Posted on December 28, 2015 in Personal Growth by Sandra Bienkowski
I was in my early twenties, and I knew something was wrong with me. I was too uncomfortable with myself to even enjoy just one night alone. I worried something might happen that I couldn’t handle. So I spent a lot of time losing myself in T.V., food or dating bad men. I was afraid to be quiet with my own thoughts, and had about zero ability to comfort myself.
The healthiest thought I had was knowing that I needed help. Tired of feeling deeply alone, I found a psychologist who fired a gazillion questions at me in hour one on the first session.
He didn’t accept patients unless he knew he could help them. He was blunt and kind of a smart ass. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my day one of digging my way out of the crushing hole that is depression.
I answered a gazillion more written questions in a standardized psychological assessment about my tumultuous childhood and about me. Around session three, he described me back to me: chronic depression, fear of abandonment, angry but afraid to show it, and lack of boundaries in relationships (people pleaser).
With talk therapy one hour a week for several years, my depression became a thing of the past. My solution wasn’t a quick fix, but it has been lasting.
Call me a student of depression. I’d drive home from those sessions, type up things he said while still fresh in my mind, and place my notes in a three-ring binder. I slowly got healthier, and life got better. I hope what I learned can help you too.
Here are five lasting changes in how you think and behave that will help you heal from depression.
Read the rest of this article on MindBodyGreen!
Posted on December 9, 2014 in Fun by Sandra Bienkowski
Truth be told, I am a little tired of the words mindfulness and gluten. What do those words have in common? They are both overused. Forgive my grumpiness, but when you wake up with twin toddlers (or any child, a job, a business or all of those) how are you supposed to start your day with mindfulness practices? Isn’t it time we start telling the truth about our mornings? We don’t wake up in a yoga position, burning a lavender aromatherapy candle, while peacefully reciting an empowering mantra or setting our intention for the day. Let’s get real. My husband and I divide and conquer this list when we wake up:
Greet the girls with lots of cheerful good mornings and love
Double diaper duty
Let the dog out
Feed the dog
Feed our old cat and give him his medicine
Make the girls breakfast
Feed the girls breakfast
Get the newspaper
Open the shutters
Clean the cat litter
Watch the news and read the paper in interrupted snippets
Make breakfast smoothies
Start a load of laundry
And this is all before 8:30 a.m. Now, would I like to have 30 minutes of total solitude before my day begins? God, yes. But when I wake up, life happens.
Yes, I am a productivity junkie. I’m obsessed with crossing things off my To Do list. I like the feeling of making clients (and me) happy by successfully tackling and wrestling a jam-packed day of professional and personal To Dos to the ground. I get a lot of self-worth from how much I accomplish.
And then one Saturday I felt uneasy playing with my toddlers. I asked myself what was wrong. My husband was doing yard work. We were inside playing chase and having tickle time … but I felt my To Do list calling.
Looming work projects.
A couple of Thank You notes to write.
A meal plan for the week.
A workout I wanted to do.
Some phone calls I needed to make.
I felt uneasy because I was playing with my kids and not plowing through my To Do list. How crazy is that? And that’s when it hit me—the real lesson of mindfulness.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be meditating, doing yoga, sipping Chai tea or watching Super Soul Sunday. Those are all cool things, but the best way to practice mindfulness is to be present for what matters most to you—like your children. Sometimes that means learning how to be okay with not getting things done. Mindfulness means letting go of all of those “should dos” (and any guilt that comes with them) and using the open space to welcome in the fulfillment of the present moment.
Mindfulness is a way of living that reminds us not to live for the future and not to ignore the present. What I realized on that Saturday is this: the most valuable way we spend our time probably doesn’t even make our To Do list.