Monthly Archives: November 2014

The power of hope and determination in overcoming poverty

It’s pretty well-known that children who grow up in poverty are more likely to have problems in school and they are more likely to grow up to remain in poverty. The statistics are not promising, but statistics and tendencies are not absolute. I found this article today about overcoming poverty and how to avoid becoming a statistic. I’ll just quote the beginning because it’s a good thought and it’s good news for those who struggle:

“Yet not all poor children are doomed to bad outcomes. Some survive and flourish despite hardships. Why? As a researcher who worked at the Yale Child Study Center from 1992 to 2005, Valerie Maholmes, PhD, suggests that poor children who succeed have a factor in common: hope.

‘I’m not talking about miracles,’ explains Maholmes, chief of the Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). ‘I’m talking about planning and motivation and determination.'”

She’s written a book about her findings and ways that poor families can overcome statistics to help their children succeed. I looked for it on Amazon and it’s pretty pricey, but I added it to my wish list. As a single mother who struggles with financial worries, I do want to make sure I can do everything I can to help my kids live a better life, and I like the sound of her book. I especially like the idea that we do have control over our futures and can be empowered through hope and determination!
Click here to purchase Fostering Resilience and Well-Being in Children and Families in Poverty: Why Hope Still Matters

This article about her research indicates that there are good results when at-risk students are educated about emotional regulation and problem solving so they can be more optimistic and achieve more success. There is also a bit of information about stimulating different parts of the brain for better development, as well as some information on the importance of mentoring relationships for kids. But really, the biggest point is the power of hope and optimism to help kids dream big and believe in their goals. I think the findings are really inspiring!

Anticipation and Your Thoughts Can Bring Happiness

A while back, I read an article that claimed just planning a vacation could reduce stress and raise your mood even if you never actually took the vacation. I thought that was really interesting. I tried it. I surfed around the internet day-dreaming of where I’d love to go and what I’d do. I closed my eyes and imagined relaxing by a nice pool. Picturing those images in my mind really did feel nice!

Lately, my therapist has encouraged me to make a list of the things I want in life–no matter how big. She says to write them down using happy, descriptive words and to look at my list every morning and night. She told me that reading my list should make me feel good as well as inspired. I’ve read this advice in other places as well. Of course, there is also a theory that we attract the things we think about and many self-help authors have written about it. For example, Wayne Dyer, (one of my favorites,) often approaches this topic.
Click here to purchase The Power of Intention

Today I was thinking about this theory that just planning a vacation can bring happiness and I tried to find the original article I read. I didn’t find the same one, but I did find this one about the study that supported it. This article also claims that a person gets more peace and happiness from planning the vacation than they get from actually taking it! The study found that people get an average of 8 weeks of happier attitudes while anticipating a vacation, but the results quickly disappeared when the vacation was over.

While searching, I also found many articles about the connection between happiness and anticipation. One claimed that people get just as much happiness from thinking about watching a favorite movie as they did from actually watching the movie! There were several studies indicating that anticipation of good things is a mood-booster.

Just another reminder that we can control our happiness by directing our thoughts towards pleasant topics! I’m off to go think about good things now πŸ™‚

Long Lasting Therapy to Treat Depression

I read this article today and found it really exciting and interesting. A few years ago, I had read a number of studies indicating that long-term depression can be better treated by changing one’s thoughts because the results lasted longer than the effects of anti-depressants. (This is not an anti-medication post–just some information about the benefits of therapy.) One article I read even suggested that while learning to use more positive thinking, the chemical make-up of the brain “corrected” itself with the decrease in stress hormones. I really love the idea that we can heal our minds after horrible things have happened to us.

Click here to purchase The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-Step Program

This article is a really long one, but I’ll sum up some of my favorite parts:
First of all, it focuses on a type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which seeks to teach patients new ways of thinking. Many therapists believe that our thoughts direct our feelings and our moods, so if we focus on positive and productive thoughts, we can raise our levels of satisfaction and increase good feelings. This study indicates that, while anti-depressants can help, the effects often wear off when the patient stops using them, whereas the benefits of CBT continue and patients who use CBT are less likely to relapse.

To quote the article:

“‘CBT encompasses a range of psychotherapies, all based on the premise that people with depression have excessively negative, and often inaccurate, beliefs about themselves and the world. It is designed to equip patients with the skills they need to β€œbecome their own therapists’, says Strunk, by critically examining those negative beliefs. Correct a person’s way of thinking, and the depression will lift, according to the theory.”

For example, if a person is feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts and feelings, CBT would suggest that they stop and really question if their negative fears are accurate before they become snowballed with negativity and anxiety. You want to stop those negative thoughts and try to take a more clear view of your life.

This study shares that people’s brain scans can even change after using CBT. During stress and depression, the more primitive parts of the brain–the parts that regulate our instincts for “fight or flight–“take over, but after CBT, brain scans show more regulation.

It is interesting to note that researchers have found that, while CBT can be very beneficial, it doesn’t work for everyone. The article states that they are trying to understand why this is so they can better help depressed patients.

Overall, I find this information and empowering! It’s just another way YOU can take charge of your own life and determine your own future. πŸ™‚

Positivity, big dreams and why I started this blog

Dreaming big and living well!

Dreaming big and living well!

Instead of reviewing a product today, I thought I’d write a more personal post about why I started this blog. About two years ago, I ended an extremely abusive relationship–not just the kind where I didn’t get along, but the kind where I lived in terror wondering what he was going to do next and if his next fit of rage would be the one where he killed me. My ex matched the profile of a narcissistic sociopath perfectly, and therapists have agreed that was what he was. That level of abuse is hard to move on from because it tears your life and your self-esteem apart. Breaking things off and getting a protective order was not enough to avoid his insanity and he’s continued to torment me through third parties.

I am tired of wondering what that lunatic is going to do next, so I’m just going to go ahead and live my life. In fact, I’m going to really live my life!

I’d been reading a lot of self-improvement books and working on improving myself in other ways even before I met the abuser, and a few months ago, I decided it was time to get back on track. I’m a smart woman. I’m pretty, I’m funny, I’m talented. It’s about time I did something about it. These days, I’m focusing on what I’m doing and what I’m going to do. I’m excited about the future and I’m excited about what is going to happen for me.

With my therapist, we have talked about the power of positivity and attraction and she encouraged me to make a list of the things I want in life. She told me to read through it every morning and night and keep focused on my goals. That’s what I’m doing. And let me tell you…it’s working! Right now, I am unemployed, so what better time to try something new, right? I think good things are coming for me, and I think it starts with my attitude.

This blog is all about empowerment and I want to share my excitement. I truly believe that we all can improve our lives.

I have talked a lot with friends and in support groups about the abuse I survived. This blog is about what happens next.

Light Therapy for Seasonal Depression and Sleep Disorders


Click here to purchase the NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp

Winter time is coming…and in the middle of winter, I always start craving a sun-filled vacation. Unfortunately, I can’t just pick up and take a vacation to lay in the sun all winter! I also find myself having a hard time waking up in the dark. My body simply does not enjoy early mornings. So, I started reading about light therapy to regulate sleep schedules. The information I found was very interesting and convincing–especially for treating seasonal depression. For example, I read that “Researchers at more than 15 medical centers and clinics in both the U.S. and abroad have had much success with light therapy in patients with clear histories of SAD for at least several years. Marked improvement is usually observed within a week, if not sooner, and symptoms usually return in about the same amount of time when the lights are withdrawn. ” (from this site hosted by Columbia University.)

I took the plunge and invested in a light therapy lamp and I bought this one about five years ago, (it was over $100 back then, so it looks like prices are really coming down!) From the first time I used this light, I felt great. Maybe it was just my expectations or a placebo effect, but I sat next to it and felt like real sunshine was warming my face. The light is very different from a normal light bulb. It’s not so bright that it would blind you, but it has a warm, full-spectrum quality that feels more like daylight than a regular light bulb.

This lamp also has ion therapy, and I hadn’t really heard about that, so I researched it and it sounded pretty promising as well. This published medical study showed that high-density ion therapy is very effective in treating depression. Interesting!

Since I was specifically using the light for sleep issues, my instructions were to use it every morning when I woke up to help my body get ready for the day like it would if the sun was coming up. I found that I really did feel brighter and more awake while using it. The assistance with season depression was a nice bonus!

There are a bunch more medical studies out there as well as more information about using light therapy for sleep disorders. They tend to support the idea that these lamps are beneficial, and I found that mine was a life-saver in the winter. I really looked forward to turning it on every morning πŸ™‚

Why didn’t he call after your date?

Why Hasn’t He Called?: How Guys Really Think and How to Get the Right One Interested by Matt Titus and Tamsen Fadal

Click here to purchase Why Hasn’t He Called?: New York’s Top Date Doctors Reveal How Guys Really Think and How to Get the Right One Interested

Oh look! Another dating book! I’m not trying to project or anything, don’t worry! πŸ™‚ I’m just going through my self-help books and picking out the ones I enjoyed most. I’ve been re-reading them as I go along so I got to this one…. I don’t have cable, but the authors of this book are upscale matchmakers who had a TV show about their services called “Matched In Manhattan.” They’d better know what they are talking about, right? πŸ˜‰

This book is fun and easy to read. The information is broken up into smaller sections and different formats so it catches your eye. The sections are relatively short, so they are breezy and to the point. Despite the title, it’s not totally about why a man hasn’t called. It’s an entire advice book about meeting men, dating and starting relationships. (Although it does gives some ideas on why he hasn’t called.)

Here are the chapter titles:
1. Secrets of the Boys Club
2. The Bond Girl
3. The Love Shack
4. Where the Boys Are
5. Getting Him to Ask You Out
6. The Date
7. Dating Disaster Survival Guide
8. Why Hasn’t He Called?
9. In the Bedroom…and the Morning After
10. Commitment and Other “C” Words

I do have two nit-picks with this book:
One–they do rely on some stereotypes. For example, one section suggests the type of lingerie a man wants to see you in based on his career or interests. I don’t know if this is realistic.
Two–I think they give too much hope as to why a man didn’t call. I personally think that if a man didn’t call, he’s not interested. This book gives some other options such as the idea that he’s too interested to call. Now, I know there are shy men in the world, but I’ve dated some of them and guess what? They call.

Other than this, there are lots of examples, ideas, scenarios, explanations and tips. It’s quick and easy to read and it’s always good to have a variety of viewpoints to consider!

Tips for being successful and getting rich

Napoleon Hill’s A Year of Growing Rich: 52 Steps to Achieving Life’s Rewards

Click here to purchase Napoleon Hill’s a Year of Growing Rich: 52 Steps to Achieving Life’s Rewards

Napoleon Hills book “Think and Grow Rich” is considered a classic self-help book along the lines of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” or “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Many people swear by it. This book is a companion to it and includes many of the same ideas, except in shorter excerpts that are easier to read. It’s broken down into 52 short chapters–one for each week. I admit, I’m reading one per night. (I’m ready to be rich πŸ˜‰ ) Okay, so I’m not rich yet…but this book is very inspiring. When I read it and the examples, I feel like I really can use my talents to make my dreams come true. Hill makes riches and success seem achievable. But, he focuses on the importance of devotion to your goals, being specific, working hard, and having a strong desire to succeed. You can’t just want it to happen, you have to make it happen. He emphasizes that you need to have a real plan, and you need to believe in and stick to it. He also points out that the people who succeed are those who persevere through multiple failures–the people who don’t give up.Β  Overall, each chapter emphasizes a characteristic that could help us in many ways. Plus, rich is subjective. Maybe rich is being self-employed, having your dream career, being happy…or maybe it really means having tons of money. Any way you look at it, you can benefit from reading and using the ideas in this book. I’m currently job hunting and working on multiple start-up business ideas. I’m using Hill’s tips, so hopefully I can write a very positive blog update in the future!

How to know if a man isn’t interested

He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo


Click here to purchase He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys

I know this book is a bit cliche. It was even made into a chick-flick! But, these are things that every single woman in the dating world needs to know in order to preserve her self respect! All of my life, I had dated guys who asked me out. We had a nice time and they asked me out again. Easy enough. Then, a few years ago, I met a guy online who really flattered me, told me how great I was, and really led me on. We talked for hours and hours and hours at a time for several months. I flew out to meet him, and other than a heavy makeout session he was rude from the night we met. I was so confused! It was such a huge difference, and I kept desperately trying to figure out what I did wrong. I pushed and got clingy and tried to get him to like me again, but he was downright rude. (FYI, from this paired with a bunch of other things including what he told me, I now realize he was a narcissist, but I didn’t get it then. This was the classic build-up and discard.) I made a real idiot out of myself over a guy who had treated me and dozens of other women like nothings. I read through a whole bunch of dating books at that time and this was one of them. I didn’t like the reality that Mr. Charming had *poofed* and disappeared, but I had to accept it and realize I was worth more than that. Why grovel for someone who doesn’t like me? Silly! Now when my girlfriends are having guy trouble, I tell them they need to read this book. Don’t sit up at night wondering what he’s doing. Don’t waste your time analyzing his words. Don’t call him over and over. The fact is…if he wants to find you, he will. The end. No more making a fool of yourself! One of my biggest qualifications that I want in a partner is that he likes me back, because that’s pretty crucial, isn’t it?

If you’re a single woman or you have a lot of single female friends who come to you with their stories of men who don’t call…read this book.Β  I’m not going to type the chapter titles, because they basically give away the book. I’ll just end with: next time you are worrying about why a man didn’t call you, seems to be pulling away, is not leaving his wife as he promised to…read this book. Actually, maybe even read it beforehand so you can avoid some wasted worry time!

Lasting Lessons:

He knows where and how to find you. If he wanted to…he would.
If he only calls you at night when he’s lonely or drunk…don’t bother.

Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel

Okay another non-book….

Click here to purchase Avon ANEW CLINICAL Advanced Retexturizing Peel

I want to rave about this product! You know how beauty products always sound so wonderful but usually let you down? (I hope it’s not just me!) Well, I gave this one a chance based on the reviews on the Avon site. I am so glad I did! I’ve noticed that sometimes my skin just looks blah and rough or flaky–especially in the winter. Exfoliating doesn’t really help, and it still looks uneven when I’m done. I haven’t even had very good results from professional facials, although they are relaxing. But, this peel really did what I wanted it to do. I used it and went to bed. The next morning, I kept looking in the mirror because my skin looked great! My skin was smooth and soft without red blotches. I went to a special event and wore make-up the next night and I noticed that even my make-up looked better with a nice even surface to work with. I was very pleased! I tried the peel again a few days later to see if I’d be just as happy, (hoping the first time wasn’t a fluke,) and it was just as good the second time around. Now I use this product maybe once a week, (although the box says you can use it more often.) It truly works and makes my skin look good without making it red or dry. In fact…I think I’ll go use it now! πŸ™‚

Why men marry some women and who is most likely to get married

Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others: The Fascinating Research That Can Land You the Husband of Your Dreams

Click here to purchase Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others: The Fascinating Research That Can Land You the Husband of Your Dreams

I wasn’t going to review this book because I’m not looking to get married any time soon, but I started flipping through it while I was going through my books and remembered that it’s very interesting. I ended up getting caught up in reading it. The author works in research and statistics and used his methods to study who gets married, why and how. He’s shared his findings in this book. So, it’s not a traditional relationship advice book; it’s based on patterns and research. He literally tells us what qualities are consistently more likely to lead to marriage. It’s a bit depressing if you realize those qualities do not match you, but at least you can get some idea of what you can change to better your chances of getting married…assuming that’s what you want. Use science to find love!

Here are the chapter titles:
1. The Marrying Kind
2. First Impressions
3. Women Men Marry
4. The Stages in a Relationship
5. Speaking of Marriage
6. Marrying After Forty
7. Widowed and Divorced Men: Handle With Care
8. Meeting Online

Lasting Lessons:

We are trained to believe that relationships are about personalities, but the statistics don’t lie–we do notice appearances and they do matter.
You don’t have to be a beauty queen, but a woman who cares about her appearance is more likely to get married.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »