STRUGGLE BUS DRIVER: JORDAN
Choose your focus
Salutations reader! Why don't more people use the word salutations as a greeting? It makes me slightly disheartened to think that society has digressed to the point where the eloquence of the English language is sometimes lost due to our overwhelming desire for simplicity. Then again, with our attentions spans shortening and words such as 'totes' and 'obvi' being adopted one has to wonder if it's integrity will be preserved at all. Regardless, I hope reader that you don't mind my wordy tendencies.
What an odd thing to put so much thought into huh? Well, I guess that is one of the funny things in life, we decided where we put our attention and energy into. Lucky you get to experience so of my attention. If you've been keeping up with my posts, you know that I have a habit of allowing the negativity to come to the forefront of my mind and rob my ability to enjoy the present. Honestly this is probably one of my worst emotional habits. However, I am making a conscious effort to combat my own brain by forcing myself to do and/or focus on things that I do enjoy.
When I talk about this kind of re-framing of thoughts with my patients I like to reference the law of attraction. The just of the law of attraction is that what type of energy we put out and the way in which we frame our thoughts (positively or negatively) is what experience in our lives. For example, if you have a negative mindset, continually degrade yourself with cynical comments, and have a pessimistic outlook on life then that is the type of life you are creating for yourself. Conversely, if you have an optimistic outlook, engage in positive self talk, and maintain an uplifting mindset then those are the type of experiences that you will speak into existence. Being aware of and teaching this model, I would be a horrible hypocrite if I didn't put it into practice in my own life. For the post today, I'm going to provide a list of 10 things that I do which assist in creating that positive head space. Hopefully this gets you thinking about your own life and whether where you focus your thoughts and energy is actually beneficial.
Jordan's 10 Positive Areas Of Focus
1. Exercise/Sports: I feel like I am most in my element when I am engaged in some type of physical activity. Not only does it have obviously health benefits for my body, but it does wonders for easing my emotional mind as well.
2. Helping others: This one probably sounds a little cliche, but I find true happiness in being able to assist others. Whether that be providing them a sounding board, playing devils advocate, or being their source of support, I truly enjoy being able to be there for others.
3. Coloring: Yes, I realize that I am an adult, but coloring is such a mindless activity that it really does help distract my thoughts. Also, they make adult coloring books for a reason! I mean you don't see a two year old coloring an abstract display of the F word (...or I mean I hope you wouldn't).
4. Writing letters and/or staying in contact with friends: I may be a little old fashioned, but I LOVE writing letters to people. It is such a sentimental gesture that not many people take the time to do these days and that's when you know it means something. However, thanks to technology there are also other wonderful ways in which I can stay in touch with the friends I've made over the years. Snapchat, texting, Facebook, Instagram, Skype, you name it, I've probably used. Also, on a side note, if any of you would like to become pen pals let me know! :)
5. The great outdoors: Getting outside in the open space and fresh air is severely underrated. There is just something so great about appreciating the earth and submerging yourself into nature that seems to suck all the trivial issues out of my body. Take me on a hike, walk, run, sunset/sunrise watch, or star gazing adventure any day!
6. Being with friends and/or family: While I have introvert tendencies, inherently I love being around others. I'm at my best when I am around people who I can truly let go and be my weird, awkward, goofy self. We don't even have to necessarily be doing anything. There is something truly special about being comfortable doing nothing with someone and just enjoying their presence. Also, I'm less likely to slip into a negative thought slide if I'm in the presence of others.
7. Working with kiddos: For those of you who might not know, my initial desire was to become a teacher. There is just something about the potential that children posses that has always captivated me. Their innocent minds are unclouded by hate or bias and they truly look at the world with wonder. Spending time with a child is never time wasted and it always reminds me to not take life so seriously.
8. Give me all the animals: I don't care if you're a dog or a cat person. I think we can all agree that animals have this way of connecting with us that other humans just can't. That unconditional love and trust in us just fills the heart with joy. Unfortunately I do not have a pet of my own in Washington, but fortunately I have friends that allow me to be the auntie to their love muffins.
9. Dance to the music: Do you ever just hear a song that speaks straight to your soul? There isn't a day that goes by that I don't listen to music. Music has the ability to influence our emotions and being the emotional individual that I am, I LOVE IT! Annnd because of the weirdo I am, I've been known to have solo dance parties in my apartment. Life is too short not to enjoy moments like that! (In case my Washington neighbor ever reads this. Sir, I thoroughly enjoy your jamming out to Disney music in the morning. I don't even care that I can hear it through the wall because it just makes my day every morning that I hear it. You're awesome. Keep doing you!)
10. Journal and/or blogging: Well looky here reader, I've somewhat accomplished what I intended to by creating this blog. It honestly has been a great outlet for when I don't feel comfortable and/or don't want to talk to someone. I've realized that I've been a lot more open and vulnerable on here than I think I intended. This has made me very hesitant to share the blog with people and as of today I think I have maybe reached double digits for people that I've personally told about it. It's not that I have anything to hide or that I'm ashamed, but as I've mentioned before, it has been difficult for me to open myself up to that type of vulnerability. So if you are reading this I 1. must trust you 2. Told you in hopes that you gain a better understanding of me as an individual 3. Want to use this as a venue for keeping you updated with my life that is based off of your time availability in your life. or 4. I don't know how you're here, but thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this.
Welp, there you have it folks. At least 10 things that I try to do that automatically put me in a good mood. While I am aware of these things, I cannot say that I always follow through with using them. Sometimes I fall into the social media trap. Other times I let my overactive mind create ludicrous scenarios and convince myself to believe in false truths. Occasionally my motivation and drive just flat out sucks. Despite having these moments of 'gloom and doom,' I'm really trying to start practicing what I preach. There are only so many pity parties one can throw themselves in a lifetime after all.
What I would like you to do now reader, is identify at least three-five things that you do which help put you in a good mood. Think about when you do these things and consider using them to your advantage. If something irritating happens at work, chose one to engage in and see how it impacts your day. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, but the second step involves brainstorming a plan.
Thanks for making it through yet another one of my random thought rants. I hope that you all took some time to think about those things/people that you're grateful for (and shared it with that person) this past week. If you had, I'm sure you would have fulfilled my regular request of making someone smile. :) If you haven't, I strongly encourage you to do so! I hope you know that I appreciate you! It has taken a lot for me to be able to share this with others so thank you for being one of the people I felt like I could do that with. Until next time!
The Power of Gratitude
What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you said you were grateful for today? What would you have? Would they be monetary items? Survival items? Sentimental items? Comfort items? People? Everything? Nothing?
I saw this question posted on social media the other day and it made me pause for a second. How many days in my life do I go through without recognizing at least one thing that I'm grateful for? What kind of selfish life am I living? When did I become one of my most hated personality traits...entitled. Since then I've really made the attempt to consciously recognize at least one thing each day that I am grateful for.
As a recreation therapist, gratitude is a phenomenal coping skill that I try to teach my patients. It is a skill that I forget to use myself and while talking to a friend about this whole blog experience, he decided to issue me a challenge. He provided me the option to practice what I preach and write a post with gratitude as the primary focus.
Before I get into sharing my gratitude, I want everyone to understand why you too should take on the challenge of inviting gratitude into your daily lives. First of all, by expressing gratitude, we decrease our negative emotions (resentment, depression, envy) and increase positive emotions (empathy, happiness, connectivity). Not only psychologically, but physically our body responds positively to gratitude as well. We release tension, decrease blood pressure, and decrease the negative stress hormones in our body. With benefits like that our body has a natural tendency to improve sleep patterns and we actually end up improving our own self-image/self-esteem through this gratitude process. In my opinion, the most important improvement that expressing gratitude can have is an overall enhancement of one's well-being. Needless to say, there really is no downside to adding a gratitude exercise to your daily routine.
How I've decided to tackle my challenge today is I've created a list of 10 people. In a couple of sentences, I'm going to express my appreciation for this person while also providing a glimpse into the type of life lesson they've helped teach me. This list won't even breach the actual number of people who have profoundly impacted my life, but unfortunately I do have to sleep and this post can't last forever. I'll make you a deal to do a post like this again!
Annnnd just to make it a little fun, I'll give you a game. Guess the number it will take me to get to before I cry and once I've completed the list, I'll let you know. So place your bets now and may the odds be ever in your favor. ;)
In no particular order, here we go!
Jordan's "Hey, I See You" List of Appreciated Individuals:
While I did cry, they were not necessarily tears of sadness. I just feel things very deeply and this was a highly emotional experience. I do feel really great now though and to guarantee that the people I wrote this about will see it, I'm going to take a picture and send it to them. Tomorrow is never guaranteed reader and I don't think we take enough opportunities to say things like this to the people we care about.
Thank you for letting me pour out a lot of my heart today. Like I said earlier, 10 people is not nearly enough, so I will do another one of these kinds of posts in the future. I hope that after reading this you are somewhat intrigued about adding gratitude to your everyday lives, I believe we attract what we put out into the world, so if we put out positivity, we will have positivity come back to us.
Much appreciation for you making it through another post reader. I have an additional challenge for you today. Not only do I want you to try and make someone smile today, I also want you to tell a least 3 people over the next week how you appreciate them. Go out and spread the love. Until next time.
I am a HSP
HSP. Not quite sure what that means? Before today, I didn't either. I wasn't particularly seeking out this information either, but have you ever accidentally stumbled upon something that perfectly describes you?
The way I came about the term HSP was by typing hyper-empathetic into the Google machine. Why would one search hyper-empathy you might ask? Well let me ask you a few questions to help make you understand. When someone tells you a story, do you automatically understand their perspective and how they felt? Regardless of how many times you've seen a movie do you automatically cry at the sad parts because you can relate to what the characters are going through? When reading a book have you ever noticed your own emotional state being affected by the books plot. Do you find yourself being perceptively in-tune to the changes in your environment? Do you feel like your emotionally over-reactive to the things that go on around you? Have you ever been told you're overly emotional?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions you too might be a HSP. Now if my vagueness hasn't driven you crazy to the point where you've already Googled HSP yourself, it stands for highly sensitive person. No, this doesn't mean that we are a people who will burst into tears because you 'looked at us the wrong way," but we might come up with a million scenarios for why you might have done that (several of which probably involve us as the cause of the issue).
Prior to tonight, I had never had any literature that describe certain aspects of my personality. I've come to conclusions and accepted quirks, but as with anything it is nice to have some actual scientific evidence behind my speculations. I even took the time to take a test just in case this was one of those situations where I got excited about something and jumped to conclusions.
Reader, if you're concerned with how certain I am about something after only being knowledgeable about it for a couple of hours; 1. You're very justified in that opinion and 2. Left me share some facts with you about this personality type that I identify with.
Well reader, I hope you kept an open mind and maybe learned something today. Knowledge is power and I hope that with what I gained from today can help me continue trying to live my best life. Knowing my downfalls and shortcomings is just the beginning to trying to conquer them. After all the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
Reader we come to another closing. As always thank you for your time. You are appreciated and don't forget to make someone smile today. :)
Until next time!
Ass Of You & Me
Well hello again stranger. Actually let's be honest, unless I've told you that this blog exists there is a fairly good chance that if you're reading this that you know me. However, you know what they say about assuming. It makes an ass out of you and me. Coinkadinally enough that is the topic of the post here today
Part of being a human is making snap judgments about the environment we find ourselves in. We make assumptions about various situations out of a basic need for survival. I get it. What I don't understand, are the people take guesses about your life or your character without getting to know you or your situation.
I've had two such experiences lately. The first situation has actually happened to me several times and at this point I really just don't know how to stop it from happening. As I've branched my life out in the past few years, I have opened my friend pool up to allow a variety of individuals in. A lot of these individuals have been males. Mostly because I find that they are less judgmental and more accepting of people in my situation. While I appreciate these friendships, there is one thing that I've found highly irritating that almost always accompanies these relationships. The significant other or someone very close to the significant other feels the need to go out of their way to threaten me or tell me to "back off their man." I'm instantly perceived as a threat. I have no intentions of ruining a relationship and as a friend I am actually highly supportive and happy for my friends and the success of their romantic relationships.
So why do I give off the impression that I'm a homewrecker? Why can't my declaration of friendship be taken at face value? Why do I always feel like their accusations are a direct attack on my character and integrity as a person? Why is it that my intentions are immediately questioned? These questions have plagued me time and time again throughout the course of my adulthood. I guess one can't be a single, 20 something year-old, platonic friend without an ulterior motive these days...
During a recent conversation with a high school friend I had a fear of mine confirmed about another assumption people make about my life. Out of the blue this friend messaged me stating they had a question for me, not really thinking anything of it I just responded with an okay, shoot. What should have tipped me off was the request of no judgment for asking this question in the first place. She wanted to know that if upon my moving to Washington if I "was a major pot-head now."
Out of all the questions I was anticipating, I would have to admit this one threw me off a little bit. I mean, I know people change, but I'd been friends with this person since I was 5 years -old and I don't think one's morals change all that much...do they? Before responding, I took time to reflect on the question and decided that it was probably fair considering I'd moved to one of the few states in the country where recreational marijuana is legal. Still I was a little miffed by assumption.
I responded, letting her know that while I don't judge or care if other people engage in smoking weed, I myself had never indulged in the activity.
If I felt the question was a little odd, her response also struck a nerve. The first thing she said back was, "Good girl" as if my answer to the question would have changed the type of person I am. Also come to find that this 'out of left field' question was produced because of an assumption that her romantic interest had made about me. Mind you, this person has never met me. The only picture painted of me for this person is through the lens of second hand information.
Reader, I know the truth when it comes to these assumptions, so why is the fact that someone thinks these false thoughts about me have me so perturbed? Why can't I just be like T. Swift and 'shake it off'? Why do I let this stuff affect me the way it does?
I don't know if I'll find the answer today or by the end of this post. What I do know is that regardless of my reaction, regardless of my ability to prove my truth, there will be more people out there to come at me with more. As long as I live, there will be people judging my life through their lens and knowledge reserve. There will not be a shortage of people willing to fill in the blanks of your life without fact checking them first.
Do these people dictate how you live your life? Absolutely not.At the end of the day, the real question is whether or not you're happy with the life you're living? You know you're own truth and you're living your life the best that you can. There is only significance in these statements if you allow them to have power. Right now, I'll admit that part of my power is in their hands. I'm allowing them to affect my mood and my peace of mind. Neither of these things are what I desire, but I have a some work to do until I can walk the walk.
Ultimately reader I don't have an answer for myself on this one. All I can say is I'm not perfect. No one is. We are all out here trying to make the most of the cards we're dealt. We can't always pick the cards we want, but we sure as heck can control how we play them.
One of my favorite quotations is "Seek first to understand." I think in today's society that quote means more now than ever. How about lets make a deal. The next time you find yourself making an unfair judgement or assumption about someone, you go up and compliment that person instead. Find the beauty in their situation, their presence, their persona. Search for the good. Instead of taking what you see at face value, consider the story behind. Search for the positives. The more you train yourself to see the good in things, the easier it will be to recognize it when you come across it.
I'll leave it here for today readers. Go out and make someone smile. Maybe a stranger who you see is down on their luck. The smallest of compliments could make the biggest difference in someone's life. You never know. :) Until next time.
A millennial with a need for an outlet. I write about whatever is inspiring me in the moment.