Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Tired, bloated, indigestion after you eat? Let me fill you in on a little secret, it probably has something to do with food combining. Our stomach is known for acid. Stomach acid, along with the help of enzymes, helps break down food. Not only that but it actually helps support the body in absorbing protein and vitamin B-12, which we only get from protein (meat). In this post, you’ll find tips on how to feel better and get more bang for your nutrition buck! How to reduce stomach acid, how to increase stomach acid, how to test which one you have, and why food combining has a lot to do with stomach acid is in this post. Plus! You can download my free easy to understand food combining chart!

Let’s jump into the stomach.

If you have high levels of stomach acid you’re probably experiencing one of these symptoms: acid reflux, burping, or you may even feel nauseated. If you have too little stomach acid you may feel bloated, experience diarrhea or constipation, have food intolerances, osteoporosis, leaky gut, malnutrition, and heartburn. It’s kind of confusing, eh?

If you have either too high or too low of stomach acid it puts stress on the digestive system which can lead to further problems down the road, for instance, if you have heartburn (GERDS) and don’t pay attention to it, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and upping your chances of precancerous cells. If the stomach acid is too low and left untreated it can lead to hair loss, GI infections, anemia, lupus, allergies, chronic autoimmune disorders, and thyroid issues to name a few. Yikes!

how to manage stomach acid

How do you know if you have high or low stomach acid?

First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in. I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version of what I’ve learned. *Consult your physician before jumping into new things.*

There are a number of things you can do to figure this out:

1) You could visit your doctor and have them order a test. Most likely it will be a CBC (complete blood count) and CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel). From the test they’ll look at a variety of factors, some include iron and phosphorous levels.

2) The other test is the Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test, this test requires fasting for 12 hours and swallowing a tiny electronic capsule. You will need to drink a baking soda solution and then the capsule will record how long it takes your stomach to restore normal acidity levels. Cool!

3) If you don’t like doctors or want to spend the extra cash, there is a simple at-home test is called the Baking Soda Acid Test. The accuracy of this test is not 100%, so it’s best to do this test regularly to get a better idea of where you are on stomach acid.

Here’s how to do it: Mix ¼ tsp of baking soda in four ounces of water. In the morning before you eat or drink anything else, drink the concoction. Next, start your timer on your phone and time how long it takes to burp. If it takes more than five minutes or you experience no burp at all, it’s a sign of low stomach acid.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Tips on how to reduce gastric juice:

1) Understand what food combinations cause high acidity. See my chart on freebies.

2) Eat smaller meals. Overeating can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter, which causes it to open and leak acid into your esophagus.

3) Try a low-carb diet. When our system can’t digest carbs well, we get gassy and bloated, which then leads to GERD. Numerous studies support this idea. Looking into amylase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down carbs may significantly help you when you can’t say no.

4) Limit the guilty pleasures of caffeine and alcohol. The alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter and the caffeine weakens the sphincter. They basically have the same effects on the sphincter. Try decaf coffee instead, that’s what I do and my body has adjusted well after the caffeine withdrawal ended.

5) Chew gum. This helps increase saliva production and helps clear the esophagus of stomach acid. It helps with symptoms but doesn’t solve the root cause. No wonder my son loves gum!

6) Cut back on carbonated drinks and citrus juice. Again both of these kinds of beverages weaken the esophageal sphincter.

7) Mint is a no-go. Mint chocolate-chip ice cream should take a backseat if you experience symptoms. This refreshing herb is so relaxing that it too relaxes the sphincter. Peppermint tea, peppermint chocolate or candies, and peppermint-flavored gum have the potential to fire back, literally up your esophagus.

Some other tips to help alleviate symptoms are not eating too close to bedtime, elevating your head while sleeping, and avoiding laying on your RIGHT side. These tactics help calm the acid and keep that pesky sphincter closed!

banana fact

4 little ways to increase low stomach acid at home

1) I wouldn’t hit the meat & potatoes to fix your low stomach acid, instead, take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar that includes the Mother. This is an easy way to help your stomach acid get ready to work before a meal. Mix one tablespoon of the vinegar in water and drink before a meal. Make sure you get the right one. You can see it here.

2) Like honey? Try Manuka Honey. This honey comes from New Zealand and has amazing antimicrobial properties. It helps with IBS, indigestion, stomach ulcer prevention, oral health, and like most honey, helps with wound healing and sore throats. Get more details on Manuka Honey here.

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3) Chew. “Chew, chew, chew.” When we’re hungry, we tend to eat fast and take big bites! It’s like a welcome mat for a stuck burp. Chew every bite so it turns into mush. There is no need to eat your food fast. Simply use a smaller fork to help with bite-size.

4) Digestive enzymes also do the trick. Unfortunately, the first time I tried these they gave me diarrhea. They can actually cause constipation in some people too. But don’t let this discourage you. Digestive enzymes play an important role in vitamin and nutrient absorption. As you age or if you have a digestive disorder, or have pancreas issues, your enzymes deplete and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. For instance, one sign is a change in bowels and/or seeing undigested food in your stool. Yes, you should look at your poop! So before I completely gave up on digestive enzymes, I gave them another try. This time I played with the dose. Instead of a whole pill before a meal, I only took a pinch and it worked a lot better. After your body gets used to them you can move forward from there.

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What are digestive enzymes?

In a nutshell, there are three main types of digestive enzymes: proteases, lipases, and amylases. Here is a list of the enzymes and what they do. Helpful Hint: Pancreatic enzyme names usually end in “-in” (like trypsin or pepsin), while other digestive enzymes usually end in “-ase” or “-ose” (like lactose, sucrose, fructose).

The trick for making digestive enzymes work for you is to first determine if you are a candidate for supplementation. Know your body, pay attention to how it reacts after you eat. Are you burping, bloated, having to run the bathroom, heartburn, stinky gas and a lot of it, or cramping?

The next step is to determine what kind of enzyme you need. Asking your doctor, a nutritionist, or a functional medicine doc for their recommendations is the way to go. Just note the FDA does not regulate digestive enzymes, so everyone will have their own opinion, but you know your body best. You want clear ingredients from a reputable manufacturer.

Third, you’ll have to experiment to find the right dose. Remember this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I’m not a doctor. Seek advice from a qualified health provider before trying something new. This post is to help you investigate how to help heal your body and ask the right questions to your healthcare provider.

digestive enzymes list

Stress can increase stomach acid?

Does stress increase stomach acid? That’s a great question. The answer is debatable but most likely. Stress affects our muscles, our immune systems, and our minds. All of those things work together to keep our bodies functioning. When one is off, it affects the other. If your muscles are tight around the stomach, it might push your stomach contents around and increase pressure. It doesn’t hurt to manage stress. For managing stress you’ll want to check out this post: How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips.

Food Combining 101

Back to Food Combining. Yes combining food makes a difference with stomach acid. Food combining gives you a little bit of control. When certain foods are put together they can either wreak havoc on your stomach or can give you energy. For instance, the classic steak n potato with melted butter, well it’s going to spoil in your stomach. You will most likely have bloating, stinky ‘wind’, and indigestion. This combo could also contribute to weight gain. And the melon salad with grilled chicken, well that’s going to do the same thing. This is not to confuse you, it’s just the opposite.

Keeping a diet with a few simple rules will reap benefits in the short and long term. I made a simple, easy-to-understand food combining chart to help regulate your stomach acid. In my kitchen, I tape it to the inside of one of my cupboards. Don’t forget to head to Freebies to download yours today. All in all, remember to eat fruit alone on an empty stomach and only eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables. We’ve covered A LOT of information. Keep this post handy to reference for a quick guide.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Better Belly Steak Recipe

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for

Omega Oil Benefits, Why I’m Picky

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

If there is one thing in how to help your digestive system it is to figure out what is causing the digestive issues. When it comes to gut cramping and rushing to the bathroom it’s usually a bad burrito and clears up in a few days on its own, but when the bowels howl longer than normal something needs more attention. In my own personal experience with IBD (Intestinal Bowel Disease) over the years and with hours upon hours of research, I’ve found 10 major triggers that can set people off. If I would have known these triggers earlier, I would have healed a lot faster. My hope is that this post will save you a lot of time and frustration. Let’s take a look at what might be triggering your lingering symptoms so you can get on the right intestinal track.

Step 1 in how to help your digestive system

Ever since I started to talk about my own digestive distress, more and more people have opened up to me about theirs. Let’s face it, talking about cramps and diarrhea is not something people want to talk about, but these things DO need to be talked about. A huge part of healing is understanding what’s going on and why. Knowing this, not only gives you peace of mind, but a solid direction to focus on in your healing journey.  Discovering your cause can be a frustrating maze but it could be as simple as asking around and doing some research. You never know what someone is going to say that could be your ticket to healing.

Let me reiterate that when people are silent about their chronic digestive system it is only going to make them worse.  What ends up happening is despair, loss of hope, loneliness, and settling with chronic misery. Self-confidence goes down the drain and limitations in physical activity and social outings go on the wayside. You do not deserve to live like this!

Listen up, this is super important

Another thing about “ignoring’ this issue is that if left untreated, it will lead to other misery down the road; for instance, vitamin absorption problems, depression, stress, hair thinning, and more. I’ve been there, done that, with tears and frustration and a sink full of hair. There is nothing worse than not understanding what is going on and if you’ll ever get better! So please, listen up to how to help your digestive system if you want to get better.

I HIGHLY recommend reading the “Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to identify and heal for good” ebook. I wish I had this information when I was having problems. This book would have saved me LOADS of time and frustration. Download, read, and heal. It’s a quick read packed with answers that will help you.

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First off, you will get better. If you want it bad enough, you will go into remission and will live a life of no more cramping, no more rushing to the bathroom, and no more uncertainty. The work it takes to heal is totally worth it. It is possible to manage this thing without having to take any pharmaceuticals! The body will heal if you help it.

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Your healing journey begins with this

My journey has been quite a road. I am not a doctor or gastroenterologist, but I have experienced firsthand what it’s like to carry colitis and all that goes with it. With an un-relentless drive to figure it out, I’ve tried many different treatments and have spent hours and hours researching (probably too much time) in getting to the bottom of my imbalance. After all, when something isn’t right, things aren’t aligned. So this bullcrap all starts with what threw you off in the first place.

How to help your digestive system starts with questions.

Ask yourself the following questions and maybe even jot down your answers on a piece of paper. I have kept a “digestive journey” journal where I write down my flares, what might have happened before it, and what I tried to manage it. Answer these questions to help you figure your digestive issues out.

Was I recently sick? Stomach bug? Food poisoning? Bacteria infection?

What are my hormones doing?

Did I eat something funny? Eat too much of something? Eat the same thing every day?

Have I been taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc) on a regular basis?

Has my gallbladder been acting up? Do I still have my gallbladder?

What is my stress level been these days?

What exactly am I eating everyday?

Is my back out of whack?

Answering these questions might help you get on the right track from the get-go. It’s important to go over these things with your doctor or functional doctor before diving into a treatment plan.

A closer look at digestive triggers

Let’s take a closer look at what could be the cause of your cramps, bloating, diarrhea, loose stools, and stinky gas. When you have a flare, it is usually caused by a trigger. For instance, when I get a flare I can usually figure out what brought it on. Most of the time it was something I ate. But other times it’s been hormones, stress, or even a change in weather or time zones. The body is so amazing when it comes to healing; it wants to be aligned and working as it should. When it’s not, it tells you through pain or digestive distress. Let’s look at a few things that could be causing the alarms to go off.

Again, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things. This post is for information purposes only and to help you figure out what you might have going on.

IBS

What is IBS anyway? IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is simply an angry bowel. For instance, when I was a runner I would occasionally get really bad “poop cramps”, this is what IBS is, cramps out of the blue followed by urgency. With my story, the doctors first diagnosed me with IBS, since I knew what IBS was, I had a hard time respecting their diagnoses. Come to find out what I learned through the years is that if doctors can’t diagnose your digestive problem, they’ll usually say it’s IBS. When I went back to the doctor’s office I asked for a colonoscopy which gave us the real answer. So stick with your gut when you go to the doctor and ask a lot of questions; if they say it’s IBS, ask them why they think so.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Food sensitivities: dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, grains, white sugar, fructose.

Food sensitivities are HUGE triggers that lead to digestive system issues. The number one ‘problem food’ is dairy. So many people have issues with dairy; in fact, I heard everyone is a little sensitive to dairy. Lactose intolerant or sensitivity to whey or casein (a protein found in milk) are a few roadblocks to dairy digestion.

The second big one is gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat. People who have Celiac disease cannot have any gluten. Most people with digestive issues steer clear of gluten as well. This bugger is hard to digest and wreaks havoc on your innards. Talk about inflammation! It’s just not worth it folks.

Other popular food sensitivities and allergies are nuts, eggs, soy, white sugar, nightshades, and fructose.

How do you know if you have a food sensitivity?

Pay attention to how you feel after you consume it. Do you have a headache? Is your skin itchy or throat? Heartburn? Do you have gas cramps within an hour of eating? Dizzy? How about your nose, is it runny? What about severe congestion? Are you rushing to the bathroom?

Hormones: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

This is a tough one to figure out. Hormones play a factor in digestion? Women get a chance to pay close attention to our system every month (if we’re still menstruating). Both progesterone and prostaglandins can mess with your bowels. Even though prostaglandins focus on your uterus, they can also affect the colon that is nearby. Plus our friend, Progesterone, can pilot our trip to the bathroom more often.

On the flip side, when estrogen declines, cortisol rises, which can slow the digestion process down and cause constipation…a.k.a. too little progesterone. Without the proper balance of estrogen and progesterone, your bowels get a bit confused.

Alignment

Who knew that a kink in your back could cause issues in digestion and elimination. The vertebrae in your spine are connected to nerves that send signals to the digestive system which includes the stomach and intestines. When the vertebrae are off or twisted this can affect those nerves and give you symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and bladder issues. Before you head to the chiro, talk to your doctor or physical therapist.

A bug

There are some pesky bugs out there. Bacterial infections, viruses, and parasites, all of these cause inflammation. And when inflammation is present and not calmed down, irritation of the intestinal lining is sure to happen. E-coli, Guardia, Norovirus, and the stomach bug are the main culprits of diarrhea, not to mention vomiting. Yes, even though these are short-lived 1-7 days on average, they can mess up your gut flora and cause silent inflammation in your digestive tract. 

gluten-free granola bars

How to help your digestive system? Reduce stress

Constant stress on the body and mind can be a doozy for your digestion. It can throw your whole system off! From muscle tightness, knots in your gut, to indigestion, stress can physically hurt you. One thing you can do right now in answering the question of how to help your digestive system is to learn some stress-relieving techniques.

Ibuprofen/Tylenol

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like acetaminophen and ibuprofen if taken on a regular basis can actually cause inflammation in your intestines. Yep. Too much of a good thing can backfire. This is true for anything, even food! When inflammation is present, cramps and diarrhea are sure to show up.

Lack of probiotics and digestive enzymes

Sometimes our bodies need a little help getting back on track. Probiotics and/or digestive enzymes are here to save the day. Getting the right bugs in your gut makes a big difference in your digestive health; a game-changer for most folks. The hard part is figuring out what probiotics or digestive enzymes you’re lacking. This is especially important if you’ve been on a regimen of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill everything in your gut, so it’s important to get your gut back up and running as it should. Incorporating probiotics after your antibiotic treatment will help you bounce back a little quicker.

Probiotics may need to be taken every day depending on your condition. The added bonus is they also help your immune system and even skin.

If you have heartburn or stomach acid issues please read my post about stomach acid, it goes more in-depth about digestive enzymes and food combining, you will get a digestive enzyme chart as well!

Bile acid

This sounds kind of gross but excess bile acid from your digestive system can cause diarrhea. Bile acid diarrhea (BAD) or bile acid malabsorption (BAM) is what can cause that urgency, watery, and bloating feeling. Bile acids are produced by your good ole liver and stored in your gallbladder. Their job is to help break down fats to put it simply. For people who have had their gallbladder removed, you may experience a bit of diarrhea…at least now you know why. However, sometimes the body can get confused and cause large amounts of bile acids to exit into the large intestine, hence, diarrhea. Normally there is very little bile acid in the large intestine. I highly recommend you continue to investigate this; check out Verywellhealth.com for starters.  

Yeast

Where do we start with yeast? Is it good or bad? Well, if you get too much of it, it can trigger diarrhea. Along with yeast-associated diarrhea, you may see other signs of too much yeast by looking at your tongue. If it has a white coat on it, you probably have more yeast than you need. You could also have sinus infections, fatigue, and skin fungal issues. The medical term for an overabundance of yeast is Candida. Check out Dr. Axe about Candida.

In conclusion: how to help your digestive system

WHEW! That was a lot to take in. But how to help your digestive system is no joke. From my personal experience, I wish I had this post in my hands when it all started in me. Again, I can’t tell you how many hours I researched diarrhea. I’ve probably clocked as many hours as a gastroenterologist. Anyway, healing is possible, but you must want it to happen. And if you really want it bad enough, you’ll be able to manage it without drugs and their nasty side effects. You got this. Healing takes time so keep moving forward. To help you get started in healing your gut I wrote this mini book: Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to Identify and Heal for Good. It only takes a few minutes to read, but could contain your path to healing! Download it today and start reading!

Please note: talk to your doctor or find a functional doctor before you jump into anything new. If you want to go the natural way without prescriptions, I’ve had success with a functional doctor.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Chronically sick? Choose the right water filter.

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

9 Gift Ideas to Warm the Body & Soul

Quick Healthy Meals On a Budget? 5 Criteria

Stay Connected
By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved
5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget About.

5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget About.

Stress got you? Stress can make us do funny things with our actions, words, and even our bodies. But I’ve found some stress fighters that are packed with a punch. They’re so simple that ANYONE can do it TODAY.

stress fighters

Stress happens

Stress can be sneaky or it can be a slap in the face. My face stung after I accidentally deleted my entire website. The uninvited hot, prickly stress-wave crashed on my face when I saw ‘File Not Found’. It’s in these stressful moments when we start talking out loud to ourselves, “WHAT THE? NO!!”

Building my own website and blog was my choice. I wanted the challenge. Doing something like this requires time, perseverance, learning, and creativity. It has been a journey of gratifying moments and ‘oh crap’ sessions. That night was one of those “why am I doing this?” sessions. One accidental click, GONE!

Stress is like a leech that won’t detach.

Stress saps the life out of us. So how do we manage this life-sucking Jabba the Hutt from our bodies? First of all, I hate leeches. Years ago I went on a fishing trip in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. It was an amazing trip, but guess what we used as bait? Leeches! I screamed every time I TRIED to bait my hook. The leech latched onto my finger…not cool! Do you think vigorous shaking of my hand and screaming got the leech off? Apparently, leeches don’t have ears. My husband had to pull it off for me… every time.

What if we could see stress attached to our bodies? We’d probably do a better job at managing it. Stress is the cause of many ailments. It’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, has a hey-day in our bodies. Chronic high levels of cortisol contribute to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), heart disease, anxiety, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, sleep disturbances, and the list goes on.

Are your stress fighters working?

The way to detach stress is to naturally fight back with things that decrease those levels, right? Easier said than done. So get this…some people will use things to manage their stress that actually causes MORE stress! I’m talking about eating a pint of ice cream, sugar-filled gluten-rich desserts, a bag of salty snacks, alcohol, smokes, or pills. Sure, in the short run those things might help; but in the long term the leech is feasting off those inflammatory substances.  All those foods inflame your innards. Without awareness or portion control, that inflammation can lead to physical issues = STRESS! It’s a vicious cycle. Believe me, I know!

I wanted to fix my website immediately.  But all I could do in that moment was intertwine my fingers and pray. I needed someone to pull the leech off. So why not ask God. As calmly as I could I prayed, “Dear Gracious God…wait a second, OH GOD. AH! I DELETED MY WEBSITE!! HELP ME FIGURE THIS OUT. PLEASE! AMEN.” Not the best prayer, but who is judging?

My Awakening

beauty and the beast hand

It felt as if my fingertips went numb. Whoa, what is happening to me?  God is that you? An angelic song filled my house as divine power struck my body. Light beams shot out of my fingertips. I started levitating. Wait. Wait. That’s Beauty & the Beast. See how stress can make you think of funny things. As much as I wanted the Beauty and the Beast resurrection, I knew it wasn’t in the plan.  In fact, God did answer my prayer; but in a way I didn’t expect.  He nudged me to move.

Christy, manage the stress, before managing the problem.  I closed my eyes. Inhaled a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I was afraid to touch the keyboard, so I took that as a sign to step away. My desire to go outside to sit next to my favorite tree was unstoppable. Strange? Eh. Kind of. But with good reason…

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Why nature helps reduce stress

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending even just five minutes around trees or in green spaces helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, instills focus, accelerates healing, increases energy, and improves sleep. And you wonder why I craved to get outside…

The article goes on to say, “Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces…stress-related hormones… Looking at pictures of trees has a similar, but less dramatic, effect.” Get outdoors and if you can’t sit and imagine you are in nature.

I trusted that instinct and sat next to my blue spruce. Its soft yet firm pine needles combed my sweaty palms. The sky was black and peppered with stars. My body relaxed. Heart quieted. I was reminded of how big our world was and how I was making this little mistake bigger than the world! Within a matter of minutes, a calm came over me. “Hi God, it’s me again… thanks for getting me outside. I needed that.

Here are 5 stress fighters most people forget about:

#1 Admit it. Say, “I’m stressed out. ___ is causing my stress.”

#2 Say a prayer… Your Creator may need to remind you of something.

#3 Find your happy OUTDOOR place and go there… the beach, woods, prairie, park, yard…Go barefoot a.k.a “Earthing” and SMILE.

#4 Create an environment that promotes peace. Pictures of the beach, mountains, trees, sunrise, a garden…whatever nature scene speaks to you. Put a picture or two in your office, cubical, or wallet. Have it handy.

#5 Incorporate an outdoor recess at work or home, whether it’s exercising, reading the paper, walking the dog, playing with the kids, a lunch break, just get outside.

In conclusion

This may sound too simple, but you’ll find it’ll make a BIG impact. The next morning I mended my website mishap. It so happened, I found a backup on the server. But I wouldn’t have been able to figure that out without a clear head, a good night’s sleep, and a little time outside with my trees. Do your existence a favor, get outside. What is one thing you can do this month to make that happen?

Before you go, check out these other posts about stress:

4 Simple Stress Strategies for You & Your Kids

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Finding Grace in the Cards We’re Dealt – 3 Tricks

How to Help your Digestive System: 10 Triggers to Watch For

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2018 Do More Than Exist All Rights Reserved.

The Purpose of Creativity, Not What You Think.

The Purpose of Creativity, Not What You Think.

Creativity is one thing I love to do in the kitchen. I’ll never forget the time when I was 10 years old; I reached for the flour in an overhead cupboard. My fingertips were millimeters away from the canister. One… more… bit… CRASH! I was successful in getting the flour down, but it wasn’t in the canister. I stood there and sulked as my older sister laughed at me. She called me “Casper” as in the friendly white ghost. Learn how creativity isn’t just baking cookies or making crafts. It’s much more than that!

flame

Back then my dream was to become a baker. I loved baking cookies, muffins, and quick breads. Mixing simple ingredients with my signature twist was so fun. Unfortunately, it’s harder for me to bake these days. Not being able to eat gluten really puts a damper on the baking. But I still try and experiment with what I got. 🙂 My baking dream might have fizzled away but my need to create has not.

To truly feel alive I need to create something; whether it’s cookies, a garden, a writing piece, or simply drawing a picture on my son’s lunch bag. It is gratifying to see what my imagination can create. I feel like I did something. Know what I mean?

Alan Kulwicki quote Always have a next great goal

Why creativity is important

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Creativity isn’t just for fun. Creative thinking can solve problems, help us perform better at our jobs, help with depression, and it can help make a difference in people’s lives. Look at music, art, dance, and literature… what are those talents trying to do? Matthew Barnet has a great answer from his book, The Cause Within You.

He says, “Fulfilled artists do not paint or sculpt for the sake of creating more art. They do it to move people and challenge them to see the world differently. “

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Want to know what’s scary?

From CreatingMinds.org they say our creativity fades away when we don’t use it. As in the Bible, it says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything…” Matthew 5:13. (NIV)

In our busy lives, it’s important to take a time out to be creative; and to take a small step in becoming the unique person we were intended to be not just for ourselves, but for the sake of others.

The creativity flame still has a glow in us. Let’s blow on it to feed the fire within. There is no better time to get our hands busy; our minds will love it, our hearts will feel good, and we may incite someone’s perspective.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2016 Do More Than Exist All Rights Reserved.

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to build self-esteem is so critically important, that it WILL affect your future. I’m not saying for you to walk around and boast about yourself. In fact, the people who have the greatest self-esteem are those who listen more and talk less. I have 3 tips to help us know how to build self-esteem right now.

how to build self esteem

Lately, I have been reviewing my life and asking myself if I’m happy with how I’ve been living. In most areas of my life I can confidently say Yes, I love it. But in others, I can’t say yes. And when I can’t say yes, I start comparing myself to others in that particular area. And then I find myself with low self-esteem that seems paralyzing.

Comparing and Self Esteem

Yes, I’m jumping right to the Bible. There are many Biblical truths about self-esteem, we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we are chosen (John 15:16) to name a few. But there is one verse that really strikes me. Before I mention it, I want you to know that when we start comparing and trying to be like everyone else… just to be liked…that’s when low self-esteem makes its way to our thoughts, words, and actions. Is that what you want? I, personally, do not want you in this place. I’ve been there and it made me gain weight, brought on depression, and affected my path in life. Live in the freedom with who you are today and everyday in moving forward.

be fearless in who you are

A good verse to memorize

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

This verse is a good one to memorize, especially if you find yourself comparing and going along with the crowd. Not to mention how to build self-esteem. Claim this scripture as yours. Pray it, say it, and be aware of what you are putting into your mind. I was finding myself comparing my pattern of life to others’ patterns of life. The reason I started to even do that was because of one area in my life that wasn’t like everyone else’s, my career. 

The comparing game

Seeing other people climb the corporate ladder, own a thriving small business, and stay in the job for years on end, can make us feel icky. The problem was comparing. And how can I even start to compare? Everyone’s life is so incredibly different. We don’t know what others’ childhood was like, we don’t know their educational background, we don’t know what happens at home, and we don’t know the problems they deal with, so what right do we have to compare or judge for that matter? We don’t have a right. In fact, these “successful” people may be comparing themselves to you and want what you have!

So what do we do?

We mind our own business and focus on the goals we are passionate about. Our job is to enhance our talents, abilities, and gifts and to know how to love others by using what we’ve got. Our Creator (God) made us to be us and no one else. We need to trust in Him to embrace who we are and love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we can love others the way we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Yet, there is one thing we must have to move forward, motivation.

3 Tips to help stop comparing and how to build self-esteem:

1. Pray for your eyes to be opened to the talents, abilities, and gifts God has given you to be revealed and for your mind to be renewed.

2. Remind yourself that everyone is different… every day. Comparing is not helpful at all! Read affirmations daily. When you talk to yourself in a loving way, your self-esteem grows tremendously. This is a powerful exercise that will help you to love yourself. Get to know who you are. By the way, loving yourself isn’t selfish or conceited. You can download a list of my favorite affirmations in Freebies.

3. If you want something to happen, YOU need to make it happen. We can dream all day, but executing those dreams is scary. Ask yourself “How bad do I want it?” If you want it bad enough, you’ll need to pull your big girl pants up and go get it. You got this. Please keep moving forward without regrets. Take things step by step.

All in all

God is with us every step of the way, He wants us to enjoy life and flourish. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, instead help the world come alive by being YOU. Your uniqueness is an amazing gift, use it while you have it.

Be sure to check out these other great posts to build confidence.

Drama-Free Life? A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

5 Important Ways to Measure Success Without Numbers

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2016 Do More Than Exist All Rights Reserved

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

One of the pillars to a happy life is to know how to reduce stress in your life. If you think you’ve heard it all about stress management, think again. Get these 10 impressive tips on how to reduce stress in your life so you can live a healthy happy life. Seriously, you’re going to want to check these out.

We’ve all heard the key to stress reduction is to manage your time. Yes, that helps. But there is one thing that gets in the way of all the stress management techniques out here and it is this: we are all different. If you learn anything from this post it is this: understand who you are. When you do, you will know what stress management tip will work the best for you.

how to reduce stress in your life puppy in basket

What triggers stress?

How to reduce stress in your life starts with knowing what triggers the stress. Ask yourself what gets your goat. Is it time management, getting stuck in traffic, not being able to say no to people, what about what you’re eating? It also could be a who. Who is it that stresses you out? Your stress trigger might even be a certain time of year, like the holidays, or even a certain event. What about regrets?

I’m not sure it’s fair to say that stress and anger go hand in hand, but usually, when we are stressed, anger follows. Not a good combo. Take a look-see at these 3 Simple Anger Management Tips. Just FYI, when someone in your family is angry, they’re stressed. Take what you learn here and gently pass it on to them.

10 Impressive tips on how to reduce stress in my life

#1 Drink more water.

Drink at least one more glass of water a day. Doing this simple task helps give you more energy. Water also cleans out the toxins that linger in your body. With that said, make sure you have the right kind of water filter. Plus, who wants to be dehydrated…talk about stress!

Along with drinking more water, gradually start to clean out the processed foods. When our bodies are filled with crap, we’re going to feel like crap, let alone look like carp or crap. The processed foods mess with your digestive system and could leave you with leaky gut…which causes all sorts of issues including food sensitivities, allergies, and weight gain. Aiming for a clean diet is a fantastic goal. Experiment with going gluten-free or dairy-free. I’ve got some recipes to get you started. Here are a couple of other posts to help you out:

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

Food Combining Does What? Manage Stomach Acid Now!

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#2 Step on the scale

Another super effective way to know how to reduce stress in your life is weight loss. A touchy topic, I know. Just a suggestion here, you might want to explore the idea to know how to lose weight. Being overweight stresses our bodies out and how they function. The excess fat actually smooshes our internal organs. I get it, I experienced it. Being 20 pounds overweight did a number on me…talk about depression. Within 6 months, I lost all the weight and then some simply by making a few small adjustments. This was back in the 1990s, and I’ve kept the weight off ever since. I’m telling ya, it’s not rocket science. The secret to losing weight is this…you gotta want to lose weight. If you want it bad enough, nothing is going to stop you from getting it.

Don’t forget to exercise. Tie up the walking shoes and get out there. Walking has SO many benefits. Get your body moving when you’re stressed out. Exercise gets the blood pumping, clears your head, and increases the feel-good hormones.

Get yourself on the right track to good health and stay healthy: How to Stay Healthy: 15 Simple Ways

#3 Put on the organizing hat

Get organized. I recently moved, talk about stress in my life. Why? Our stuff was everywhere! I’m the kind of person who likes to have certain places for specific things, like the toothbrush, which should be in the bathroom not the kitchen. When we moved, I didn’t feel at peace until I got organized. Boy, I learned a lot about how to make moving stress-free.

Organizing isn’t just for moving or packing for vacation. Organizing is kind of like having a routine. Studies have shown that we humans like routine. This goes for your kiddos too. How to reduce stress in your life starts with a routine. When a routine is in place, our days are happy and nice!

One of the simplest ways to get organized, especially in organizing your time is to get a planner. Sure we can remember most things in our head, but when we write things down and see them on paper, we can be a lot more productive and purposeful. Writing things down includes a daily to-do list. Every day I have a make a list. My daily to-do list is like my compass for the day. Be sure to take a look at these posts for more tips:  

3 Problem-Solving Strategies People Often Forget

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in Youth

#4 Declutter all together

This is an instant way to know how to reduce stress in your life. Declutter your environment. Along with organizing, decluttering is similar. With organizing, you are simply moving one thing to another place. Decluttering is actually getting rid of excess things and things you don’t need anymore. When we moved, I made a trip to the donation center, a trip to the recycle center, another trip to the dump, and I sold a few things. I can’t stress enough how FREE I felt when I got all the clutter gone. Decluttering is a fun way to get instant gratification in knowing how to reduce stress in your life.

Another way to know how to reduce stress in your life is by decorating with certain colors. You can find a lot of decorating ideas on Pinterest or Houzz. But when it comes to accent walls or pillows, choose colors like whites, greens, blues, and purples. Studies have shown that these colors and a few more help reduce stress. What else? Here are a few more posts to get you motivated:

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Cleaning the House: 5 Factors to Understand

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good

#5 Time to play outside

Get outside, daily. We are beings that need nature to survive and thrive. There is something magical that happens when you get fresh air and are amongst the trees. Take a break at work and step outside, even if you have to walk to your car and down the sidewalk for a bit. Look at the blue sky, walk around the parking lot, and listen to the sounds of what’s going on outside. Getting outside naturally resets your mental mindset. It breaks up your day. Here are some amazing posts about getting outside:

Nature quotes: the power of the outdoors

How to Make Camping More Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt Challenge

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#6 Time for a hobby

Dust your hobby off and dig into it. One super fun way to know how to reduce stress in your life is to get a hobby. A hobby is a healthy way to break up the pressure to perform and balance out the hormones. When people think of a hobby their first answer is typically knitting, gardening, or woodworking. I like to think of a hobby as something to get your creative juices flowing while keeping your hands busy. Here are some suggestions for you to explore: Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

#7 Forget the drama

Say no to drama. One of my goals in life is to manage the drama that comes at me. Whether it’s the news, a family matter, or another relationship fiasco I will achieve a drama-free life!

One way to say no to drama is to meditate. I’m not a person who meditates. But I do enjoy listening to instrumental music when I’m stressed. Meditation helps a lot of people and I encourage you to try it. But if you’re not someone who enjoys meditation there are other things you can do. I already mentioned listening to instrumental music, notice I didn’t say Metallica. When we listen to music without words, our minds don’t need to process both words and music. Instrumental music naturally calms the state of being and allows free thoughts to flow, which lowers those nasty stress hormones.

Another alternative to meditation is to simply enjoy the silence. Turn the background noise off for a few minutes. Talk to yourself. Open the window and listen to nature. Silence is soothing when you need to think and rest. Enjoy the silence.

Sometimes when there is an overwhelming amount of non-sense drama circulating around you, how to reduce stress in your life right then and there is to laugh. A good old belly laugh turns the stress hormones off and the happy hormones on. What’s even more fun is laughing with your family. There’s nothing irreplaceable than a good corny joke the whole family can enjoy.

Check out these 5 valuable ways to manage mental wellness in kids and us.

lee Iacocca quote on stress

#8 Get your volunteer game on

Give others what you need. Volunteer, be generous. Giving your time to someone else helps your mind shift from circling around you to helping someone else. When we give attention to someone who needs it, a.k.a. love, this releases those feel-good hormones that will melt away the good old stress hormones. Volunteering also helps with depression. When you’re feeling down and out about yourself, go help someone. Don’t know how to start volunteering? Ask your local church, search online at library events, ask your child’s or grandchild’s school, or head over to your community center. Heck, you could even voluntarily pick up garbage around your neighborhood.

#9 How to manage money

Get a handle on your money. I know this is a sensitive topic, but if you understand how to manage money smartly then you will be set free from stress about money! The very first step in how to manage money is to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. At the end of the day, there should be a little money left over. In my Freebies, you can download a budgeting spreadsheet. Here are some great posts to help you make your money work for you.

How to manage money better!

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

Gift Ideas for Hard-to-Buy People

Simple Happy Wellness Strategy overview
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#10 Know yourself better

How to reduce stress in your life final tip. To get to know yourself and your values. When you align your values to the choices and decisions you make, you will naturally have less stress. Talk to yourself. Seriously, talk out loud to yourself about your day, what you want to get done, what you got done; talk about your dreams, what you want for dinner, how amazing you are, and things like that. There is nothing silly about talking to yourself.

Wrapping up how to reduce stress in your life

Simply put, learn how to relax. When you can get your mind and body to relax, you have a direct stress management technique to lean on. All of this depends on your identity and understanding of who you are.

Find what helps you relax that is not dependent on another person. This is your thing, not theirs. Things like going for a walk, taking a bath, reading a book, or for some people can be chores that serve as therapy; for instance, doing laundry, ironing, washing dishes, vacuuming, or mowing the lawn. If chores work for you, then keep it up! Keep your relaxing regimen clean without the use of drugs or inappropriate actions. After all, kids get stressed too and they may ask you how to manage stress.

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Learn How to Relax: 5 Essential Must-Have Tips

Learn How to Relax: 5 Essential Must-Have Tips

When it comes to learning how to relax there are a few things one must do to achieve a peaceful relaxed state. If there is one thing that can mess with our minds when we’re trying to relax its guilt. To feel guilty because we are taking a break can absolutely ruin our efforts in relaxing. Why? Because “busy” is the norm in this day and age. “Busy” is acceptable and at times “busy” is how we measure our days. Let’s give permission for our mind and body to let go and loosen the tension.

how to relax

What does busy mean anyway?

Why would we need a definition of busy? Because it helps us understand if we really are busy. Merriam-Webster Dictionary says ‘busy’ is: engaged in action, occupied. My definition of ‘busy’ is this: ‘Busy’ is yearning to do things you want to do without having the time to do them. The difference between the two definitions is this: when I’m ‘engaged in action’ with an activity I want to do, I’m not ‘busy’, but when I want to do something I can’t because of running errands, etc, then I am ‘busy’. You might need to read that again to let it sink in. Where do you lay right now with ‘busy’?

How to relax?

How do we relax so we have the freedom to work on the things that bring purpose into our lives? Or on the flip-side, how do we not think about anything and just be?

Men are pretty good at being able to turn their minds off. My husband and I will be having coffee, talking right along then five minutes of silence go by. I ask my husband what he’s thinking; and he says, “Nothing”. Seriously? Mark Gungor, author, and motivational speaker has an excellent and hilarious way of describing the differences between men’s and women’s minds. For instance, men have this thing called the ‘Nothing Box’. I mean, what the heck is that? You can watch it here; so funny yet true.

5 essential tips for us ladies to learn how to relax

But how do we ladies go about finding relaxation when so much pressure is put on us daily and even socially?

1. Change environments

Escape from the environment that is causing you to constantly think of your to-do list or the problem you’re facing. For instance, I need to step away from the house. Because I’m a stay-at-home mom I live in my work. So when I’m at my house it’s natural for me to always have a project. For short-term results, I’ll go to my favorite store and wonder. I didn’t say buy stuff, just window shop. For long-term effects, we get out of town; and for my family that means camping.

If you’re stuck inside there are a few things you can do to escape. You can find a space that is only yours; a closet works, the laundry room, even a corner space that says you. Make this space a place for your soul to regenerate. Get some amazing wall art and lose yourself in the picture, find inspirational quotes or scripture and post them on the wall, decorate with string lights, put splashes of your favorite colors throughout, and be sure to have something cozy. Make this a space you can’t wait to escape to.

2. Write things out, this is how.

Writing all the crud or to-do list down on paper can lessen the power it has in your mind. When it’s on paper, it makes something that was a big deal in our minds, easier to digest. We, humans, tend to let our minds get away from us. I personally enjoy taking a clean sheet of copy paper, grabbing a pencil, and drawing a circle. From the circle, I create branches of all the things I’m thinking about, then I break those branches into smaller doable bites. A journal works too.

Speaking of journaling. Writing freely helps too. Ask yourself thought-provoking questions that can get to the meat of the busyness. Here are some great questions to get you started.

Proverbs 31:25
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3. Converse with God

Talking with God helps to release the chains and give them to Him. Did you catch what I said? “Talking with God, not at Him or to Him, but with, like a friend talks with a friend. He wants a relationship with you, he wants to hear your side of the story, and he wants to help you. All you need to do is talk with Him.

For instance, I escape to my favorite walking place and pray while I’m walking. For me, hearing my voice speak rather than trying to sort it all out in my mind helps me focus on the conversation. Then I stop talking and just listen; this gives me a breather and a chance for God to breathe into me.  I enjoy Jesus Calling as a nice devotional to help hear His voice.  

4. Watch a good show, read a book, or listen to instrumental music

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When we are entertained it gives us time to relax and just be. It’s a chance we get to wander out of our reality and into a story. Whether it’s a good movie or book, get the comfy clothes on and kindly alert the family to not interrupt your time.

Here’s a tip, be picky of what you put in your brain. If you’re looking to just feel good and float on a cloud, don’t choose The Silence of the Lambs; maybe try La La Land, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Steel Magnolias. Ask yourself what you want to get out of a show before you start channel-flipping. And yes, it’s true, what you put in your mind affects how you think, and how you think affects how you act. Be careful of what you put in your mind, you could be inviting darkness in.

Instrumental music is an extremely effective way to relax. Find a track you enjoy. When I get stressed I turn to Soaking in His Presence by William Augusto. He does such a great job of putting me in the right frame of mind. This music is also amazing to pray with. Love it!

5. Create

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Creativity gets your mind off the stress and into a relaxed state of being. Entrepreneur.com has a great article on the benefits of putting our creativity to use. There are scientific studies on how it can reduce stress. Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says that when you “lose yourself” in the composition of a song (creating)…, you are essentially entering a healthy flow state. No wonder I feel so great after I create something. Try experimenting in the kitchen, rearrange your furniture, color, sew a baby quilt, and create a playlist…we all have creative abilities. Tap into your creativity and make it a hobby.

In conclusion

There are other obvious tips to relax like taking a hot bath, getting a massage, taking your time in sipping a fancy coffee, or watching the birds, my last bonus tip is to set boundaries for yourself and those around you. Don’t let others steal your relax time, protect it with all your might. If you’re at the coffee shop and there is an annoying person by you, get up and move.

I challenge you to tap into at least two of the above suggestions this week to relax. Ask yourself what do I need to let go of to give myself the time I need? Know how to slow down and be less busy so you can be your best!

Check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved.

Enjoy the Silence: 4 Reasons that lead to success

Enjoy the Silence: 4 Reasons that lead to success

As the world continues to get faster and noisier, the more important it is to enjoy the silence. Why? Learn how to reap the rewards of your ‘silence’ to feed your mental health and experience peace in this loud world. Embrace these 4 rock-solid reasons to enjoy the silence.

Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, all is bright.

Silent Night, the Christmas song, was composed in 1818. This now-traditional Holiday tune debuted all because of an organ…that broke. Without the help of an ill organ who knows if this song would have surfaced; oddly, silence accelerated its success.

How does silence help your success?

Recently I saw a commercial, not sure what it was selling, but it did leave me wondering what ‘peace’ really was. In the commercial, we see a couple who left the big city to go camping in the woods. Due to their over joyous accomplishment of setting up camp, they were obviously seeking serenity. However, when night fell and all was calm, they were restless and frustrated. Then one of them downloaded a ‘noise app’ on their phone. It played cars honking, emergency sirens blaring, and dogs barking…all was ‘calm’ and they instantly fell asleep. What is ‘your silence’?

Our ‘silent night’ is not only where our souls settle down, but it’s where peace waits and where ideas birth. Outside of bedtime, do you intentionally turn off the NOISE?

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4 Solid Reasons to enjoy the silence

1. Hearing from God

The most likely time God is going to talk to us is when we’re relaxed…quiet…still…and alone. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, did this all the time! Why wouldn’t we? But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 If you haven’t gotten a daily devotional yet for this year, it’s never too late. One of my favorites is Jesus Calling.

2. Creativity

Inc. Magazine says…awesome creative work can be achieved by shutting out the outside world, whilst you insanely focus on your craft. Do you say you’re not creative? That’s not true! My go-to for taking my mind off things is to put my colored pencils to work and get my hands busy. Develop your hobby and reap the rewards. Here is a fun and soothing adult coloring book to get you started: The Psalms in Color.

To get all the benefits of silence and creativity, not to mention getting outside, take up gardening or walking…without the earbuds. Did you know that nature can enhance your creativity and problem-solving skills?

3. Problem-solving

Turning off the noise slows our thoughts. We can then think through our issues without distraction. The phrase “Sleep on it” makes a lot of sense now. There is truth in ‘sleeping on it’; not only does it help us think through things, but it restores our bodies, and reduces stress. One of the key tools I use to fall asleep and stay asleep is my white noise machine. Our family has 4 of these amazing things! Seriously, this is a game-changer and has improved all of our sleep and sanity.

4. Restoration in health

Huffington Post reports, Researchers found that two hours of silence daily led to the development of new cells in the hippocampus, a key brain region associated with learning, memory, and emotion. If you can’t get complete silence, the white noise machine I mentioned above is a great alternative. It helps drown out the distractions with little noises. Again, I LOVE this tool!

The Power in Silent Night

In the dancing noises of our world many of us, unfortunately, will miss these life-enhancing riches. We’ll wander in the racket and wonder why our prayer hasn’t been answered, why this particular problem still lingers, why we feel like we just exist, and why our bodies hurt all the time.

Josef Mohr, author of Silent Night, pondered on what to do about his broken organ. Christmas Eve was the next day, people are expecting music! So he hiked up a hill.

It was there where he looked down at the snow-covered village where he could be in ‘his silence’. It was there that he gained the courage to create his poem into a legendary song.

“The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence; the stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.”

Mother Teresa

Enjoy the silence recap

The next day, Christmas Eve, Josef approached his organist, Franz Xaver Gruber, and within 3 hours Franz composed the melody via guitar. Silent Night has been sung ever since. Are you making an effort to be in silence every day, ‘hiking up a hill’ to get a glimpse of the big picture?

“Silence” grows, moves, and it gives. How much is ‘your silence’ worth? Recharge by spending some time in silence. You might be surprised at what you hear.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

How to Help Your Digestive System: 10 triggers to watch for

How To Be Less Busy: #1 Mistake People Make

By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

How to Manage Depression: 3 Surprising Ways

How to Manage Depression: 3 Surprising Ways

How to manage depression is something everyone should be aware of. It is not a fun thing to talk about; but we all, at one point in our lives, will feel its slippery slope. It’s an exhausting cycle and at times we just can’t see the top. But how do we climb out once and for all? Learn three surprising ways to manage this uninvited downer.

What is depression actually?

Depression is not a secret, in 2017 there were 17.3 million American adults affected by depression. Depression negatively affects how we feel, the way we think, and how we act. It can last a couple of days, a few months, a handful of years, or a lifetime. It is a perplexing state of not knowing how to shut it off.

For five years+ I suffered from depression due to infertility. To make matters worse I became frustrated during those years because depression was messing with my identity. I felt like I just existed.

People don’t like to talk about depression. But people don’t talk about it enough. These days depression is swallowing up our children, yes children who are already on depression meds. It’s heartbreaking on many fronts.

How does depression happen?

There are a number of factors…too many to list, but usually, it’s when one event piles up after another. We’ve heard social media is a player (or layer) in depression. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, says, “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades…it’s largely because of Smartphones.” Social media is a false measure of our identities, she is totally right!

This isn’t just for iGen, it’s happening to other generations. Why? We want to be accepted yet be ourselves and for people to ‘like’ us no matter what. When this happens our values collide. Could this desire alone be the root of all depression?

If you can't fly quote

Depression makes you stronger?

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: Depression can make you stronger. This post isn’t about how to get through depression or manage Smartphone apps; it’s about what to do with depression when you’re climbing out of it.

Our dark days can either bring strength or weakness; it’s how we see it. Do you know how I said I just existed? I’m going to feel that way. But as I look back, I noticed this period of life wasn’t to hurt me, it was to strengthen me.

When we’ve ‘been there’, we start to see the eyes of people differently. Let me reiterate, depression can make us stronger or weaker by how we use that experience in our life.

Using our troubles to help rather than hide-in produces strength. Our strength in moving forward, in doing more than existing, is having the courage to help people who are going through the same trials we’ve been through. This heals.

james baldwin quote

3 ways how to manage depression

1- Seek God, seek the Truth

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It is then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will” -Romans 12:2.

God is love, He is light. The Romans 12:2 verse gives me permission to step away from the world, its expectations, and false hope; and to instead seek the truth, strengthen myself, and use my experiences to do God’s will for my life. Reading a short daily devotional can help. I recommend Jesus Calling. Reading a study Bible is super helpful. And don’t forget the Bible App which has a lot of great study plans and more.

2- Look for someone who gets it

This isn’t easy. People don’t talk about this stuff. We need to take the first step here. As hard as it is, pursue people who have gone through the same thing and talk with them about it. Talking with someone who ‘gets-it’ brings comfort. This can be scary and vulnerable, but also very healing. If you belong to a church, ask them about a group to join.

If you need more than a conversation with someone, please seek out a professional, but make sure it is someone you trust and who is a follower of Jesus Christ.

healing verses from Bible
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3- Explore your identity

One other way to know how to manage depression is to dig deeper into who you are. Your identity matters. There is no better place than to ask your Creator. Pray and stand firm with Ephesians 2:10, For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he has prepared for me to do. Listen up, you are valuable. The talents and abilities and the gifts God has given you help shape you and equip you to do some pretty amazing things. Tap into those things. Explore. Find joy.

In John 15:11 Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” He’s saying come to me, know me, and I’ll sustain you when adversity hits.

Get your personal values working. Abiding by your personal values will instantly bring you a sense of peace and direction. I have a freebie about how to know your personal values here.

Take better care of your body and understand how the best way for you to manage stress. We will all occasionally be visited by Depression. But at least we know how to climb out a little faster and stronger than we did before.

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Winston Churchill quotes

Wrapping up how to manage depression

Depression ain’t no joke. There are many layers of depression, the key is to keep moving forward to heal those layers and revive the core of your existence. Seek Jesus to navigate through this season. He loves, he heals, and he has equipped you to stand firm in the faith. Have hope friend, and continue to go after it, for HOPE will get you through step by step.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

How to simplify my life is more than just throwing your stuff out. We’re getting rid of stress and welcoming happiness into our home. Simplifying and organizing are sometimes used interchangeably, but we’re not going to organize today. We’re going to focus on simplifying our space by knowing how to do it without stress or frustration.

If you want to have peace, experience freedom, and have more space, let alone functional space, it starts with who you are and how you operate. You are a smart person, you’re creative, and you have an amazing future. So this task of simplifying is going to need your mind, creativity, problem-solving skills, and an understanding of yourself.

Are you ready to reduce stress in your life? Let’s break through the clutter to seriously unleash your potential to live a do more than exist kind of life in your space.

The top 5 pieces of advice to simplify my life

1. Simplifying your life is a lot harder than you think.

To make simplifying work for you, you must include your brain. To make this experience a fantastic one, you’ll want to do two things: get in the right frame of mind and understand your motives.

Do you want to find things easier? What about getting rid of sour memories to make room for sweet ones? Do you want to create more space? Clean up? Do you want to live lighter? Or do you want to downsize? What is your motive for simplifying?

2. Ask yourself questions.

Since I’m on a roll with questions, we’re going to keep going! When asking yourself, “How do I simplify my life?” Ask more questions. Let’s say you come upon your old t-shirt from high school, let’s ask yourself a few things:

– Why am I holding on to this?

– How is this going to change my life for the better?

– When was the last time I used it?

– Can someone else use it?

– Is this something I could sell this week?

– Is it worth the space in my house let alone mind?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions when you run into something that might be hard to let go of. When push comes to shove, just remember you can’t take it to heaven.

Winston Churchill quotes
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3. Simplify my life step by step, but not too slowly

Okay, so decluttering and cleaning isn’t a fun thing for you? We all have our dislikes but we still need to do them if we want something done. For instance, I don’t like washing the kitchen floor. However, what helps me get it done is scheduling it. Simple yet effective. I can then mentally prepare myself and start visualizing how awesome it would be to have a clean kitchen floor. With that said, take a look at your schedule and block off some time to start your decluttering project. Get serious about your space.

Yes, this kind of task is a big deal. Have you seen those shows about hoarding? There’s a little hoarder inside of us all. Go about this step by step. Maybe tackle the kitchen one day, then the bathroom another day, and so forth. You got this!

4. Get it out of your living space.

When you start to sort through things, get them out of your living space. By removing it from your living space you’ll get a taste of how much you really miss it or not miss it; plus you’ll see how much stuff you are getting rid of. This is an easy technique that is extremely helpful. In fact, it helps brighten a room! Get more tips on how to brighten a room here.

This can be a big eye-opener and can even change your spending and collecting habits for the better! I have been known to do snow angels on the floor after a declutter day.

5. Make 4 piles.

Make piles: keep, donate, sell, and pitch. When you plan on having a garage sale, designate a space to keep all those things…like your garage or closet. Same rule for things to donate or to sell online. As for pitching, start a pile and fill your garbage bin every week until it’s gone.

When all is said and done to simplify my life.

We’ve lived in the same house for over 17 years. Within those years we have had four garage sales and numerous trips to the donation center. Every garage sale blew my mind with how much stuff we were keeping and not using! With our quarterly clean-out, I still get amazed at how much stuff we accumulate in a matter of months! As for selling things online, the best place I’ve found to be is to use Facebook Marketplace.

When you get in the right mode for simplifying you’ll be surprised at the things you had kept over the years and the things you still want to keep. This is your living space we’re talking about, so make it the way you’ll love it. When you enjoy how you’re living you’ll be a whole lot happier.

Before you go check out these other posts:

Stress Free Moving: 2 Critical Steps

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Benefits of a Garden: 1 huge reason to take up gardening

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

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