Tuesday, March 23, 2010


 I had to get that last post off the top. Sometimes you just need to vent, you know?

I tend to get mired down in the negative stuff. I hate to say it, but often I am a “glass half empty” kind of girl. 

I think I come across as a negative Nellie moreso here because this is my place to vent and process my thoughts. I’m a lot less negative in real life.

No really. I am. I’m actually a lovely person once you get to know me. (No comments from the peanut gallery on this one please :)

I have been kind of stuck in a negative pattern the last couple of weeks. The longer my husband goes without a job, the more stressed out, sad,  and just plain angry I become.

I have been experimenting with different ways to deal with these feelings. I found that lying in bed crying wasn’t making me feel better. In fact, if anything it perpetuated the negative feelings and created a vicious cycle from which I couldn’t break free.  I was doing a lot of lying in bed crying. More than I care to admit.

So I started looking for other ways to work through those feelings.

You already know about the baking. While that helped a little, the aftermath of having 10 dozen cookies (and brownies-last week it was brownies) around the house is not good for my husband. He was being very supportive in getting rid of them for me, but it wasn’t the healthiest alternative. I like the idea of giving them to a senior center, but honestly right now I don’t have the time (and often don’t have a car) to deliver them. I am going to keep that idea on the back burner though.

Another thing I have been doing to help me look at things more positively is that I have started walking. Every single day. I’m not talking about going for a leisurely walk around the block for a half- hour. No, I’m talking about hard core, walking as fast as you can, for an hour to an hour and a half a day. I’m not going to lie, at first it was hard. Really really hard. The first half an hour of every walk was pain. Pure pain. I almost gave up. But I didn’t. I powered through the pain and you know what I found out? The last half hour to 45 minutes of my walk, I started to feel great. My mind cleared. I felt the stress melt away. In a way I started to feel free. Now I get what people say about the “runner’s high." (Although I am nowhere near running). But the rush of endorphins? Totally get that. Now I find that my body needs it. Wants it. Looks forward to it. I even got up at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday to go for my walk.  If you know me, this is highly unusual because I like sleep. A lot. :)

So far,  I have walked every day but one for the last 10 days, and I have logged 27 miles. 27 miles!!!! Dude. That’s a long way! I’m kind of proud of myself, and I intend on continuing with it. I’m not focusing on weight loss right now. I’m focusing on the stress relief it provides and how much stronger my body feels after engaging in it.

One other strategy I have been using to battle the negative feelings is to be more thankful for the things I do have. I know I have tried to do this in the past. I would do it for a few days or a few weeks and then I would forget. It’s not good to forget to be thankful. It makes you focus on only the bad and forget about the good.

It's all about perspective.  I was focusing on all the stuff in my life that was going wrong and completely skipping over the stuff that was going right.  Not a good attitude to have when you are working on changing your negative thinking.

The other day we were window shopping at B*orders(well o.k. not exactly window shopping, as we actually went inside the store, but we had no plans to buy anything-just look). While browsing I came across this book.

Like I said, we had no plans to buy anything.  But this book spoke to me, especially since I have been trying to focus more on the positive.  So I bought it.

This is from the back of the book cover:

"Living life as if each day is a thank you can help transform fear into courage, anger into forgiveness, and isolation into belonging."

Sign me up.

I have to tell you that this book has helped me so much with the negative thinking.  Not only does it have stories of individuals whose lives have been transformed by thankfulness,  it offers suggested gratitude practices along with motivational quotes and blessings.

The first exercises the book suggest is to actively be more thankful in your daily life.  Thank everyone you come into contact with.  The Starbuck's worker.  The grocery store clerk. The gas station attendant who reminded me that the gas hose was still attached to my car before I drove off(duh!). I don't mean just give a quick thank you as you turn to leave.  Look them in the eye and give them a sincere thank you so they know you  mean it.  Strangely I found this a little difficult to do.  Not because I don't appreciate those people, but because I can be kind of shy with strangers and don't go out of my way to talk to them unless spoken to first.

Next it suggested you seek out the people in your life who help you or make your life better in some way and thank them.  Last week, I dropped off a bunch of cookies to various locations  for  people who have made a difference in my life over the last year.  I was even able to get a hold of a therapist Joe and I had worked with early on in our marriage on FaceB**k and drop her a message letting her know the impact she had on our lives and how thankful we are to have had the opportunity to work with her.  She was very happy to hear from me and the fact that we were still together.  She was touched that I would take the time to find her and thank her.

Of  course the book also suggests  the practice of being thankful for things every single day.

I'm only halfway through the book, but so far I am getting a lot out of it.  I highly recommend it.

So those are the things I have been doing lately to deal with what has been kind of a crappy situation.  I can't change the state of my husband's unemployment, but I can change the way I react to it.

Things I am thankful for today:

--The way my body feels after walking 3 miles. Tired. A little sore. Sweaty. Exhilarated.

--My husband. Every morning he gets up and makes me a cup of coffee before I head off to work. Every night I come home to a clean house. So although he might not have a job outside the home right now, he has been working very hard to do the work inside our home. I haven’t done laundry in a year and a half. No joke. How can I not be thankful for that?

I'm also supposed to look for something good in what otherwise would be considered a negative situation.  This is not going to be easy for me but here goes:

--I am thankful for my husband's unemployment checks.  I wish he didn't have to receive unemployment checks at all.  But I am thankful for them.

I think that was the longest post I have written in a very long time.  Well, ever.   Maybe this means I have gotten my blogging mojo back.

Sorry if that was too long or boring.


Julie said...

It wasn't boring at all, thanks for sharing. You rock with your walking!

Anonymous said...

You are allowed to be angry, sad, down, etc. It is a part of life. Let others choose if they want to listen to it, but you can be whatever you feel you need to be.

Snowflowers Mum said...

dude..thats more than a marathon! well done. Oh, and vent away, it's more healthy than storing it up and never saying boo...or boo hoo for that matter. YES..thank goodness for programs like unemployment benefits...can you imagine our country without at least that!!? I'm thinking about you!! hugs

Kayce said...

I so heart you! Wonderful post my friend! I wish I could walk 27 more miles with you!

Kiy said...

Michelle! What an amazing post. Boring, not even close. Keep it up, both the walking and the positive ... both are doing you good!


Kylie's momma said...

Nice post Michelle! I SO wish we lived by each other I would LOVE LOVE a walking partner. So keep it up and I live vicariously thru you. Tho' it's a bit brisk for a walk this AM on 28 when Mark took K to school :-( I will enjoy your thots and get motivated to start walking more myself. Enjoy your book and keep the good mojo flowing! Hugs!

Jenna said...

I have never seen you as a negative person. You always try to stay upbeat and negative people don't even try.
I think it is so awesome that you are walking.. I wish I could find the motivation. 27 miles is a lot and you should be very proud of yourself.
That book does seem really neat. I can see how being more thankful can be really life changing. I will be interested to continue hearing about it.

Kim said...

Not too long or boring at all! I love your attitude and am hoping that it's contagious! Keep writing Michelle...we're here to listen and we care!


Laura said...

Wow, this post really hits home. I totally understand what you're saying about perpetuating the negative thoughts. Anyway, this post inspires me to start living my life differently - happier. Instead of concentrating on the Really Bad Things and feeling out of control, I need to focus on my reaction to those things, which I have total control over. You inspire me. Thanks!