Category Archives: Personal Development

4 Ideas for Writing a Grief Journal

I read the C.S. Lewis book, A Grief Observed (aff) many years ago. I remember wondering how one could write through their grief. It seemed such a foreign concept to me.

I have been fortunate to have suffered little loss thus far in my life. However, I have come to understand how verbalizing grief can help the healing process.

Here is a short list of prompts to help you write when you experience loss:

Keep writing. Writing may uncover emotions surrounding the event that you didn’t think you were feeling. You may find yourself getting angry or crying as you write. This is natural… allow yourself to feel the emotion. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. While it may not make sense, letting go all of those bottled up emotions helps you through the grieving process.

Examine your emotions. Give yourself time and space. Make a list of everything you feel regarding what happened and then write out, at length, how and why you feel each feeling. Don’t be afraid to go in-depth.

Be creative. Draw or collage your grief. When it’s too hard to write or you feel that words don’t convey the exact thoughts you feel, turn to art. Draw out your emotions… scribble out the anger or tears. Cry on the page. Collage images that show how you feel or the best times you had with the one you lost. I found a few images I had of mo and me and I turned them into a digital remembrance collage of him.

Write unsent letters. Write letters that no one else will see, except for you, the page, and the spirit of who you lost. I know many people who have dealt with their grief this way. They say it’s therapeutic and helps them feel connected to who they lost.

Remember the memories. Write down happy events. Keep a record of who you lost and what they looked like. Keep a list of the things they loved (music, books, movies, chew toys, etc.) and allow yourself to remember the love you had for them.

Give Away Your Positive Attitude

Gurdeep Pandher is an exemplar of positivity. He says, “Joy is more than having fun. Joy means your nerves are calm, your anxieties are elsewhere. Your heart (not just lips) is smiling; your breathing is soothing like a breeze; your world is perfect in the mess of imperfections around you. Joy could be an ideal meditation. If all emotions are valuable, then even tears of joy can make us get up and dance. One thing more about joy; we need it, just like we need food to survive. Go find your joy! Start by searching within yourself or going out in nature.”

We create what we think about. A positive attitude helps us focus on achieving our goals, rather than wallowing in disappointment about things that have not gone exactly to plan. Focusing on the positive provides more energy, motivation, and commitment.

One of the best ways to build a positive attitude is to share it with someone else. Here are some uncomplicated ways to give your positive attitude away.

  1. Share my knowledge with others.
  2. Help others in their growth.
  3. Visit friends who are having trouble with their attitudes.
  4. Notice the good in others.
  5. Be more positive around those with whom I have daily contact.
  6. Transmit my positive attitude to others whenever I use the telephone.
  7. Send token items such as cards or flowers to those I care about.
  8. Say thank you to someone who did something nice for me.
  9. Share my sense of humor.
  10. Be more sensitive as a listener so others can regain their positive focus.
  11. Laugh more so my attitude will be infectious.
  12. Communicate my positive attitude through upbeat conversations, paying compliments to others, etc.
  13. Giving my attitude to others by setting a better example as a positive person.

As you implement your choices, remind yourself, the more you give your attitude away, the more positive it will remain.

How about it readers, what are some other ways to share your positive attitude with others?

6 Secrets of Stress Management

As the weather begins to warm-up, we’re making our summer vacation plans. The past two years of restrictions and lock-downs put something of a crimp in our usual vacation travel.

Instead of sitting around moaning about our circumstances, we took advantage of the break. We engaged in a few more hobby activities than normal. We tackled a few jobs around the house and went out for more nieghbourhood walks than usual.

This year we have plans. We’re looking forward to visiting family and getting our camping in our trailer.

Right now, I’m sitting here, enjoying a coffee and taking it easy, I’m thinking about stress. We all have stress; there’s no way to avoid it. In fact, some degree of stress is a good thing. Just as the stress of weights during exercise can help build muscle, so life-stress can build emotional, psychological or mental “muscle”.

Stress becomes a problem when it controls us. If you want to remain balanced, you need to manage the stress in your life.

How do you do that? Here are six secrets of stress management:

  1. Know yourself: If you don’t have a clear sense of who you are and what you stand for, people and circumstances will try to shape you. Trying to be someone or something you are not is stressful.
  2. Set clear goals: Define what you want or need to do. If there’s a big, undefined task looming in your subconscious, you’re going to be stressed about not getting it accomplished. Setting clear goals allows you to see the end and set the steps toward reaching the goal. Just meeting each of the milestones leading to a completed task can go a long way to reducing stress.
  3. Set your priorities: You can’t do everything all at once. You can set your goals and know the steps to reach those goals, but if you don’t know where to begin, you’re going to build stress. Figure out the priorities and you’ll know where to begin.
  4. Set your focus: Once you know where to begin, focus on that task. If you try and focus on more than one thing at a time, all things will suffer.
  5. Delegate: You can’t do it all yourself. You can plan a major project, set all the steps, plan dates for the deliverables and then stress over all that needs doing. Get the team involved. Even Jesus enlisted 12 disciples.
  6. Relax: Take a break. Successful weight-trainers know constant stress on the muscles will soon become counter-productive and even damaging. They know their muscles need to have periods of relaxation to get the best benefit from training. Stress can compound. You need to take breaks to relax and refresh, thereby coming back stronger.

Stress is never eliminated, but it can be managed and controlled. A few simple steps and you can make stress work to your advantage.

5 ways to get the most out of life lessons

Oscar Wilde said, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes,” and Rita Mae Brown said, “Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement.”

Experience can teach us much if we open ourselves to the lessons it contains. But we must be careful. The results of our bad judgements can create so much fear that we’re unwilling to try and learn new things.

Here are five ways we can take the best advantage of our experiences:

  1. Keep aware of the past – To learn from our experiences, we must be able to recall what we have done. Then they can serve as guides for the future.
  2. Let go of the past – Don’t hang on to the past too tightly. Don’t waste energy wishing for the “good old days” or being afraid to try something new, because of past experiences. Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
  3. Don’t make the same mistake twice – Learn from your bad judgement. If you’re still making the same mistakes five years later, you’re missing the point.
  4. Make the most of each experience – As new experiences come along, don’t spend too much time analyzing. Jump in and get the most from it. Then, if there are lessons to learn, take the time to study.
  5. Live your life to the full – life is not just random moments or individual events. Life is the sum total of all you do and are. Don’t live your life as if it is some sort of checklist where you can’t move to the next experience until the previous one is complete.

I’ll finish with another quotation, this from Henry David Thoreau. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life…”

Carpe Diem!

How to Choose a Volunteer Position That Fits You

On a couple of occasions, I have posted about the benefits of being a volunteer. (75 Reasons to Volunteer, 7 Reasons to Volunteer) If you want to make a difference in your community and in your own life, volunteering is the way to go.

Once you’ve decided that you would like to give something back to your community, how decide if a volunteer opportunity is right for you? Create a “shopping list” of things you like to gain from your volunteer experience. What features are essential? What would be ideal if you were designing the volunteer job of your dreams?

Ask yourself these questions when considering a volunteer experience:

  • Does the volunteer role match my interests and values?
  • Am I comfortable with the people I will be helping and the people I will be working with?
  • Will I be able to learn or sharpen my skills?
  • Will I get orientation and training?
  • Will I be able to use some of my own ideas?
  • Does the opportunity fit the amount of time I can give?
  • Is it at a time convenient to me?
  • Does it require a short- or long-term commitment from me?
  • Is there opportunity for advancement or more challenge?
  • Is it in a location I can get to?
  • Are there any expenses like transportation, parking or admission?
  • Does the experience provide me with a written evaluation?
  • Will I get a reference if I do a good job?

Volunteering is a win-win experience. And when you find a volunteer role that’s right for you, everyone comes out ahead.

How Live a Contented Life

William Henry Channing was an American clergyman, writer and philosopher who served as the Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives in 1863 and 64.

The best known of his writings is a simple inspirational piece called the Symphony of Contentment.

To live content with small means.

To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion.

To be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich.

To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly.

To listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart.

To bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.

In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden, and unconscious grow up through the common.

This is to be my symphony.