Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Happiness Project

comfort-food    Vs.    
(Photos from and
Are you struggling to be happy?  Do you have days where you can't get out of a funk?  Well, I have found a brilliant book and blog for you!  Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author, has written a book called, The Happiness Project.  The book is a memoir of the how to be happy.  Some of the tips she offers are so basic and easy to follow that you will feel better in no time! 

One of Gretchen's recent blog entries discusses comfort food for your mind.  She explains how doing activities can make one feel better.  When one is sad and having a rough day, people often turn to comfort food.  We all try and eat healthy as much as we can, but every now and then you just want that something special that soothes your tastebuds and warms your heart.  Comfort food can be a hearty stew on a frigid winter night or a carton of cookie dough ice cream at 2 in the morning when you are upset about a breakup.  The problem with emotional eating is that after you try eating your problems away, you develop new problems and the old ones are still there.  I know that when I am stressed and have a piece of chocolate cake, I not only still feel anxious about the thing that was stressing me out but also about the calories that I just put into my body.  Instead of always turning to emotional eating, why not try comfort food for your mind?  Atleast, after you try some of Gretchen's tips, you won't feel even worse than you did before you ate the maccoroni and cheese.

Comfort food for the mind is a mental break that you allow yourself from whatever is stressing you out or making you feel sad.  Gretchen suggests cooking, exercise, playing with your kids, reading a good book, or seeing a funny movie. After you take a "mental vacation", you may feel better and be able to deal with your situation in a new manor.  Occasionally, when I have writer's block, I will take a break and go for a run.  When I run, I clear my mind, listen to music, breathe fresh air and release endorphines.  When I get back to the computer, I feel more focused and new ideas will pop into my mind.  The next time that you have a stressful day at work, a disheartening personal situation or are just feeling down, try nourishing yourself with comfort food - for your mind, that is!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How are you healing your wound?

The grieving process is so difficult and never goes away.

Like a wound to the skin, the pain is unbearable when it occurs.  The wound is raw and bleeding.  The body is in shock, thinking, "Did this really just happen?"  You are in pain but can't really feel the magnitude of the pain at the moment the wound occurs.  You know something horrible has happened.  You quickly hold a tissue over it, put some neosporin and a band-aid on.  There, that stops the bleeding, for now.

Eventually, you take the band-aid off and expose the wound to the world.  The wound gets some fresh air and decides its time to start the healing process; it turns into a scab.  A scab is a hard coating on the skin formed during the wound healing reconstruction phase.  The scab shows physically- it is dark, dry and discolored.  It shows the outside world that something is wrong.  It protects the wound.  When the scab is comfortable that the wound can handle life without the protecting walls, it falls off and leaves raw and new skin, that will heal and turn into a scar.  That scar is very visible at first and then over time it fades, but it is ingrained in you for life.

Everyone has scars, whether they be physical and/or emotional.  While a skin gash is physical and outside of the body, the emotional body does the exact same thing, internally.  It's nature.  The body learns how to recover from tragedy.  When you lose a loved one, you need to teach yourself how to recover and reconstruct your life.  In a sense, bandage and tend to the wound, then, let it heal.  Rituals can help by doing your normal routines (showering, going to work, making dinner) but what helps you have life and passion again?   How do you get through the days?  What heals your wounds?

In writing this book, I am looking for tips on what will help others with the grieving process.  Those who have experienced grief can offer the best advice and tips.  Please share them to help others!