August 21, 2015

Stress Is a Killer--or a Weight Gainer!

"Stress, it's a killer, sir." Source
I attended a stress management class recently. As the bat Bartok in the animated Anastasia says, "Stress, it's a killer, sir." Chronic stress hurts the body: increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, depression, muscle and joint problems, weight gain, and more.

Stress Curve

The psychiatrist presented several ideas that revealed insight for me. One is the stress curve. The curve shows where a functional level is. Some stress is good, but not too much or too little (ironically). Some stress motivates us to solve our problems or hone coping skills. However, you can reach the burnout end of the curve and literally shut down. I hope to be at the low end of the optimum stress curb, though I sometimes feel at the overload phase. Burnout happens to me every few months (especially when I don't sleep enough).



She had us identify our stresses. I wrote them down and realized I have a lot on my plate. Well, I know there's a lot on my plate. Most people have a lot on my plate.

Here's what's on my plate:

  1. Abusers hurting beloved children.
  2. My body image and weight.
  3. Raising a family (this is good and bad stress).
  4. My aging parents struggling physically and emotionally.
  5. Feeling limited to help others in need or do all the ideas that come to mind.

Levels of Control

The group discussed different methods of stress relief. There are two ways to manage stress: problem-solving and coping skills. The type of stress management depends on the level of control we have over the situation. Some is in our direct control, under our influence, or a concern completely out of our control. 

Steven Covey model (from here)
Looking at my stresses only some of it is under my control or influence. Much of it is out of my hands. I focus on what I can do now. I work on my goals to go to sleep earlier, eat better, and exercise. I've taken steps to protect my children and report to proper authorities. I visit my parents and extend a helping hand when I am physically and emotionally able. That is in my direct control.

Within my circle of influence, I write and talk about protecting others, repenting, and coping strategies. I comfort who I can comfort. I keep my children alive and maybe they absorb other lessons along the way. I pray for myself, my family, my friends, my acquaintances, my enemies, and strangers. I pray my enemies repent!

Several of my stresses fall within the concern circle, which I have no control over. I have reported abusers to authorities, but these practiced and calm liars deceive family, friends, and religious leaders. Many reported crimes fall through the cracks of bureaucracy or have insufficient evidence to convict. Mortal life isn't fair, but God will make eternal life fair.

Stress Management Ideas

The psychiatrist and the group discussed ideas for stress relief. I liked some of the ideas and some of them I already do. Most were coping skills. I do these:

  • Work for adequate sleep
  • Work on physical, spiritual and emotional self-care
  • Counseling and proper bipolar medication
  • Listen to music and stretch
  • Recovery International techniques (when I remember)
The psychiatrist emphasized mindfulness, three good things activity, and gratitude. She encouraged focus on the positive for at least 15 seconds. It takes that long for the brain to register. Positive thoughts before bed promote better sleep and dreams.

"Children's Masks" by Lucy Toner
The three good things appealed to me. I told my husband three good things last night: married for 10 years (it was my anniversary), a comfortable bed for 10 years, and something forgotten. I expressed gratitude in my prayers too. The positive seeped into my dreams at 4 am. I envisioned when a friend "unfriended" me decades before Facebook. Her mother then showed me a scrapbook of the imaginary good times we had as friends. She had cared all along.

The three good things changed my dreams!

Here is what I will work on:
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Expressing three good things before bedtime
  • Savoring moments for 15 seconds
  • Stretching
  • Continuing my other coping skills
So tonight, I'll tell my husband three good things...well I should write it down.

How do you manage stress? How do you handle stresses outside of your control?

August 16, 2015

Here Goes...Random Musings

"Assorted Footprints" by Peter Griffin
I keep erasing what I'm going to write. Why should I erase anything if I plan on having it be random? Ah, but this must be methodical madness randomness.

My boys are obsessed with Pokemon right now. That's their favorite show, theme song, and computer game. My oldest sings along with the theme songs. I remember Pokemon being popular when I was in grade school. Kids sat under the portico and traded Pokemon cards. My kids don't have Pokemon cards, but they find lots of Pokemon games online.

Netflix has revived so many of the older shows, but 25 years ago is only like a blink of an eye. I'm not even that old, but time goes fast. However, time goes slow when my oldest has to wait. It even is achingly slow for me hearing his complaints.

I'm debating about stuff to write. I have so many ideas that run through my brain. I mentioned this on Make a Living Writing blog. The editor, Carol Tice, said "triage." I have to prioritize what to write.

I've applied to several freelance jobs online, but haven't had any bites the last couple weeks. My goal is to get paid more than what I've applied for in the past. Basically, I worked for like a dollar an hour after dividing out the fixed price. That's pathetic! No, I'm worth way more than that. But then, I turned down one job earlier this summer...if they would pay me. They said they'd only pay for the article if they liked it. However, they would still publish the article online for my "portfolio." I don't think so. I need to work on cold calling.

I'm working on a blog post about the painful quest of truth. Hopefully, I'll work on it to get out this week. I feel like it's been so crazy this summer that I rarely write. I've also divided my time among my other blogs. I'm writing more serious pieces here that I want to be just right. Sometimes, I just have to spit it out. Get it out there.

And there's the random musings of a random redhead.

What musings are on your brain?

August 06, 2015

Reducing Rape Culture Pt. 2: Personal Responsibility and Holding Others Accountable

"Close-up of The Thinker" by Brian Hillegas
Many in our society won't take responsibility for their own actions and we sometimes excuse each other's bad behavior. This promiscuity promotes rape culture as "boys will be boys," "girls just want to have fun," willful ignorance, and excuse for excuse. Lack of personal responsibility and excuses is a hallmark of sexual predators according to Dr. Leigh Baker. So how can we combat this?

Personal Responsibility

Reducing rape culture begins with the individual. We can't control others, but we can control ourselves. It begins at the level of thought. Consider, what do we feed our minds? Continual thought patterns leads to speech and action. I can make good choices; you can make good choices. When we make mistakes, we can hold ourselves accountable for our actions. No one else has to do that for us; we can do it for ourselves!

Teaching Responsibility

All of us can teach others responsibility who fall under our stewardship. First, we model responsible behavior. Then we teach responsibility in our homes, schools, churches, and other organizations. A large part of teaching responsibility is holding others accountable for their actions: praise for good things and natural consequences, or discipline, for bad things.

Holding Each Other Accountable

Many times we have excuses for sexual offenders that we believe: "It was so long ago" or "such a nice person wouldn't do such a thing." Sometimes offenders don't even have to defend themselves because their charmed followers do it for them. We enable sexual offenders when we excuse their behaviors in any way; or excuse any bad behavior, as simple as telling a crude joke at the workplace or locker room.

Sexual offenders rarely repent when they aren't held accountable by society, religions, and the government. They will try to get away with as much as they can for as long as they can. Many offenders are only afraid of jail and a tarnished reputation. For this reason, we need to report sexual offenses to the police and other government authorities. Reporting to clergy or an employer is not enough. Offenders simply move onto other unsuspecting organizations. Don't pass the buck!


As parents, we have the power to shape our sons and daughters into responsible citizens. This begins with the mother and father showing respect to one another. Children will then model respect and empathy for others. Next, hold our children accountable for their actions and they will learn to self-govern over time. Since no one is an expert at parenting your child but you, find an approach that works for you and your child.

Sometimes, parents struggle to teach their children responsible sexual behavior, but you are the best source for that information! Encourage open communication with your child, so if they come across a problem, they feel comfortable coming to you. RAINN has more information here about communicating with your child.

Hold anyone responsible who hurts your child! Many parents don't want to rock the boat if it is a likable relative, coach, teacher, neighbor, or family friend. Your responsibility is your child's well-being, not maintaining a facade or a relationship with a "nice" sexual offender. Sexually abused children are at risk for depression, PTSD, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, infertility, STDs, death, suicide, and more. Your child is your treasure.

Religious Organizations

Churches should discipline their members and report to government authorities. Pastors, bishops, and religious leaders should take a victim seriously who reports to them. On occasion, victims may blame the wrong person or lie, but only the Spirit will witness the truth.

Some religious leaders shut off their brains when a likable member turns out to be a rapist, pedophile, or other sexual predator. Religious leaders need to take off their rose-colored glasses and rely on facts and spiritual intuition. In her book, Anna C. Salter lamented how religious people blind themselves that everyone has good in them. Some people are truly evil and brilliant practiced liars! Or their sin far outweighs the good.

Society and Media

Some in society and media celebrate sexual promiscuity and how many sexual partners someone has had. It becomes a game of sexual conquests--male and female. The foul language and crude jokes present in society and media fuels rape culture. Some media objectifies men's, women's, and adolescents' bodies, leading to disrespect for the opposite gender and children. Don't participate in such media! Gently offer correction when you see someone promoting rape culture.

Society and media should hold sexual offenders accountable for their actions--not run sensationalized stories on them or publish excuses for their behavior. Only report the facts and respect the privacy of the victims and the offender's families. It is traumatizing enough without total strangers judging them.


The government plays a central role in holding criminals accountable. Politicians can take actions to catch and punish sexual predators. Reduce or eliminate government spending on anything non-essential. The savings can go toward catching sexual predators, funding rape kits, education, counseling for offender and victim, and prison time. Reduce salaries and retirements to the lower middle class level for elected and appointed officials. After all, the government is meant to serve, not enrich politicians! It's inexcusable for rape kits to be backlogged when a politician makes six figures. Hold your own accountable and only hire responsible and honest employees. And the list goes on...

In democratic countries we have more control over our government. How can we influence our government? First, vote in responsible representatives. Second, offer ideas, support, or correction to your elected leaders in a respectful manner. We can also pray for our government officials: they can use all the help they can get.

The Work Place

After I married, I worked in a hostile work environment. Employees imitated masturbation and other sex acts in front of rest home and mentally ill patients (some sex offenders) and other employees. They used sexually violent language and gestures: f***, b****, and the middle finger. I witnessed this several times a week. But it was all in a joking manner, so it didn't count according to the manager. No one approached me or touched me, but I felt violated and belittled. Continual crude language, jokes, gestures are sexual harassment whether directed at you or not. The manager condoned the sexual harassment under the guise of free speech. It isn't free speech when it violates someone else's rights. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lists facts here on sexual harassment.

My employer promoted rape culture by her actions and inaction, whether intentional or not. We should have had mandatory education on this issue and employees reprimanded or fired for their behavior. Any criminal behavior should be reported to the police.

No one has to tolerate this and you can take action to prevent this. Address anyone committing sexual harassment. If it continues, report it to management. If your employer ignores the complaint or retaliates, report it to the EEOC or similar government agency. The EEOC will assist you to rectify the situation.

More than I Can Say

There are many ways to promote responsibility and reduce rape culture that I can't list here. With each step forward, we may prevent more sexual abuse and rape. It is worth the effort to save anyone from the horror of rape and to assist offenders in rehabilitation.

What are your thoughts on this issue?