Trauma affects, or almost “infects” relationships. The partners of individuals with unresolved trauma bear burdens that can be both practical and personal.
The lives of partners of trauma-affected individuals are burdened in practical ways because they must often fill in for their loved-one who is in some way “not there” to help with the daily demands of life. The spectrum of “not there” can range in severity from mild impairment to highly dysfunctional. Not only is the individual “not there” to help, they can add to the partner’s burdens with their trauma-related demands and needs for care. Trauma-affected individuals can have symptoms (including depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, chronic fatigue, panic attacks, physical pain and disease, See Chapter 1: “Understanding Trauma”) which require care or accommodation. They can also have self-destructive behaviors (addictions, infidelity, risk-seeking activities) which result in negative consequences to the relationship.
Partners of trauma-affected individuals are also burdened personally within the relationship. Trauma-sufferers often want to avoid their pain by staying numb, isolating themselves, and refusing to be vulnerable. By limiting the amount of relating or connecting they do with their partners, they reduce the level of intimacy in their relationships, which removes the likelihood of having to feel pain. Partners become a “threat” to the traumatized individual’s sense of safety because they challenge the individual’s carefully constructed defenses against feeling.
The story of Brandon, a veteran of the war in Iraq, illustrates the desire for “numbness” shared by many traumatized individuals:
“But when he was home, the numbness began to wear off. He began to feel the emotional and physical pain of his experiences. Without the tools to successfully confront those feelings and learn to interact with his civilian family and friends, the feelings were completely overwhelming. The symptoms of his trauma were so intense that they were unbearable. Many service members, such as Brandon, feel that the only way to find relief is to be numb again.”
From Chapter 7: “A Note to Veterans and Their Loved Ones”
Self-medication through substance abuse is one way trauma-affected individuals attempt to remain numb, with often devastating effects on their relationships. They often turn to drugs and alcohol, I explain in Chapter 7, “because they want to numb symptoms of trauma. These substances keep the feelings and memories at bay. Their symptoms return when the high wears off, however, and the need to alleviate these symptoms creates an addictive pattern. It isn’t accurate to say that they want to abuse drugs and alcohol. Rather, the issue is that they will do anything to feel ‘normal’ again, or at least, comfortably numb.”
Partners of trauma-affected individuals often feel alone and rejected on some level. They may feel they must always tread lightly in their relationships. They may end up feeling helpless and powerless to make a difference in the lives of their suffering loved ones. Trauma-affected individuals often promote these feelings of powerlessness, because they are committed at all costs to maintaining control and protecting themselves from feeling their pain. Instead of cooperating with their partners by working through their traumas in order to have better relationships, they can actively resist and thwart their partner’s compassionate efforts. This conflictual, combative pattern, if it continues, can destroy trust within the relationship.
By Dr. Peter Bernstein
To read more of his articles, please visit: http://www.bernsteininstitute.com/blog/
*** "This article was written and originally published when Peter Bernstein, PhD was a licensed psychotherapist. His practice has evolved and he is currently a life coach, mentor and consultant."
Recently someone close to me went through a very stressful relationship ending, and a client of mine was experiencing a profound sense of grief when she thought about a dream job she walked away from.
As I was talking with these people I was reflecting on the best way to help. During my Reiki training we discussed the work of Elizabeth Kuler Ross and her profound work on the stages of grief – a timely reminder given the above and taking me right back to my counseling training.
I like the way Elizabeth “normalizes” the feelings we all experience during times of loss. It is “normal” and healthy to grieve the loss of someone/something when something ends – whether this is a job you really hoped would work out or a relationship that has come to an end.
Many people get caught up in the shock and anger stages of grief and suffer profoundly.
In my Reiki training we learned the principal – “just for today don’t worry”. This could help with the shock stage where feelings of worry and anxiety can be torturous and make us feel out of control. Not worrying does not mean not caring, it refers more to the state of mental anguish that occurs when we spend time in our heads over-thinking, catastrophising or fearing things that may actually never come to pass.
We also learn the principal “just for today don’t be angry” – a helpful affirmation should these feelings arise. Anger is a valid and normal emotion but a very toxic one when abused or sustained too long. Anger can be a positive force for change, however. It can motivate you to make a change for the better.
I wrote the following, incorporating some of the above, to the young woman whose relationship had ended very traumatically:
Happily, when one door closes another opens – you will return to a meaningful life and by the sound of it quite quickly because you are doing all the right things:
Talking with others who care about you and can help.;
Acknowledging your feelings; caring for the person you are losing but not being controlled by them;
Tapping into your own intuition and sense of what is right for you;
Taking care of yourself and recognising the need for rest;
Acknowledging that the relationship you are in no longer works for you. This is important as so many people try to hang on – finding comfort in the known rather than the unknown – even though the known is no longer comfortable at all. Sometimes the comfort rut can be the most uncomfortable place of all
In Reiki we learn that energy flows where energy goes. Focus your energy on the things, people, and circumstances that bring you peace. Keep looking ahead to the dreams and goals you have for your own life.
What can you do to help move through the stages of grief when you experience loss?
The article was written by Cassandra Gaisford
To read more articles like this, please CLICK HERE
Last night, I was down.
My heart was aching.
I didn’t feel love.
I felt helpless about finding something that made me happy.
So I went to bed asking my inner guide to be in charge.
I woke up today, and right away I looked for a comfortable place to sit to meditate.
I don’t meditate to find peace or joy within me so that I can forget the problems I am facing in my life.
When I meditate, I am conversing with the parts of my being that I want to hear from. It’s a loud conversation at that—there must be some parts that are almost deaf.
With firm and loud speech, I ask basic questions: How are you feeling today? Why are you feeling this and that? What do you want to do today?
The inner me, answers these questions with a different tone of voice; it’s soft, slow, takes her time to answer, and doesn’t say what I want to hear.
It’s like I am talking to a friend who I haven’t spoken to in a while, who I have lost contact with and don’t know anything about anymore.
Thinking of this inner “me” as an old “friend,” the first thing I notice is that my friend is weak. She limps through her answers as if no one cares about what she has to say, and I am the only one she ever cared about communicating with. But today, I am listening.
And so, this experience feels very, very strange. It doesn’t feel good at all.
There is a cocktail of emotions:
I feel bad for my friend.
I want to take care of her.
I promise to talk to her every day.
I feel guilty. What have I done? I have forgotten about my friend and now she is not well.
She has lost strength and it is my fault.
And so, while drinking my cocktail of emotions for breakfast, more strange things start to happen.
I put some water on the stove, to make some green tea.
Then, I look around the living room; I see my plants, they need water.
I begin to water them.
I notice that one of them is hidden behind a picture.
She is not doing so well.
I haven’t watered her in a while.
I think to myself:
I feel bad for her.
I want to take care of her.
I promise to water her every day.
I feel guilty. What have I done? I have forgotten about my plant and now she is not well.
She has lost strength.
I don’t want her to die.
I water the plant and move her to the window sill. She might also need some sun to get better.
I then realize that there is a large, white sea rock lying on top of soil, the roots. A rock I found on the beach about a year and half ago.
The rock seems to be putting too much weight on the plant’s roots. It might be getting in way of her growth and health. I think.
My first reaction is to remove the rock.
Then, I notice that I had written a phrase on this rock.
“Hearts pulse with true love.”
I remember what the moment felt like when I wrote the phrase. I was convinced that I had found true love in my own heart. I had written a book with the stories that led me to this understanding. Back then, I really felt like I was finally on the path of the heart, which is paved with true love.
I stand for a couple of minutes in the middle of the living room, looking for a new home for my white sea rock with the heart phrase on it.
Then, I walk straight to the prayer corner where there are objects of devotion: the Heart of Christ, the Bible, a Hamsa Hand, an Angel, a Buddha statute, and mini Old Testament Bible within an amulet. An unused citrus candle is among them. I place the white sea rock in the middle of these devotional objects and light the candle.
The devotional corner feels like the perfect place for the white sea rock, don’t ask me why. I won’t know the answer to that.
I stand in front of the spiritual corner for a few minutes, not knowing what to do next. I stare at the candle flame for a while as if I want it to talk to me.
Don’t worry, this experience won’t become that kind of “strange.”
My eyes fix on the bible and I remember Corinthians. My friend Mary and I had had a phone conversation a few days before and she mentioned Corinthians when I told her that I believe in the connection of love and truth.
So I open the Bible on the Corinthians’ page and read a few lines. This will be my prayer for today, I think.
I was baptized by the Catholic Church, but I am not a Christian, and not a religious person.
What I try to live by, in a practical and “mystical” way, is to distinguish what is real from what is not. This can get very complex, so I stop here.
And so, I look for the Corinthians in the Bible. It is easy to find because I had placed a yellow sticky note in the Bible months before after a conversation with the same friend, Mary.
This is getting interesting, I think, my inner guide has led me here.
The yellow note reads: “I love your faith in God.”
The page it is stuck to is: 1 Corinthians 12: Spiritual Gifts.
Strange, very, very strange.
Then, I remember that I have the water on the stove. It is boiling.
The tea is ready.
Today is a different day. But not because it is Sunday, and yesterday was Saturday. It’s different because today, I am drinking the same tea, but breathing a citrus scent that hasn’t been there before.
A good day starts with gratitude.
Appreciate what you have, especially those things that bring warmth to your heart.
Eternity is made up of moments that are complete, yet hard to describe.
Be thankful for the small things that make your life easier.
Cultivate a healthy state of mind that is grounded in valuing what matters to you the most.
The unstoppable desire to have more, beyond what satisfies your basic needs and your emotional requirements, can cause unhealthy mental states.
Wish for less material possessions and more inner peace.
Wish to belong in the priceless lands of other hearts.
Work enough to sustain your well-being, as well as the well-being of your personal and professional family.
Success—no doubt a product of intelligence, discipline, responsibility, and productivity, among other traits—is important to us. Equally important, however, is the enjoyment generated during the process, as well as the contentment you feel with every goal reached.
“The mind itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.” - Marcus Aurelius
Close your eyes for a moment and observe the silence that emerges between your thoughts.
That silence is the nature of your mind.
Your thoughts are the reflection of your relationship with the world.
Your perception of life results in the content of your thinking.
Try to hear and see without judgment.
Be open to the idea that your mind can interpret reality differently, every time.
The mind is capable of renewing, changing, and replacing old concepts.
For a moment, liberate your mind from thinking about the thoughts that you are aware of.
Notice how thoughts can distract you from relaxing.
Your well-being very much depends on your conscious effort to distinguish mental noise from intelligent and necessary thinking. It also depends on your acknowledgment of the silence that exists among all forms of mental activity.
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
- Lao Tzu
Keep your mind open to love.
The real meaning of love is deeper in its roots.
Love is based on respect, care, trust, friendship, tenderness. These components of love, in return, turn the challenges of life into necessary adventures.
The deeper you love, the more you’ll grow in every aspect of your life.
The strength and courage that sprout in you from your relationships are undeniable signs of a healthy partnership.
Love is the music of the soul.
Love is the perfect harmony of pieces that come together to celebrate life as a whole.
Know that even when disagreements and arguments disrupt the rhythm of your relationships, the melody of love remains pristine and loud.
“Frightened to change? What can exist without it? Can any vital process take place without something being changed? It’s just the same with you.” - Marcus Aurelius
Expect change to occur.
Change is the natural flow of life.
Think about the changes that could happen outside of your control and how you might react to them.
Be prepared to adjust to the circumstances.
Consider giving some thought to what you can change to better your day, yourself, your personal and professional relationships, your life.
Substantial changes are harder to make, but they can be done with your commitment to perform small, but consistent actions toward that major change.
Avoid challenging yourself to produce great results fast. This often leads to stress and anxiety, which in return can affect your well-being.
Care enough about yourself to take that first step toward realizing your dreams or simply improving your health.
Be responsible for changes that depend just on you.
Make peace with the changes outside of your control.
Be aware of unexpected, but natural, changes.
If there is a chance for something to happen, why not give
some thought to it?
Having open and honest conversations with those who care and understand us, can be of paramount help during moments of difficult changes. I suggest BetterHelp.com
Click here to connect with an online therapist.
Direct link: https://www.betterhelp.com/therapists/
Exercise and fitness are such a ubiquitous part of our culture today that it is hard to imagine a time when going to the gym after work was not seen as a normal habit. But, just a few decades ago, Americans were much less likely to exercise on their own. People may have been involved in sports, but seldom went to a gym just to work out or went for a run if it were not with a sports team or part of a training program. In 1960, President Kennedy went so far as to call America a "soft" and "under-exercised" nation.
Things began to change in 1968, when Dr. Kenneth Cooper published his then-groundbreaking book Aerobics, outlining the health benefits of exercise. Since then, exercise has become part of daily life for millions of people. Working out is now seen as essential for overall health and a healthy lifestyle.
While the physical benefits of exercise are certainly important, many people also choose exercise for the impact that it has on their mental health. Anxiety is on the rise, and the millions of people who live with anxiety are looking for ways to manage their condition. In addition to therapy and medication, exercise is one of the main ways that people choose to cope with anxiety. Many people find that exercising makes them feel calmer and blow off steam when they feel stressed. But does exercise really help anxiety?
Anxiety: A Growing Problem
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. It is estimated that over 18%, or 40 million, American adults live with anxiety. And, that number is increasing. A 2018 survey reported that 39% of respondents said they feel more anxious than they did at the same time last year.
People who struggle with anxiety experience some similar symptoms, including feelings of panic and worry.
Can Exercise Help Anxiety?
Yes, exercise can help anxiety. But, it also depends on the type of anxiety and the person. As with all treatments for anxiety, different things work for different people. Many people with anxiety have reported that exercise helps them better manage their symptoms of the condition and feel less anxious overall. But, it is important to try exercise for anxiety for yourself to see what works for you.
How Does Exercise Help Anxiety?
There are numerous ways in which exercise helps anxiety:
Exercise can be a release for people when they are feeling stressed or tense. If you have ever punched a punching bag during a boxing class, you understand how exercise and movement can help you unload your stresses. After a long day of work, or a fight with a friend, or when you are feeling anxious for seemingly no reason, moving your body and clearing your mind can help you let go of those feelings and prevent them from developing into deeper feelings of anxiety.
When living with anxiety, it is all too easy to get caught up in your thoughts. One triggering thought can spiral into many more and lead you to feel extremely anxious and unable to calm yourself down. Working out, whether you go to the gym on your own, attend an exercise class, go for a jog outside, or engage in any form of exercise, is a great way to distract your mind and stop yourself from getting caught up in anxiety-inducing thoughts. While exercising, your mind will be focusing on your body's movements, giving you a much-needed break from the thoughts that make you feel anxious. Sometimes, distracting yourself and having a good workout is enough to stop anxious thoughts in their tracks.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, a feel-good hormone that naturally boosts your mood. In addition to making you feel happier, endorphins also reduce stress, which in turn can make you feel less tense and anxious. When you feel anxious, try taking a 10-minute break to move your body and stimulate the release of endorphins to see if their stress-fighting abilities help calm you down.
Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep has been shown to increase rates of anxiety, especially among women. Anxiety can also make it harder to sleep, especially if you feel stressed and anxious at night.Exercise can help with both of these situations, as working your muscles hard naturally makes you more tired. Working out requires an immense amount of energy, so your body will be more prepared to fall asleep at night. Plus, exercise may make you feel less anxious overall, making you less likely to start feeling symptoms of your anxiety as your head hits the pillow.
the best exercise for depression and anxiety (and the best exercise in general) is one that you enjoy. If you try to force yourself into a workout routine that you hate, you will not be able to stick with it. You will always get the most benefit, both mental and physical, out of the type of exercise that you can do consistently. If your favorite workout is not on the above list, don't worry. If you already have a type of exercise that you enjoy and feel that it helps you manage your anxiety, certainly continue to do it. But, if you feel that your current workout routine does not help with your anxiety, try adding one of the above exercises into your routine and see if it makes a difference.
Other Ways to Manage Anxiety
While exercise helps many people cope with their anxiety, it is not the only effective way to manage anxiety. More traditional methods, like medication and therapy, should not be overlooked. Millions of people manage their anxiety with the help of a therapist or counselor, who can serve as a trusted confidant and offer valuable, individualized advice for coping with anxiety.
For many people, a combination of anxiety management techniques works best. If you are struggling with anxiety, remember that treatment is not "one size fits all," and it could take time to find the anxiety treatments that work for you. Get in touch with a therapist or counselor if you want to take the first step towards finding the best way for you to cope with your anxiety.
Reviewer Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
To read more articles like this, please visit: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice
“Strong people” are simply those who have strong reasons to challenge their own weaknesses while facing tough times.
Pay attention to this moment.
Craft your day with a productive and positive attitude.
Build your moments upon the things that give you a reason to look
forward to the next instant.
Introduce enough significance to your day to help you face
challenges with bravery.
Reflect on the things you do that makes you happy and peaceful.
Engage in activities that are healthy and useful, yet enjoyable.
Be strong for yourself and for those people in your life who depend on
you to be well.
Find that, which makes you feel proud of yourself and do it more often.
New York, 1987.
Her sneakers feel tight.
Emily keeps them on anyway.
The phone rings.
An enthusiastic voice on the other side says:
“Are you ready? We’ll be there in five minutes.”
She hangs up the phone.
There is an ambiguous smile on her face while she adjusts her ski hat.
Emily is ready for a ten-mile run.
It is a hobby? A habit? An addiction? A best friend she never says no to?
Running has “called” to Emily for years.
The week has been long and stressful.
She has too many thoughts racing in her mind.
What runs through Emily’s head must also run out of her body.
She feels compelled to leave her warm home on a freezing afternoon.
Drinking one last sip of water, she rushes through the front door.
Her friends, Carol and James, are waiting for her on the sidewalk in front of the building.
They begin to jog.
Every day is a perfect day to run.
Every day is a perfect day when Emily runs.
Her ears don’t hear — they feel sounds.
Her mouth doesn’t speak — it tastes the wind.
Her eyes don’t see — they appreciate the surroundings.
Her nose doesn’t smell — it breathes in peace.
Emily’s mind is not hers anymore — it belongs to “God.”
The heart beats to her steps.
Her body gives wings to her soul.
Her soul must find its own wings to soar.
She is in the moment. She is happy. She is free.
What a splendid way to live.
What a splendid way to die.
Emily left this world while running in January of 1987.
She was 31 years old.
As a trainer, I don’t recommend long-distance running to get and stay healthy.
Walking 30 minutes a day boosts the immune system, enhancing mental health and mood. It has significant benefits for cardiovascular health, cognitive health, and diabetes prevention, and it promotes mobility.
As a human being, I wish for us to learn how to live with our body and mind in harmony. I wish for us to listen to our body with the ears of reason. By doing so, we may say NO to anything that leads us running headfirst into the abyss of self-abuse, thus preventing early death.
May life be a beautiful walk toward self-knowledge and self-love.
May death be a peaceful transition into the unknown, and that, which was known, become a meaningful lesson to others.
** This narrative is based on true events **
The wind blows warm air through a tiny window in 14-year-old Sandra’s bedroom, but she can’t feel anything.
Lying on the bed, Sandra’s cold body shakes, her tongue stiffens, saliva runs down her face.
The bed is wet.
She is unconscious.
Those witnessing her suffering are Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The fervent prayers begin.
Cold hands come together in the name of Jesus.
Sandra’s parents and siblings ask Jesus to cure her.
Time passes; her body turns blue.
Sandra doesn’t know she is dying; neither do her parents, who are convinced that Jesus will answer their prayers. Jesus will save their daughter.
Their faith is too great to call an ambulance.
Their trust in God is beyond rational thinking.
They can’t betray their beliefs at a moment like this.
How could this happen?
Sandra’s parents are well-educated.
Her father is a financial agent at one of the largest national banks in the country. At his job, he is considered a smart, rational man. Her mother is also highly regarded by her boss and colleagues. She is a history teacher.
Someone knocks on the door.
It’s Mrs. Anderson, the neighbor.
Sandra’s little sister runs to open it.
Mrs. Anderson asks for her mother, whom she usually goes on a walk with at this time.
The little sister runs back to Sandra’s room and leaves the front door open.
Mrs. Anderson follows her.
A few steps before reaching Sandra’s room, Mrs. Anderson hears a Church song sung with voices of despair.
With astonishment, she stands at the door.
Sandra’s parents, along with her little sister and brother, are holding hands around her convulsing body while they sing one of Jesus’ devotional songs.
Mrs. Anderson diagnoses the situation with a rational mind. Sandra needs medical assistance, not prayers.
Mrs. Anderson rushes to the phone to dial the emergency number.
Sandra survives a possibly fatal seizure thanks to someone who refuses to sing a song of faith when, instead, composing a song of reason is required.
Later on, Sandra’s parents reported that this event had strengthened their faith in Jesus. They were proud to say that Jesus sent the neighbor to their house that day to save their daughter.
I bet I know what you are thinking.
The parents ignored the fact that the neighbor often came to their house at that designated time to invite the mother for a walk. Jesus didn’t send Mrs. Anderson to their home at the same hour of the same day for the past year in order to save a girl in the future. If Jesus was trying to save someone using this method, it would have been the mother. After all, walking does improve our general health, thus preventing premature death.
Experience and understanding have taught me that suffering is an ever-present challenge in our lives and that clear and rational thinking, when inspired by love, can be the antidote to unnecessary misery.
In contrast, most of our unnecessary suffering is created by unquestioned belief systems that have long forgotten the meaning of “love.”
I believe in the kind of love that uses reason to pave the road for a life of well-being.
The kind of love that inspires us to do what is right and what is good—as individuals and collective beings.
** This narrative is based on true events **
Lisa leaves a job that gives her financial security—saying goodbye to everyone she knows in her city—to start a new life elsewhere.
With enough money to cover rent and food for maybe six months, she moves to a foreign country. Lisa doesn’t speak the language and she doesn’t know anyone.
Her dissatisfaction and unhappiness with everything, in both her personal and professional life, constitute strong reasons for making such an “extreme” decision.
She is the happiest woman on Earth as she plans to begin a new career.
Lisa is aware that supporting herself with her new career will take much longer than six months. However, she trusts that she will be okay based on her past and present state of mind.
Lisa anticipates a comfortable transition to her new circumstances. In the past, she had embraced the unknown with courage, optimism, and an open mind.
Acquired wisdom has taught her to recognize that changes that come with a degree of uncertainty are always better than being stuck in a situation where certainty is served with unhappiness.
In the midst of the worst moments she faces during her life-changing adventure, she doesn’t regret the choice she made.
A year later, Lisa is happy with herself and her new career.
We could assume that Lisa was aware of her “destiny.” Based on her life experiences, she knew of her ability to commit to “extreme” choices when facing “extreme” discomforts.
This story makes me think about good and bad choices.
What is a “bad” choice when we know that the decision we are making, based on our own truths, is the only one we really have?
I believe the more we know ourselves, the more we understand the illusion of Free Will.
In a sense, the choices we make are not choices. They are events waiting to happen long before we “happen” to think of them as choices.
** This narrative is based on true events **
Writing a memoir is not the same as writing an autobiography book.
Here are the differences between them:
An Autobiography or Biography
This type of book presents a revealing account of:
- A person’s entire life.
- Their personal history.
- Their birth, youth, and adulthood, ending with old age.
- Their secrets, education, conflicts, and achievements.
- Their personal history recounted in chronological order.
Also, a biography or autobiography is usually written at the end of
someone’ s life. A biography can also be written about someone else,
such as a celebrity, important historical figure, famous athlete,
politician, or spiritual leader, among others.
- Any significant event or a series of moments in one’s life.
- A piece or timeframe of a person’s life.
- Though it can be about anything, it usually features an event or series of
events turned into stories that reveal a message.
- For example, it can be about the death of someone you loved, the
habits of your older brother, a trip to Europe, a spiritual insight, becoming
a writer, finding true love, or life on the beach.
- A memoir focuses on particular events that relate to each other in order
to reveal a life lesson.
Remember, a memoir should be interesting in itself, and should be about
your intimate, personal experiences.
An inspiring memoir is written like a novel, and should include these
important elements: Characters, Location, Conflict, Structure, Point of
View, Conclusion and Message.
There are many good reasons to write a book inspired by your personal
experiences. But there are also wrong reasons to become a writer.
Writing a memoir can be about capturing unforgettable memories,
sharing a life-changing experience, revealing a secret, or rediscovering
oneself. By having your experiences on paper, your book might have a
positive impact on someone else’s life.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE RIGHT REASONS TO WRITE A MEMOIR:
• To reveal a side of you no one knows
• To examine your choices in the past and their connection with your life today
• To remember the best shared moments • To share a life-changing experience
• To reveal your emotional truths
• To heal from your childhood traumas
• To show appreciation to someone in your life • To teach what you have learned
• To share your perspective about life
• Writing for your family and future generations
• You feel you have an important message to deliver
• To connect with people who share the same life experience or perspective.
• To feel good
SOME OF THE WRONG REASONS TO WRITE A MEMOIR:
• Wish for fame
• Wish for wealth
• Writing for others
• To show that your are smart and worth it
The human body emits a lot of signals, and sometimes we can pick up on these signals to improve our health. However, sometimes the body gives off subtle, yet challenging signals that we tend to ignore or push aside.
In world of health and wellness, sugar cravings are one of the most subtle and challenging. Generally speaking, people get sugar cravings, act on it, and feel some guilt afterwards, only to repeat the whole cycle all over again. Sugar cravings have a way of getting to people at just the right time of the day, and while some people can make quick changes and overcome them, others need a bit more help.
Listed below is a detailed guide on what sugar cravings are, why you could be craving sugar, and how to potentially fix the issue with simple tips.
Why Do I Crave Sugar?
The human body craves sugar for various reasons, and generally each craving is different for each person. Your brain may experience an intense craving because it needs sugar for energy and to function properly. But beyond meeting a need, sugar cravings for adults tend to be habitual, rewarding, or even just physiologic. Let’s take a look at this with some of the reasons on why you crave sugar when you do.
Your daily habits are formed deep within your brain, and while some sources may say that it takes 21 days to form a habit, the truth is any habit can form as long as the brain is satisfied with the end result. Certain neurochemicals in the brain can cause addiction to sugar, similar to that of illicit drugs, opioids, and alcohol. In addition, changes in dopamine receptors in the brain appear to have an impact on addiction to sugar, as described by a recent study on food addiction. Dopamine gets released by when you experience some sort of happiness and results in a feeling of euphoria. As a result of this hormone response, your brain will habitually desire sugar the way it does other harmful compounds like drugs and alcohol.
Too often, adults looking to stay fit, get fit, or maintain any fitness at all use a reward system for motivation. Actually, a reward system is a great way to motivate a workout and push you to the next level. However, in the case of using sugar as a reward, this may not be the best idea. There is a lot of talk about how sugar addiction is similar to that of illicit drug addiction, and the following research findings may shock you. A 2007 study comparing a cocaine reward system and a sugar reward system showed that sugar can be a stronger draw than cocaine, even for cocaine addicts. The implication of this is that using sugary treats in a reward system is a bad idea. While a sugary reward system at the gym may seem harmless, the results are anything but.
The brain needs glucose to properly function, so it makes sense that the brain will crave sugar in order to get it. Though the body breaks down all carbohydrates into simple sugars, so you don’t literally need to eat sugar to feed your brain glucose, physiologically speaking, the brain could be craving this nutrient as a way to get what it wants, even if it doesn’t need it. Perhaps your blood sugar is low and your brain is asking for sugar? Your mind could be tricking you into thinking you need sugar when you really don’t.
What Causes Sugar Cravings?
It seems that sugar cravings are becoming more and more common in today’s world. Sometimes people call these episodes as being “hangry.” Rather than accepting that you are hangry, there is a chance that you could be having a sugar craving instead. What are some of the factors that are causing a sugar craving? Listed here are some potential reasons you could be craving sugar.
You Finished a Hard Workout
Working out does quite a bit to your mind and body, and for the most part you gain valuable rewards for your hard efforts. Many people are likely to experience a sugar craving following a workout, and often this may be after you had a personal best in a run, lifted heavy weights, or tried a new high intensity interval training workout. Whatever your reason, as long as you depleted the glycogen stores in your body, you are likely to be craving sugar to replenish this. This would be considered a pathologic or physiologic reason as to why you are having a craving, and it serves a valuable need for the brain and cells.
Your Diet is Not Right
There is no right or wrong when it comes to your diet, but if you are having sugar cravings then it could be due to a diet that is not optimal. If your diet already includes donuts, bagels, candy bars, and soda then chances are your sugar cravings are because of how you have been eating. The more you eat these simple sugars, the more your brain will want them, which can continue the vicious cycle of sugar cravings.
You Use Artificial Sweeteners
The artificial sweetener debate is starting to become clearer in recent years. The use of these alternatives to sugar may save on calories, but they trick the mind into thinking you ate something that is extremely sweet—far sweeter than sugar. For this reason, your brain will crave foods or beverages that are as sweet as what you just had.
It Has Become a Habit
Again with the habitual part. Consider the scenario where you grab a sugary coffee every morning before work at your favorite coffee shop at the same time of day. Now, your body adjusts to these cues. Every weekday morning, your mind will automatically write this into your daily routine. This is the quickest way to start a habitual sugar craving, and chances are if you were to stop going to get coffee, your brain would crave the sugar that you would normally have at that time of the day.
Common Reasons for Craving Sweets
Now that you have some information on what causes your cravings and why you are having them, now is the time to jump into some common reasons for craving sweets.
Poor Sleep Quality
A common reason for a sugar craving is when you have poor sleep quality at night. Typically, the body needs a certain amount of REM and deep sleep as a way to replenish the mind and body, but when you have inadequate amounts, your body is susceptible to craving sweets the following day.
Another reason for craving sweets could include high levels of stress throughout the day. Typically, a little bit of stress in your day is considered healthy and necessary; however, chronic levels of high stress could lead to your sugar cravings increasing in intensity following your stressful event or day.
The last common reason on this list involves a common practice among people trying to lose weight. As a way to conserve calories for a future meal or to make up for being “bad” on a prior meal, some adults skip meals. While this seems logical as a way to prevent weight gain, skipping meals can cause you to have sugar cravings as a result. Generally, this is caused by reduced blood sugar levels.
What Your Body Could Be Telling You
Now that you have some information on what could be causing your cravings and why you may be having them, you should take the time to understand what your body could be trying to tell you. Here are a few examples of what your body could be trying to tell you about your sugar cravings.
Lack of Nourishment
Your body could be telling you that you need to get more nourishment for your brain and the cells in your body. If you take notice of this sign, there is a chance that your blood sugar levels could be low to the point that it is harming your health.
Another signal your body could be sending is that it is in full-blown sugar addiction mode, and the cravings you are having are a result of sugar addiction. If this is a signal you pick up on, it could indicate that perhaps you do not need sugar, but rather your brain is demanding you to satisfy its yearning for euphoria.
There is a chance that you could be having a sugar craving simply because you are bored. Are the kids out of the house today and you have no idea what to do with yourself? Well, if your sugar cravings are setting in when this happens then it could mean you are bored and having a craving.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings
Fighting and putting a stop to sugar cravings can be a challenge at start. Initially, you may notice that your cravings are in a vicious cycle that only causes you to crave sugar more often. However, there are some things you can do to set your body up for success. Generally speaking, making a modification to your diet is necessary to succeed. Consider reading our article on what to eat when you are craving sugar for even more suggestions. Here are some tips to help you to succeed in putting a stop to sugar cravings.
1. Eat More Fiber
Fiber is an underestimated ally that serves a valuable role in your health and wellness. High fiber intake tends to be associated with better colon and cardiovascular health, as well as a reduced risk of cancer and obesity. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is lacking in fiber. The average fiber intake for all Americans over the age of two is 16 grams a day, with women consuming about 18 grams daily and men 15 grams on average. Current guidelines recommend that adults consume between 25 and 30 grams of fiber every day. Fiber is a starchy substance that passes through the digestive system untouched, meaning that fiber is not processed at all in the stomach or intestine. Fiber helps to slow the absorption of the foods you eat and it can also help to curb cravings you have by keeping you full for longer. Consider eating foods that are naturally high in fiber—like vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains —to help curb cravings.
2. Consume Lean Protein
Lean protein options are beneficial for health for a variety of reasons. Eating lean proteins such as salmon, halibut, and chicken can help to fill you up at a meal and keep you feeling full for longer. This means that your blood sugar levels are better managed, which means a possible reduced risk for a sugar craving before the next meal. Include lean protein options as much as you can to help fight off your sugar cravings.
3. Drink Enough Water
Your body is mostly made up of water; it is the most abundant substance in your body by far, which means you need to replenish your water stores as much as possible each day. Many of the body’s processes are associated with your overall hydration status. In addition, the more dehydrated you are, the greater the chances that you will have some hormonal imbalance. Your sugar cravings may occur as a result of being thirsty, so replenishing the water in your body is often a quick fix. Consider drinking about six to eight glasses each day to stay hydrated and avoid sweetened drinks as much as possible with.
4. Make Healthy Substitutions
Another way to stop sugar cravings from affecting you throughout the day is to swap healthy foods for unhealthy ones. This is perhaps the most challenging of all these options, but it is one of the most effective ways to cut out cravings. By switching out your chocolate or candies for some fresh fruit or vegetables, you are telling your brain that you no longer want to load up on sugar and you’ll avoid setting off sugar cravings as well. Consider cut up fruit or vegetables as a snack, nuts to curb appetite, or even hot tea (unsweetened of course) to turn your midday treats healthier.
5. Cut Out Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are becoming quite common in today’s world, and now it seems more people are consuming more of the artificial product rather than sugar. Many of these users are attempting to cut sugar out of the diet to lose weight (by saving calories) and improve wellness. However, studies have shown that the use of artificial sweeteners in foods and beverages can lead to weight gain, as well as strengthen and encourage sugar dependence and cravings. With this in mind, it seems that one of the best ways to cut out sugar cravings from your life once and for all is to stop eating both sugar and artificial sweeteners. While this lifestyle change may take some time to completely master, the rewards will be worth it when successful.
Sugar cravings can be a challenging part of your everyday life and when they set in, they can take over your mind in a hurry. Some of the most common causes of sugar cravings include a poor diet and the use of artificial sweeteners, both of which can lead to fluctuations in your blood sugar levels as well as cause you to crave sugar. While a sugar craving can happen to anyone at any time, there are some simple things that you can do to help stop them from occurring in the first place. Making small adjustments to your diet can be effective. Typically, adding more fiber and protein in your diet can cause you to feel full throughout the day while maintaining stable blood sugar levels. In addition, ensuring that you keep hydrated every day is essential for regulating your hormone balance, particularly your hunger hormones. Making these small changes can go a long way, and they will hopefully help you to win the battle against your cravings.
CARRYING WATER IN BRAVO
by Valeria Teles
Our bedroom is very small, with no door and no lights; we use an improvised kerosene lamp. It’s very hot in the summer and very cold in winter because the roof is made of ancient tiles with lots of gaps.
The nightly ritual before going to bed is always the same. We smash a bunch of mosquitoes trapped in our old net and let some lucky ones escape by lifting it. I stitch over new holes to prevent them from coming in to bite us during the night. Even if they don’t get inside the net, their noise and my sister’s unsolicited hugs keep me from sleeping without interruption. I know she needs me; I could also use a warm hug from my mother to help me fall asleep. Besides the mosquitoes and my sister’s hugs, there’s another challenge to sleeping. Nightmares haunt me. I just hope that they are not as bad tonight, not bad enough to wake me up.