10 Ways to Lighten Emotional Burdens & Create Change In The New Year

What is the number one New Years resolution, year after year? Is it health or happiness? No. More time with family and friends? No, not that, either. A financial windfall? Not even money makes the top of the list. It's weight loss.

Surprised? I wasn't, either.

There's a real shortage of self-appreciation, self-love, and self-acceptance in our society. We look at ourselves with a sharp, critical eye that's been honed to find each and every imperfection. We compare ourselves to others instead of accepting and celebrating our differences. We allow ourselves to be defined by our perceived shortcomings which, in turn, begins the cycle of self-deprecation. When I lose this weight I'll finally be happy. I wouldn't look so bad if my thighs weren't so big. If I looked like__, my life would be amazing. If I wasn't such a mess, I'd have gotten that job..... and so on, and so on. Why would it be a surprise to find that with all that we could aim for in the coming New Year, our appearance tops the list?

The reasons for how we view our bodies, and why we feel about them as we do, are as diverse as the bodies we've been taught (or have learned) to hate. No matter the reason, it's time that we put a stop to this, break the never ending cycle, and start to build a loving, healthy relationship with ourselves... and our bodies.

Let's resolve to focus less on losing body weight this year and focus more on losing the weight of the emotional burdens we carry with us every day. Those excessive, self-loathing, depressing, guilt-filled burdens that serve no positive purpose and that deprive us of living fully and joyfully. Yes, let's lose those. They are a heavy weight that we were never meant to bear.

10 Ways to Lighten Emotional Burdens and Create Change

  1. let go of resentments
  2. stop dragging the past into the present
  3. forgive and be forgiven
  4. appreciate your body, your spirit, yourself
  5. let go of negative self-talk
  6. stop comparing yourself to others
  7. accept yourself completely without
      prejudice to your appearance
  8. let go of thoughts/memories that do not
      serve to heal, help, or support you
  9. let go of feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy
10. move past what has held you back...
      with positivity, courage, and conviction

You may find the New Year to be a symbolic time to implement change but if you don't, the truth is that change doesn't require a special day. It can be created at any time... with huge leaps or small steps. It all depends on what works best for you. Just begin. Start. Difficult or easy, make it happen. You are capable and worthy of the change you seek.

Happy New Year! 

see also:
10 Self-Nurturing New Year's Resolutions
An Exercise in Bringing About Change
5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Life
Letting Go Of Resentment 
15 Quotes For Recovery In This Brand NewYear
What Are You Afraid Of? (Change)
Is What's Holding You Back Worth Holding On To?
Recovery and The New Year
New Beginnings 

new years stat source:http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

10 Recovery Survival Tips for the Holidays

Are the holidays stressing you out? Are you worrying about how to navigate some of the pressures and situations that may arise?  Here are some survival tips to help see you through:

1. Take time to relax. No matter how busy your holiday plans are, create some time just for you. Breathe, relax, de-stress. Just a couple of minutes to decompress from the pressures of the holiday can make a world of difference.

2. Choose your battles. The good intentions of family members and friends can often leave you feeling trapped and outnumbered during a time that stress levels are already at peak capacity. Adopt a take it or leave it attitude. Take from it what you can use to help you through, and leave behind what doesn't. Remember that you don't have to own everything thrown your way.

3. Plan ahead. Though you cannot plan ahead for every scenario that may arise, knowing your options in advance will lessen anxiety, fear, and stress. Know what your options are beforehand. If you're attending events with someone that you trust, let them know that you're struggling with a safety word or phrase (that you've agreed upon in advance) and have a plan of action set in place.

4. Allow for imperfection. Don't hold your holiday, or yourself, up to standards that are impossible to attain. Nothing is perfect. Expecting everything to be so sets yourself up for disappointment and failure. Let the events unfold as they will and enjoy the unexpected. Some of the best times are created when things fall apart and people come together.

5. Keep things in perspective. Sometimes we read more into a comment or action than is intended because of what we are carrying around with us. Our fears, emotions, and trials can influence our interpretation. Take a moment to remove yourself from your initial feelings and give yourself a chance to see if what you're hearing/witnessing is what is really being said/done.

6.  Create a positive, supportive inner dialogue. Your thoughts create your reality. "I am capable of handling any situation with grace, confidence, and compassion." Don't dwell on negative possibilities. Keep your self-talk supportive and positive.

7. Get plenty of rest. Get a good night's sleep the night before. Everything is easier when you're not already dealing with an overtired, sleep-deprived body and brain.

8. Count your blessings. All of them, right down to the tiniest one you can think of. We all have our fair share of burdens but count your blessings and you'll find they tip the scales in your favor.

9. Know your limits. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we may still find ourselves in a situation that exceeds our ability to cope. If you find yourself in a situation that you can't handle or that posses a threat to your recovery give yourself permission to take your leave.

10. End the day with a good helping of self-love. At the end of the day, whether it was good or bad, remember that you are worthy of your own love and acceptance. We are all imperfect beings on an imperfect journey. That's what life is. We strive to be better, do better, and achieve more but at the end of the day remember to love yourself no matter what.

Here are some links to help you navigate through the holidays: 
(please note that some are entitled Thanksgiving. The techniques are still the same no matter what holiday it is)
Links to Help See You Through This Holiday Season
Eating Disorders and The Holidays: Links To Help See You Through
Surviving Thanksgiving When You Have An Eating Disorder

Have a wonderful holiday! 

Love, Believe, Forgive: Recovery Image

Love yourself right now, exactly as you are. Believe in yourself you are more capable than you realize. Forgive yourself and others let go, free yourself of the yesterday's burdens and begin anew.

Anxiety and Eating Disorders

POLL: Do you have an eating disorder and experience anxiety? Please take a moment to participate in the poll, located in the sidebar to your right, and share your experience.

What is Anxiety?

 1 : a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill
      b : a cause of anxiety

 2 : an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it.

Generalized anxiety disorder :
an anxiety disorder marked by chronic excessive anxiety and worry that is difficult to control, causes distress or impairment in daily functioning, and is accompanied by three or more associated symptoms (as restlessness, irritability, poor concentration, and sleep disturbances)

Everyone feels anxious at times. The "fight or flight" response is a normal response that is intended to keep us safe. Adrenaline rushes through our bodies which in turn moves us towards action. It's normal to feel stress, or to worry over major changes in our lives such as divorce, a new job, tests, etc. It's when anxiety interferes with our daily lives, keeps us from doing what we need to do, or hinders us from enjoying our lives fully that it is time to reach out for help.

Some Facts:
via NIMH~

Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).

Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance abuse.

Most people with one anxiety disorder also have another anxiety disorder.

Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.

via adaa~
A 2004 study found that two-thirds of people with eating disorders suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives and that around 42 percent had developed an anxiety disorder during childhood, well before the onset of their eating disorder. Other studies also confirm that an anxiety disorder usually the onset of an eating disorder, but panic disorder often follows.

Some Signs and Symptoms that may indicate you have an Anxiety Disorder:

Are you constantly worried?
Do you feel as though danger is imminent?
Do you feel tense most of the time?
Do you experience intense feelings of panic?
Are you easily startled?
Do you have irrational fears?
Do you avoid ordinary activities/events because they cause you to experience feelings of uneasiness?
Do you often feel on edge?
Do you also experience shortness of breath and/or rapid heartbeat?
Are you often irritable?
Have you lost your energy?

Self-Test Links for Anxiety

Anxiety Tests 
Anxiety Self-Test
Anxiety Test 


Anxiety and Depression Association of America (adaa.org)
Anxiety Org
Anxiety Disorders Foundation
Mental Health Resources
Eating Disorders Resources
Breathe and Visualize 

*Please take a moment to participate in the poll located in the sidebar.
Thank you!

Previous Poll Results

Sources: definition source:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/
stats: hhttp://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml#Anxiety

Recovery Image: Choose To Bloom

The most beautiful flowers are those that, despite overwhelming odds, plant their seeds of hope and reach for the sun. Be resilient, persevere... choose to bloom!


Recovery Image: Stop!

Click to enlarge
Stop putting yourself down, comparing yourself to others, holding on to past mistakes, counting failures instead of blessings, hating your body, punishing yourself, expecting perfection, waiting, mourning 'what ifs' and 'could haves,' allowing what was to decide what could be. Let go. Move Forward. Stay Positive. Believe.

See sidebar for more recovery images and quotes


Eating Disorders: An Exercise In Bringing About Change

When you let go of what isn't working you open yourself to what will and the possibilities become endless. 

Do you desire change but can't seem to achieve it? No matter what you do, or how hard you work at it, there you are... right where you always find yourself and you have no idea why? Change seldom is easy. From the simplest to accomplish to the most difficult to achieve, its always going to take effort and, oddly enough, change, in order to make happen.

If you are like most of us, you are relying on what is familiar, expecting a successful outcome even if these same familiar routines have never brought about the change you seek. There is a very wise, old saying that sums up the problem with relying on our familiar, old routines ..."if you keep doing what you always did, you'll keep getting what you always got." If you find yourself  in a place that you do not want to be, you cannot do what you did that got you there and expect to find yourself somewhere else. You have to change, in order to create change. It's not as confusing as it sounds.

First, you need to recognize what hasn't worked for you so far. Here's a little exercise to help figure that out.

  • Using a pencil, take a piece of paper, draw a line down the center, making two columns. 
  • Label one column "changes," and the other column "resources" (what you have done to try to bring about those changes).  
  • In the left hand column list a few changes you've attempted in the past.
  • In the right hand column write down how you have unsuccessfully attempted to make that change happen. 
  • Study it. Think about why your attempts didn't work.
  • Now, remove it from your list of resources. Actually erase it from the resource column. 

It's gone. It's no longer an option. You are letting it go. When you let go of what isn't working you open yourself to what will, and the possibilities become endless.

All those empty spaces don't represent a lack of resources or options but the room to create new ones. They represent your freedom to try something new, to be creative, and to find something that resonates with you.

How can you create your new resources?

  • Make a list of what motivates you, energizes you, empowers you. 
  • Think back to what *has worked for you in the past. 
  • Be honest and list why it worked. 
  • Research for inspiration in those areas. 
  • Present your new inspiration to a counselor/therapist for guidance with your plan. 
  • Create a plan with a mentor. 

Once you have decided on your new course of action, be willing to give it a chance. Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to try again. Be willing to let go of what doesn't work for you and try something else. 

Wanting change is the first step but wanting isn't all you need. Change occurs when we accept that what is can no longer be, and we are willing to do what it takes to make it happen... even if we must try, and try, and try again. It happens when we believe we are worthy and capable. 

Believe in yourself. Be resilient, patient, and determined. The change you seek is possible!


Thanksgiving: Count Your Blessings

I count my blessings both big and small. I give thanks for all that is, and all that is possible. I am enough just as I am... a gift, a miracle worthy of celebration.

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Recovery Inspiration Image: Change

Take time for yourself each day to dream, to visualize, and to plan the life you want for yourself. Change is not built on wishes alone.


Thanksgiving and Your Eating Disorder: Survival Kit

Thanksgiving can be a very tense and stressful time, especially for those who are struggling with an eating disorder. If you're feeling less than positive, you are not alone. poll results

Take action now to help see you through the holiday. Being prepared in advance will help to alleviate the stress and fear you may be experiencing.

It's okay to put yourself first. It's okay to plan ahead. It's okay to ask for help from those that you can depend on to support you. It's all a part of taking care of yourself.

Below are some old, and some new, resources for doing just that.

Please feel free to share your survival tips with readers by leaving a comment below.

May your holiday be filled with all things wonderful and find you surrounded by loving, supportive people.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Recovery: Appreciating Beauty

Choose to see the world through eyes that appreciate the unique beauty that is a part of every living thing...including yourself. 

imagesource http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalcodi/3345766008/

Recovery: To Do List

To Do List
1). let go of negativity
2). be kind to myself
3). believe in myself
4). forgive
5). nourish my body
6). feed my soul
7). move forward
8). reach out
9). create change
10). count my blessings

Each Day's Journey

Each day's journey begins at a crossroad and I must choose which way I will travel.

See sidebar menu for more Recovery Images, and Recovery Quotes

image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/piper/3882388599/in/photostream

Recovery Inspiration: I Choose Recovery

I choose recovery because I'm worth it!

see sidebar menu for more recovery inspiration images, quotes of the week, and inspirational recovery quotes.

1993: An Eating Disorders Poem


 Has it been that long?

The miles I ran then,
 to burn off the
 smidgen of cookie that I
 failed to purge back up.

The hammer that rested
against my heart
heavier by the hour
as I climbed through life.

The salt and vitamins
and fluids my body lost
12 times a day.

The grief I lacked the
courage to stare down.

The humiliation
and relief,
when finally caught
in the act.

The help I got
and didn't know I deserved.

The work and sweetness of life.

By: Dana Esau

See sidebar menu for more Original Eating Disorders Poetry and Writing Submissions.


Recovery Quote Of The Week: October 8, 2012

Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.

See sidebar menu for more Recovery Quotes of the Week and Inspirational Recovery Quotes


Eating Disorders News and Views: October 5, 2012

Sunday | October 7, 2012
 PARTICIPANT CHECK-IN 9:00am FOLEY SQUARE | NYC Located at Lafayette and Centre Streets in NYC.
Read NEDA Walk in full 

Not Just A Teen Issue: Manorexia And Elder Eating Disorders On The Rise 

“I was in so much pain that I could barely stand up,” Matt Wetsel said, recalling one of the worst moments of his eating disorder. “By the time I got home, I realized that this wasn’t a thing that was just happening. I had a serious problem.” Eating disorders are commonly associated with teen girls, but in reality this disease doesn't discriminate by gender or age.
 Read On the Rise in full 

'Dancing With The Stars' Pro Karina Smirnoff Shares Past Body Image Issues

Dancing With The Stars pro Karina Smirnoff has bravely opened up about her previous battle with eating issues and gives okmagazine.com a no holds barred insight into her struggles, which happened over 10 years ago, and subsequent triumph at now living a healthy life. The 34-year-old brunette beauty says her body image issues started at a young age because there was such a pressure to have a perfect body in the competitive dance world. "I competed since I was 2 years old I was always trying to be in a certain weight class and a certain shape and I think when I turned professional there was a certain period when I...
Read Karina Smirnoff in full

Genes May Lead Women to Develop Eating Disorders

 Genetics may cause some women to develop eating disorders, as new research suggests the psychological power of beauty and self-image varies from person to person. Researchers at Michigan State University have found some women experience greater innate psychological pressure to be thin than others, a phenomenon they have named thin-ideal internalisation. Jessica Suisman, lead author on the study, said: "We're all bombarded daily with messages extoling the virtues of being thin, yet intriguingly only some women develop what we term thin-ideal internalisation. This suggests that genetic factors may make some women more susceptible to this pressure than others."
Read Genes in full

Childhood Eating Disorders on the Rise

More than 25 million people in the United States -- around 1 in 13 -- suffer from an eating disorder. While people of all ages are affected, hospitalizations among children 12 and younger have more than doubled over the last decade, according to a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Researchers don't have a clear picture of why the number of kids with eating disorders is on the rise, but Dina Zeckhausen of the Eating Disorder Information Network says increased concern about obesity can make kids anxious about their weight. She adds that putting overweight kids on diets can trigger an obsession with food that can lead into an eating disorder. Better options include increased activity and entire families working together to build healthier eating habits.
Read on the rise in full

Lady Gaga’s Positive Self-Image Campaign is Inspiring

After being scrutinized in tabloids for gaining weight, there’s not much celebrities can do except move on and try to ignore the comments. In the past weeks, Lady Gaga has been the media’s latest target regarding her body. But instead of backing away from these attacks, Lady Gaga has embraced them with pride and class. She didn’t succumb to their pressures by hiding away and trying to lose the weight. Instead she created a social media movement called Body Revolution.

On Sept. 25, Lady Gaga posted pictures of herself in just her underwear on her members only website, littlemonsters.com. She included a different caption for each of the four photos that said, “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15. But today I joined the BODY REVOLUTION. To Inspire Bravery. And BREED some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.”
Read Lady Gaga in full

Battling male anorexia

Builder Chris Glover was getting a lot of compliments on his muscular body. The 19-year-old had lost a lot of weight. The compliments soon dried up. He didn't notice it at the time, but it was clear to his tradie workmates. Mr Glover was anorexic.

 His workmates didn't say anything - they had never dealt with it before. It wasn't until Mr Glover became so sick his body started to shut down that he admitted what he had refused to acknowledge. "I was literally on the verge of my heart stopping," Mr Glover said. His doctor said he would not last another week unless he got help immediately.
Read Battling in full

Katie Couric: Why I Opened Up About My Struggle With Bulimia 

 Timing is everything. Opening up about her battle with bulimia on her talk show last week wasn't a tough decision for Katie Couric -- it just felt like the right time. "We were having an honest conversation," the talk show host explained to E! News. "So for me to harbor that kind of secret and not be upfront about it, seemed kind of disingenuous when I was asking all these other people to share these intensely personal stories. I felt like it was the right thing to do. It's just a part of who I am.
Read Katie Couric in full

Informed Parents and Coaches Can Help Prevent Eating Disorders in Young Athletes as Fall Sports Begin

Driven athletes possess similar personality traits to individuals who suffer from anorexia nervosa, which may predispose them to the potential development of an eating disorder. For this reason, and as fall sports kick into full gear, Eating Recovery Center, an international center providing comprehensive treatment for anorexia, bulimia, EDNOS and binge eating disorder, encourages parents, coaches and athletes themselves to understand and minimize athletic activities and pressures that could potentially lead to eating disorders.

 Experts agree that certain categories of sports tend to place athletes at a greater than average risk for developing an eating disorder. High risk sports often include dance, gymnastics, wresting, endurance running and swimming. In fact, research published by Craig Johnson, PhD, FAED, CEDS, chief clinical officer of Eating Recovery Center, found that at least one-third of female college athletes have some symptoms of an eating disorder.
Read Informed in full

Study Roundup: Rethinking Risk Factors for Eating Disorders

 Everyone knows about obvious inherited traits such as eye color, height, and facial features. Less obvious is the fact that you may be at greater risk of developing an eating disorder because of your genes.

 New research published today in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has found that genetics may play a much greater role in who develops an eating disorder than was previously understood. 

Overwhelmingly a condition suffered by young females, eating disorders fall into three types—anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder—and affect up to 24 million Americans. Unfortunately, many never seek treatment for the disorders, of which anorexia poses the most serious health risk. Anorexia has a mortality rate that is 18 times higher for females than for those without the disorder according to Dr. Hans-Christop Steinhausen, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Anorexics, like others with eating disorders, are at a higher-than-average risk for suicide, depression, and substance abuse.
Read Study Roundup in full

all sources linked above

Inspirational Recovery Quotes: Choosing Happiness

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Dalai Lama

It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
Andy Rooney

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.
Bob Moawad

I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.
Groucho Marx

Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
Dale Carnegie

I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period. Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness.
Drew Barrymore

When one door of happiness closes, another opens: but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
Helen Keller

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
Oprah Winfrey

People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Abraham Lincoln

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.
Kevyn Aucoin

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
Helen Keller

Happiness is not in our circumstances but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are.
John B. Sheerin

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.
Denis Waitley

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.

The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. 
Marcel Pagnol

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.
John Barrymore

Remember happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.
Dale Carnegie

When I was in grade school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn't understand the assignment,
I told them they didn't understand life

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
Charles Spurgeon

Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.
Indian Proverb

Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you.
But if you turn your attention to other things, It comes and sits softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau

You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. Elizabeth Gilbert

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.
Jim Rohn

If you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven't danced in the rain.

Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself.
Alice Walker

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
Albert Camus

You are free to experience life negatively or positively, and the choice you make determines whether you are at cause, or at effect, of the life you are living.
Marianne Williamson

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
Thomas Merton

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.
Henry David Thoreau

What is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
Albert Camus

Being happy isn't having everything in your life be perfect. Maybe it's about stringing together all the little things.
Ann Brashares

I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.
Martha Washington

It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.
L.M. Montgomery

Happiness always sneaks in a door you did not think was open.

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
Thomas Jefferson

Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design.
Jim Rohn

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
Dale Carnegie

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.
Dalai Lama

Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.
Dale Carnegie

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.
Richard Bach

It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.
Thomas Jefferson

Happiness is the result of my decision to be happy. There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. In other words, happiness is a feeling I tap into, not an outcome of events. I can be happy without changing anything in my life except my relationship to my own thinking. I decide to be happy and commit myself to making happiness my state of mind, rather than relying on a set of circumstances to do it for me.
Richard Carlson

We smile because we are happy. But we also become happy because we smile. Act the part and you’ll become the part.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
Marcus Aurelius

Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.
Bertolt Brecht

Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower.
John Harrigan

Never dwell on what you have lost, only on what you have left. Count your blessings. You’ll always find plenty. Your most prized possessions are your unexpired years.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.
William Butler Yeats

The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.
Louisa May Alcott

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
Guillaume Apollinaire

The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.
Norman Vincent Peale

Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.
Robert G. Ingersoll

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.

Learn to be calm and you will always be happy.
Paramhansa Yogananda

picsource: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lanuiop/3189186029/

Recovery Quote Of The Week: September 12, 2012

We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity. "
Barbara De Angelis

original picsource: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinx1380/4983207375/
By NMR Photo

We Will Never Forget: 9-11 Tribute

World Suicide Prevention Day 2012: Facts, Stats, & Resources

What is World Suicide Prevention Day?
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world.The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health, to host World Suicide Prevention Day.  In 2011 an estimated 40 countries held awareness events to mark the occasion. The United Nations issued 'National Policy for Suicide Prevention' in the 1990s which some countries use as a basis for their suicide policies.
source Wikipedia 

Worldwide Statistics:

Worldwide suicide rates have increased 60% in the last 45 years.
Nearly 1 million people die each year from suicide, globally. One death every 40 seconds. 
Suicide is among the 3 top causes of death for those between the ages of 15 and 44.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 24.
Attempted suicide occurs up to 20 times more frequently than completed suicide.
Suicide rates among young people has increased so dramatically that they have surpassed suicide statistics for elderly males, becoming the highest risk group in a thirdrd of countries (both developed and developing).
source WHO (World Health Organization)

US Specific Statistics

Nearly 1,000,000 people in the U.S. attempt suicide every year.
Someone dies by suicide every 14.2 minutes.
90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable/treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of death.
Most people with mental illness do not die by suicide.
Yearly medical cost for suicide are nearly 100 million dollars.
Though women attempt suicide 3x more often than men, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.
The highest risk age group for death due to suicide is 40-59.

Statistics by State. 
source: AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Risk Factors For Suicide
Warning Signs of Suicide
What To Do if you fear someone will take their life

Resources for Suicide Prevention: Hotlines, Organizations, Websites


Recovery: Is What's Holding You Back Worth Holding On To?

Past experiences, and the emotions that accompany them, all serve a purpose. We learn by doing, observing, and by making mistakes. We file those lessons away for future reference and we draw upon them to help us navigate the present. There's nothing wrong with this process unless, that is, it becomes the most used (if not only) navigation tool we possess. We, and the world around us, are in constant change. Even the tiniest deviation from the circumstances in which we found ourselves previously will have an influence on the outcome today.

For an example, when you were a child you were taught that fire burns. It's dangerous. You were told not to touch it because it will hurt you. That lesson is still with you as an adult but now you know how to use fire to your advantage. You had to adjust the lesson of your past in order to use fire safely to light a candle, to cook, to warm yourself by.

But what if you only held on to the first lesson learned and didn't deviate from it over the years? How different would your life be?

When we don't update the lessons of our past, we hinder the progress of our present. We create a wall of fear and self-doubt. The past becomes a proverbial prison, holding us back from moving forward and living and enjoying our lives as we are meant to.

The same holds true for how we define ourselves. What happened in the past is not our permanent definition. It's not a gauge for what is possible in the present. Who we were then does not determine who we are now.

Do you hold yourself in constant accountability for the mistakes you made as a young child and allow them to decide who you are today? Of course not, because we understand that those mistakes were made because we didn't know any better, we were learning, and we had some growing up to do. Despite what we may think, this is true no matter what our age. We are constantly learning and growing along the way, even if we don't realize it. Because of this, it's nearly impossible to be who you used to be. There are just too many variables.

When self is constantly confined and defined by the past there is no forward movement, no progress.  Past lessons no longer serve the purpose they are intended to but, instead, hold us captive. This is why it is so important to examine what we're holding on to, to be sure that it's not holding us back from the life we are deserving of.

Letting go of what's holding you back takes self-examination, patience and forgiveness.

Ask yourself if what you're holding on to is:
  • relevant in your life today
  • outdated thoughts/beliefs
  • positive and supportive
  • keeping you from being yourself
  • keeping you from moving foward
  • detrimental to how you feel about yourself
  • causing you anxiety, fear, shame, or guilt
  • causing feelings of inadequacy
  • making you feel undeserving of love, success, happiness,  or joy

If you find that your answers are mostly negative, it's time for some updating and clearing out.

It's okay to let go of those lessons that are no longer pertinent to the life you desire and deserve. Just because they served their purpose then, doesn't mean that they still do. No matter what the past holds, you are who you decide to be today. The life you desire for yourself is achieved one thought, one belief, one small change at a time. 


Making Connections: NEDA

NEDA's (National Eating Disorders Association) Making Connections, a parent, family and friends network magazine, is now available to read online. Check it out!

"Making Connections, is now available online! Even better, the publication, which started as a short newsletter years ago, has now grown into a full-blown magazine. Thanks to the passion of the many wonderful contributors toMaking Connections, the publication is presented for the first time in a digital magazine format.
What does this mean for you? For starters, an improved interface makes it easier to read and zoom in when needed. You can also easily share the magazine via email or social media. And, it's optimized to be viewed from mobile devices, so you can enjoy it on the go from your tablet or phone.
Making Connections offers vital information on a diverse range of eating disorders topics, including insightful personal stories and tools and strategies for recovery, self-care and hope."


Wanted: Mothers Of Children With Anorexia Nervosa For Anonymous Study

Are you the mother of a child with Anorexia Nervosa?  An anonymous study is looking for your input concerning your experience.

I was recently contacted by Marissa Alexander, who is looking for participants for a study. In her own words;

I'm now a 5th year Counseling Psychology student working on my Ph.D. at Fordham University in New York. I have been working on a research team for about 4 years that has aimed to shed light on the experience of parents and caregivers of children with Anorexia. In our research, we found that the caregiving experience was often stressful and overwhelming, and caregivers often reported feeling misunderstood by treatment providers, excluded from their child's treatment, and even blamed for the development for their child's disorder. In addition, parents often reported having little information and feeling "lost," not knowing which treatment provider, hospital, or method would be effective in treating their child's illness.

With that in mind, I developed my dissertation research in order to lend a voice to parental caregivers, and understand how it is that parents and families cope with Anorexia. My hope is that with these findings, more effective support services can be developed for parents, and the stigma surrounding Anorexia and other eating disorders may be reduced.

I am so grateful for the mothers who have already participated in the study to share their experience and allow us to understand how the illness has affected them. I'm hoping to reach as many people as possible with the opportunity to participate. 

More on the study;

Are you the mother of a child who is currently receiving treatment for Anorexia Nervosa? If so, we’d like to invite you to participate in an anonymous study that examines the experience of caring for a child with Anorexia Nervosa. This study will look at how a child’s eating disorder affects the parents and family, and how families cope with caring for a child with Anorexia. We hope these research findings will provide greater insight into how a child’s illness affects families, so that more support services can be developed to help parents and caregivers.

To be eligible for this study, you must be the mother to a child with Anorexia and currently be in a committed relationship or marriage, cohabitating with your partner or spouse. If your child is between the ages of 10-21, is currently receiving outpatient treatment for Anorexia Nervosa, and is currently living with you and your spouse/partner at home, we invite you to participate in this important study. Participation will involve: Completing the questionnaire online will take approximately 15-30 minutes.  You will not be asked to provide your name at any time-- Publications or presentations about the research findings will not include individual responses, only summary data on all participants will be presented. If you would like more information about this study, please contact Marissa Alexander at bmamiller@fordham.edu, or Dr. Merle Keitel at mkeitel@fordham.edu. 

To participate in this study, click on the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6QPPY8M

 Please share this post with anyone you know who qualifies for participation. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Thank you,

Recovery Quote Of The Week: August 24 2012

In life one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day - or to celebrate each special day.
Rasheed Ogunlaru

See sidebar menu for more Recovery Quotes of the Week, Recovery Inspiration, and Inspirational Recovery Quotes

pic source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/30797387@N04/4906751350/

Self-Love Changes Everything

Self-Love not only changes how we see ourselves... it changes how we see everything!

Love yourself and change your world!

see also: 
Self-Love Jar
Self-Love Quotes
10 Ways To Love Yourself Better
The Unconditional Love of Self

image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dvsather/2194472356/

Recovery: What Are You Afraid Of?

Does the thought of recovery fill you with fear?
If so, you are not alone. It's really quite common to feel this way.

Why, when we know something is good for us, do we feel afraid of it? 

The reasons vary. Individual experiences come into play. Reasons can range from simple to complicated, making it difficult to narrow it down to one, simple answer. When an eating disorder is also part of the equation, the whys can become even more complicated. Change and control, though, are major factors for almost everyone.

Change is scary. You're taking a risk. You're leaving behind familiar territory for the unknown. There's comfort in the familiar, even when the familiar is a horrible place to be, because you know it well. The ins, the outs, the lows, the highs ... there's not much that can surprise you, not much to catch you off guard and throw you off kilter.

Fear of losing what little control you have can be scary, too. How can you control the unknown? You may have mastered controlling and navigating your current situation so well that the thought of relinquishing that control may feel too scary to even contemplate. But...

You must surrender your fears.

It's not easy to let go, even when what we're holding on to is what we most need to let go of. But, letting go is necessary to achieve change and change is necessary to achieve recovery. We have to be willing to venture out of our comfort zone and let go of what currently is, in order to begin creating what can be.
"The only way out is through."
So how do you let go despite the fear? 

With practice and patience. Acknowledge your fear. Recognize it for what it truly is, and then move forward regardless. Each time you deny your fear the chance to be in charge you gain confidence and courage, making the next time a little bit easier. Soon, what you once thought impossible, becomes reality.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.   
Eleanor Roosevelt

Here are some suggestions and links to help with the process:
  • Keep your thoughts and words positive. Use positive, encouraging self-talk.
  • Visualize the change you desire in a positive light.
  • Believe in your ability to overcome your fears, to change, and to recover.
  • Have faith. 
  • Make a 2 column list. On one side list what you're afraid of, the other side list why that fear is invalid (or how to let it go).
  • Seek reinforcements (counseling, mentoring, organizations, people in recovery, supportive family and friends, recovery sites and forums)
  • Stay honest with yourself and others. 
  • Be kind and patient with yourself. Change takes time. Recovery takes time.
  • Get involved in something creative (writing, sketching, dance, doodling, painting, crafts,...). It gives you something positive to put your energy into and is a great outlet for stress and anxiety. 
  • Remember the recovery sayings; "Fake it 'til you make it," and "Act as if". Doing this gives you a taste of what it feels like to achieve the change you're seeking. It sets your mind on track. (It doesn't mean to lie to yourself, or others, in an attempt to deceive)
  • Journal.
  • Use affirmations throughout the day and at bedtime.
  • Choose a mantra to say to yourself whenever you're feeling less than brave (example: I am not my fear. I am capable of moving past these feelings. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I believe in myself). Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences. 
  • Create a recovery sound track of music that makes you feel good. 
  • Create a recovery feel good image file. Fill it with things that make you feel good, strong, serene. (Do not use anything that relates to the body, weight, or appearance in any way). 
  • Take care of yourself every day.
  • Create a Relapse Prevention Plan
  •  Give yourself credit when you make even the smallest progress. Each positive step is a victory. Celebrate it!
  • When you feel overwhelmed, turn it over to your higher power. 
     Recovery Is Possible! You are capable, worthy, and deserving of it!


    One of the 18 Best Eating Disorder Blogs of 2012

     Weighing The Facts was named one of the 18 Best Eating Disorder Blogs of 2012 by Healthline!
    Healthline says:  

    Battling an eating disorder can be a long and dangerous challenge for people of every age and background. Thankfully, a flourishing online community has emerged in recent years to offer reliable information, support, and advice. From personal journeys to medical facts, these blogs offer the best of the best on the web about eating disorders.

    Share your own stories with others in the chat rooms or comment sections on these blogs, and find an opportunity for healing and community in these pages. Hope and health may be closer than you think.

    Here's what the had to say about Weighing The Facts.

    I'm so excited and honored to be named with so many wonderful ED blogs. You can find all the blogs, and a blurb about each one, here.

    Check them all out. They're great resources.