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Finding the silver lining

Friday, February 21, 2014

My wake up call this morning was my husband shaking me to ask me if I wanted to help him shovel. My first thought was, no I really do not want to help you shovel. But I knew the job would go so much faster if I did. So, I got out of bed...begrudgingly. We got quite a bit of snow and in order to make it out of our driveway we had to shovel the three foot pile of snow the snow plow so kindly left for us over the night. Not exactly the best way to start a morning, but at least it is Friday.

This winter has been a rough one. Between the snow and the constant sub-zero temperatures most people have had enough, which is not a good thing considering that we are about to head into Minnesota's snowiest month. But research has shown that negativity can impact our overall well being. In clinical research there is even a term for it. It is called the 'nocebo effect.' The short definition is a person's negative thoughts cause their health to decline. It is the opposite of the placebo effect where a person believes they are receiving medicine to improve their health and their health improves even though the medicine they were given was nothing more than a hard candy. It is the power of thought.

Now what does this have to do with shoveling snow and these hard winter months? Last night I looked out our kitchen window and into my neighbor's backyard. Our neighbor has the a huge river birch that has a huge canopy that covers her entire backyard. It has this perfect shape. It is my favorite tree. But last night it actually took my breath away. Before the snow started it rained. Because of the rain the snow stuck to every branch of the river birch. It was like someone had frosted the whole tree. It was stunning. I even made my husband go look at it. The snow made the tree almost glow. I wish I had taken a picture but I do not think that would have done it justice. Even this morning on our drive to work, the streets were lined with snow frosted trees. It really was beautiful. It made we want to go to the park and snowshoe.

That is when I realized the silver lining not only of last night but of the whole winter. Snow covered trees make for a a sight to be seen. Our sub-zero temperatures were an excuse for all of us to curl up on the couch together to stay warm. Since we couldn't go outside for fear of frostbite, numerous books were read, games were played and conversations were had. But best of all, every time it snows, there is a hot chocolate waiting for the brave ones who went out and shoveled.

As I was shoveling this morning I got crabby but then I looked at the beautiful tree and it brought a smile to my face. It is the silver lining that helps us to realize that there is a positive in all that is around us.

What was your silver lining? How did it change your perception? Leave a comment and let us know. Until then, stay warm and enjoy your hot chocolate.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VWMOMMY 2/22/2014 1:27AM

    I can't stand shoveling usually.This morning I went outside a little ticked off at myself because I hadn't gotten more gas for the snowblower before the storm. I had to dig out the car to be able to get to the gas station to get the gas. What ended up happening instead was that I realized how much stronger I am now than I used to be and I ended up shoveling the whole driveway as well as the front walk with the crappiest snow shovel on Earth. And you know what? I loved it!!! I was so amazed at what my body was capable of that it actually became a challenge, became fun. In the end I shoveled almost 2 1/2 hours and burned almost 1100 calories. I got a chance to talk to the neighbors, get a little much needed sunshine and play with my dog. A win all the way around! Perspective is everything!

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The power of touch

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This last Sunday, on CBS Sunday Morning, there was a segment called 'The fine art of cuddling.' In the segment Mo Rocca interviews "hug therapist" Steve Maher and professional cuddler Samantha Hess to learn more about the business of touch. As it turns out you can pay someone to cuddle with you and get your regular dose of touch. There are ground rules of course because this is purely platonic touching.

To some it may seem odd to pay someone so they can touch you. I have to admit at first I thought it was a little strange too. Then I started to think about how there are moments for me when I want nothing more than for my husband to wrap his arms around me and just hold me. Typically these moments come in our kitchen after a particularly long day. I usually do not even have to say a word. I just wrap my arms around him and bury my head in his chest. If I had my way I could stay like that for the rest of the night but dinner unfortunately does not make itself. After being held I feel so much better. It may not have taken all that is bugging me away but it does give me the sense that I can handle whatever it is. All from a few moments of touch.

There have been numerous research projects based on the benefits of touch. Touch has been shown to lower stress in our bodies as well as indicate a sense of trust and security. Here are a few articles discussing the power of touch:

Hands on Research: The Science of Touch

The Health Benefits of Physical Touch

Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much

The Benefits of Healing Touch

In the end I became curious to see if there were hug therapists or professional cuddlers here in the Twin Cities. Unfortunately I did not find anyone offering those services. It seems like a shame. Maybe this post will inspire someone here to create a business around this notion.

The closest I could come to a professional cuddler was healing touch and therapeutic touch practitioners. While both use touch to promote healing, it did not strike me as the same as cuddling. In many of the articles I read, massage therapy was mentioned as a means of benefiting from the power of touch. So it appears there are a couple of options to consider if you do not have someone at home to cuddle with or the person you have at home is not into cuddling as much as you are. While I did not find a professional cuddler in the Twin Citites I did find one in New York City and in Madison, WI. The NYC business is called The Sunuggery. The Madison business is called Snuggle House. Proof that this really does exist.

Until next time, remember that you could change the course of someone's day simply by giving them a pat on the back or touching their arm. Powerful stuff. Post a comment and let me know what your feelings about the power of touch are.

If you like what you read here you can check out my blog at www.thecollectivegivingtree.com . Thanks. Have a great day!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNA202 2/14/2014 4:09PM

    Very interesting to hear there are professionals setting this up, and I think it's quite right! My DH is as much a cuddler as I am so I'm very lucky but it's made me very aware of how much I was missing cuddles when I was singles. It's not just being close to someone important, it's so much more than that.

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CANDLES-73 2/13/2014 3:57PM

    I agree with this sooo much!!! I often say that snuggling with my 8 year old (he's seriously the best snuggler EVER!) is like medicine. A few minutes of snuggling with my little buddy can make a horrendous day so much better! Maybe I should start hiring him out....nah, I think I'll keep him for myself!!! emoticon

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Plug in to Your Creative Outlet

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Over the last few days my best friend and I have been discussing creative outlets. She works in the health care field where her talents for film, theater, and photography do not get to be utilized. My day job of a management consultant limits my creativity to the Power Point presentations that I get to put together. However, that just does not really charge either one of us.

I consider creativity to be a mental and spiritual punching bag. At a previous job my coworkers and I would joke around about how great it would be to have a punching bag in the office. That way every time we got frustrated with the way things were going we could use the punching bag as a release for the extra energy we were feeling. This became such a running joke that I finally went out when day and bought a kid's punching bag. It was one of those inflatable bags that had the sand in the bottom so when you punched it, the bag would return to a standing position. As it turned out the punching bag was a huge hit. The bag because a way for people to have an outlet.

Creativity works in the same way typically because we are passionate about the creative medium we are using. It does not matter if it is painting, singing, acting, etc. All those pursuits are a way for people to loose themselves in the creative process and have an outlet for whatever is going on in their life and around them. In some cases creativity is an outlet for anger and frustration. In other cases it is an outlet for happiness and positivity.

My blog has become a huge creative outlet for me. Even when I am not sitting down at the computer to type a blog post, my mind is always thinking of topics for a post or ideas that would be interesting to explore. As a result I have noticed that I do not feel drained from my job the way that I used to. I do not get so upset when things go wrong or do not go the way I had hoped. I believe this to be because all of my energy is not spent on my job. I am able to utilize other sources to fuel my energy and passion.

Both my friend and I love what we do for a job. We have just started to realize that there are other facets of our lives that have been neglected and like a good gardener we need to tend to them. Creativity is becoming a lost art. Our days are so jam packed with running from this activity to that or from this meeting to the next that we are not taking the time to recharge or finding a way to release.

What do you consider you creative outlet? Leave a comment below. Maybe what you post will inspire others to find their creative outlet in a place they never thought to look.

If you like this post, check out my other blog posts at www.thecollectivegivingtree.com Have a wonderful day!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLAMENM 2/6/2014 10:26PM

    My work is a creative outlet. Crafting a good letter, leading a great conversation, figuring out a sampling program all require creativity.

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About to do something very scary

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Wow. It has been a really long time since I wrote a blog post. I honestly did not know it had been over a year. Huh. Time flies when you are busy not paying attention. Oh well. That is all about to change because I am about to do something that seriously scares the crap out of me.

I have started a blog. I actually started it over two months ago...but didn't tell anyone about it. Why? Because I am scared. I am scared to put myself out there and open myself up to have people comment on my thoughts. But now that it is a new year I have set a goal to set 100 followers by the end of the year. I would really your feedback. I cannot improve without help. So here we go. Please check out my blog...

www.thecollectivegivingtree.com

Someone let me know when the scary part is over.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SETTIMIA 1/12/2014 4:39AM

    Thank you, I don't actually own a pair of red shoes, as always stick to dark colours.

Have a great Sunday

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ASDOBBER 1/10/2014 2:06PM

    Thank you everyone for the kind words. It really means a lot.

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TIGER_LILY_613 1/10/2014 12:14AM

    Great blog !!! emoticon

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KAYOTIC 1/9/2014 10:49PM

    emoticon Looks good!

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CHRISGETTINGFIT 1/9/2014 7:36PM

    Looks like a great blog!

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SETTIMIA 1/9/2014 3:22PM

    Thank you for commenting on my blog, and love the red shoes! Having problems with clicking on your link

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DELIA38961 1/9/2014 3:07PM

    Congrats on taking that step ...

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Why not you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Here is the next installment of poems that inspire me. I hope that it inspires you as well.

Why Not You?
By Steve Maraboli

Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?

Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?

Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?

Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?

Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you?

Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you?

Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you?

Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you?

Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you?

Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you?

Today is a new day!
Many will seize this day.
Many will live it to the fullest.
Why not you

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TYME2BME 9/29/2011 6:29PM

    What a nice blog. Thank you for sharing it.

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MNNICE 9/29/2011 2:24PM

    Even if a person did just one or two of those things, they would be a changed person (for the better!) Some good thoughts.

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