Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Your Words Have Tremendous Power



 "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks"   Matthew 12:34
 
As a health coach I try very hard to balance the issues of body, mind and soul.  Learning to, and encouraging others to speak with honesty and kindness is an important piece in putting the whole health puzzle together so for the next few weeks I will be writing about manners, etiquette, basic civility, and healthy, constructive human behavior.  I just interviewed an expert on the subject, my friend Julie Ann Ulcickas, who has published a book, "Urbanity Fair, An Abbreviated Guide to Modern Manners" and I will begin writing about my time spent with her next time.  I know you will be inspired, informed, and helped in some way by her words and her simple yet profound advice.  

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary the word civility means: polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior.  In my opinion our society has swung so far in the other direction as I observe many individuals who do not exemplify the cited behaviors listed in the definition of the word.  It seems more and more people these days speak, write, and use their words as weapons, to break-down or even try to destroy anothers reputation, sense of self-worth, or feelings of security.    As public figures for many years I know that my family and I have been hurt by unkind and destructive written words, many of which are untrue.  Some have also been opinions of our work or our looks which are mean-spirited and not helpful in any way.  If  you've had this happen to you or your family you may know what I'm talking about.

You've heard the saying, "sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me." In truth, often times the words that come our of our mouths can cut much deeper and injure much greater than most physical harm we may experience.




With the proliferation of the Internet and social media sites it seems even easier for some individuals to sling angry, hurtful, thoughtless, and irresponsible words around.  Words they would rarely say to another person if they were face-to-face.  Words that are forever;  as if they published a book and had it registered with The Library Of Congress.  Angry, demeaning, unforgiving rhetoric posted on people's social media pages, "Tweeted out," text, or which are penned on any one of the numerous digital newspaper comment sites can do much to destroy someones reputation, or even worse, can negatively affect their feelings of themselves to the point where we've even seen some young people tragically take their own life.   Those who criticize and put others down in such brutal ways do not embody emotional health themselves.  They attempt to "level the playing field" and they try to bring others down to their level by saying disparaging things to and about them.

How can we make a difference in this "playground of bullies?"  To begin with we must model what it looks like to lift others up by speaking edifying words and showing kind and helpful deeds.   We need to teach and witness to them:  "A rising tide lifts all boats."  We must teach our children, our grandchildren, and other young people who are influenced by us that words are forever and once spoken or written are very difficult to take back.  Like squeezing-out a tube of toothpaste....so easy to come out but try putting the toothpaste back in the tube.
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."  Proverbs 12:18

Let's be part of a solution and demonstrate what it looks like for people to treat others with respect and love.  Let's start by only speaking and writing kind and polite words to one another.  The health of our communities, our state, our nation, and our world depends on it. 



"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."    Matthew 12:36-37  


If you'd like to reach me you can email me:  Donna@DonnaSchuller.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How Do We Say "Good-Bye?....On Death and Grief

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die."       Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 

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My brother Jeff and I with our Dad.  In front of our Laguna Beach home in 1966

 I'm experienced at surviving loss.  My young, vibrant father died in a car accident when I was just thirteen,  he was only forty years old.  One day he was there, the next he was gone. From that day on my life was drastically changed,  I looked at the world through different lenses then most young teens. Although I have always cautioned myself against dwelling on the thought that anyone we love can be taken away at any time, this is a prevailing message forever imbedded in my mind.  
Being married to a pastor I have witnessed first-hand all kinds of grief and loss, the worst being:  parents tragically losing s a young child; the passing away of an adolescent, a young adult, or a spouse due to an accident;  those long, drawn-out illnesses which consume the heart and the soul of the surviving family until their loved-one finally succumbs to the illness or disease.  I have also seen the death of many marriages and this too is witnessing real grief.   I will ask the question again, "when is it ever easy to say good-bye?" A few years ago I wrote two different pieces on grief.  The first one right after I road-over my dog.  You can read it here.    The second piece I wrote was during my move out of our family home which you can read here.



Grieving publicly is difficult.  My husband was so overwhelmed he struggled to speak.



In the past six weeks I have lost my father-in-law Robert H. Schuller;  a good friend, and our first
marriage counselor, Dr. Frank Freed;  and most recently, one of my mentors and pastors,  David Grubbs.  Are they "lost" or am I the one who is more lost because they are no longer here?  I think the later.

Death is such a natural part of life and as a Christian I believe in the afterlife.  If we are committed to our belief  then why do we still experience such sadness and grief when saying "good-bye" to those we care about?
If you are a normal, healthy person you should be able to travel through a variety of emotions which will not threaten your security as a person of faith or do anything to separate you from the love of God.  And remember grief has a season of it's own and cannot be assigned a time to "get through."


Rarely a private moment in our family's events.


Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying" came up with what we now consider a standard description on the stages of grief.  These stages are what a healthy individual should progress through in order to finally accept the loss of a loved-one.  And by the way, they can also be applied to any loss: that of a job, a marriage, or anything which has caused us pain.

1. Denial and Isolation

The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain. 

2. Anger

As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. Rationally, we know the person is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we may resent the person for causing us pain or for leaving us. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us more angry.

3. Bargaining

The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control–
  • If only we had sought medical attention sooner…
  • If only we got a second opinion from another doctor…
  • If only we had tried to be a better person toward them…
Secretly, we may make a deal with God in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality.

4. Depression

Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell.

5. Acceptance

Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. It is not necessarily a mark of bravery to resist the inevitable and to deny ourselves the opportunity to make our peace. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression.
Loved ones that are terminally ill or aging appear to go through a final period of withdrawal. This is by no means a suggestion that they are aware of their own impending death or such, only that physical decline may be sufficient to produce a similar response. Their behavior implies that it is natural to reach a stage at which social interaction is limited. The dignity and grace shown by our dying loved ones may well be their last gift to us.  

In closing I'd like to suggest some things not to say to someone who has recently lost a loved-one: "He (or she) is in a better place." "You must be relieved that their suffering is over and they are now with Jesus." "You'll be okay, just hang-on to the happy memories." "You're strong so just hang in there." "You are so lucky to have experienced such a great marriage for all those years." "Pray about your loss and God will help you."  Any derivative of any of the above statements are not okay to say to someone who is grieving!
The only things you should say are: "I am praying for you."  "Can I do anything to help you?" "I am here for you." "This must be so very difficult."  "I love you."
 We are the ones who can be uncomfortable when people are grieving. When using words know that less is more.  Do not be offended if your friend does not respond to your wanting to help.  Everyone grieves differently and remember...the stages listed above each have a season of their own and should not be rushed through.

 "Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?"     1 Corinthians 15: 55-56
   


 If you need help "getting through what you are going through" please reach-out to someone who can help.  My husband can be reached at:  Robert@RobertSchullerMinistries.org
I can be reached at: Donna@DonnaSchuller.com






Friday, May 1, 2015

Got Health For Mother's Day?


It's been nearly a year since I published my book, "Healthy Family, Happy Life" yet I'm still so surprised that many people assume that what I mean by being healthy only includes eating right and exercising.  During my book interviews some hosts even joke to the point of self-deprecation before they introduce me while they explain how they need to lose weight,  try to justify why they recently gave up their gym membership , or confess they ate too much at a party the night before! 
Although a good diet and regular physical activity is definitely a part of overall health, it surely is not the end-all.
 In my practice, when I coach an individual the first thing I do is I evaluate all areas of their health.  Some of my initial questions might include: "What do you do for a living and do you like your job? Are you married?  Do you have children?  Is your home life peaceful and satisfying?  What is your spiritual life like? If you parents are living, what is your relationship like with them? What does your typical day look like? What time do you go to bed? When do you wake-up?  What do you eat upon rising?"   In order for me to assess a person's physical health I need to try to envision the entire picture of the whole person, their habits and their daily living conditions.   In fact, I have found that most people who say they need to lose weight haul around a huge load of emotional and/or spiritual baggage.  In most cases their excess pounds will be shed naturally, over time,  once the other issues have been sorted-out.
  My book does include some helpful hints on eating right and exercise but it also features chapters on the importance of being honest;  why goal setting is important;  practicing positive thinking for a better life;   how to get through tough times;  and the significance of loving yourself, others, and God.

Christina (8 mos. pregnant w/Christian, Me (Donna) , My mom (Lanelle)

In honor of  Mother's Day I decided to remind you of the timeless messages included in my book, and after all, I dedicated this book to my mother!  Since last year my (then) pregnant daughter, Christina, who was featured on the back of my book, has given birth to and is raising a healthy baby boy who is turning one on May 15th! I have so much respect for the way my daughter is raising Christian although making the right health choices for his overall well-being are not always the easiest ones to make.  For one, she makes all of his food and she only prepares that which is chemical-free and non-GMO.  She has not yet given him any dairy or wheat and she is still breast-feeding a few times a day.  He is 100% medicine and drug-free since birth, has a regular nap and bedtime routine, is beginning to learn what "no no" means, and they surround him with the love of family and friends on a regular basis.  My subtitle, "what healthy families learn from healthy moms" is now impacting four generations and it's such a blessing for me to see it all played-out thus far. 

Christian, 11mos with his mommy, Christina. 

For the month of May I am offering you a signed book for $12.99, including shipping costs.  They make great gifts for anyone who is trying to adopt a healthier life-style; physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  It's a great book for young and old because it's never too late to start living healthier!  I am also offering specials for my private telephone coaching services.  Contact me at Donna@DonnaSchuller.com if you are interested in either.

Remember to join me for "The Call" on May 15th.  Dial 530-881-1300 from any phone.  Key-in 642848# for access.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Health Risks of Sitting


 **Remember to join us for "The Call" on Wednesday, April 15th (or the 15th of each month)  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848#   We will talk about "new beginnings."

Most of us who fly a lot have heard of "deep vein thrombosis" which can occur in certain at-risk individuals who don't get up and move around during a long flight.  But did you know that there are many more health risks associated with a sedentary life-style and with sitting for long periods during the day, even when you aren't airborne?

I've always advocated taking the stairs instead of an elevator (when practical), settling for that parking spot that's maybe a bit further away from your destination and walking a little further,  getting outside for a walk whenever you can, disciplining yourself to go to the gym, swim in a pool, play tennis, or any other sports activity that gets your body moving for 30-60 minutes or longer several days a week.  This post is to encourage you to just stand up and move around a bit!

I viewed this great video from TedEd and it explains in great detail why it is so important for you to get up from your desk or from wherever you may be sitting (right now!) every thirty minutes.  Your health depends on it so get up and move!





Need some mid-month encouragement?  Join me and my husband on "The Call" this coming Wednesday, April 15th at 6pm Pacific time.  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848#  

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me."  Phil 4:13



To reach me you can email: Donna@DonnaSchuller.com