Thursday, December 13, 2007

10 + Things That Have Helped Me ... Maybe They Will Help You

Here are some things that have helped me. I want to share these with you - all of you. They may sound simple, too simple. But what I have learned is this; all great things in life are simple. It's our failure to practice them that makes it hard.

1. Here is something I USED to do and have started to do it again. It restored some of my better thinking to what it used to be. It is this; Get sleep. You need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. I have read numerous studies how a lack of sleep will make you sick. It makes you gain weight. It makes you irritable. I try to have the house buttoned down and locked up by 9PM. My child is in bed by 8:30PM. Then, I spend time reading something "inspirational" - today I am reading "Total Self-Confidence" (I am re-reading it - it is about HOW YOU THINK. It is NOT about power and manipulation.) I turn off the telephone. Sometimes I unplug it!!! I cannot stand when people break the, "Don't call past 9PM rule" (albeit - it is an unwritten rule - Has any one besides me heard of this rule???)

2. Get up - at 5AM. Shower up, go downstairs, get the coffee going. And read again. Same thing. Read something inspirational. I also studied business books to turn my professional career around. Now I am back to inspirational. They make me feel good and they make me a better person and leader at home and at work. The books I read are written by experts, by the way and I model myself after the ideas and people in the books. The art of sitting and reading takes tons of discipline - (which is exactly what we need to practice right now) -

Harry Ward Beecher said, "The first hour of the morning is the rudder of your day." And he was right. Start it off by reading something that will set your mind right and the course for your day heading in the direction.

This little tool, reading early in the morning, for at least one-hour, sent me from rags to riches. It didn't keep me from marrying an alcoholic however! But today, it will SAVE your sanity.

3. Go to the Public Library. Get books on "How To Think" - they are usually labeled as "Self Help" by people who try to make people feel bad about reading them. You will find very inspirational stories that will make you feel better. Going to the library is something we should all do more often. The books are free!!!

4. Fire the paperboy. Do not read the the paper in the morning. It's full of bad news. YOU do not need bad news.

5. Turn off the TV at night before you go to bed. If the first hour in the morning is the rudder of your day, and sometimes called the "Golden Hour", then the last hour, the hour before you fall off to sleep is the "Magic Hour" since it is what you are feeding your mind to dream about. Think of the first morning hour and the last evening hour as bookends - Positive bookends to your day. You don't need to hear about the rape or killing before you go to sleep at night ! (and you know it! don't you?) Admit it. There is nothing good on TV that you cannot live with out!

6. Make lists of things to do. (Your "To Do's"). After you read in the morning for an hour, (by the way, I found myself starting this at 6AM first, then I got up at 5:30AM and then 5AM, and then I was up at 4:30AM - so I could get more reading in!! It's exhilarating!!) make a list of the thing you want to get done today. Work from a list and force yourself to write everything down. When you complete an item on the list, take a pen and strike through the item. There is a great sense of relief and excitement to seeing things knocked off the list. Even if it is small - like calling the paper to cancel delivery!!

7. Eat right. Exercise too. With stress - and let's face it - we are STRESSED out to the MAX!!!! We need relief. Food may become our addiction. Don't let it. Many women become binded up inside - if you know what I mean. You feel bloated - which puts you in a bad mood. Well, men have this problem too. But it is more prevalent with women. So watch out what you eat. Watch out for cheeses, pastas and fatty foods at this time.And exercise. Even if you just do sit-ups, squats, or push ups, do something. Exercise is important now.

8. When reading in the morning, try to get close to a window with the sunrising. You will absolutely see the prettiest sunrises ever AND there is something magic in the morning about the sun coming up and in through the window, first thing in the morning. I am beating this reading and morning thing to death because when I have given this advice to others, and they followed it, they have become BRAND new people. But you have to MAKE THIS A HABIT and NEVER LEAVE IT. I left it. I became lazy. It was because I started staying up past 9;45PM at night. I was too busy and it affected my life - in a bad way.

9. Get out of the house if you are working from home. Even if it is to go to have coffee outside the home. Get out and see people, if you don't work or work from home.

10. Write out affirmations. And say them out loud. Do this in the morning. Affirmations are positive, present tense, and personal (3 P's). There is magic in writing them and saying them out loud 0 with a touch of enthusiasm. Do these 10 every day AND Watch your life TURN AROUND. You will feel good. You will attract positive things and people to you. Live each day as ONE BIG POSITIVE affirmation.

11. Turn off your car radio if going to work or just driving around. Listen to Anthony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy or someone who will teach you how to think better. Listen to someone positive and optimistic or educational. The average person drives over 7 hours a week. That's 364 hours a week. That's 9 forty hour work weeks in your car or 2 to 4 university semesters you could be using to learn something new just by driving around!!

12. Go To Al-Anon. Only they will know what you are going through. However, watch the negative talk you find yourself doing after the first 10 meetings. While you want to vent, you want to shift the spot light off the alcoholic and on to yourself!!!

13. Stop hanging around people who pull you down. Really really stop. No matter who they are. Do not get sucked into a negative conversation. Stop if it happens by saying, "Let talk about this person's positive traits today." or say, "Let's talk about what we are going to do to become better people." Or - just say, "I have got to go - I forgot I had to do something." Avoid negative people like the plague.

14. Cultivate an "Attitude of Gratitude." Stop talking about negative things and look for the good in all things ad people. This is an attitude of gratitude. Say, "I am grateful because of _____ ." If you write this out - and think about what you are grateful for, you will focus your energies on the positive. Even if you have to say, "Thank you God, that I did not become the alcoholic." As horrible as that might sound, think about it. What if this was you? What if you became the person with the addiction? "Oh my God!" is what I said, when I asked myself this question. And I said to myself, "This thing "- that happened to my wife - "was perhaps my wake up call." (I stopped drinking completely - just in case it was a wake up call from God) I am grateful that I did not get such a terrible disease. So now I am thinking about little things I take for granted: I am thankful that I have a house with a good roof. I am thankful I have a computer and I can type with my fingers. I am thankful I can see! I am grateful for ____. Dr. Martin Seligman (that Positive guy who studied optimism) found an attitude of gratitude is singularly responsible for authentic happiness, and living a long life.

15. Make your mind up that this IS the only life you are going to have on this earth. No matter how bad you feel - you are going to FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT. Pretend if you have to. You are going to act like you are happy, and you are going to act like you are positive, and you are going to act like you are the nicest and best person in the world. You are going to act saintly. When you "act" - you find yourself truly acting and feeling better. It's a psychology tool you can use. When you are feeling down, pretend you are an actor and have to act a part or role. It changes you in about 5 minutes of acting and pretending. Further, let's you and I stop thinking about and conjuring up all the crap we have lived with and gone through. Let's you and I take all the crap we have gone through and bury it - let's really bury it!! You and I are going to visualize it all being stuff into a large sack - one item at a time - getting stuffed into that sack. And you are going to bury it in the backyard - deep in a hole - never to be unearthed ever again. Visualize this - try it and see it happening. You may have to bury this crap (visualize this) 10 or 20 times before it take affect.

16. Last - never be too proud to say "I am sorry." If you have a hard time with these words - try these "I apologize." Say it with strength and say it with conviction. There is power in these two words "I apologize." No more. No explaining. Just those words. For men - who think apologizing is weak - it is the opposite. Only the strong can apologize. And take this too; Say, "I appreciate you."

I write this post for me today and I hope for you too got something out of it.

PS - Remember this is all for you. This is a get-well program for you. The addict is never mentioned here. When your loved one sees changes in you, he or she will be - let's say - fascinated.

PPS - And there are some friends who are reading this - who have addictions - You too can practice these 12 tools and have tremendous results I believe. There is nothing "super ordinate" about these practices.
I can tell you these do take time. But the pay off is feeling better and you will see your life turn around.


Karen said...

I am going to get up early and try this. I have to find a book to read. Any recommendations?


Anonymous said...

Thx for sharing! I am just starting to take care of myself after tending to my spouse and his struggles for a long, long time.