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Getting to Know Me…

I thought it would be fun to play a game with this bucket list. I’ll share what I’ve done and you can comment what you’ve done or want to do!

The Typical Bucket List

https://www.listchallenges.com/bucket-list-things

1. Skydive – Nope. NOPE. Never gonna happen.
2. Road Trip – Yep. I’ve taken a van trip across America (Ohio to San Diego, up the coast to San Francisco and back) with 12 artists.  It included a few nights on a Navajo Indian reservation, painting a mural on the side of a bridge, staying in a hostel, etc.  I also flew to Phoenix and road tripped back to Cincinnati with a friend.  I’ve also road tripped all over the midwest and southern United States.
3. Raised farm animals – do chickens and ducks count?
4. Watch Sunrise – yes. Many times. Camping, on a cruise, at home.
5. Roller coaster – little known fact: I LOVE them! I didn’t ride a single ride until age 15 because I was so scared, but when my friends drug me on one, I was hooked. I laugh hysterically while on them!
6. Snorkeling – yes. It’s amazing. I’ve done it twice in the Bahamas. Unfortunately due to my asthma, I won’t be able to snorkel again.
7. Scuba Diving – never tried.
8. Play an Instrument – No, and I regret it. I learned the fancy recorder in grade school and at the time was able to translate the skill into flute, clarinet, etc but I never actually tried.
9. Learn Another Language – yes. I was fairly fluent in both Spanish and American Sign Language; however, its a skill that you loose if you don’t use.
10. Fall in Love – yes
11. Donate to Charity – yes. Many ways and I believe it’s a very important task for ones mental health.
12. Disneyland – yes. I went to Disneyland AND Disney World when I was 24.  A friend worked there and got me in free. It was fun but not something I’d be eager to do again or with kids. It’s over-stimulating, expensive, and so…much…walking…..
13. Get Married – yes.
14. Buy a House – yes.
15. Go to a Concert – yes.  I have been to quite a few.  The top ones in my book: Less Than Jake, Miranda Lambert, Kip Moore, Incubus, Nickleback, and most recently: Kane Brown.
16. Slept on the Beach – no…but that’s going to change next month!
17. See the Northern Lights – not yet!
18. Met Your Idol – I’ve met and trained under Marsha Linehan a number of times. She isn’t my idol but I do have a lot of respect and gratitude for her work in the mental health field.
19. Climb a Mountain – not a real summit hike but I’ve been to Clingman’s Dome which is the highest point in the Great Smokey Moutain’s National Park.
20. Ski in Aspen – Nope. Not a huge fan of the cold.
21. Hopped a fence – yes
22. Storm Chasing – no. I’m a scardy cat…however, I was in my house when a tornado jumped through my yard!
23. Protest – nope
24. Go on Safari – nope
25. Visit the Giza Pyramids – nope
26. Visit the Taj Mahal – nope
27. Visit the Grand Canyon – nope
28. Ride a Horse – yes, during a girl scout outing in elementary school…I am afraid of them as a result. It bucked up on two legs and freaked me out!
29. See the Ballet – yes. It’s enjoyable but not my favorite. I prefer Broadway.
30. Go to the Opera – yes, same as ballet
31. See a Show on Broadway – yes. So many! I get season tickets with my mom. I’ve also seen Wicked and The Lion King in NYC!
32. Visit the Eiffel Tower – no
33. Visit All the Countries in the World – no!
34. Visit the Great Wall of China – no
35. Walk the Kakoda Track – no
36. Have Children of Your Own – 3 adopted girls!
37. Set a Guinness World Record – not to my knowledge…who knows!
38. Learn to Surf – no
39. Hot Air Balloon Ride -no
40. Gamble in Las Vegas – nope, not a fan of gambling
41. Swim With Dolphins – yes. a very cool experience.
42. Helicopter Ride – no
43. Shower in a Waterfall – no
44. Ride an Elephant – no
45. Visit the Seven Wonders of the World – no
46. Whale Watching – no
47. New Year’s Eve in Times Square – no, but I have been to Time’s Square. All of those people in the cold doesn’t’ sound fun to me.
48. Donate Blood – yes numerous times, and I pass out every time, so I’m not able to do that any longer.
49. See the Mona Lisa – no
50. Bungee Jumping – NO NO NO NO
51. Ride a Camel in the Desert – no
52. Fly First Class -yes! I got an upgrade once and it was great!
53. Go to Mardi Gras – no, but I’ve been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  Again, the thought of all those people at once sounds terrible.
54. Zip Line – nope
55. Paint Ball – nope
56. Get a Tattoo – yes
57. Ride in a Limousine – yes
58. Paraglide – no
59. Go to Oktoberfest – no
60. Swim With Sharks – no
61. Run a Marathon – not a formal one. I’ve done a few 5k races though.
62. Go on a Cruise – yes…3. Once solo. I’m not a cruise person, I get bored.
63. Get a University Degree – yes (2)
64. Publish a Book – ALMOST! I am in the process of finishing the book and then trying to get a publishing deal!
65. Grape Stomping – no
66. Backpack Europe – no
67. Hold a Tarantula – no
68. Hold a Baby Sloth, in the Amazon Rain Forest – lol, no
69. Hold a Koala – no
70. Float in the Dead Sea – no…but I have done a float loft. A cool experience!
71. Go Zorbing – not even sure what that is?
72. Cliff Dive – yes
73. Fly a Plane – yes! A small 4 passenger.
74. Walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge – no
75. Attend Coachella – no
76. Be a Part of a Flash Mob – no
77. Visit Niagara Falls – when I was 2…I don’t remember it at all of course
78. Drive Route 66 – no
79. Gondola Ride – no
80. Volunteer – yes! a lot 🙂 It’s amazing for a person’s self worth!
81. Trek the Inca Trail – no
82. Water ski – no, I’m fearful of water…
83. Jump off a Bridge – no
84. Cooking Class – no
85. Sleep in a Castle – no
86. Ancient Ruins – no
87. Ride an Ostrich – no, do people do this?
88. Parasail – yes, a great experience!
89. Host an Exchange Student – no
90. Build a Treehouse – no
91. Learn to Ballroom Dance -no
92. Sit on a Jury -not yet
93. Sleep Under the Stars – yes! a few times at my families cabin
94. Ride a Bull – no
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Desiderata

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

By Max Ehrmann © 1927

 

 

I was introduced to this poem today and have found it to be intensely inspiring and it is exactly what I needed to hear! Please read and enjoy, not at all my own work but I couldn’t keep it to myself!

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A non-exaustive list of ways to be happier on the daily

1. If it can be done or tidied quickly, do it

2. Drink more water

3. Text someone “hey, how are you today?”

4. Hug someone, if no one is available: hug a tree

5. Get 8-9 hours of sleep

6. Don’t watch TV

7. Go outside for 5 minutes and just observe nature, in whatever form you can (sky, birds, blades of grass, tree branches)

8. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner

9. Wake up 20 minutes before you “have to”

10. Exercise. Even 10 squats before climbing into bed.

11. Look at funny memes/comics

12. Read something

13. Reflect on one happy memory

14. Fantasize about travel

15. Eat a piece of candy or chocolate

16. Unsubscribe to/unfollow something that annoys you

17. Subscribe to/follow something that inspires you

18. Write down 3 things that don’t suck

19. Call a relative

20. Dance

21. Choose a few items you can donate

22. Tell yourself, seriously, that you are doing a great job

23. Open your mail

24. Meditate

25. Play a board game

26. Sing along to your jams from a simpler time

What would you add??

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Nature Is My Happy Place

I went for a 2 mile hike yesterday morning and a 3 mile hike today…and I am GLOWING. I feel so clear and positive, which is such a welcome emotion. When I got back, I started researching why hiking helps the mood so much and stumbled upon a research article on the positive effects of hiking. In short, the article found that going on a hike (without your phone):

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved problem solving
  • Increased focus
  • Increased impulse control
  • Burned calories
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved self-esteem

It seems like such common sense and yet many of us resist the idea of exercise of any type…but hiking can achieve the same results as medication, so why not??

Check out the article below and let me know what you think:

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/28/8567

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Loving the Adventure

When I am on vacation, I am acutely aware that I live differently.  I don’t mind driving to a restaurant, a museum, a park, etc. I don’t mind “wasting time”.  I don’t mind letting myself and my kids indulge in (less than healthy) treats.  I don’t mind weather that isn’t just right…

…we might say that I am more flexible.

So today I found myself in a dilemma: I had nothing planned.  I had no where to be.  We had no family appointments.  I was aware that we all needed an adventure though.  Post-vacation, I had imposed a bit of “family lock down” to get us back into our routine. We hadn’t gone out to dinner or on any outings in two full weeks.

I was a bit frustrated at the temperature: it was sunny and beautiful; however, there was a nip in the air that I didn’t appreciate.

Begrudgingly, I decided to confront the weather and head out.  We loaded up our bikes, snacks and hit the road to a fun park about 20 minutes away.  I was excited as I knew it was flat and my youngest is just learning to master peddling.  Upon arrival…we were greeted with road closed signs due to floods. SO DISAPPOINTING! Try explaining that to two preschoolers!

Next stop: a 15 minute drive to another fun park with relatively flat topography.  As we pull up I saw a SEA of cars in the parking lot and tons of parking signs…apparently it was an Earth Day celebration! That is typically the kind of thing I would avoid without mental prep….but I was not going to tell them we couldn’t go to this park either! So we unpacked and hit the pavement!

I am so glad that I chose to seek adventure today…in fact, I don’t think I ever really regret choosing adventure.  We all enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.  We all enjoyed Dole Whip ice cream! We enjoyed the playground even if it was a bit over crowded.  I enjoyed each other’s company and making new memories!

 

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Break the Stereotype Challenge

Thebeatwithkey Presents – Breaking The Stereotype Challenge

The Amazing THEBEATWITHKEY has created a new challenge for the blogging community. I am honored to take a part in this. The goal of this challenge is to change the world by breaking all stereotypes. Just one person alone cannot do this because unfortunately, there are a countless amount. There are racial stereotypes, beauty stereotypes, body stereotypes, mental health stereotypes and many more. Since it would be really hard for one blogger to tackle all of them by their self, lets decide to make it a challenge. Team up with other bloggers to break these stereotypes. Link to the site that challenges you and challenge five new bloggers to join in. When responding to this challenge the rules are simple. Non- WordPress bloggers can also get in on this. The rules will be at the bottom.

My Response:

“Type A” people don’t have feelings

As a “type A” person, I am regularly offended by my co-workers and peers’ perception that I somehow don’t have feelings.  I am very good at task-oriented, I am very good at tackling a to-do list with impressive efficiency! That makes me a go-to at work for things that need done quickly.  

The truth is that I like to tackle tasks because it calms my anxiety…my very high anxiety! The hilarity is that people seem to think that because I use work to cope, that it means I am emotionless…I am far from it! I merely find being organized to be a way to keep myself from a mental breakdown.

What I would appreciate is if people would check in with me just as they would any other.  There seems to be a belief that if someone isn’t an emotional basket case, then they MUST have it all together.  The reality is that stereotypes don’t help in this realm! Some organized people are calm while others are anxious.  Some disorganized people are emotionally chaotic while others are perfectly balanced. The only way to know, is to ask and allow yourself to get to know the person, not the behavior. 

 

The 5 bloggers that I nominate is

In Transit

Reclaiming Hope

Rosie Culture

Dear Human

CrystalsandCurls

 

Non-Wordpress Blogger Rules

Rule #1-

Email subscribe to my blog

Rule #2-

Follow my Instagram or Twitter (@yourmentalrestoration on Insta or @alyxberesford on Twitter)

Rule # 3-

Nominate 3 others to join the challenge

 

 

I look forward to seeing your responses

Let’s make a difference!

 

 

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To The Family and Friends of Those With Mental Illness

To The Family/Friends of Those With Mental Illness,

You are enough and it isn’t your fault.  I am so sorry that our society, your family member, and perhaps even their mental health providers, have blamed you for your loved ones struggles.  They are not your fault and they are not the ill ones fault.  Mental illness is an unfortunate happenstance that strikes people across all demographic ranges.  I wish I had an answer for why mental illness strikes some and not others; sometimes, it seems as random as cancer.

I am deeply saddened for you, as I know that you are likely traumatized by your experience. Loving someone who is chronically mentally ill and has perhaps even been self-harming and/or suicidal takes a toll on all involved.   Those who have not experienced it do not know the fear of the unknown as it relates to someone you love’s mental well-being.  Not only are family members often experiencing their own trauma, depression and anxiety…they are asked to be the police, detectives, first-responders and therapists of the mentally ill person.

I was recently reflecting on how we are quick to offer help to parents with young children when they are struggling (book recommendations, casseroles, free babysitting) and yet people who have a child with mental health problems do not tend to feel safe mentioning the struggles for fear of judgement.  Think about it: if a friend of yours admitted that their teen was actively self-harming, would you offer them respite? Would you stop by with food? Would you tell them what books and blogs to read?

Current stats show that 1 in 12 youth have made an attempt at suicide in the last year. 17% of high schoolers have seriously considered suicide in the last year, 13% have a plan. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death from ages 10-14 and 15-34 years old. Yes…TEN-year-olds commit suicide.  Current stats on self-harm shows that 35-40% of adolescents engage in self-harm.  Self-harm raises the risk of suicide 10-fold.  These numbers continue to be growing…

Let’s consider for a moment to band together and love on each other.  We CANNOT ignore this any longer.  If you don’t know someone who is struggling with their mental well-being, it is only because they are too afraid to be honest.  If you know a parent of a teen, there is a very high change that their child is struggling with their stress levels.  Consider giving them a hug and letting them know that they are doing a great job, they are enough and that you love them.

Sincerely, with all of my warmest regards…

Alyx

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I’m inspired by…

Lately, I have been finding myself trying to surround myself with messages of inspiration! I find that our world has a way of being quite negative and I NEED positivity, optimism and energy in my environment to balance it out.  Here is a list of what I have been inspired by recently:

  1. Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire (on repeat…)
  2. Cooking – especially health conscious recipes that require a lot of ingredients. It makes me feel like I am doing something kind for my family
  3. Proverbs 31:25-31
  4. Words with Friends – I love the challenge!
  5. Gilmore Girls – I can only hope that my daughters will want to hang with me as much as Rory wants to hang with Lorelai
  6. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” -Dr. Seuss
  7. Hobby Lobby – in general, this store always inspires me
  8. Christmas Music – ‘Tis the season and I LOVE it!
  9. My friends. I send silly, random messages to them when I am feeling lonely and it cheers both of us up! Memes and puns are the best!
  10. Crafting – There is something cathartic about creating something from nothing. Even if I am copying a Pinterest idea, I feel so masterful upon completion!

What inspires you?

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Sensory regulation      

Did you know that our physical sensations and emotional sensations are hard wired together in the brain? Think about it as the DNA double helix! This has HUGE mental health implications…read on…

Consider the last time you were REALLY upset…emotional…impulsive…I would venture to guess that you were not easily reasoned with at that time? One problem people run into is that their family/friends try to logically tell them how to “calm down” instead of HELPING them sooth themselves.  When your emotions are raw, instead of attacking them directly, you can actually attack them via physical sensations as a shortcut!

Think about how well you do this with a baby or small child: binkies, blankies, stuffed animals, sound machines, visual mobiles etc… The theory I ask you to apply is the same with adult items: lotions, candles, warm baths, relaxing instrumental music, soft blankets, hot tea, etc…

Simple concept, I challenge you to give it a try!

 

What are your favorite sensory soothing items?

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Radical Acceptance

I have been teaching on the topic of acceptance for the last few weeks. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy has a skill named “radical acceptance” and I would venture to say it is one of the most difficult skills to convince someone to practice.  It requires…a lot of PRACTICE! Acceptance is not a concept that one grasps overnight.

The idea behind acceptance is that of the classic Serenity Prayer:

“God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the wisdom to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference”

·    In life, there are a significant amount of things that occur that we cannot change directly: weather, politics, other people’s behaviors, our physical attributes/genetic traits, costs of items

·    In life, there are a significant amount of things we CAN change: generally related to our behaviors which influence our emotions and thoughts

Dialectical behavioral therapy as a whole seeks to help individuals determine what is in their control and what is out of their control and then take the appropriate action (either accept or change).  I believe acceptance is so difficult because as a culture, we are pushed to things faster, bigger, stronger…more, more, more…thus giving the message that everything IS within our control. This leads to a very anxious society!

Acceptance requires clarity, the ability to discern what is legitimately in and out of our control.  Acceptance is NOT to say that we will never change, it is NOT to say that we approve of it, and it is NOT to say that we like the situation.  Acceptance is to say that we recognize that we no longer want to suffer as a result of fighting reality. 

Let me give you a few examples:

Ex 1: You were bullied in high school and you continue to re-live it, dredge up the memories, look the people up on social media thus torturing yourself with the related thoughts

Radical acceptance means recognizing that you are continuing to keep those memories alive (this is not to say the actual bullying is your fault or that it is something you shouldn’t feel angry about), thus increasing your own suffering.  Radical acceptance looks like: admitting what happened and really allowing yourself to feel sad for your high school self.  You may need to disable your social media accounts as you are no longer going to allow those memories to rule your behaviors.   

Ex 2: You made poor financial choices in the past that have left you with debt and poor credit 

Radical acceptance means that you recognize that you own your past choices and get honest with yourself about their present implications. Often when people are fighting reality, they continue to spend excessively and put more and more on lines of credit. Radical acceptance would challenge you to life as if you believed you were capable of financial control (have a budget, pay more than minimum balance, etc).  Radical acceptance means you are going to change your internal self-talk and cease beating yourself up about past choices as they cannot be changed! 

Once you practice radical acceptance on smaller things: gas prices going up, weather, your paycheck size… then (and only then) you can begin practice radical acceptance on bigger and bigger things…all the way up to accepting past traumas.  I suggest practice with a therapist because this is such a complex topic!