personal growth

5 Things I did to Win My Husband Back

 Relationship advice for Women - how to strengthen your relationship. Relationship tips. 

How I Won My Husband Back in The Darkest of Times

Do you ever get the feeling that your marriage is slipping away from you? Like all of the sudden, you realize your once dedicated and happy relationship somehow took a turn for the worse?

You're in a funk like you've never experienced before, and when you watched those latest episodes of Blackish, you can't help but cry your eyes out because what they go through in their marriage...that's you.

How did we get here? What am I doing wrong?

Now that you are here, what do you do before it's too late? Before one of you jumps off the edge that love cliff you've slowly been inching towards over the years.

These questions consume your mind like cancer, and while you see those sneaky little disrespectful and unloving gestures you have towards one another, you have somehow given up doing anything about it. 

You used to think, 'I need to work on that.' Now, you don't even bother because getting through the day without an argument or a snarky remark is a thing of the past. 

It's your new normal. 

One day, you realize that you've let laziness get the better of your relationship, and you're both at a place where you're not sure where to go or what to do next. 

I've been there. Worst of all, it lasted about two years. 

Thankfully, my husband and I had one thing going for us. No matter what, we've got this crazy passion for one another that keeps us alive. We are so in love, but often times, we struggled to keep that passion under control when it got angry. 

Why being in love isn't enough. 

I am SO in love with my crazy, European, stubborn, hunk of a man. But boy can he drive me NUTS! I know I am just as stubborn. He would tell you I'm more stubborn, but I highly doubt an American can be more stubborn than a German - it's just science. 

So yeah, we are both stubborn which makes for some pretty interesting "discussions," but we've got the love! Why wasn't that enough?

I'll tell you. It all started with the good old fashioned "bad circumstances."

In every relationship, you have your strengths and your weaknesses. For us, we had drive, commitment, passion, and love, but we lacked communication - which caused arguments frequently and persistently. Some of you have great communication, which benefits your understanding, mutual respect, and lack of arguments; yet you seem to be missing passion. 

Those of you who have it all, just go away. No one wants you here.

Just kidding. But really. You're exhausting.

What I'm saying is we ALL have something to work on in our relationships, so don't be discouraged if this is you. 

I was there once, fighting and wondering when the love was going to outweigh the desire to not want to be around my husband. 

For us, we had a few hard things that happened in our life, and because of our lack of good communication, our marriage suffered. Believe you me, I'm super good at communicating now. I can tell you exactly what you SHOULDN'T say to your spouse. I even wrote an article about it!

In fact, I've learned SO MUCH those crazy awful two years of my marriage, that I wanted to pass along my infinite wisdom - because guess what...we came out of it! Praise God! And honestly, it was only because of God that we did. If you invite God into your relationship, I can tell you this much - you'll have much more of a fighting chance. 

Now that I've gotten completely off topic, let's get back to why love isn't enough. 

If love were enough, I believe there would be a lot of people still married that aren't today. 

"All you need is love?" I'm sorry, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I don't agree. 

Why? Um, off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure that commitment is needed. What happens when $*** hits the fan? Or what about grace - when $*** hits the fan? I believe a little respect and understanding should be thrown in there as well, right?

What I'm saying is, you can love someone, but at the same time have an awful relationship. I did at one point. So yeah, sure, all you need is love, but it probably won't be the most fulfilling or happiest of relationships. 

Let me get to the crux of the matter. 

If we really loved one another the way these verses speak of love, then we would be all set. Love really would be all we needed. But what has love morphed into these days? A self-fulfilling cesspool of needs needing to be met, and if they're not...screw you! I'm leaving!

But, if we go back to what love really is? Maybe, just maybe we could get somewhere. In fact, that's what I did. I said enough is enough. I said, "God, please don't let me give up!" Then, I got down from my high horse and pulled myself up by my bootstraps. I was ready to take this thing head on because that crazy, stubborn hunk of a German is worth it to me. 

Is it worth it?

That's what you have to ask yourself. If your marriage worth it? Do you really think you'll be better off without him? If you're like me, then you realize you can't live with him, and you can't live without him - so why not live with him, but also have it be wonderful?

Here's what I did...because, after everything, we did start to lose one another. Our circumstances and selfishness got the better of us. What we thought would never happen to us, did. But guess what? I am living proof that it's NEVER too late to turn things around. 

5 Things I did to win my man back

1. I stopped trying to control him.

I have control issues. Here's a whole other article I wrote on the matter.  It's hard work to not be controlling. But it isn't as hard as controlling! Once, I, like Pharaoh, finally let my person go, I never looked back.

It took me awhile to get there, so make sure you check out my "Don't Eff This One Up," ritual I perform before communicating something difficult. For me, trying to control everything, including how we communicate, never got me anywhere. 

2. I grew personally and spiritually.

This looks different for everyone, but for me, it meant doubling down in humility, lifting up those nasty rugs to clean that dirt I've been shoving under there for years, and face my issues head-on. 

It helped me so much, that I wrote an ebook about it! If discovering your self-esteem is something that might interest you then subscribe here to make sure you're in the loop on when that comes out. Plus you get a cool guide I wrote on how to strengthen your relationship along with it. 

So yeah, that was my biggest hurdle to overcome..my self-worth, self-esteem, self-love, whatever they call it these days. But like I said, growing personally/spiritually looks different for everyone, so whatever you have to do to look inside, self-reflect, and make sure you're doing your part - do that! 

Not only will this enable you to be mentally healthy for yourself, it will, in turn, benefit your relationship. 

3. I started to really try and discover what makes him tick.

A man loves it when you can give him these things.  Just two things. With a billion other sub-things. Sub categories or ideas of ways you can be the wife you want to be. Trust me...you will want to read that list. It basically sums up what a guy wants. It's not easy, but if you want to do your part, then it's best to start there. 

How awesome would it be if your husband got some list that was full of all of the things you would love for him to do. Wouldn't you appreciate him taking the time and effort to want to fulfill those desires you have? It's important to be humble for this one. I had to let a lot of things go that I needed, in order to see clearly as to what he needed. 

In return, he started meeting my needs as well. It's the ever so popular love and respect cycle that every couple will benefit from.

4. I realized that respecting him was more important than anything else.

Respect comes in many forms and every guy feels respected differently. Just like you want love, he wants respect. In my opinion, this doesn't mean what most people think it means - making him a scotch, giving him a foot massage, and letting him fall asleep to his favorite T.V. show on the couch. Although, that might be a nice gesture. No, I'm not talking about the Mad Men type of respect, but rather the "I admire and look up to who you are," type of respect. 

Yes, it is a choice to respect your husband. Just like he has to choose to show you, love. LOVE IS A CHOICE AND SO IS RESPECT!

There, I said it. 

5. Last but not least - I gave him grace.

Ugh. Grace. It's so so very hard to give someone grace, especially if they have broken your trust. I have realized that trying to be like Jesus doesn't come easily or naturally. Grace is possibly the hardest gift to give in a relationship.

Not only will portraying grace to your spouse show him your desire to work through ANYTHING in your relationship, it will give you an amazing freedom in your own personal life. It goes hand in hand with letting go of control - you might start discovering what peace and joy actually feel like. 

When we give someone grace we basically give them the greatest form of love. It's saying, "yeah, what you did hurt me, but I love you anyway." Now that's love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

What Happens When You Discover Your Self-Worth?

 discover your self-worth and see what amazing things happen!

It can feel very discouraging when you don't know your own value or self-worth. Life suddenly becomes a burden, and in all reality, you aren't quite sure how you got there or why. Once you realize your own worth, it will not only allow you to stop looking inward and being self-focused, it will free your mind to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

First, let's talk about what self-worth is. Self-worth is the sense of one's own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect.

Our self-worth is a very delicate and fickle thing that consists of many layers. Your upbringing, past, lies you believe, and circumstances can all play a role in why you can't discover your self-worth. But I believe there is one culprit where all things negative stem from. Our minds. Ourselves. 

When you let negative thoughts about yourself and others begin to culminate in your mind, you will actually change the physical make-up of your brain. Learn more about that in this book here. Ultimately, you will lessen your chances of discovering your self-worth. We were not created to think negatively - because when our brains begin to change from our negative thoughts, our health changes for the worse, both physically and mentally. 

This brings me to the first wonderful thing that happens when we discover our self-worth.

Our Brains and Bodies will Heal

Bear with me for a minute. If you read this book I was referring to earlier, you will discover more in depth what I'm talking about. But basically, all you need to know is that when you stop believing lies and thinking negative thoughts about yourself, you can heal your brain.

Did you ever wonder why your body hurts when you're depressed? 

Not only will your brain begin to heal when you start seeing your self-worth, your body will heal. So many times our physical ailments go back to one source - our minds. So, if we nurture our minds and grow personally, discover who we are and what our self-worth is, we can truly start to move forward in life. Our brains will begin to heal, which will, in turn, benefit our overall health.

 discovering your self-worth - what is does and how you can heal your brain. 

We Become Selfless

One would think that the opposite would happen when you discover your self-worth - that it would cause you to be self-focused and overly confident. But I believe the opposite. There have been times in my life when my insecurity and lack of self-confidence was ruling my heart. Because of that, I couldn't see past my own nose in helping others or even getting out of the house to meet a friend. 

How can you be there for others when you are constantly worrying about what others think, or whether we are good enough? You can't. Having no self-worth will only hinder you from your relationships with other people. Discovering your worth will free your mind of yourself so that you can be confident to love others the way they deserve.

We Become Grateful

When you are focused on yourself and how you aren't enough, you rob yourself blind of the joy that God intends for your life. He has given us so much to be grateful for, including our bodies and our minds. When we look at those things like they aren't good enough, we basically say to God that He didn't do a good job - that He fell short. 

What do these verses from Psalm 139 tell us about our self-worth?

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

When you see yourself as being created by a loving God who made you unique and special the way you are, you are ultimately having gratitude. 

We Will Start Living Our Lives

So many times, I have been held back by my own detrimental thoughts about myself. It has caused me to miss amazing opportunities that will never come again. I have learned from those experiences that I am in control of certain aspects of what happens in my life. This control comes with my free will, and ability to make decisions. Obviously, there is much we can't control, but I'm talking about learning to control your thoughts, first and foremost. Yes, we can control our thoughts!

Once you discover your self-worth, you will no longer be held back by the tossing and turning of your circumstances. You will be grounded in who you are; knowing the purpose and plan God has for your life, and begin to live from that mindset, instead of fear. 

Not everyone believes her and not everyone supports her, but her God goes with her and that’s what sustains her.
— Morgan Harper-Nichols

Who we are, and our identity in who God made us to be, will drive our thoughts, decisions, and ability to live our lives. 

This doesn't mean our suffering or trials will cease; but rather, when our trials come we will be better equipped to know where our source of strength comes from - a God who loves us and made us just the way we were supposed to be. 

How To Support A Struggling Spouse

 how to help your spouse in need - a struggling spouse who needs encouragement - relationship advice

It's no question that we all go through difficult times. It's hard to keep yourself going, let alone try and encourage your spouse who is also going through a season of struggle. So, how can we keep going, as well as support the person we love through their difficult time? It's not easy.

There have been times in my life when I didn't know how to take another step. Thankfully, I had a few people in my life to encourage and help me through it, and most importantly, a God who never left my side. Even though I wasn't able to recover right away when overcoming my struggles, with time and perseverance, I finally came out of it. 

But if I can be completely honest, during the time of struggle, it was proved challenging to see a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what anyone said to me. The hope I knew and trusted had suddenly left this deep gushing wound in my heart, and I couldn't even lift my hand to try and stop the bleeding. 

To make matters worse, my husband was also going through his own battles at the same time. As you can imagine, our household wasn't always roses. 

Through my journey, I was able to cling to a few things that helped me get through, as well as encourage my spouse along the way. So whether you are both going through a difficult time, or just your spouse, these methods were helpful for us in getting through a season of doubt and depression.

Here are a few tips to help you encourage your struggling spouse

 

Don't take everything personally

If you're a sensitive person like me, then it's hard to not take your partners struggles as some sort of personal vendetta against you. 

It isn't easy for someone to know how they come across when they are struggling. It's most likely what they are struggling with has nothing to do with you, so it's important to accept that it isn't you, and not take it personally.

This will enable you to support them and be there for them when they are struggling, instead of making the problem about something it's not. 

Encourage them to seek help.

If you are also struggling, it may be beneficial for someone else to come alongside them and encourage them. Having your own struggles in and of itself is challenging enough. 

Sometimes, it's difficult to take advice from those who are closest to us. Getting an unbiased outside perspective can offer a refreshing new opportunity.

It's their choice whether or not they want to seek help and there's not much you can do about it if they don't. Sometimes when they see you getting better with outside help, it will motivate them to also seek out help.

Don't expect them to see reality right now

When I was struggling, it was hard to see things for what they were. My mind was cloudy and unable to perceive what was reality and what were lies I was believing. 

Encourage them to see things for what they are, but when they don't respond to that, let it go. They need to go through whatever they are going through in order for them to genuinely see reality.

Let Go Of Your Need To Control!

Pray for them

I have this innate character trait to want to make everything better on my own terms and in my own time.

This not only proves to be exhausting for me, but it doesn't work.

Accept that your partner is going through a rough time - there's not much you can do about it, except be there for them. 

For me, this meant that all I could was pray, wait for, and encourage them. 

Ask them how you can pray for them. Sometimes making it about a prayer, and not their feelings, will help them open up more and share what's on their heart.

Ask them what it is they need

When one is struggling, they sometimes don't know what it is they need. So, my advice for you would be this - Ask them what they might need, but also name off a few things that you think they might need. You, after all, know them more than anyone else does. Try naming off things that you know they love, and see if they are open for it. 

For them to know that you take interest in doing something they want to do, might make it easier for them to do it.

Be supportive and patient

There is no timeframe for things such as these. Who knows how long your partner will struggle. It's important to be patient and supportive during this time. If you aren't, it can cause things to get worse; such as creating other problems in your relationship. 

7 Things You Should Never Say To Your Spouse

Live your own life

Just because your partner is struggling, doesn't mean you can't live your life. Go do things with friends or your kids. Seek counsel if you yourself are struggling. It's important that you are also nurturing your own personal and spiritual growth while taking steps to be who you want to be. 

This was probably my biggest struggle when my spouse was going through a rough time. It was hard for me to focus on my own personal well-being while looking after my husband's as well. Even though it was difficult for me to go through this, it made me realize that I need to live my own life, and not expect that my spouse meet all of my needs. 

In order for me to get through the struggles of my life and relationships, I first needed to understand that it's not my partner's responsibility to make me happy. 

This concept freed my mind to be there for my husband because I wasn't operating from him always pleasing me, rather from God giving me the strength to get through it. 

8 Things A Man Needs That He Will Never Tell You Himself

If you've ever gone through a tough time, then you would know how meaningful it is when someone goes the extra mile for you. It makes you feel important and loved. 

Try doing this for your partner. They need to know that someone cares about them, and it may not be something they will be able to express right now. 

What are some ways that you have helped a spouse in need? I would love to hear your thoughts!

What are the Two Things Men Want Most in a Woman?

 what do men want most in a woman? relationship advice for women. How to build a better relationship. 

When I think of what men in general want, I'm pretty sure I can break it down into two simple categories. The thing is, those two categories each have a million subcategories. You will know more than anyone what your man wants, but it also takes time and energy to really dip deep and figure those things out. Here is what I have discovered upon being married for almost ten years, not necessarily about what he wants, but what he most loves about me. 

What do men most want in a woman? 

1. A woman who admires and desires him. 

2. A woman who respects him. 

So, there you have it. Seems pretty attainable and simple, right? Wrong.

This post contains affiliate links - see disclosure here. 

My husband is a wonderful man. He is full of surprises that keep me on my feet, but he is anything but simple - and what he wants is sometimes very hard for me to pinpoint. In fact, there are times I might have more luck looking for the long-lost Merchant Royal ship than figuring out his needs.

Stated above is a simple breakdown of what men in general might want. But what we need to realize as their spouse's, is that they really do go much deeper than that, whether they want to admit it or not. 

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I know that I married someone who is very different, special, and eclectic in comparison to other men. He is European, masculine, adventurous, stylish, attractive, brilliantly smart, loves Jesus, has an opinion about what color of pillows we have, AND goes shopping with me. I mean, he's the full package and I consider myself a very blessed woman. But it's also taken me a very long time to figure all of the ins and outs of his needs, as well as the things I can offer to him that he loves. I desire to be the woman he wants, and I know that deep down I am because he doesn't have unrealistic expectations of me - but I also want to make sure that without changing who I am, I am being attentive to what it is that he wants. If I stop trying to do that, it means I've stopped trying to get to know him more. It's from there that relationship problems begin to take root - when we've stopped trying.

I screw up on a daily basis of being the wife I know he deserves, but thankfully that is what a relationship can be about if you give it grace - trial and error. 

Here are all the subcategories of what I think a man might want most in a woman. 

Category - Affection/Sex

It's no surprise that this is how men work. Did you know that in your marriage, a man feels most loved when their physical needs are met, as well as when they are respected? 

Both are the surest way to a man's heart. It's how God made them. Just like you feel loved when your husband is understanding, kind, and gentle, he feels loved when you are intimate and respectful. 

So what do men desire under the affection/sex category?

a.) An attractive spouse - not by anyone else's standards, but by their own. If he picked you, you're most likely already giving him what he wants in that!

b.) For us to desire them - Guys don't always want to initiate. They love it when we show interest.

c.) Confidence in who we are.

d.) For us to take care of ourselves, not only physically but also mentally. 

e.) A real connection with YOU.

f.) Surprise and passion.

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Category - Respect

Men are complicated. I don't care what anyone else says. They might say they aren't, but their subcategories can go so deep down that you can get easily lost in that man cave. Here are some ways that we as women can show our husbands respect.

All of the links go more in-depth on each topic.

a.) Admire who he is.

b.) Support what he does.

c.) Give helpful opinions - not ones that are laced with selfishness or ulterior motives.

d.) Good communication - no nagging or accusing

e.) A best friend to do things with that he enjoys as well.

f.) Someone he can talk to about anything - even the tough stuff without being judged.

g.) A life-giver, not a soul sucker. 

h.) A woman who looks after her own spiritual and personal growth.

i.) A patient and loving mother

j.) Waiting to address something you're upset about when you're alone and not at a dinner party.

k.) A woman who doesn't correct his parenting skills in front of your kids.

l.) Goes on adventures with him.

m.) Say yes more than no. 

n.) A free thinker - someone who thinks for herself and isn't needy. 

o.) In hard times, a shoulder to lean on and the ability to sometimes be stronger than he is. 

p.) Let things go and picking your battles

q.) Transparent and honest.

r.) Knowing when to bring up the hard things.

s.) Accepting of who he is, how he is. 

t.) Listen attentively to those seldom moments he opens up and shares his heart.

u.) A gentle and quiet spirit.

v.) Passionate in pursuing your own dreams.

w.) Someone who doesn't give up - loyal.

x.) Isn't controlling him or attempting to change him. 

y.) Has her own friends and hobbies.

z.) Stylish and takes care of herself. 

 

Marriage books I LOVE and recommend

There you have it. What I believe men most want in a woman/wife/partner under two main categories.

Men most feel loved when they are respected and desired physically. If you try and show them the same kind of love you desire, you might be missing the mark because they just don't tick the way we do. 

As always, it's a two-way street. But there may be times when you have to step up and do some of those things possibly without "feeling" like it. 

There have so many times in my relationships when one of us has to keep things going, even when the other isn't as willing. This is SO normal in any relationship. When you both are at a place of giving up or not trying anymore is probably the worst place to be, but you can always break the cycle if you are willing!

 

What do you think? Did I miss some? How does your man feel respected?

How to Build Trust in Your Relationship

 how to build trust and learn to trust once again

Here are some topics I will discuss in this post

  • How our society might be feeding our mistrust of one another

  • How broken trust doesn't only come from infidelity

  • How to take the first steps to trust again

  • Learning to trust with forgiveness

  • Setting boundaries when trust has been broken

Is our society to blame for all of the mistrust in relationships?

Trust is one of, if not the most important aspects of any relationship. Unfortunately, it's the hardest to establish, especially if that trust has been broken.

Tabloids, social media, movies and TV shows, all are indicators of the direction in which our society has gone when it comes to being faithful or having integrity.

Sure, it may be nothing new under the sun that relationships are often broken with infidelity, but since we can have instant knowledge of just about everything, our awareness of it is more apparent now than ever.

Any show or movie you watch today won't let you escape the mistrust, lies, and affairs of the characters, and I can't help but notice a certain numbness sets in. Our society has almost brought a playfulness to it. Condoning it, yet not blatantly. 

Take Desperate Housewives for example. Your modern day soap opera. You might think it's a harmless show. Heck, I got sucked into watching it, excusing it as my guilty pleasure. Living in Germany, I sometimes like to escape to what it's like living in America again, even though that show imparticular is a bit far-fetched as to portray what America is really like. Just a bit. 

Even though it's entertaining and cheesily endearing, in a way, Desperate Housewives is a perfect example how society makes light of infidelity; although they make sure it's veiled in a "shameful" shadow.

So no, they don't condone it, yet they show you how fun and enticing it can be. How if your partner is ignoring you, it's okay to seek attention elsewhere. Sure, it shows the consequences of infidelity, but not without first giving you an alluring impression. 

Do you think that from all of these sources we are being brainwashed to not trust anyone? On top of that, it's encouraging infidelity, laced in an "everyone does it" mentality. 

I'm not saying just because you watch a show with infidelity means that you will someday cheat on your spouse, or watching such shows will cause you to mistrust. I'm only asking, is what we fill our minds with brainwashing us to some extent? I think we need to be asking ourselves these questions. 

That being said, learning to trust even if the trust hasn't been broken is easier said than done, especially in this day and age. 

 

 how to build trust in your relationship

Broken trust doesn't mean infidelity is always the cause.

Trust being broken doesn't necessarily mean that one of you in the relationship has done something terrible, like being unfaithful.

When we start a relationship with someone, trust is formed and grown from day one. Let's call these "Trust Tanks." Starting out, our trust tanks are empty. We don't know that person yet, so there is no basis or foundation of trust.

As you get to know one another, these tanks start to fill up. A woman's trust is very emotionally driven. When a guy shows you he wants to take care of you, keep you from crying, protect you, understand you, and love you every single day no matter what, then he is filling your trust tank.

Men are more factually driven. His trust tank is filled when you respect him by showing him you are grateful, dependable, supportive, and encouraging of who he is as a man.

Men and women are very different in how their trust tank is filled, similar to how we each feel loved. 

It's no wonder those aspects, whether fulfilled or not, play a huge role in how much we trust or mistrust someone. 

 How to build lasting trust in your relationship

Let's say you or your partner haven't committed any sort of infidelity, yet you have no trust for one another. Yes, it's possible. By not meeting one another's needs in filling those trust tanks, we are in essence breaking our trust with one another. Soon, expecting the best will be a thing of the past. We will be operating off of mistrust, and when you let that creep into any relationship, you are in for a disaster. 

How can I start trusting again?

I'm not going to touch on how to build trust up again specifically after infidelity, but just include that in your mind if it's happened to you. Let's just come from a standpoint that you don't have trust in your relationship, and it doesn't quite matter how you got there. 

Let's say you don't have an ounce of trust left in your love tank. Your partner has let you down in more ways than you can count, and you've just had enough. Is there still hope for you? YES! Not only is there hope, there is something YOU can do.

It's really the best place to be if you think about it. You don't have to sit around and wait for your partner to change. Like many things I talk about here on Word From The Bird, I will always come at the issue or problem you have from a standpoint of, "what are YOU going to do about it?"

Unfortunately, so many relationships are broken because we aren't willing to own up to our part of the problem. We end that relationship without self-reflecting. What happens is, once we get into another relationship, the same problems occur. It could be a measly 2%, but still, it's your part.

By growing personally and working on what you need to address, all aspects of your life will begin to change for the better, including your relationships. Not only will it help the situation you're currently in, it will change your perspective on how you look at things. 

What does forgiveness have to do with it?

Before I get to the surest way of how to learn to trust again, I want to take you through a first step you will need to go through in order to trust again. It's called forgiveness

Forgiveness is a fickle thing. When we don't forgive, we ultimately sabotage our best efforts in trusting. Forgiveness is often misperceived in many ways, so I want to address that for a second. 

Forgiveness is not:

·       Going to release your offender of any consequences of what they did to you. 

·       Forgetting what happened to you. Unfortunately, the wounds in our lives will leave scars. 

·       Forgiving only when asked for forgiveness.

·       Forgiving only when we feel like it.

I know, some of those sound harsh. But I am living proof that if you CHOOSE to forgive, even when you don't feel like it, your feelings will eventually follow suit. If we wait for our feelings to make the decision to forgive, we won't get anywhere. And guess what? Your unforgiveness is hurting you more than anyone! 

The surest way to trust once again. 

Listen carefully, this is where it gets good. The surest way to begin to build trust in your relationship is to make sure you are filling your partner's trust tank, even if they aren't filling yours. Is that easy? Nope.

In fact, it may one of the hardest things you will ever do. But think about it. Are you, every single day, making your best effort to fill your spouse's trust tank? If not, how are you any better in being a trustworthy person?

Just because they may have done something "worse" doesn't mean you're off the hook. Do your part! I guarantee, your partner will see it. Not only will it begin to change your heart, it just might change theirs. Do you tend to be more loving towards someone who is loveable or someone who is awful to you? Exactly. The same goes for trust.

 

Setting boundaries when trust is broken.

To be clear on some things, I want to also address what trust is NOT.

Let's go back to the fact that forgiveness will not release the offender of consequences. There will always be consequences to broken trust, and unfortunately, you may be the one to suffer the most.

So where do boundaries come in to play? They come when we understand exactly what is expected and what trust isn't.  

Trust is NOT:

  • Letting that person who broke your trust walk all over you and continues in their ways. Even though we can't control what they do, we can control the boundaries we set in place. Obviously, this looks different for everyone, but figure out what it is you won't tolerate, set those boundaries, and stick to them. If they can't follow through and respect those boundaries, then figure out what your next step will be, and seek counsel on it. 
  • Letting your offender off the hook in proving they are trustworthy. In order for you to trust them again, they need to show they are trustworthy through their actions, NOT WORDS. They need to earn your trust! 
  • Assuming they are lying and not believing them at all, no matter what they say. It's a frustrating feeling when someone has lied to you so much you don't know if you can ever believe a word they say. But if you start operating out of assumption and not facts when it comes to trust, they will never feel like they can ever earn your trust again. It may hurt and they may break that trust again, but if you don't take a step of faith, the trust will never come. 

What are some way you and your spouse have built trust? Feel free to comment below!

 Are you struggling in your relationship right now? 

Grow ANY Business Exponentially With These AMAZING APPS You've Never Heard Of

 Grow ANY Business Exponentially With These AMAZING APPS You've Never Heard Of

How Good and Bad Habits Can Affect Your Goals

Are you among the 100th percentile of people who have habits? Yeah, we ALL have them. From picking our noses or gambling to working out every day and saving money, habits range from little to big, and bad to good. When it comes to setting goals, habits play a HUGE role in either crippling us or propelling us forward. 

In my opinion, our ability to seek out and accomplish our goals have just gotten worse with the changing times. We are so driven to keep up with the world's ever-changing system that before one goal is finished, we get distracted by another and find it hard to tackle the tasks at hand. It's an epidemic that is sweeping the minds of our new generation.

Thankfully, new technology, like apps and software can assist us in setting our priorities straight and keeping our eyes on the prize. You just need to figure out which ones are the right ones for you. 

Organize and Prioritize

When I first thought of writing this post, I was in the process of organizing my life. Working from home has its disadvantages, especially because I tend to favor the creative side of myself, over the buckling down and getting shit done side. It's no news to me I need help when it comes to organization, setting goals, and overall completing my tasks at hand. Many of us do. 

In researching how I can best do this, I purchased and tried out a few apps and softwares to see if this crazy technological side of our existence might be of assistance in my unorganized way of doing things, especially setting goals. I then realized that in order to set healthy and achievable goals, I need to first organize my life. 

Apps are incredible. If you would have told me what a phone, tablet, or computer was capable of 10 years ago, I wouldn't have believed you. Now, from tracking exercise and healthy eating habits to tracking your time in finding out if you are productive enough with your day, apps have become just as much a part of our lives as our vehicles.

That being said, I want to share with you some apps and software that have helped me succeed and assisted me in organizing my life and setting goals. Maybe you are struggling to utilize your time, be organized, or set goals for yourself. Check these out and see if they might help you in getting your business and/or life on track. 

 


Amazing Apps for your new perspective on life

Getting organized and setting goals. 

 

Time Management

Rescue Time - an app for saving your precious time. 

How many times have you run out of time? I run out of time almost every day. I get so flustered with the millions of things I have to do, I can't seem to accomplish any of them. My day ends, and I realize I didn't utilize my time the best. Did you know there's an app for that?! Time? Yes, it's called Rescue Time. With many apps, you, of course, have your Lite (free version), or premium version. I first like to test out the free version to see if I like it, then make that decision if I want to get a more in-depth experience of the premium. Installation was pretty straight forward and simple.

What it does 

Rescue Time works on any device and will account for the apps and sites you desire. 

It gives you a report based on your setting of how you, or your business employees utilize time on a workspace computer or mobile device. 

 Rescue time offers a way for you to stop waisting time!

By charts and graphs you get a daily, weekly, and annually report of how you can better use your time and when in your day you are most productive. Sometimes, at the end of my day, I look back and can't quite put my finger on what went wrong in my time maneagement. With this software, you can get a breakdown of the areas you need to work on. Today, after being logged in for 2 and 1/2 hours, I had 27 minutes of distracted time. Dang it. 

This is a software you can set up, let run and not think about. By the end of the day or week, you can refer back to see the changes that need to be made. It gives you a daily progress report of how productive you were so you don't have to always wonder if you got anything done.

Instead of making a video that wouldn't be near as good as this guy, I thought I would let him take the reigns. This breaks things down to give you more of an idea of what it does. 

This is simply the best tool for those of you who want to be more productive with your time. In my opinion, great for entrepreneurs who work from home, and businesses that want to check the productivity of their team. Not only is it accountability in its finest form, it isn't evasive, it's easy to use, and will help any business or individual in setting their goals both big and small. 

Pricing and Plans 

Lite (free) and Premium ($9 per month or $72 per year). 

I know it's a lot to commit to when it comes to the price, but look at it this way. How much is your time worth? If there was a way to better utilize it, would it be worth the investment?

 

Setting Goals and Tracking Habits

Strides - Goal and habit tracker for EVERYTHING

Not only does this app have excellent reviews, it has excellent performance. If you're ready to organize your life and start accomplishing your goals, then this might be for you. 

Here's what it does 

  • Helps you set smart goals to stay on track.
  • Finish big projects on time.
  • Encouragement with every achievement.
  • Track literally ANYTHING 

Track literally ANYTHING

Exercise

7. Saving money

 Organize your life with these amazing apps!
  1. Sleep 

  2. Journaling

  3. Flossing

  4. Becoming debt free

and much more.

  1. Weight

  2. Drinking water

  3. Reading

  4. Budget

  5. Meditation

7. Saving money

  1. Sleep 

  2. Journaling

  3. Flossing

  4. Becoming debt free

and much more.

 Track your life and stay organized!

Features:


- Step-by-step goal setting with templates
- Dashboard for viewing everything in one place
- Green/red pace line system to stay on track
- Charts with history, streaks, success rate and more
- Powerful reminders: Daily, weekly, weekdays, etc.
- Unlimited reminders to set yourself up for success
- Add extra notes to your logs to give more context
- Get organized and create the perfect daily routine
 

There's nothing like being reminded and held accountable for keeping your goals. Strides will help you succeed in your daily, weekly, and monthly goals, as well as tracking your good and bad habits, and staying organized.  

“the most comprehensive, user-friendly, beautifully designed goal tracking app available.”
—   New York Times 

Pricing and Plans

Standard

$0/mo per person

Four flexible tracker types

  • Dashboard: Everything in one place
  • Log Notes: Add all the detail you want
  • 10 goals & habits tracked at a time
  • iOS app: No Web, Sync or Backup
  • Tags & Filters to stay organized
  • Archive trackers to save their history

Strides Plus

$5/mo per person

Four flexible tracker types

  • Dashboard: Everything in one place
  • Log Notes: Add all the detail you want
  • Unlimited goals & habits
  • Sync, Backup, Web & Mobile apps
  • Tags & Filters to stay organized
  • Archive trackers to save their history
  • Export data to backup and analyze

 

Growing your email list

Bomb Bomb

 Create amazing video email with Bomb Bomb and grow your email list!

Most businesses have an email list and we all know how important they are. We must handle them with the utmost care. This can mean stepping up your game to get noticed when it comes to full inboxes and busy lives, or not waisting your readers time. Most of us who have to think of an exciting and compelling headline, are running out of ideas, and wondering if we will have to sell our souls in order to get some action from our readers to even open the email we sent. Well, Bomb Bomb is here to help. Not only does their company have an outstanding rating in customer service, they have a concept that will blow your mind.

Video Emailing!

This company is growing and growing fast. With our world moving ever so quickly to want immediate knowledge of something, what better way to get your point across than to send an email, not with words, but with a video of yours truly. Think about it. If you knew from the subject line there was a simple video to watch about the latest and greatest instead of taking the time to read an entire text, would you be more likely to open and watch? I would! 

 Send personalized video emails with bomb bomb!

Pricing and Plans

Try it for free for 14 days

To see if it's your thing because making videos isn't for everyone, try it for free! It's super intimidating to make a video of yourself and send it out to the world. But the more you do it, the better it gets! Click on the link to try for free!

 

Grow your business through pins and images

Tailwind App

Use Tailwind with Pinterest

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

Whether you have an interior design firm, a blog, a restaurant, or any business for that matter, you might have a little insight as to how Pinterest can help you succeed. As a blogger, I can't believe the strides my blog has taken because of Pinterest. It's an incredible tool for building, promoting and growing your business. But you know as well as I do, who has time to pin?! With how much you need to pin per day to keep up your monthly viewers and grow your following, it's enough to make someone go crazy! Thankfully there is an app for that!

Tailwind is specifically designed to help the users save time and expand their reach with a consistent pinning schedule. To put my mind at ease I take an hour or so on Monday and schedule all of my pins for the next week. With Tailwinds browser extensions, you can pin directly from your website or any website for that matter with a simple click of a button. You can also schedule directly from Pinterest!

Use Tailwind with Instagram

Instagram is another social media platform to help grow your business in amazing ways. Since Tailwind has also partnered up with Instagram, you can set up all of your posts for the week, at a specific time you would like hashtags included, and be on your way! This works great for me since I am on living in a European timezone, but my reach is on the other side of the world. I can schedule my posts so they can be the most successful in the timezone that is best for me!

It's no secret that bloggers and businesses everywhere are utilizing the amazing benefits of having Tailwind in your list of must have apps!

Well, that's all for today! I hope these ideas have given you some hope to start organizing your life, including your goals, productivity, and businesses. 

Control freak? Yeah, me too. Simple tips on how to live in faith and not fear.

Everyone is a control freak to some extent

 Are you a control freak? Set yourself free with these amazing tips on finally letting go. 

I was talking with my mentor recently, which opened my eyes to the fact that what I want to control in my life is completely different from what someone else wants to control. She shared with me some struggles she has in letting certain things go, and I thought to myself, 'wow, I don't care about those things at all.' Goes to say, we are all affected by different things and sometimes we don't even realize that we are in fact being...controlling about it. It's important to identify what you're trying to control in your life and learn how to work through it; otherwise, those problems will begin to control you.

As a woman, I find that my need to control might perhaps be ingrained in my DNA. Women for some reason feel the need to control their spouses and everything around them. Men love nothing more than to do everything they can not be controlled, even if it means becoming controlling themselves. It's a tangled web we weave, and I have been caught in that freaking mess more times than I care to admit. In essence, I am living in fear and not faith. I am not only hindering my own potential, I am making myself more miserable the more I try and control. Thankfully, I have already completed the first step. Let me share with you some tips on actually changing your mindset on control and what it means to live in faith and not fear.

how very little can be done under the spirit of fear.
— Florence Nightingale

 

1. Acknowledge that you have a problem with trying to control. In other words, own up to it.

What is the first step in AA? Admitting and accepting that you're an alcoholic. Am I comparing control to alcoholism right now? Yep! First things first. As hard as it is, in order to change, we need to first admit we have a problem and accept that it needs to be dealt with. If you can do this, well, you're on a good path already and there is hope. Humility is a virtue that only comes when you are willing to change, so yes, it's going to take some willpower as well. 

2. Recognizing who can give you the strength to change.

I know, again with the AA stuff. But seriously, we have to also admit we can't do it on our own! Control, in a way, is an addiction. What's the definition of addiction according to Dictionary.com? The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. ... A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance. 

There you have it. Control, if not dealt with, can become an addiction. Like anything for that matter. If we place too much weight on anything, give it control over our lives in spite of the negative impact it's having, we have let that become an addiction. 

Control is all about doing things on your own time and your own terms. In overcoming the need fro control, you should steer clear of the ideal that you can shake this on your own. If you have a faith, then you know that you don't have control over the things or people in your life any more than a monkey does. Certain things, like whether or not we are going to apply for a job is something we can control. Whether we get that job isn't up to us. That doesn't mean you can just sit back and let God do all the work. No, it takes a step of faith on your part in following through what he is leading you to do. He wants us to recognize that worrying about our future, or what others might or might not do, is not going to do diddly squat. It's the difference between living out of fear or faith. 

3. Find accountability.

It's one thing to say you will change, it's another to show you have changed. If you have someone in your life that you trust, let them know what it is you're wanting to do about your need to control. That way, when it gets hard, because it will, you have someone who can remind you and walk through that journey with you.

4. Figure out the WHY. Write it down.

Husbands, kids, finances, etc. All of these things can come crashing down at a moments notice because you don't know your future. Set yourself free by making a list of all of the things you need to let go of. It's crazy how this has worked for me. I went specifically in depth into each and every category of the things I want to control, wrote how I felt about them, whether it made me angry, sad or frustrated, and by the end of it I figured out the why! Sometimes we don't know why we want to control until we admit what is frustrating us so much about how we can't control it. 

5. Let it go.

Many times when I come to a conclusion on what my WHY is, I realize a lot of it has to do with unforgiveness and mistrust. (Learn how to start the path to forgiveness in my healing from your past article.) Sometimes I have no idea what it comes from, and that's okay! I just know that with a few faith steps and trusting that God will get me through it, I can change. My need for control has in many ways brought my marriage to some very difficult points. Because I don't have control over my husband's actions, I live in fear of getting hurt, or him dying, you name it. You need to change your mindset from "I'm afraid that..." to "even if it happened, I would be okay because of..." For me, it's because I know that whatever I will go through, I have a God who loves me and will walk with me every step of the way. This isn't an easy concept to grasp, and I believe I will continue to learn the ins and outs of it until the day I die. So what can you do right now? Take the steps necessary for change, and follow through. If you fail, don't give up. Tomorrow is another day you have been given to try again. 

6. Start with the little things. 

Think about the little things that you try and control throughout your day. Is it that your husband is always late coming home from work? Your child keeps lying to you? You can't seem to pay off that debt that's been haunting you for years? Whatever it is, write down how it frustrates you and why, and then write how you want to react instead of your past "Why are you always home late?" comments that get you nowhere except a big blown out fight. Remember, you can't change your husband or your kids, but you can change how you react to an unfortunate situation. That doesn't mean you shouldn't voice what it is that's bothering you, but by processing it first, it will come out with a communication that isn't going to send your spouse or kids immediately into defense mode. Once you start having success on the easier problems in your life that you want to control, you can begin to work on the bigger things. You will start feeling a sense of freedom from those need for control actions that have held you captive over the years. You'll start to accept the fact that your husband is home late sometimes and it's okay. When it becomes a problem, you will then know how to communicate better, so that your husband will hear you and not want out from under your reign of control. Do you see how that works together? 

 Simple steps in how to stop controlling and start living.

7. Practice makes perfect.

It wasn't until I really followed through on writing down my control issues and working through them that I began to succeed in accepting that I can't control certain things. Like anything in life, it takes time. First, you have to want to change. I know for me, I was so sick of being ruled by living in fear that I knew I had to do something about it or I would go crazy. It was keeping me from enjoying life and stealing my joy. I just wasn't having it anymore. I still try and control things. Ask my poor husband. I'm not perfect and neither will you be. We all have our quirks and struggles, but even taking a step as to say, "I need to change in this," is a huge accomplishment.

7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Spouse!

How To Better Communicate What We Want to Say To Our Spouse

Do you ever regret what you said, either because it came out ten times worse than what you thought it would, or it just wasn't thought through? Yeah, been there. I was thinking the other day of the things I say that cause me to get in an argument with my husband, and if there was a way to shut myself up from saying something I'll regret before I said it. So, I came up with a list of common things that are said in relationships that could be transformed into a useful tool of communication. You see, it's good to express how you feel and say what you need to say, but it's how we say it that often leaves us in the gutter. Communication, as you know, is key to having a thriving and well-balanced relationship. 

It's quite possible that we use unhealthy tactics in order to try and convince the other person to see our point of view without even knowing it. 

Here are some unhealthy tactics we use in everyday arguments

 Learning to better communicate what you want to say in your relationship.

1. The Hopeless Tactic.

Don't say - "I don't believe you."

Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship, if not the most important. When the trust is broken, it can be quite the hurdle to overcome that will have to be taken on by both parties; the one who broke the trust and the one who got hurt. While it is important for the one who broke the trust to show transparency and prove that they are trustworthy, it is also important for the one who got hurt to communicate that it isn't always easy to trust again, while giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. If we use ultimatums that express hopelessness, it may prove difficult for the one who broke the trust to believe you will ever see them as trustworthy. Perhaps you can give them the benefit of the doubt, but when you can't, how should you express it in a way that is letting that person know you have hope to trust again but you're just struggling?

Say - "I really want to believe you, but I'm having a hard time."

If you're struggling to trust or forgive someone, read here for my article about healing from your past. There are some great steps to take in forgiveness. If you can't forgive, the trust will never begin to form. You will never forget when trust has been broken, but by forgiving you can finally put it behind you and begin to heal yourself and your relationship.  

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links - By clicking and/or purchasing from a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

2. Putting fuel on the fire tactic. 

Don't Say - "You're overreacting" or "You're out of control." 

In any relationship where two people care about one another, things are bound to get heated. It's normal, and some might say, it's a good thing. Arguing can be a healthy way to clear the air, but only if done appropriately. In the heat of the moment, this is unequivocally easier said than done, and before you both know it you're in a full-blown fight. One of the worst things to say is " you're out of control," or anything that hints that the other person is beginning to head in a heated direction. The last thing they need to be told is that what they are feeling and saying is invalid. It may be true that they are getting a little too fiery, but what should be said in order to bring things down, instead of fuel it up?

Say - "I understand you're upset, but it seems like you're getting frustrated. Should we take a break and revisit this after we've cooled down?"

Not only will this make them realize they need to cool it, it won't completely neglect what they are trying to communicate. Taking a break when things are getting out of control is possibly the best thing you can do. It may not be the easiest, but trust me, it helps. 

 

3. The assuming tactic.

Don't say - "What's wrong?" 

One of the most common things said in any relationship is "what's wrong?" I find myself saying it before I realize it. The motive behind it is not necessarily amiss, it's perhaps the fact that it is automatically making an assumption, and the receiving party will most likely begin to put up their defenses. So, what should we say instead that doesn't assume something is wrong, but rather shows our real intention behind the question, which is, "I care about you."

Say - "Is everything okay?"

Yep, that's it. You are basically asking the same exact thing, but something completely different. It's not assuming, it's assuring them that you are there, ready to hear what is on their heart. 

 

4. The avoiding tactic. 

Don't say - "Nothing." when asked if everything is okay.

I do this ALL the time and will admit if I don't want to talk about something, it's the first thing I say. Avoiding it altogether is sometimes easier than saying, "yeah somethings up, but I don't want to talk about it." It can send a red flag to the other person who is a bit too eager to find out what they did to upset you, but then in essence that becomes their problem if they can't accept that. So, yes, you need to say...

"Yes, something's bothering me, but I don't want to talk about it just yet. Can we talk about it later?"

They then have the responsibility to respect your decision not to talk about it quite yet. They need to, by you saying, "not just yet," be reassured that what is going on will be revisited and nor ignored or shoved under the rug. It's not healthy to display your frustration about something without expressing to your partner what's up. But needing time to process it and consider what needs to be said is probably the best option at the time. Most miscommunications and arguments come from talking about something that isn't near ready to be discussed.

5. The giving up tactic.

Don't say - "I'm done" or "it's over!"

Sure, we've all been there. At the end of our ropes, not really knowing what to do about the dire situation our relationship is in. When we feel fear of something happening we react one of two ways. Fight or flight. When our emotions are in full swing, flight is usually the one that seems ideal, so we go into "protection of our heart" mode and the only way out is...well, out. After things have cooled down and you have said some more things you shouldn't, you realize you don't actually want out, you want a resolution to a problem and your emotions got the better of you. What should we have said that we can take note on for next time that expresses how we feel, but doesn't hurt the other person?

Say - "I'm not feeling so great about how things are between us. I would like if we can figure out a way to work through this because I'm having a hard time."

Again, it's important to express how you feel. After all, there is something that has happened between the two of you that caused you to react that way, and ignoring it won't solve anything. Relationships are HARD and take a lot of work. It's no news to you. So, if your partner is not willing to work through the tough stuff, you at least can do that for yourself. Hopefully, they are willing to get counseling or do whatever it takes but don't let the deeper issues in your relationship or your heart fester. 

6. The ALWAYS or NEVER Tactic

Don't say - "You're always or never..."

In the heat of it, you say it. I do it, we all do it. Again, our emotions take over and we resort to ultimatums that not only dismantle everything the other person has ever done that is good or right but also makes them feel hopeless. For myself, I know that if I have really tried to change in something, take steps to do so, fail once, then the other person plays the "you NEVER" card, it can feel detrimental and hopeless. Again, what we are trying to say isn't necessarily wrong, but it's all in how we say it.

Take for example, if a husband has the tendency to not think about taking his wife on regular dates, and the wife has to mostly pursue it, she may get frustrated. In response to this, she says, "You NEVER take me on dates or EVER care about what I need," She may feel that way and it's valid to her, but how she communicated it wasn't the best. The husband will most likely respond defensively and an argument will surface. So what should she have said?

Say - "I would love to start going on regular dates with you, but I feel like it's not something on your mind. Am I wrong?"

They will most likely respond with "Of course you're wrong! I would love to do that as well." So then you should say...

"Okay great! I would love it if you would start asking me sometimes. It makes me feel special."

Express what you need, but don't attack by going to ultimatums that will only cause strife. 

 

7. The blame shifting tactic.

Don't say - "You do that too!" in response to someone addressing something you did that hurt them. 

No one likes to be criticised or held accountable for something they did, but it takes good character and humility to own up to it, even if what they did wasn't intentional. You see, we can easily say that because we didn't "mean" to, we didn't. Unfortunately, the other person doesn't see it that way. You did something that hurt them, and they are expressing that to you. The worst thing you could say in response is, "You do that too!"

Sure, it may be true that they do unto you as you do unto them, but this is the wrong place and time to express that. So, what should we say?

Say - "I'm sorry I hurt you with what I did. What can I do differently next time?" 

Blame shifting will never accomplish anything. You will then go back and forth, round and round, hurt one another, and get nowhere. Sometimes we just need to own up to something, and just because we didn't intend to hurt the other person, doesn't mean we didn't hurt them or do something wrong.

Relationships take time and effort from both parties. I hope that opening up your eyes to some dysfunctional tactics you might be using will help you express what you need without complications to follow. 

I would love to hear if you have communication tips to share! 

Ladies, read more about how to better relate to your spouse by gaining awareness of what he needs. 

How to Get Your Mind Off of Something

How to get your mind off of something negative

 how to get your mind off of something

Have you ever had a thought that you just can't get out of your head? No matter how much you try, it keeps coming back and haunting you? The detrimental part about negative thoughts that won't subside, is when they begin to sink you and take hold of more than just your mind. Negative thoughts can do a lot more harm than you might think. I believe that everything starts in our minds, from our physical health to our well being and happiness. So, as you know, a thought you can't shake is just as frustrating as getting sick, if not worse. Our minds are just as important to keep healthy as our physical bodies, if not the most important. How can we even think of running a marathon if our mind isn't first made up that it's what we are going to do? Here is an article I wrote on how you can identify which thoughts are lies and which ones are the truth, as to begin to heal our brains and have a better chance at shaking the bad thoughts. After all, practice makes perfect. That being said here are a few simple and practical steps to take to begin to learn how to control our thoughts, and get your mind off of something that is bringing you down. 

*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!

1. Change your environment

I can't tell you how many times I have laid awake in my bed and that negative, nagging thought is rolling around in my head like a metal ball in a pinball machine. Back and forth the thought goes until I realize two hours have gone by and I'm still dwelling. Negative thoughts or even thoughts, in general, are the number one cause of my insomnia. I am no psychologist or doctor, so that's just my opinion based solely off of my experiences. It is especially true for the person who has the tendency to be a people pleaser, and or a creative person, like me. My best ideas come alive when my head hits the pillow, which makes it very difficult for me to turn off and fall asleep. 

The first step I will share with you has helped me to shake that thought whether I am tossing and turning in bed, or sitting at home doing nothing. Changing your environment wherever you are will not only force your mind to take a different turn, it will ignite your senses to acknowledge something else that is going on around you. I will get to our senses later and how we can use them to get something off of our mind, but right now let's focus on how changing your environment can help change your mindset.

Go into another room

Sometimes if I simply get up to use the bathroom, or go make a cup of tea, it forces my mind to focus on something else. 

Do something productive

Obviously, if you're trying to get to sleep and it's 1 am, this may not be an option. But keeping your hands busy, will help your mind to settle down. Cleaning the house, reading a book, making cookies, working out, are just a few things to get your mind off of something by changing your environment.

2. Make a schedule

I have heard that stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, and people who own their own businesses are the most susceptible to anxiety, panic attacks, suicide, and depression. What do they all have in common? A lack of a schedule. Why do you think that is? They have too much time on their hands to think about things they shouldn't. It is with idle time that our minds can go to the darkest of places. Not to say there isn't a time and place for doing absolutely nothing. But I know from personal experience when I have nothing to do, my mind will go to some pretty dark places.

3. Ignite your senses

Have you ever gone outside in nature and immediately felt peace? Not only is getting into nature the best way to get your mind off of something, it is the best place to practice what I am about to share. Going along with changing your environment, simply stepping outside will cause your senses to change and adjust to a new and refreshing perspective. It gets your mind off the problem, and onto something tangible and beautiful.

How to use 3 of your 5 senses to get something off of your mind

Get Outside

Like I said, even if it's simply stepping onto your back porch or outside of your workplace, getting outside is the best place to do this exercise.

5 4 3 2 1 - Hearing, Feeling, and seeing

Hear -  List 5 things that you can hear around from you. The birds chirping, the cars driving by, the sound of water rushing, etc. 

Feel - Now list 5 things you can feel around you. The wind, the cold cement you're sitting one, the pain between your eyes that your headache is causing. Anything you feel physically, name it off. 

See - List 5 things that you observe from your environment. The man across the street getting in his car, the green trees, the leaves changing, etc. 

Now, in that same order list 4 things you hear, feel, and see. Then 3, then 2, and 1. It's totally fine to repeat what you have observed before. 

Not only can this exercise help you get your mind off of something, it can help you to settle down if you're having a panic attack, feeling depressed, or having suicidal thoughts. 

4. Just Breath

Breathing techniques are not news to most of you, but it still rings true for an amazing way to get your mind off of something. I use this as a guide for getting my mind off of something, reducing stress, and falling asleep. Mindfulness meditation, number 4 to be exact. 

I hope these tips can be used for your benefit in getting your mind off of something you don't want to think about, or just using as a relaxation tool.

If you do have trouble sleeping like me, here are some great natural options that have helped me. 

 

Something else that might interest you in my Health and Beauty section. 

 

 

 

What is Contentment and How Does One Find It?

 Trusting is a choice, not a feeling.

What is contentment?

It's a beautiful thing. It's what everyone desires, and it seems we will do whatever it takes to get it. Contentment - to be free from care because of satisfaction with what is already one's own. It is inward satisfaction; a habit or permanent state of mind.

  • Contentment is a habit of choice.

Our lives are abundant in choices. We make honest ones and dishonest ones. Smart choices and stupid choices. Most of them are based on feelings, and in my experience, those are usually the ones that end in disaster. Sometimes we are at points in our lives where we have no idea what we should do. Our next breath is another moment we have no choice but to trust that God is in control. My mom said to me the other day, "If we knew what our future would bring, we couldn't handle it." Imagine if in your future you saw you would die in a few years by getting burned alive. What would that do to your present? Would it make you fearful or at peace? Would it grow you or hinder you? We obviously wouldn't be able to understand it. We would constantly be living in fear, questioning and begging God for a different outcome. What's funny, is we still do this, even though we don't know our future. We beg for a different circumstance. For God to take away the pain and the hardship, thinking this will bring contentment to our lives. When he doesn't, we start compensating for our unfulfilled desires with money, success, hobbies, distractions of all kinds. The more we desire, the more we become unfulfilled, because, in reality, we're trying to fill a void that cannot be filled with things. So how can start to be content habitually?

  • Contentment is choosing to be satisfied with your current state no matter what. It is NOT satisfaction or complacency in circumstances, experiences or things.

Let me ask you this. Have you ever had a positive experience, been through a good circumstance, bought that thing you've always wanted, that left you saying, "I am finally content?" Seriously think about it. Are you to this day content because of this particular happenstance? Probably not. I find myself having thoughts like, 'When I am in a better circumstance, I will be better off.' It's a typical human reaction to something that we are going through that is not easy. So what is our solution, if we as humans can never reach a feeling of contentment?

  • Contentment is NOT a feeling.

Can you honestly trust your feelings? I know I will be unpopular in saying this, but our feelings are fallible! They are not to be trusted. How many times have you screwed up because you "felt" a certain way? I can say, from personal circumstances that I have done this many times. As a woman, my feelings are the first to be acknowledged in my mind. I even think men do this as well, but they explain away their feelings, disguising them as logic. Nope. Pretty much the same thing. Men feel, A LOT, they just don't tell you about it. Our feelings are unable to be controlled. If we feel something, it's not because we decided to feel that way, but it's just apart of us. It's not bad, it's actually wonderful. I love my feelings! Not necessarily the bad ones, but still, it makes me who I am. It's very important, though, to put feelings in a category where they belong. Before they bring us to make decisions, they first need to be filtered. How? Through prayer. The only times I have "succeeded" in resolving a fight with my husband, is when I paused, told him I needed some space, and left to go pray. What happened? My feelings subsided, and I was then able to think logically. So, I have just debunked feelings as a state of contentment. How? Feelings are not to be trusted. Even though you feel as though you aren't content, doesn't mean that it is true. 

  • Why contentment is a choice.

Have you heard the statement, love is a choice, not a feeling? If you have, you may agree with it, or not. I am coming from an angle of definitely agreeing with it. What do you think the number one reasons people are divorced? Google it. It all has to do with circumstances, unmet expectations, and feelings. Infidelity, abuse, money, jealousy, no longer in love. As there are valid reasons for divorce, I don't think "I just don't love you anymore" should be one of them. Here's what love is. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)

"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

How weird would it be if, at a wedding, these verses were read aloud by someone, then at the end, the person reading said, "But only if you feel it!" 

I believe that the feeling of love should be the result of a choice to love, not the other way around. When you feel love for someone, it's different than choosing to love them. It's the same thing when it comes to something like contentment. Just because you don't feel content, doesn't mean you can't choose to be content. It's taking action, instead of reacting to a feeling.

  • How am I to be content, then?

I think we first need to realize that in and of ourselves, we cannot be content. It's impossible. Sorry to burst your bubble, but look and your life and ask yourself, "Was I ever content?" If you are or were, I would love to hear your side of it! But for me, the only reason I have ever been content is the result of one source. In the verse posted above, I believe the last sentence about covers it. Trust God. Trust that because he loves you, he will give you the strength you need to overcome your difficult circumstances. He is our source of strength. Your failing marriage, the death of a child, diagnosis of cancer, getting sexually assaulted, abused, etc.

How do we trust him? Start with gratitude. Gratitude. Be thankful, no matter the circumstance. Your thinking will start to change. In any and every circumstance, whether good or bad, be thankful. It's so easy, right!? Nope. It's hard. 

You see, people think contentment comes easy. They think it should come from their circumstances. If I do A, then I will get B. If I just had more money, then I would be okay. If I had a more satisfying job or a better marriage, blah blah blah. Stop expecting and start thanking. 

One important thing to know is that no human is perfect. It is simply impossible to hold yourself to a standard to always feel contentment or choose to be content. It will stress you out and probably lead to depression and anxiety. Strive for gratitude and everything will flow from that.

That's all I have to say on that. Here's where I'm at in all of this, and let me tell you what. I don't "feel" content with my life, but I shouldn't let that determine my choices.

Summary

Today is a day where I am not sure what my next steps will be in life. I cannot sift through my feelings because every single feeling I have is in exact contradiction with itself. Twenty different emojis couldn't even possibly suffice to describe them. So, I have no other choice, but to trust God. This is a good place to be. Never in my life have I felt so conflicted, broken, joyful, sad, and at the same time content. It's strange. I look at this verse that Paul wrote and I never understood it before. I have always had one foot out the door when it came to trust or contentment. I lived in what if's and if only's based on my feelings. I always had some way of controlling it, which gave me an empty fulfillment, that satisfied me for a moment. Never have I felt such turmoil, but at the same time, had such peace, because I know that God will give me the strength. Contentment, in other words, is trust. It is faith, admitting you have no idea what the future holds and being absolutely okay with it. It is being thankful, no matter what. It is admitting you cannot do this life alone. It is making those choices, not because we feel like it. I can be content, but at the same time feel like I am in a tangled web of trials. 

Take heart, because the trials you face are growing you, changing you and making you into a better person, if you so choose. You will find contentment when you realize it is not a feeling, but a choice. Sure, one can "feel" content, but that feeling will most definitely pass. When it does, don't lose heart. Just trust.

What Men Truly Want and Need - 8 Tips on Making Your Relationship Great

What your husband wants you to know more than anything

Did you know that one of your spouses deepest desires is to be your hero?

Did you also know that most men, when they walk out the door to go to work, in their deepest of fears, hope that no one will ever find out what a failure they are?

Go ahead, ask your husband. What is their most significant desire, and what is their greatest fear? You will gain a lot of awareness with those two questions, even if it's not exactly that.


I have learned in my eight years of marriage, that I have a lot of influence on how my husband feels about himself.

I will admit, my lack of understanding about men and how they think has left me at a disadvantage in a lot of ways. The longer I'm married, discovering the mysteries of who my husband is and the more intel I draw from our experiences together, the more I realize just how little I know and how little I apply.

Applying is where it gets difficult. In all honesty, most of this guidance is unfortunately given on behalf of my failures. I hope you can learn from my mistakes.


It may prove to be difficult if in your marriage you have a hard time respecting your husband, or if you are feeling a lack of love from him. It's hard to push past those feelings of neglect and try to see your man as some kind of hero.

If you are having a difficult time in your marriage, but want it to get better, then try and put on a brave face. Put on those rose-colored glasses when you look at him and give it a whirl. Try these tips for a week, at least, and see if things don't start to take a turn for the better.

Whether you are struggling in your marriage, or it's as right as rain, I hope these guidances can beckon a new experience for you both.

This post contains affiliate links - By purchasing from one of my book recommendations, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I would never recommend something I don't stand behind and absolutely love. Thanks for your support in helping me do what I love! 

These tips will not be helpful if you are going through any kind of emotional, physical or mental abuse. Please seek immediate help if that is the case.

1. Tell him you're proud of him.

Part of feeling like your hero is knowing he is caring and providing for you, not only financially but also emotionally. Provision is one of man's deepest desires in succeeding for his family and knowing he is not failing.

Even though he may never express this to you verbally, he is, by going to work every day, expressing it to you with his actions.

You see, men are not wired the same way we are if you haven't already noticed. They sometimes have a hard time separating the emotional from the physical.

In our minds, we are needing more than a paycheck every day. Sure it's great to have money coming in, but for most of us women, this isn't where true intimacy lies in our relationship. We are needing attention, understanding, to be told we are beautiful and enough. For most men, they don't see it that way; to be emotionally present is also to be financially stable.

So, what is our part in assuring him of his efforts, even though they don't meet the exact expectations we have?

As women, we have a tendency to let our spouses know when they are doing something wrong, but neglect to acknowledge when they do something right. If this is a habit of yours, over time they might just give up trying to please you, thinking that you can never be satisfied; in their minds, they have done everything possible.

It's important for you to examine your actions in this. I know for some of you, you can't think of a single thing your husband does right. If that's the case, the first thing you should do is dig deep and figure out if those unmet expectations are a result of you having too high of standards, or if it is in fact that they are really never succeeding.

Many times, we get so caught up in what isn't going right, instead of what IS going right. Not only will recognizing the good in your life cause your thoughts to become more positive and therefore bring joy to you personally, it will cause you to see our husband in a different light.

I know that a lot of people say that relationships should be about your happiness and expectations being met. But what if our expectations can never be met? What if we are causing our own unhappiness by the expectations and standards we set for others, and then when they aren't met we are devastated?

I believe that if we start acknowledging their efforts in the little things, like going to work, they will see that they are pleasing you in some way and in return want to meet more and more of your needs. By you meeting his needs of seeing him as your hero, he will in return meet yours. After all, its truly brings a man joy when he can be your hero, and even more when you show him that he is.

2. Don't expect the worst of him.

Along the lines of showing him you're proud of him, it is also on us to not always expect the worst from them. That means, expect the best, even if his previous actions have proven otherwise. For some of you, this is SO HARD if you've operated out of thinking the worst for a long period of time.

You see, whatever your specific struggle is in your marriage, (for everyone that's different) it is the hardest in those circumstances to be expecting the best. If you've been let down time and time again it's only human to keep expecting the worst. But there is hope. How?

First of all, thinking it doesn't mean it's true, and also doesn't mean we need to voice it. This is SO hard for me.

I tend to think that my husband needs to know exactly what it is I'm thinking so that he can better understand me. But the truth is, he won't always understand me and it will most likely cause an argument if I tell him one more time that I'm dissapointed that he didn't follow through.

Goes to say, if he screws up, don't let him know that you didn't believe he would succeed in the first place. Give him another chance.

Maybe, just maybe if you show him grace when he fails, then he would want all the more to repay that grace with following through the next time.

3. In the midst of an argument don't try and win the fight for once.

One of the hardest things to do in the middle of an argument is to pause, take a deep breath, possibly walk away to go pray or think, and give it up.

If you're anything like me, there is nothing I hate worse then not being heard or understood.

It frustrates me to no end, but over time I have learned that the more I fight back trying to get my point across the more he fights back. It goes nowhere, leads to a ruined day, possibly a resolve after we've completely damaged one another, and ends up doing more harm than good.

In essence, I can't change him and the more I try, the more I fail. Men HATE it when you try and change them. We also hate it when they try and change us!

In moments where you want to smack some sense into him, don't. Say something like, "I'm going to take a break and go think, so maybe we can work this out after we've taken a step back." Check out some of my tips on better communication here. 

Your emotions and feelings in the midsts of an argument can very easily end up ruling your mind and actions if you don't give them time to settle down. And believe it or not, emotions and feelings are sometimes FALSE!

You will only realize this when you calm down and take a step back to access the situation. Believe me, I have been there and done that TOO MANY TIMES. As much as I hate to admit it, when I take steps to control my feelings, figure out the root cause of why I am feeling the way I am feeling, I can, in love and RESPECT, better express myself.

Sometimes, that means letting it go and apologizing for the percentage of the issue that I need to take responsibility for. In most cases, letting it go and apologizing makes him see my point of view. Funny how that works.

4. Show him respect.

This also goes hand in hand with telling and showing him you're proud of him. Every guy is different, so every guy feels respect in a different way. It could be helpful to ask how your spouse how he feels respected.

The modern-day woman doesn't really want to acknowledge respect, because in our minds it has taken on a bad light.

Unfortunately, some men have abused and misused that word to gain some sort of rule over women, but respect in and of itself isn't negative, it's honorable. It doesn't mean an unhealthy submission to do anything and everything he wants, but is rather figuring out how he likes to be loved. In fact, respect for a man translates to love.

Love & Respect is a great book, even if you aren't religious, and it points out in detail how in the same way you need love, he needs respect. 

 

5. Tell him what a great father he is.

Sometimes we think they don't need to hear things like this, but again, our words can make or break a man. He needs to hear he is a good father just like you need reassurance you are a good mother.

This is an area in his life he might be a bit vulnerable, especially if his relationship with his father was difficult. Pay attention to where he is successful with fatherhood and make sure he knows it with a word of encouragement. I guarantee this will bring out the hero in your man.

6. Encourage an outlet or hobby.

I really struggled and still do with this one. My husband loves video games, I don't. You get the picture. But it's what he likes to do! It makes him happy and gives him an outlet to relieve stress while giving me time to be alone and unwind.

It's perfectly normal and healthy for couples to have alone time. If you're a stay at home mom, this may be hard to always accept. I know for me when I go through seasons where I am at a home all day dealing with kids or being alone, it's the highlight of my day to see my husband walk through the door. 'Finally, a person to talk to,' I think. Little did I know I was putting an immense amount of pressure on my husband to fill a void he wasn't always able to fill by expecting him to ALWAYS spend time with me.

It's important for you to find hobbies or things you enjoy by yourself and not wait for your spouse to meet every need of entertainment in your life. If your spouse has a high-stress job, or if he is constantly around people, he may be feeling the exact opposite as you are when he gets home from work or has time off.

He may need moments now and then to be alone and just do something for himself. But a forewarning - communication is absolutely key here.

Coming to an understanding about time/boundaries of when those moments are, or how often they occur is VERY important. What helped us was making a schedule for the nights we have together and the nights we are alone. Knowing ahead of time what to expect for how your evenings play out will avoid a lot of issues while making sure you each get time for yourself.   

7. Tell him you're attracted to him.

My husband is so handsome that I don't think he needs to always hear it from me. Surely he knows full well he is attractive. Nope! He still needs to know his wife thinks he's a hunk! Men are way more insecure than they will ever let you know. Tell him he looks nice before he goes to work. Compliment specific features that you love about him.

8. Tell him you need him.

Men need to be needed!

I don't buy into the notion that men are simple. They might say they are uncomplicated, logical, sensible or unemotional, but deep down lies many needs and emotions that in my opinion, are sometimes explained in illogical ways.

The difference between them and us is that we tend to overemphasize our needs, while men don't open up much at all. That makes it hard for us to really know what it is they need. They tend to have this underlying code, and if we don't decipher what they are saying, best of luck.

Them thinking they are simple could be because they don't voice the deepest and most intimate details of their mind. We, on the other hand, make sure we don't miss any nook or cranny of our thoughts left unsaid.

 So how do I know that men need to be needed? Sometimes I have caught myself in the middle of an argument overemphasizing all the things I need and get nowhere! Then I realized I just needed him, so I voiced that. I said, "I just need you." His persona turned from being on the defense to that of understanding. All blame was taken off him, so he was then able to understand what exactly it was I needed from him. Just him.

Being needed is never a negative thing in anyone's eyes. Remeber, one of mans sole purposes is to provide, and being needed just goes hand in hand with that. So don't let it go unsaid!

In Summary

 I think we as women have the tendency to think our spouses don't need things we need, like being told we are pretty, or loved, or needed. In my experience, it couldn't be more false. Thankfully my husband has opened up and let me in a little, without seeming "overly emotional," of course, so that I could get a glimpse of some things I can do to not only make him feel like my hero but feel like he is doing something right. Don't get me wrong, I fail almost every day in it, but having knowledge of it helps me to just keep working on my part in the relationship and stop thinking he is always the problem. It is NOT our responsibility to make one another happy. It is our responsibility to love, respect, and work on our own problems. Treat him as if he is your hero, and I see what happens. He might just become your hero. 

Depression, PMS, or PMDD? Which is Which and Why do I Have It?

 How you can have a better experience with PMS - PMS advice and tips.

How PMS can affect your decisions

When I first got married, there were a lot of instances when my husband was at a loss as to how to handle his new emotional and hormonal wife. The first month of our marriage he told me that PMS was all in my head, but knows now, that was a big no-no and absolutely not true.

He was raised alongside three brothers, and when it came to his mother opening up about her hormonal issues, forget it. I mean, why would she? Up until the last however many years, hormones, periods, and women's emotions were hush-hush. No one talked about them, and in my opinion, a lot has been swept under the rug resulting in a lot of disarray on the matter.

One day, after having a moment of freak out during my special days, I was shocked in how my mind had turned so ugly so fast and wondered if I was capable of actually doing the things I had just thought in my mind. It made me curious as to what percentage of crimes were committed by women during their PMS. I, of course, googled it and read a few articles on the matter.

It was apparently brought up in court during the 80's on whether sentencing could be lowered if a woman committed a crime during PMS. Since doctors couldn't prove that PMS alters our decisions, the case was thrown out, even though there are studies that found there was a higher percentage of crimes committed by women during PMS. Honestly, it makes perfect sense to me and proves even more that PMS can affect us in so many ways, including our decisions. 

Emotional vs physical symptoms of PMS and when it's called PMDD

Anger, irritability, depression, anxiety, cramps, headaches, and much much more.

Every woman is different, even when it comes to hormones. Some women suffer more physically during PMS and their period, while others suffer more emotionally. The severity of PMS is determined by how many symptoms you have. If you have 5 or more of these symptoms, it can be likely that you have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) .

Women who are experiencing PMS, can still function and continue to perform their daily activities, even with their discomfort. Women with PMDD, because experiencing more severe symptoms, are sometimes paralyzed in their mind and body which makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks. While anger, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, and thoughts of suicide are a part of the emotional symptoms, there is yet another painful side to PMDD that suddenly and unwillingly rears its ugly head. Depression.

There are many different forms, but the one I am referring to is that only during and having to do with the menstrual cycle. For me, this occurs both at ovulation and a week leading up to my period. Once my menstrual cycle starts, I feel like a different person. That makes it two weeks out of the month where I feel like myself. Not only do I suffer emotionally, but it affects my sleep (which affects my depression even more), my skin, and worst of all my decisions. I feel as though a tiny evil version of me is sitting in my head, and using her tiny controls to operate my bad decisions and make life seems hopeless.

Due to tracking timelines and keeping a symptom documentation, it's become apparent to me that what I experience is a bit more severe than PMS. In the second trimester of pregnancy, I am quite possibly the happiest person on earth. Most of my problems seemed to dissipate, including my skin, because my hormones changed for the better during this time. My first and third trimester are a completely different story.

Most of these things are no news to a lot of you. But what don't we know? What if there are broader issues to PMS, PMDD, and depression, and do they possibly coincide? Is there a way to get help from our symptoms?

I wanted to touch on this subject because I have benefitted from being aware of some of these things by research, reading some books on the matter, and some wise advice from a few women. Since we can't control the fact that we menstruate and from that receive wonderful side effects, let's talk about what we can control.

This post contains affiliate links.

What we can't control

Probably one of the hardest years of my life was when we moved to Germany for the second time. The unfortunate menstrual changes during PMS occur because of the rapid rising and lowering of the hormones progesterone and estrogen.

If we have high levels of stress in our lives, these symptoms are made worse due to the release of more cortisol into our bodies. I have witnessed first hand that stress plays a role in making symptoms worse, as the stressful years in my life, have brought out the record-breaking crazy lady days. 

We can't control our circumstances, for the most part, nor can we control our PMS or PMDD, if birth control is not an option for you. I tried it, only to find out I do, in fact, transform into Mr. Jeckel. It made my symptoms so much worse. Some of you don't want to be on birth control, but since it helps you feel less insane, you do it. Same goes for depression medication. You need a solution, so why not?

As I am both for the use of depression medication and birth control when needed, I also don't want to accept the fact that it should be something we have to take for the rest of our lives. So what are the other options? Let's talk about the neurological side of things and how it possibly ties into PMS, PMDD, and depression. So we can't control PMS and its symptoms, neither can we control our circumstances. So what can we control?

One of the best things you can do for your period is switch to Diva Cups! Say no to tampons! Read about it here. Click the image to buy on Amazon for a great price!

 

What we can control

1. What we eat -The PMS diet and how it can

lessen or eliminate your symptoms

I read a book awhile back talking about natural resources that help lessen the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. It's called Period Repair Manual.  One of those factors is our diet. It's important to figure out what your body needs and doesn't need. Keep a diary of what you eat and how it made you feel.

For example, our body doesn't need a twinkie, but it could need natural sugar, like fruit or yogurt. Seems reasonably straightforward, right? She goes a little deeper into it, explaining how certain foods can worsen our symptoms. A very interesting read if you want some advice on what you can do naturally to lessen or even for some women, eliminate your symptoms. 

2. We can control our thoughts

There is a neurologist whose name is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She's brilliant and has written a book called Switch on your Brain. I don't agree with everything she says, but she touches on some excellent points.

Our mind/brain and our body are connected; therefore, our thoughts are the starting point of what happens to our body's emotions, ailments, physical well being, which in turn affects our lives. Our thoughts have the power to physically change the makeup of our brains for the better or the worse.

I'm going to quote a good old fashioned verse from the Bible. If you're not a Bible-believing person, that's okay it doesn't matter because this can still apply to you. Philippians 4:8 says,

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." 

This is advice from thousands of years ago, and I can only gather that God is trying to protect us in not wanting us to let our thoughts run wild on negativity because science now says it is neither good for us emotionally nor physically. Positive thinking, right? It can heal our brains, physically change them, and heal our bodies. Read the book. It's fascinating. 

So, what does this have to do with PMS, PMDD, and depression?

A sage woman once asked me in reply to me sharing how during PMS, I have a hard time controlling anger towards my husband when we fight. She asked, "Are you able to control your anger towards your son or your friends?" I replied, "yes, of course, most times." she responded. "So there is hope. If you can control your anger towards your child and friends, then if you put your mind to it and practice, then you can also control your anger towards your husband."

That was convicting. It occurred to me that I can, in fact, control my emotions, even during PMS. How? By controlling my thoughts. It is SO hard to do during PMS, and I realize for those of you who suffer from PMDD, it seems impossible at the moment. But with practice (mostly during the good weeks,) as you will read in Dr. Leaf's book, we can physically change our brains and begin to heal from the inside out. Cool, huh? Oh and she backs it up with science, so don't worry. I don't think that this is always possible for everyone and every neurological issue. She seems to think differently on that matter. That's okay! We don't all have to agree on everything!!! 

Learn more about - How do we begin to control our thoughts?

There is almost always a still small voice in my head when I think of something I shouldn't be thinking that says, "If you go down this thought journey, you will end up going down the rabbit trail into a big ugly mess of insecurity, doubt, depression, and anger. If you choose not to believe that lie, you can go on with your day NOT fighting with your husband." I believe we are continually being fed awful lies, and we always have a choice to believe them or not. Anything that causes you to curl up in fear is most likely a lie, and if you feed that lie, it will fester until your brain and emotions are a rotten mess.

It takes practice, but try it. When that lie comes up, have an escape plan. Think of something positive to replace it with that correlates to that thought that might be pestering you. 

Thought scenarios:

'I am fat and ugly' - replace it with something that you know is true about yourself. 'Okay, that's how I feel, but what is true? I am beautiful because...' 

'She is prettier than me' - replace it with the truth. 'Wow, she is really pretty. I'm grateful that God creates everyone with some unique form of beauty. Thanks, God, for also creating me beautiful.'

I have my "escape from bad thoughts" plan all written out and taped up in my bathroom (the place I usually go when I'm upset.) It reminds me (when I choose to acknowledge it,) to take action for how I am behaving right now and own up to my side of things. I used to live in unforgiveness, bitterness, and thinking that I am a worthless piece of nothing, and why should I even bother with the world. It was a dark place, and worse yet, intensified when I was hormonal.

It brought dissension in my marriage, destruction in my heart and mind, and I physically felt like I couldn't get out of bed. I had headaches, backaches, anxiety, loss of appetite, thought of suicide and more. All because I started believing those little lies that turn into BIG LIES.

I believe, but as I said, it's my own opinion, that there were always deeper issues at hand, and during my PMS, those things would intensify and leave me paralyzed with fear. So, what else can we control?

3. Make peace with your past.  

We all have a past that includes good and bad experiences and memories. If you have undealt with baggage, then figure out a way to heal through it. Whether that's forgiving someone, even if they don't deserve it, or having someone to help you work through your wounds. Forgiveness is vital in letting the past go. I know this first hand, and it is one of my hardest struggles and something that has held me back for many years. 

Some of us have deep wounds that go beyond what is even in our conscious minds. It could be subconsciously affecting you, although you thought you had gotten over it. Make sure you have made peace with your past and leave the past in the past. It won't help you to dig up those graves to justify your thought patterns. You can read more about healing from your past here.

4. Take responsibility for your actions and who you want to be.

I don't know who you are or how you got to this post, but I do know you're reading it for a reason. I am grateful if in some way it can help you in your journey to learn how to deal with PMS, PMDD, depression, and the issues that go more in-depth.

I believe, when we PMS, the deeper dwelling issues of our heart's come out, and rear their ugly heads in ways we don't like or even want. That's why in dealing with our symptoms, we need to dig deeper and figure out who we are, and why we are the way we are.

For everyone, this looks different. For me, it has helped me immensely to take responsibility for my actions and work on the things I need to change instead of wanting everyone and everything else to change. To take my thoughts captive and not let them run wild on emotion. Just like the serenity prayer. "God, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can."  

You have the power to change your own life for the better. It has first to be a choice, and then an action, starting with the opportunity to not believe lies, and to replace those evil thoughts with the good ones.

Try it, and see if you can start changing those hopeless days into days full of joy and peace. It's a long journey which I am still working on, and I can't say it always works. But at least I know I am trying something, rather than doing nothing. Feel free to share your thought below on what you experience with PMS, PMDD, or depression.

We are in this together, and your story could be an encouragement for someone else. 

 PMS, PMDD, or Depression? Which is which and what can I do?