Empowering journaling prompts and exercises to boost confidence and self esteem.

Adolescence and individuality
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[Day 4] My Unique Awesomeness

Adolescence and individuality

Today is Day 4 of the blog challenge. Still haven’t signed up? Go here and then come back to read this.

Here are the two topics I have to choose from:

1) What is the greatest thing you’ve accomplished in life so far?

OR

2) What are you grateful for? What are the Top 10 things that make your heart sing?

Because I already wrote a post very similar to the number two topic (check it out here), I’m going to challenge myself to write about my accomplishments.

I’ll have to admit, I had to do this at a seminar once (face to face with someone I had to talk about how great I am) and I almost barfed.

I remember being so concerned with how I sounded, how the other person would interpret it, if my accomplishments were even good enough

My thought process was something like this:

What if I sound like I’m full of myself?
What if I offend her?
What if it’s not what she wants to hear?
Does any of this matter?
Am I really great?

From a very young age I was extremely competitive. I had to be the best or I was nothing. I’m not exaggerating. So the fact that I’m here writing and out in the world being seen and heard is a huge accomplishment.

I have so many filters. My 10,000 simultaneous thoughts travel through my fears and beliefs about what I should say and who I should be and all that’s left is a smile or a blank stare.

No people, I’m not shy. I just think too much.

I spend a tremendous amount of energy trying to say the “right” thing.
To do the “right” thing.
To make everyone else happy.

Again, something I learned at a young age.

For survival.
For self-preservation.
Because if I wasn’t that girl, it would cause another fight.
And I didn’t want to be in the middle of it – again.

So I learned to carefully plan every word or keep my mouth shut.

That was then and this is now and I have to remind myself of that often.

I have to remind myself that:

  • It’s okay to be wrong.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes.
  • I’m not responsible for how other people feel.
  • I’m allowed to cry.
  • I’m allowed to feel.
  • I’m allowed to speak.
  • I’m allowed to be quiet.
  • I’m allowed to be me (even if “me” changes her mind constantly).

Every single thing about me is okay.

Knowing this, believing this, feeling this, becoming this…

Is my greatest accomplishment.

Giving birth to an incredible human being who is growing up to be kind, generous, loving, sensitive, in tune and absolutely brilliant would have to be my second.

Not how many gold medals I received as a gymnast
Not how many people are subscribed to my list
Not how many friends I have
Not the car I drive
Not how much money I have
Not all the blog posts I’ve written
Not all the books I’ve published
Not all the certifications

You get the point.

Because none of those mean anything if I can’t accept who I am without the accomplishments.

I don’t need anyone to tell me my worth.

And neither do you.

 

What makes you uniquely awesome? How will you celebrate your individuality today? Leave me a comment below.

Healthy eating for teens
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[Day 3] Food

Healthy eating for teens

It’s day 3 of the 30 day blog challenge. Do you have a blog? If so, you can join the challenge with me and a ton of amazing women here.

The topic today is food. In the past I didn’t have the greatest relationship with food or the body into which I was putting it.

This was especially true during my teen years when I struggled with anorexia and started snorting speed to curb my appetite. As a former gymnast I was judged and critiqued constantly about my body so I was convinced I was fat and needed to be skinny to be acceptable.

(If you haven’t seen the video on my five tips to quit drugs, you can do that here).

The skinny to be acceptable belief was a bunch of bs, by the way.

When I quit drugs the first time (including prescription meds for my “mental illnesses”) I did so by utilizing diet and nutrition. I had been a vegetarian since the age of ten, but not a very healthy one. Boca burgers on wheaty, gluten-filled buns were on the menu at least 3 times a week. And I’m positive all the soy was screwing with my hormones.

I was 18 when my friend staged an intervention for me. She called my boyfriend at the time (the one who was supportive of me, not the one referenced in this post) and had him come pick me up.

We sat at a park in his 280zx talking for hours. I was so out of it I don’t recall the exact conversation, but I do remember how I felt and the decision to stop. I always knew I could stop, but didn’t see the point. It was self-sabotage at its best.

I told him to buy me one last “sack,” so I could ween myself off slowly instead of quitting cold turkey. And I’m happy to say I did.

From there, I read everything I could about getting off drugs. The common thread?

  1. Change what you eat.
  2. Change what you think.
  3. Change who you hang out with.

My biggest life-saving book?

The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity

As I wasn’t a fan of “real” doctors, I was committed to finding a way to do everything naturally. This book helped me do just that. Not only did it help my body, but I found a new hobby I really loved – cooking.

Now, thanks to the beloved internet and the food blogging revolution, I find most of my recipes for myself and 3 (almost 4!) year old online.

He eats meat. I don’t.

We both steer clear from:

  • Cow’s milk (goat please)
  • Soy (too much estrogen is no bueno)
  • Corn (almost all the corn in the world is genetically modified so no thank you)
  • Gluten (my body just doesn’t like it)
  • Strawberries (deathly allergic to the mold)
  • Peanuts (even more deathly allergic)

And I buy organic wherever possible.

I’ve been accused of being picky, but I choose to see it as knowing what my body wants and needs and acting accordingly.

Our bodies are talking to us constantly. Are you listening to yours?

How has food impacted your life? Do you have a favorite recipe or type of food (I love curry). Share it below!

Oh and here’s a non-curry recipe I love making: Baked Red Lentil Falafel

Panic attack help
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How to successfully release worry, anxiety and other sucktastic emotions (includes 3 journaling prompts)

Your thoughts are happening non-stop. And if you think something long enough you’ll start to believe its true. This is how beliefs are formed.

Those of us prone to depression and anxiety tend to dwell and obsess about anything and everything – especially the negative. It’s not usually a conscious choice, but something that became default when we were small children.

Negative thoughts and beliefs are therefor louder and more burdensome because:

1. We are acutely aware of them
2. We think we shouldn’t have them (perfectionism and unreasonable expectations)
3. We think too much in general

For those diagnosed with anxiety disorders and a plethora of other mental illnesses, the mind chatter is incessant, overwhelming and really really annoying. And we make the mistake of believing this is all there is.

Because it blinds us if we let it.

Folks who experience a lot of anxiety are incredibly intelligent, usually perfectionists and almost always highly sensitive people. They feel things (everything) down to the core of their being. So it’s easier to stay in a head space because it feels safer.

But it’s a trap.

Self-created.

Sometimes intentionally, usually unconsciously.

There is, however, always a choice.

Even when something better seems unobtainable, exhausting, impossible. You do have options.

You know how to make yourself feel better, but you forget how when you’re trapped in the infinite thought loop of impending doom.

And I’m not kidding. It can get that bad. Very quickly. You know this.

But if you can remember and demonstrate your power of choice the moment you notice what is happening, you can (lovingly) hijack your thought process and start a new one.

For example, start telling yourself, either in your head or out loud, things that bring you even the slightest bit of relief. Nothing is going to get resolved by you freaking out about it. And the longer you hold yourself in that place, the worse it’s going to get. So try saying something like:

“It’s just an illusion. It’s not going to last forever. I’m just freaking out about nothing. I made a mistake. It’s just my mind. Even though my thoughts feel very real, very scary and true, I love myself anyway. They might be true. Even if they were true, I’d be okay. I always land on my feet. I always get through this…”

And keep going until breathing becomes easier and you start to feel lighter.

Always keep a list on you, that has at least ten things you can do instead of freaking out, or being depressed or whatever it is you struggle with the most.

For me it’s anxiety. So much like the list here, you can create one that says:

“My go-to list of things to do when I’m ______________ (insert poison here).”

Here’s mine:

Panic attack help

And here’s a blank one for you to fill out and keep on you:

image

Don’t be afraid to question the accuracy of your thoughts and fears. Your fear thinks it knows everything, but there is a part of you that knows better. Listen to that part, no matter how faint it is.

And the more you do, the better you’ll feel.

You deserve that.

You deserve to feel good. For absolutely no reason. Even when you make mistakes. Even when everything seems wrong.

Here are some journaling prompts for you to explore. These are also questions that can stop negative thoughts in their tracks, so keep them nearby.

1. My fear – is it a legitimate fear? If yes, why? If no, why?

2. What can I do to accept myself even if the worry stays?

3. What am a believing about myself? Is it true?

Let me know how it goes in the comments section below.

D.H. Lawrence quote
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D.H. Lawrence Quote

D.H. Lawrence quote

I thought I’d switch it up a bit this week and share one of my favorite quotes with you. Which also happens to be a beautiful affirmation.

The first time I saw this D.H. Lawrence quote was in a calendar I bought in Denver while visiting my sister.

Here is an expansion of the quote:

“We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. My soul knows that I am part of the human race, my soul is an organic part of the great human soul, as my spirit is part of my nation. In my own very self, I am part of my family. There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.”

When I read this I experience a vastness and presence I can only describe as absolute beauty.

Accompanied by a feeling of safety. Serenity. Infinity.

What comes up for you when you read it? Please share with me in the comments section below.

just be me quotes
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Just be you (affirmation)

Happy Wednesday! Here is a quick affirmation for you.

just be me quotes

Enjoy! And just be you. 🙂

For more affirmations, go here.

Affirmation for self acceptance
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Self love and acceptance [affirmation]

We are imperfect creatures.

When we set our expectations so high (our society doesn’t exactly help) and feel we will only love ourselves when

Dot dot dot

Fill in the blank.

We set ourselves up to feel like crap about who we are.

Over and over.

Today, rather than hiding your perceived flaws, embrace them.

Thank them for giving you the opportunity to aknowledge and appreciate yourself.

Then give this affirmation a try.

Affirmation for self acceptance

 

You are more beautiful than you even know and you don’t need anyone else to see it to know it.

For more affirmations, go here.

Journaling saved my life
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Journaling saved my life (includes journal writing prompts)

Journaling saved my life

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.

Journaling saved my life.

When I couldn’t speak my truth, I wrote it.

I always had trouble talking. Some would call it being “shy.” Many thought I didn’t have anything to say.

But I did.

I was just so overwhelmed by my surroundings and my thoughts and emotions were so strong that my mind felt constantly bombarded.

My journal then became the place to process all this stuff going on.

When I was having panic attacks on the regular writing helped me get through it.

When my addictions got the best of me, I found my way back to myself by way of my journal.

How?

Because it allowed me to identify what was going on within and around me. Self-awareness is the key to changing anything about ourselves. If we don’t have a clue why we’re feeling the way we are, there isn’t any (healthy) way to release it.

Some people can talk to others, but because I was (and am) so sensitive I had trouble telling the difference between my own thoughts and feelings and those from the people around me. I had to process everything in solitude.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me, but I’m just an introvert.

Some might also call it being an empath.

Whatever you want to call it, it was unbearable during my younger years because I didn’t know how to manage it.

Which you would soon discover if you were to read any of the 20+ journals I have stacked in my closet.

But I digress…

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because I want to encourage you to find your “thing.”

You know, the thing that keeps you going.

The place you feel you can be unapologetically you.

Where you don’t have to censor your thoughts or your feelings or emotions. A place where you can say screw the filter, THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY.

We get so caught up in what other people think about us or what we believe others think of us that we lose pieces of ourselves.

This quote comes to mind:

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” -Wayne Dyer

But what you think of you is completely your business and it’s up to you to decide how you feel about yourself.

You have the right to feel how you feel.

More importantly, you have the right to be who you are.

It’s up to you to find the “you” you want to be.

Some questions to ask yourself:

When do I feel I am most myself?

How do I really feel about this situation vs. what I would say if someone asked me?

Where am I not being true to myself?

My favorite journaling people & their websites:

Nathan Ohren @ Write4Life

Mari McCarthy @ CreateWriteNow

Lynda Monk @ Creative Wellness Works

 

So tell me…

What’s your thing? Let’s get the conversation going!

Build your teen's self-esteem
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Self-worth (affirmation)

Today’s affirmation is especially helpful to teenagers who’ve been affected by bullying.

You are stronger than the words and actions of others and you don’t have to believe what anyone says about you.

You get to decide.

Say this to yourself when you’re feeling down to bring yourself back up.

Build your teen's self-esteem

For more affirmations go here.

or follow me on Instagram: @dandeliongreen

helping someone who self-harms
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Helping someone who self-harms (part two)

helping someone who self-harms

This is part two of helping someone who self-harms. The first post can be found here.

Despite what many think, most teens who self-harm don’t really want to hurt themselves. They just want to stop feeling the immense pressure and loneliness that comes from not feeling safe to express who they are. The most common reason anyone self-injures is as a last resort. There is literally no other option available in the moment someone makes this decision.

When they feel like they need to be okay so you’ll be okay this creates increased pressure and anxiety and makes the urge to cut even stronger.

As a parent or someone who is working with a teenager who is self-injuring, of course you want them to stop. But here’s the thing: they want to stop too. It just becomes such a natural response to stress – the go-to thing and in fact the only thing that brings relief.

Yes, it’s a bad decision. Yes you want them to stop. But the cutting is here to show you something. Where is your child not feeling safe to express his/her feelings?

Be willing to explore this. And be willing to go through your own feelings about the situation.

Do you feel like you’ve done everything and start to question your parenting and wonder what went wrong? When did this happen? Why did this happen? These questions and the thoughts that follow generally bring you to a place of needing to fix it right now, but let me tell you something:

It’s less about what you do and more about who you are when you’re with your son or daughter. They want you to see them for who they are not what’s happening to them. The more you can do this and the more things you can find to appreciate about your teen, the faster his or her recovery will be.

You have to accept and surrender to the fact that he or she is not okay. And you also have to know it’s not your fault. Absolutely create a plan to keep your teen safe, but when it comes to talking about it, don’t press.

Here are three things to do instead:
1. Acknowledge

Say something like, “it’s good to see you,” or “how was your day?” (don’t ask “did you have a good day?” – keep the questions open ended), or “You look upset. Would you like to talk about it?” Be okay if they say no and make sure to say this out loud. Possibly even say something like “Well that makes me feel ________, but I understand and respect your decisions. You make good decisions and I know you’ll find a positive way to express it if you need to. I’m here if you need anything.”

2. Listen

Be willing to hear what your teen has to say without offering advice or trying to fix. Make sure to try to make eye contact. If they don’t want to look at you, let that be okay.

3. Appreciate

Deliberately look for things to appreciate about your teenager. Find and focus on all the little things your teen does well. It could be anything from the way they handled a situation to doing the dishes without you having to ask a thousand times. Even if it was 999 times, focus on the improvement.

Ultimately this is a collaborative effort where all parties must learn how to cope, communicate with and appreciate one another. You’re in this together and can start to change the family dynamic. I know you’re going to get through this.

Journal prompts to explore
For parents: What fears do you have as a parent? Where are you taking responsibility for these fears? In what areas aren’t you?
For teens: What is the feeling that most often leads to you cutting? 
How can you allow yourself to experience this feeling without needing to cut? i.e. Write about it, talk to someone about it, scream into a pillow, etc. In other words how can you express this feeling in a way that doesn’t hurt you?
Would you like additional support from me? Sign up for a free consultation below.

Teens go here.

Parents/Teachers/Counselors go here.

Space is limited so please take advantage of this offer as soon as possible.

 

Questions or comments? Submit them using the form below.

 

Tell an adult
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About this “tell an adult” stigma that drives teens crazy

Tell an adult

This post is for teenagers! My intention is to help you better understand where the adults in your life are coming from. And to help them better understand you too.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of High School students (shout out to the Veteran’s Tribute Career and Technical Academy [VTCTA]!) who are helping me with a county-wide project which will bring suicide prevention posters to schools. The posters are to be created by students – for students.

This is quite different and quite brilliant which is why I am so excited to be part of it. I’d also like to thank the Clark County Children’s Mental Health Consortium and the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention (of which I am a member) for bringing me in.

Anyway, while at the school, I asked the students why they felt this project is so important and asked them to share any comments they had.

It is so amazing what happens when you just ask.

Initially very few said anything, but luckily I had a backup plan. I had created an online form for them to fill out. Why? Because I know it’s much easier to write about these things than talk about them. Hence my fascination with journaling.

A concern that came up was the “tell an adult” stigma that surrounds any young person who is having a challenge. The feedback was:

“It doesn’t really seem like counselors, teachers, parents, etc. act like they want to help depressed/suicidal teens and then are horrible at helping and giving advice.”

It is not uncommon for young people to feel this way. And often times it is true. You can tell when someone really cares about you. I know you can. I also know most adults get angry when you bring this up to them.

But don’t stop speaking up for fear of upsetting someone.

If you’ve got something to say, say it. Your opinion does matter.

And you deserve to voice it.

But guys, it’s not their fault. They have a lot going on too. Trust me when I say, being a parent is really challenging to say the least.

Many adults have not yet realized that you are here to teach them just as much as they are to teach you.

Do you know this? It is absolutely 100% true.

Your parents were brought up the same way they’re bringing you up – probably even worse and I’m sure they make this known, but I can guarantee they are making the best choices they have available to them.

I know what you mean though when you say you don’t want to tell an adult.

When I was hospitalized (for drugs and cutting), it was one of the worst experiences of my life for that reason. I didn’t feel anyone there had my best interest in mind. I didn’t even feel like a human being when I was there. It was as if no one saw me – just my bi-polar disorder and my ADD and the cuts on my arms.

You don’t want to be ridiculed.

You don’t want to be fixed.

But you have to know not everyone is as you think they are. Just as you are not as they think you are. There is a lot of misunderstanding that takes place and it took me a long time to forgive and learn to understand that the adults that were around me were just doing their job.

I didn’t come with a manual.

And unfortunately learning how to treat ourselves with love and respect is not a huge part of the high school curriculum (though it should be).

Fortunately, however there are very bold and courageous people out there who are doing things differently. Who are advocating for you. My husband (who is finishing up his masters in social work) is one of these people.

He and I (and so many others I have been meeting and connecting with) are vouching for you because we know and believe with all of our hearts:

You are highly intelligent, sensitive, brilliant and so much more.

And yes it would be really nice and really awesome if everyone saw you this way.

But not everyone will.

The thing is though, you still have to tell an adult about what’s going on. Your parents love you and worry about it. This will make a lot more sense when you get older, but for now just take my word for it.

Find someone who feels safe and you feel you can trust.

Allow them to be a bridge between you and your parents. If it’s your friend they will likely side with you and if it’s another adult like a teacher or counselor, they’re likely to side with your parents.

So find someone who is neutral.

It is SO IMPORTANT to find some middle ground so both parties can feel safe and be heard.

As a teen, you do know what you need and who can help you – much more than most people give you credit for. And you also have the right to choose which adults you want in your life (not your parents, you’re stuck with them :)).

So YES, absolutely talk to the person who feels best to you (like your friend or a girlfriend or boyfriend), but know that “telling an adult” will have to happen eventually. Your parents have the right to know what’s going on with you.

And believe it or not they really do love you.

 

Pointer for adults: The main reason kids don’t want to open up to you is because they feel you aren’t empathizing with what they are going through. All they want is for you to be real.

How did this article land for you? Please share your comments below.