What is self-harm?

What is self-harm?Self-harm is a way of dealing with and expressing extreme emotional pain and distress. As implausible as it might sound to those that are on the outside, harming yourself makes you feel better. In fact, you may feel like you have no alternative. Injuring yourself is the only way you know how to deal with feelings like depression, emptiness, self-loathing, guiltiness, anger, grief, and loss. The drawback is that the relief that comes from self-harming does not last very long. It is like putting on a band-aid on a small cut, when you really know you need stitches. It might temporarily stop the bleeding, but it will not fix the underlying problem and it also forms its own problems. If you are like most people who self-injure, you try to keep what you are doing a secret. Perhaps you feel embarrassed or maybe you just think that no one would understand, but hiding who you are and what you feel is a heavy load. Eventually, the secret and guiltiness affects your relationships with your family and friends, and the way you feel about yourself. It can make you feel even more lonesome, insignificant, and trapped.

Self-harm includes anything you do to intentionally injure yourself. Some of the more common ways include:

Cutting or severely scratching your skin.

Burning or scalding yourself.

Hitting yourself or banging your head.

Punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects.

Sticking objects into your skin.

Intentionally preventing wounds from healing.

Swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate objects.

Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger, such as binge drinking, driving recklessly, taking too many drugs, and having unsafe sex.

You or someone you may know might need the help and support of a trained professional to work and overcome the self-harm habit, so consider talking to a therapist. A therapist can help you develop new coping techniques and strategies to stop self-harming, while also helping you get to the root of why you cut or hurt yourself. Remember, self-harm doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s an outward expression of inner pain—pain that often has its roots in early life.

Workaholic Versus a Hard Worker

WorkaholicvsHardWorkerI recently added on another job to my resume, that currently holds THREE jobs. Yep, I am employed at FOUR locations! But, before you question my sanity, the four jobs total to about 50-55 hours a week, which is reasonable… at least to me. You may call me a workaholic, but I view myself as a hard worker with a goal in mind. My goal is to financially assist my family in purchasing a home this summer. So, what is the difference between my view (hard worker) and your potential view of me (workaholic)? Here’s the breakdown:

A No Regrets Life Principle 1: Live Passionately

A No Regrets Life

A No Regrets Life

Hopefully you read my last article and decided to join me on my journey to a no regrets life by reading the book One Month to Live. In the book, authors Kerry and Chris Shook identify 4 principles of a no regrets life. This week I am focusing on the first principle, live passionately.

If you knew you only had one month to live, wouldn’t you savor each moment? Wouldn’t you put forth effort to make each moment count? Well the truth is we can live like this each day. In my opinion a life void of passion is not a life worth living. In the book One Month to Live, the authors challenged me to examine regrets, hopes, and fears to determine if I am living life passionately.

Too often people get caught up in the day-to-day routine of life and lose passion for living. I am learning to be passionate even in my daily activities because I am thankful for the opportunity to live another day in pursuit of the purpose for which I was created. I have determined to not take anything lightly from my morning shower to my night-time prayers; I am driven by a renewed passion for life.

What does living passionately mean to you? Are you living passionately now? If not,how can you begin to change? Join me next week as I discuss the second principle, love boldly.

Respect in Your Family Relationships

respectRespect is important in every relationship whether it be with your friends, coworkers, significant other, or family members. Respect means that we treat others in a thoughtful and courteous way. Oftentimes it is those we are closest to that we find behaving in a respectful way the hardest – our family members. We can get aggravated and annoyed for so many reasons and civilized conversations go out the window. However, mutual respect is a key aspect in a harmonious family foundation. We should all speak kind words to our loved ones, be responsible for our own actions and messes, and value the opinions and wishes of our loved ones. You cannot force someone to act in a respectful way towards you but you can earn respect by first showing respect. Take some time to reflect on your most recent tiff with a family member and how that conflict could have been avoided or changed with a little respect. After all, none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, and we are all different so conflict in inevitable. Calmly talking through your differences is much more effective than holding in your anger until you explode and mutual respect is the key!

Breaking Up (a Habit) is Easy to Do…

Breaking the habitDo you find yourself gnawing on your nails to the quick? How about chewing your hair? Or, maybe you are wanting to kick that “nail in the coffin” habit – smoking. Now you can!

According to Dr. Loretta Graziano Breuning, you can break ANY habit in three simple steps:

  1. Design your alternative habit.

    Since your brain requires habits to function, provide your brain with a new habit. For example: When you have an urge to smoke a cigarette, chew gum instead.

  1. Commit to the new choice.

    The habit that you are trying to rid has been around a while; make sure you make a commitment to the new habit. Once we form a habit, our brain develops neural pathways that create cravings or “must have moments” to obtain happiness. Changing an old habit to a new choice requires you to form new neural pathways to happiness. Make sure you take steps in carving the new path! Maybe it would benefit you to take these steps: watch others engage in the new habit, visualize yourself enjoying the new habit, and then start doing the new habit.

  1. Repeat for 45 days.

    The neural pathways in the brain can take up to 6 weeks to form consistently with the new habit. It is normal to continue receiving urges to perform the old habit, but it will lessen as you choose the new choice. Continue to redirect your thinking down the new pathway to achieve what you want!

Here is an example of using the three-step method:

Winnie the Pooh has a habit of gorging on honey. Searching for honey pots consumes his attention and he wants to break the habit. He decides to take up landscape painting. He loves having control over a blank canvas, and likes the idea of keeping his hands busy while out in nature. He buys paints, enrolls in a course, and packs carrot sticks to snack on. He thinks about honey a lot, and sometimes dreams about honey. It feels like he will die without honey in some moments. When the feeling comes, he goes to his painting corner stocked with crudités, and soon he is immersed in a new thought. In six weeks, he feels good, and wants to keep the good feeling. He knows he can do that by focusing on painting if his thoughts start flowing in the old direction.

Tell us what old habit you would like to transform and the steps you have taken already to start the transformation process! Remember: change is good!


This year let’s get some sleep!

girl-sleepingThese first few weeks of the New Year mean that many of us are implementing changes in our lives. Unfortunately, those changes often taper off after a few weeks. One of the lifestyle changes that I want to make this year is to get more sleep. To motivate myself to make this change permanent I looked at some facts on the importance of getting enough sleep. According the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, a full night’s sleep aids in learning and memory as information and memories are consolidated during this time.  Chronic lack of sleep affects our metabolism and causes the body to store carbohydrates and alter hormone levels. Our immune systems become weaker and are unable to fight off infection. Sleep deprivation also causes us to become irritable, impatient, unable to concentrate, and moody and may also contribute to an increase in mishaps and accidents. Serious sleep disorders have been linked to an increase in stress and hypertension. For all of these reasons and the fact that I am a much nicer person when I get a great night of sleep, I am going to strive to keep this a priority in my life. As far as getting to sleep, I find a good workout or a good book really help me!

Do you feel like getting enough sleep is a problem for you and what keeps you from getting to sleep at night?