The death of a close friend, a dear sibling or spouse, or a loving relative can lead a person to great depths of grief, despair and hurt. There are times when the death seems like a blessing because the person was suffering from an illness or some other misfortune, and they are now free from their suffering. In some instances, the individual expires because of old age or in other occasions, the passing of an individual is sudden and shocking. Regardless, when someone a person knows passes from this life, there is usually a time of great sorrow and pain.
Over the course of this past year, I have had the unfortunate experience of knowing some family and friends of mine who either died suddenly or have been going through the dark valleys of their lives. I came across the following story a while back that was written by an older gentleman, who had written his response to someone who had asked the following question in an editorial in his newspaper: “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.” Many people responded but there was one old man whose incredible comment stood out from the rest. What he stated might just change the way we approach life and death:
“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, parents, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.
I wish that I could say that you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if that scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and love. And scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
“As for grief, you’ll find that it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with all of the wreckage around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was…and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing. Maybe it is a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float and stay alive.
“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they crash over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. If might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave keeps crashing…but in between waves…there is life.
“Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall…or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at an airport. You can see it coming and for the most part, you prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
“Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come…and you will survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of love…and lots of shipwrecks.” ~ Source: Pinterest
It is my deepest hope and prayer that this commentary can help you or someone you know who may be “drowning” in a Sea of Despair or Grief. I know this…it helped me when I read it a while ago when my lifelong and best friend died, and who I miss every day…my Dad. So’s here to hope, grace, and happiness…and remembering the times with your loved one…the memories that will last a lifetime!
Grief. Despair. Pain. Suffering. These are just a few words that describe the feelings and emotions that millions of people experience everyday around the world. The death of a family member or loved one, the loss of a job, a separation from a spouse, personal injury, loss of a job, the passing of a pet, sickness, cancer…the list goes on and on.
Grief and depression can sometimes be overwhelming and lead an individual to suffer from a variety of physical problems such as fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, heart and chest pains…just to name a few. People can also experience emotional stresses such as numbness, bitterness, detachment, inability to show or feel joy, etc. Like I said, grief and depression can be downright devastating!!
If you have experienced times like these or are currently fighting through a difficult time in your life, the following story might, very well, be just for you. It tells of a great approach that you may be able to use to help you deal with grief in a positive fashion.
I read the following short story that I felt would be a fantastic post for my blog. It is my hope and prayer that this illustration might help you, even in a small way, to change your outlook and perspective on your life and help you heal a wounded soul and a broken heart!
Someone on Reddit wrote the following heartfelt plea online:
“My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”
A lot of people responded. Then there was one old man that wrote an incredible comment that stood out from the rest that might just change the way that we approach the turmoil of life, death, and other negative experiences.
“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here is my two cents.
“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep…so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing…a happy memory, a photograph, etc. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. staying alive.
“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing…but in between waves…there is life.
“Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you will find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging onto some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
“Take it from an old guy…the waves never stop coming and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you will survive them. And other waves will come…and you will have to survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves…and lots of shipwrecks.”
There are literally millions and millions of people around this country and the world, who deal with large amounts of worry, stress, and anxiety every single day. Individuals may pay thousands and thousands of dollars on various therapies, medications, etc. While there are definitely some individuals who are authentically in need of medication, counseling,etc., many people suffer from self-induced anxiety.
So, I have good news!! I recently came across a nice and simple guideline, that people might want to use to help them deal with the tough times in their life. I found these ideas to be as helpful as 1, 2, 3! I hope that these 10 steps will help you when you face stressful situations!
It happens to the best of us. One minute your sat comfortably enjoying your time on Earth and the next you want to flip all the tables you can get your hands on. Maybe it was something someone said, perhaps it was a memory from a fight you’d had that morning: either way you’re about one irritating noise away from going on a rampage.
Never fear! We have the answers! Here are 12 tips and tricks you can use to boost your mood no matter how blue you’re feeling:
If you’re feeling down, call a loved one or friend. Nothing is more precious than someone who can cheer you up no matter how bad you’re feeling, and if they are truly your friends then they’ll do their best to make everything better! They know you’d do the same for them.
Clear your mind and refresh your thoughts by partaking in some light exercise! Walk about, dance, or run on the spot even for a few minutes and you’ll feel better in no time. Exercise releases endorphins, distracts from any worries you may be mulling over and raises your energy levels almost instantly.
We know not everyone can simply jog out of his or her office or start doing jumping jacks in a meeting, but there’s no reason you can’t do some stretching. Lift your arms and legs or stretch them out, touch your toes; hell if you’re feeling brave do some yoga positions!
Nothing is more cleansing than fresh air and sunlight, in fact there are numerous studies that show those who adopt an outdoor lifestyle show significantly less symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who work indoors all day. Spending a few minutes in the sun will raise your vitamin D – also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – levels, which are crucial for physical and mental well-being.
Take a minute out of your day to just relax and take some deep breaths. Partaking in just a few deep breathing sessions a day reduces stress, rids your body of 70% of toxins, aids digestion, helps you to let go of tension and increases the oxygen levels in your blood.
Simply try breathing in for five seconds, feeling your diaphragm expand and air fill your lungs, then hold that breath for another five seconds before slowly exhaling. Do this a few times and you’ll feel the control and happiness coming back to you.
Leave The Negative People Behind
There’s nothing more detrimental to your attitude than being surrounded by negative people. This may be in real life, online or in your phone: either way it’s time to let go of the downers. Ridding yourself of toxic people is not selfish, it is a form of self-care that will make you happier in the short and long term.
Work On A Task That Means Something To You
Whether it’s a lingering assignment you’ve yet to complete or a work of passion you haven’t had time for, now’s the time to sit and work on something important to you. By lifting the weight of a burden off of your shoulders or indulging in something you love, you’ll be filled with satisfaction and boost your mood.
Eat Something Tasty
If it’s close to lunchtime or you haven’t eaten in a while, you may just be crabby because you’re hangry (that’s hungry and angry). Get a snack, let it settle for five minutes and then get on with your day. Chances are you’ll be feeling better already.
Drink Some Water
Dehydration can cause low mood, headaches and fatigue so make sure you drink a lot of water throughout the day to keep your mood at it’s best!
Help Someone Else
Chances are you’re not the only one feeling blue right now. Try writing a nice email, Facebook message or Tweet to someone you care about, maybe even write a general status that’ll cheer everyone who reads it up. Doing a good deed is often the quickest way to make ourselves’ smile and feel better.
10. Change Your Environment
Did you know that the colours you surround yourself with could impact on your mood? For example, blues and greens are meant to be soothing shades, whereas yellows and reds create energy. If you’re feeling sleepy or anxious, perhaps purchase some colour-coded happiness! Even better, buy a plant: they filter the air around you making the oxygen cleaner and richer, boosting productivity.
Another easy way to boost your mood is to organize your belongings. Decluttering creates space in your area and in your mind, so why not have a quick tidy up.
11. Get Creative
Writing, drawing, listening to music, watching a funny show or reading some motivational posters are bound to make you feel better. If you’re prone to luls throughout your day, perhaps you should make a playlist that you can listen to when you notice your mood shift, or keep a pen and notepad handy for doodles and writing. If all else falls Google ‘funny cats’.
12. Take A Step Back
If you’re still not feeling your best, then it may be time to take a step back and look at your life. Write a list of three things that you are grateful for or simply take a moment to think about how things could be worse. Remember that you are in control and give yourself permission to change the things you are not satisfied with in your life, including your mood towards it.
Everyone needs a little giggle every once in a while…especially under stressful situations. Some situations can cause a great deal of stress while people…who read about that situation can do nothing more than giggle when they read about the poor soul’s situation.
Such is the case of today’s “Giggle of the Day.”
You pick up a hitchhiker… A beautiful girl.
Suddenly, she faints inside your truck and
you take her to the hospital.
Now that’s stressful.
But at the hospital, they say she is pregnant and
congratulate you that you’re going to be a father.
You say that you are not the father, but the girl says you are.
This is getting very stressful!
You request a DNA test to prove that you are not the father.
After the tests are completed,
The doctor says the test shows you’re infertile,
And probably have been since birth.
You’re extremely stressed but relieved.
On your way back home, you think about your 5 kids at home.
Anxiety and stress…millions upon millions of people struggle coping with this monster every day. The effects of anxiety on some people can be downright nasty, frightening, and frustrating. People suffering from anxiety can have an assortment of symptoms: insomnia, irregular heartbeats, trembling, fear of dying, chills or hot flashes, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, sudden overwhelming fear, nausea, trouble concentrating, breathing rapidly, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, as with many medical conditions, the exact cause and the genesis of anxiety is not exactly known or understood. There are some things that can contribute to anxiety such as traumatic life experiences, inherited traits, a vast assortment of medical causes, or medications.
I recently had a bout with anxiety (as I also did a year or so ago). In both cases, the anxiety was caused by something different. The first time, it was triggered by a medication that had an adverse effect on my body…unfortunately, it lasted quite a while. A short time ago, I began to experience a high level of anxiety again, due mainly to an accumulation of a number of factors such as a medical problem (kidney stones), an overwhelming work load, and a private emotional time of my life.
I decided to go to my Face Book page and ask my friends for their suggestions as to how I could deal with my anxiety and I found many of them to be VERY helpful and successful. I also researched other ways and techniques that individuals deal with anxiety…and It is for these reasons, that I decided to share a list of them with you!!!
It is my hope and prayer that the following “weapons” will help in your “fight” in slaying the dragon…anxiety.
Chew Bubble / Chewing Gum – The next time you feel the axiety coming on, unwrap a stick of gum, start chewing and enjoy it! According to studies, knowing on a piece of gum lowers anxiety and eases stress. Some researchers believe that the rhythmic act of chewing may increase the blood flow to your brain, while others believe that the smell and taste help you to relax.
2. Get Outside – Fresh air and the feeling of openness, freedom, and the enjoyment of everything that Mother Nature has for you ca have an adverse effect in the way that you feel. The feel of the warm sun, a nice breeze, nice smelling flowers, the songs of the birds, and many other things, will lower your stress. Levels
3. Smell Some Lavender – It has been believed for hundreds of years that certain smells can have a tremendous, positive effect on a person’s mental state. The proof is in the pudding…how often are you doing something, then suddenly experience a certain smell which in turn, “takes you back” to a time that you may have long since forgotten…maybe it brings you to a place that gives you happy memories. Such is the case with Lavender. Lavender has a relaxing, soothing effect with people when it is smelled.
4. Smile and/or Laugh – Don’t be a crab! Just as negative feeling and mind thoughts can have adverse effects on a persons psyche…when a person smiles, it can do just the opposite. When times get difficult and arduous, put a smile on your face…a REAL one. Believe it or ot, when you smile, the muscles around your face and mouth , reduces your body’s stress as well as lowers your heart rate faster once the stressful experience ends.
5. Pray the Alphabet – This technique had a tremendous positive effect with me. I am a Christian with a strong faith in God but it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t do something like that yourself. When I pray the alphabet, I begin with the latter. A, then pray for every person I know whose name starts with the letter “A”…the on to “B”, etc. I very rarely ever got to the letters in the middle of the alphabet…especially if I did the prayer while I was in bed at night. It is effective because it takes the focus off of my “problem” and think of something else.
6. Listen to Music – Try to listen to something that you enjoy like music or a podcast and try to listen to every word or every note. Music has “magical” powers…it can make you dance, helps plants to grow, lulls babies to sleep, marches men off to war, enchant people and nations, drive out evil spirits, etc. Music can slow down the brain waves, as well as affect a person’s heartbeat and blood pressure. Music can also boast the immune system, boost productivity, and strengthen memory and learning. The point? Listening to music can uplift your soul and spirits sometimes in ways that you could never imagine.
7. Be Nice to Yourself – Some anxiety and negative thoughts and feelings are self-induced. They are sometimes brought on because of the way an individual may think of themselves. If person is continually putting themselves down, pessimistic, and cynical about their life, they will bring much added stress and strain upon themselves…sometimes, more than they should have. Therefore, BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Tell yourself every day when you wake up (and throughout the day) how awesome you are, how much you are loved and cared for. Staying positive and using compassionate self-talk will help you to relax and get a better grip on your situation. Remind yourself in a calm and assured way…the same way that you might help a friend, that “everything will be OK, etc. Also, do things that you enjoy!
8. Write Your Anxiety Away – Take the time each night to find something to write about…things that make you anxious, happy, or anything else that you may find helpful. The act of writing out words and putting your thoughts on paper is very therapeutic. It doesn’t matter if you write it out with a pen, pencil, or crayon…the important thing is to be honest with yourself. Again, this was one of the biggest things that helped me fight off my bouts with anxiety. I slept better at night and helped me to focus on not only the things that bothered me or caused me the anxiety, helped me to realize the things NOT TO FOCUS ON…and to move on with my life.
9. Breathe – When you feel your anxiety coming on or if you are in the process of experiencing it, take the time to focus on your breathing. Focusing on your breathing takes your focus off of the thing that may be causing you the stress. Find a quiet place to go then sit quietly. Take a nice, long, slow breath through your nose (count to 8 while you are doing so), hold your breath for 4 seconds, then release your breath in a slow, soothing fashion (again, count to 8 while you are exhaling). When you start feeling your anxiety begin to build, force yourself to focus on one thing around you instead. Take a relaxing breath and very slowly describe to yourself every detail about that object or person. Keep doing it and don’t allow yourself to focus on your anxiety. Keep focusing outward. Within a few minutes your anxiety attack will go away. It takes practice but with every anxiety attack it gets a bit easier.
10. Talk to A Friend – I found this to be a very, very helpful way. There is nothing better than talking with someone who has gone through the same things that you have. There are many times, that your friends can give you great strategies and techniques how to battle your stresses and anxiety. This blog is a great example of that! Sharing with a loved one allows you to “open up” easier and be more honest. More importantly, you will feel much less alone.
11. Meditation – I’ll keep this one short…take at least 8 minutes, once a day, to focus on something that brings you pleasure…music, a movie, or something that makes you smile. Play it in your head and only focus on that. Eventually, your heart rate will slow down and you will soon return to normal.
12. Yoga / Tai Chi – Learn the good, helpful techniques to slow down your breathing and focus on positive things. Again, this is turn will lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
13. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – There’s many skills for distress tolerance in dialectical behavioral therapy. They suggest trying to hold ice, using imagery, playing with play dough.
There’s also an acronym that help with mindfulness: RAIN. Recognize that it’s happening. Accept without judgment (no judgment is crucial) it is happening. Investigate how your body feels. Note mentally when/how I t happened and what it felt like.
14. Lay Your Problems at the Feet of Christ – ..and do just that…LEAVE THEM THERE! Don’t go back and dwell on the past or the things that cause you distress or anxiety. Leave your problems and sorrows with the Lord…and keep them there!!
Matthew 6: 25-34 – Do Not Be Anxious: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his ispan of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, Oh you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Anxiety. Every person in the world has it and has to deal with it on a daily basis. Whether it is big or small, everyone has something that they worry about or are fearful of. There are different kinds of anxiety…there is good anxiety (such as an athlete getting ready to play in a game) or bad, chronic anxiety (worrying about things that a person had no control over or can’t do anything about). Bad anxiety or stress can become very detrimental and harmful to a person if it raises to unhealthy levels.
I recently read an article written by Jacklyn Krol on “Thought Catalog” that I thought would be good to share with you. Since I have dealt with anxiety attacks and raised anxiety levels in the past, articles like this have really helped me deal with my stress levels in more effective ways. The thing that has helped me deal my anxiety is understanding what can cause it and what I can do to help lessen its affect.
Another thing, and the purpose of this article, is helping other people, who are dealing with anxiety. What are things that you can say to help comfort them and calm them down> You are about to find out…
1. “It will end.”
Whenever I have an attack, I immediately go into the mindset that this will never end, this is hell. During an attack, a second feels like an hour. The only words I can use to explain the feeling is like you’re going to die because your body is on overdrive trying to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. Any time I get sick, it reminds me of the dark place where I was before treatment, medication, and doctors — nowhere near a functioning state of life. It may seem awfully obvious to tell us that this specific anxiety attack is going to end, but sometimes you need that external reminder that yeah, this feeling will pass as it always does.
2. “You can get through this.”
When you get sick, it feels hopeless and never-ending. I have never felt strong enough to survive an attack without becoming depressed or even sicker after. In my first article with Thought Catalog, I mentioned the startling fact that every hour at least one person goes to the ER for a panic attack. This hellish place we’re in feels like we’re fighting a hopeless fight against ourselves and our own bodies. Believing in people can go a long way, telling the person you believe in them can go even farther. Knowing that someone else is there for us can often be the little bit of strength that we need to get through.
3. A reminder to breathe.
I normally forget to breathe, or breathe less when I’m having an anxiety attack. Usually good slow and steady breaths help get our bodies to make it through without passing or blacking out. It’s a good reminder that you’re in the moment and alive. It also lets me think that I can breathe and I am alive and that other people aren’t breathing and don’t get to live as long as a life as myself. Tell us this and our lungs will thank you.
4. “Do you need anything?”
Most of the time during an anxiety attack, people are often weak, dizzy, and sometimes become sick to their stomachs. Having a drink or protein bar usually helps. Pillows also are great to cling onto and the person may need medication. Simply asking someone if they need anything is more than a kind gesture — it’s helpful when we can’t control our own bodies enough to get what we need ourselves.
5. “You’re strong.”
Because today’s society taught me that anxiety is nothing and a wimp can get through it, I often feel my lowest when I have an attack. I sometimes feel stupid and weak for even feeling sick because “it’s just anxiety”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give up and not fight this anymore, believing in a person can do more than you’ve ever dreamed of. Thank you for not letting us give up.
6. Offering a hand to hold or a hug.
You do not know the power of a hug or holding a hand until you’ve had this disorder. The simple act of human touch can mentally bring us into a safer place and help us by physically feeling that we’re not alone. It brings us into the here and now when we’re in a scary place. When having an attack alone my one wish is to have someone to hug or hold my hand. Thank you for being there with us.
When anxiety’s got you in its grip, it’s hard to avoid worrying. But there’s a technique that can help. I call it “breathing prayer.”
By Julia Attaway, New York, New York
Can we talk anxiety? You know what I mean: that roiling inner whirlwind, the blinding, gut-wrenching, confusion-making state of being that takes over our hearts and minds from time to time.
When anxiety’s got you in its grip, it’s hard to avoid worrying about tomorrow. It’s difficult to adopt a Jeremiah 29:11 attitude. Sometimes it seems all we can do is shove our fears heavenward and hope God takes them away. I think there’s a better way.
Anxiety works on a very primitive level. It has a physical component which we can counteract by applying a physical remedy. Several years ago I learned that there’s actually a right way to breathe to reduce anxiety and stress. The Harvard Health Blog calls it breath control. The technique has certain similarities with prayerful meditation, and since it’s completely compatible with faith, I personally call it “breathing prayer.”
Try this: Close your eyes and inhale slowly, imagining pulling the Spirit in so fully that it fills every pore of your body. Make sure your stomach expands; you want to be pregnant with peace. Exhale slowly through your nose.
You can pray while you do this (though if you’re anxious when you start, you probably won’t think of it until after a few breaths, when your head starts to clear). Simple prayers work best:
Come Holy Spirit…
fill my heart
grant me your peace
I love you
If you practice when you’re not in the throes of wild anxiety, it will be easier to pray this way when you are. But “breathing prayer” is a good addition to any regular prayer time. Anything that clears the head and calms the body frees us up to hear God better. And that’s what prayer is all about.