Feelings-They Are All in Your Head and How to Make it Better

It’s winter in the northern hemisphere. Winter-the cold, dark, rainy, snowy, hibernation season. A season often associated with sadness and loneliness and isolation. UGH. Feelings—they are all in your head and how to make it better—are the focus of my Wednesday blogs this month. Because yeah, I have noticed a change in my moods and my partner’s moods. And because I have noticed some of you suffering from the same downswing in your moods.

Feelings-They are all in your head and how to make it better--the first of a series on self-care and emergency care for emotional health

(This is where I have to put a disclaimer in. I have a tiny bit of training in psychology but I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. If your feelings are so intense they interfere with your day-to-day life. If you have difficulty keeping a job, eating, sleeping, personal hygiene—you need to learn to help yourself from a professional. Nothing in this blog or on the internet will help you as much. Can’t afford professional help? Ask your county mental health department for suggestions about where you might find professional help at a price you can afford.)

When I started researching, I came upon the intriguing phrase, social isolation. Loneliness is a rising mental health concern. A quick google search yielded more than one hundred individual songs about loneliness. Here is a small sampling.

I’m so Lonesome I could Cry

Written and sung by Hank Williams in 1949. This is Randy Travis’ version.

Mr. Lonely

Sung by Bobby Vinton in 1962

Lonesome

Sung by Kina Grannis in 2018

Songs on loneliness are available in every language. If feelingsthey are all in your headwhy are so many people, all over the world, singing about feelings? The list I referenced above doesn’t include songs about crying or tears or hurt…break up songs. Nor does it include any of hundreds of songs about rejection and sadness and feeling blue.

Then I came across this TED talk from 2014. It’s a little more than seventeen minutes long. If you have time, watch or read the transcript.

I had a lot of takeaways from that talk. Here are a few:

We learn to take care of our physical selves at a young age

By five years old most of us know how to brush our teeth and that a scratch heals better with a bandaid. We bring this knowledge and more into adulthood. Yet, how many of us learn how to take care of our emotional health? How many of us are told—get over it? We’re told your feelings—they are all in your head.

Pay attention to your emotional pain

Yikes. This is a hard one. Often we prefer to deny that we’re feeling anything but the chipper emotions, even in dire circumstances. No—I’m fine, we say. And we’re not only lying to them, but we’re also lying through our teeth to ourselves as well.

Change your response to failure

We all have a default set of feelings and beliefs as reactions to failure. Those responses often linked to a belief that if you’ve failed once you’ll always fail. We need to turn that into a more positive response.

Protect your self-esteem

We ruminate (chew or re-live) emotionally painful events. We all do it and in so doing we make the psychological injury worse. Why? Because we don’t recognize or prioritize our emotional health. (Most of us wouldn’t dream of making a physical injury worse.)

When Dr. Winch said that your self-talk and your feelings are like a moody friend—supportive one moment and hypercritical the next, I’m thinking, brother, you don’t know the half of it.

He said the urge to ruminate is difficult to stop but even a two-minute distraction is enough to break the urge at that moment. Breaking the habit can change your life. I can’t say I’ve completely broken that habit, but I recognize it when it comes calling and I know what to do to take care of myself.

Finally, he said that one hundred years ago personal hygiene raised human life expectancy dramatically. He asked us to imagine what it would be like if we could do the same for the psychological or emotional health.

Mental Health First Aid

That last bit got to me. So over the next month or so, this blog will explore basic self-care and first aid for our emotional well being.

(ETA) You may wish to read the other posts in this series: “Big Brain-Little Brain: the Mental Health Connection” and “You Have the Right to Feel Good About Yourself.”

If you are willing to share some of the ways you take care of your emotional health, I’d be honored to hear about them. But remember, I’m not a professional. See a professional for the best ways you can help yourself. Because Feelings—they are all in your head isn’t the answer.

Fun Facts and Trivia about America’s Patriotic Music

Let’s celebrate this month’s theme of Independence and Liberty and Freedom with fun facts and trivia about America’s patriotic music.

Can You Name the Patriotic Song that Matches These Lyrics?

01. “Where the grapes of wrath are stored”
02.“Thru the night with a light”
03.“There’s pride in every American heart”
04.“We fight our country’s battles”
05.“The banner of the western land”
06.“broad stripes and bright stars”
07.“Mind the music and the steps”
08.”A thoroughfare for freedom beat”
09.”Land where my fathers died”
10.“That ribbon of highway”
11.“See what freedom costs in each marble cross”
12.“Silver wings upon their chest”
13.“All is well, Safely rest. God is nigh.”
14.“You’re the emblem of the land I love”
15.“A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam”
16.“When you hear mother freedom start ringin her bell”
17.”Where we dream as big as we want to”
18.”some stood through for the red, white and blue”
19.”I’m out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight”
20.”We’ll rally round the flag, boys”
(Answers at the bottom of this post.)

The Star Spangled Banner

  • by Francis Scott Key
  •  Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key was originally a poem based on his observations of the British attack on Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
  • It was later put to music.
  • The tune of the National Anthem was originally used by an English drinking song called To Anacreon in Heaven.
  • It was named the official National Anthem in 1931.

Dixie

  • by Daniel D. Emmett
  • It was the national anthem of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
  •  It was one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite songs.

The Marine Hymn

  • author unknown
  • The melody may actually came from a French opera.
  • The line “From the halls of Montezuma (1847) to the shores of Tripoli(1805)” is aesthetically pleasing, but chronologically inaccurate.

Wild Blue Yonder (U.S. Air Force Song)

  • by Robert Howard
  • Robert Howard unanimously won the U.S. Air Force’s song writing competition.
  • In 1939 the English Oxford Dictionary added an extra definition to the word “yonder” meaning “the far and trackless distance.”

Anchors Away (U.S. Navy Song)

  • by Charles A. Zimmerman
  • Originally written as an inspiring football march in 1906.
  • Lieut. Zimmerman is said to have sat at the Naval Academy Chapel organ while he composed the song

 

God Of Our Fathers

  • by George William Warren
  • Protestant hymn was written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence

Let’s celebrate this month’s theme of Independence and Liberty and Freedom with fun facts and trivia about America’s patriotic music. Read more.

You’re a Grand Old Flag

  • by George M. Cohan
  • Written in 1906 inspired by a Civil War vet pride in a tattered old flag.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

  • Originally sung prior to the revolution by British troops making fun of unorganized and buckskin-wearing “Yankees” who were allied with the British in the French and Indian War (1754-1763).
  • It is most associated with the American Revolutionary War.

Battle Hymn Of the Republic

  • lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
  • American Civil War song of the Union.
  • Uses the tune of “John Brown’s Body”.
  • The song was a favorite of the great United Kingdom Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
  • It was performed at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. and at St Paul’s Cathedral in London to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

This Is My Country

  • by Al Jacobs and Don Raye
  • Written during the great depression

The Stars And Stripes Forever

  • by John Phillip Sousa
  • Penned just before the outbreak of The Spanish-American War
  • It’s now our national march.

“America”

  • a.k.a My Country Tis of Thee lyrics by Samuel Francis Smith
  • It has the same melody as the United Kingdom song God Save The Queen/King.

God Bless America

  • by Irving Berlin
  • Irving Berlin was a Jewish/Russian immigrant.

Answers to the Patriotic Song Lyrics Matching Game above.

01. Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe / 02. God Bless America by Irving Berlin / 03. God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood / 04. The Marine’s Hymn (From the Halls of Montezuma) – Author Unknown / 05.Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa / 06. The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key / 07.Yankee Doodle by Richard Shuckburgh / 08. America, The Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates / 09. America orMy Country, ‘Tis of Thee by Samuel F. Smith / 10. This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie / 11. What the Flag Means by Mark Heffron / 12. The Ballad of the Green Beret by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler and Robin Moore / 13. Taps by Daniel Adams Butterfield / 14. You’re A Grand ‘Ole Flag by George M. Cohan / 15. I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy by George M. Cohan / 16. Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue by Toby Keith / 17. Only in America by Brooks and Dunn / 18. Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus / 19. American Soldier by Toby Keith / 20. Battle Cry of Freedom by George F. Root

 

So how did you do? Did you know the trivia? Did you match the lyrics to the correct song title?

 

Thanks to Diva Girl Parties and Stuff for the patriotic song game.
And thanks to Powell Music for the patriotic music fun facts.

Grateful: A Love Song to the World

I am grateful for the world in which we live.

The blessings that I’ve received this year are many. Sure, I’ve had struggles. I will continue to be challenged and to face new challenges. In a way, I’m grateful for the struggles that I’ve had. As he says in the song, everything is a gift. It’s up to us how we see and use and appreciate (or not) that gift.

One of my most precious gifts is you, my loyal readers. Your loyalty, your comments, your gift of your time are so very appreciated. Thank you!

Finding Hope

People were killed and people were severely injured last week. Is finding hope in the midst of this turmoil and suffering even possible?

People are killed and severely injured every week, you say. How is this different? Hate crimes. Yeah. Hate crimes happen every day, too. It’s a sad, angry, scared, confusing world.

This crime was big and public and it hit the news. Caring, compassionate people are hurting, grieving, scared, and angry. Many have lost hope. Some are lashing out with angry words. They think it is a sign of compassion, a sign of solidarity, a sign of right. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it crosses the line. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I don’t condone behavior based on hate or anger from anyone, for any reason. I try to feel compassion. But yes, I’m angry, hurt, scared, and confused, too. I wanted to strike back. At the same time, I want to hide my head in the sand. I want to hope it will all go away. And I tried. I tried staying away from social media. I wrote in my journal. I pulled out words I’ve drafted for future blog posts and tried to post them. I tried to pretend all was well. But I couldn’t do it.

I wrote angry, hurt-filled, blaming words that I thought I would post. But I couldn’t do that either. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

I turned to my center, searching for love, understanding, compassion, hope. Severely challenged by recent events, by all the hate and anger that surrounds us, I couldn’t find any hope until Kitt Crescendo responded to a post by Catie Rhodes. Catie asked folks to comment with whatever music they were listening to today (Sunday). Kitt responded with a comment that when she gets discouraged by the events surrounding us, she turns to this song:

There it is, my compassion, my faith in people, my hope. Look at the lyrics:

“The Change”
Lyrics by Tony Arata and Wayne Tester

One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It’s like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It’s like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you’ll never change things
And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing
But it’s not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world we know
Never changes me

What I do is so
This world will know
That it will not change me

Some of you are likely going to comment that I’m avoiding naming the event, the place, the type of hate crime, and the criminals. Yes, I am. An ugly truth is that this isn’t the only hate crime that happened last week. It’s the one in the news. Hate crimes happen every day against people for their gender, their race, their religion, their otherness. Hate crimes range from angry, hurtful words to damaged property, or injury, or murder. No hate crime is less than or greater than the other. No hate crime is the right thing to do. Hate and anger beget hate and anger.

So I will rise above my feelings of hate and anger. I will remember to show love and mercy to all people regardless of their gender, race, religion, or otherness, even regardless of their behavior. I believe bad behavior (which this goes way beyond) must have consequences. But I also believe that only through love and mercy will we ever find true equality and peace.

Written for a different hate crime, this song reminded me. I believe that love and mercy still exist. I know there are people like me who will hold love and mercy in their hearts no matter how much anger and hate is flung around the globe and at home. And knowing that, I know hope is never gone.

With heartfelt thanks to the lyric writers, Tony Arata and Wayne Tester, to Garth Brooks, Catie Rhodes, and Kitt Crescendo. Keep spreading love and mercy!

Don’t Wait for the Storm to Pass

We all have challenges in life whether it is just getting through a bad day or getting through months of illness or a lifetime of grief. Don’t wait for the storm to pass. Our mission is to learn to dance in the rain. But dance in the rain doesn’t necessarily mean to literally dance.

Image courtesy of Heather on Flickr Creative Commons

In KM Huber’s blog, Aim for Even, she talks about how we humans try to stay in one moment even though that is impossible to do. Her dance in the rain is to be present.

Marie Forleo gives advice on how to Find the Courage to Keep Going When You Feel Like Giving Up in this short video.

How can you learn to dance in the rain? Find that one thing you love and give yourself a few minutes just connecting to that thing you love. For me, if I spend a few minutes writing each day I’ve just danced in the rain. Another way I dance is to listen to beautiful music from one of my favorite groups, like Pentatonix.

Still need some inspiration to keep going? Read Are You Saying No to Success?

So if your life is a storm that takes your breath away, take a moment for yourself. If you’ve used that moment reading this blog I can only say I am honored. If you share something of how you dance in the rain in the comments below, I am blessed. Thank you.