Making Sense Out of Your Partners Nonsense

Learn to Decode Your Partner's "Reality"
 

Ever had this happen – Your partner gets upset about something that seems to you like a trifle. So you downplay it or ignore it and then all hell breaks loose. When you pick yourself up off the floor you are left scratching your head wondering, “What just happened here? All I did was …” Your partner wasn’t logical, reasonable or even slightly made a bit of sense so how do you respond? If you’re like most of us you do one of the following.

  • Close your eyes to the illogic and move on
  • Try to engage in a rational, reasonable manner
  • Put your foot down and assert your right to common sense

But none of these options really work, do they? Because –

  • If you close your eyes to it you end up bumping into it over and over again
  • If you try to engage, you end up going down the black hole and lose your way
  • When you put your foot down it just makes the gap between you larger by filling it with resentment.

So what are you to do when there seems like there are no viable options?

When you encounter the irrational remember this – It’s rational in that person’s world, you just need to better understand their world.

Yes, you heard me right. You are dealing with someone who has a different reality than yours so there will be times when their rationale will also be different. If you ever want to communicate – much less have an intimate relationship, you will need to be able to understand their reality.

But you say, “I didn’t sign up to be a part of someone else’s reality!” You did when you entered into the relationship, for every time we enter into a relationship we are choosing to interact with another person’s reality. Think of it like traveling abroad. When you step off the plane you are now entering into a country with a different set of laws and customs. Yes, there will be a lot of similarities to home but there will be a lot of things you don’t understand and may seem illogical.

Okay, now I’m going to throw you a curveball – sometimes your partner won’t even understand their own reality! Yes, that’s right, we all do things, feel things and say things and we are clueless why. That’s because we humans are great at ignoring our emotions and not tending to our hearts. We think we can just push through childhood trauma or ignore our emotional wounds. But they end up coming back to bite us through our feelings and thoughts that often sabotage our lives. We experience “irrational” fears when we attempt to move forward in our career or feelings of shame when we try to engage in close relationships.

“Okay, now I’m really confused. You’re telling me to try to understand the reality behind my partner’s irrational actions and now you’re telling me they may not even know why they are feeling the way they’re feeling? I give up!”

Real relationships are not for wimps! We all need to roll up our sleeves and try to understand our partner’s world as well as help them try to understand their own world. Believe me, there is logic in there somewhere. Here are a couple of examples of illogical logic.

  • A person who continually blows up every relationship that gets too deep even those they desperately desire to intimacy? Irrational right? Wrong! In their world, if you get too close you will find out who they truly are and reject them. They are protecting themselves from that pain.
  • A person who never accepts the promotion at work even though it would mean more money, more opportunity, and much more satisfying work. Irrational right? Wrong! In their world, they are certain that they are incompetent and the promotion would only reveal that fact.

How do you live with illogical logic?

You say to yourself, “This makes sense in their universe, I just need to understand it and maybe help them understand it”

You slow down the conversation and begin to ask clarification questions. For example:

  • “So what is your greatest fear about this?”
  • “Have you felt this way before about other situations?”
  • “What was it like in your family when this happened?”
  • “Help me understand what you need?”

Believe me, I am not saying this is easy. But if you are willing to choose to discover rather than judge there are great rewards for those who want to enter into this level of real relationships.

  

As always, if you are needing any help or I can be of any service just reach out via email at connect@totalwellnesscenter.net.

Want a Happier Relationship? Get This Book!

Why you should read the ABCs of Love.

In my practice, I often use the illustration of the three domains of awareness. I draw a circle and then divide it into pie-shaped thirds.

The first third I write, “What we know we know.” We all know we know certain things, like how to drive a car or cook a frozen pizza.

In the second third, I write, “What I know I don’t know.” This is also a fairly simple category for us to understand. I know I don’t know how to fly an airplane and I know I don’t know how to make a souffle.

When I come to the third domain of awareness I write in the circle, “What I don’t know I don’t know.”  Then I turn to my client (with a bit of a mischievous smile) and ask what don’t you know what you don’t know? They work on this conundrum for a while before I tell them there’s no way they can answer that question because if they did it would be in the domain of what they know they don’t know.

I then explain to them that many of the things that are not going well in their life are found in this domain. These are the unconscious and unexamined areas of their lives that typically cause the greatest pain and suffering. We then set a goal to explore this domain with the purpose of uncovering those hidden hindrances to a successful life and creating competencies.

But the big question is how do we explore an area where we have no conscious awareness?  Here are some of the ways:

  1. Look at your emotions and begin to ask why you feel the way you do. Our emotions often hang out in the third domain when our intellect is locked out.
  2. Explore the universal truths of the way humans interact and build relationships. You are both unique and common. How we successfully exist with other humans is something that has been rigorously studied.
  3. Develop a keener understanding of your family of origin and its effect on you. For most of us, we consider the home we grew up in as “normal.”  Therefore, we reproduce the beliefs and behaviors that are most ordinary to us. This especially gets us in trouble when we are in a relationship with another human who comes from a family whose “normal” is different from yours.

It is for these reasons that I encourage you to read “The ABCs of Love.” It will help you move from “Not knowing what you don’t know” to “knowing what you don’t know” with the hope that your new awareness will help you break free from the unconscious traps that are keeping your relationships from being intimate and satisfying. Dr. Shulman does this by exploring the way humans build relationships.She grounds her short concise chapters on solid, empirically based relationship theories and does it in a way that is both personally engaging and easily understood. I also love that Dr. Shulman does not speak from some lofty academic perch but uses her own failed relational attempts as examples of how she went from not knowing to knowing. If you want to grow in your relationships this is a must read!

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Does “Turning the Other Cheek” Really Work?

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I was sitting with a client yesterday who was alone even though they had originally come with their spouse for marriage counseling. She told me things were going better in her marriage and she wasn’t quite sure why. Our recent sessions had been focused on how she responded to unfair, unkind and hurtful situations in her marriage. She had been focusing on not escalating the battle of words and when she was ill-treated to respond with kindness.  My thoughts immediately went to the words of Jesus.   

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
— Matthew 5:38-41 NIV

When Jesus said these words the prevailing wisdom was that when someone hit you, you needed to hit them back harder. (that philosophy is still very common) Jesus was expressing a radical ethic that has its roots in trusting in an all-powerful and just God who will ultimately bring down judgment on the wicked and reward the innocent.

But there is another very practical reason to employ this new ethic. It works.  It works because it is based on the way humans relate to each other. This should not be surprising. I have found that EVERYTHING God has said we should do is both empirically true and relationally effective.

That is why my client is experiencing greater success in her relationship.

The predictable pattern is to respond in kind to others. When someone is nasty to us we respond by being nasty to them. If they are kind to us we respond by returning the kindness. In other words, the old “eye for an eye” ethic. And as someone once said if we live by the “eye for an eye” ethic everybody will be blind. But if we are maligned we respond in kindness and when treated harshly we are gentle the whole dynamic of the relationship is turned on its head. The downward cycle of aggression and retaliation is broken. How do you stay angry with someone who simply refuses to return the anger? How do you continually criticize and malign someone who refuses to return the insults? You simply can’t. Either the dynamic in the relationship changes or the oppressor gives up and finds another victim to justify their behavior.

Please hear me on this, I am not talking about physical or emotional abuse. It is not right to allow unchecked aggression to be directed toward you or anybody else. If this is the case then you need to seek help to correct the situation and/or get separation from the abuser.

I am referring to those arguments and personality conflicts that are common in most marriages and dissolve into long-standing resentments and perpetual arguments.

This new way of being in a relationship is not easy – in fact, it is practically impossible apart from a powerful spiritual transformation of the heart. It is also not a quick fix cure. The aggressor is not likely to suddenly “see the light” and change their pattern of behavior overnight. But for those who decide to walk as Jesus walked there are awesome rewards waiting for them. Here are a few.

  • The soul-destroying cancer called resentment is reduced or eliminated
  • The potential for developing reconciliation is vastly increased
  • Harmful conflict is greatly shortened and vastly reduced
  • Intimacy with God is deepened. (whenever we choose to obey the words of our Lord we deepen our love for him) John 14:15
  • We become more open to examining our own hearts and correcting our own faults
  • We set an example to other family members of how to deal with difficult people and situations

Again, this is not easy to do – especially if there is a long-standing pattern of tit for tat conflict. But it is so worth the effort to escape the hopeless maze of unending struggles.

As always if there is anything we can do for you or if you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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Happiness Truly is a Matter of the Heart

What do you really desire in life? What keeps you up at night and gets you up early in the morning? What do you clutch onto so hard that you will protect it with your last ounce of strength?

That is your treasure and that is also where your heart is.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:21 NIV

In my work, I see a lot of people who are desperately trying to hold on to something that is not giving them the life they desire. It could be money, relationships, a career or score of other things that seem to melt away the tighter they clutch on to them. The problem is those “things” never satisfy the deepest longings of our heart. I am not advocating quitting your job or leaving your relationships, what I believe we need to do is to no longer see those things as the fulfillment of our desires. In fact, the more we try to make them do that the more miserable we make ourselves.

An example of this is money.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs
— 1 Timothy 6:10 NIV

The point Paul is making in this verse is that when we pursue (love) that which cannot satisfy our souls we end up doing ourselves harm – akin to stabbing ourselves.

God knows we need money, and careers and homes – but we were made for something much more satisfying than this stuff. We were made for God himself.

When we “wonder” it often starts innocently. We become delighted by some new toy or someone strokes our ego. Pretty soon we’re saying this feels good … I want more. So we start chasing this new shiny object and then it happens. That object becomes our treasure rather than the one who ultimately gives all good gifts.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
— Matthew 7:11 NIV

Is there anything that we need that he is not willing to give us?

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
— Romans 8:32 NIV

This is a call for deep reflection. I confess I am guilty of seeking the gift rather than the giver – of longing for the resource rather than making the source of all blessings my heart’s desire.

Could this be why there is so much depression, anxiety and relational brokenness in our lives? Could we be deceived into believing the lie that something other than our Creator can satisfy our deepest longing?

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Blaise Pascal

"There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.” 

So are you saying, James, that we’re not supposed to desire anything but God? No, I am saying that we are not to desire anything MORE THAN God. And when we receive what we desire we are to immediately thank him for what we have received.

God has no problems with us asking him for … whatever. But like the excellent father he is, he withholds the right to give us only what is best for us. If we become enamored with the shiny things of this world and he knows that they will cause us to wander off into places that will cause us harm, then like any good father he will withhold these things. Wouldn’t you?

Ask for whatever you wish and if your dearest desire is to honor the Lord and bless him with your life, it will be irrelevant whether you receive it or not because he will give you the ultimate desire of your heart. Your soul will be abundantly satisfied. And isn’t that what we truly crave?

Prayer of reflection

O Lord, I come to you seeking to open my heart to your gaze. Look deeply into my longings Lord and see if there is anything that I desire more than you. Search my heart Lord and reveal any attachments to whatever is not you. You are my source for all that I need. You have promised to graciously give me whatever is necessary. Help me to take my eyes off of all the “shiny things” in this world and fix them upon you. I confess I am so easily distracted. You know all things and you also know that my deepest, passionate desire it to bring you honor and glory in my life. Create in me a steadfast spirit that will live this desire in every area of my life.

As always if we can be of any service to you don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’d like to receive all our updates then just sign up for our newsletter below.

The Most Important Thing to Forget

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Are you looking for the key to happiness? If you aren’t you really should be. I am not saying that we should invest ourselves in some kind of spiritual treasure hunt because there’s no single truth or life skill that will produce perfect happiness, joy, peace or love. But if we are not continually striving to learn new truths and grow in our character then … well, we might as well be dead.

So I’m going to propose a life-skill that, if it is not at the top of your list, it really should be.  I have found neglecting this is responsible for massive heartaches and destroyed countless relationships. It is summed up in this one statement by the Apostle Paul:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus
— Philippians 3:13-14

What I have discovered over and over again in my life is I can not press on toward the goal if I am not willing to forget what is behind me. That goal is not merely a quest for money, fame or a comfortable life, it is a heavenly goal ordained by God.  For Paul, that goal was to, “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”. What he needed to forget was that in his former life he was a murderer and persecutor of the Church. I am sure it was very difficult for him to forget the pain he had caused so many people.

But what about you and me? What do we need to forget that is impeding the goal? For me, it is pretty much everything. I must let go of hurt feelings, broken promises, angry and cutting words, and anything else that will cloud my spirit and keep me from being free to pursue the heavenward call.

This forgetfulness is a decision to be free from bitterness and resentment. But let me be clear – forgetfulness does not mean our emotions are suddenly healed or our relationships are magically restored. Emotions have their own timetable for healing. The decision to forget a past injury (whether it is self-inflicted or caused by another) will mean that you will always act in a way that is counter-emotional. This skill is rarely taught in our “do what you feel” culture but is an absolute necessity if you are going to achieve the ultimate goal that calls you heavenward.

Take a moment and assess your current state of forgetfulness.

  • Is there any past situation that caused you an injury that you are holding on to?
  • Are you beating yourself up for a past action or decision you made?
  • Is there someone whom you harbor resentment and anger toward?

If you have confessed the wrongs in your life then the next step is to forget – because God has.

If someone else has hurt you and you are holding on to anger and resentment then the next step is to forgive – because you have been forgiven for much more grievous sins by God.

But if we are unwilling to forget what is behind us then we will find those past things will plant themselves firmly in our future and keep us from experiencing the beautiful life we were meant to live.

If we can be of any help along your journey please don’t hesitate to call. We would also love to have you get all our blogs and announcements so just fill in the box below.

Why Pulling Away From Relationships Doesn’t Work

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We have all been there. Something someone said touched a nerve and we react with a combination of anger and repulsion so we pull away like we’ve touched a hot stove.

I recently saw a video that loudly extolled the virtue of getting our own “house in order” before we attempt to be in a relationship. The example was used that if you have a virus it is a crazy idea to infect another person with the expectation you will get healed. Agreed, unhealthy people do not make healthy relationships but neither does isolation and “focusing on yourself”. Relationships are where be become broken and relationships are also where we get healed. To expect to get better at relationships by turning inward and isolating is like trying to be a better cook by eating at MacDonalds.

There is a place for working on ourselves and developing a healthy self-image. At some point, we need to make sure that we are secure enough with ourselves to be in strong relationships. But this is not an either/or proposition, it is actually a both/and proposition. We need to be both developing our own personal identity and refining that identity in relationships with others.

When I was a teenager I enjoyed making radio controlled airplanes. I would work for hours constructing them to the exact specifications in the instructions. They were beautiful on my shelf, but that is not what they were created for. They were meant for the sky and the only true test of my work was to take them out and fly them. The same is true in our quest to have a healthy self-image. The true test of our character is to be in a relationship that challenges us. This means that we need to engage when we’re hurt, triggered or fearful. We need to because that pain is directing us to where we are damaged. Relationships reveal our wounds and therefore are invaluable to the healing process.

If you want to be at greater peace with yourself

learn how to be at peace with others.

I have never met a person who is able to build healthy relationships who does not have a healthy relationship with themselves. Likewise, I have never met someone who has a unhealthy relationship with themselves that is not in unhealthy relationships with others.

But I can hear you say … “ it’s not everyone that I have a problem with, it’s just that one special person”. Invariably that one special person is triggering you in a relational wound that has not healed. So use the pain for gain. If not, you are dooming yourself to shallow relationships and stunted personal growth. I know this is hard – every fiber of your being is telling you to flee, but if you can resist the urge to run and find a way to understanding why you are being triggered there is incredible healing awaiting you.

Relationships are a window into our soul.

I am not advocating tolerating an abusive or destructive relationship, only a sick people with a poor self-images would accept that. But troubled relationships are a gold mind if you’re willing to stay in there and dig.

As always if you need any help or we can be of service don’t hesitate to reach out to us. If you’d like to receive regular updates on our blogs, articles, and postings just sign up for our newsletter below. 

Is Gratitude the Cure for Anxiety?

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It is a fact that gratitude is a powerful way of reprograming our brains to enhance our emotions and improve our overall physical health. It is one of the keys to longevity and is creates powerful, life affirming relationships. When we are in a state of active gratitude we are less likely to be anxious, fearful, depressed or hopeless. We are also open to new perspectives and possibilities that are otherwise closed doors to us.

All this is a fact – proven over and over again through empirical studies. But still many of us find that gratitude eludes us. We struggle to remain positive in the face of so much that is negative in our world.

That is why I am here to say if you are waiting to be grateful until you “see” things to be grateful for then you will never experience the life altering effects of gratitude.

Gratitude is a discipline we must learn – it does not happen naturally. If you want the positive properties of gratitude you are going to need to work at it. And make no mistake, it is work because your brain is trained to focus upon whatever it perceives as danger – even when the danger is not even a remote possibility. That riot in the south, that shooting in New York, that famine in North Africa are all terrible events but they pose no danger to you – but a part of your brain doesn’t know that. So it directs you to those news stories because it is trying to protect you, and in the process, you are being filled with worry, fear, and anxiety.  In fact, anxiety becomes our cultural norm. And we wonder why our lives are so unsettled and we carry this a vague sense of apprehension wherever we go.

The first step to developing a life of gratitude is to turn off the flood of negativity that you expose yourself to everyday. This does not mean that you become uninformed or ignorant of the world around you, but that you recognize the effect this information is having on you. Put the news in perspective and don’t let it become your reality. Did you know that according to all governmental measurements incidences of violence is down over the past years? In fact, there has been less killing and mayhem in the world than in previous generations. But you would never know that  by watching the news. That is because mayhem sells advertising. Media producers know your brain is constantly scanning for anything that could be remotely dangerous and given the choice of watching a video of riots in the streets or puppies playing in the water, guess what the vast majority of viewers will watch?

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Be careful what you focus on for it is what you will become.

So limit your exposure to horrid, evil, vile and cruel information. You cannot change the situation but exposure to it will change you. If you must watch it then be aware of how it will affect you and determine to do something to engage in the situation in a positive way. In that way, you become active in bringing hope and healing to a situation rather than it bringing anxiety and fear into your life.   

Second Step: Learn to focus on what is good in your life and express thankfulness for it. This may be in the form of a gratitude list or just deciding periodically to find 10 things to be thankful for. Remember it is a discipline – it may be hard to turn your brain from the negative but you can do it if you want to. The benefits are amazing!

For the past couple of years, I have made it a habit of keeping a positive life-affirming journal. It has transformed my life and been part of the healing process from a lifelong tendency toward depression. I encourage you to try it. But even if journaling is not your thing find a way to make gratitude a daily discipline.

As always if there is anything we can do for you please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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What I Learned About Relationships From Walter - My Rescue Dog.

LOVE DOESN'T HAVE TO STINK ......

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Wonderful Walter 2017

This is Walter – he is a 105 pound Rotty/Shepherd that we adopted from a local rescue, Whiskers and Tails in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.  We quickly learned he loves to chase squirrels and eat all insects that fly -  including wasps. In fact,  he has a little Ninja that makes up his unique quirky personality.  When it gets dark he loves to patrol the back yard protecting us from … well only he knows and he’s sworn to the Ninja code of silence.

The other night he was patrolling the perimeter and we heard an unusual commotion so I ran out to see what was happening. It didn't take long to figure out what was going on because within less than a second I smelled it …... A SKUNK.   Yes, an unsuspecting Walter had come face to face....well, not exactly face to face but you get the picture, of the smelly works delivered by Mr. Skunk.

Quickly into the bathtub (ever bathed a stinky 100-pound dog 10:30 at night?).  We quickly surfed the internet for the "magic" formula to remove skunk odor and found a website that "guaranteed" the homemade solution would work.  My wife started mixing the potion and I got to work on Walter.  One hour later we had a 100 pound dog that reeked of wet fur and skunk wildly running through the house.   It has now been over a week and guess what – Walter still stinks. And not only Walter but whatever Walter touched smells too!

So now I can hear you thinking … “so sorry for Walter but what the heck does that have to do with relationships?”

Thank you for asking. 

Sometimes the stink from a fight, a careless word, or thoughtless action can stink up a relationship for days, weeks or even years. It often only takes a small thing for that odor to arise and stink up our relationship all over again. I admit it’s hard to remove the odor of a hurt. The pain lingers long like Walter’s smell. But unlike poor Walter, we actually have a choice how long we will allow our relationships to be polluted by these things.

After all who wants to smell bad to their partner?

Here are four steps you can take.

  1. Admit that you were hurt: Sometimes our pride gets in the way of our healing. We think we shouldn’t feel what we’re feeling so we go into denial mode but in reality, we’re just allowing the wound to infect other areas of our lives.
  2.  Forgive: Forgiveness is a unilateral is a gift we give to ourselves so that we don’t carry the heavy burden of resentment and anger throughout our life. Forgiveness does not mean that you minimize the wound – only that you choose to heal.
  3. Reconcile: If possible share with your partner how you were hurt and attempt to find a new way of relating to each other. Keep in mind that this requires that you both be willing to see each other’s perspective to get beneath the surface. In every harmful human interaction, there is always something deeper that is causing it. When this is understood it will change the whole dynamic of the relationship and create an opportunity for healing and avoiding entering back into the conflict.
  4. Let it go: Yes, we can also choose to let go of whatever it was that is stinking up our relationships. This means refusing to bring it up … ever!

Walter is smelling much better now, okay, he still smells like a dog but not like a skunk. The real question is what do you and I smell like? 

If this is helpful (I hope) please share it and become a subscriber. We promise we won't "stink" up your inbox. :-)

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Harmed by Your Past? Five Steps to Start Healing.

WHEN OUR PAST GETS IN THE WAY OF OUR FUTURE.....IT IS TIME TO ADDRESS IT HEAD ON..

As a therapist, my job is to help people get unstuck from their problems and overcome the obstacles in their lives, and contrary to the prevailing belief, I do not enjoy talking about my client’s mothers. But I do have a passion for people experiencing freedom and joy in their lives so this is what I tell my clients:

When our past gets into our future we need to deal with it.

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Is your past in the way of  your future? 

The truth is, our past always gets into our future. Some of us were blessed with parents, teachers, and mentors that spoke into us beautiful life affirming truths that empower us to live full and prosperous lives. This is a positive example of having our past affect our future.

However, some of us did not get that kind of input when we were young. We were fed on a diet of lies and treated in a way that hindered our development. This is when we need to talk about mothers, as well as other influential people and experiences from our past.

But how do we know if our past is hanging us up? It’s not as if our parents are going to come to us and say; “you know that thing I said about you when you were five, I was wrong!” No, they are probably just as unconscious about how they injured you as you are about how you were injured. These kinds of wounds rarely reveal themselves plainly so they can be understood and dealt with. Rather, they stealthily sabotage our relationships, careers and emotional well-being. Sometimes we need to look backward to go forward.

So how do you know when you need to look backward to go forward? Here are some clues.

  • You have a recurring argument with your spouse that never resolves
  • You have an over reaction to something someone said or did.
  • You are anxious, depressed or fearful for no good reason
  • You can’t find the motivation to do the things you want to do

These are some symptoms of having a harmful past.  If so, here are five things you can do about it.

  1. Become aware: Don’t dismiss unexplained emotions or irrational feelings just because they are uncomfortable.
  2. Challenge the status quo: Our childhood experiences and programming often becomes our “dysfunctional normal”.  Challenge what is not working in your life.
  3. Ask yourself this question: What belief is at the core of this feeling or circumstance?
  4. Seek help: We often can’t see what we can’t see, a third party perspective can break us out this.
  5. Don’t give up: Replacing past harmful programming is often a long, slow process. Most of us have been living with these lies for years – they aren’t going to give up their stranglehold on us easily. Be persistent. What your mind learned it can also unlearn.

There is freedom if you choose to be courageous in seeking it. You’ve only got one life. Don’t let someone or something from your past keep you from living it to the fullest

 

With Love, 

James

If you are looking for a way to jump start feeling better about yourself. Check out

10 Days Toward Learning to Love Yourself. 

One Thing Which Can Make Your Life Successful

I know that my title seems a bit over the top, but I am tired of talking about creating successful strategies to people who have absolutely no capacity to put them to action. So, I’m going to get really basic and real simple.

What you believe about yourself and the universe are the most crucial pieces of knowledge you will ever possess. They are the common denominators in all events, relationships, and goals in your life.

  • Overcoming failures is completely dependent on your view of yourself
  • Pushing through trials and enduring through prolonged times of frustration is a factor of how you see yourself.
  • Your level of satisfaction with living is dependant upon understanding yourself in context to the universe

Yet, I find so few of us really comprehend this fact. Instead, we are continually looking to other people or circumstances as the arbitrator for our lives.

When something bad happens. (and it happens to everyone)

  • Some resign themselves to their fate and give up
  • Some see it as an insurmountable obstacle and choose a lesser path
  • Some see it as a temporary setback and press on

The only difference in these responses in how one sees themselves and what they believe about the universe.

Your view of yourself is a consequence of how you view the universe.

I have had the privilege of traveling the world and in some places, I have seen unimaginable suffering. When asked why this is so the answer I receive is something like this, “it is their fate”.

  • Karma
  • God
  • The random nature of the universe

It all comes down to whether the universe is cooperating with or in opposition to our success. This will determine whether we have the internal resources to achieve the life we desire to live. If that answer is our lives are under the control of some external force then the next logical step is to forfeit our dreams and abandon our hopes because we are powerless to achieve them.

Some would challenge me on this and say, “You’re a Christian – aren’t you a fatalist?

I say no. In fact, it is entirely the contrary. Since I believe in a supreme being who has demonstrated his great love and compassion through the life of Jesus Christ I am convinced that the universe is not an obstacle to my happiness - that I have the ultimate victory no matter what circumstance or peril I may find myself in. In fact the present obstacles serve a tutors to mold my character and deepen my faith. Therefore no person, no event and nothing else in this world can thwart my inevitable triumph as promised by God.

So you see – my self-confidence is derived from my view of a good and loving God and anything and everything must yield to this truth. Therefore ...

  • When I become discouraged I return to the belief that God is my helper and he has and will provide all that I need.
  • When I am doubting my own wisdom he has said that I can come to him with any question and he will give me understanding.
  • When I am feeling alone and rejected he has said that I am unconditionally loved
  • When I am disbelieving my own value he reminds me that he died for me and I have infinite worth.

What other religion, philosophy, or world view can offer this confidence?

So the bottom line is this.

As goes your view of the universe so goes your view of yourself.

As goes your view of yourself so goes your life.

Next time you feel stymied by a situation in your life or paralyzed by debilitating emotions look to where your confidence lies. Look at your view of God and integrate that view into your identity. 

If I can be of any help you to you don't hesitate to reach out

James

1 + 1 = 3 Plus Freedom!

Are You at the Mercy of Someone or Something?

I have never been comfortable with this phrase I hear so often when something negative happens in a person’s life.

“You (or it) made me feel …”

Whenever I hear it I want to say –

Me: So, how did they do it?

Them: Do what?

Me: Get into your brain?

Them: My brain?

Me: Did they get microscopic and crawl into your brain through your nose and make you feel that?

Them: You’re an idiot … what are you talking about

Me: You know the thing that made you feel the way you feel – just how did they make you feel that?

At this point I know exactly what would happen, the person would shake their head at me and just walk away. That’s because we’re very used to 1 + 1 equals two. In other words, when someone treats us badly we react to that in a logical sequential way, we respond with a predictable emotion. (anger, frustration, sadness, contempt etc.)

I know what you’re thinking, “what the heck James how am I supposed to act – happy?” Let me share a secret – we don’t need to have our circumstances define our actions we actually can choose to respond to our circumstances the way we want to – not the way the circumstance dictates to us.

By the way, until we learn to apply this truth we will forever be at the mercy of every person or circumstance that we experience because whatever happens to us will dictate our response.

But don’t take my word for it, this is a central theme in Scripture and the hallmark of a true follower of Christ.

To this, you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
— 1 Peter 3: 21-23 NIV

I have never been beaten, scourged, spat upon, humiliated and then nailed to a cross but Jesus was and he was able to say, while he was hanging on the cross, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”.

It may not seem like it, but we do have a choice on how we respond to trying situations. The choice is this; will I let the circumstance define me or will I define the circumstance? Will I follow the broad road of predictable and unremarkable response or will I take this as an opportunity to bring redemption and healing into this situation?

Ultimately, our response to trials, difficulties, insults and personal injustice will define who we are and what we believe. Jesus’ response on the cross was as a result of his “entrusting himself to him who judges rightly” and therefore was able to defy human logic and reveal his true character.

We can too. But first, we must stop making feeble excuses for ourselves and accept responsibility for our own reactions. We ultimately choose how to respond, we have the opportunity to act in a way that is contrary to the “norm”. This ability is given to every believer and when we do we are demonstrating the character of Christ in us.

And here’s another secret – It is almost always counter to our initial emotional response. It is not “natural” for us to be kind when we've been treated harshly or be loving when we’ve been rejected – it’s supernatural.

And that my friend is the gospel at work in us. A gospel the world longs to see.

Love you. 

This Article Will Rock Your Relationship

 6 principles that can put your relationship back on track

If you’ve been in a serious relationship for any length of time there will be times when you feel alone. But for some, the feelings of disconnection has become more the norm than the exception.

You may have made attempts to connect but they have failed to produce the closeness that you’re hoping for. The results of living in this kind of relationship will produce feelings of ...

  • Worthlessness – Why am I not important enough for you to connect with me?
  • Frustration – I’m tired of being the only one who cares about our relationship
  • Fear – I’m afraid this is going to lead to separation or divorce
  • Hopelessness – I don’t want to live this way and I don’t know what to do

When we get to this place of discouragement we don’t know where to turn, so we reach out to books, counselors or advisors for help. But our partner is comfortable with the status quo and refuses to participate. What can we do? Should we threaten them? Or should we get used to a less than fulfilling relationship? After all, a bad relationship is better than no relationship, right? We conclude, if they don’t want to change the way things are then there is nothing I can do.

Yes, in an ideal world, when both parties commit to making a change, growth comes quicker and easier but you and I know we don’t live in an ideal world. Often, only one person in the relationship is motivated to grow.

But a relationship can grow even if you’re the only one willing to work on it!

It’s not easy, it requires a willingness to look honestly at the way you are currently managing your relationship which really means that you need to be willing to change the way you see you’re your partner and even the way you view yourself. In short, it will take more than just learning a few communication techniques - it requires true transformation. And that is exactly why you should consider taking on this adventure, not simply because you want a better relationship but because you want to be a better you.

Below I have a link to a quick five question quiz to see if you are in the kind of relationship I have described. And if you are, I don’t want to leave you without offering a real chance to see the transformation happen. So take the quiz and then I’ll share a short video about a new six-week program designed just for those who want to grow in their relationship even when their partner is indifferent or resistant.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it … it is truly a labor of love that I hope and pray will help many transform their own lives and their relationships.

Crazy Fighting

Ever been in a fight with your partner and suddenly realized that you didn’t really know what the heck you were fighting about?

That’s because few people are truly aware of why they have such strong feelings about certain things. We think that the argument is about stuff like …

  • She spends too much money!
  • He doesn’t listen to me!
  • She never picks up after herself!
  • He never wants to go out and have fun!

There are all sorts of stories about people getting divorced for seemingly unimportant reasons. Here are two examples from a Reader’s Digest article entitled “12 Crazy-But-True Reasons People Filed for Divorce”

Rashida Lucas divorced her husband, T.P., because, as she said on national television, he was just "too nice." Chief among Lucas's grievances were that T.P. said "I love you" too much and that he was such a good cook that it had caused her to gain weight.

For one Japanese couple who had been married for six years, the movie Frozen was the deal-breaker. After watching it, he made the mistake of asking her, "Did you really think it was that good?" Well, apparently, she did, and the fact that he could even ask that question made her question what sort of person he was. And she couldn't seem to "let it go," moving out of their marital residence soon after.

So why the overreaction? Why do we get so crazy over things that are not “craze-worthy”?

It’s primarily because we are not in tune with our own emotions and instead look outside of ourselves for solutions that only internal examination can heal.  The term for this inward examination is emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

It means that when we experience an emotion we are able to do three things:

  1. We are able to accurately define what we are feeling
  2. We are able to determine the true source of that feeling
  3. We are able to express the feeling in a healthy way

This isn’t easy folks, especially when we avoid self-examination.  But the truth is …

The unexamined life is not worth living
— Socrates

Some of us have been working a lifetime trying to master defining what we are feeling, understanding why we are feeling it and learning how to express those feelings in a way that doesn’t do harm to ourself and others. But until we do, resolving conflicts will always be a mystery because all we can do is make a vain attempt to control our environment and reduce whatever is triggering our emotional wounds. This means we either retreat from anything or anyone who causes us problems or we rigidly force our will upon them. Both strategies do not promote healthy relationships.  

And to a great extent, this is why we fail to resolve our arguments and why we keep having the same battle over and over again. We are really battling ourselves and until we discover that fact we are doomed to repeat it over and over again.

“WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US.”
— Walt Kelly

Now, I’m not saying that we are the enemy – that attitude would be incredibly counterproductive. But what I am saying neither is your partner the enemy. The real enemy (if you must have one) is the unrecognized and unexamined emotional trigger that is empowering your arguments and making it so difficult to connect with your partner.

And that means we all need to take responsibility for our own emotional reactions and begin to develop the Emotional Intelligence to choose a different way of resolving our conflicts.

If we can ever be of help to you or you have questions about Building Real Relationships don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

This One Habit Will Change Everything!

I've Just Got To Share .....

When I come across something that is life changing I’ve just got to share it.

It is a simple thing but it will change the course of your life.  Don't get me wrong, simple does not mean easy – In fact, this may be one of the hardest things you ever learn to do. It could even take months to perfect … but it’s worth it.  So What is this "thing" I am talking about?

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MIND

( I TOLD YOU IT WASN'T GOING TO BE EASY)

Take control of your mind every morning and make sure it is nourished with healthy, uplifting, inspiring and empowering food.  Yes, I mean every morning make this your first exercise.

Let me ask you, when you wake up in the morning where do your thoughts go? Do they start working on the agenda of the day? Maybe they rehash yesterday’s failures, or they may run into the future working out possible negative scenarios and worrying about upcoming events.

For many of us who struggle with anxiety or depression, these first morning thoughts set the stage for the rest of our day – and for the rest of our lives for that matter. But even if you aren’t prone to anxiety your first thoughts of the day are critical for giving you the ability to function effectively and efficiently throughout the day.

Bottom line – Don’t let your thoughts default to the problems of the day until they have had a healthy breakfast of empowering and inspirational nutriments.   I once heard someone say. "Put your pen down and stop trying to write the last chapter before the entire story unfolds".

But many of us are habitual negative thinkers, so much so that we don’t think we can change. But you can change – you can rewire your brain - your story,   you can create new neural networks and change the course of your life.

Here are some ways you can do it.

  • When you wake up, before you even get out of bed, grab a 3x5 card on your nightstand that has several morning affirmations and read them 5 times out loud.
  • Upon getting up, grab your hot tea or coffee and sit in a quiet place then read something inspirational, uplifting and empowering. If you’re not a reader listen to an inspirational message.  I personally like to read the Bible but you may want to find something else that inspires you.
  • Then journal your thoughts – make them positive! Speak to yourself like an inspirational coach even if you don’t feel it (ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T FEEL IT!)

I know some of you may have a hard time with this.  When we live with negativity for a long time it begins to feel like being positive is wrong. But please hear me on this – You need to stay ruthlessly positive until your negative thoughts begin to feel wrong and your positive thoughts begin to feel right. That’s the change we’re after and it takes time for the mind to process this new way of thinking.

I have 30 daily affirmations to kick start your new morning routine that I would love to send to you. Just send me an email at connect@totalwellnesscenter.net and I’ll send it to you immediately.

You can also ask for our ebook- 10 Days of Loving Yourself. We'll send it to you free if you request it. 

 

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As always we'd love to hear your feed-back.

Take Care and Be Kind To Yourself

Women are from Venus and Men …?

Maybe it’s me but the older I get the more I believe that there are bigger differences between men and women than I ever realized. This is especially true in the area of communication. Why is it so hard to talk to each other? We make a simple declarative statement but end up having to repeat it two or three times before it is heard and even then it is often misinterpreted.

Me: These are great burgers

Wife: What?

Me: These are great burgers

Wife: Great what?

Me: Burgers!

Wife: You need another?

Me: No, I’m just saying these are great burgers.

Wife: So you don’t want another

Me: Never mind

The person who wrote Men Are from Mars and Woman Are from Venus got the distances a little off. Women may be from Venus but men are from a planet called Zebaloon which is about 200 billion light years away from Venus.

So why are we not communicating? Are we growing hard of hearing? Or is something else happening?

This is my theory – when you’ve been with a person for a while you begin to take communication shortcuts. This could be because you think you know the other person so well that you can tell what they mean even if they don’t explicitly say it. We sometimes even finish their sentences for them. Occasionally this works but a whole lot of the time it can end up creating misunderstandings that hurt one another.

Another reason we slip into this pattern is we become lazy. It’s a lot of work to maintain a real relationship with another human being – especially one from another planet. But it’s very, very important that we continue to work on it.

Why?  Because at the core of intimate relationships is the experience of being known and understood. When do we stop listening how can we know each other? When relationships fail they fail primarily in this area – we just stop trying and end up making our partner into the one-dimensional image of themselves.

Yes, it’s hard to listen for understanding rather than listen to respond. Yes, it is difficult to put aside our prejudgments and our comfortable stereotypes. Real relationships require it.

So slow down and get your priorities right. Make understanding your highest priority – honestly, there’s nothing more important in the universe at that moment than that person who is standing in front of you. Let go of your judgments and discover the wonder of discovering your partner’s inner life.

This is where real relationships are formed, cultivated and maintained. 

Untying The "Nots"

Having Trouble Moving Forward, Or

  • Overcoming persistent procrastination?
  • Getting  out of the daily funk of feeling like a failure?
  • Breaking out of unfulfilling relationships?

Maybe you have tied yourself up with too many "Nots"

Well, let me ask you a question - Have you ever found yourself talking to yourself using self-limiting words like …

  • I’m not smart
  • I’m not attractive
  • I’m not one of the lucky ones

That’s what I call tying ourselves up in “nots”. These nots are incredibly strong. They keep us bound to a small unfulfilling life that leaves us feeling frustrated, unsuccessful and often hopelessly depressed.

These nots may have been originally tied by someone early in our lives like a parent, teacher or another powerful figure but each time we tell ourselves another “not” we cinch it tighter and tighter until we can’t move.

The most important thing we need to know is that we can also untie the nots in our life. Yes, you and I have the ability to replace the nots with a “what if” or a “why not”. Nots are not unraveled overnight or through reciting some positive affirmation. They must be pulled apart strand by strand until the not becomes a can and the limitless possibilities of your life open up to you like a beautiful story.

I know … it sounds like a fantasy but fairy tales do come true and people are finding freedom from their nots every day, and so can you!

You can start this journey by beginning to hack away at those nots in your life when you catch yourself pulling the rope tighter. Try this:

Stop – Yeah that’s right just stop telling yourself the same crap you’ve told yourself all your life.

Think – What do you want to be true of your life? What do you want to be your new reality?

Replace – Make that the content of the new things you say to yourself.

Okay, I know it’s not that easy but this is a start and everyone has to start somewhere. My life is dedicated to helping you (and me) untie the nots in our lives and to live the life we were meant to live. So If I can help let me know.

Meanwhile, hang out on our new Facebook Page “Get Real - Relationships” for more stuff about living without nots.

Love you!

The Surprising Essential for a Good Marriage

I often sit in front of couples silently praying for wisdom to help them get unstuck from the destructive patterns that are spiraling their relationship down into the black abyss of divorce.  I think if I could just say the right words or use the right interventions then the relationship can be saved. So much pain is produced by their bickering, fighting, insults, accusations and hurtful words. My heart breaks at the pain we humans can inflict upon each other and I desperately want to stop it.

But what I have come to realize is my best insights and carefully crafted observations are useless without one crucial ingredient.

There needs to be a willingness to change.

Sometimes this willingness comes out of frustration – after they have tried everything and failed.

Sometimes this willingness is a huge leap of faith – trusting in the knowledge and skill of the therapist.

And sometimes this willingness comes out of pain – they would just like the fighting to stop and feel peace.

At the core of this willingness is a much-maligned character quality called humility, a willingness to look critically at one's self before attempting to change their partner. When this quality is present miraculous breakthroughs become possible.

But where there is no humility the opposite is true. All the insight, skill, and brilliant counseling will not move couples closer together. At the core of truly intimate relationships is the ability to suspend one’s own prejudice and look compassionately and empathetically at their partner.

This should be no surprise. Even the greatest teacher, healer and lover who ever walked this earth could not perform his miraculous interventions when hearts were hard, eyes were closed and ears stopped up.

For this people’s heart have become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.
— Matthew 13:15 NIV

So my simple word to you (and me) is to soften our hearts, open our eyes, unstop our ears and let the healing begin. For as surely as God made us he desires to bring healing into our lives and our marriages – if only we will humble ourselves.

5 Steps Towards A Great Relationship

You Deserve A Healthy Relationship..........So Where did it go wrong?

In our counseling practice,  we often meet with clients who have experienced multiple failed relationships and who seek guidance to try to “fix” the problem. After they share their  painful and frustrating relationship failures We will ask , “So what do all these relationships have in common?” At this point, a blank stare usually replaces their tears and then a spark of awareness comes over them as they say – "me".  Years of research indicates that when we have a healthy relationship with ourselves we will attract and nurture healthy relationships with others. Or as some wise sage once said, “hockey players date hockey players” - meaning we inter into relationships with those who see us as we see ourselves. 

Yes, we are the one constant in all our relationships. Therefore if we want our relationships  to be richer, deeper and more fulfilling we must begin looking at the relationship we have with ourselves.  So the million dollar question - What can we do to build healthier more intimate relationships? 

1.       Know yourself and become self-aware:

 How well do you know you  - your strengths,  your challenges,  your passions, your dreams? What brings you happiness or what fills your eyes with tears? Take a journey of self-discovery because it is only when we truly know who we are deep inside that we are able to share this unique and beautiful self with another and build a truly intimate and dynamic relationship.

2.       Accept yourself:

This does not mean that you think you’re perfect nor need to be. It means that you are comfortable in your own skin (warts and all).  If you are unable to see and accept the beauty within yourself  first then it will be very difficult  to accept the respect and admiration  from another,  fracturing the basis for a healthy relationship. 

3.       Commit to growing:

Relationships are never static they are either growing or dying. This is also true of the relationship you have with yourself. It is fun to be in a relationship with someone who is growing and expanding – emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and / or relationally- is that you? Challenge yourself to explore new wonderments - be more interested and you will become more interesting. 

4.       Become Transparent and Authentic

Being transparent and authentic requires that we place a higher value on our own opinion of ourselves then we do on other’s opinions of us. If we derive our self-esteem from the judgment of others then we will conform ourselves to what we think others will accept and admire and hide behind this façade – never really allowing others to know us. Eventually those closest to us see through the facade and may feel deceived creating trust issues.  So start every relationship being the true you - if someone doesn't like the authentic you they are not the one you want to invest in. 

5.       Love yourself

Loving yourself means that you are committing to becoming the best you can possibly be. It is not narcissistic because when we truly love ourselves it increases our ability to love others. Those who possess a healthy self-love are not at war with themselves and able to look outside themselves with empathy. When we love ourselves we are able to give the best of ourselves to others without fear of being overwhelmed, consumed or oppressed. This is because those with self-love have healthy boundaries and employ good self-care. Therefore they are attracted to, enter into, and maintain good relationships.    

Due to our human nature no one gets through this life without bumps, bruises, and a few scars.   We all, at times, need to step back and reflect on who we really are and who we really desire to become.   We invite you to experience the  "self-reflecting" 10 Day journey of Self Love.  Check out this  thought provoking book and learn how to have your best relationship with YOU. Click Link Below and Start Your Journey  TODAY

 

Do you have a story of how "Self Love"  changed your relationships with others. We would love to hear it..... Please send to connect@totalwellnesscenter.net.  All stories remain confidential.

Natural Remedies for the Top 5 Aliments

Headache, Insomnia, Digestion, and More

Grow Your Own Health

Claim Your  Free Book at End of Article

 Many Years ago, it used to be that the majority of people relied on natural remedies. But then that sort of got pushed aside and modern medicine took over. There’s no doubt that modern medicine has done a lot of good.

But it’s not without its downside. Sometimes people end up over-medicated for health issues that can be treated simply and effectively at home.  A great way to treat some of the common health problems that affect people is through the natural use of plants.

These plants don’t give you the same dangerous side effects that a lot of the medications prescribed today cause. Plus, it’s easier and a lot more cost effective to turn to nature when you need healing.

There are a lot of different plants that you can grow to naturally treat your ailments and some can be applied topically while others can be brewed into teas. You should make sure that you understand how much to use, because, just like medicines from the pharmacy, there are dosing guidelines you will need to follow when using plants to treat ailments.

Headaches

A good natural treatment for a headache is the bark of a willow tree. You can grow a willow tree with a cutting from a mature tree. One of the reasons that this is effective is because it contains salicin, which is comparable to what you’ll find in aspirin. It’s also a good treatment for anything that causes you to feel pain since it works like aspirin does.

One drawback is that people who experience a reaction to aspirin could also potentially have a reaction to willow bark. It should not be used by nursing mothers or given to ill children due to the same side effects that aspirin can cause.

Lavender is a flowering plant that looks beautiful in a garden but it’s also a natural treatment for headaches - even if those headaches are migraines. It’s the oil from the plant that gives relief from the pain. It can be applied directly to the skin or inhaled by boiling the plant and inhaling the oils as they’re released. Lavender is safe to use on the skin without having to dilute it.

Another plant that you can grow to treat headaches is peppermint. This plant is used by crushing the leaves and applying the mixture to the area of the body where you feel the pain. The oils are absorbed through the skin.

If you’ve ever had to deal with cluster headaches, you know how bad these can be. These headaches, which show up and then come back repeatedly over the course of several weeks can be difficult to treat with modern medicine because as soon as you stop the treatment, you can end up with rebound headaches.

One of the best natural remedies that you can plant indoors or outdoors to help with these types of headaches is cayenne pepper. This plant contains capsaicin, which is used to relieve pain. It can be applied directly to the skin. However, you should be extremely careful to keep any of the plant from touching your face. If the plant comes in contact with your eyes, it can cause painful burning.

A side effect of this plant when applied topically is a burning sensation that does go away after a few minutes. If you’re prone to skin allergies, this may not be the right remedy for you to use.  Thyme, when made into a tea can also be used to relieve the pain associated with headaches. Bay leaves are helpful in treating headaches as well.

Insomnia

 Doctors recommend that you get between six to eight hours of sleep every night. This is what’s best for your body. When you have insomnia, it can take a toll on your personal and professional life, plus prolonged bouts of insomnia can cause your health to suffer. Persistent insomnia can lead to sleep deprivation behavior, which can be dangerous.

Fortunately, there are plants that treat this ailment. Many of these plants have a sedative qualites to them, which help relax your mind and body. As a result, you end up with a good night’s sleep.

One of these helpful plants is the lemon balm plant. If you look closely at the leaves, you’ll see how they resemble the leaves if the mint plant. This is because lemon balm is in the same family of plants as the mint. Just like mint It can be taken as a tea.

One flowering plant, that’s actually labeled as a weed is evening primrose - commonly called primrose. It is effective in treating insomnia. The flowers of the plant are colorful and quite beautiful. It’s best to grow this plant with outdoor gardening rather than indoor gardening because it thrives outdoors.

Another plant that’s well-known to aid in helping to treat insomnia is woodruff. This plant has small white flowers and is a perennial. It has a sweet scent and grows best in shade rather than direct sunlight.

Passionflower is another plant that you can grow that’s used in the treatment of insomnia. The plant has medicinal properties that are used to produce calmness and a state of relaxation, which helps you get some sleep.

There are some plants that you can grow that work toward helping you to get a good night’s sleep. These are plants that you can use during your waking hours that won’t induce sleepiness so you’ll still be able to go about your day.

What one of these plants does is it relieves stress and tension which are the leading causes of insomnia other than reasons related to diseases. This plant is rosemary and it can be grown indoor or outside but it can grow to some substantial height. So what you might want to do if you’re into indoor gardening is to start the plant inside and then transfer it outside once it gains height.

Fevers, Colds and Coughs

There can be many different reasons for your body to develop a fever. The same stands true for a cough. Unless a doctor finds that the fever has a direct cause, the only thing you can really do for it is to treat the symptom, which is the fever itself.

For the common cold, there is no cure. All you can do when you catch a cold is to try your best alleviate the symptoms. Many of the over the counter remedies that are offered can sometimes make you feel worse because they make you feel fuzzy-headed or they’ll make you feel dizzy.

Instead of reaching for the mass-produced medication, you can grow what you need to treat a fever, a cough or the common cold. And because this is a natural method, you won’t have any of those annoying side effects that come with taking medication. To treat a fever, the bark of the willow tree is good for this. Just like it treats headaches, it can also reduce your fever.

Again, the reason for this is because the bark of the tree is like aspirin with the properties it contains. But another natural remedy you can use that you can grow yourself is sunflowers. These plants make a great addition to a garden because of their beauty and multi-purpose usefulness.

The seeds from the plant can be eaten and they contain helpful qualities like some of the B vitamins, folate and zinc. Plus, they fight against cancer cells. They’re hardy and easy to grow. It’s the leaves of the plant that can be use to make a tea that lowers fevers. Besides treating the fever, the sunflower is also helpful for reducing ailments such as a cough and a cold. So if you have a fever that’s associated with a cold, then you’re getting two-fold relief with one plant.

Chamomile is another plant that you can grow that’s helpful in reducing fevers. These flowering plants look like daisies but they’re not exactly the same. They’re very hardy and easy to grow. They can be grown indoors but also flourish outside. The plant can be taken in a tea form and is good for not only reducing fever but in the treatment of a cold as well.

When you have a cold, even though it’s not a serious ailment, it can make you feel pretty miserable. Sunflowers can be used to treat this and so can ginseng. This plant is associated with Chinese medicine and has a long history of helping to treat ailments.

These his plants trigger the immune system to battle the ailment. As a result people who use it end up not being down with a cold or cough for the same length of time as those who didn’t use ginseng.

One of the annoying symptoms that always seems to come along with getting a cold is all the congestion that just makes you feel miserable. You don’t have to put up with that if you grow your own medicinal plants. Peppermint is a natural decongestant that contains menthol, which is the ingredient you’ll see in many of the over the counter medications that are used to treat cold symptoms.

A surprising plant that’s effective for a cold is parsley. This plant helps to minimize the symptoms and it stimulates your immune system at the same time. While these plants can be grown outdoors, they are attractive to outdoor animals like rabbits so you’ll want to protect them. Besides treatment for colds, this plant is great for relieving the symptoms associated with UTIs.

There’s nothing as annoying as a cough that comes along with a cold. Even after the cold is long gone the cough will often stubbornly remain in place. That’s because your upper respiratory system has been irritated.  Fennel is a plant that belongs with the celery family and is effective for treating coughs. This plant needs a lot of sunlight. It can be grown indoors but is better suited for outside gardening. Not only will you find this plant useful for treating coughs, but it can be a tasty addition to meals as well.

Anise is a small growing plant that’s perfect for growing indoors. To use this plant to treat a cough, you would use the seeds. After mashing the seeds, you would let them steep as if you were making a tea. Drinking the liquid calms a cough.

Thyme is also successfully used for treating coughing. This is a sturdy plant that grows easily. It’s a perennial plant and can be made into a tea . The reason that this plant works so well is because it calms muscle spasms. When you cough, especially repeatedly, this is caused by smooth muscle spasms. The thyme relaxes those muscles so you don’t feel like you have to cough.

Constipation and Diarrhea

When you are struggling with constipation, it can make you feel absolutely miserable. It can cause bloating, stomach cramps and make you feel sluggish. What happens when you take over the counter medication to treat this ailment is the side effects can often swing you all the way to the other end of the spectrum and you end up with diarrhea.

It might surprise you to know that a very effective plant that you can grow to treat constipation is aloe vera. Although this plant is widely known for its topical uses, the latex of the plant is extremely effective in curing constipation. One plant that’s considered a weed but is effective to treat constipation is the dandelion. The root of the dandelion is a natural laxative that won’t give you those harsh side effects like you get with over the counter medications. 

To get the benefit from this plant, you would need to boil the root. Be careful, it doesn’t take much to be effective. You only need about a teaspoon for every cup of boiling water. Be sure you strain out the root parts before you  pour it into a cup. Mild cases are often resolved with one to two cups of the tea.

To treat diarrhea naturally, you need to make a tea from blackberry leaves. These are very hardy plants that can be grown indoors or out. You can also use the leaves from a raspberry plant if you prefer that over growing blackberries.

Treating Skin Ailments

You want to take care of your skin because it’s what keeps germs from entering your body. There are several types of skin ailments that can be effectively treated with the use of plants. If you burn yourself cooking in the kitchen or through some other task, you’ll want to use an aloe vera plant.

To treat the burn, you break one of the leaves of the plant and use the gel contained within to cover the burn. Lavender is another plant that, like aloe vera, can be effectively used to treat non-serious burns. Besides burns, there are other skin ailments that can cause you discomfort. For example, anyone who’s ever dealt with eczema knows how irritating it can be.

Dandelions can be used to treat this skin condition as well as peppermint. You would use the dandelion as a tea to treat eczema. The oil from a peppermint plant is applied topically to the affected area. The oil reduces the itching as well as the inflammation caused by the condition. The goldenrod flower has also been used to treat eczema.

Along with skin irritants like burns and eczema, you might battle fungal conditions. This is used topically to treat the fungal infection. Chamomile, when used as a bath can be used as an anti-fungal medication. Cloves are also good for treating fungal conditions.  Oregano leaves can also be used to treat fungal infections especially those that infect the toenails or fingernails. This plant can be grown indoor or outdoors also as well as a food spice.

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To Unfriend or Not: Three Penetrating Questions to Ask Yourself

We have just been through a brutal election. One where many felt it was their duty to post the most vial, hate-filled and despicable language I have ever heard. People who I have been friends with for years have allowed their dark side to come out in unadulterated spewing of contemptuous drivel. And if their own thoughts weren’t plentiful enough they scoured the Web for filth and proudly re-posted it for all to see.

Congratulations folks we have proven the theology of total depravity.

So what do we do about it? Do we unfriend the malevolent toads? I know some of you have and I am not here to stand in judgement, but I would like to add some perspective that may make living with un-redeemed humanity a bit easier. After all, some of our posts may have been categorized using the above mentioned adjectives. And truthfully, I have croaked with the best of them.

Here's a question to ask - What is your purpose for using Facebook?

If you envision Facebook as a nice and cozy garden club full of happy congenial friends who swap recipes and always share the same opinions then by all means unfriend those who do not meet this standard. We all need places where we can meet and have pleasant, uncontentious conversation. If Facebook is that place for you then you need to choose your friends carefully. My only warning is this; that is not the real world we live in and you may find yourself out of touch with reality. We live in a messy often crass world full of people who don’t agree with us. Many have attempted to escape this reality by setting up communes and secret societies but eventually these break down because that is not the real world. Somehow we need to learn to live and hopefully make better this sorry state and that means mixing it up with our fellow man. Facebook can be a great place to do that – but it’s not perfect. Nothing is.

Next question - what are your boundries and how do you know when someone has crossed them?

Even though I believe I live in the real world I don’t let people poop on my lawn. When opinions are shared that are clearly meant to hurt and demean others I draw the line and politely invite them to leave. But I also have to ask; am I being oversensitive? Do I offend too easily? Just because someone holds an opinion that is abhorrent to me is that a reason to reject them? If I believe it is then maybe I need to toughen up and allow someone to hold a belief I loathe. Or better yet, be willing to enter into a respectful dialogue with them so that I can better understand their position and maybe bridge the gap between us.

Next question - are the things I am posting insensitive and hurtful to others?

Somehow Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media have made cowards brave and emboldened bullies. Stupidity reigns supreme because anyone with half a thought or an unsubstantiated opinion can express them without facing the consequences. This lack of accountability is frightening. It is the same cover that created the holocaust and numerous other anonymous atrocities. When one feels there will be no consequences for one’s actions we have the Lord of the Flies all over the place. Before posting anything picture yourself standing before a group of people and presenting what you are about to post. If you hesitate then DON’T POST IT! We all need to take personal responsibility for what we publish even if it is just a “share”.

Check your heart. If you are one of those who think “truth at all costs” then let me share a word of wisdom that I have learned from my many years of being “brutally honest with people”.

Truth without love in meaningless

That’s right. We can speak our truth with gusto and in utter conviction but if we don’t love those whom were sharing it with we are - in the words of the Apostle Paul

… only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal
— 1 Corinthians 13:1

My “truth” will never rise above the din and be heard because it will be like all the other “truths” and dissipate into the cyber-air. We will be so much noise in a very noisy internet. We must truly care about the other person if we are ever going to be able to communicate the truth we believe so deeply.

So check your heart. Do you hate? Do you despise? Do you hold in contempt those with different views than yours? Then the only people who will read your diatribes are those who also hate, despise and hold contempt in their hearts. If that’s the community you want to create for yourself then keep on posting the poison. But in the end the person who will die from it - is you. But, if you want to be a source of inspiration and hope then be that everywhere including Facebook. 

As always if we at Total Wellness Resource Center can ever be of service to you please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you become all you were created to be.