Tag Archives: support

health month

for the month of october, i’ve played something called healthmonth. it is a fun, useful and well-thought-out site where you can establish health rules you’d like to follow and then keep track of how you’re doing.

from the site:

health month is all about designing your own health rules, and then trying to stick to them. we provide the points and the motivation.
here’s how it works:
before the game starts
1. choose your rules
2. make your bets and promises
3. choose how you want to play
o– games with 3 or fewer rules are free
o– games with 4 or more rules are either $5 per game, or $50 per year to become a member
o– if you can’t afford to pay, you can also seek sponsorship. every paying player can sponsor one person per month, or they can choose to pay for you
4. introduce yourself to the other players and wait for the game to start
after the game starts
1. mark off your rules every day
2. get points
3. share your progress

we all know how to be healthy. this game is about finding your limits, giving you incentives to make new habits stick, and helping you learn what works for you.

there’s much more to it, like how well your rule is aligned with your heart, how easy or hard it is to follow the rule, etc. you can choose from a variety of rules and then establish how often you’d like to follow them. many of the rules are about physical health (limit alcohol; cook dinner; eat fruit; limit soda, etc.); some are also about mental health, like

  • list grateful things
  • limit internet usage
  • meditate
  • limit television
  • write in a private journal
  • read
  • relax
  • get quality time alone
  • quality time with kids

i’ve found it very useful, mostly because it helped me be more focused around things that i already do, more or less – and now i do them more. eating greens, for example, or flossing every day.

i was introduced to this by my twitter friend sameer vasta and am part of his little group at health month in october. but i’m thinking of maybe starting my own group. anyone care to join me? we could make it just a tad about mental health …

leave me a comment here or drop me a line if you’d like to participate. if i have three or more confirmed people by october 31 (hallowe’en!), it’s a go. it does cost $5 a month. great investment.

a song for anorexia

this week is eating disorders week.  to start it off, here is a song one of my twitter contacts wrote for someone who was struggling with this difficult, often life threatening disorder (the fourth song, “you are not alone”)

and the lyrics:

you are not alone
music & lyrics by bob gray © october 22, 2003

there is a light, beyond the darkness
there is pain, inside us all.
sometimes we trip, on the roads we travel
as we reach up, sometimes we fall
and though sometimes, i know you’re lonely
with all my heart, i need you to know…

chorus:
you are not alone… i stand by your side.
with so many others, who hide, as you hide.
with all my heart, i hope you will hear me
you are not alone… you are not alone…

there is a peace, that you can get to
it will be hard, but you’ll be fine.
i’ll walk with you, in case you stumble
reach out your hand, i’ll give you mine
and though sometimes, you may be frightened
with all my heart, i want you to know…

repeat chorus:

bridge: (with choir)

but, beyond the hurt… beyond frustration…
beyond the mountains, we all must climb
there is the dawn, of a new tomorrow
the dawn of hope… i hope we find…

repeat chorus: (with choir)

taking a stand: what does it take to make a difference?

tarot: courage and strengthmy last post was inspired by the 20th anniversary of the tiananmen square massacre. in it i was musing about what it takes to stand up against whatever oppression we’re experiencing, be it political or in a smaller social environment.

making that decision

marie reflected: “i guess it’s a matter of deciding what is more important . . . standing up or staying safe . . . ?”

decisions – what does it take to make a decision to stand up? how often are these decisions planned, and how often do they happen in a split second? i wonder what it was like for the tank man at tiananmen square. hard to imagine that that was a deliberate, conscious decision. most likely, he saw the situation and just walked out. perhaps there was not even any self talk; it just happened, almost as in a trance. there is some controversy in the psychological community right now whether slow, rational decisions have a better outcome than “gut” decisions.  i haven’t seen these specific studies but imagine that they probably didn’t look at momentous decisions like the one made by tank man.  if he had made a list of pros and cons whether to stand in front of the tanks he wouldn’t have; he would have decided on safety.  but he did the crazy thing and continues to inspire people all over the world.

past experience and present support

“my guess is that it is a combination of past experience and current support.” – that’s what evan said.

that reminds me of something that happened just yesterday.  i was participating in a workshop that – well, didn’t leave me feeling very positive.  in fact, i felt trapped and disregarded, and it appeared that a few others did so, too.  i asked a question that tried to deal with that, which was answered only superficially, and when i became increasingly frustrated, a got up and left rather than making another comment.  so in terms of standing up it was okay but not exactly stellar (“you don’t have to be a saint, isabella!” said one of the other participants).

what was the past experience?  as many of you know, i grew up in post-nazi germany.  standing up to people who i feel use authority inappropriately is a huge value for me.  i have also stood up in similar situations before and while it is difficult every time, i feel proud and – clean, afterwards.  at the same time, not standing up can fill me with despair and disappointment.

the present support was that i knew myself surrounded – both physically by some of the participants and emotionally by my friends and family –  by people who i knew would accept and support my decision to speak up.  (interestingly enough, i think if i would have thought less about the decision to speak up the second time, i probably would have done it).

education, awareness and community

finally, sandy commented, “we find strength through awareness, education, a shared sense of community, and people in our lives who tell us we are valuable.”  i touched on education and awareness already with what i told you about my post-nazi germany upbringing.  the education and awareness came mostly through the stories i heard from my parents, who were involved with the resistance each in their own modest ways, and through my best friend, whose parents were holocaust survivors.  formal education was just an addition to that.  i think the point here is not so much that education doesn’t work but that there probably needs to be a strong, personally felt emotional impact for it to make a difference.

when i was doing my research on transformative learning, i interviewed a young man who had decided to become a forest ranger.  this decision came after having spent a summer with an older environmental activist who told him stories, explained larger environmental questions to him, and led him on many walks, intimately acquainting the young man with plants, animals, soil and the whole wide world of forests.  an education indeed – but again, a fully rounded education, touching not only the mind but also heart and body.

image by eric schwartz

recovering from anorexia: anorexia talk

if i’d have to separate out the most frequently used word to find this blog, it’s “anorexia”. phrases like “anorexia article”, “anorexia symptoms” and “recovery from anorexia” bring people to this blog over and over again. recovering from anorexia: 10 activities is consistently in the most read 10 articles. so there’s a lot of need out there.

in order to offer a little more to people who are actively working on overcoming anorexia, i’ve decided to offer a special area. for those of you who want to talk amongst each other, i’m starting out with a special page for this; if the need persists, i’ll add a forum.

so … if you’ve come here because you’re looking for help or inspiration for recovering from anorexia and would like to exchange ideas and support each other, please go here.

13 encouraging questions

“never mind the answers – just ask the right questions!”

this is so true. last sunday i participated in a conference, dream vancouver, intended to encourage citizens to articulate their visions and hopes for an even better vancouver. the main process of the conference was organized around appreciative inquiry.

appreciative inquiry is a philosophy and approach that engages individuals within an organizational system in its renewal, change and focused performance. at the heart of AI is a particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation, or an organization. it utilizes a 4-stage process focusing on:

  • discovery
  • dreaming
  • design; and
  • delivery

all of these processes are driven by questions. this is not much different from therapy, particularly an approach to therapy very dear to my heart, satir transformational systemic therapy.

here are a few examples of powerful questions. they can be used in many ways, among other ways in supporting people in moving forward with particular issues they might find a bit intimidating. they are encouraging questions, then.

  1. imagine getting up on monday morning. what will you say to yourself to support yourself when you talk to the principal at 10:00?
  2. what exciting feelings come up as you think about handing in your resignation tomorrow?
  3. you said that just thinking about making that phone call to bob makes you want to bite your nails. what would have to happen for you to completely forget about your nails?
  4. what would supper look like if your kids got along better?
  5. if you did manage to get up before 11:00, how would that make your whole day better?
  6. what would calm down the scared part of you?
  7. let’s just say that for some reason, tom will use his kind voice when he comes home tonight, not his angry voice. will your stomach feel better?
  8. are you listening to the still voice inside you?
  9. clearly, there are a lot of things you can’t do. what can you do, even a little thing?
  10. who is your greatest ally?
  11. you say you feel calm right now. what can you do to remember this feeling next wednesday?
  12. what can you do to reward yourself afterwards?
  13. who else in your family needs support so that everyone feels they’re part of planning this wedding?

what questions encourage you?

(this post was mentioned in the 110th carnival of healing and has also been entered in litemind’s list group writing project)