5 ways to increase hope and motivation (OCD Awareness Week 2015)

Morgan from My OCD Voice shares this amazing post on how to increase hope and motivation when dealing with OCD and anxiety! She offers some great advice on exposure therapy. Please visit her wonderful blog!

My OCD Voice

5 ways to increase hope and motivation:

Anyone who has done exposures knows that they are HARD WORK. You are purposely triggering yourself and sitting with some intense anxiety, and without using any rituals to try to lower your anxiety. Tough stuff. Because ERP involves making yourself uncomfortable it requires a good deal of motivation. We talk about treatment motivation a lot in the residential program and I wanted to share some things I have learned. Here are five ways to increasehope and motivation.

1. Make a list of your successes.

Take a piece of paper and start listing all of the exposures you have accomplished. Also write down all of the things that used to be hard and are easier now. Then, any time you are feeling unmotivated you can look at this list and be reminded of how much you have done and how much the hard work…

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Exposure Therapy Project: Experience 1

Okay, so after talking to my therapist, we decided it would be a good idea to practice coming to his office and working on my laptop, etc. so I could get used to being outside of the house and getting lost in things I enjoy. So today was my first time with the exercise. I decided that after each time I do this exercise, I will take notes on how I did. Here is the gist of what happened today:

For the first ten minutes, I did really well. I worked on typing on my laptop. After about ten minutes, however, I became anxious and called my dad twice. He couldn’t come in right away to get me, because he and my brother were getting food. I then called my therapist’s office hoping that maybe he could come out and see me since I was so nervous. However, he was in a session, which I totally understood. I made myself comfortable and waited for my dad to come and get me so we could leave. All in all, I gave myself a 6/10.

I hope that next time, I’m able to do better. I hope that next time, I won’t feel the need to call my therapist’s office or even my dad. I hope that I can get through being there without becoming anxious at all, but if I do, I can calmly get through it on my own without calling anyone or feeling I need extra help.

While today didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped, I did learn that I can get lost in something and not feel anxious. I learned that I can get lost in my writing. While there is definitely room to improve, I think I did okay for my first try and hope to get better as I continue to practice. I plan on sharing my experiences with this project with you guys. Hopefully it will help to encourage you to find a way to challenge your anxiety. I wish you all the best.

 

Inspiration

So as many of you know, my favorite singer is Jewel. While there are admittedly a few things about her that I find annoying (like her constant mention of growing up in Alaska and constant mention of how she was homeless, though she chose to be so that she could have a music career), I do find her voice to be beautiful and her lyrics highly inspirational. While I wasn’t really interested in her new book, Jewel, Never Broken: Songs are only Half the Story, I did want to see if she talked about any of her songs, etc. in it.

jewelbookcoverPicture found here

While most of the book seems kind of boring (though I only really skimmed it so far), I found some good advice in the afterward. Here is some advice she gives that I think is pretty amazing:

You can’t outrun your pain: You are strong enough to face whatever is in front of you. Medicating your pain will only bring more pain. The only genuine shortcut life offers is facing your feelings. They won’t kill you. Feelings are your soul’s way of communicating. Pain is trying to teach you something, and if you don’t listen now, it will speak louder and louder until it is heard.”

“Access your Greater Intelligence. Your mind is a wonderful tool, but it is not all we are. Get out from under your critical thoughts. Practice meditation or prolonged prayer. Sit in nature and write. Do things that help quiet the circular thoughts of your mind and that allow you to gain the greater understanding and acceptance that is available beyond what your mind offers. This can foster inspiration. A eureka moment. A flash insight that comes from beyond what your education or experience make you capable of. You are experiencing your whole self when your body has a calm feeling, rather than an anxious energy.”

“Find the antidote. If you are consumed by self-doubting or self-loathing internal voices, ask yourself what the opposite of those thoughts are. If you are afraid you are not capable of something of something, intervene each time you think that, and replace it with a new thought: I am capable. Do it again and again until you feel your anxiety lessen. With time and practice, the anxiety will subside altogether.”

“Let go of what does not serve you. Make a commitment to choose happiness over anger, love over pain. Let go of hurt and resentment. Let go of what weighs you down and keeps you from ascending to the height you choose. The cup is half full and half empty simultaneously. Your reality will be defined by which you choose.”

“Stay Sensitive. By numbing pain you also numb your ability to experience joy. If someone or something has hurt you, don’t be hurt twice by choosing to limit your ability to ever experience trust or joy again. Being vulnerable in the world may cause you to feel pain, but you are strong and can let it pass. It will not defeat you. Let your emotions do what they are best at: communicating how safe, happy, and fulfilled you are in your life. If you cut yourself off from your feelings, you soul has no feedback system, and you will be deprived of that deeper sense of satisfaction and purpose every day.

Let go of shame. Shame does nothing but drown us in that which we wish to be free from. Communication is the antithesis of shame. Give your worst fears a voice-speak out loud your deepest, most shameful thoughts. None of us have a secret shame that others don’t share in the world. Find out that you are deserving of love despite your flaws. Find a notebook or a loving friend to be truly seen by. We cannot change what we are unwilling to bring into the light of day.

“Choose love. You can boil down all interactions to two categories: ones that grow love and ones that diminish it. Choose love. Do not choose how to behave based on who is in front of you. Choose because it is a value you hold in high esteem and because it is how you want to experience your own life. Choose love.”

*Jewel is not a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. These quotes are not a substitute for advice given from doctors. Jewel is a singer and songwriter. For more information about her, her music, and her new book, you can visit www.jeweljk.com

When We Feel Like Crying

As many of you may have experienced, there are various levels of anxiety. There’s the level of stress that everyone experiences and then there is the level of anxiety that can include extreme anxiety and panic attacks.

Now, I don’t mean to minimize feelings of regular stress, but many of us know how scary higher levels can be. It can cause us to doubt our abilities and in turn, make us feel childish. This kind of anxiety is not only saddening and oftentimes scary, but it can also be embarrassing. We feel as if we are weak and silly because we act much different than we should, we seem to go from mature to acting as if we need help doing the simplest things.

Anxiety can make us feel extremely overwhelmed and in that moment, we may feel as if there’s no way to get through it. Afterwards, we may even feel like crying or actually begin to. Why? Because we hate the fact that we allowed anxiety to take over. However, we are not weak, we’re not childish, and we can get through our anxiety! The only reason we feel otherwise is because when we struggle, it’s hard not to feel as if we’ll never get through our anxiety. However, if we continue to work hard, we will be able to and we will get through it!

dontletnegative

Friends of Fall – A Poem

pinetreeskim
Photo by Kim

The following poem, Fall Friends, is another poem written by my good friend Kim and I. Fall is actually one of my favorite seasons as I love the fall colors and weather (at least when it’s not freezing!) and so Kim and I decided to write about both Autumn and the animals that can be seen during the season. I want to thank Kim again for taking the time to collaborate on a poem with me, as she is a wonderful friend and writer! Please visit her blogs at Peace, Love and Patchouli, The Lavender Letters, and thereinventionintention for great poetry and insight. Thank you for reading!

chipmunksflower

http://dailycuteblog.com/animals/cute-chipmunk-love

Fall Friends

By: B.G. and Kim

 
Sitting on the side steps
Taking in the fresh air
I feel a sense of pleasantness
That sometimes seems quite rare

All of a sudden I see
A flash of brown coming my way
But you rush off in a panic
Before I can ask you to stay.

 
These sights of Autumn fill me
With peace and joy abound
As time moves on I see
The colors around me falling down.

 
The creatures move much closer
Gathering their sustenance to live
Yet I am truly blessed
As their presence a gift they give.

 
As the robins leave
The blue jays decide to stay
While cardinals make their plans to wait
For the summer sky to turn grey

 
As I hear them chirp
I offer breadcrumbs and seeds
Hoping I can give them the love
That every creature needs​

 

The hounds run to the trees
With the chipmunks and squirrels on high
Giving chase on cool fall days
Wishing they could perhaps fly.

 

The sights and sounds of autumn
As frosty grass crunches beneath
The pumpkins empty of seed
Orange rind for deer I bequeath.

 

Though the weather is cool
Forming Goosebumps on my arm
All of the creatures assure me
That there’s no reason for alarm

 

They convince me to stay nearby
Asking to please join them as they play
Promising that visiting will provide me
A warm and happy day

deerpoem

http://25dip.com/deer-pictures/

Proof of Strength

As many of you probably know, distraction from feelings of anxiety and concentration on a more positive thought pattern is a great way to get through our fears. When we are able to distract ourselves from feelings of anxiety, we prove to ourselves that we are stronger than our fears.

Something that I always find slightly difficult to do with my anxiety is to clean. The walking back and forth, digging stuff out of my room and moving it into my living room, and sorting through everything makes me a little extra shaky and warm, which seems to only add to my anxiety. However, today I cleaned for about an hour and fifteen minutes (though it honestly felt like way longer, not due to anxiety but because it was just a pain in the butt!) without getting very anxious at all!

Admittedly, I had to take a couple of very short breaks towards the very end, but that’s okay. I was concentrating so much on how to organize all of my stuff and where to put it, that I wasn’t thinking about being anxious. I was able to walk back and forth without feeling overly shaky and even when I got really warm, I still felt alright.

The fact that I cleaned my room for so long without giving into my anxiety made me feel amazing and I still feel that way from accomplishing it! After finishing, I poured myself a cup of iced tea and had a doughnut so that I wouldn’t feel weak from hunger or dehydration. In addition to eating and drinking helping me feel strong physically, it also made me feel like I was treating myself for doing such a great job (the doughnut was delicious! 🙂 )

So, what did this teach me? It taught me once again that if you stay focused on something other than anxiety, you can get through it. We have the ability to do things, sometimes we just feel convinced otherwise because our anxiety tries to take over. We can not allow that to happen! I know that’s easier said than done, but that’s why we have to keep working on it! I wish you all the best and please remember that you are stronger than your anxiety!

Award Announcement!

So I’ve just been nominated by Stephanie at Stephellaneous (I love the name of her blog!) for the Versatile Blogger Award. I want to give her a big thank you! It means so much to me to be nominated!

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The rules:
•Thank the person who gave you this award and include a link to his or her blog.
•Select fifteen (15) blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered and/or follow regularly. (Choose blogs you find excellent!)
•Nominate those fifteen (15) bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award, including a link to the original VBA site.
•Notify your nominations!
•Finally, don’t forget to tell the person who nominated you seven (7) things about yourself.

The nominees:

1.) Stephanie from Stephellaneous

2.) Mary from Marysaverageadventures

3.) Kim from Peace, Love, and Patchouli

4.) Amber from My Journey to Freedom from Anxiety

5.) Shaun from Tales in Anxiety

6.) Rummy from Rummy’s Own Blog

7.) Cavelle from Mental Break-In Progress

8.) Rachel from Sunny and Stormy Days

9.) Rachel from WEHAVEAPPLES

10.) Jenny Marie from Peace from Panic

11.) Sandy from Sandycademy

12.) Lizzie from Anxious Ramblings of a Fragile Mind

13.) Gemma from Lost to the Dark

14.) Morgan from My OCD Voice

15.) Iti Jain from Mind Your Wings

Wow, that took a while! I also want to thank everyone who reads, follows, “likes”, and comments on my blog. If you weren’t nominated, it does not mean that I love your blog any less!

Facts About Myself

1.) I’m a big fan of TV shows and Movies. Friends and Back to the Future are my favorites.

2.) My favorite singer is Jewel

3.) My favorite color is blue

4.) I can’t stand Miley Cyrus (sorry to her many fans, but that’s just how I feel)

5.) My favorite funny movie is Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

6.) My favorite hobby is writing and I’m currently working on a story.

7.) I love ranch dressing!

Lack of Motivation/Lesson

Lately I haven’t felt very motivated. I’ve still been practicing facing my anxiety and exercising, but not nearly enough. A part of me thinks it’s because of the weather and a part of me thinks it’s because the fact that I’m so bored is making me want to sleep instead of do anything else.

Unfortunately, since I haven’t been exercising and stretching as much, I’ve been more anxious. I can see the difference that my lack of motivation and commitment has made and it hasn’t led to a positive outcome. I feel guilty for not exercising as much and yet I keep falling into the pattern of laziness.

Instead of concentrating on the fact that I’m not doing well, however, I need to focus on the positive. While it may seem like a far fetch at first, I realized tonight that I’ve been proving to myself that I’m capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for.

Not only have I proven to myself before that I can get through my anxiety, but lately I’ve discovered that with hard work I can be decent at something I never thought I could be good at: drawing. Now I’m not saying I’m this amazing artist (far from it actually), but I do think that I’m able to draw some things. If you asked me if I could a week or two ago, I would have definitely said that I couldn’t draw at all.

So, what’s my point? My point is that we often sell ourselves short when we shouldn’t. We just need to prove to ourselves that we are able to do positive things as long as we work hard.

So Everyone Knows…

Since I’ve been drawing more lately and I don’t want to make this blog only about that, I’ve decided to group my drawings together on the same page as the quotes and images that I’ve created. With that being said, I will be updating the quotes/images/drawings page on my blog as I draw some more pictures! So, if you are interested in checking them out, that’s where they will be from now on! Thanks! Also, so you all know I’ve recently added a drawing of Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther and Rudolf from Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.