How to Stop The Thing That Drives You Crazy

propic11_1This Post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Let’s face it. We all have something that makes us grit our teeth and feel the pressure rising. Be it a friend who always calls at the wrong time, past mistakes that haunt you, not sleeping because your mind is whirling and planning for what you’ll do tomorrow, and dozens of other things.

You can stop the madness if you do a few simple exercises.

  • Meditate (try it, it really works!)file000896583812
  • Think about the negative problem in a positive way – it may change the situation entirely.
  • Ignore the thing that bothers you (you’ll have to be persistent or it might reappear.)
  • Gently tell the person making you emotionally upset that it would be better for you if she only called once a week and at a different time. Explain your situation. Honesty is always best and if he or she gets mad then it becomes their problem and not yours.
  • If you have trouble sleeping because you are planning tomorrow there are a couple of things you can do. Keep a notebook beside your bed and journal for 10 minutes about the good things that have happened during your day. It’s relaxing and will help you ignore what’s coming up.  Try quiet music and when thoughts interfere tell them to “get out!” I know that one works because I’ve used it for mistakes I’ve made in the past. Think about something or someone you love, a place you love to be ( in my case it’s either my favorite beach in Mexico or our summer home at the lake.)
  • If it’s something your spouse does it’s a little trickier, but I find that asking for a little time and being honest about my feelings works. Sometimes your spouse doesn’t even realize there’s a problem.
  • Don’t use a clock beside your bed that is red or blue. Be sure it’s green (I’m talking digital here). I learned this one in Day Treatment and it turns out a study was done on this very thing with Bipolar patients who couldn’t sleep. An even better solution is to not have a clock at all. I turn mine on its face before I go to sleep.file0001161786140-2
  • Prayer works, no matter what your faith.
  • Delving into your emotional side and figuring out why the problem drives you crazy is good and you may decide it’s not such a big thing at all.
  • I have a problem right now that is driving me crazy. I was thinking about it constantly and it often made me cry or go the other way and have such a burst of energy I couldn’t cope. My therapist and I came up with an unusual solution that I’ll share here. I set my phone alarm for every hour I’m up during the day. When the alarm rings I am in the present and as I shut it off I think of where I am right now. If it’s not a good place I then realize it and can take steps to change it, whether it be a short walk, playing with my dog, reading, etc. It takes me out of what I was doing and changes my mood for the better while I do something I like.SMARTPHONE 1

I hope some of these solutions help. I’m sure there are many more, but these are the ones that work for me. If you have other solutions or ideas, why not share it in the comments section?

 

 

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Mindfulness

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Have you heard of Mindfulness? It’s a word that is being used quite frequently these days. Dictionary.com defines mindfulness as:

noun

1.

the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.

2.

Psychology.

  • a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, 2013-01-04 22.53.31experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them: The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.

the mental state maintained by the use of this technique.

It’s a hurry-scurry world in which we live and taking a moment or two out of our day is a good thing. It helps reduce stress, thus making us more relaxed and aware of our surroundings. In a counseling class I’m taking, we are urged to stop at random during the day, think of where we are, what we’re thinking about, and focus on what we are feeling at that very minute. It does amazing things for the body, for putting oneself in the here and now, not worrying about the past or future; making one concentrate on the present and helps to clear the mind. Much like meditation, mindfulness lets you relax and forget about the busy world around you for a second. Even that minute amount of time is sufficient to place one in a happier, more relaxed mindset.

There is a lot of research on the Internet about mindfulness but I wanted to write a short post, so I’ll leave it to you to do that search yourself. Here are a couple of links I liked when I Googled mindfulness.

I like the Bell of Mindfulness because it gives you quiet music to listen to and suddenly a gong rings to bring you to attention. Very good for learning to practice mindfulness.

file0001052140987The Bell of Mindfulness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUzBYkOJOqo

I read an article I found in Science Daily that says mindfulness has been shown to make the workplace more relaxing and less resistance is found between workers. Science Daily – Mindfulness in the Workplace

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160310141455.htm

You can go to iTunes and purchase an app called The Mindfulness App ($1.99). I think I’ll give it a try.

The Mindfulness App: Guided and Silent Meditations to Relax

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mindfulness-app-guided-silent/id417071430?mt=8

No matter how you choose to do it, try to fit mindfulness into your day. We writers tend to get so involved in our work some days that we get headaches, tense muscles, etc. Stopping for a quick minute could help alleviate that..mindDo any of you practice mindfulness?  What does it mean to you?  Does it help you de-stress?  I’d love to know

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Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

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Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

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Picture This by SJ

Sue profile_pp This Post by S. J. Brown

Recently I was asked to give a talk about using photographs when writing. As a wildlife photographer photographs are an intimate part of my writing. I begin with the image, then write the words. With the aid of the internet you can literally have any type of image at your fingertips. Images can be part of anyone’s process. 

All Writers strive to create an image in the minds of the reader. By using photographs your description can help the reader visualize the subject, the setting, or set the mood.

1 Scenic

By noting the bareness of the trees and the ice on the water in this image you can add to your description and not use the word cold.

Having an image in front of you helps add subtle details to round out the surroundings in your story. A butterfly can convey a peaceful scene, or a warm day.  

2 Butterfly

Viewing photos can produce a chuckle, and calm you down so you can get in the mood to write.

3 Lemur

It doesn’t matter what genre you write images can play an important part in your process.

If you are writing a memoir Family photos are important.

4 Family

If you are working on a historical piece or western having an image can help tell the reader about the personality of a character. Weather the horse is well feed or groomed says a lot about it’s owner.

5 Horse

Suppose your story might benefit from the addition of a vulture, but you have never been close to one. A photograph could give you a close up view.

6 Vulture

The most important image to any author is their book cover. Don’t just gloss over this part of your book. It is important!

Cover 3-26-23

This cover grabs peoples attention, It says look at me. The fact that it my case it is a photograph and not an illustration says something too. This is the readers first impression of your work. It has to say take me home.

Back Cover 4-24-2013

S. J. Brown’s book Close Ups & Close encounters contains over 50 images along with the stories behind getting those images.  It is available at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Her children’s picture books are available through her website at http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

All the Birds I See CoverCover

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

Place-based Writing: A Sense of Place

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

I recently learned about place-based education as I interviewed and then wrote a story about a new program called Teachers on Public Lands, developed and administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The article, about a Casper, Wyo. teacher who is participating in the program, appears in the Casper Journal.

I recently traveled to some places and was blessed to spend time in areas new or fairly new to me, including Albuquerque, NM and Colorado Springs, CO. My friend Stacy and I visited a nature center near the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, filled with flowers, trees, birds and bees. I was also fortunate to share time with fellow Writing Wranglers and Warriors blogger Doris McGraw who uses setting and place beautifully in her writings, both poetry and prose. She took me to Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs and provided me with snippets of area history. I felt awed and inspired!

Garden of Gods2Garden of the Gods – Colorado

Places are important – whether that’s home, a forest, a river, an ocean, a garden or a wilderness. We can write about places and we can find inspired writing time in different spaces. Place triggers the senses: pine or rose, rain or dirt, cascading waters or buzzing bees. One fond early memory for me is sitting beneath a burgeoning red cedar tree in Iowa, listening to an owl hoot, and inhaling the sweet fragrance of fresh rain, more aromatic due to the scent of cedar. I grew up on a small farm in southeastern Iowa and the smells, sights, and sounds still occasionally flood my memory banks like the Mississippi River itself. So do recollections of times spent in Yellowstone Park and hiking mountain trails in Montana with my parents. My special place and unique writing space now is our cabin in the mountains above Casper where pine squirrels race among fallen logs, deer graze on lanky grasses, and chickadees twitter from lodgepole branches.

Irwin Cabin

I will soon embark upon an excursion with my dad, visiting national parks in southern Utah as well as the Grand Canyon. Red sandstone, Native cliff dwellings, and prickly pear and saguaro cacti await us as well as crimson sunsets and speeding lizards. I look forward to soaking up sunshine and experiencing sights, sounds and smells foreign to my space in Wyoming.

Setting – an important component to one’s writing. Whether a novel, short story, or essay, the setting or sense of place and space can be integral to a writer’s muse. Perhaps that place is part of the story or the inspiration thereof. Perhaps the place is the writer’s space, where one feels most comfortable composing the stories which readers will read. Just as place-based education can and often does enhance student learning, so place-based writing impacts the author … and often the reader.

Crazy MtnsThis year I’ve been blessed to write a few essays for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric Network) magazine, each with a heightened sense of place: “Setting Aside for Solace” speaks to the need of the human soul for quiet, whether that be a ranch along a river, a mountain stream in a wilderness, or a flower garden in the city; “Making Memories” recalls many childhood outdoor experiences shared with my parents, including camping, fishing, and hiking; and “Joy of Discovery” showcases the numerous outdoor treasures found at my current forest haven/cabin – all three articles embrace a strong sense of space.

Do you bring a sense of place into your writing? Is setting a strong component of your stories and books? Do you have a favorite place, an amazing space, that touches your heart? Do you have a special writing space? I’d like to hear your thoughts on the sense of place in your life and your writing.

Happy Trails to you! I’m looking forward to my next trail with the amazing places I’ll share with my dad later this month! More space- and place- posts to come!

Mom and Dad_RockyMtnParkGayle’s parents

 

Gayle & Mary outsideGayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, including the latest dog book The Dog Did What?, released August 19, 2014. She also writes for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric Network), Crossroads, and Our Town Casper magazines, as well as for the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers, and she’s had articles published in Creation Illustrated magazine. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

 

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