What Seeds Are You Planting?

What Seeds Are You Planting?

What Seeds Are You Planting?

When I think of nature, I’m amazed at all the beauty around us. The trees, flowers and all manner of plant life.  How does the world get so populated with such beauty? Well, as we know, the winds pick up seeds from these plants, blow them around and then they get replanted in another spot on our earth.

As I think about this cycle and process, I’m reminded of how this is true with all of us.  We are out there spreading the seeds of our deeds, thoughts and actions. What seeds are you planting? Are your deeds helpful, loving and kind or are they destructive, disruptive and selfish? Are your thoughts pure and helpful or are they self-centered and self-righteous?

No matter what, we are always planting seeds, good or bad. What kinds of seeds are people taking away when they are near you?  Do they get depressed, angry and hurt or do they get inspired, motivated and feel loved?  If you just take a little time to think about how others see you and your behavior, it can really shed light on who you truly want to be.  Sometimes we may not even know what we are planting. We don’t have the intent to harm anyone.  You may need to do some real soul-searching to find out what you are spreading around.  If you find that you are being destructive, mean, selfish or just plain nasty to those you come in contact with, there are things you can do to change your behavior.

  1. You must recognize the behavior which is prohibiting you from being the person you want to be.

 

  1. You must then be determined to change the behavior and make the commitment to do what it takes to change.

 

  1. You must take action to change the behavior. You could read self-help books, join a group for your undesired behavior, talk with someone who understands and do some real soul searching. This is very hard and requires real commitment and determination. Replace the negative behaviors with something more desirable. For instance, if you call people names all the time, next time you get the urge, say something kind to the person instead.

 

  1. You must stay away from temptations which will keep you from changing the behavior. If you don’t, you won’t be able to maintain your improved and better self.

 

  1. Forgive yourself for the negative behavior. Yes, we all have slip ups. It doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to strive for what we truly want. Forgive yourself and then get back on track.

 

You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t ever forget that! Remember that others are watching you. Your children, co-workers, family and your friends see what you do.   What seeds are you wanting to plant?  How do you want them to see you? Do you want to make this world a more beautiful place by being the person you truly want to be?

Ask yourself, what are you doing to plant seeds that will make this world a more beautiful place for humanity?

 

 

 

8 Ways to Combat Loneliness

8 Ways to Combat Loneliness

8 Ways to Combat Loneliness

So many of us feel lonely from time to time, even if there are people around us. Studies show that more that 60% of married people feel lonely. Couples can become disconnected and distorted views can start to take shape which perpetuates the loneliness situation. Then there are those that feel that loneliness has taken ahold of their entire life. It is important to distinguish if your loneliness is a chronic problem or a temporary situation. How does one go about doing this?

     In everyone’s life there are periods of loneliness. Because loneliness is when you’re unhappy to be alone, some people end up in a downward spiral when their strong feelings of loneliness won’t subside. Sometimes our own thoughts make us feel even lonelier. We may feel like others don’t like us or want to be around us, when that’s not the case.  This can lead to Chronic Loneliness, anxiety and even depression. Studies show that chronic loneliness creates more stress, increases blood pressure and cholesterol and increases our risk of an early death by 14%.

     Being alone is not the same as being lonely. A lot of people choose to be alone, but are not always lonely. They enjoy their lives, but even they can have some bouts with loneliness from time to time.

     Loneliness is a feeling. If you don’t like the feeling, you must take action to change the situation that’s perpetuating the feeling. The following are some tips to encourage you to take action.

  1. Realize you’re not alone. 

In two recent surveys, 40% of adults said they were lonely which is up from 20% in the 1980’s.  There is an alarming amount of people all over the world who are lonely.  You are not alone.

  1. Experiment with things or groups.

Some of us don’t like to exercise, but those that keep a schedule to do it and dedicate themselves, find that after they do, they feel better and healthier. This brings me to the next suggestion. Go find places to socially connect which you would find enjoyable.  Maybe you could join a gym, a meditation class, a sports group, a religious organization, or a pottery class.  Think about your interests and make a commitment to yourself to show up and participate. You may have to try different groups before one feels right for you, but when you get to it, you’ll feel better and less lonely.

  1. Get involved in volunteer opportunities.

When people are thinking of others and doing something good for someone else, they feel a sense peace. Volunteering is a great way to step out of your feelings of loneliness because you can refocus your energy on others that truly need your help. And who knows, you may just make some great, lasting relationships!

  1. Get in tuned with yourself.

If you enjoy being around yourself, you’ll have a greater sense of self and be happier. You’ll be able to recognize feelings of loneliness much quicker, before it has time to sabotage your day. You could write in a gratitude journal, go out to eat, see a movie or even go for a run.  If you don’t know who you are, find ways to connect with yourself. Once you connect to you, making connections with others is much easier.

  1. Put down the devices!

For some, this is the only way they are willing to communicate with others. If you took time to put down all the devices, you’d be more likely to make in-person, human connections.  I’m not saying throw everything out.  I’m saying, there is a time and place for all things. If you are longing for in person, human connections you may want to put down your cell phone and other devices. Back in the sixties, families and friends used to spend time at picnics, parks and throwing ball in the backyard. “Families have 60 percent fewer family picnics and 40 percent fewer family dinners since the 1960’s” according to spectator.org. It’s okay to put down all the electronic devices on occasion in order to spend time and create relationships with those around you.

  1. Identify the triggers that make you lonely and have a plan.

Sentimental items, pictures, songs and other items can play a huge part in our feelings of loneliness.  It is okay to put things away temporarily, so you’re able to function better day to day.  Some items you store away, may bring you feelings of guilt, but remember it’s not forever. It’s only so you are able to collect and deal with your thoughts and feelings and at some point you can take the items out again.

You also need a plan.  If you’re aware that the lonely bug bites you now and then, have a plan!  Maybe you could call a special person in your life, have a hobby, or maybe you could knit.  Whatever it is you choose, keep the thought handy so if you need it, you can use it when the lonely feelings creep up on you.

  1. Use your time.

So many people wish they had some solitude.  Solitude is when you’re happy to be alone.  Use your time to do something you’ve always wanted to do.  Maybe you’ve wanted to write a children’s book, learn how to work on cars or maybe you’ve always wanted to finish college.  Use your time to do something that you’ve always wanted to do or that would benefit you and your life.

  1. Let go of the toxic people in your life.

There is only one you!  Make sure you take care of yourself.  No one else is responsible for taking care of you. There are those out there that may bring poison to your life.  You’ll have to recognize who those people are for you and let them go.  Of course, this is easier said than done in most cases. This requires real soul searching about what you want and need to be emotionally healthy.

     Loneliness can be emotionally paralyzing in many cases. If you feel you can’t get a handle on it, please see a professional for further evaluation.

     I hope this article has been helpful.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at www.samanthabonnell.com. I’d be happy to speak with you.

 

 

What Was She Missing?

What Was She Missing?

What Was She Missing?

Okay y’all, I was in the dental office waiting for my daughters appointment to be over, when I found myself glued to the TV. First of all, I want to say, I don’t watch television very often, but somehow this caught my attention. There was a talk show on, telling the story of a woman who had three grown children, several grandchildren and a couple of great grandchildren. This woman helped raise and take care of all of these family members at one time or another. She was always selflessly giving of herself over the years. I was intrigued at all she had done and accomplished during her life. She seemed intelligent, loving, generous, kind and generally happy. But there was something missing. What was it?

They did a makeover on her and when she came out onto the stage, she was dancing and singing! She was overjoyed! Then, they showed her a mirror! She started to cry. How beautiful and grateful she was! It was like she was REALLY looking at herself for the first time in years!

This impressed me so much because of how much she gave of herself over the years and unfortunately somewhat lost herself. She stopped taking care of herself and focused so much on all of the people she loved. It is so noble to help take care of others, but we need to remember to take care of ourselves also! It isn’t selfish to take care of yourself. It is actually showing even more love to those around you!  When you spend time to take care of yourself, you are nourishing your mind, body and soul.

          I ask you again, what was she missing?  She was missing the woman she had been with her whole life, but hadn’t seen in years…herself.

“Something’s Just Not Right”

“Something’s Just Not Right”

“Something’s Just Not Right.”

The Story of My Autistic Son

I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy back in 1994.  He smiled, crawled and progressed like most children do.  So when he turned three years old, it was time for him to go to pre-school. I was surprised when the teacher came up to me and said, “There’s something not quite right with Jacob. I can’t put my finger on it.” What in the world was she talking about? He was healthy, learning some new words, and played nicely with others.  He was a calm child and never showed aggression. I thought because the teacher was so young, maybe she was just inexperienced. So time went on for a little while. I took him to his doctor time and time again and was always told and he was fine and healthy.

The next year he was with the same pre-school teacher and again, she told me she thought Jacob needed tested. Okay, let’s put this to rest and test him, I thought.  Again, there were some things we needed to help him with, but he’s only four years old! So this is how our life went for some time. Some “experts” said he was fine, some said there is something but didn’t feel comfortable making a diagnosis until he was older.

We pressed forward. Each year a new teacher would comment, each year we would evaluate him. When he turned seven, the professionals were finally ready to start taking a more serious approach. Even then, he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder and even food allergies. We were trying everything to figure out what was going on. It was frustrating and exhausting. We felt like there was little we could do for him.

Finally, by the time he was in high school I found a professional who specialized in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  He said my son had a high functioning form of Autism. He then looked at me and apologized for all the previous experts, but explained that Autism is very difficult to diagnose and that is why Jacob had a variety of diagnoses. I felt relieved to know what was going on with my son, yet unsure about what I could do for him. This was new territory for us and I didn’t know how to proceed. Of course, the story of my son is much longer, but if you feel frustrated about similar circumstances I wanted to share some resources with you.

So what is Autism Spectrum Disorder? (more…)
4 Ways to Communicate

4 Ways to Communicate

4 Ways to Communicate

Personal communication is key in every relationship. Whether you want to speak to your teenager, your mother-in-law, your friend, spouse or co-workers. Everything begins and ends with how you choose to communicate with those around you.

Communication is much more complex than people realize. There are many ways of communicating some of which are appropriate and some of which are not, due to specific circumstances. Below we will explore some of the methods of personal communication and my thoughts on each.

  • Verbal (spoken) Communication (face to face, telephone, sign language):

Most of us use verbal communication as a strong tool to communicate our thoughts, feelings or anything that comes to our minds. It is of upmost importance to use when dealing with a difficult issue that requires one to express what is truly bothering them. Verbal communication and Non-Verbal communication usually go hand in hand, but not always.

Some say that sign language is non-verbal because of the use of hands when communicating.  There is some debate on this, but I like to think of it as Verbal communication because people who need to use sign language, use their hands as their voice.

  • Non-Verbal Communication (body language, gestures, how we dress):

Our body language and gestures say a lot about what we are feeling. If you’re upset for instance, you may wave your hands around while your body looks tight and stressed. If you’re happy, your facial expressions and you’re overall disposition says, “I’m happy.” We tend to use the Verbal language in line with our Non-Verbal ques.

I know some of you may be upset by the next one, but how we dress gives out ques as well.  If you are going to a job interview, you’ll want to look your best for the type of job you are being interviewed for. When you dress for success, your body language, gestures and verbal communication go in line with how you’re dressed because you’ll have more confidence. If you go to the same interview with something you’d wear to the beach, chances are you’ll feel awkward and less confident for that interview. People should keep in mind to dress for the occasion.

  • Written Communication (letters/cards, emails, text messages, social media):

It is nice to receive a card or letter. We usually get these around important events that take place in our lives. Emails, test messages and social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter have their place in communicating also. We need to remember when we use written communication, the verbal and non-verbal ques are not present. This may lead to miscommunication.  If there is something truly important that needs addressing with someone you care about, it is always best to go with Verbal communication. The person you are communicating with will be able to pick up on your non-verbal and verbal ques much better than through a text.

For example, if you’ve been going back and forth on a topic through texting, it may be difficult to know if a person is excited, mad, frustrated or joking if they use an explanation point. What if they don’t use any punctuation marks? Who knows how they are truly feeling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen. Rule of thumb, if the conversation is super important, communicate verbally with them.

  • Your energy:

Your energy says a lot about you. If you are feeling upset, agitated, peaceful, tired or excited, people pick up on it! As soon as you walk into a room, your energy says hello before you ever open your mouth. Remember, at all times you are carrying around your “energy.” Are you positive? Are you negative? Are you a joker?  You can sometimes change your energy by doing something that makes you feel a certain way. For example, if I’m having a hard day, I’ll look up inspirational quotes or stories. It seems to help me become more optimistic and happy.  Find what helps you to carry the energy you desire and you want others feel when you walk into a room.

I’ll be going into more detail about each of these in upcoming blogs, so keep your eyes open! Have a fantastic day!