Positive Thinking Improves Mental Health

woman with arms out_postivethinkingimprovesmentalhealth_rockinrandommom

Over the weekend I received a message from one of my favorite blogger friends, Becky over at Cuddle Fairy and she asked me a question. How do I find positivity? I answered her question and was asked if she could quote me in her latest blog post. Of course I said yes and you can read her positivity post HERE if you like. However, I got to really thinking about it and I want to elaborate on my view of Positive thinking.

How to I view positive thinking?

It’s a great question and I’m sure is different for everyone. For me, the best way to explain it would be to use examples. Right after Christmas, we got hit with a severe cold front that brought the temperatures down to the negatives. As a result, my battery died in my car. No big deal for me because I didn’t go anywhere during the holiday break. After the New Year I had to wait a few days but I knew I was going to be okay. I had to borrow a car for awhile but it was all good. Positive thinking. This helped to keep my mental health in check. Then we replaced the battery and for a few days, the car was fine.

Friday was a long and dreary day. It had been pouring rain all day and in several spots there was a lot of fog and the traffic didn’t help. After dropping Conner off at his dad’s then picking Adam up at school from his play rehearsal, I had been on the road for a little more than two hours. I was tired. Adam and I were both looking forward to going home, getting cozy in our pj’s and eating the chicken noodle soup I had in the crock pot waiting for us. But then the car died. Not the happy ending we were expecting.

So what does this have to do with positive thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you. I was stuck at the pump and the gas station was busy. I don’t like to hold up a line but I had no choice. My ex-husband was on his way to look at the car because I couldn’t afford to have it towed. I had asked a couple of people if they could give me a jump but to no avail. People are so unwilling to help strangers these days. So this was the moment I had to make a choice. I could have gotten mad and yelled at someone over the injustice of it all. That’s what I’ve done in the past. I could have sat in my car and sulked and cussed out my car, beating the steering wheel in order to vent my frustration.

calm app quote_ positive thinking_rockinrandommom

I’ve done that in the past as well. What I learned from those past experiences is that it got me no where. It didn’t accomplish anything to get mad and frustrated. As much as I hated being stranded at the gas station, I knew help was on the way and I knew my son and I were safe. So, I decided to watch a funny YouTube video. There is this company that posts videos of teens, kids, adults, and elders reacting to different things. I find these videos endlessly entertaining and they always cheer me up.

Positive thinking took hold of my thoughts and before I knew it, my ex-husband had shown up and as it turns out, it was nothing serious. He fixed the problem and we were on our way home to enjoy that chicken soup. Which, by the way, came from Heather over at Shank You Very Much  Thank you Heather for your recipe. It was delicious and hit the spot!

And how does positive thinking affect Mental health?

Positive thinking isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes its downright difficult and we are all going to have our bad days no matter what. However, Friday could have turned into a disaster had I let my negative thoughts and feelings take over. Friday wasn’t the greatest day but thanks to my awareness to keep on a positive thought track, it wasn’t a disaster either.

Lately I have been struggling with keeping myself centered and thinking positively. Negative thoughts creep in from time to time and I tend to overthink. Overthinking leads to paranoid thoughts and with my history of depression, this isn’t a good thing. So when my good friend Becky posts her positivity challenges I take them because I know they are great exercise in keeping my depression at arm’s length.

I often challenge myself in this way because I know, first hand, that while positive thinking doesn’t keep bad days from happening, they do alleviate the stress those days can take on us. What about you? What do you think of positive thinking? How do you use it in your own life to combat those pesky negative thoughts? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

 

I am linking with:

 

My Random Musings

 

Monday Stumble Linky

 

Burnished Chaos

 

One Messy Mama

 

My Random Musings

 

After The Playground

Dear Inner Child (Letter to Little Me)

innerchild_rockinrandommom

 Dear Inner Child is not just a letter. It is an acknowledgement that I was once a child. When children live through abuse, they often don’t see themselves as children. They don’t see themselves as deserving human beings. It took a long, long time but this is me finally recognizing my child self was worthy.

Dear Inner Child, 

Hello beautiful! I know you don’t think you are beautiful but believe me when I say that you are. You don’t feel it because of how you are treated. You aren’t told and you aren’t allowed to be you. You are beautiful because of your creativity and your ability to see more than most. You are beautiful because you have a big heart and a beautiful soul.

Dear Inner Child,

You are a survivor. I know you feel very lonely but you put that loneliness aside for your family. You adore your mother and look up to her but its your siblings who are your world. You feel responsible for them. You are the oldest after all. You feel strongly and without a second thought that they need to be protected. You won’t be able to protect them from everything and this will haunt you for a long time. It will even affect your parenting in the future.

You will become obsessive with protecting your children. More so than most parents because you will remember that failure and that will lead to fear that you will fail your children. But know this dear girl: Your siblings will go be okay. They will have their own battles to fight. They won’t need you to be their protector. They won’t need you to be their mother. What they need is for you to be their sister.

dearinnerchild_rockinrandommom

When they go through hell, be there for them. When they have to fight their own battles, be supportive. When they fall – and they will – don’t judge them. Give them space. Listen to them. It will be hard sometimes because in your eyes, they are angels. You see their potential. You see their worth way before you see your own. They sit high on that pedestal but they are only human. Just like you. Understand that they have to find their own paths. You will each find your own way. Believe in that.

Dear Inner Child,

You feel so much with such depth. You are curious by nature and are a deep thinker. You don’t recognize this yet because you have to hide yourself. You have to lock away your emotions and show no fear. You also have to hide your pain. For a long time, even those closest to you will not know what you’ve been through and how you feel.

innerchild_rockinrandommom

Locking these emotions away will cause resentment within you. This resentment will boil to anger and rage. By the time you are an adult, that anger will spill out. I’m not telling you this to scare you dear girl. I just want you to be prepared. I also want you to know that you got this. You see, just like your siblings, you will fight against your own demons and you will win.

My dearest inner child,

You will go through most of your life believing you are a freak. You will be convinced that God hates you and that you are monster. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re not a freak. You’re not a monster. You are a human being with real, human emotions and a mind of your own. You stand up for yourself and for others. You are a fighter.

innerchild_rockinrandommom

You will have many insecurities, especially as a teenager and young adult. You will feel so much shame and humiliation. You will hide them well but remember this: Every human has insecurities. We aren’t perfect. We are not meant to be and that is totally okay. People will manipulate you and try to take advantage of you but you will learn from these experiences.

innerchild_rockinrandommom

You have always believed that every child is a gift but you always excluded yourself from that belief. So hear me now, young one, you are a gift. You are just as much a gift as every other child on the planet. God doesn’t hate you. The universe isn’t out to get you. All the pain and loneliness you feel right now will turn you into a vibrant, powerful, compassionate, and strong woman.

My dear, dear inner child,

You will get knocked down but you will ALWAYS get back up! You will make mistakes, but you will ALWAYS learn from them. Why? Because you are a warrior.  Because everything you have gone through will lead you to a better path. You don’t know this yet. You can’t even comprehend it but you will love yourself.

dearinnerchild_rockinrandommom

You are a Survivor. A Fighter. A Warrior. And while your siblings and your children will be your heroes, you will  become your own hero. You will find your own worth and you will love and be loved beyond all measure.

You are my hero!

With love and respect,

Adult You!

There is more to say but I’ll leave it here for now. Thanks so much for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

This song is by Fall Out Boy and while the video is cool, it’s the lyrics that fit this post! Have a listen.

I am linking with:

 

My Random Musings

 

Monday Stumble Linky

 

Burnished Chaos

 

Reflections From Me

 

Cuddle Fairy

 

#ablogginggoodtime

 

 

 

 

 

When a Romantic Relationship Affects Your Mental Health

relationship_rockinrandommom

Last year I met someone who I thought was a soul mate. While I often question the validity of soul mates, deep down I wish for one. That one person who just gets me. This person seemed to do just that. We had this really strong instant connection. The relationship showed a lot of promise.

relationship_rockinrandommom

That was so refreshing. He actually took the time to get to know me. It’s so rare to find that these days. I found him to be a unique person with a unique mind and I adored our conversations. We could talk about anything and the conversations flowed as if we had always known each other.

We had a long distance relationship. This was against my rules of dating. We met online – Xbox – another rule broken. Still, though I wanted to give it a chance. I wanted to open myself up to the possibilities. A third rule I broke was to not date someone more than 5 years younger than me. He was in his twenties. He presented himself as a mature and deep, intelligent thinker.

relationship_rockinrandommomI don’t trust easily and it takes a lot for me to tell someone I love them. It happened fast and within a month we were exchanging I love you’s and talking long term. I watch Catfish on MTV so naturally I was cautious. We had Skyped and sent pictures and spoke on the phone. He was who he said he was.

BUT THERE WERE SEVERAL RED FLAGS.

When I commit to someone and really love someone, I tend to go above and beyond. I’m a very generous person and eventually realized my generosity was being taken advantage of. When I said something, his answer was always, “Well, I didn’t ask you.” When coupled with how he “didn’t ask” – that is manipulation.

He had a way though, of making me second guess my instincts. Because of my trust issues I told myself that it was my own crazy thoughts that were keeping me from fully trusting him. I look back on that now and I know better. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!
relationship_rockinrandommomHe would often ignore me for a week or two at a time then come back and tell me how much he missed me. When I get ignored, I get angry but I also get distant. I told him this yet he kept ignoring me anyway. This had nothing to do with family obligations or work. It was all about gaming. He often retreated to his own little bubble where no one else existed, save his gaming buddies. During these times, I found myself depressed and irritable. I allowed it to affect my well being and happiness. Not Cool!

This song explains it perfectly:

Even so, I continued to date him. I really believed in our connection. Despite all the signs I believed in him. I saw his potential. I also wanted to help him. You see, over the course of our 10 month relationship/friendship I saw strong signs of a possible mental illness.

relationship_rockinrandommomHe would lie or exaggerate certain truths about his life in order to gain my sympathy. I genuinely wanted to help him but often found myself more stressed out and withdrawn. I was really stressing and worrying over his well being and beating myself up when he consistently ignored my advice. He could talk the talk but couldn’t walk the walk.

relationship_rockinrandommom

relationship_rockinrandommomThe last straw for me was when he “forgot” my birthday. Wait. What he said was he didn’t forget, just forgot to tell me. I called bullshit on that and realized, finally, that I needed to let him go. We weren’t in a relationship by then but we were still acting like a couple. It showed me how selfish he really was. Despite his constant words of “I love you” and “You’re the most important thing in my life”, his actions kept showing me the opposite.

relationship_rockinrandommom

I finally came to the conclusion that what he really wanted was a savior. Someone to rescue him from his life and take care of him. He wanted a mother and a lover in one while at the same time someone to obsess over him. I’m just not down with that. For my own sanity I had to cut him from my life. Sometimes you just have to walk away. I have to put my happiness first. After, I realized just how much he had drained me emotionally.

I was really angry with him but more angry with myself. The truth is I felt duped. How can that be? I’m smarter than this? I really had to come to terms with the whole situation. I invested so much more into the relationship. I gave more than I got. I can’t say this relationship was a mistake because I learned something very valuable about myself. Now I can move forward. Never settle for less than you deserve.

relationship_rockinrandommom

Have you had a similar experience in relationships? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much for Reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

 

I am linking this with:

My Random Musings
Monday Stumble Linky
Reflectionsfromme
Cuddle Fairy

 

My New Mindfulness: Meditation at 40

meditation_rockinrandommom

*This post contains and affiliate link*

Meditation was never something I thought I’d ever do. I remember when I was in my 20’s and I would see a group of people meditating at a park.  I would think, “what the hell are they doing? I’m never gonna do that. That looks boring as hell.” Little did I know that 20 years later, that’s exactly what I’d be doing. With 40 looming right around the corner, meditation has recently been added to my repertoire of calming activities to help keep my sanity.

As we get older and the reality of life sets in with work, kids, bills, and various other factors that stress us, we look for ways to keep calm and DE-stress as much as possible. For the past two months I have added meditation to my routine.

meditationapp_rockinrandommom

Because my mind runs about a mile a minute I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do this meditation thing. I mean, come on, I have to sit still and clear my head. Clearing the brain is difficult but giving up is an option because of my stress level and anxiety.

You know how on Facebook you get ads in your feed about various things? These ads are supposed to cater to your interests based off of your likes. That’s where I found it. An app that actually talks you through meditation. It’s called Calm and you can try the free version or purchase the yearly subscription on iTunes.

Calm App

I tried the free version first. It starts with the 7 Days of Calm. It’s the only one you can try with the free version but you also get three different sleep stories and several different nature sounds.

meditationapp_rockinrandommom

You can do these meditations anytime you want but I chose to do them before bed. I have a really hard time shutting my brain off at night and because of this it takes me 2 hours to fall asleep. So I really wanted something to help me calm my mind. I didn’t just do the meditation though. I added the sleep story right after. By day three I was asleep before the end of the story. Each story is about 30 minutes long and I was sleeping 15 minutes in.

That’s a pretty big difference from 2 hours! At first, I wasn’t doing them on the weekends but I found that if I skipped, then by Monday I was back to being easily stressed and way too much on my mind. So I added the weekends in and it has made a big difference. I finally went all in and purchased the full version of the app and I have been loving it!

meditationapp_rockinrandommom

One of my favorite things about this app though are the quotes shown to you after every mediation. I love quotes and always look for positive and inspiring quotes to help me when I’m feeling down or just need a pick me up.

meditationapp_rockinrandommom

It has helped me so much and for a person who has never put much stock into meditation, this is a big deal. My therapist has recommended I add one more meditation time in so I’m going to do that. Well, I’m working on it anyway. This past week has been pretty busy and I will be busy for the next week. But I think finding the time to do even a 10 minute mediation will help me keep my calm, especially through the busy times.

meditationapp_rockinrandommom

 

We all know that when we get busy, we get irritated easier than normal. That’s the stress of life. But adding just a small meditation has helped me immensely. I do yoga first thing in the morning. The yoga DVD I have has a 2 minute mediation at the end of it. Then I do my meditation at night with the Calm app.

I am working on adding Tai Chi to my day but it has been difficult because I don’t have a lot of space. Yesterday I spent the whole day rearranging my room to make more space. It looks like it might be enough. That’s one more piece to my puzzle added to my quest for peace of mind through out the day.

meditationapp_rockinrandommom

They even have meditation and sleep stories for the kids. I have tried getting my two boys to try it out with me but to no avail but I won’t give up though. I figure if they keep seeing me do it, they may eventually want to do it too. For you parents who have younger kids though, give it a shot.

What do you think of meditation?

Thanks so much for Reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

 

I am linking this with:

Cuddle Fairy
Naptime Natter

 

 

 

 

Domestic Violence Affects Children

howdomesticviolenc_rockinrandommom

Update: As of today, October 4, 2017 I have started training at a place called Safe Passage. It is a Domestic Violence Organization helping survivors in many different ways, particularly providing shelters and Advocacy.

Somewhere between 3 and 4 million children witness domestic violence in the home in the U.S alone. According to government statistics, 95% of these cases are reported to be women victims of a violent male partner and it’s the children who witness these violent acts. This puts children in a very fearful position. It makes them anxious and hyper vigilant because they never know when the next beating will occur or what will cause it.

domesticviolencequote_rockinrandommom

Make no mistake, this is a traumatic event and the children are being just as traumatized, if not more, as the mother. In helping to spread awareness of Domestic Violence and trying to end it, I am going to do something pretty rare here on my blog. I’m going to share a personal story that very few people even know about.

domesticviolence_rockinrandommom

I think I was about 5 or 6, maybe closer to 5. I remember waking up to noise. It was night time. I remember because my window was straight ahead when I sat up in my bed. I remember hearing yelling and a deep voice responding with louder yelling. I knew it was my mom’s boyfriend, Charlie. He was a scary guy. He was really tall, dark hair and dark eyes. I never liked him from the moment my mom started dating him. He was violent, especially after several beers.

This night was particularly bad. By the time I got downstairs, I knew the familiar chaos before me. I can’t remember where my younger siblings were because my first priority was my mother.

I went upstairs and grabbed my mother’s gun. I picked up the loaded gun, not thinking about anything but getting to my mother. When I got to her though, it seemed as if she was so far away. He towered over her 5′ 2” frame, relentlessly wailing on her. I raised the gun to point it at him but when I did, fear gripped me. I hadn’t even realized until that moment that I was even scared. What if, like in the Christmas Story, I somehow shot myself in the eye instead? What if I ended up shooting my mother? What if I missed him completely and he came after me? The most pressing question any 5 year old would ask once the police walked in the door: What if the police arrest me instead of him because I shot him?1in4_rockinrandommom

What happened next is a bit of a blur. My mom tells me that after the police arrested Charlie, one officer stayed behind to talk to me. My mom doesn’t remember if it was her or the officer who got the gun from my hand because all she remembers is me telling the officer, “I’m gonna kill him! I’m gonna kill him!” My mom says that I was really angry and I was crying.

What I remember is how heavy the gun felt in my small hands. What I remember is how scared I was and how, when it came time to protect my mother and use that gun, I froze in fear. Eventually one of them got the gun from me and my mom said that’s why she never had a gun since and never will again. That isn’t the point of this story though. The point is, I was terrified of so many things and for so many reasons. Charlie had beat my mom before but this is the one event I remember because of how traumatized I was and how watching my mother get beat repeatedly by him and others, it carried over into my adulthood.

stopviolence_rockinrandommom

I swore I would never let a man hit me! I never have either. However, in protecting myself, I hit my ex a few times, just because I felt threatened. Some part of me knew he wasn’t going to hit me but the hyper-vigilant part of me didn’t, so I hit first.  I never saw myself as being abusive towards him. I saw it as being proactive in defending myself. This was also part of my PTSD. I know now that it was the wrong thing to do. Therapy taught me that. No one deserves to be hit – man, woman, or child.

Domestic violence affects children in many different ways. They can become the victim of abuse, or they can become the abuser. Many children living in abusive homes end up on drugs, with mental disorders, and/or in jail. They also are at a high risk of becoming suicidal. We can stop this but we have to speak out. It’s time we break the chains.

I’m going to leave an inspirational video that I made because we need to be inspired to stand up and end the cycle of abuse. It’s not too late to stop the violence and change our children’s futures!

 

enddomesticviolence_rockinrandommom

Thanks so much for reading!

myblogsignature_rockinrandommom

I am linking this with:

#MidLifeLuv Linky
My Random Musings