Late Nights with Zoe the Syrian Hamster

Last month we got a golden brown Syrian hamster for our youngest daughter Rilla.  She promptly named her pet Zoe after “Zoe”, the stunning blonde alien/surfer girl in the epic Australian television series “Lightning Point”. (I swear, when you watch that show your I.Q. goes up 10 points with every episode!)  

As you can see below, the two Zoes don’t resemble one another that much.


At night when my insomnia strikes, I hear nocturnal Zoe “Flo Jo” Harwood running fast on her Habitrail wheel.  As I picture this little creature going nowhere, an endless loop of thoughts run around in my weary brain.  Lately, most of these thoughts haven’t taken me to a better place. They’ve become far too negative and cynical for my taste.  While it’s totally unrealistic to think I can banish all of these thoughts, I want to reduce their frequency.

Easier said than done.

I figure after growing and giving birth to two humans, I can cut down on my negativity.  If I can survive seven mental hospitalizations in dismal units, I can learn to fly a jet!  

(By the way, my flying a jet is not out of the realm of possibility. I began attending ground school when i was twenty, and I’ve flown a Piper Cub twice without crash landing it!) 

Anyway, I got a profound wake-up call last week.  My close friend’s life went from wonderful to an absolute nightmare in thirty seconds.  

Thirty seconds.  About the time it takes to start one’s computer and open up my email.

Since receiving my friend’s horrific news, I’ve woken up each day thinking about her family.  I realize that no matter how lousy I feel, I have a good life going on right now.  It’s time to pay more attention to that.

I have my freedom, and while I can’t jet off to Kauai on a moment’s notice, I’m not in a locked-down ward that resembles the set of “Orange Is the New Black”.  My freedom is something to be savored.  For those of you who’ve never been hospitalized for bipolar, it may be hard for you to imagine that sometimes I find it astounding that I can simply drive over to Coffee 9 and order a double mocha.  (Extra chocolate and yes, of course I want whipped cream with that!!)  Parents who know of my diagnosis and hospitalizations trust me to drive and care for their children each week.  I’m doing 1000% better than I was doing three years ago.

And let’s face it – what’s much more important than designer drinks is that I have a healthy family.  We live in a beautiful place. I have great online network of friends and some special IRL friends too.  And I’m about to create a support group that helps other women with mood disorders find their own tribe, lucky them…with ME!   😉

And, of course, l have lovely Lady Lucy, who has the fastest tongue in the West:

Fastest Tongue


But..I still keep thinking about soul-draining crap instead of concentrating on the good stuff. Talk about a total waste of energy.  I must pull my attention back to the good, over and over and over again.  

I’ve read that a daily gratitude list helps boost one’s positivity   Do any of you do that?  Does it help? (And I’ve been advised about meditation too by my pdoc, my therapist, friends, you-name-it – Zoe Hamster probably meditates during the day…I’m just still not there yet.  But there’s hope for me yet to join the meditation fold!) 

I know I’m making light of some serious issues here.  I never want to offend any of you, and I hope I don’t.   I’ve noticed that many of us bloggers with mood challenges have been struggling a lot lately.  I’d love to know about whatever helps you with your own negativity – don’t hold back in the comments section, okay?  You’ll give me something to ponder when I’m hanging out with that noisy furball Zoe!

see you next week, my friends…









57 thoughts on “Late Nights with Zoe the Syrian Hamster

    • Dear Bemused “The Fonz”is one of the most awesome hamster names ever, Bemused! I feel compelled to tell you that I met The Fonz when I was ten (well, I met Henry Winkler & he wasn’t acting like Fonzie that day) so that was waaaay back in 1980! Winkler narrated “Peter & The Wolf” at the Hollywood Bowl while my Dad’s orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, accompanied him. The performance was a huge hit. I even have a picture of us, and he was very nice, down-to-earth, one of the coolest celeb encounters I ever had.

      Your Fonz sounds absolutely adorable! Is it true these cuties have a life span of just two years? I hope it’s much longer than that.! Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment!!

      • How cool to have met the REAL Fonz!

        My little guys full name is: Sir Pew-Pew Arthur Fonzarelli the 2nd of Hamsteropolis AKA Fonzie

        Ha 🙂 It is true that they live only about 2 1/2 years. They say approximately 1000 days. I also had a Roborovski hamster but they live even a shorter life .
        I’m not really sure how old Fonz is. I rescued him from a neglectful situation and he was just skin and bones. Now he is a little fatty and complete peanut hoarder!

  1. I’ve never been able to meditate, either. My brain doesn’t shut up, ever. One thing I did was to use the Evernote app and list compliments i received and things I am proud of accomplishing. I read the list when the negative thoughts get too loud. Like you, I know I have so much to be thankful for but my mind won’t let me see that. I’ve also been using the automatic thoughts dissection process I learned in cognitive behavioral therapy to help stop the harsh thoughts. Hugs and warm thoughts to you-you are one of my bright spots!!

    • Ooooooh, latebloomlisa, I like the sound of the techniques you’re using.

      I want to check out “Evernote” – I’m not app-saavy at all! I’ve been in therapy for years and while CBT has been incorporated into it, I’m not sure what the automatic thoughts dissection process is, so I need to research that.mI can discuss it with my counselor & even my psychiatrist as one of his strengths is doing a bit of therapy. ANYWAY, hugs right back to you – the fact that you mentioned that I’m “one of (your) bright spots” TOTALLY made my day, and warm fuzzies stayed with me all afternoon after reading your comment. XO

      • I have the book Mind Over Mood and it’s very good, it explains the Automatic Thought thing really well. Evernote is super easy,basically a notepad right on your phone. I’m glad I gave you warm fuzzies!

    • Thanks for the link; you are Mistress of the Link and I trust you! I like the idea of walking meditation as opposed to sitting-on-my-ass meditation.

      Your Zoe comment completely CRACKED me up!
      Laughs like that are worth their weight in gold, and I don’t laugh the way I used to – you know the reasons why… I hope someday to make you laugh like that! Xx

  2. Yes, a grateful outlook surely shines light on what might ordinarily be a dark day! But when that depression hits, it’s so hard to even open my eyes. Today, I’m thankful I haven’t been on that side of things in a while.

    • Oh supermommyoftwins, I love hearing that you’re doing well! What have you been up to, sweet one? I hope to read an update on your blog soon, but no pressure because I KNOW you’re busy! ;)))) XOXOX

      • Well, I’ve been a bit on the manic side lately, so I’ve actually been writing, but finishing one blog post out of the 10 or so I’ve started has proven challenging 🙂

  3. I used to try and make a mental list of things I was thankful for but it didn’t really change my mood at all, so I started writing it down. There is power in words, and something about seeing it written down on paper made me think about it in a way that I hadn’t before, that’s just me though I’m a very kinesthetic, but it really helps put things in perspective. It sounds like you’ve struggled with how random life can be and how little we actually have control over what can happen to us, if we let ourselves ponder this too much we might implode in fairness, it’s just part of life that the carpet can be pulled from under you at any moment, we just have to hope that when it happens we have the courage and grace to deal with whatever has happened. You are full of light and love, you just let it get shaded by your illness sometimes so let your light shine lady! It’s a beautiful thing xo

    • I could hear “You are full of light and love” all day long, thank you from the bottom of my heart for that!!! Today was such a beautiful, sunny day, Karlie – the weather alone really lifted my spirits. I’m a sunshine girl through and through. (I was born in sunny Santa Monica & I’ve always enjoyed the sun & the beach!)

      I think that’s amazing about how our writing something down can really sink into our brains and affect us in positive ways! I love how you pointed that out; you’ve inspired me to go for it. I absolutely agree with you that there is power in words. Moving that pen/pencil or typing activates something within us….

      I’m fired up now – thanks again! I’ll be visiting over @ Mckarlie to read & comment very soon.

      Thanks again for bringing *your* bright light, encouragement, & wisdom into my world! XOXO

  4. I find that when I meditate, I cannot do it in an absolutely quiet environment. Usually I will put on some soothing soundscape (like waves) and focus on the sound. Also some incense seems to help.

    So perhaps the key isn’t trying to banish your racing thoughts but giving yourself something else to focus on?

  5. And here’s another person advising you to try learning and practicing meditation. Specifically vipassana which, contrary to popular belief, isn’t about suppressing thoughts but rather about learning to accept them dispassionately.

    I’m pretty sure that in my case at least negativity isn’t caused by negative thoughts but that certain moods and experiences cause me to slip into certain thought patterns. Those patterns are usually what pushes my mood into conscious awareness, not what causes it. Trying to fight or suppress the thoughts just reinforces the habit of thinking that way when a particular mood comes over me.

    As to the whole American (especially Californian) obsession with ‘negativity’ vs ‘positive thinking’ I’d highly recommend Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. In fact I’d highly recommend pretty much everything Ehrenreich has written.

    P.S. Zoe (the blonde one, not the redhead) must be from outer space. No human surfers have hair like that.

    • Great comment – you always make me laugh too, which I need and appreciate very much. I’ve read Barbara Ehrenreich before (“Nickel & Dimed” was fascinating) and “Brightsided” sounds like it would be another illuminating read. Thanks for the tip!

      I’ve heard of vipassana from many people over the years; I believe that’s the form my psychiatrist & therapist practice and recommend. The fact that ***you*** think it truly helps has made an impression upon me that I need to re-consider it….

      There are surfers everywhere you look in this town. None of them have fancy hair! And yeah – I believe it that Zoe’s hair, whether human or alien, would never look picture perfect after repeated dunks in the salty water!!! I’ll admit I watched a lot of “Lightning Point” episodes with Marilla, and that Aussie ocean looks sooo pretty, nice & warm. Unlike our freezing cold water here….

      thanks for stopping by and give my best to the bunnies as always! :))))))

  6. I kept a gratitude journal for awhile and really enjoy going back and reading it. There was a period of time when I was really struggling that I kept a two column journal – one side for the complaints and the other side for the positives of the day. That seemed like a pretty good compromise and actually helped when I was suffering from severe anxiety. Meditation was a part of my daily practice for years when each day was a struggle. Love, Amy

    • Hi Amy! I *love* how you created a column-style journal for complaints alongside the positives! What a great idea! I’m so happy that doing that helped you during difficult times, especially with insidious anxiety. And good for you for doing meditation…hope this finds you doing well, and thanks so much for sharing what has helped you here. Lots of love, Dy 🙂

  7. Gratitude is good medicine, no doubt about it!!! I am trying to practice that principle every day. My mind can go into the worry loop way too easily. Practicing gratitude helps. I *think* meditation helps. I’m doing it because I’ve been told it’s good for me 😀 And you already know the most important thing (or one of the most important things) – exercise. That REALLY helps a fucked-up brain 😀

    Love you Dy-Dy and hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

    • LOVE YOU my sweet sweet!!!! Please forgive me for not commenting yet @ your blog – over the past few days I got totally sidetracked and I haven’t had a chance to comment hardly anywhere yet. I hate when my routine is thrown off! It just doesn’t feel right when I don’t hop onto Bipolar on Fire and leave a note for my soul sister!!!!!!!!

      Let me know how meditation feels as you continue to do it. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with you that you’re doing it, girl!!!!!! And yep, I’m exercising no matter what – even if my head falls off, you’ll find me at my elliptical every day, per my guru Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s advice! It’s definitely helping.

      Life’s gonna be hard – the Buddhists got that right (“Life is Suffering”) but if sweating 30 minutes a day helps me stay out of the dog kennel I’ll do it!!!!!
      You know it!!!!!!

      Dy “Moose Tracks” H.!

  8. Hey, Dyane. Sorry to say I’ve never been able to mediate either (add + bp = “squirrel!”) But, I do sit and write in a prayer journal most mornings, then open up the door to my little deck and listen to the birds chirping outside. (My kitty likes that, too.) All this takes about an hour, after which I always have a more calm and positive outlook no matter the circumstances. Starts my day off in a peaceful way.

    Love you.

    • That’s too funny, Susan….

      add+bp+ “squirrel”!!!

      Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I can’t help but imagine a hilarious meme that incorporates all three conditions you mention. You also make me feel better for not being a meditator either.

      I know you love your birds’ chirps. I hope we’ll hear the birds around here more often as spring approaches. Our house is directly above a very busy, noisy highway, despite our being in the beautiful redwoods, so sometimes the bird song is drowned out. 😦

      What a wonderful habit of writing in a prayer journal! Maybe when spring break comes I can try journaling in the morning – you’re inspiring me.

      Sending you much love in return and thanks for reading.
      I always get a lift from your comments – your energy crosses through the internet and into my spirit.

      XOXO big hugs to you and a gentle pat to your sweet kitty!

  9. I’m able to meditate if I am completely alone, but only then. I have a hard time focusing on my breathing when I’m anxious, especially if there are people around. My mind won’t stop bouncing around enough for me to even feel my breathing! It’s something I’d like to get better at – now to take the time to practice.
    I journal regularly, and have started a gratitude journal a million times. It even sits on my nightstand. But it’s very stop-and-go. I know it is supposed to help me feel better, and focus my thoughts on the positive, but it really takes some discipline, especially hard when I’m in a dark place or super tired. My regular journals have thankfulness sprinkled throughout. I’m sure I could do more.
    Thanks for the reminders!

    • Hi Peggy & welcome!

      Thank you very much for commenting, and you’re totally welcome for those reminders. 🙂 There’s always more we can do, isn’t there? I get overwhelmed every day about the to-do’s (and the “to-don’ts”! 😉 That’s awesome that you’ve done some meditation (I hear you on the need to be solo to do it!) and the journaling.

      Since you’re new to my blog, I wanted to let you know some details about a daily practice I stick to that helps me in a major way. I’m a former American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer but since my bipolar diagnosis I’ve gone for huge chunks of time without exercising.

      I know you’ve heard this kind of thing (“work out! rah rah!”) ad nauseam, but I’m promoting a particular philosophy of exercise to everyone I know, whether or not the person has a mood disorder.

      Ever since I listened to the psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan’s webinar for the International Society of Bipolar Disorders and read his blog post my life has improved. I hope you don’t mind my posting this novella here just in case you don’t work out and you’re struggling…or perhaps you know someone who could benefit.

      I’ve kept a full-blown depressive episode at bay with daily (yes, daily) exercise, per the guidelines of Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan who “prescribes” exercise to his patients with mood disorders and who has observed impressive results. It’s *not* easy to work out daily or almost daily, & I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband, but I take it very, very seriously based on listening to the doctor’s webinar and reading his blog.

      Below are the links leading to Dr. Alsuwaidan’s specifics. It would be wonderful if you could read Dr. Alsuwaidan’s brief post – it only takes a few minutes. Then, I strongly encourage you to listen to his International Society of Bipolar Disorders webinar; the second half is the most convincing. I know it’s a pain to do it,but you can fold laundry etc. while you listen! :))) I’ve referred other friends to this webinar and they’ve told me it has helped them profoundly!

      His blog article explains his “dosing” suggestions for exercise for bipolar disorder.

      Dr. Alsuwaidan considers exercise (per his guidelines, i.e. 30 & vigorous, i.e. you can’t have a conversation while doing it) to be THE missing link to achieve recovery/reduce depression for bipolar apart from meds – he even calls exercise a “panacea”. His advice is different than the standard exercise advice that you hear all the time! I believe that the 2nd half of the webinar is the most important & convincing part…

      Brief article:

      Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan with the International Society for Bipolar Disorder Webinar Exercise Treatment for Mood Disorders – A Neurobiological Rationale: #Vimeo

      Even if I feel half-dead with fatigue and/or stress, after I work out I feel better. Sometimes a lot better, sometimes a little better – but usually it’s the former.

      I wish you the absolute best, Peggy, and I hope you keep reading my blog. I post usually once a week. I’m honored you read this week’s post, and I’ll check out your blog very soon!

      take care,
      Dyane 🙂

  10. Okay, when you pondered that Zoe the hamster might meditate, I got a sudden mental image of furry little hamster, chanting ommmmmm.

    I hope your friend’s life situation improves; even without knowing what’s wrong, I’m saying a prayer for him/her and their family. God knows, and that’s what matters.

    • THANK you for your prayer – I truly think it’s making a difference. I just got a text from my friend telling me the situation has improved. While it’s a long road ahead, still, that’s a big deal & I love good news!. You are so lovely to say a prayer. I believe in remote prayer/not knowing specifics as well despite all that I’ve shared with you about my not being religious etc. I still use the word “God” and “prayer” in my head all the time…if that makes any sense!

      Loved your image of the meditating hamster. I’m sure there’s a wacky meme of it that exists somewhere, eh?

      p.s. Once again I’ve fallen behind on reading/commenting on all my blogs. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many I follow – oh what the heck – I’ll go ahead and tell you as I feel safe with you! It’s around 85 – eeeek! The total # used to be 120-ish, so at least I cut down, right? And many of those 85 bloggers don’t post anymore or not too often, so I can usually stay current *if* I read blogs each day. In any case, dear Laura, I will be catching up with your last few posts soon! Gotta get my Madeleine L’Engle and “Anne of Green Gables” references in them all somehow, ha ha ha!

  11. Yoga and workouts help me. But am I doing it? Not today.. Well maybe later! I’m currently enjoying laying in my bed, training my cockatoos new behaviors, trolling on fb and here…typically i also enjoy relaxing in the sun (sun!) 10-20 mins/day..easier here in Florida, walks in nature, get out of the house, driving on a long road, explore new areas, go eat at a new restaurant, my list can go on.. But for late nights when some of this is not possible, sometimes it’s just what works..I take a half of a sleeping pill to help knock me out. Poof.

    • I love the “Laying in Bed Workout”!!!! Or “Laying in Bed Work-in”! 😉 I also love your list of what helps you, especially the training your cockatoos new behaviors! Maybe sometime you can post a video of them to Facebook…;) I’m glad you have a trusted friend you can call when you’re feeling negative – that’s truly a precious gift, and I’m sure you help your friends the same way because you have a beautiful heart! Thanks so much for reading & commenting – I wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

  12. Also this list is all to help keep me on track..When I get too negative, I call a friend to vent or cry and get that out. The gratitude list helps too! Write down everything and keep it by your night stand so you can pull it out to review often. My gratitude list is in my head..but when its being clouded by negative I do “something” about it over festering and ruminating.

  13. As silly as it sounds, a good movie can pull me back from depression and/or anxiety – favorites include “Hope Floats,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” or “Sliding Doors.” Time spent with (as your call) your “IRL” friends helps me too and I make weekly coffee dates. And because I am religious, thanking God for all that he has given me – one by one – helps put things in perspective. Love you, lady. xoxo

    • Totally! Your suggestion is not silly at all! I’ve been more into television series lately, but I love great movies too! I actually interned with the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women when I was a teen and thought I’d go into film. Got cold feet!

      I loved “Silver Linings Playbook” and I even saw it twice in the theater! I’ve been watching “Nurse Jackie” season 6 – it’s intense, but SO well done and it’s very moving. It completely gets my mind off stuff! Also comedy is super-fun & Netflix streaming makes it easy: Jay Mohr is hilarious (he may offend you!) and I keep hearing about Maria Branford so I’m going to check her out. Thanks for stopping by it’s an honor to have a popular Psych Central blogger and author here!!!! Your latest post is just what I need to read and share with my new support group on Feb. 28th!!!!

      And this Q&A looks awesome too!

      Love you too – I’m stoked we’re friends and hope someday you can meet Lucy…and me!!!

  14. Dyane, I have found it helpful to begin each day with prayer and reflection on Scripture passages. Then, I make a list of things I’d like to accomplish (that is not overly ambitious). At night I give thanks for what God allowed me to accomplish and lift up to Him those things I couldn’t get done.

    • Tony, it’s so nice to see you here! I hope you’re doing well. Thank you for sharing what you do every day. I’m glad your routine of prayer & reflection helps you!

      The mornings have been brutal in these mountains even though it’s California. It has been COLD- brrrrrr; our house is very chilly even during the heat of summer! I’m so groggy from “Snoozequel” (Seroquel) as well, even at a very low dose. Excuses, excuses, I know, but I’m hoping with the spring I’ll have an increase in energy. I like the idea of giving thanks to God at night for what I did during the day, and to release what I couldn’t accomplish. Even though I’ve written about not being a religious person per se, I’m a spiritual one, and I definitely believe in something greater than us all. (that’s a good force!!!) : take care & Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  15. Hey, you of the elliptical, try meditating while in motion. Moving your body can help with restlessness. Labyrinth walking is a form of moving meditation. You need not follow a certain form. Find what works for you.

    • I’ve heard about walking meditation & labyrinth walking. The walking meditation sounded appealing when I used to walk/hike in the Fall Creek redwoods. (Alone. Not one of my greatest moves despite the fact I had pepper spray and a cell) Anyway, I’ll look into it, especially now as the weather has felt like spring the past 2 days and it’s gorgeous and warm! Blossoming trees (not sure what kind but they have either white or pink flowers – maybe cherry?) everywhere – you’d love taking photos of them & your eye would do their beauty justice.

      • Terrible that walking among the redwoods is considered dangerous. Mountain lions rarely attack people. They do, just rarely. People attacking people, though, is more of a risk, especially where they may be illegally growing weed – more common up in Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

  16. Hi, Dyane! Sorry to hear you’re feeling down and negative. What really gets me through my troubling times is remembering where I was and how far I’ve come. I lost my marriage, my kids, my life force was all but syphoned out of me, and I had no hope…just an emptiness that encompassed my entire being. When I’m feeling very down I try to remember that I got my marriage and my kids back, I get out of bed everyday at some point, I have specific duties that I am good at and that my family relies on me for…I’m *needed* and *loved*. Although it doesn’t necessarily make me start skipping and doing cartwheels, remembering where I was compared to where I am now reminds me that I have a lot to be grateful for. I hope you feel better soon!

    • You are an incredible inspiration, Lisa. I forget where you were just a couple years ago….I’m going to emulate you and work on recalling how far I’ve come when I start attending my private pity parties!

      Yes, you are needed and loved! And you make killer dinners – yum yum yum! I read those tweets of yours and my mouth waters. Gimme some!

      I’m feeling better today and I’m thankful. It’s looking like it’ll be a beautiful, sunny day. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your uplifting comment – it means a lot to me!!! XO

  17. Lately I’ve been so utterly busy I am barely aware what day it is. That helps keep my mind up. BUT not always… If I’m not stressing about school work then I’m freakin exhausted . After my 30 day challenge I SHOULD have it down right? Lol. No so. I wish I had more insight for you. Have you ever tried acupuncture? I had it while hospitalized once. It was pretty cool. I’d like to try it again. It may be an alternative or start to meditation.

    • HI beautiful Adina! I know you’ve been a busy bee – I don’t know how you’ve done it all over the past few months, but I’m super-proud of you! (I thought you were invincible after the 30 day challenge! 😉

      I’ve had acupuncture done before and I loved it every time! I relaxed during the treatments. One acupuncturist even closed each session with an incredible ear massage – ahhhhhh! (Just the outer part, hee hee!)

      The needles never hurt or bothered me. I had it done for knee pain following surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and it totally helped. And long, long ago I had it done to bring on my period (I wasn’t pregnant, but I was irregular) and lo and behold, it worked for that.

      I’ve thought about trying it for mood reasons here and there, but then I became complacent. What a shocker, eh? 😉 My therapist thought it would be a good move, but once again I let the idea slide. Maybe I’ll revisit it now, because it’s truly awesome, I’ve had it work for other maladies, and there are no yucky side effects! There’s even a low-cost community acupuncture clinic near where I live. I guess I don’t really have a good excuse not to try acupuncture for my current stuff.

      *Thanks* for thinking of it! :))))))) You rock!

      • You are an acupuncture guru! I need to try it again too. Not sure if it’s totally thought related but it might improve your disposition and get some good energy flowing.

        Let me know how your support group goes! I’m not sure if I’ll set one up while in school but maybe after I school and I settle into work. I think it’s a great idea!

    • Your compliment made me feel SO good — thank you!!!—, although I am very, very sad that you’ve been in that evil black hole that I know all too well. I hope that things turn around for you TODAY!

      Thinking of you; I’m sending you perseverance and (((hugs))),

  18. Dyane,

    Sorry it has been so long since I followed your post, but I am catching up. I too have struggled with having to pull myself back to positive thinking many times throughout the day. Closing my eyes and taking in a deep abdominal breath followed by exhaling all of my stress makes a huge difference. I do this at least three times and it allows my brain and body to relax. It is a start to meditation. You and I both agree that exercise releases the endorphines we need also

    I found that a gratitude journal does help. There is a book of 31 Days of Journaling God’s Blessings written by Daphne Tarango, called Dragonflies, Ketchup & Late-Night Phone Calls. It helped me make a commitment to journal for at least one month, since it takes at least three weeks to start a new habit.

    May you have peace and blessings! Keep writing and sharing your journey!


    • Hello dear Marsha – you never have to apologize for anything about following my posts. I’m honored to receive your comment; it’s wonderfully helpful! I’ve had problems breathing well for years due to anxiety, and your reminder to take those deep, abdominal breaths is exactly what I needed to read about today. ***thank you!***

      I’m happy that using a gratitude journal has helped you, and I love the title “Dragonflies, Ketchup & Late-Night Phone Calls” you mentioned. 🙂 I promise to keep writing, and I hope that you’ll share some posts with us all soon.

      As you know, I’ve been following your blog but I haven’t spotted anything recently, so I’m off to double-check that I am still signed up there. Once in a while I’ll sign up for a blog on WordPress, and then I find out I’m missing posts, but I have no idea why that happens! :0 I can’t have that be the case with you! Take good care, and I send you a big, endorphin-filled hug. You’re an inspiration!

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