Mood Swings: How to use triggers to prevent bad moods and create good ones.

I consider myself to be a moody person, but I don’t believe in letting my bad moods take up my entire day.  Moods can be really misleading. Think about it, when you’re in a good mood, life is great! When you’re in a bad mood, life can sometimes seem agonizing to get through the day. Moods are like the wind and will  breeze right past you, if you let them. Life is never as bad as it seems when you’re in a bad mood because your attitude is the factor that needs to change.

Don’t be fooled by your bad mood. Do not give in to the idea that you are a “moody” person and “can’t help it.” Learn the things that trigger you into being a bad mood. Sometimes these are simple things, like lack of exercise, food, water and being unorganized. In order to better control your moods, you first need to be more aware of your moods. When you are in a bad mood do you ever feel irrational, sarcastic, impatient, indecisive or cynical? Are other people around you more aware of your changing moods than you? Are you affecting other people with your bad moods? When you’re in a bad mood how do you express it?

 Not letting your moods control you is vital in being a happier person. I can be very moody and when I feel a de ja vu of events that have led to previous upsets and bad moods, I now know how to prevent them from happening (most of the time). These feelings of deja vu are similar to why we get into bad moods into the first place. There are certain triggers that cause us to think negatively, then in turn we feel negatively. When we get to know our triggers better we are able to prevent a bad mood from taking us over. So the next time you feel yourself in a deja vu moment, immediately take a (mental ) step back from the situation and think of how you felt the last time this situation occurred. Now think of how you usually deal emotionally and do the complete opposite. This will break the cycle of your trigger leading to your bad mood and instead you will be in a more pleasant mood.

Example: If me and my husband are getting into an argument about an issue we “always” seem to argue about, which is very likely since we’ve been married almost 10 years now, I try to do 180 degrees opposite of how I usually react and act. Usually, I would stay in the argument, drawing it out until my point is clearly defined and he has seen the error of his ways, which surprisingly rarely happens. Now what I do, is in the middle of the argument, when I feel that “I’ve been here before feeling”, I tell him that we have never resolved this issue arguing and that I am going to walk away for 5 minutes to cool off and will be back. Sure enough, about five minutes later, I feel a lot calmer and clear-headed as does he, and we are able to resolve our problems without resorting to a never-ending argument.

This strategy will help you in all situations that trigger you into a bad mood. The dog pees in the house, I usually go ballistic on him, but instead I do the 180* opposite and stay calm, clean up the mess and tell show him where it is appropriate to pee. During this time, I remember that I left him home for 4 hours and forgot to let him out to pee before leaving the house. I am not longer in a bad mood, I am grateful I figured that out instead of unjustly punishing the poor dog.

Remember when you are in a good mood, to think of the positive triggers that led you to that feeling.  Keep those close to your heart as “go-to” ideas for your next mood swing. Also, remember not to let one bad mood affect your entire day, because you have the power to swing that mood right back to a positive and happy one. =)

Words:The Only Difference in Generations is Technology

Since probably the beginning of time teenager’s have been saying to their parents, “You don’t understand. Times have changed since you were my age. You don’t understand how things are nowadays”. I said it to my parents, my parents said it to their parents and so on and so forth. There are changes between the generations that are unique to each group. Some generations had to deal with wars, drugs entering society, and other social issues. With every new generation came new types of technology as well. My parents had an 8-track and records. My generation had records, cassettes and then CD’s. My younger sister’s generation have CD’s and MP3 music. My first internet connection was through Prodigy and once online I didn’t know what to do other than use the encyclopedia. Now one can find any information at the tip of their fingers on many different forms of electronics including their cell phones. The point I am getting at  with these various examples is that technology changes, presidents change, social issues change but people and their issues have stayed the same.

Teenagers do not understand where their parents are coming from, most of the time, and vice versa. The age-old problem seems to be lack of communication. Every new generation think they have the answers. They think since they have more access to information that they are smarter and more prepared than the last generation. Teenagers “think” they want to be left alone, yet when ignored feel like nobody cares about them. Parents think they are being constructive when criticizing their teens but don’t remember that all forms of criticism, if not said correctly, comes off to a teen as not being good enough.

I am 29 and still remember vividly what it was like being a teenager. I sometimes even was conscious of that fact that I was so in my head and was figuring life and myself out, yet I would never admit it. It frustrated me to be told that I needed to be more like an adult yet I wasn’t allowed any freedom like an adult. I knew, deep inside, that I needed boundaries, but was never willing to let my parents know that they fully had the upper hand. I can say this, being praised for even the most mundane tasks, like doing the dishes without being asked, made me feel like a good person. When I did something wrong, the best times were when I was spoken to one on one, not like a teen but like a person. Those times were when I really reflected on my wrong doing and learned lessons out of those mistakes.

Everything changes around us: the way we get around, the way we receive knowledge. Things that haven’t changed:

1.  A child is never too old to hear that they are loved.

2. They are never too old to know that they are one of the best things to have ever happened to you in this world.

3. They need to constantly told that their parents are proud of them and that they believe in them.

4. Parents need to have those dreadfully uncomfortable conversations with their kids-constantly!

5. All kids think their parents are “old” and not in tune with today’s society.

6. Parents and kids do not communicate as much as they should, as well as they should nor as clearly as they should.

7. A kid will always act like a “kid” because they are a kid. They need to be taught and guided throughout their entire childhood, not just told the rules once and expected to follow them.

8. Kids and teens learn by watching their examples around them, good and bad.

9. Teens need privacy.

10. Parents should be parents not friends.

11. Teens are going through major changes during these years, and are sometimes stand-offish because they are figuring themselves out.

12. Teens have always and will always be embarrassed of their parents.

Parents, remember you were once a teen so reflect back on how you would have liked to be treated when you were your kid’s age. Kids and teens, remember your parents didn’t get a manual on how to be the perfect parents. Parents are people too, and make mistakes and deserve a break too. Communication. Communication. Communication is key!

Nonsense: Annoying things non-parents say…

First off, let me say that some of these I have said once myself ( before I was enlightened). If you don’t have kids but have extensive experience with kids then I would consider you on the “parent” side. The difference between parents and the non-parents is that parents have once been in a non-parent’s shoes, therefore are able to see things from both perspectives. Feel free to add to my list with your own annoyances. =)

1. Comparing a kid to a dog. ” I have a dog (or any other pet) and it’s just like having a baby.”

2. “Why is he crying? Does he have colic? ”

3.” I don’t like kids.” (especially when they’re: A. holding your child B. You are talking about your child C. Your child is in the room)

4. If you are at a family restaurant and hear someone complain about kids and babies. You’re in a family restaurant dumbo! “Family” is in the restaurant type for a reason.

5. People who ask you to stay out late, ask you to expensive restaurants and can’t understand why you constantly are sleep deprived.

6. “I hope I don’t have to sit next to a baby on a plane.” As if the baby is a disease. Babies are small humans and deserve respect. Afterall, you were once in their shoes and they will one day be in yours.

7. “When I have kids I won’t yell my kids, let them watch tv…” Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I get it. When you’re a parent you’re going to be perfect. I think it’s better to say “I hope to be____”. Also, be careful not to offend parents by saying all the things you would not do and are things that parents happens to do with their kids. Remember: You never know who your audience is or who you might offend.

8. Pretty much any advice they heard while watching Oprah that they are relaying to me. Come on now…

9. Not realizing that your kid is your “sidekick” and will most likely be with you for any daytime activities.

10. “You look so good for having had a kid(s).” How about I just look good, thank you.

11. If you’re still going to give me unsolicited advice, than please make sure that if you don’t have kids, that you at least have some experience with children, recent experience preferably, not when you were 12 years old babysitting for your neighbor.

12. Why have kids if you aren’t going to spend any time with them? ( I don’t personally work out of the house, but this is called life and work is where parents usually get money to pay for their life expenses. Furthermore, why do we always blame working mothers? Why does daddy get off the hook? First have a child, then judge. No wait. Don’t judge because you are just showing the world your own insecurities).

14. If you’re pregnant and someone says, ” Enjoy the silence while you can.” My response was always, ” It has been silent for too long. That’s why we decided to have a baby.”

15. The most annoying thing I come across is non-parents that expect kids to be well-behaved all the time. Last I checked they were called babies and kids not adults, who by the way, are usually more annoying than the worst behaved kid out there.

Just remember that someone once had to hear similar things about you (aka your parents), so be respectful please. 🙂

That Don’t Impress Me Much…

Shania Twain said it best in her song, “That Don’t Impress me Much”. We live in a “me” society where everyone seems to be looking out for number one and then blaming the banks for getting them in debt over their heads. Years back, people were buying houses they knew they couldn’t afford, but wanted to believe that after the 5 year, low-interest rate, they would come up with a plan to counteract the balloon effect. There was an increase of over-sized SUV’s so they could pack their kids, their kid’s friends and all their Costco purchases in them, yet they couldn’t afford to fill them with the premium gas they required. People bought to impress others with expensive handbags, the latest cell phone, the latest TV technology (in the largest possible screen size), 500+ digital channels so they could watch on their new TV,(even though most people only watch about 20 or less of those channels), they overspent and when it caught up to them, they blamed everyone but themselves. This society (tries) to teach us to want more. We need more. New is better. More is better. Better is better. Buy this to impress your friends and family. Be the first to own this new item so you can feel more special than everyone else who had to wait.

I’ve stopped trying to impress other people. I think of people in two categories: one for people whose opinions I care about and the other for those I do not.  When looking at  people whose opinions don’t matter to me, it makes it easy for me not to worry about impressing them. It doesn’t matter what they think of me because their opinions will not affect me. As long as I am not doing anything offensive or negative  or causing them any harm, then what I do or have doesn’t matter. (I;m sure they don’t care about my opinion either).

As for those people I would want to impress such as: neighbors, customers, in-laws, friends and family etc., they will be more impressed by the relationship I have built with them, my character, my honor and my word,  than by any shiny new thing I could possibly own.  I believe that these people will like me for me, not for the objects I possess, and if not, well then they’ll be moved to the “other” list.

Coming to this realization was the best money-saving moment of my life and also helped me see all the fake people out in the world. I got caught up in trying to impress people who in the long run didn’t matter.  The key is to buy things that you want, not what your friends want, or what society is telling you to buy because it is “cool”. I have learned one can never win in the never-ending battle of who has the best “stuff”. I now buy what I can pay cash for(aka truly afford), even large purchases. I have a very nice car but  I worked for that car. I did not buy it for the random person I will drive next to in traffic so that they can be envious and impressed with my car. I didn’t buy it so that other mom’s would be jealous of me, or to pretend to be someone I am not. I bought it for me. I saved the money and bought the car. I like nice things, but I also appreciate the simple things and am willing to work for those items I really truly want. I have learned that no material item brings true happiness because no matter the object, if you’re not happy with yourself, than the item will never fill that void.

It seems to me that most spending is on trying to impress other people with our new, shiny thing. Many people go to specific restaurants, buy designer clothes and handbags, vacation to specific destinations and talk money with everyone. It’s as if they’re reading their resumes to you instead of letting you know who they are as a person. It bothers me when I see someone trying to impress me with their snobbery. I don’t care how much your parents are worth, I care about what yourworth is as a person. I don’t care how much your bag costs, how much your husband makes, how nice your car is, how expensive your material objects are because they do not give me any insight to your character. The superficial is just that, superficial. You will never be on top, can never be on top, because that peak is one that is ever rising. Do what makes you happy, not what you think may impress other people. As part of the group of “people”, I have to say that I don’t care what you have I care who you are on the inside. And if you are using these material objects to try to impress me than I just feel sorry for you and wonder what it is that you’re really hiding beneath your facade.

We all have to start planning for tomorrow. I could easily shell out all my monthly income to impress those that are insignificant or I can live within my means, even below my means at times, and save for my family’s future. I can save for the unexpected. I can save for a vacation and not worry about credit card debt. I can pay off my educational costs. I can breathe at night. I cannot worry as much about the financial “what ifs”. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but we are only hurting ourselves in the long run. Stop buying things to impress other people. You can buy nice things, but buy them because you want them. Work for those large purchases so you can truly enjoy them instead of being indebted to them. You have to really get to know yourself and see what purchases are truly 100% for you and not to impress other people. Think of the items you have bought or want to buy and imagine using them in secret and no one else is allowed to know that you own them. Now think if those items are still things that you would want to purchase. If the answer is “no” then they are items made to impress; if the answer is “yes” then work for those items and do it for you. Be honest with your friends and family about dinners and activities that involve money and tell them what limits you feel comfortable with and what limits make you feel as if you’re trying to impress people, which you don’t care to do in the first place. Let them know that nothing they could ever buy could possibly impress you more than them simply being themselves.

 Judging ourselves against those that have more than us will only make us unhappy and in some cases, lead to more spending. If you find yourself feeling jealous of someone else, ask yourself why you are feeling that way. Do you think you deserve to have those same nice things? Have you put in the effort to get those nice things? Do you even really want that thing, or do you want it so you can be part of the “in” crowd? Or maybe it’s as simple as thinking you might be happier if you had nicer things like that person. If that last thought ever crosses your mind, I can assure you that any material object will never bring everlasting happiness. It will bring superficial happiness and will die as soon as you see something else that you “just gotta have” comes along or a new shiny object. It is easier to “hate” on other people instead of asking yourself what it wrong with you that you can’t be happy for that person or why you can’t find happiness without material things.  Stop living your life for the people who you’ve created this facade for, and start living your life for the person you see in the mirror. What would impress that person?

Things that impress me in people (to name a few):

  1. Respectful of other people including themselves.
  2. A good work ethic.
  3. Being a man/woman of your word, because that is literally priceless. If all forms of money lost their value tomorrow, the “word” would be king, and there would be few people whose “word” I would except as payment
  4. Be honest to who you are, let your true self come through.
  5. Be humble and modest.
  6. Do not put other people down, even if given the opportunity to do so.
  7. Compassion

Don’t let your self worth be equivalent to the material possessions you own. Just be you. Just be. Now that’s impressive!

Quieting the Mind

“Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~ American Poet (1807 – 1882)

My mind is always racing a million and a half miles per minute with thoughts, ideas, worries, grocery items I need. I decided to take a break today from myself and quiet my mind. The house still had its moments of chaos from the baby whining for treats to the dog barking at a neighbor’s car. The main difference is I let it fade into the background as I listened to the calm sounds of waves in my head.

A mind that is quiet can help bring inner peace. When my mind is peaceful, only then am I truly peaceful on the exterior. I find mine by taking  deep breaths and remembering one of the calmest place I’ve ever been and let my mind wander to those places.

My calm place for today was the ocean near my childhood home. I grew up on the coastside in Northern California and was about 2 blocks away from the beach. When things were complicated in my life or I was too much in my own head, I would walk down to the beach and sit and the very tip of a cliff that overlooked the wonderous blue and white waters below. As I sat there in my hoodie and boots, I would close my eyes and feel the cold wind brush against my face along with small bits of spray from the waves as they crashed against the wall of the cliff. The most gentle and soothing rhythmic sounds of the waves mixed with the gentle “swooshing” sounds made by the wind always made me feel right again. I go there now, in my head at least, and feel calm and peaceful.

Find your place and take 5-10 minutes to really take yourself there and after training your brain to automatically recreate this setting for yourself, you will be able to call on it at a moments notice. It takes practice, because I forget to go to my special place and lose my inner peace of mind.

With the peace of your inner mind comes great clarity and happiness.

Why being a kid is awesome

I sometimes find myself reflecting back on my young, innocent days and long for the freedom from my adulthood’s worries. I remember when I thought $20 was a LOT of money, or when a simple ice cream cone could erase all of my life’s complications.
I used to love going to Golden Gate Park, the one with the concrete slides and pieces of large cardboard boxes that we would use to side down the windey, cold surface. I loved going to feed the ducks and give them the ends of our loaf of bread because no kid ever willingly ate that part of the bread.
I loved Sundays after church how we would have big family breakfasts that would leave me so stuffed that I would lie in front of the tv until I was able to move again. I miss playing hide and go seek and tag. Remember tag? Such an easy concept, yet it created hours and hours of playtime fun.Sleepovers and truth or dare with my friends.

Being an adult, we take on so much responsibility that we often forget the root of happiness in ourselves. Things that generally released stress, tension and anxiety as kids could easily be translated into fun as adults, yet we do not do the simple things. We read self help books, buy expensive purchases all to fill the void inside ourselves that we abandoned when we felt “too old” to do those things that once brought us joy. I am not immune to these feelings of desperation to be released from the ever piling lists of responsibilities placed upon me, if even for a day. I seek this with exercise, shopping, massages and other personal care, when a trip to the park with my son brings me actual joy.
If I look back far enough I can remember a time when I truly didn’t care what other people thought of me. A time where I did things merely because they made me happy. A selfish time where I was without insecurities and wasn’t self aware. A time when I ran with full force everywhere, whether I was racing my older brother to an imaginary finish line or was getting a cookie from the pantry. Innocence.

Yesterday, we went to an indoor trampoline room where you can literally bounce off the walls. I was reluctant at first to go into the bouncing room with my infant son, but went in determined to “try” to have fun for him. I bounced once, twice and then, next thing I knew, I was having actual fun. Time flew by as we bounced around the room, falling and immediately getting back up again only to fall laughing hysterically. It was the first time in very long time I forgot I was adult and let the kid in me out.
It will go down as one of the best days of my life.

Be Present

First of all, in order to truly live in the present, you must be able to make peace with your past. If your past has large, unresolved problems, then they will leak into your present time; sometimes a slow leak that gets overlooked until it becomes a flood. We must allow past problems and future concerns to live separately or they will intertwine together leaving behind a mess that may leave behind stains. I am speaking in metaphors, so to speak bluntly, we must deal with our past skeletons or we will cause ourselves (and sometimes others) unnecessary hurt and pain. If you had a rough childhood, come to terms with it, work on it, forgive, or else those problems will leak into your future as a parent, adult, employee, spouse, friend, your person will be affected. If you have a troublesome past with the opposite sex, make peace with it or it will leak into future relationships. Stop waiting for “someday” to make peace with your past or to be happy. Do not live in the past or the future but the present.

If you think about it, we never live in the future, we are always living in present time. Besides, the main problem with fearing the future is that you think about the future situation from the thoughts, emotions and beliefs that you have NOW, which will be different when the future situation comes about. So in a way, the future you are imagining is not the true future.Think positively about your future because when imagining your future, why not imagine a positive one? Resenting the past doesn’t help either because you cannot change it; so why re-live it and suffer when you cannot do anything to change it?

Life is a learning experience. An experience that we never reach the end to because there is even something to be learned in death. Life is made up of various lessons that are disguised as mistakes. A mistake is a lesson that just has yet to be learned and will continually repeat itself until it is learned. I know it is overused, but it is so true, ” The very definition of insanity is doing something the same every time, yet expecting a different outcome”.

I speak from experience. I am a worrier. I worry about everything to the point that I cause the future to be just as how I had envisioned it in my worried mind and when the bad things I feared do not come to be, I have already missed my chance to enjoy the present moment. Every few weeks or months, something will come up that I will lose sleep over. Once I decide to deal with my problems and stop complaining I come up with various solutions. Then I have time to be present.

Some tips on Living in the Moment:

1. See life through a child’s eyes: Children really experience the full experiences of life. They examine everything around them, they take their time when really looking at something as simple as a rock or fallen tree branch. They laugh a deep hearty laugh and they smile when things make them happy. When life is stressing me out, I look at my son and see him playing with his cars. The sheer excitement of the car zooming across the living room floor excites him and he smiles his biggest smile. I hear his laughter and can’t help but smile and giggle a bit along with him.

2. Make peace with your past. Write down things you may regret or that you are upset about in your past. Examine each of them and realize that all things are lessons you have learned and if you haven’t learned them yet, figure out the reason behind them. The truly horrible things, although it may be hard to see, have brought you to who you are today. If you don’t like who are today, figure out how you can resolve those issues whether it be through counseling, writing, or simply letting go.

3. Write down your fears. What are you afraid of? Sometimes when you write down your fears and read them when you are in a different state of mind, you can see how silly they may seem. You may also be able to see the various solutions to those fears.

4. Think about how many times you have worried, lost sleep and driven yourself crazy over a fear that never ended up coming to be?

5. Lastly, make a list of the things you keep putting off to do “someday” that seem to loom over your head daily like a rain cloud. Out of those things listed, how many can you tackle today, this week, this month. Resolve these things or they will forever be on your “to-do” list.

Once you have freed yourself from your past, once you have your future worries resolved, you can truly live in the present. It takes a bit of effort, but it is far better than living life with small bursts of happiness when you can feel happy all the time. =)