SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace.Find happiness.Find yourself

Tag: mindful (page 1 of 2)

COVID-19, ever heard of it?

What a crazy time to be alive, huh? There are many unknowns, new experiences, unanswered questions, and societal shifts. Everything we are currently experiencing will have a substantial impact on society, and it clearly already has. We are stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. And isn’t it fascinating, and disturbing, how much people’s behavior changes when motivated by fear? The amount of chaos that is felt, uncertainty, and lack of control is enough to send anyone over the edge, and sometimes fear can come out in confusing and unfortunate ways.

It’s an interesting shift for us all right now in many of the same ways, as well as having our own variety of differences…New perspective on our lives, raw and deep conversations, different ways of planning and viewing the world and our priorities. And regardless all of this chaos and uncertainty, I keep coming back to one primary thought and focus; how beautiful this experience is. Literally, an entire world going through the same hardship together. What I have encountered with this pandemic is another level of vulnerability that’s being discovered between us that I have never felt before. It’s created more open and honest conversations with ourselves and those around us. It’s created the ability to witness our communities coming together in powerful and impactful ways. It has taught us to learn technology in new ways and review outdated work policies to create a healthier work environment. And it’s provided for time on our hands we didn’t know could exist.

Of course, we want to be aware of the suffering, confusion, and fear this brings into many people’s lives. And also be aware that not everyone has the ability to work from home, still have an income, or afford the financial burden and additional life barriers this creates. Yet we can also embrace the unique positives this has to offer. COVID-19 has simplified our lives for a moment, it has provided an opportunity to appreciate life, and has renewed our love for the communities we live in…As we have to endure this pandemic no matter our feelings and experiences with the situation, how can we use it to our benefit? COVID-19 is clearly out of our control, for the most part, so what can we do to find the beauty in the experience? We might as well view the positive side too and change our mindset, as we have no choice but to endure this until it subsides.

Personally, one thing I’ve come to realize through this is how little peace I have in my life. I am constantly on the go and distracted with intensity seeping into every inch of my life. I distract myself constantly with my daily routine, not allowing time for quiet or self reflection, or not giving time to things that truly matter in my life. As a human race, this pandemic has forced us to be alone, or constantly be with family, or not work at all or work from home…These situations can all be incredible opportunities if we choose to use them.

What house projects have you had to put off because of work, or quality time you’ve wanted to spend with your family that never seemed to take priority, or hobbies you have been meaning to start or pick back up? What tedious work tasks can you take time to focus on? What are ways you can give back to your community in a time of need? Hint: NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT ALL.
Even though I’m still working from home full time, not having those additional tasks at work, not running around for my daily errands, and not attending social events, there is this extra quiet time during my day that I am taking advantage of…This is simplifying pieces of my life. I even forced myself to binge Netflix the other day without feeling guilty about it, and I’ve never done that before! (Damn you, Tiger King). I also picked up a book I stopped reading, I workout in silence, I spend more time FaceTiming friends and family and discovered I listen better. I’m more calm and go with the flow as everything around us seems to be out of our control, and I see the world a little differently now. I have rediscovered my love for cooking and baking. And as much as I hate running, I’ve been jogging outside and spending more time in nature than I ever had ‘time’ for. I have also seen more teenagers outdoors than usual, and it’s incredible to see the creativity that has been produced through this. Whether projects at home with the family, unique ways to work out, or ideas for continuing to ‘see’ our friends and family, the amount of love, creativity, humor, and community togetherness I have felt is something I do not think we could experience outside of this pandemic. And it is the only time in our lives (hopefully) that something of this nature will occur. There are pieces of this that are pretty incredible, and a rare opportunity to take advantage of…

Think of all the seemingly small things we take for granted and how it is all being put into perspective; running to the store and choosing items from stocked shelves, grabbing a beer with friends, seeing coworkers every day and having a stable job, going to the gym, just breathing without assuming you’re sick, and ultimately living life the way we know it to be. I’m hopeful that all of this helps us become who we always strived to be, whether that’s being more family oriented, or crafty, or facing our deepest fears and insecurities, or calling loved ones more often. Seeing the typically small things for big things right now because it brings us joy, whereas before these small things were overlooked with the busyness of our lives. The beauty of it all is what we can take away from this, if we choose. We can choose to face our fears and potential realities, we will heal and grieve together, we may dream bigger or live simpler after this, and we will move forward and be okay. And someday, this can be a time we choose to reminisce about and think, “what a fascinating and beautiful time it was to be alive”. 

What does this experience create an opportunity for? That is the ultimate gift. 

We are all in this together ~

-keep shining
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Happy Things Thursday

  1. When the sun stays out past 7 pm
  2. The smell of your favorite coffee shop
  3. Waking up without an alarm
  4. Perusing through old photo albums
  5. Reading a book in bed
  6. Leaving a hefty tip for a good waiter/waitress
  7. Sleeping on clean sheets
  8. Long lunch breaks
  9. Discovering a new hobby
  10. Afternoon naps

Think New Thoughts

Where does fear come from?…
.
.
.
…Past experiences, regret, hurting others, loneliness, trauma, not adhering to cultural and social norms…
The list is never ending. Fear can be the reason for staying in a stagnant relationship, not speaking up against something that isn’t right, or staying at a crumby job. The fear of going against what we know, going against people’s expectations of us, and being different is what keeps us stuck in fear-based thinking. Everything we do is decided with either love or fear.

Believe it or not, fear can dissipate when you think new thoughts you’ve never thought about before. And change comes from thinking those new thoughts and acting on them. I know this concept terrifies people because we want to hold onto what we know, what is easy, and what doesn’t rock the boat. But the downside to that mentality is our own desires, goals, dreams, and independence suffer because we are scared. What we forget to realize is that letting go of this fear is easier than holding on. It’s when we let go and think new thoughts that the new stuff will find us.

When we are so used to acting a certain way, having a certain job, being around certain people, etc. we get used to it. We get so used to having these things in our lives that we do not think about it much. We are fearful of letting go because we hoard fears of not being able to replace those things, or fear that its replacement is not any better than what we gave up. And it completely makes sense that this is a terrifying, debilitating thought. We put more value on avoiding a possibility of regret than we do on living life. But if we are not getting what we want out of life, if we are not happy…Why not make some changes? What is there to really even be fearful of? We cannot make room for new things, new perspectives, and new experiences until we clear out what is not serving us. This is where we gain clarity; when we get rid of thoughts that do not have a place anymore. This does not mean the things we get rid of are not special, important, or at one point exactly what we wanted or needed…It just means we are moving on, moving forward, and honoring our feelings and our truth.
(To read more about avoiding feelings, click here.)

We all know on a deep level what it is we want and what’s missing, but we feel safe when we hoard fearful thoughts. We don’t even know what we want because we are too scared to even think about it. Those fearful thoughts (or avoidance of those thoughts) give us excuses to stay in our comfort zone and be bored. Often times that feels better than uprooting pieces of our lives or hurting people. But harboring fear and accepting boredom prevents us from all of the new things that await for us to arrive. There is so much we can learn and experience in this life when we remove fear. And do you want to know the best part? All of those things are all possible. Everything we want is on the other side of fear. Fear is just a state of mind. Our fears create barriers because most of the time facing our fears is actually bigger than the fears themselves. We just get in our own heads. We are our own biggest roadblock to the love and happiness we want to experience.

We create our own prison. We fear so much that we build walls for protection, but ultimately those walls are a huge detriment to our sole purpose here on earth; to experience it. It’s when we remove those walls, start being honest with ourselves, and get through the fearful stuff that we end up on the other side. It’s on the other side that we find ourselves, we speak our truth, we are complete, and we are happy. On the other side of fear is where we find everything we ever wanted. Do not let fear create your future.

We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are ~

-keep shining
Other related blogs : A Letter To Yourself, Guilt, Honoring Your Uniqueness

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Feeling Into Your Thinking

Feelings…Feelings, feelings, feelings! We are full of ‘em. Every single thought we have has a feeling attached to it. Often times those feelings are emotions we stuff deep down instead of dealing with them…And there’s a huge myth out there that goes something like this; if we avoid our feelings they don’t exist and they will eventually disappear.
We avoid circumstances (people, places, situations, conversations) that bring about emotional reactions we don’t wish to experience. We ‘avoid’ with the assumption that the feelings associated with the circumstances will go away. The fear associated with feelings, and inability to handle the feelings, seems to be easier to deal with if we try to forget their existence in our minds. Instead, if we feel into the fear and face the emotion, we can diminish the fear and understand the emotion; thus, removing the need to avoid. This also allows us space to understand ourselves better and live life more freely rather than by what we think we should be doing.
Feeling into the fear allows us to better recognize and work through our emotion and be more honest with ourselves. We are so fearful of feeling. We would rather not know the outcome or avoid having to come face to face with making difficult decisions. What we forget is that our emotions tell us so much about ourselves and what we want and need to do. And we also forget that these emotions don’t just leave us alone. If they are unresolved, they will continue to build, nag us and give us this feeling of ‘what if’…
It’s okay to feel what you are feeling. But when our feelings are different from where we want them to be, we don’t want them to exist.

No matter what thoughts we may have, whether we want them to exist or not, your life can still bring you joy. It doesn’t matter which path you meander on, no one can take away who you are. Facing and owning your feelings is a part of life’s purpose. And the best part? No matter the emotional turmoil and confusion and no matter where life brings you, you can always have joy. That’s because no one can take away your self worth, your love, your happiness, your mindset, your journey. These things have and will always be yours. Knowing that is what makes life worth living.
Typically problems arise because of how we think about these things. There is so much self pressure to retain things a certain way that we focus more on thinking about controlling these things (self worth, love, happiness, mindset, journey) based on where we think we should be, rather than listening to our inner wisdom and emotional responses. We are constantly in a state of avoiding thoughts and honest conversations with ourselves about where we are at internally. We are scared. We don’t want to complicate things. And we forget that we already own all of these wonderful things that have and will always be ours. Regardless of our feelings, we can still have self worth, love, happiness, a healthy mindset, and our journey. So what is there to fear when the things we fear most are ours to have if we want them? It goes back to this myth that if we keep our feelings stuffed deep down, we can avoid them and just keep on our current path of comfort and deal with the floating thoughts of ‘what if’. Avoiding our emotions tricks us into thinking our feelings have dissipated when actually, they are waiting to rise to the surface to be dealt with later.
We pay so much attention to ‘controlling’ our thoughts, thus ‘controlling’ and hiding our emotions. But who wants to hide? Who wants to cover up who they really are? Who doesn’t want to learn about themselves? The obsession we have with control causes us to avoid listening to our gut and our inner guidance. But it’s this inner guidance and wisdom that is where we come from, and without it you would not exist as your unique self.

Recommendations:
Give yourself time, but not too much…
Time can be related to avoidance. There’s a balance between giving yourself time to understand and process your feelings, and then deciding what to do about them. If we wait too long to take action, we start resonating too much which can cause more fear, anxiety, and even anger. We don’t want our feelings to eat up our energy. Coming to terms with our feelings is supposed to be a healing, uplifting, and refreshing experience, even though it can feel scary.
Also give yourself time after coming to terms and acting on those feelings to let the dust settle and see how things effortlessly blossom thereafter.

Allow plenty of space for silence…
We forget how noisy our world is. Nothing has been more powerful in my life than giving myself space for thought. No music, no background noise, no one else around…
Let yourself experience those floating thoughts that come through, and do so without any distraction. I feel so refreshed after spending time in complete silence, and it has helped me get to know myself. There is no greater feeling than looking forward to silence and the experiences of your own thoughts. Enjoy times of silence, and be your own best friend!

Journal and meditate…
I know I know, I always get a few eyerolls here. BUT, hear me out…Just take the time to write and process through the feelings we do not even realize are there. This is where I take moments to pause and focus on the feelings I forget about because I am so busy thinking about everything else. Journaling is a great way to understand pieces of you that you didn’t know existed, and adding meditation helps to let go of everything aside from what’s in front of you right now. Take the time to stay present rather than stress over all the thoughts we have flying through our mind each day.
Let yourself go here; don’t control what comes through the pen or what emotions come up when you meditate. It’s your time to give back to yourself, and you owe it to yourself to have that quality time. 

Be honest with yourself…
Spending more time in silence, journaling, coming to terms with your emotions, etc. cannot happen if you don’t let go. Being honest with yourself is huge. Feel into the confusion, those fears, hesitations, conflicts, and questions. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how do you expect to move forward and enjoy every aspect of your life? Let your guard down with yourself, it’ll be okay.

Understand that your thoughts are just thoughts
Thoughts drive our feelings, so taking a hard look at how your thoughts affect your feelings is crucial. Sometimes if we change our thoughts and perspective on a situation, our emotions change, too. Our thoughts are what drives our perception of the world and how we feel about it. And just because we think a thought, that does not mean we agree to it or believe it. Thoughts can just come and go, and we do not need to feel into every fleeting thought in our mind.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking ~

-keep shining

Similar blogs:
It’s Okay, Guilt, Control, Failing, Self Forgiveness

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Never Alone

You have the sun on your face and the wind at your back. You have sand between your fingers and grass under your toes. You have oxygen in your lungs and blood running through your veins. Whenever you feel lonely, call upon all that touches you to feel alive again. You are never alone.

-keep shining

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