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Posts Categorized: Moving Beyond Survival

The Joy of Laughter

Finding Humor in Our Grief

When was the last time you laughed – I mean, really laughed – until the tears rolled down your cheeks, your sides hurt, and you gasped for air? You laughed and laughed and didn’t want to stop!

Something tickled your funny bone so that in an instant you saw the world differently – your situation was so bad, it was funny – your problem so profound, it was laughable – the ludicrous became the comical. The world had turned upside down and you laughed as you swung in the absurdity of the moment.

What precipitated that laughter? How did it change how you felt about your world, your situation, yourself? How did it change the minutes and hours afterwards?

Reframing: A New Perspective

Adjust Your Focus: Reframe Your Circumstances | FocusWithMarlene.com

Our first response to any drastic life change is usually shock, then denial. When you lose your job, can’t make your house payment, or have been diagnosed with a life-altering or life-threatening disease, the crisis takes center stage and everything else is blocked from view.

Reframing takes what life has handed us and looks at it in an expanded way.

The following story illustrates this point. Years ago, I worked for a company that led two weeks of day-long classes for injured workers. In these classes we taught attendees how pain disrupts our lives, what we bring to the pain experience and ways to go beyond this pain.

As individuals began to apply the information we gave them to their personal situations, it was amazing and encouraging to see what a difference it made in their outlook for the future.

Forgiveness: Release from the Prison of Resentment

prison bars

“But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
—Luke 6:27

Really – pray for them?

Jesus said, forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). We take it as a moral imperative. But it isn’t just Jesus who tells us how important forgiveness is, science confirms it as well. In fact, not to forgive is putting a slow death sentence on yourself, as the theologian Frederick Buechner so aptly describes.

In this article and podcast episode, I’ll show you 7 ways to make forgiveness a gift, rather than an obligation.

Lay Down the Unwanted Burden of Resentment

Woman carrying heavy backpack

To seek revenge is to want retribution – we want people to pay for what they did. When the injustice is repeated over and over again in our mind, the desire for revenge increases.

The flames of anger, hurt, and betrayal continue to be stoked until we have a raging furnace inside us. We have become a victim.

Resentment and revenge are bitter pills you continue to chew without relief. In today’s blog post and podcast episode, I’m sharing a story story titled, “The Unwanted Package.” The story beautifully illustrates why it’s so important to set down that heavy burden of resentment.

The Cost of Unchecked Anger

8 Warning Signs of an Anger Problem | focuswithmarlene.com

Anger, like all emotions, has a purpose.

It can help us survive, can motivate us to take action and make appropriate and necessary changes. It protects us when life threatens us psychologically or physically.

But when anger becomes habitual, it can be harmful.

When used repeatedly as our typical response to things that irritate us, we end up with an anger problem that can be catastrophic over time. That’s because, when we’re angry, we tend to be reactive. We no longer think rationally.

In this article (with accompanying audio), I’ll help you understand anger and will suggest practical things you can do if you are feeling constantly angry.

Legitimate Fears vs Paper Dragons

paper dragon

Fear is a critical survival warning system.

It triggers our fight/flight response system to meet any threat by fleeing, fighting, or remaining frozen in place.

Fear can be our friend, or it can be our enemy. It can prepare, instruct, and keep us safe; or it can become a huge threatening shadow that keeps us locked in doubt, worry, uncertainty, and helplessness.

In this article (with accompanying audio), I’ll help you recognize the differences between unhealthy fear and healthy fear, and I’ll share preventive measures you can put in place when you sense the fear dragon breathing down your back.

Challenge Irrational Thinking

Adjust Your Focus: Reframe Your Circumstances | FocusWithMarlene.com

It means making an assumption or hypothesis and testing its validity through objective analysis.

How accurate is my thinking? How can I prove or disprove that? Can my thoughts be modified or expanded? What are the underlying beliefs?

Unchallenged, our first automatic thoughts to potential catastrophes can keep us in a fear, anxiety, or panic mode.

Challenging our thoughts allows us to get out of highly charged emotions while affirming our ability to be flexible, roll with the punches and believe in ourselves. Read on…

Information Emotions Give Us

emotions

Imagine not being able to experience the joy of holding your baby, or that feeling of confidence over a job well done, or the excitement you feel cheering your favorite sports team. Life would be dull and robotic if it weren’t for those wonderful moments of joy and excitement and contentment.

Every day we experience emotions enabling us to enjoy life.

Emotions help us respond appropriately. They warn us of danger as well as bringing us incredible joy. But it’s not situations themselves that create our responses so much as it is our interpretations of what is happening.

I invite you to try the exercise in today’s post. It will help you identify patterns of emotional thinking and responses that might be working against you.

Empower Your Life with Resolve

person with artificial limb walking

After surgery to fuse my lower back, I was required to wear a brace for three months. During that time, I walked every day, up to two miles a day to help heal and strengthen my back.

We understand that it takes time to recover from broken bones or surgeries, and that the healing process requires physical therapy.

It takes time to recover from emotional and spiritual wounds, as well. Making that transition to a new life is never straightforward – there will be ups and downs and sometimes detours. Click to continue reading, or to listen to to the audio recording of this post.

Life Is a Dance of Letting Go and Taking Control

dancer

Life is a dance – a process – that requires flexibility while we learn how to change position and location and still maintain our balance.

Life is movement – we are going somewhere.

Life is never static – never the same but constantly changing and evolving. We can learn the music of life; we can adjust our movements and take charge of change and our responses to it or simply be swept along with no direction or purpose.

To experience freedom and create meaning in our lives, we must let go of the past while taking control of the present and future. In this blog post and podcast episode, I’ll help you understand what “letting go” and “taking control” mean, and how problems, tragedies, and losses can help you.