My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

Late last year, I wrote an essay in which I revealed my longtime – and ongoing – struggles with depression and anxiety. In concluding that post, I asked for suggestions from readers about how to stay sane in the midst of chaos and how to experience more happiness, peace, and fulfillment on a daily basis. Quite a few readers chimed in, either in the comments section or via email. I will share what they had to say in my next post (and will also include responses to this article), as well as links to some helpful resources you may be interested in checking out.

Today’s post includes some of my personal “essentials” that I use to help keep myself on solid ground in terms of my mood and sense of overall well-being. These essentials are practices that may seem quite simple at first glance. However, they are also powerful in that they are helping me to manage crippling anxiety and preventing me from falling into the abyss of depression.

practices for happiness and peace

Regular practices can help us cultivate more happiness and peace in our lives. 

My Thoughts on Medication

Before I dive into sharing my tips, I’d like to say a few words about the topic of medication. It’s a well-known fact that many people who struggle with depression and anxiety have benefitted from the myriad pharmaceutical solutions available today. Such drugs can be a helpful tool, especially when used as an adjunct to psychotherapy and other modalities that get to the root of the problem. I’ve taken a number of medications for depression and anxiety in the past and they were lifesavers for me at the time. They helped me to carry on with the tasks of daily living and be more capable of working with a therapist on my core issues. The same thing might hold true today as well, but my current chemical sensitivities and worries about side effects have stopped me from pursuing this path in recent years.

Although I’m not taking medication for anxiety and depression myself, I don’t knock drug therapy and I know it can be instrumental for many people. I may take medication again in the future, but I’m currently doing my best to manage my symptoms through non-drug options. Most of my suggestions below are straightforward in nature, but they can also be extremely helpful when used on a regular basis. Even if you’re taking medication and/or working with a psychotherapist, you can still benefit from incorporating some of these practices into your lifestyle.

Practice #1 – Introspection

I believe that we can all benefit from slowing down and looking within, especially in today’s always “on” and hyper-connected world. Keeping a journal was something I did regularly throughout my youth and young adulthood, but I hadn’t done so for decades. I started journaling again last fall and it has been a positive addition to my life. Journaling is especially helpful because this type of writing is just for me. I like having the freedom to write about whatever arises in my consciousness without worrying that anyone else will read my words and judge what I have to say.

I’m now doing a type of free association journaling that has been shown to have healing capabilities, particularly for those who struggle with chronic pain (check out this article or this YouTube channel). It’s still relatively new for me, so I can’t speak definitively on that part yet, but I do feel a sense of release when I’m done journaling. I’m also not as “tightly wound” and tense as I used to be, which is a positive change for me.  My journaling sessions are typically twenty minutes long and I don’t save what I write, as it’s more about getting my thoughts and feelings out than it is about holding on to what I’ve expressed.

I follow each journaling session with a short meditation (I’m using the 10% Happier app), which I find to be a soothing accompaniment to the writing. I’m relatively new to meditating and I’m still working on becoming more consistent with it. I often meditate as a way to help me fall asleep, but I’m finding value in doing it during the day as well. These two introspective activities don’t take up all that much time, but they are well worth it in terms of improving my sanity. I have come to look forward to my daily “timeout” for reflection, release, and centering.

Practice #2 – Creative Expression

I thrive on creativity and I suffer when I go too long without some form of creative expression. I haven’t had as much time to publish blog posts lately with my online program, but I don’t want to let this blog lapse. I try to focus on quality rather than quantity in terms of what I publish and trust that I’m still adding value even if the frequency has declined. Not only do I enjoy sharing my thoughts with all of you and interacting in the comments section and through email, writing also helps with my depression and anxiety.

I have also let my photography practice lapse – and I miss it. A big part of my reason for stopping was because I had an overabundance of photos on my computer and I found it overwhelming. I also felt that I had so many photos from my “usual haunts” that it wasn’t worth my taking more. But since I enjoy the process of taking photos as well as the results, I want to get back into it. I have new places to visit now that I’ve moved and I can choose to save just a few photos from each session instead of the whole lot.

I also find clothing and fashion to be a creative pursuit, but I don’t need to keep shopping and buying a plethora of new pieces in order to indulge this passion. I know that I can get a lot more creative with what I already have and put together more inspired outfits that I will enjoy wearing. I remember having fun doing outfit creation sessions from time to time, so that’s something I can revisit now that I’m more settled into my new home. Doing periodic wardrobe challenges (like this one) also helps to spark my sartorial creativity, so I’m going to figure out another one to start soon (I’m open to suggestions…).

Practice #3 – Getting Enough Sunlight

The fall and winter months can be difficult for many people, including me. The weather is cooler and it gets dark much earlier. We experience less time outside in the sunlight and the shorter days can be disheartening even for those without a history of depression. I know I should force myself to go out for a midday walk or even sit outside while it’s still light, but I rarely do so. In fact, unless I have an appointment outside of the house during the day, I rarely venture out before dark on the shorter days of the year. But I vow to turn that around, even if it’s just sitting out on my deck with a book for twenty or thirty minutes during the day. I will get much-needed vitamin D from the sun and also feel more connected to the world around me. It’s easy to do and a little goes a long way.

Last week, I forced myself to take a walk at lunchtime and it felt like a game-changer. I loved feeling the sun on my face and the brisk air blowing through my hair. That walk ended up being a long one that included stopping for coffee, but I’m sure a shorter jaunt would have a similar effect on my spirits. I plan to go for a midday walk at least weekly and will include it on my calendar based upon my schedule for the week (this week, it will be on Thursday). Small practices like this one can have a strong impact on our moods and our outlook. It usually doesn’t take big changes in behavior to produce meaningful shifts.

Practice #4 – Spending Time in Nature

I used to live very close to the water. In fact, the San Diego Bay and a gorgeous waterside trail were located just two blocks from my apartment. Back then, a highlight of my days was taking a walk at sunset to enjoy the changing colors of the sky and to check out the beach birds that were often active that time of day. It was so easy to do this back then, but since my move last June, I now have to get in my car and drive in order to experience the same type of outdoor enjoyment. Consequently, I don’t do it as often.

Convenient or not, I can’t recall a single time when I’ve regretted getting out in nature. That’s a pretty powerful statement and it’s important for me to remember. Even small doses of nature can be calming and life-affirming. I need to make sure to get outside most days and experience the natural world, as it enriches my soul. This is a lot easier when my husband is around and we’re able to go together, but I need to push myself to go alone if necessary. It’s not good for me – or anyone really – to be cooped up all day and all night long. I can still enjoy my walks by the water, and driving ten or fifteen minutes in order to do so isn’t that long. Nature feeds my soul so much that it should be a “prescription” for me to experience it at least several times per week.

Practice #5 – Daily Pleasurable Activities

It’s very important that I do something fun and enjoyable every day. I think pleasure and play are critically important for all of us, but we don’t always realize this or prioritize such activities. I know that I frequently become so mired in my to-do list that I forget that my life isn’t all about getting things done. As I like to remind myself, we are human beings, not human “doings”!  Thus, we need to allow ourselves the time and the space to be, as this is equally – if not more – important than whatever we’re focused on doing and accomplishing.

To decrease anxiety and improve my moods, I need to regularly step back from the “shoulds” and just do something that makes me happy. It may be taking a walk (which can also satisfy my sunlight and nature “essentials”), going to a movie, watching a television show, reading a good book, petting my cats, or cuddling with my husband. I think it’s important for all of us to remember what brings us joy and to make sure we include those things in our lives, no matter how busy we are. As with sunlight and nature, a little pleasure can go a long way. I know that I feel a lot better when I take the time to do something that makes me laugh or smile.

Practice #6 – Enough (But Not Too Much) Routine

Being the rebel that I am (see Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework – read a summary here or get the book here), I resist routine tooth and nail, but deep in my heart I know that it’s good for me. It doesn’t need to be extremely rigid, but if I just leave everything loose and open, I tend to waste a lot of time and feel discombobulated. My problem is that I tend to be “all or nothing” with the way I do routine. I’m either a fierce taskmaster with a to-do list a mile long or an unruly child who gets so lost in doing what I want that afternoon can roll around and I’m still searching the internet in my pajamas. What I need is a “happy medium” and that often starts with a good morning routine and a rough framework for how to spend the day.

I remember the analogy of the “big rocks” as presented by the late, great Stephen Covey (see this short but illustrative video). The gist of this concept is that if we don’t schedule the most important things (the big rocks) in our lives, they often won’t get done because there are always lots of urgent activities and interruptions (the small rocks) that will get in the way.  I’ve long been good at including regular exercise in my life because I usually do it first thing in the morning. Not everything that’s important to us can be done in the early mornings, but if we schedule those things and give them a defined place on our calendars, they’re far more likely to get done.

I’m continuing to experiment with the right amount of routine, scheduling, and tracking for me. I want to experience freedom (my word for 2019), but I also understand that structure can bring about freedom in the same way that minimalism and simplicity can end the paradox of choice and analysis paralysis. If we have too much freedom in how we spend our time, we may not end up feeling that free at all. This is something I will write about in the future, as it’s an ongoing struggle for me, but for now I will say that some level of routine helps to improve my state of mind and reduce my anxiety.

Practice #7 – Regular In-Person Connection

I spend a lot of time connecting with people virtually, as I’m in an online training program and several online communities. I value and benefit from this type of connection, but I’ve also learned that regular in-person connection is critical for my well-being. I like to be able to give someone a hug and sit across from them and look into their eyes while we’re communicating. There is value in physical proximity and this is why so many people who are ultra-connected via social media still experience intense loneliness.

As an introvert (INFP on the Myers-Briggs – you can take a similar online test to find your type HERE), I don’t need a large amount of in-person interaction, but I do need more than what I’ve been getting in recent years. I think the “sweet spot” for me is one or two times per week. It can be coffee or a meal with a friend, attending a Meetup event, or even doing volunteer work, but I know I need to connect with people in person more often. This can feel challenging when one is dealing with depression and anxiety, however. I often feel like I’m not in the mood to spend time with others, but when I push myself to do it, I’m usually glad that I did. I don’t love meeting new people because of my introversion and insecurity, but since so many of the people I care about aren’t local, I need to manage my discomfort and move forward.

Practice #8 – Adequate Downtime and Sleep

I mentioned earlier that being a slave to a to-do list can contribute to my depression and anxiety. This is why I find it critically important to prioritize both downtime and sleep. I used to stay on my computer late into the evening to try to “catch up,” but that was detrimental to my physical and emotional well-being. Consequently, I now make a point of having a hard stop to my computer activities around dinnertime. I do better when I use my evening time for social and leisure pursuits and confine the majority of my tasks to the daytime hours. If I take some time in the middle of the day for a walk or a break sitting in the sun, I may extend my computer time a bit later, but I no longer “burn the midnight oil” except on very rare occasions.

Limiting evening computer time also positively contributes to sleep, although prioritizing sleep is still a challenge for me. I think I need to also limit my nighttime use of my smart phone and tablet, as the blue light from those devices adversely affects circadian rhythms and sleep quality. We’ve long heard that we should endeavor to get eight hours of sleep per night, but I’ve frequently shrugged that off as an “old wives’ tale” and insisted that I was fine with my longtime nightly average of six hours of shuteye. I now believe that my lack of sleep has been contributing to my depression and anxiety (this article sheds some light on that), as well as my other health problems. There are lots of wonderful articles available that highlight why sleep is so important, including this one and this one.

As I write this, it’s mid-afternoon. My energy is dragging and I’m experiencing brain fog. This is a regular occurrence for me and a clear sign that I’m not getting enough sleep at night. I know that I need to do better in this department! If you’re in a similar boat, you might benefit from the following articles about “sleep hygiene” (I know I’ll be picking a few tips to try myself!):

Practice #9 – Grace

My last practice is something that I’ll simply call “grace.” It involves my efforts to be kinder, more patient, and more compassionate toward myself. As long as I can remember, I have been a perfectionist and extremely hard on myself. Nothing I ever do is good enough for my unreasonably high standards – and this is exhausting and demoralizing. I’m a lot more forgiving and understanding towards others than with myself, and I have paid a high price for this.

I’m tired of being mean to myself. I’m tired of playing a losing game that only leaves me feeling more anxious and depressed. I don’t want to be this way into my senior years and old age. Life is too short for this craziness! I don’t really know how to change, but I have set the intention to do so. My journaling and meditation have helped, and I think if I incorporate the other practices mentioned in this post on a regular basis, that will help as well. I have been alerted to the self-compassion meditations and exercises by Dr. Kristin Neff, but I have not yet explored them. I also noticed that she has a workbook to help cultivate self-compassion, which seems like a good thing to add to my list. However, I need to make sure not to be a perfectionist about my working toward self-compassion!

Conclusion and Your Thoughts

So those are my personal “essentials” for cultivating more happiness and peace in my life. Some of them are firmly entrenched into my daily and weekly routines, while others are still very much a work in progress. I still have a lot of ups and downs, but I believe that if I regularly incorporate all of these practices into my life, I will be in a much better place and a lot less anxious and depressed. I still may need to work with a therapist as well, and this is something that I’m considering doing. I’m a big believer in psychotherapy and have taken advantage of this useful tool a lot over the course of my life. There is no shame in seeking help and I’m a big advocate of seeking therapy for both personal and relationship issues.

There are many paths we can take to improve our well-being and I’m open to learning more about what has helped others, including my wonderful readers. My next post will feature tips I received in response to the first post in this series, as well as some other resources I’m aware of that people may find beneficial. I welcome your sharing your suggestions and resources in the comments section below or directly with me. Stay tuned for part three soon, as well as future posts on personal development, wardrobe management, and other topics. Happy Spring – or Autumn for my readers in the southern parts of the world!

23 thoughts on “Essentials for Happiness and Peace, Part Two

  1. Harriet says:

    I loved this, Debbie. I was surprised to read that you are a rebel. I’m an upholder and I was happy to have a label for my “nature.” I’d enjoy hearing more on other ways your rebel spirit comes out. What tendency is your husband? Taking a walk always makes me happier. I am fortunate to have a challenging, hilly forest trail at the end of my street so I have no excuse not to get out in nature where the tree canopy protects me from the rain (I live in Oregon) and provides a buffer on windy days. However, my favorite vacation is the beach. You are lucky to live so close. There is something transformative about the sound of the ocean, the cry of seagulls and the salty air.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Harriet. The first time I took Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz, I came out as a Questioner, but after I read the book, I took the quiz again and scored as a Rebel. I think I’m a Rebel-Questioner, as I have traits of both tendencies within me. My husband is a Questioner with some Rebel in him, too, so we mesh pretty well together… My Rebel spirit comes out in terms of my resistance in being told what to do, either by others or by myself. I also hate feeling like I SHOULD do something, which is part of my problem with social media – the feeling like I need to be on there every day just because others are (by the way, I now only visit social media two or three times a week and that works much better for me). How get that you have a wonderful walk right near where you live! Yes, I do feel lucky to live near the beach and I feel kind of silly for lamenting that it’s not right down the street anymore when it’s still quite close. It’s a blessing to be out in nature, especially by the water.

  2. Sally says:

    Hi Debbie,

    It’s good to hear that you have found some things that are working for you and are putting them into practice.

    I have used this website below which you may also find useful for depression. The 8 CBT lessons are quick and easy to use, it’s free and has 4 free worksheets you can download after you have done the lessons, which will help you to achieve your practices above.

    The Vicious Circle lesson 1 and worksheet download will help you with your Practice # 1 Introspection

    – You can break the Vicious Cycle of depression by changing what you do and how you think, but first you need to understand your own Vicious Cycle.

    The Magic Plan lesson 2 and worksheet download will help you with your Practices # 2, 3, 4, 7, 8

    – To break the Vicious Cycle you need to change the way you think or change what you do. It’s probably easiest to change what you do to start with, by creating your Magic Plan.

    The FAT Scheduling lesson 3 and worksheet download will help you with your Practices #5, 6, 7

    – FAT is Good for You. FAT stands for Fun, Achievement and Togetherness. It’s important to do these things most days to get better from depression.

    The Fixing Things lesson 4 and worksheet download will help you if things will go wrong in your recovery. When you have a setback, it’s important to learn from it.

    I hope you find this useful in helping you in your recovery.

    Best wishes

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Sally, you are such a wealth of wonderful knowledge and I’m so grateful to you for sharing such great information with me and your fellow readers! I plan to include what you’ve shared in part three of this subject, as not everyone reads the comments. I look forward to diving in to these lessons – and I like the reframing of FAT as standing for fun, achievement, and togetherness 🙂 Depression is definitely a vicious circle and I feel like it’s been a challenge for me my entire life. I would love to get intensive therapy, but I cannot afford it, so whenever there are self-help tools that I can use, I’m grateful for that. I hope that your recovery is going well. I know that we have similar struggles and I appreciate that you have shared so openly previously. As always, I wish you the very best and I hope you continue to share here!

      1. Sally says:

        Hi Debbie

        I have been reading the articles and working through the exercises on Self Compassion in the link you kindly shared in practice 9. This is a very good website.

        My psychologist had said I need to increase my self compassion, but I haven’t really been able to do that as I didn’t fully understand what it was or how to do it and this website is very helpful.

        This page is good to understand what exactly self compassion is:

        This page is good to understand what self compassion is not:

        I completed the self compassion questionnaire and had higher scores for the Self-Judgment, Isolation, and Over-Identification subscales which indicate less self-compassion:

        Both my self compassion and self esteem are low, but reading this page below has made me realise that I need to work on developing self compassion rather than self esteem. It also helps me to understand why my previous attempts at trying to increase my self esteem have backfired and people have then got the wrong impression of me.

        I know you haven’t had a chance to look at this yet, but I think it will be helpful for you also

        Best wishes Sally

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I’m so glad you found the Kristin Neff information helpful, Sally! I’m so impressed that you’ve delved so deeply into the site already and I appreciate your coming back to share what’s been valuable for you. I’m definitely going to peruse all of the links you posted, but since I’m always a sucker for a good quiz, I took the one you posted just now. I scored high (i.e. not good) on the SAME areas that you were (which isn’t too surprising given how much we seem to have in common). My highest (in this case, worst) score was on self-judgment (4.4). I think that my journaling and meditation practice has helped me to improve on both self-kindness and mindfulness, but my self-kindness score is still quite low (2.4, mindfulness score is 3.25). My overall score was 2.29, which is also still in the low range. I guess the person who told me these exercises could be helpful for me was right! I’m eager to read about why self-compassion is more important than self-esteem. Thanks again for sharing!

  3. Terra says:

    Lovely Debbie.

    Beautiful writing and kind useful tips. My process is similar to yours, even without depression. Life throws us all curves and we ride the emotional roller coaster. What you have shared will benefit everyone. When time permits you can catch up with my inner and outer journey on my online journal. For an extrovert I can be mighty reserved at times and I’ve climbed out from under my rock and am posting monthly.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad you liked this post, Terra, and thank you for sharing your beautiful website here. I just read a few of your most recent posts and I really enjoyed them. I especially liked the one about your wardrobe, in which you liked having too many clothes with going on first dates all the time. That was a very apt comparison and I resonated with it! Interesting what you wrote about about being a reserved extrovert. I think that introversion and extroversion is not at all black and white. I was surprised when you first told me you were an extrovert because I thought you were a fellow introvert. But when you add “reserved” to it, it makes a lot of sense. I guess I’m a reserved introvert, which definitely gets me into trouble because I can be a hermit! Yes, life is an emotional roller coaster even for those without depression. We all have to find ways to best navigate the twists and turns and I truly hope that what I’ve shared will benefit others.

      1. Terra says:

        Debbie, I’m a hermit. I’m an ENFP, the one extrovert type that requires a lot of alone time. Plus it’s in my astrology chart. But I also love being social as long as I’m permitted to pace myself.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I’m very much the same, Terra. I enjoy being social, but I definitely need to pace myself and have breaks for solitude. I’m an INFP, but have sometimes also tested as INFJ because I’m on the cusp of P and J. People sometimes think I’m an E because I can be talkative, but it’s more about what energizes and drains me. I didn’t know that ENFPs need a lot of alone time, but now I do 🙂

  4. Tonya says:

    #6 really hit me. Too much freedom can feel like not much freedom at all. This is so me. The things that I do have a routine aren’t things I think about much. The things I don’t tend to weigh on my mind. This has inspired me to make a few changes.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad this post has inspired you to make some changes, Tonya. I’m still navigating how much routine I need in my life, especially since I often don’t WANT much of any routine at all! I heard the maxim that structure brings us freedom long ago and I turned my nose up at it, but now I get it. I know we are fortunate to have the amount of freedom we have with our time, but it really can get to be too much. I hope that both of us find our “sweet spot” between structure and freedom soon!

  5. Tara C says:

    I have gotten considerable relief from my anxiety and depression from homeopathy, plus daily yoga classes and walks outside with the dog. I too struggle with an unstructured day, but am thinking about how I can set up a routine that doesn’t feel restrictive yet lets me feel like I am getting things accomplished.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad you’ve found things that help with your anxiety and depression, Tara. I have long thought that I could benefit from having a dog because it would get me out several times per day, but I think my cats might object to that 😉 Yes, routine is a challenge, especially for those of us with lots of unstructured time. I don’t have the answers yet, but I’m going to keep experimenting and will hopefully write about the topic of routine and productivity soon. Of course, one person’s answer won’t often work for others, but hopefully my insights will benefit others. I hope you will report back on what you learn, too.

  6. Katrina says:

    I so appreciate your balanced and compassionate views on this, Debbie. One thing that strikes me from your list and that rings true in my life is that there is no one single answer to find happiness and peace, especially for those who struggle with depression and anxiety. It is always a combination of practices, and the combination varies depending on where you are in life or even on any given day. The hardest part of it is that no one else can prescribe the right combination of #1 – #9, or medication, or therapy, or some other action–we each have it figure it out for ourselves, and that can be VERY difficult.

    Two of your suggestions are things I am always working on. I have always had a problem with routine. I’m a wavering Rebel/Questioner so I try not to structure my time, but I often end up with days and weeks spent in fun escapist activities that don’t help my depression in the long run. Then when I try to apply some minimal structure–to ensure that work gets done and I don’t fall into bad habits–I immediately rebel against it! I also have trouble socializing IRL. As an INFJ, it is painful to deal with groups of people, but at the same time I do recognize the benefit of human contact. I have a couple of very understanding friends who have lunch with me occasionally, but this is still an area where I have to push myself to do more.

    I can’t remember exactly what my response was to your first part of this series, but I expect it was something along the lines of this being a potentially lifelong condition, so being vigilant against the symptoms and flexible about our response to them is important as we go through different life stages. My approach today at age 59 is completely different from how I dealt with it at age 29.

    Thank you again for starting this discussion.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Katrina. I’m glad you liked the article and I agree with you that there is no one single answer to finding happiness and peace. For most of us, there will be many “answers” and they will vary over time. Figuring out a good combination can take time and I’m still working on it. Interestingly, I didn’t even mention physical exercise and I believe that’s an integral component for me (I think I didn’t think to mention it because it’s been so ingrained into my life for many years).

      I am right there with you on rebelling against routine, as a fellow Rebel/Questioner. I’m still working on routine and I suspect this will be a lifelong process, as it already has been! I think I’m going to try some experiments and share them in future blog posts. As for MBTI, I have scored as both INFP and INFJ and I relate to your issues with groups. I’m okay with groups if I know and trust a decent number of the members, but NEW groups can be torturous for me. I need to push myself more in this area, too. I relate to your last paragraph and I’m quite different now than 30 years ago, too. I just think we need to be aware of what is and isn’t working for us and course-correct and try new resources as needed.

  7. Carla TePaske says:

    #9.. oh I do relate with everything you shared in your writing in #9. Please keep me posted on things you find to help. I too started a journal. I do hope I can give myself more grace. I honestly have been awful to myself as of late.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m so sorry that you also struggle with the issues I mentioned under #9, Carla. It’s so difficult to break these ingrained patterns, but I intend to do my very best to do so because it’s just too exhausting to carry on this way! The journaling does help, but I know I will need more. I will definitely write more about this moving forward. I wish you all the best with showing yourself more grace.

  8. Claire says:

    I think Katrina hit the nail on the head with how personalized this all is and how hard it is to figure out what combination works, and when. But most of your list could be my list, Debbie. The things that jump out that I would add would be my IFS (Internal Family Systems) work (which would certainly fit under Introspection), and what I think of as “novelty” – seeing/trying/doing/thinking new things (which may fit under Creative Expression).

    I identify as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) as first described by Elaine Aron – her blog discusses that while many (perhaps most) of HSPs are also introverts, they are not the same thing, and describes a smaller subgroup of HSP extroverts which gave me a much clearer picture of my flavor of HSP-ness. I think my desire for novelty is related to this. In case there is any interest, here is the blog post discussing High Sensitivity, Introversion, & Extroversion:

    Also, there is a contrariness to my nature that I have come to understand more through my IFS work. After getting to know my sub-personalties, I sometimes poll them about where they stand on certain topics or issues, and often they are split completely down the middle, which explains why I often feel torn and at odds with myself. Letting each of their voices be heard uniquely and then approaching this internal data as a whole seems to help in working things through.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      So sorry for my tardy reply, Claire! I really appreciated what you had to say and included your thoughts in the “part 3” that I published yesterday. Thank you for the wonderful additions you made to my list of helpful practices. I’m also an HSP like you, but I’m definitely not an extrovert. I do think that I need to add more novelty to my life, though. I recently read that part of why time seems to go by so fast as we age is because we typically don’t have a lot of novelty in our lives at older ages. It makes a lot of sense! Whenever I go on a day trip, that day always seems longer and it’s also very memorable, whereas most of my days merely blend together. I remember you mentioning IFS previously and the more you talk about it, the more I think it might be helpful for me. I think I have contrary sub-personalities, too, as I often feel at odds with myself, too. What you wrote makes really good sense!

  9. Julie says:

    Great post Debbie.

    I think it is admirable to set high standards for yourself. Something to consider is your internal voice, how do you talk to yourself? Is your internal talk kind and self-loving or harsh? Would you be embarrassed to talk to someone you love in the same tone that you talk with yourself? It is possible to have high standards and high self-regard. I think it is important to have high self-regard as a personal check because if you have this if someone else treats you with low regard it will be apparent to you and set off warning signs. But if your self-talk is harsh, you may miss these warning signs when someone else directs them towards you. Or worse yet, you may find them comfortably familiar.

    Sunlight and being outside (as long as the climate allows) are great ways to feel grounded and keep the happiness.

    As a fellow photographer I encourage you to take photos regularly, even if you only travel within walking distance to do it. I find it a meditation of sorts.

    Also, nearly a week ago I added a new supplement to my regimen called Colostrum-LD by Soverign Laboratories. Up until today (worst day of period) I noticed lots of water weight loss (which never ever happens during my period) and my allergies seem to be improving. It is recommended for tons of ailments, especially in regards to autoimmune, depression, etc. If you (or anyone else) is interested please feel free to do research to see if it is right for you. I read over 200 reviews prior to my trial size purchase (because not every supplement works for every person). Hoping that this can help out someone else.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your insights, Julie. To answer your question, I’m not very nice when I talk to myself, but this has been improving as a result of some of my new practices, particularly my journaling. I definitely would NOT talk to someone I love in the same tone as I talk to myself, and I agree with you that high self-regard is important. Not having high regard for myself has led me to accept negative treatment by others in the past. I love your idea of taking photos regularly. I used to have a regular practice of doing it, but I got away from it after I accumulated too many photos. But sometimes it’s more about the process than the end result. Your new supplement sounds very promising and like it could be helpful for me, too. I took another form of colostrom previously, but this one sounds better. Thanks for sharing this, as I do believe it could help others (including maybe me).

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