Meditating Your Way to Happiness

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When your brain works right, you work right. When your brain is troubled, you are most likely having trouble in life. Simple. It takes a healthy brain to be happy and to make better decisions. But, how do we get it healthy?

We get our brain healthy just like we do the rest of our body – with nutrition, exercise and healthy habits. Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. I don’t claim to be. I’m just a woman who has been struggling with depression for over 10 years and I’ve decided to do everything I can in my power to feel better. This blog is sharing what I’ve discovered, what is working for me and hopefully inspiring others to share.

One of the healthy habits I’ve started is meditation. It has become a part of my morning routine (thanks to Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning, you can get the first 2 chapters free on Hal’s website: http://halelrod.com/books/). ¬†Studies have shown that meditation boosts blood flow to the prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is involved in a wide variety of functions, including:

– Coordinating and adjusting complex behavior
– Impulse control and control and organization of emotional reactions
– Personality
– Focusing and organizing attention
– Complex planning
– Considering and prioritizing competing and simultaneous information; the ability to ignore external distractions is partially influenced by the prefrontal cortex

After 8 weeks of daily meditation, the increased blood flow created a stronger prefrontal cortex at and also helped increase memories of those being studied.

It makes sense, when you think about your heart and blood flow. When blood flow is decrease the heart doesn’t work very well. When the blood flow is optimal (no restrictions, no blockages, no cholesterol build up) the heart is very healthy, the person is healthy. The same blood flow applies to the brain and every other organ in our body.

Give it a try, even for just 5 minutes a day. You have nothing to lose, it’s free! The worse thing that can happen is that you spent 5 minutes in silence with yourself. ūüôā

Here are few places I started:

https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/8-tips-get-started-meditation

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-42/Meditation-Techniques-for-Beginners-5-Easy-Tips.html

http://www.chopra.com/articles/start-here-5-meditation-styles-for-beginners#sm.00016hcarl38ye3qy3n14ae6bqswe

Would love to hear from you after you try meditation and also from those that already practice this. I’m still very much a beginner; but I feel the benefits! It has been a key part of my overcoming my depression.

Blue skies and sunshine,

Dawn xo

Depression is My Gift

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I’m on a mission this year to transform my life and the lives of others seeking change. We all have a special gift. Those that use their gift, I believe, are blessed. That’s one of my goals: use my gifts to bless others.

I discovered my gifts when I hit my bottom emotionally. It’s then it hit me that I have gone through the events and trials in my life to gain strength, wisdom, empathy and use my life story to help other women.

I have depression. I thought it made me weak. I thought that because I couldn’t rid myself of the depression that I wasn’t good enough. So I hid it. I put on a great disguise; but it caused me to have low self esteem, to hide, to not be the person who I was put here to be.

It wasn’t until suffering the loss of my mother to cancer, my two only sisters to fast progressive disease, my father to heart failure (all at way too young ages), a divorce after 23 years, and hitting rock bottom financially that I feel like I have risen from the ashes and have to help others trying to find their way through depression and grief.

I’ve discovered that my gift is my story, my desire to lift other women, my will to make life the beautiful gift that it is.

So happy to be challenged by several beautiful woman in my life to be transparent and strong.

~ Wishing you blue skies and sunshine!

#GetGutsy #TribeBuildingChallengeDay1

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind?

I just don’t want to feel depressed anymore! What can I do?

Found out that I can do A LOT!

The light bulb went off in my head after trying a new medication. The medication helped me focus at first, but the side effects of feeling drugged and feeling nothing weren’t worth it. I hated it. Then it hit me! Why was I looking to medication first to fix my mind?

I think of it applied to, say, my car. When it runs out of gas, I don’t take it to the shop and ask for a new engine or a major repair. I instead, give it the proper fuel it needs and the car runs fine again. Or at an oil change, I request the high mileage oil because it helps the engine in my car run better than the low mile, low quality oil. I want the car to run well, so I put the best fuel in it and take care of it with regular maintenance.

I am doing some things to try to manage depression, like my morning routine, SAVERS, which I will share more on in another post. When I have bad days, though, my first thoughts are that my medication may need to be adjusted, or maybe try another one.

WHY did I not think to change my fuel?

WHY did I ¬†not think I needed more “maintenance” aka exercise?

Maybe because I wanted an easy solution. Maybe because I just didn’t connect the dots.

In any case, I wasn’t doing that with my body which fuels my mind. I was eating kind of healthy and exercising kind of regular; which gave me kind of an OK result. I don’t want to feel OK. I want to feel good….. GREAT! So, when I realized I wasn’t giving my body all of the nutrients it needs to operate at its best, I set out to change it. I spent hours researching food nutrients, what my body needs, what helps boost the brain; and I created a list of foods I need everyday. It’s a process and I am spending 30 minutes everyday learning more and creating meal plans that fuel my body and mind (I will post this information in future posts).

I have also added at least 30 minutes of exercise a day into my schedule. This is a priority and cannot be skipped. I know that doing this daily will make me feel better mentally, and also make my body stronger and healthier. It’s just like taking my medication daily. I don’t skip that, so why would I skip exercise?

I guess its about taking responsibility for my mental health and doing everything I can to ward off depression. Instead of being passive and just letting life happen, letting depression happen; I am becoming an active participant in how I feel. ¬†I have the power! I know I can’t just delete depression from my life; but I sure as hell can put up a better fight!

 

Depression: Struggling in Silence

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Why do we hide that we have depression? I can only answer for myself and it’s because I didn’t want people to look at me and see weakness. I didn’t want to be judged. I wanted people to think I had it all together. I wanted to believe I had it all together.

I had the best job in the world: I was a stay-at-home mom with 5 children, all active in sports, in 3 different schools, and managing our large suburban home. I, self-admittedly, was doing a really good job at it. People often complimented me on how well I ran the household. I loved my job. I loved being home with my children. As they started growing up, though, and becoming more independent and getting ready to leave the “nest”; they didn’t need ¬†me as much. My role was changing. Then other life stressors happened, and over time I realized I was struggling with depression. But, I wanted to continue to live up to the image of a mom who had it all together, so admitting that I was depressed, wasn’t an option.

In my ¬†mind, if I said it out loud – “I have depression and need help” – then it would be real.

The truth is, it is real. I have depression. Pretending that I didn’t, and then staying silent that I did, only created more darkness and anxiety. As the saying goes, you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.

After struggling with depression for more than 10 years, I started talking about it in 2016. I actually started my blog in 2016; but I wasn’t ready. But, after a year of contemplating “coming out”, 2017 is my year. My year to be honest with myself about living with depression. My year to put my passion to work to bring awareness to depression and end the stigma. We, those of us living with depression, can ¬†be open and honest and live with our heads held high. With the support, we can learn to ¬†navigate this life – the only one we will ever have – and experience the joy we deserve.

It’s my life’s mission: I sharing the story of depression in order to help other women share their stories so they don’t have to struggle or suffer alone in silence. I do this because life is too short to not experience joy and happiness. We’ve been placed ¬†on this earth for a purpose, and it’s not depression. Let’s take this journey together.

Please share your story, if you’re ready. Please comment or ask questions. Let me know what you need to hear that will help you.

Blue Skies & Hugs,

Dawn xoxo

I’m Back and Committed to Changing the World!

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Ok, so I know the title sounds a bit grandiose! But, I’m done worrying about what people think, about being judged and even about failing. I have to do what’s in my heart. If it doesn’t turn out how I want, I’m OK with that now.

What’s changed? Many things over the past few years. But the final push was a conversation I had with a new friend last weekend. She’s a beautiful, intelligent, insightful young woman who has a beautiful gentle presence. As we were talking, she told me that she struggles with depression here and there. I would have never known. As we talked and shared, it made me, again, realize that I’m not the only one.

I’ve also been reading so many messages from people in various Facebook groups (motivational groups), asking for advice on how to succeed in certain areas of life when they struggle with depression or anxiety. ¬†There are too many people in our lives and in this world that feel the same.

I’m not going to hide anymore. I need to write and share and create a tribe for people. A tribe that supports each other, helps each other, offers advice to each other. A place where we can band together.

I don’t have all the answers; but I have experience. I have compassion; and a deep desire to make a difference in this world. To make a difference in the world of depression. I hope you join me in this journey.

Hugs ūüôā

Dawn

The Day I Felt Normal

feeling_normal_mugNovember 15, 2015 – This is what normal feels like! I wrote in my journal, “this is fabulous”.

It had been so long since I’ve felt “normal”. What is normal? For me, its the clouds and weight lifted and I just feel like I can do everyday¬†activities without being down. There’s no “gray” in my day. I just woke and was ready to take on what came my way.

I want that EVERYDAY! I don’t know how to repeat it. I want to bottle it so I can feel it everyday.

We were out of town for a hockey tournament and we woke up to drive home. I got up, took a shower without talking myself into it. I packed the room and helped load in truck. We drove home for 3 hours, and I was chatting the entire way Рactually having a conversation, not just staring out into space feeling numb. I even cracked a couple funnies that made everyone smile. The feeling stayed with me the entire day!

Two days prior, my partner and I were discussing some issues we were having and literally 5 minutes into the conversation, I felt so down and sad that I thought if I didn’t have kids, there is no purpose for me being here. I feel like I’m just enduring it because I have children, a grandson, and a partner that I love. That gets exhausting, though!

Thankfully, a different feeling revealed itself on 11/15/15 and it’s the day I decided that depression will not lead my life anymore. I will find a way for normal to rule. I like normal. I deserve normal.