Why Forgiving Others is So Important to Your Mental Health

Oh the dreaded forgiveness blog, right? Always so much resistance comes up when we talk about forgiveness. AND, I love to talk about forgiveness. I do. I believe with 100% of everything I am that you cannot move forward in life with peace, freedom and happiness unless you forgive all the jerks who hurt you. I get that the abuse and the hurt they inflicted on you was probably incomprehensible. Forgive anyway. Forgiving others is key to your overall well being.

So I used to hold grudges. Many. I didn’t believe in forgiveness. Forgive who?? Nope nope nope!!

But something dawned on me. I spent my entire life walking around with all these little chips on my shoulder that, quite honestly, were starting to kinda hurt even more than the original wounds.

It was time to do something about it. I knew exactly what I had to do and it was time. Forgiving others. It was time.

But….why??

Why Iva, why do we need to forgive all these morons? Why? I had to do a little soul searching to answer that question. I dug deep.

This is what I came up with. These 5 *inyourface* reasons were loud and clear to me and I couldn’t deny forgiveness any longer.

Forgiving others will bring you these 5 things

Freedom.

First and foremost, I realized that forgiving others offered freedom. Freedom from the pain, freedom from the anguish, freedom from all the little chips on my shoulder. Freedom from the chains that kept me bound to the abuser.

Peace.

This comes almost immediately. But the peace I am talking about is the peace in my mind and heart. That peace is almost priceless and also almost impossible to obtain without forgiveness.

Happiness.

This was achieved almost immediately. Yup. As soon as I said “I forgive you” (not literally to their face but in my heart) I felt this wave of joy! It was ridiculous and awesome and had me in tears. That’s how powerful that was.

Awareness.

I realized that they treated me the only way they knew how AND also the way I let them. I became aware that some of my abusers didn’t know any different (like my parents for example). I also became aware that I let the abuse go on because I did nothing to stop it. I allowed them to treat me the way they did.

Life goes on.

It does. No matter how much abuse I endured in my whole life, life goes on. It was up to me to decide how I wanted my life to go on. Holding grudges til they buried me or with peace in my heart. How did I want to live out the rest of my life? With all these tiny little chips in my shoulder constantly stabbing at me?

Anyone can do it.

Yup. Forgiveness is one of those things that anyone AND everyone can do. Really, they/you can.

This is where it gets complicated and a tad tricky, right? Everyone has a *story* and often we want to do the *my story is worse than yours*. Many of us have been beat, raped, molested by family members, cheated on, etc. I mean I can go on and on here right but why?

Someone in our life, at one point or another, has done something so ridiculously horrible to us and has left a wound the size of the world. End of story. So how on earth do we forgive these monsters?

Well, I can’t tell you how, but I can tell you it’s possible. You can do it. But you must get to the point, first, where you realize that forgiveness is the only course of action to take to achieve, well,  peace, freedom and happiness.

Anyone can do it.

Walkin’ on sunshine.

That’s what forgiveness has done for me. I walk with a skip in my step, almost like I’m walkin’ on sunshine. I’m happy, no grudges, my heart is full of love, always and ready to accept and give more. There is no heaviness in my soul. I’m light and free as a feather.

Forgiveness has done this to me, and so much more. I forgive easily now too. If someone does something really mean to me, I feel it, cry about it (yes I still do that), analyze the whole situation and then forgive them.

Life is short. My one goal in life is just to be happy. That’s all. The rest falls into place nicely after that.

Forgive. Today. One jerk at a time.

Peace and Love

Iva

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6 Signs and Symptoms You Are Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted

You know that feeling you’ve been having. You’re tired but you’re not sure why or where it is coming from. You know you are strong, brave and courageous but every ounce of you, deep down inside, is screaming at you. You try to fight it but it’s getting close to the breaking point. The breaking point of “I don’t think I can do this anymore”. You ignore all the signs and symptoms that are warning you that something far more serious is happening to you.

You have now reached the point of mental and emotional exhaustion. Whatever it is that you have been going through has taken its toll and it’s screaming at you through these signs and symptoms to please stop, take a step back and have a good close look at what is going on in your life.

Signs and symptoms of mental and emotional exhaustion

Though I think there are probably way more warning signs, these top the list and if you are experiencing any of them, it’s time to take charge of your life. We are here for ridiculous joy and if anything is getting in the way of you having that, you need to take stock and inventory of your life to find out what’s blocking you from the happiness you so deserve.

The 6 warning signs and symptoms

You lack motivation

When we feel lack of motivation, part of us wants to keep pushing and go so we don’t feel like a failure or unproductive. What ends up happening though, when you do try to push, is that you are now pouring from an empty cup and anything you try to do won’t be your best work and will only come from a place of desperation.

What you really need to do is rest, recharge and take some “me” time. Release the need to work and push through this and embrace decompression and let motivation come back to you. Trust me, it will.

Little things are starting to upset you more and more

At one time you used to be a laid back, chilled out kind of person but lately, even the littlest things are triggering anger and frustration in you. Things that really don’t matter much in the grande scheme of things are getting on your last nerve. Ignoring these signs and symptoms will not result in anything positive.

Rather than break down completely and hurt someone close to you, break away instead and give yourself the emotional nurturing your heart and soul so desperately need.

You cry for no reason

You’ve become an emotional basketcase and the simplest things have you crying in no time, for no reason at all even. You are way too sensitive when you’re not normally and that box of Kleenex has become your best friend. Your body has kicked into defense mode and crying is a great defense. It’s also a great detox for anger, hurt, frustration and mental and emotional exhaustion.

Cry all you want, get it all out, but eventually you will have to get to the root of the problem which is exhaustion. Fix that and the tears will slow down.

You’re starting to have anxiety attacks

This is a totally new thing to you. The first time you had one you had no clue what it was or why it was happening to you. Mental and emotional exhaustion will do that to anyone. Everything is causing you to freak out a little more each day and fear has taken a hold of you. Fear causes anxiety. Great anxiety. Anxiety is no fun!

Don’t get consumed with fear. Fear will shut you down if you let it. Find out what it is that is causing it, face it and let it go. Remember fear is an irrational emotion as well.

Sleep has eluded you

You toss and turn whereas before you never had any trouble falling asleep and having a good night’s rest. That doesn’t happen anymore. Your mind paces, your limbs are twitchy and you can’t stop any of it. Even though you are physically exhausted, mental and emotional exhaustion trumps that and you can’t settle your mind down long enough to fall asleep.

Grab some headphones and listen to guided meditations at bedtime. There are tons of excellent ones on YouTube. I also love listening to hypnosis audios. The trick is to listen to something other than your mind. If that’s not your thing, you can always try all natural Melatonin as a sleep aid. Many people still think insomnia is a random issue. It’s not. Out of the signs and symptoms of mental and emotional exhaustion, this is probably the most disregarded one.

You’re starting to feel dizzy, weak and nauseous

This is a major warning sign. Your body is shutting down. It isn’t running on proper fuel anymore. If you’ve been feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, chances are besides you not sleeping well, you’re probably not eating all that well either. Pay attention to this sign and symptom!! If you don’t, you may end up with something far worse than mental exhaustion.

Notice this sign and address it immediately. Remember your body is desperately trying to fight all these signs and symptoms of emotional and mental exhaustion but it’s having a really hard time keeping up. Your body is crying to you to please start taking care of yourself.

Many people still fail to realize that the physical signs and symptoms you are going through are often the result of emotional trauma or fatigue. Our body is a great indicator that we need to take better care of our mental health.

If you recognize any of these signs or symptoms of mental and emotional exhaustion please stop and take a look at what’s going on in your life, what’s causing these and get to the bottom of it and heal. You are no good to anyone, not even yourself, if you are suffering like this.

We are not here to suffer or be in misery. We are here for joy, love and happiness. We are deserving of this life. Also remember that only you are in control of your life. No one else. No one else can fix your problems for you but you. Please take the time to heal and honour yourself.

You are here for so much more.

Peace and Love

xo iva xo

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How the Fear of Death Can Keep You From Living

Raise your hand if you have a fear of death. Come on, let’s see those hands. I for one used to be that person. The thought of dying paralyzed me in fear.There were so many things I actually avoided doing because well, what if I die? But let’s get real here. None of us know when or how we’re going to die. Just like none of us knew we were even going to be born.

Anyway, so awhile ago I read this mindblowing book called “The Afterlife of Billy Fingers” and I know I wrote about this a little bit before but I want to take this a little deeper this time. Now I get that the afterlife isn’t everyone’s thing. That’s cool. That’s not what we’re talking about here anyway.

The Fear of Death

I used to wonder how I was gonna die and if it was going to be horrifying and painful or if I was just gonna go to sleep and not wake up. You know, like most old people. Ideally, I think we all would rather go that way. Every now and then the thought still does cross my mind but only because I’m getting a wee bit older, I still do kinda smoke so having a heart attack is a possibility and honestly it could happen anytime. But that’s for any of us really.

But the fear of death doesn’t really have a hold on me anymore. Now I’m not saying I’m ready to die and am looking forward to it. Of course not. I’m just saying it is no longer gonna stop me from living the life I want to live. The life of joy, peace and ridiculous happiness that I deserve to live. Just like you.

Fear paralyzes us and keeps us from trying new things, going on new adventures and even from stepping out of our comfort zones but what about those of you who, let’s say, have a fear of flying because you think the plane is gonna crash and well, you’re gonna die. Or what about a fear of drowning so you don’t go on boats or cruises.

Or maybe just a fear of traveling all together because you think you’re gonna get in a car/bus/train wreck so it’s just best to stay put and watch the Discovery Channel instead.

Don’t you see?

Read that little blurb up above again. We don’t go anywhere because we’re afraid to die in a crash. Lemme tell ya something. This might come as a bit of a shocker to you but someone has to break it to you. You’re gonna die one day and oddly enough, you won’t know how or when.

Gasp! We didn’t come with instruction manuals or a death certificate that says “On this day Sally Brown will no longer exist on earth and she will leave this planet in this fashion_________”. Ya, we didn’t come with that. But here’s the kicker…

That shouldn’t stop you from living out your life to the fullest anyway. You were born, you go through life, you’ve done a ridiculous amount of things you never knew how to do and you didn’t die. Yay you! Don’t let your fear of death keep you from doing even more fun ridiculous things.

Life is to be lived in joy, not fear

There’s gonna come a time when you’re just going to have to take a step out of your “fear of death” comfort zone and start living. Do you want to be in a nursing home rocking in a chair and thinking “Oh man I wish I had done more things but my fears kept me from living a life I truly wanted to experience”. That sounds horrible.

Let’s go back to the fact that we don’t know when our number is up or how we’re gonna go. Now let’s also take into consideration that during our lifetime we have the wonderful opportunity to meet some truly amazing people who have done truly remarkable things and, get this, lived to tell about it. Whoa! They didn’t die??

You’re not here to simply exist. You didn’t make it out of all those millions and trillions of sperm just to sit in your lazy boy chair and watch TV and have your fear of death hold you hostage. We’re not hostages in this game of life. We’re active players (or at least we should be).

We are here to explore each and everything life offers us. We are here to enjoy, love, help, heal and play. We are here to embrace, encourage and have fun. We are here to learn and share what we’ve learned.

Be brave

It’s time for you to man/woman up and step into this game of life full on. It’s time for you to take your fear of death, laugh at it and go do some fun stuff you’ve always wanted to do but were always too afraid because, you know, that whole death thing. It’s time for you to stop letting fear, any kind of fear, hold you back from the life you deserve.

I’ve done some extremely ridiculous things in my days and guess what, I’m still here! Isn’t that amazing? Don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to die if you try something new. Instead, turn that into a positive thought and think about how absolutely amazing you will feel once you’ve accomplished it and are still alive to tell everyone how awesome it was to face your fear and do it.

Think of how proud and fantastic you will feel once you’ve accomplished your goal!! Think of all the people who will also be so proud of you! Not only that, but once you face one fear and overcome it, you’re gonna be on a roll and want to try more and more new things!!

Now that’s what I call living! Go live. No more flatlining. You’ll have plenty of time to do that when you’re dead. Haha! Ok, maybe a bad pun?

How about a nice bottle of red while we book our flight to Asia?

Peace and Love

ox iva ox

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3 Ways to Stop Negative Thinking and Live A Happy Life

Ah negative thinking or as some call it, stinking thinking. That’s what it is anyway. Smelly, dirty, foul thoughts that do us no good whatsoever. Have you ever had a positive experience from a negative thought?  I think not. I’m no stranger to negative thoughts. We all have them. Even the personal development gurus and if they claim they don’t they’re lying.

Negative Thinking

For many of us, I believe that we get stuck in a vortex of our negative thinking. The thought comes, we entertain it, we sit with it for a long time and play out all the worst case scenarios, we talk about it and often even go to bed with it. We’ve just ruined our entire day on a negative thought. We literally beat it death and then took it to bed with us.

Yuck. Nightmares anyone? How do you feel when you wake up after a day like that? I’m betting not very good at all. Perhaps an emotional wreck and maybe even crying? Yuck, again. What a terrible way to start the day. But the bigger question and issue here is this:

How often do we let this happen? Our negative thinking completely consuming our thoughts and days. I know some people are still wrapped up in negative events that happened days, weeks, months, even years ago. What for? What on earth are you holding on to this for?

So how do we fix this?

You’ve all read eBooks, stories, inspirational poster quotes and maybe even listened to some inspirational podcasts or watched some YouTube vids (Les Brown is always my favourite). We do our best to get rid of this negative thinking but nothing really works.

But that guru said just do this and your negative thoughts will be gone but they’re still here. Ya I so get it. I used to be there too. Until one day I finally got it. I had finally figured out the secret to totally wiping out negative thinking. And trust me, it didn’t come easy, but it came.

Here are my 3 ways that work for me to get rid of these demon thoughts.

#1- Hey, where’d that come from?

Negative thinking doesn’t come out of nowhere. I mean it does but it kinda doesn’t. Oftentimes, there are things from our past that we haven’t quite healed yet. Obviously. That’s why the thought of it keeps recurring. It takes a lot of hard work to deal with issues from yesterday. Many of us don’t want to face those demons so we tuck the memory deep down in our minds and hearts and every now and then, you got it, it shows up as negative thinking.

So when do we finally deal with and be done with it? Why do we keep dredging up this thing from the past and continue to torment ourselves and ruin our day? Why?

Because dealing is hard. Really hard. It brings up memories, trauma and forces us into forgiveness which still to this day, many of us don’t want to do. Well I’m here to tell you it’s time. It’s time to deal, heal and forgive. Go through the motions. You’ll only have to do it a few times. Eventually it just becomes a fleeting thought that can simply be wiped away.

#2- Shut it down.

I don’t mean completely shut down your brain and carry on with your day. We all know how effective that is (not).I mean it’s time to show this negative thinking who the boss is here and shut it down before it takes hold of your whole day.

I know, easier said than done but hear me out. When a negative thought creeps in, you immediately start entertaining it. It’s important to catch yourself and this thought before it goes too far. You are already well aware that it’s a foul and ugly thought. You already know it’s going to make you feel sad, mad, angry, hurt, etc. That’s not how you want to spend the rest of your day, amirite?

So as soon as you realize what’s going on in your head, yell at it (that’s kinda what I do) and say ” Oh NO you don’t. You are not going to ruin my day. I want to feel happy and cheery today. You are not going to take over and put me in a state of misery and sadness. Not today Satan, not today”. 

Now that may sound all silly and stuff but just try it. But it’s important to shout at that negative thought and remind it who’s in charge here. You are the boss of your mind and you are in control of your day. Not this negative thinking. You need to let it know that it has no place in your day.

This gets easier with practice.

Find the positive thought

To every bad there is good. Even with people. Not everyone is bad all the time. There is good in everything, everyone and every thought. It’s up to you to find it. I’ll use my latest incident to put it into perspective for you.

I was volunteering at a spay and neuter clinic one day and I had to clean up some poop in a crate. The dog was still in the crate and she was just scared. So I grabbed rubber gloves, spray cleaner and some paper towels so she wouldn’t have to sit in her stinky crate while waiting to see the vet, all the while scared out of her mind.

So I stuck my hand in her crate and she bit me. Good and hard. I honestly was more shocked than anything but then the pain and swelling kicked in and I realized how bad this bite was. The assistant cleaned me up, disinfected me and I was good to carry on my day volunteering.

Now as horrible as that sounds, and it is, I explained to my friends later that I was truly grateful it wasn’t a bigger dog. I wouldn’t be typing this out today if it was. I potentially would have lost my way of making a living and reaching out to people, which is through my writing. So regardless of the fact my hand hurts like crazy, I’m grateful it’s still attached.

Find the positive. It might be hard to do but it’s not impossible. Always do the “well this could have been much worse and I’m grateful it’s not”. Turn your negative thinking around into positive thinking and watch what happens.

You’ll be amazed.

Next time this happens

So the next time a negative thought pops up come back to these tips.

  • First, finally deal with your issue.
  • Second, take control of your mind and
  • Third, turn it into a positive thought.

Let’s toast this new thought process!!

If you are seriously struggling with getting over the past and all the hurt, pain and anger it is causing you, you may want to check out my self help guide. It’s loaded with tips and tools to live a happier life. From Hell to Happiness. Grab your copy today!!

Peace and Love

ox iva xo

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