Is Your Style at odds with Your Sense of Self?

My wardrobe has seldom reflected my inward sense of self.  I dressed “appropriately” when working . . . relatively conservative, mostly mono-chromatic colors.  Even though I’ve always been attracted to the unconventional, whimsical and wildly colorful, comfort was my main criteria.  Sessions needed to focus on my clients not on my “decor”.

The most audacious thing I did was dye the back of my hair purple.  One day, the husband of a couple I’d seen for several months remarked about my purple hair to his wife .  She responded defiantly, “She doesn’t have purple hair” (she was often defiant).  I turned around to show her that he was correct.  That was the last time I saw them.  I let the purple grow out.

Fashion Style by Meowie

Now that I am retired and don’t have to be concerned about scaring away clients I’ve given little thought to my “appearance” and opt for jeans, running shoes and baggy t-shirts.  

Serendipitously I clicked on this video.  The speaker not only moved me but made me stop and think:  Do I inwardly “FEEL” casual and baggy . . . ?

“If you think style is superficial, then Stasia’s personal story of how she redefined style might just change your mind… and your wardrobe.  In this moving and highly personal talk, Stasia shares how she tried to protect her 5-year-old daughter — who had physical differences — from the pain of not fitting in by dressing her in “the cutest little bootcut jeans and capped sleeves you’ve ever seen.” But it was her daughter, and her request for a button down shirt and bowtie, that transformed Stasia’s understanding of how crucial style is to our sense of self.”

 I admire people who dress themselves artistically, in broad strokes of color, design and pattern. 

My conclusion:  My outward appearance is not congruent with how I view myself

. . . maybe a bit of purple with the grey?

How do you want to present your”self” to the world?

(jw)

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Buying happiness: How to get the most bang for your buck

There’s a lot of press on the misery that comes from winning the lottery and a lot of research showing that having more money doesn’t make you happier (if you can afford necessities like food and shelter).  Along comes happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky who maintains that money CAN buy happiness. It turns out it is all in how you spend it. There is also a catch.

How money CAN make you happier*

1. Develop yourself; pay to get a new skill, or to master an old skill or ability.


2. Connect with others; celebrate achievements of friends and family or take some one on a trip.


3. Buy things that relate to mastery or goals; buy new musical instruments, sports gear or software to advance a project.

4. Donate to worthy causes

5. Buy time with your money; relieve yourself from long work hours or chores that consume your time.

 Here’s the catch:

Money spent on other people brings the most happiness. A study by Elizabeth Dunn and others at U of British Columbia found a bonus raised happiness to the degree it was spent on others.

Spending your money on OTHER PEOPLE instead of on yourself gets you the most happiness for the buck.

*“The Myths of Happiness”by Sonja Lyubomirsky

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Artistic License

This was supposed to be posted on Curious to the Max, the blog where we post all things “Curious” . . . too many blogs, too little time, too little grey matter . . . .judy

Doing little mini paintings.  They appeal to my need for instant gratification.

6″ x 6″ acrylic on canvas board

91/2″ x 91/2″ Acrylic on cereal box

I don’t care about painting exact replicas of the subject – either content or colors. . . . If you saw the reference photos you’d say “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?”  The first reference was a picture of a slice of pumpkin pie and the second was a bucolic scene with the house in the distance.  I prefer to call it “artistic license” rather than “novice efforts”.

My Peak Alpha Frequencies aren’t Peaking

Current research points to common underpinnings of neuro-inflammation and immune dysfunction for many chronic conditions like pain, MS, lupus, migraine, cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) or Fibromyalgia.  One of the symptoms people with chronic conditions often experience are flu-like symptoms and brain fog.  The brains of people who have chronic conditions work differently from those of healthy people. 

  • A recent study done at Stanford looked at brain waves of people with ME/CFS and compared them to healthy controls. They found those with fibro or chronic fatigue have decreased  peak alpha frequencieswhich are associated with goal directed behavior being interrupted, and problems with attention and alertness. Getting moving at a task is difficult, and thus why we can feel resistance to everyday tasks.
  • A different study showed that neuroinflammation is higher in people with chronic fatigue or fibro and the level of inflammation correlated with the level of symptoms. One area with the most inflammation was the amygdala, which plays a role in procrastination.
  • Another study found that the reward center of the brain is less activated . Reducing the expectation of reward may contribute to difficulty in starting tasks.

What relief to read new studies that say “It’s not my fault I procrastinate.  I can blame my brain.”

You don’t have to have a chronic medical condition. Anyone who procrastinates or can’t get started on a task can benefit from this 3 step technique.

Focus on what you would like to accomplish: 

1. Stop thoughts of being overwhelmed or feelings of dread.

Let go of any thoughts of anticipatory dread and move on to a calming thought, or instead focus on sensations in the current moment. For example:

  • Look at a something neutral or pleasant – even a pillow’s colors and pattern.
  • At the same time, smile. It can be a fake smile.
  • Take in a deep, slow breath, then breathe out and let go of your negative thought.
  • As you breathe in again, keep smiling and focus on the present moment–what you are seeing, or what you are hearing or feeling.
  • Repeat this as often as you need to. You may need to every few seconds, especially at first.

2. Ask: “What is the next small, easy step?”

  • Break the task into very small, tiny steps. Focus on what’s doable.
  • Once you have taken a first step, repeat the question– What is the next small, easy step?
  • Make it OK to do only part of what you want to accomplish.

3. Focus on the finish line: 

  • Think about what you will gain by completing the task. Ask yourself “What pleasure will I get when I complete this task?”  OR
  • Ask “What pain will I avoid by doing this task?” Sometimes that works even better.
Sharing with others, or use a buddy system can  help you move forward. Call your buddy and tell them what your 3 steps are, and listen to their 3 steps. Then call again to see how you both are doing. This can magnify the power of the 3 steps.

When I’m not so overwhelmed I’ll think about focusing on which teeth I want to brush . . . the cooking and cleaning can wait.

(jw)

“Combating Feelings of Overwhelm, Resistance, or Listlessness in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”,

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