Friday, January 21, 2011

Mark Kelly - Rep. Giffords' Husband Willing to Meet Suspect's Parents

That was a headline this week in the aftermath of the January 8, 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona; inside the article: "I don't think it's their fault. It's not the parents' fault," Mark Kelly told ABC's Diane Sawyer.

Mark Kelly is a wise man. So very many others are playing the blame game, pointing fingers in all different directions: mad at the suspect’s parents, angry about gun control & gun laws, aggravated about stores that sell ammunition, enraged about mental services and the health system, furious about people not ‘acting’ on the ‘signs’ of suspect’s instability, etc.

This is all too typical – with any high profile subject matter. And I believe the worst part of it is that so many other people get extremely worked-up about the issues. Temper breeds more temper. Need proof? Just go to any article on any online news site that allows comments, and read what people are saying/writing.

Widespread temper is being expressed. Every ‘they should have…’ translates into: They were wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! A lot of people are adding temper on top of temper – which is not good/healthy for them individually, or for us as a society

The following is an excerpt from President Obama’s speech at the Tucson memorial service on January 12th.

They are the most realistic, levelheaded remarks I’ve read about ‘who should we blame’:

“For the truth is none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind. Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy.
We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do. That we cannot do.”

We don’t know ‘with any certainty’. That’s the Truth. That’s a fact. We don’t know. And we truly cannot afford to make this into a hateful ‘me’ against ‘you’ or ‘us’ against ‘them’ battle.

People can discuss, even disagree. Laws and procedures may change as a result. In the long run, what some people would label as ‘good’ may come out of this tragedy.

So who do I think is responsible for what happened?

Who is to blame? The person who aimed, and pulled the trigger.

I truly believe that angry thoughts on top of angry thoughts, on top of angry thoughts, on top of angry thoughts, on top of angry thoughts, on top of angry thoughts, on top of angry thoughts – a prolonged vicious cycle of angry thoughts -- causes people to eventually do terrible things.

The flip side of that is consciously recognizing temper responses, changing your thoughts, and living At Ease & In Control.

© 2011 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sometimes Shoulds are Good

What? Sometimes having the thought “I should ____ IS good.
Why? Because it motivate us to do the thing we fear, or care not to do! A before-the-action ‘should’ helps us take the ceiling off the amount of discomfort we are willing to bear.

We don’t raise the ceiling. We remove the ceiling.

For me it was the only authentic way of getting rid of my anxiety symptoms for good. The associated thoughts go something like this: “I don’t care how uncomfortable I am. I don’t care how uncomfortable I may get. I AM going to do this.”
Please do note: taking the limit off how much discomfort you are willing to handle/experience is not a one-time effort/decision. Anyone who has conquered anxiety has practiced. Repeatedly. They’ve gone out there time after time after time, not only knowing the ‘right’ thoughts, but also using those healthy, accurate, right thoughts.

Think about it: Before you do something, you really have no idea beforehand how uncomfortable you may get while you’re doing it.
Fact: Nervous symptoms grow and escalate when we attach fear and danger thoughts to them (when we think insecure thoughts).
Those same symptoms rise and fall and run their natural course when we use the secure/realistic/factual thoughts: “These are anxiety symptoms. Only anxiety. They are upsetting, distressing, difficult, disturbing, nerve-wracking, BUT they are not dangerous.”

Being group-minded, when we think of others instead of ourselves and how bad we feel, often prompts us to take action – action that we’d really rather not have to do.

It’s times when it’s easier to decide (think): “I’ll just stay home” or “I just won’t make the call” or “I’ll handle that tomorrow”.

Times when the internal dialog/thoughts go something like this: I’m not feeling all that good. We DO groceries. I don’t feel like going to the store. In fact, I’m having a lot of physical sensations just thinking about driving over there. I wonder how crowded it will be? I could ask my daughter to go, or to come with me, but she’s had a cold, and had another long day at work. I can tell she’s tired. I really should go on my own, so I will go by myself.
That SHOULD is a good should.

The “I don’t feel like going” is a thought; so is the “I will go myself”. The “I will go myself” is a thought, plus it’s a decision.

Think about it: When you have the self-leadership to go against the “I don’t want to” – you gain more self-respect. In a very real sense you’re standing up to your nervous fatigue, your wooziness, your light-headedness, and all other kinds of anxious feelings and you’re saying: “No! No! No! You can’t scare me anymore”.

Speaking in general, of the entire population of the planet:
If we all waited until we felt like doing something –
not a lot would get done in this world.

Granted, some people appear to love all the facets of their lives. It looks like they’re happy and spontaneous doing all they’re doing. And maybe they really are. The greater majority of individuals put forth effort to get things done day after day after day.

So, it IS average to have to push yourself into action -- sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. In that respect, You’re definitely not alone.

© 2011 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, January 17, 2011

If you’re not riled up right now…
……… let me help you get that way

Last week I received one of those pass-along-emails, another one with an angry overtone. The title: NEVER FORGIVE A TRAITOR (yes, in all caps). It contained information about Jane Fonda and an incident which happened more than 40 years ago.

Here are the first two sentences of the note: "For those of you too young to remember Hanoi Jane is a bad person and did some terrible things during the Vietnam war. Things that can not be forgiven!!!!!!”

Dredging up temper – the judgement of ‘someone is wrong’ and passing it along to dozens and dozens of people is, in my mind, not being group-minded, not being group-minded at all.

It’s not healthy for the sender. Think about it: that person is riled up enough to pass it along. And most probably it’s not all that good for the receiver either – if the receiver is going to get upset about it.

Sender’s motive?? This makes me angry, I hope it makes you angry too. I hope you’re on my side about this one.
Who knows? Perhaps it’s a simple: I think you ought to know about this.

My thoughts: Remember, temper -- the judgement that someone or something is wrong – causes tension, and tension causes symptoms. The event could be current, or from long ago – but the response is now – the thoughts are in the present.

Actually, sometimes recalling a past injustice can be good – but only if the person thinking about it decides to once-and-for-all, to finally drop the judgment. We drop the judgment, we neutralize the temper, not for the other person’s sake – but for our own.

Reminder: It’s not people, places, things, events, or emails that give us our upset, our symptoms. It is our response to those things which makes us cranky, crabby, out-of-sorts, tense, depressed, etc.

If, and that’s a big IF, if you can read words that label someone wrong, Wrong, WRONG and remain neutral or indifferent -- good for you. But the vast majority of people would, and do have negative responses. They get mad, even worse – they stay mad.

Now, what would you rather be known as: Someone who provokes anger/bad feelings, or someone who consciously chooses to be an uplifter -- someone who spreads joy and goodwill

The choice is ours – Always!

My Rule: If what I just read doesn’t feel good to me, there’s no way I’m going to pass it along.

My hope, my desire, is to have someone feel good or better after they’ve interacted with me – whether it’s through email, by phone or in-person.

I choose to be uplifting, not depressing! How about you?

Spread joy, not misery.

© 2011 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, January 10, 2011

5000 Birds fall from the sky
........... Millions of spot fish die!!!

Lots of sensationalism and fear-filled press about the birds in Arkansas and Kentucky, and the fish in Chesapeake Bay: the earth’s magnetic field is weakening; the end of the world is coming in 2012 and this is a sign; sonic booms are the cause; UFO’s could be responsible.
It’s wide-scale death, so it MUST mean something horrible!

How refreshing to read a realistic explanation:
In Arkansas, “5,000 birds falling dead in people's yards is just weird”, said Kevin McGowan, an ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "But the question is, has this happened before?"
The answer is yes, “but probably in a cornfield. And foxes ate them all”, McGowan said.”

So what Mr. McGowan is saying is: the recent bird and fish events are not spooky or scary, they are average – nothing to get alarmed, concerned, or worked-up about. These kinds of things happen in nature all the time.
These events may be distressing and upsetting, but they are not dangerous in the sense that something of catastrophic proportions is about to happen in our world!

From the mental health angle… for some people it’s easy to become suggestible to the stories out there that spell doom and gloom. And there are plenty of them! They stir up fear and/or anger -- fearful and/or angry thoughts -- and it’s always fear and anger thoughts which cause symptoms.

The solution: Watch what you read. If you find yourself uncomfortable, physically or mentally, switch to more realistic, rational, reasonable, secure thoughts.

Reminder: it may not be the first thing you read that will affect you, but I guarantee, a steady diet of pessimism and fear will influence your mood and your health.

© 2011 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

If you’re interested in the entire article in the Washington Post online
by Darryl Fear (yes, Fear is his real name - I did not make that up)
here’s the link:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Help for Your New Year's Resolutions

1. Command your muscles.
2. Change your thoughts.

If you want to lose weight:
1. Command your muscles to stop and not even pick up that candy bar (or whatever other food you know you shouldn’t be eating on your weight reduction regime).
2. Change your thoughts: When you have the urge/impulse to eat something that you know would not be the best for you – remind yourself: There are NO uncontrollable impulses. None.
You and you alone have the power, the ability to say NO to the impulse. To your impulse.
You may even want to use this exact statement: “NO, I am not going to give in to this impulse. I’m in control here!

Which brings up statements such as: I’ve got such a craving for a piece of chocolate (or a cookie, sugar, or whatever). In this case, the craving is a desire, a want. We could even label that craving as simply an impulse. True, the craving may technically come before the impulse - but for me that’s getting too scientific.

Think about it: What you’re calling a craving could simply be a strong or lingering impulse (to eat or drink whatever). A ‘craving’ sounds more serious, more intense, more uncontrollable – when in reality it is not! NOT!

Another think about it: calling it a craving may be simply an excuse to give in. And when we ‘give in’ we cave in, when with a little extra effort it could be a victory over the impulse, rather than a defeat – a self-defeat.

Whether it’s an urge, an impulse, or a craving –

....................... ALL of them are wants, NOT needs.

Your Goal: You want to get out of bed a half-hour earlier in the morning to increase your get-ready time so you’re not feeling totally rushed.
1. Command your muscles to move and get out of bed as soon as the alarm rings.
2. Change your thoughts: I made a firm decision to get up earlier and I’m sticking to that decision.

Your Goal: To take control of your temper outbursts.
1. Change your thoughts: whatever is causing your irritation, temper, anger, upset, frustration, aggravation – make it – label it a triviality compared to your sense of well-being, compared to your inner peace, compared to your mental health. Actually use the words: “This is a triviality”. Get into the habit.
The more you cancel out or nullify the temper thoughts, the less likely you are to say something you wish you hadn’t said.
2. Command your muscles… If you’re already past that point and have worked something up in your mind (via your thoughts), and the words are ‘right at the tip of your tongue’ -- Command your mouth muscles to be still. Do not open your mouth! Command your lip muscles to stay together. Be silent. A closed mouth cannot spew angry or hurt-filled words.

No matter what the area or topic of your resolution is – you can command your muscles to stop or go, to be still or move.

Sounds simple, and it really can be easy to. With practice everything becomes easier.

Your New Year’s Resolution is your PROMISE to yourself.

Treat it that way.

© 2011 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, January 3, 2011

Someone said it…
……….Does that really make it so???

Two examples:

“The Alzheimer's Association expects 10 million Baby Boomers to develop the disease.”

“A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has revealed that one in three children born in the US in the year 2000 will go on to develop type II diabetes at some point in their lives. The author and his colleagues estimate that the number of US citizens with type II diabetes will exceed 28 million within the next 50 years.”

These statements are projections.
They are forecasts (fear-filled forecasts).
They are assumptions. They are ideas. Nothing more.

These are guesses. And, a guess is not fact.
A guess is nothing to have fearful thoughts about. A guess is nothing to be anxious or worry about, or to lose sleep over.

Most important: A guess is nothing to work yourself up about.
Yes, we do become suggestible to unsettling ideas when we read or hear them. That’s an average original response.

An excellent way to work it down and drop that first response is to filter the information coming to us with one simple question: Is it really true?

Another way to stay At Ease & In Control

Happy 2011.

© 2011 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved