life possible. What do I need to do to help you do this?" Wouldn't that just change the way you view every decision you made?
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Best of Our Blogs: January 6, 2017

I've experimented with several healing modalities for my autoimmune disease. But recently, I've added a powerful one to my arsenal.

Love.

Romantic love and love for your children are important, but I'm talking about the love we often forget about-the love and gratitude we have for ourselves.

When we've been brought up by critical parents or struggle with a difficult painful past, we internalize outside voices. We see life through a tiny window where everything outside is prettier and better than the one we inhabit. We berate ourselves for never living up to that.

Recently, I listened to a full body relaxation exercise by Roger Gabriel, as part of 7 Days to Restful Sleep. It was the first time I spent any energy or effort on loving and appreciating the various parts of myself. My eyes, fingers, throat and all the parts inside too. Not only did I feel relaxed, but warmth and love spread throughout my body diminishing any fear, pain or discomfort.

It is not the sole resource needed for self-healing. But it is definitely a powerful one.

As you get your bearings in the new year, take time to thank yourself for wanting to better your life by reading our posts, and by simply being here.
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Best of Our Blogs: January 3, 2017

Happy New Year Psych Central readers!

I hope your 2017 started off better than mine. After more than a year of remission from my autoimmune disease, I found myself at the ER. Thankfully, nothing serious happened. But it was a wake up call that 2017 needs to be about my health.

Like you, I struggle with daily life when managing an illness. But I'm also grateful. Life is harder, but it also makes it more precious.

We all struggle with something. Whether it's a physical or mental illness, a painful childhood or current relationship, I hope that you won't immediately will it away with New Year's Resolutions or distractions. Have confidence that you are strong. Have courage that you will be able to get through it. And have faith that this moment will pass. Our newest posts will help you do that with information on how you can be happier and healthier, as well as help you glean greater insight about yourself.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 27, 2016

With one holiday down, we're near the end of 2016. How are you holding up?

This year, I did something new that significantly changed my Christmas. I loosened the reigns of old traditions and cultivated new ones like hiking with friends. It felt so good that I vowed 2017 would be about rethinking the habits I do mindlessly. Are buying Christmas gifts for every single person I know, for example, worth the financial and emotional stress? Are over-scheduling events just to people please everyone worth the expense of my family's health?

Instead of resolutions this year, my plan is to be more conscious. What I want more of in 2017 are health, freedom, and joy. What I want less of are suffering, material things, and guilt.

What do you want in 2017? If rearing healthy children and fostering a healthier self are on your list, you'll want to keep reading this week's posts.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 23, 2016

I bet you've spent this entire holiday doing for others. Whether it's buying the perfect gift or quelling your anger at a provocative relative, you've gave more than your share of goodwill. Now you're spent, financially and emotionally. And it's not even Christmas yet.

To enjoy the rest of 2016, I suggest another gift. But this one's for you.

Make a commitment to do something nice for yourself. It doesn't have to be extravagant or even cost money. A cup of hot chocolate, a yoga class, or walk alone can do a world of good.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to stop, let things simmer and then sip. Indulging in the world around you minus the chatter, obligations and worries can restore all the energy you lost.

Doing for others is important and key to happiness. But giving back to yourself is the fuel that allows you to keep giving.

Enjoy your gift to yourself this weekend, and our top posts that'll allow you to find your own joy this season.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 20, 2016

Instead of, "I was really worried when you didn't come home," you say, "You're always late." Or instead of, "I get hurt when you say that," you say, "You're so insensitive."

The former draws us closer together while the latter divides us.

Years of putting walls around our true feelings has made sharing too risky. Many of us would rather be alone than open ourselves to rejection.

And then the holidays come. In comparison to the closeness and camaraderie we see on televisions and holiday movies, our own life feels superficial and empty.

But how do we stay open and vulnerable when we've been hurt and are continually hurt by our narcissistic friends and neglectful parents?

Keep reading.

If you're exasperated by the discomfort of winter gatherings and want respite from the holiday madness, this is the week to read our blogs. From humorous holiday cartoons to tips on dealing with the stress, and one surprising thing you're doing that's causing you to be depressed, it's all in our top posts below.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 16, 2016

There's someone in your life who you wish would change. Maybe it's a friend, co-worker, or a partner. You've desperately tried saying the right thing, encouraging them, and sending them our articles. You might have even done this for years.

Your intentions are genuine. If only they would stop _____ and start _____, you believe they would be the happy person they deserve to be.

It's frustrating to love someone who is struggling. It's maddening when you see him or her continually do the thing to sabotage their happiness. While you want the best for this person, nothing you're doing is making the situation better. In fact, it's worsening your relationship.

If you're a natural healer, it's even more difficult for you to stop yourself. But none of us has the power to change people who don't want to change. They may not have the ability or awareness to stop.

You don't have to give up on them. You just need to accept them where they are right now. If you can't do that, distance yourself.

When they are ready, we can offer support, advice and resources. Until then, be there for them. But more importantly, be there for yourself.

Struggling with taking responsibility for your life and creating healthy boundaries? Our top posts this week are written with you in mind.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 13, 2016

You've spent time and money working on your issues. You've seen therapists, read books, and even eliminated a few toxic people from your life.

It's a good place to be, and you deserve the freedom that comes with working hard on your stuff.

But as the holidays get closer and you begin to see people you haven't seen in a long time, something happens. Old wounds reopen. Things that hasn't bothered you in years start to bug you again. You find yourself returning to that small, insecure, jealous person you used to be. What happened?

All is not lost. It's normal for old situations and painful past circumstances to float to the surface when you revisit people and places from your past. If you feel triggered, be kind to yourself, create a plan to minimize and possibly eliminate painful or hurtful situations. Remember old wounds take time to heal and may not completely dissipate. Healing is an ongoing phenomenon. The best thing you can do is to be gentle with yourself and surround yourself with people who love and wants the best for you.

If you're having trouble finding those people, or you find yourself eating away your holiday stress, keep reading. There's something in our top posts this week for you.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 9, 2016

Are you wrestling with a decision? Are you struggling with a difficult situation? Are you fighting with a friend, partner or parent?

It's a frustrating place to be when you feel stuck. Nothing you say or do seems to be moving you in the direction you want to be. Instead you're here feeling depressed, angry and hopeless.

Surprisingly, the one thing that will move you forward is the thing you've been avoiding.

Acceptance.

Acceptance doesn't condone bad behavior or a difficult situation. On the contrary, when you stop fighting the present moment, you gain the energy to change.

Resisting what is won't shift your situation. Responding without pause won't permanently fix your emotional state.

When we learn to accept that we're here unhappy, confused and wanting to be anywhere, but here, we're acknowledging where we are now. Acceptance takes away the added stress of resistance.

You're here afraid of your next holiday gathering, angry at a controlling friend, grumpy about the holiday season or stressed out as a mom. It's awful place to be. Hopefully, you'll find acceptance in our posts this week.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 6, 2016

One of the reasons we dread family gatherings is we can't forget what happened last year. Your uncle's insensitive remark. Your mother's judgmental words. And that hurtful thing your cousin said.

Part of you is still seething. Another part is afraid of being hurt again. After all, one of the reasons why you fear intimacy is because of experiences like that.

It's so tempting on a daily basis to be defensive, and not risk sharing ourselves.

But while being vulnerable to toxic and insensitive people is not the wisest thing, closing up is not the best either.

While you're attending events and going through your day, remember this. Everyone you meet has similar fears than you. Most people desire the same things you do. And all of us, just want to be heard, accepted and loved.

This may not be the secret recipe to cure your holiday family hangover, but let it at least be a balm. When painful words are spoken, be kind to others and most importantly, be kind to yourself.
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