Category Archives: Helping Hand

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Let’s talk about anxiety and panic attacks.  If you suffer from these, you may have noticed that they may be showing up more now that you’re working toward your goals and dreams or they may have increased in their intensity.

I want you to understand that I’m not a trained healthcare professional and I’m not offering any type of diagnosis or professional advice; please consult with your healthcare provider. Having said that, here are a few things I’ve observed to be helpful that you might consider discussing with the professionals with whom you are working.

First of all, stay as calm as you can and know that this, too, shall pass.  You can remember a time when you weren’t panicked or anxious, which means you’re not constantly terrorized.

Then consider:

~Get out and get around other people.

When you’re feeling anxious or panicked, it can be helpful to get out of yourself.  What I mean by that is to stop focusing on yourself, your body, and the thing that triggered your anxiety/panic attack.  Get out and be with others.  Of course spending time with friends and family who care about you can be very comforting, but if that isn’t possible, you can still be with others by going to your local library or visiting a popular park.  Even visiting a grocery store, a coffee shop, or a church—any place where people congregate—can be reassuring.

~Give something away.

When you are out and with others, give something away to them.  Probably the most important, valuable, and helpful thing you can give away is your smile and a kind word or two.  Not only will the recipients feel better but you’ll feel great!

Your homework for today is to make a list of people you can be with and/or places you can go when you’re feeling anxious or panicky.  Also think about times and situations that might trigger your anxiety and panic.  Brainstorm ideas for how to be proactive and handle these things before they trigger your anxiety and panic.

I’m so proud of you for doing this work and learning how to control your emotions rather than have them run roughshod over you.  You rock!  I knew you could do it!

Your Friend,



Fill ‘Er Up!

Are you having trouble getting up and getting going?  Is your energy at an all-time low?  Are your reasons for making this journey to your goals and dreams just not that compelling and motivating right now?

This can be a little disconcerting because you’ve been doing so well with coming up with a plan, breaking it into steps, breaking those into small, easily doable pieces, and then doing something every day that will take you to your dreams and goals.  Right now, though, a heaviness might have descended upon you making you feel lethargic and fatigued.  The slightest, easiest task may seem nearly impossible to even think about, much less do.

It’s natural to feel this from time-to-time.  It could be that you need to fill the well, as Julia Cameron says in her book The Artist’s Way.  If you don’t already have this on your shelf, go to your local library and borrow a copy.  Her chapter on The Artist Date can be very enlightening and helpful.

Your homework today is to think about things you can do to give yourself a break when ever you need to re-charge.   In Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, read the chapter on Artist Dates and use it as inspiration for things you can do to fill your own well.  Make a list and save it where you can access it easily.  Then do one of those things.  Enjoy the moment, enjoy the time you spend doing the thing.  Let it nourish you and fill you up.

One of my favorite things to do is to daydream.  I enjoy sitting outdoors—or looking out my window during inclement weather—letting my eyes rest on the scenery and then allowing my mind to roam free.

Another favorite thing is looking through quilting books.  I’m not a quilter and I never will be, but I love the colors, patterns, and creativity of each artist and each quilt.  I sense the stick-to-it-iveness that was needed to complete the project and that energizes me.  Of course, the overall beauty of each quilt is also inspiring!

You can do this; I believe in you!

I’m so proud of you for doing this.  You’re awesome!

Your Friend,


PS  Giving yourself a break or taking an Artist Date is an important step in your journey to your dreams and goals.  How cool is that?!

Stop, in the Name of Love

Copyright VNS Images
Copyright VNS Images

When we make a mistake and when we suffer a setback or a failure, oftentimes we feel like a loser.  We chastise ourselves for not being smarter or for not anticipating this.  It may cause us to question our intelligence, competency, capabilities, and the legitimacy of our desire to go for our goals and dreams.

For the love of yourself and who you are, STOP!  Stop yourself before you go too far with this!

Just because you made a mistake or had a setback or experienced a failure, that does NOT negate or invalidate the fact that you have every right to go for your goals and dreams.

You are NOT a loser, YOU ARE A LEARNER!!!

Let me repeat that:  You are NOT a loser, YOU ARE A LEARNER!!!

Did you get that?  You are NOT a loser, YOU ARE A LEARNER!!!

One more time!  You are NOT a loser, YOU ARE A LEARNER!!!

You may have to tweak your plans a bit or do more research or brush up your skills.  You may have to break the steps into smaller pieces.  This is normal and natural.  This is all a part of the journey to your dreams and goals.

Treat yourself kindly and gently.  Brush yourself off and tell yourself that this is not the end of the world, because it isn’t.  Think about how far you have already come in these first few weeks of the year.  Give yourself credit for all the things you’ve learned.  Pat yourself on the back for all the steps you’ve taken, no matter how small.  Take a moment to think about the good things you have done, whether or not it’s in relation to your goals and dreams.  I’m sure you’ll find that you’re a terrific person!

Take a little time today to do something nice for yourself (remember you don’t have to spend money).  Things like playing with your pet, visiting or calling family or friends, sitting or walking in nature, reading a good book, and listening to good music are all things that will restore your spirits.

You can do this, I know you can!

Your homework for today is to repeat to yourself:

I am a learner

I am a learner

I am a learner

Also repeat:

Every day in every way I am getting better and better (a quote attributed to Emile Coue, a French psychologist and pharmacist in the early 1900’s)

Repeat often throughout the day, especially first thing in the morning and the last thing before going to sleep.

For extra credit, read any biography or memoir about anyone who’s achieved a level of success and you will find that they’ve all had bumps–and out-right disasters–to deal with as they went for their goals and dreams.  By picking themselves up and trying one more time, they eventually achieved success.  You can, too!

I am so proud of you for loving yourself enough to take care of yourself.  I’m proud of you for loving yourself enough to give it another shot.

I knew you could do it!

Your Friend,



“Ummm…uhhh…gee…thanks, Aunt Tillie.  This is just what I wanted.”

Yesterday we talked about negative people.  Today, let’s talk about the people in your life who you know mean well but sometimes they’re off the mark.

They genuinely want you to be happy and they want to help you get there.  But yet, occasionally, they may say or do something that is hurtful or insulting, or maybe they give you advice that you know is incorrect.  You don’t want to hurt their feelings or be discourteous of their honest efforts to be supportive but…

…what’s a person to do when this happens?

The best thing is to be respectful.

Recognize that the advice is coming from the person’s heart and is wrapped in their good wishes for you.  Thank them for their interest in you and what you’re trying to accomplish and tell them gently and tactfully that you’ll have to think about what they’ve said.

It’s very, very important that you thank the person.  They cared enough about you and your dreams to put in time and effort to be of help to you.

Your homework today is to come up with gracious ways to thank someone for their gift of caring, even if it’s off the mark and won’t be helpful to you.  Be compassionate and have empathy.  Remember the times you tried to lend a hand to someone but they were inconsiderate of the help you tried to give.  That didn’t feel so good.  What did you wish they had said or done instead?

Here are a few sentiments to get you started on this assignment:

“Thanks for your idea.  That’s an interesting/creative way to look at it.  Let me think about that.”


“You’ve given me a lot to think about.  Thanks, I appreciate it.”


“Thanks for your insights.  I’ll have to think them through.”

The important thing is to say THANK YOU to the person.  And, letting them know you’ll think about it shows your respect for their efforts.  That’s what they want:  to be helpful and appreciated.

Go for it; you can do it!  Yay you!

I’m so proud of you.  I knew you could do it!

Your Friend,



Go Stuff It!

There is an important thing to do before taking the first step.  If you’ve started without doing this, no worries!  You can do it now–or when it becomes necessary.

Get some cotton (imaginary cotton is just fine) and then:

Stuff your ears with it so that you can’t hear what other people say about you and your dreams and goals.

Most people are trying to be helpful and show their support for you, but sometimes it comes out wrong.  They don’t intend to be hurtful or insulting but, without meaning to, their suggestions come across that way.

Some people in your life are naturally negative, even when they’re trying to be positive!  No matter how perfect the thing, they’ll naturally find the flaw or the problem.  And no matter how happy the occasion, they’ll find something that isn’t quite right.  And no matter how well you’ve done something, they’ll find a reason why it isn’t good enough.

Then there are those few people who don’t like you and who don’t wish the best for you.  They may even be openly hostile and venomous toward you.

The best way to deal with them is to not listen to what they say:  plug your ears with cotton!  As much as you can, avoid the negative and the venomous ones all together.  If you have no choice, though, limit the time your time with them as much as possible.

Don’t try to justify yourself and what you’re doing, don’t try to explain yourself, and– above all–don’t try to prove them wrong.  None of this will change their minds about you and what you’re doing.  If you engage them in any way, chances are the whole situation will devolve into a complete mess.  None of this will make you happy and it certainly won’t take you any closer to your dreams or goals

Engaging them isn’t worth it.

You have better things to do with your time.  You can’t afford to indulge in having bad feelings and negative thoughts.  Your goals and your dreams are too important, too valuable, to allow yourself to be derailed.

But, man oh man does that person–or those people–get under your skin!

What do you do about this?  How do you get back on an even keel?

The very best thing you can do is to take the next step!  You may be agitated and as a result only able to handle a little piece of a step; that’s okay.  Do something–anything, no matter how small–that will move you forward.

You may be so agitated, though, that you can’t move forward, even the tiniest bit.  In that case, do some self-soothing things such as talking to a person who believes in you, who always makes you feel good about yourself.  You can read a book that uplifts you and never fails to put you into a positive frame of mind.

Take a moment to remember and think about the accomplishments you’ve had so far, not only with your dreams and goals but also the times when you helped someone.  Perhaps you need to reach out now and help a neighbor or a friend.

You may need to spend time in nature–take a walk or work in the garden.  Perhaps it’ll help to play with your kids or your pet.

Once you’ve re-centered, then take that step!

Your homework today is to write down things you can do that will make you feel better when Life or a person has got you down.

For extra credit, find someone you know who’s struggling or maybe doesn’t feel so great about themselves.  Give them a pep talk.  Tell them the things you admire about them.  Remind them of what they’re good at.  You’ll make their day–and your own, too!

You can do it!  Yay you!

I’m so proud of you for turning around a negative situation.  You rock!  I knew you could do it!

Your Friend,