Summer has been hot this year. Some people they become irritable when they are hot, hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Part of that is weather but it's also your internal thermometer. Any parent knows a tired hungry child will be demanding, whining and crying. As adults, this is even less flattering than it was in childhood. Recovery and living a good life involves learning to take care of yourself.
 Some tips are: a regular sleep schedule, limited or no- alcohol and sugar (really), regular exercise such as a 20 minute walk or 3-5 days a week at the gym, reading something peaceful and spiritual, time spend having fun and being around people. These ideas might sound like too little or impossible but they work if you try them. None of us are getting an younger. Today is a good day to do something that makes you healthier and stronger. It is the only day you have in which you can do something. 




What a great spring. The weather have been warm and the sun smiling. So many people are affected by the weather. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing. For those of you who feel like you have come out from under a rock, exercise will help get you going. Try walking 30 minutes a day, even 15 will help. Get out in the sunshine (with sunscreen) with a friend, a pet or a good book. The sun also enhances your vitamin D. It is a good time of year to start something new...a hobby, tai chi or new routine. Grow some flowers or veggies. It is important for you physical and mental well being to be part of the natural environment. Have fun and share you ideas.
Alcohhol addiction is a huge national problem. Many people recognize alcoholism as the unkempt person living in a box under a bridge. This is the life alcohol addiction may lead to but is not the majority of active alcoholics. Alcoholism is a "cunning, baffling and powerful " disease. Alcoholism doesn't care if you are smart, tall, rich, poor, male, female, employed, unemployed, old, young, married or single.
Some of the symptoms of alcohol dependence include: increased tolerance, increased usage, withdrawal 12 hours after use, relying on the substance to manage feeling or alter mood, using alcohol even when the consequences are large, not being able to recognize the effects or the extent to which alcohol runs choices.
There is evidence that it has a genetic predisposition. Although there is no cure for this disease, but it can be kept in remission by not drinking. If an alcoholic begins to drink again, he/she will return to the previous level of disease quickly and it will likely get worse soon. It is the nature of the disease, not a matter of morals or an issue of intent. some alcoholic drink daily, even large amounts, and keep a job. They may be business owners, lawyers, doctors, teachers, waiters, police officers etc. The family and the alcoholic are affected by the disease anyway. (More about that next time.)
There is a good books on the subject - Understanding the Functional Alcoholic, The Invisible Alcoholic and Drinking, A Love Story, the "big book" Alcoholics Anonymous, to name a few.
Grown ups forget sometimes that playing has a strong positive power. Watch children at play. It is a time to create, invent, be who you dream of being. Play is a way of working out feelings. For example, a young boy who has been hit by a caretaker might benefit from slaying dragons. There is a lot of power in being a dragon slayer. A child might feel "less than" if he/she has a handicap or less resources than other children. Playing king or queen levels the field. Children like to make up or change the rules of  game so they can win or have the power to set the rules. Adults do this sometimes in card games or golf.

As people get older, they still work out things by playing. For adults it is called role playing. It is helpful to rehearse how you want to be at a job interview so you will present yourself as the competent, knowledgeable person you can be... even if you don't feel that way when you are anxious. People learn from trying different things. The more fun it is, the faster they learn and the easier it is to try new things.

I recommend finding some ways to play. Relax. Let your imagination loose. Do something different and see ho
Compassion seems to be under-rated these days. There is so much in the news, on TV and the internet about satisfying individual needs and what harm people do to others in the procress. Things like car wrecks from talking on the cell, rapes, murders out of revenge or robbery for drug money.
  The Dali Lama said, "If you want to be happy, practice compassion". Not only does relating to others with understanding and feeling create happiness but it is physically relaxing and healing as well. Buddhists have known this for centuries. Modern medicine can support it with hard data now.
I was interested in reading about some new studies (ODE magazine July/August 2011) that support positive coaching as a way people learn more quickly and achieve better results. It engages people in their own progress and feeling cared about reduces anxiety which frees the mond and body to perform. Stress reduces when people, women especially, turn their thoughts to others needs. It could be that putting others needs first, directs thoughts outward so there is less worry internally.
Compassion can be practiced anywhere. More is better when practicing compassion. Give it a try. Remember the other person is looking for happiness too. He/she doesn't want to suffer but does experience sadness and loss just like you. Both of you are learning about live as you live it. As Donna told me once, "The world is full of people running around trying to get their needs met. Sometimes they bump into each other."
Some follow up reading is Harry Palmer: Resurfacing: Techniques for Exploring Consciousness; Dacher Keltner, Born to be Good; Charles Darwin,The Descent of Man, Kristin Neff,