Tag Archives: strength

Nourishing all the Parts of Ourselves

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

Within each of us are many sub selves which have identifiable personality characteristics. Each of these sub selves represent different energies and forces within each of us and are ways we express our personalities across a spectrum of traits. Each sub self needs an arena in which it can be expressed as well as emotional and behavioral nourishment to maintain its strength and resiliency.

There are many people who have written about archetypes and sub selves, and some say there are basic ones for all of us and other are less specific. What matters in terms of our own happiness and strength is that we are clear about the energies within us. Let me give some examples in my own life.

It seems to me that the major sub selves within me are my Artist, my Helper, my Teacher, my Cowboy and my Warrior. Each of these has a different energy and each needs different input to be nourished and different arenas in which it can express itself. Right now I am writing about myself as a man; women may have similar or different names or characteristics for their sub selves, but the most important thing is to recognize that in each of these are the psychological pillars of who we are.There may be a dark side to each of these sub selves also, but for now I want to focus on the positive aspects of each.

canstockphoto12706268Some of these sub selves are more appreciated in the world than others and some are harder to nourish than others. My Cowboy, for example, is the part of me that wants freedom, the open range, lack of domestication and lots of playfulness and guy stuff. My cowboy can live in the culture for extended periods of time, but after a while must hit the road, live with less rules, have tos and shun tedious routine.

If my Cowboy does not get a chance to be appreciated and have the space and energy he needs, he starts feeling trapped and boxed in, and may push boundaries in less healthy ways. My Cowboy was not greatly appreciated in the classroom when I was an adolescent. He was, however, appreciated in the world of drama and sports and just screwing around with my friends. My Cowboy also had a few scrapes with the law; he doesn’t seem to have the same respect for rules that others demand, and very often says, “Oh what the hell, let’s give it a try.”

When my Cowboy is nourished and has space to be, he is positive, fun, creative and expansive; without that he can become less positive. When he gets boxed in, he pushes back.

In the next few blogs, I would like to share a description of each of my sub selves so that you can begin to identify your own and make sure each has arenas in which they get appropriate input and express themselves in the world. In so doing we have more opportunities to cultivate our mental health and happiness.

What are your character strengths?

Contributed by Denise Daub

By Rebecca Scholl

Honing in on your strengths — whether its expressing kindness, gratitude or honesty — can improve your daily life. Being kind to others can actually boost your cardiovascular health. Expressing gratitude has been linked to more optimism. Being honest may improve your overall health.

Happify, a website dedicated to helping people build skills for happiness through science-based activities and games, organized a detailed infographic explaining how you can use your personal character strengths to improve your own life. Take a look at it below and get inspired to tap into what makes you unique.

Read more…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-use-your-character-strengths-to-improve-your-life_55ae5a35e4b07af29d5656eb?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Finding Your Passion

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. — Joseph Campbell

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. —  Harriet Tubman

Ever read these kinds of quotes before? Does it help you feel inspired, fired up and ready to go out into the world and take your next step to conquer your fears and realize your daydream2dream? Or do you feel annoyed and irritated instead? Do you wonder what your dreams and passions are? How are you supposed to follow your bliss when you don’t even know what that is?

Here are a couple of stories that just might help improve your Mental Health & Happiness as you consider or reconsider your bliss, passion and dreams.

Once upon a time I started a college program where I was able to create my own course of study. I knew I needed the program to be interdisciplinary. And I knew some of the academic disciplines I was already interested in. But what else?

Following the direction of a well seasoned college professor, I gathered together all of my purchased books as well as borrowed books and articles (from the library and friends). I discovered something amazing! There, right before my eyes, were two very clear categories of subjects I had been studying on my own, driven by my own interest and curiosity: women’s studies and religion. I had unearthed some of my hidden curiosities, passions, and desires!

Once upon a time in another person’s life, my friend went on a great European summer adventure with his old and reliable camera in hand. His great adventure was filled with learning, fun and picture taking. He could hardly wait to return to the states in early September to develop all of the wonderful pictures he had taken of all of the beautiful women he saw in each new country and city.

Imagine his surprise when upon developing all of his many photographs he saw building, after ruin, after architectural angle and  points of interest. He was completely surprised by his own inner knower that led him to his life’s work. He is now a successful architectural photographer!

Want to start following your own bliss and passion? If you already know your driving dream then get going or keep going.

 There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. — Nelson Mandela

And if you are one of the many people whose passion, bliss and dreams are a mystery to you, then start your detective work now. Gather your books, pictures, articles, saved quotes, mementos, souvenirs, collections and any other clues you can about who you are, what you care about, what lights you on fire and sets your heart soaring. With these discoveries you too can start creating the life that is all you are capable of living. And your Mental Health & Happiness will hold steady at a bliss-filled level.                                              

How rich are you?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

I started this new year out with the same old resolution many other people before me have made. This is the year I’m going to get into good physical shape. I’ve even made this same resolution before myself. I won’t embarrass myself by saying how many other years this has been my resolve. No matter.

Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
—  
Samuel Beckett

yogagirl_transpI’ve begun working out with a new athletic trainer. He was my least likely expectation of who I thought was the best trainer for me. He is a different age, color and gender from what I expected. And as it turns out, he is the perfect guy for me. He is introducing me to exercises and programs that surprise and delight me!

My Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings are now spent using weights, equipment and apparatus all designed with my body improvement in mind. My guy Roy guides, encourages, corrects and aligns my form leading to my progressive and noticeable success.

But today he crossed the line! Today he asked me to go for four sets instead of three.

This will help build not only your strength but also your endurance, he told me.

Grrr . . . I didn’t care anything about endurance!

But then I had a change of heart and mind. I stopped complaining. I stopped whining. I suddenly said, How lucky I am to have a wonderful body willing to work hard for and with me. My wonderful body will complete four sets. I can do it! I am getting into my best physical shape! 

Every time we feel satisfied with what we have we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess. — Alain De Botton

Thank you Roy for being my welcome guide on this surprising journey. It seems I’m not only getting into better physical shape, I’m also improving my Mental Health & Happiness.

Happiness Improves With Grit

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Have you ever had a project or an idea that you were excited to see become a reality? How long were you willing to work hard without seeing any concrete positive results? Perhaps you’re the kind of person who only needs a little bit of evidence to reassure you that you are on the right track. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who throws up your hands in surrender if your first attempt results in failure followed by your second unsuccessful attempt to your last and final attempt. With failure number three your ambition and willingness to keep trying also evaporates.

What makes one person willing and able to hang in for the long haul while another succumbs to setbacks and quits in discouragement? What makes one person resilient and confident while another may not even have the psychological strength and sufficient belief to even take the first step and dream?

Some psychological researchers say the difference is grit. (Want to measure your grit? search for “Grit Survey”by Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth if you want to find out your grit score). Dr. Glasser called it psychological strength. His 1976 book Positive Addiction explained not only what psychological strength is, but what we each could do to build and increase our psychological strength. With greater psychological strength we experience increased confidence, perseverance and creativity.

Could one of the side effects of increased psychological strength be increased grit? If you developed a greater capacity to pursue your long term goals with passion and perseverance would you increase your Mental Health & Happiness? Imagine feeling psychologically stronger, more creative and confident. Do you believe you would also feel happier and mentally healthier?

If you’re willing to give this a try, here is what you need to do (or continue doing, or modify what you are already doing.) Glasser’s recipe for building psychological strength, resilience, grit, and confidence include the following criteria:

  1. Non-competitive activity
  2. Can be done easily without worry about need to do it well or continually improving
  3. Can be done alone preferably (so that you remain non-competitive and non-critical).
  4. Believe this act will add to your life’s value, spiritually, physically, emotionally
  5. Believe that persisting in this activity will add to your sense of physical and psychological well being
  6. Can do it in a non-critical way

What you do is not as important as developing a daily diligent habit that meets the above criteria. To help inspire you below are some ideas:

Jogging           Praying                        Hit golf balls                Swinging a baseball bat
Meditating      Walking                       Hiking                          Gardening
Biking               Yoga                            Juggling                       Playing musical instrument
Singing             Painting                     Sand castle building    Cooking

Mental Strength

Contributed by Denise Daub

leapinggirlCan mental strength = happiness? It would appear from this article that it can.  In a nutshell mentally strong people don’t do these things:

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves.  They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair.

2.   Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad.

3.    Shy Away from Change.  An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4.    Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5.    Worry About Pleasing Others.   A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up.

6.    Fear Taking Calculated Risks.  A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks.

7.    Dwell on the Past. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8.    Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over.   A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes.

9.    Resent Other People’s Success.  It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success.

10.  Give Up After Failure.  Every failure is a chance to improve. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11.   Fear Alone Time.  Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone.  They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12.  Feel the World Owes Them Anything.  Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13.  Expect Immediate Results.  They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way.

Sounds like the characteristics of a mentally healthy and happy person, doesn’t it?

Read entire article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/

Falling Apart

By Dr. Nancy Buck

My life was falling apart. My husband of 24 years left, saying he wasn’t sure he wanted to be married to me anymore. He needed time on his own to figures things out. My twin sons had left for college. The family dog ran away.

I was alone in our home, but there was no more “our” or “we.” Was there even a home anymore?

I didn’t know what to do. Crying didn’t help. Talking with my sisters and friends gave me only temporary relief.

Day after heart breaking day, the sadness, isolation, failure and oppression was unbearable.

My lifeline, it turned out, was my journal. Every morning I wrote my three morning pages. Every evening I listed five things I was grateful for. Most days my gratitudes consisted of:

1.    I am breathing in

2.    I am breathing out

3.    I am breathing in

4.    I am breathing out

5.    I am breathing in and out

The lessons I learned during that time were many. The most important lesson was to keep breathing no matter what.

You never know what might happen next, what internal strength will be discovered, and what gifts will be revealed in the next moment.

And if you don’t keep breathing you never will know.

So keep breathing, in and out, in and out, in and out.