Category Archives: Encouragement

What The Muppets Taught Me

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Is it odd to love The Muppets more than the average bear?

While it’s true, my family thinks there’s something seriously wrong with memuppet when I express overt enthusiasm for this peculiar gang of characters, I can’t help the goofiness they bring out in me. And I’m flat out gaga over the return of The Muppet Show this fall on TV. But more than their whimsical antics that string along my amusement, The Muppets have meted out some good horse sense.

Here’s what The Muppets taught me:

 

1. Stay playful

The Muppets peddle humor. Stress has no audience when I allow the child in me to be her goofy self. Any weight on my shoulders disappears at the arrival of laughter and silliness.

Laughter is the best medicine. In addition to helping the mind to stay positive, laughing triggers the release of endorphins in your body–the feel good chemicals and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Stay merry my friends. Engage in laughter is what the muppets taught me!

 

2. Use encouraging words

kermit-54237_640Kermit, the philosophical frog and ringleader, isn’t your typical skipper. He cares so deeply for his buddies that he thinks of ways to be helpful and encouraging, especially if any one of them is in a jam.

He’s the wise guru for a gang of seriously off-beat oddballs. He believes in the genuine goodness of the world. And that reminds me that I do, too. His consistent quest keeps me more aware that people need encouragement and compassion. And, being different is a rare and good thing.

 

3. Rock outmuppet3

Music makes my soul want to dance. It’s a power that lifts my spirit. It moves me. And who can go wrong with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem? A band stuck in the 60’s. Me, too!

muppet2When it comes to tickling the ivories, Rowlf the Dog plays piano like my good friend David Longo. He also has a pretty good singing voice. Rowlf, not David.

But nothing beats Kermit sitting on a log in a swamp, playingkermit1 the banjo and singing The Rainbow Connection, for lovers, and dreamers, and me. La da da di da da dum da duh da da dum di da ohhh

 

4. It’s okay to suck as a cook

I’ve pored over most of the gibberish cooking advice from the Swedish Chef. I’m relieved that food and utensils flying through the air is not as bad as I muppet1previously thought.

Thank goodness jogging back and forth along the kitchen counter is perfectly normal.

And to make a word salad, you simply talk to yourself or hum a nonsensical song. At last, a chef I can relate to! Bork! Bork! Bork!

 

5. Spread love. Pass it on.

It’s impossible to look at a Muppet and not feel some goodness in life.muppet5

Jim Henson created The Muppets in 1955 with a visionary passion. When he died in 1990, Disney eventually bought the rights to The Muppets in 2004. I’m thankful for the vision of love, morals, humor, and hope Henson played out with all his created characters. All the qualities of a well-played life, human and otherwise.

In 2006, Kermit the Frog was credited as the author of the self-help guide “Before You Leap: A Frog’s Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons” — an “autobiography” written from the perspective of the Muppet himself.

Life’s greatest lessons. That’s what The Muppets taught me.

 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

What Do You Deserve?

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Do you pause with this question?

What do you deserve? Do you even know? Do you feel guilty for craving more in life?

First, let’s get that guilt out of the way. God, through Jesus, has liberated you self-confidence2from your own guilt and has provided your freedom.

God does not want you living in guilt, self-condemnation, despair, or sabotaging His blessings for you. That is not what He desires for your life. He wants you to have joy, affection, and achievement with your endeavors. God has given each of us talents, skills, gifts, and abilities for use to better our lives and help the lives of other people.

What do you deserve? You deserve happiness, love, and success. You deserve shelter and sunlight and shade and warmth. Done. You deserve to determine your destiny. Fini. You deserve the moon! And you have it. You deserve a universe! It’s all yours.

10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nBut, any negative thoughts you have about yourself can cause you to sabotage your relationships, success, and happiness. If you do not treat yourself with love and respect, you can not experience the love and respect of other people.

What do you deserve? If you do not believe you deserve success, you will not experience it. If you do not think you should be happy, you will not find happiness.

What words do you use every day? Critical words? Ones used to complain? Judgmental phrases? Sarcastic tones? Encouraging expressions? Caring speech? Words of gratitude?

Your words reflect your character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself. Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself.

Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Do they match the character IMG_0862you want to role model to others? Are they in agreement with the integrity you want to be associated with?

Jump on any negative thoughts about yourself. Refuse to criticize your mistakes or degrade your limitations.

Pay attention to your inner critical voice that degrades you. Realize it represents voices of those who criticized you in the past. Those voices don’t represent the truth today.

What do you deserve?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

My Counselor by Dr. Sandy Nelson

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The Lord is my Counselor

I shall not wig out.

He makes me aware of my gloom and tainted motives.

He leads me to reality.

He restores my heart and mind.

He guides me on the path of
self-respect,
purpose,
and concern for humanity.

He teaches me to
think clearly,
be helpful,
and take responsibility for my choices.

He makes me calm and passionate.

He enables me to remember the people I am not to control,
and to control myself.

Even though I walk through the valley of
frustration,
pessimism,
and indifference,

I am not influenced,

For thou art with me.

Thy devotion and goodness encourage me.

He prepares a table before me in the presence of daily enemies:
pride,
dishonesty,
self-pity,
fear,
and helplessness.

He anoints me with
gratitude,
self-confidence,
and acceptance.

No longer am I defeated; neither am I unsupported.

My cup runneth over with
enthusiasm and determination.

Surely, peace and blessings shall follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell on making a difference in this world forever and ever.

Amen!!

 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Constructive Criticism, My Ass

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Constructive Criticism, My Ass

I have a thing about the phrase “constructive criticism.” First of all, isn’t it an oxymoron? It seems like a complete contradiction. Plus, there’s no such thing as constructive criticism, is there? It’s not positive criticism. It’s criticism. Plain and simple. There’s no constructive part about it.

There are many people who use this catchphrase. Usually, it’s with a life is hardcondescending voice. It’s typically someone who is cranky, even resentful, and someone who hasn’t had a good laugh is years. “Can I give you some constructive criticism?” It’s a question that puts me on the defensive. If I’m already objecting to the tone of the question, does it matter if the advice or suggestion that follows is good or bad, or whether I follow it?

There are a million and one ways to make a suggestion, or even scold someone, without actually saying “you suck.”

We can be less sarcastic, less disrespectful when pointing out mistakes or blunders to someone under our watch. We can make suggestions more humorous such as, “You’ll pull less hair out if you try it this way.” Or more helpful with “Hey, let me show you what works for me.”

At one time, we all were doing something for the first time.

Why do we criticize other people at all? Is there a living single person knighted with the sole knowledge of all things deemed critical? If it’s not illegal, why do we have an issue with someone who does something different than we would? Does it matter?

daisy2It doesn’t matter. What matters is our kindness. Yeah, I know it’s like a sappy love song, but it’s true. Because it’s grown in the daisy field hills of love, kindness is a power that can drive out a lot of demons in people. I’ve seen it happen many times. People need kindness. Soon, they may pay it forward with some kindness.

Until somebody comes up with a better idea, spread some kindness everywhere you go.

I think the term “Constructive Criticism” can be tossed in the heap of outdated phrases like “Attaboy,” “Copacetic,” “Scram,” and “Cat Pajamas.” No, wait, not Cat Pajamas. I like the cat’s pajamas. 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

When You’re Left Out

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WHEN YOU’RE LEFT OUT – Dr. Sandy Nelson

As adults when you’re left out and rejected by a friend, it triggers childhood memories most of us can recall. Those cliques in class that excluded others in the playground games, or the secret chats by the lockers, or the in-crowd table in the cafeteria. Cliques that seemed to have fun seeing others isolated and alone.

Judith Sills, PhD, says in Oprah.com …being left out is not an inherently grown-up phenomenon. It is 1000213_10151708767561439_258385478_na grade-school agony that recurs throughout life. Being left out is an emotional drama that unfolds in three acts: discovery, distress, and, if you can get there, detachment. These psychological rhythms prevail whether you are reeling from the whispers of a group of girls at recess or excluded from a bridge game in your assisted-living home. Being left out is the dark side of friendship…

Female cliques—and the power they wield to trample feelings—are not just an unpleasant memory from junior high and high school. These groups that are aloof to outsiders thrive in the grown-up world too. It makes feeling welcomed as a newcomer difficult. When you’re left out, you know it. You feel it. It’s perplexing to be ignored or dismissed after a group has invited newcomers.

11046458_999199456780643_2534625398824416841_nDebbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul writes: Cliques tend to be more about power and control and less about the open door of friendship.

Clearly, there are good reasons to better understand the effects of being excluded when you’re left out. Humans have a fundamental need to belong. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships, says C. Nathan DeWall, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky. This need is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history and has all sorts of consequences for modern psychological processes.

Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences, researchers have found. The social rejection of when you’re left out increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control, as DeWall explains in a recent review (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011). Physically, too, rejection takes a toll. People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality, and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections, he says.

As mature adults, shouldn’t we be more embracing of people who have initiated their interest in our clubs, groups, or even our coffee house gatherings? Isn’t this the gift of affirmation and inclusion we all seek?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

The Blah Epidemic – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Some people seem to always be in happy moods. But, exactly what is happiness? What encompasses a good mood? Is this disposition genetic or dependent on specific neurotransmitters in the brain? Is there a blah, unhappiness gene distributed to a select population?

Scientists are searching for answers to these questions which means they still IMG_2321do not know what specially causes depression, or for that matter—happiness. Previously called Melancholia, depression has been recognized as a common condition for more than three thousand years. Some experts think depression is the result of learned experiences. Others say it’s all about brain chemistry. And then there are those who believe it’s in the genes.

Everyone knows what depression feels like because all of us at one time have experienced its character traits of hopelessness, helplessness, sleep disturbances, eating changes, consuming sadness, and an inability to function. These episodes, typically, are not chronic, only last a day or two; and usually result from life events. Most of us are able to adjust to the changes in life that are uninvited and demanding. We may pout for a time, rebel at reality, express our frustration, but then accept “what is” and move on to tomorrow.

IMG_2311Just like the common cold, the symptoms of depression are generally the same for everyone, but the same can’t be said about happiness. Scientists know more about the state of depression than they do about the state of joy. Taking into consideration that happiness is the most important goal in the lives of people, experts can’t even agree on an explanation for it. What is happiness? Is it being in a good mood? Is it having fun? Is it securing the approval of other people? Lots of money? No worries? What is happiness to you? Americans might say that happiness is a consistent state of well-being, void of stress, worry, frustration, and disappointment.

The full extent of depression is unknown because the menacing stigma towards mental health remains in our culture. As a result of ignorant people that still judge mental conditions as the equivalent of insanity, many people do not seek IMG_2096treatment for depression. They suffer quietly because of the perceived rejection they would otherwise experience if more folks knew their struggles. This accounts for the strong isolation that depressed individuals experience. Our culture still believes on some level that we shouldn’t need help or support for the problems or events that pre-empt our plans and land us in despair. There’s still the idea that it’s a weakness to seek counsel or take medication for mental conditions. On the contrary, it takes strength and wisdom to seek help, and I respect those individuals who do so.

HealthyPlace.com offers a list of hotlines and referral resources for better mental health! Help yourself, or someone you care about, to be happy!

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

You Will Make A Difference by Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Someone once said:
The highest reward in life is not what you get from it, but what you become by it.

You are capable of doing something that makes a huge difference in this worldf5813ce0-8791-4e6f-a526-32c953e7bba1-medium (1) every day, HUGE! Do you believe it? Your caring attitude, your kindness, your respect for yourself and life makes a difference not only in the lives of those who cross your path, but also makes a difference within you. No one can be exactly like you. No one will make a difference exactly like you will.

We have great challenges as adults in this world. Many people believe themselves too inadequate to make a difference; too flawed to contribute. Great things are rarely done by great intelligence or great ability, but by average folks with great hearts who care. I promise, you will make a difference in the lives of everyone you come into contact with every single day. It will be either a positive difference or a negative one. It will be one of encouragement or of dismissal; kindness or cruelty; respect or rejection. Which difference will you make?

American social critic and scholar of education, Edgar Z. Friedenberg, said:
What we must decide is how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.

When we explore our personality and characteristics for positive features and urban-438393_640skills, it can be a bit awkward. We do the world a service; however, when we recognize how we are valuable in any scenario of need. What we can give is more important than why we can provide it.

Sharing specific talents with a community or volunteer organization goes a long way to better the world. Even if that’s not what you can commit to, it will make a difference and it’s takes no time from your schedule to smile and be pleasant to people you see each day.

Author of Think Great, Lailah Gifty Akita, wrote:
Encouragement is life. Many people would have given up in life without encouragement. May your words be gracious to those who hear it.

Words have no price tag. It doesn’t cost a penny to speak. But the impact of what you say holds life-altering power.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com