Friday, December 26, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Or whatever Holiday you observe and hopefully it was JOYFUL!

Hello all!

Thought I would do a post Christmas blog.  We had a great Christmas.  First we had a Christmas all for our little lady at my brother's house since her mother was going out of town to her family on Christmas day.  That was fun and it was great to see her get so excited about everything she got to open that day.

Then we had the family Christmas at Mom and Dad's where we got to meet my other brother's girlfriend for the first time.  I was glad to see that they both seem happy with one another, and she was relaxed with the family too.  Everyone picked out some really great and fun gifts for each other.  Our family does YaYa's for the girls and about a year or two after we started that, the boys wanted to do YoYo's for the guys.  So this year we just decided to do only the YaYa's and YoYo's.

My gift to the girls was a bag of therapy things.  I couldn't really explain too much when I told them it was a therapy kit, because I didn't want to give away what was in it, but I think mostly it's self explanatory, and I think my sister definitely gets the idea since she said she smells her sprinkles at work if she's feeling anxious or stressed.  My sister sells some really great stuff for Pink Zebra, which are cute and awesome things, so if ever you're interested in long lasting really great products let me know and I can put you in touch with her.

At any rate, I thought I would explain here what a therapy kit is about.  First I think it's important to understand that there are what are called natural emotions and manufactured emotions.  Natural emotions are what we witness in infancy, the joy, sadness, fear, all these you can see happen naturally without being taught them.  For instance a baby might see a bird or butterfly, and they might start laughing, showing happiness or joy.  They might hear a loud noise and be startled or cry showing fear in something they didn't expect or understand.  Natural emotions simply refer to those emotions that we do NOT need to be taught to feel, they are things we feel instinctively.  Manufactured emotions are emotions we are taught.  Some examples of these would be, anxiety, worry, shame, guilt etc.  The problem with these emotions isn't that they aren't important, because they are important.  The problem with them is that we as a society focus TOO much importance on them.  We are taught to feel shame about how we look, how we interact with others, feel guilt for even the slightest thing, or worry too much about details at our work that really don't matter.  How we ended up here I don't know other than to say that we see them so much more readily than our natural emotions via media, by which I am referring to television, magazines, internet etc and not simply the news agencies.

Well, as I've said in other posts, I have had some big anxiety issues, so one of the first things my therapist taught me was about self soothing when I noticed I was in high anxiety mode and my chest was hurting etc.  The idea is to take the focus OFF the manufactured emotion because it's OVER taxing you right now.  Instead focus on one of the things that soothes you.  In my kit for the girls, I included, sight, smell, touch and taste.  Sight would be any one of the items that is pleasing, from the cute little beanie babies on a carabiner or the cute little stone boxes with a flower on it.  The beanie babies are also super soft, so they would be an example of touch if touching something soft is what focuses you on that action or feeling and small enough they can be taken anywhere.  Also there was a soap stone container with a perfume in it, which you could simply open and smell, or put on and smell.  I also put in some Dove's dark chocolate and Werther's.  That way if someone wasn't partial to chocolate they can do the same with a different candy.  My mom was funny, when she saw the candy she says, wait, this is therapy too?  And I said yes, you focus on the taste, and I can't remember if it was her or someone else that said, I LIKE YOUR THERAPIST, but it cracked me up.  I also put in a little stone box that was empty with a little flower on it.

So, how this works is, say you're stressed or worried, or like me in super high anxiety mode and your chest is hurting.  What you would do to self soothe is to STOP.  Recognize what you are feeling at that moment, then stop.  Find the thing that helps to soothe you, whether it be a smell, a touch a sight, sound or taste.  It could be smelling lotion that smells nice, or it could be putting it on which FEELS nice.  It could be touching something super soft or a funny video that makes you laugh or feel happy.  Whatever the THING is, that's what you focus on in THAT moment.  Focus on that and ONLY that, then when you're done go back to whatever it was you needed to do, and you simply feel so much better.  This doesn't mean watch every video on youtube, or eat every piece of candy in a bag, or put on lotion until you're wrinkly like you were in a tub too long......which would be a LOT of lotion LOL.  When that happens it turns into avoidance, which is not a good thing either.  Too much avoidance can have adverse affects of it's own.  The idea is focus on that smell, or that piece of candy or that one video for that point in time, and when it's done go back to what you were doing.

It doesn't take long lengths of time, but BOY can it help you avoid some really nasty things.  I think we forget we can do that.  We think I have to go go go go go go go go until it's done and we just feel SO rushed, stressed or worried we finally just break down.  Taking that ONE moment can help save SO much other negativity.  That was the full point of the gift I gave.  To remind the ladies in my life that it's OK to stop and take a moment to focus on natural emotion.  Hopefully the guys get it too, because I love them also, so they can also do some similar things to avoid emotional back up, buildup, crash or whatever you want to call it or whatever it ends up being.

I can tell you, now, I MOSTLY remember that if I'm anxious and my chest hurts, I can pop in some tictacs or a piece of gum and focus on that and guess what, my chest hasn't been hurting 24/7 since I started getting better at that.  It takes practice, we are SO hardwired to be "A" type personalities in our society it seems, so practice practice practice.  If you forget one day to take your moment at a high point it's OK, you just forgot and that is OK.  So also, don't stress just because you're not perfect at instituting your therapy moment to retake your natural emotions and find your bliss LOL.  Trust me, I'm STILL not perfect at it, but I'm a heck of a lot better than I used to be.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that you remind the people in your life, family and co workers alike, TAKE YOUR MOMENT.  I can not tell you how much of a difference this has made in my life, you simply have to see for yourself.