Hello, and welcome to the "Happiness Tips" newsletter. In addition to a helpful tip for increasing your happiness, you can find out where I'll be signing books, and how to contact me, along with "Happiness Tips from Tina" in every month's newsletter. Please remember to add tina.tinatessina.com to your "acceptable" list, especially if you're on AOL.
Newsletter Dated: 11/3/2005 12:24:46 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina - From Negative to Gratitude
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Happiness Tip: From Negative to Gratitude
Despite the occasional temporary setback, my life is good, and Iím grateful. It wasnít always that way, however. At 18, just after I left for college, I was essentially orphaned, and have had to go from no education or support to finding a purpose, supporting myself through a PhD, and developing four businesses to do that. I also recovered from an abusive marriage, and now have been happily married for 23 years, and in successful private practice since 1978. Before I could succeed, I needed to learn to support myself emotionally as well as financially. Having come from a difficult time, I appreciate my blessings, and I find that even the problems have become blessings. Today, I am privileged to use my experiences to work with clients every day to help them become more independent, self-actualizing, fulfilled, and successful.
One of the most powerful tools we have in turning the negative to positive is self-talk. We all have a running dialog in our heads, which often is negative or self-defeating. The good news is that we can choose to replace this negative monologue with something more positive. The brain tends to repeat familiar things over and over, going again and again over established neuronal pathways. Repeating a mantra, an affirmation or a choice over and over creates new pathways, which eventually become automatic. The new thoughts will run through your head like the old thoughts did, or like a popular song you've heard over and over.
If your self talk feels "naturally negative," you may be creating a self-fulfilling identity. One thing you can do is to monitor your self-talk: what do you say to yourself about the upcoming day, about mistakes, about your luck? If these messages are negative, changing them can indeed lift your spirits and your optimism. Know yourself: if you love silence, tend to be quiet, like quiet conversations and not big parties, this may be a genetic trait -- your hearing, and nervous system may be more sensitive than others, and this trait will not go away. You can, however, make the most of it, and learn that creating plenty of quiet in your life will make you a happier person. If, on the other hand, youíre a party animal Ė social, enjoying noise and excitement, you can also use that as an asset. Positive, happy people do have an easier time in life, and bounce back from problems faster. There are things you can do in every case to increase your level of optimism, even if you can't change who you are.
Your thoughts affect your mood, and how you relate to yourself can either lift or dampen your spirits. Neuronal activity in the brain activates hormones which are synonymous with feelings. Constant self-criticism results in a "what's the use" attitude, which leads to depression. Continuous free-floating thoughts of impending doom lead to anxiety attacks. Negative self-talk creates stress. What I do to help clients become aware of self-inflicted stress is first, to ask them to become aware of what they're saying to themselves -- if there is a constant stream of negativity, it will create stress -- just as being followed around by someone who's constantly carping on you would be stressful. Also, if they're fighting within themselves -- not able to come to a solid idea of what they want -- that will make it difficult to make decisions, and increase the stress. Dysfunctional relationship patterns also are stress-building. For example, if you are constantly guilt-tripped by someone else, or you and your spouse fight, or you are too worried about others' opinions of who you are and what you're doing, you'll be a lot more stressed than if you know how to get along with others, when to listen and when to trust yourself. Most of my clients donít realize that they are responsible for their own feelings, and no one else is responsible for making them feel better.
To move from negativity to gratitude, try the following suggestions:
Make a note: Write positive comments on your daily calendar to yourself for jobs well done or any achievements you want to celebrate. Or you can paste stickers on your daily calendar as you accomplish goals daily frequent positive commentary is a very effective way to reward yourself and remind yourself of your success.
Look to your childhood: Use activities that felt like a celebration in your childhood: did your family toast a celebration with champagne or sparkling cider, a gathering of friends, or a thankful prayer? Create a celebration environment: use balloons, music, flowers, candles, or set your table with the best china. Use the exercise on your family style in chapter two to find ideas.
Visible reminders: Surround yourself with visible evidence of your successes. Plant a commemorative rosebush or get a new houseplant to mark a job well done, or display photos of fun events, and sports or hobby trophies. It's a constant reminder that you appreciate yourself and when you see them daily, you'll feel the appreciation.
Reward yourself: A new trashy romance novel or detective thriller can be a great reward/celebration for reading your required technical books.
Party!: Celebrate a cherished friendship with an impromptu lunchtime picnic and a balloon. Or with tickets to a ball game.
(adapted from It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction © 2005 Tina B. Tessina)
If you want more, here are some related articles you can download from my website at http://tinatessina.com/monthly_column.html
Letting Go of Anxiety
Into Every Life
Winning The War Within
Getting Out of Your Way
The Colors of You
Emotions as Weather
Radio & TV
Tuesday, January 24th, 2006 7:00pm-7:30pm EST I'll be a guest on The "Turn On Your Inner Light" Radio Show WGBB 1240AM (Long Island, NY) It will be live streamed and then archived on www.turnonyourinnerlight.com/page3.html
Tuesday, November 8, 5:00 PM CBS -TV CBS2 news "Women Dating Younger Men" features an interview with me.
I'm a resident expert on Yahoo! Personals:http://personals.yahoo.com/us/static/content_date
My books and bio are recommended at enotalone.com http://www.enotalone.com/authors.php?aid=426
I continue to be the Adult Dating expert on CouplesCompany.com http://www.couplescompany.com/Advice/Tina/index.htm
"Dating Guidelines for Single Parents" excerpted from the UG to Dating Again is now online at News For Parents website with a link to buy the book. http://www.newsforparents.org/expert_dating_single_parents.html
I'm listed as an expert in the Redbook Marriage Institute (listed near the front of other issue) along with other experts like John Gottman, John Gray, Michelle Weiner-Davis, etc. it mentions my How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free
December 2005 For Me Magazine "Frisky Business"
Winter 2005 Destination Weddings and Honeymoons "Making History"
Through my website, you can get CE credits online based on my books: It Ends With You; How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free and The Real 13th Step To sign up for classes or browse my books, visit www.tinatessina.com.
I welcome your feedback and support, please contact me at email@example.com.
Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: If You Knew Curley
The outpouring of love after my article about sweet Curley Sue really touched and moved me.
Iíve tried to include every message, so the list is long, and although I answered every message, Iím not printing my answers here. Thanks for letting me know you care. What would life be without the joy of our animal angels? And yet, it hurts so when we lose them. Love is like that, isn't it? We have to take the risk of loss, or we would never be able to love. Curley Sue and I both thank you for caring about us.
Oh dear Tina, I'm so sorry to hear about Curley. She was indeed so sweet. Reading about your relationship with her made me cry. And I knew you had lost Peachy but I didn't know Sandy had become an angel too. Dang it, woman, you need new little pets. Youngish would be good. I think you know that we lost 18-y.o. Hearns in March, she was valiant to the end (and Marc blogged about her). http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/006443.php
You need a Kit. I will think good thoughts for a serendipitous finding, like with Curley Sue.
I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. Although you don't hear from me often, know that I always love receiving these e-mails. Hope you are doing well and singing often. It's always nice to hear from you. Things are going really well for me. Thanks for all of the advice you gave me, I'm in a great place again with my life. Feeling stronger than ever. You always seem to be there for me. Lots of love and hugs,
So sorry to hear about Curley Tina, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Gary and Norm
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I am grateful that I had the chance to meet Curley! She had a great spirit. I commented to my husband when I got home from my meeting with you last week that I hope I am as friendly and resilient when I am an old woman as Curley seemed to be. So much spunk for such a senior pooch! On this, the day of the Feast of St. Francis (http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/francis/blessing.asp), I offer a small prayer and blessing that Curley is peaceful and happy, and that her spirit and memory may draw you more deeply into the larger circle of life, into the wonder of our common relationship with all of creation.
Hello Tina, Just had to tell you how sorry I am about your loss. I have had four cockers in my life, each with his or her own personality and quirks. I understand your grief, but know what? I just bet Curley will never be far from you. Best wishes, Carole
I'm so sorry for your loss... she was a sweetie. Take care -
Many condolences on the death of Curley Sue. You were both blessed to have shared a life together. She is your special angel.
Tina, So sorry to hear about Curley Sue. A pet's death is really kind of a special grief--partly I guess because they give us some of our best love. Have no doubt whatever that Curley Sue is still at your feet. Sure, too, you'll find ways to keep her with you--and to share her with others. In fact, you just did! Thanks for the chance to get to know her. Sending you warm thoughts & xoxox, Barbara
Thanks for writing a terrific article. I'm sorry for your loss. We lost a cat of 18 years a few years ago and it was a tough experience. On Labor Day, our cat Katrina (yes, Katrina, also known as Kitty Kat) was severely dehydrated and looked like she was ready to go, after months of problems. We spent the day in the emergency vet's office and I'm glad to say she is coming around. I'm saving your article for a time in the future that is sure to come.
All the best,
From someone who is honored to live with: 18 yr old cat Amber (Orange Tiger, had her since she was 4), 13 yr old cat Patches (calico no white/tortoise, had her since she was 6 weeks), 13 yr old dog Curly Sue (chow/golden retriever mix, since 6 weeks old), 13 yr old dog Roo (aus shepherd, since 2 yr old), and 11 yr old Ginger (corgie mix). I have empathy for your grief and sympathy for your loss. Every time I call them and they don't come I get worried they aren't going to anymore.
I am so sorry for your loss. My Lily is just like your Curly Sue she is under my feet when I am at my computer and I hear her running around the house when she can not find me. I remember Curly Sue, she use to sit on the couch next with me...
So terribly sorry for your loss. I am so sorry you're going through this and have lost your beloved companion. I can only say that I have been there and understand and am thinking of you...
So sorry to hear of your recent loss. My thoughts are with you and Richard. When I buried our family pet (a wonderful old lab/hound) in Arkansas, I swore I'd never own a home nor love a pet again--because it hurt too much to lose them. So far--as an unattached tumbleweed--I've kept that vow. Close your eyes and feel this BIG hug.
I wanted to extend my deepest sympathies about the loss of your beloved dog. I have lost two dogs who were my children and my husband in 1999. I understand this type of pain and I will send a special prayer for you and blessing for your pup. I always enjoy your newsletters and I feel like I know you. Its took me 4 Ĺ years to reinvent my self and my life after my husband died. Now, almost seven years later, I have my book finished and plan to spend the rest of my journey helping people move through their first and second year of widowhood. Again, my warmest thoughts and feelings to you during this very difficult time.
Good Things Always,
Sorry for your loss. My cat, Amber, passed on this year and I honored her life with a bouquet of flowers. Her pawprints linger still under the window sill. We now have a new family member, Blue. She is so Amber-like that God knew Blue was meant to be ours. Sounds like Curley Sue shared a wonderful life and I do believe, in time, you'll meet again.
Just wanted to say I'm sorry for your loss. I loved your article on pet loss and grieving. It made me cry, but it made me laugh, too, when you described her songs. Each of my critters has their own song that I've adapted in some way to suit them. :-) Thinking of you.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss and just wanted to let you know that we are thinking of you and Richard. The bond you and Curley Sue shared isn't broken; love is eternal and infinite. I realize you, above all people, are bound to have things in perspective, but a reminder never goes astray!
Congratulations on having had such a great friend for such a long time! You obviously showered her with love and careful attention, to have kept her healthy for so long. Again, sincere sympathy to you both.
I send condolences to you on the passing away of your dog and friend, Curley Sue. I know what it's like to lose a very close pet. I don't need to tell *you* about emotional healing, but I will say that the pain goes but the memories never will...and ultimately it's a beautiful thing.
Peace, Love, and Healing to you,
I just found out today about Curley after reading your recent newsletter. I am so sorry to hear that she passed away. I know how much you loved her and I hope you're doing ok. I didn't know her for very long but she was there for most of my sessions. I feel sad because I'm going to miss seeing her when I come in...She was very lucky to have you...and so is Foxy! If you need hugs, you know I'm here..I can stop by even if I am not coming in for a session :) I care about you the same way you have cared about me. HUGS,Gaiane.
Tina, So sorry to hear about the loss of Curly Sue... Wow, It doesn't seem like you had her that long... seems just yesterday you brought her home and I met her soon thereafter. I know you are sad... and that's right... these spaniels do not do very well... especially with their eyes... My sister's spaniel went completely blind and then deaf... so, I am so sad for you. It never gets any easier losing someone we love. We just have to keep loving.
Hi Tina: I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your Curley Sue. I too lost my beloved Ginger some years ago and know to well the empty feeling that comes with that loss. I have kept her ashes and have many pictures of her that keep her spirit alive... She will forever be a part of me and will always remain in my heart. Thanks for sharing... Take care good friend.. Eddie
Tina/Richard, I just open your e-mail, I am so sorry to hear about Curly-Sue. I know it is hard. She had a good life. She is looking down at you both and smiling the big dog smile. Take care Di
Chris and I were so sorry to hear about your loss. Your thoughtful words and Curley Sue's "background story" made us smile, and were a great tribute to your life together. Our thoughts are with you and Richard and Curley's siblings.
Best regards, Julie and Chris
So sorry about your doggie! I know how devastating it is to lose a beloved pet. I love your tale of singing with Curley Sue -- I'll remember that marvelous story!
Sorry to hear about Curley Sue. I know animals become an integral part of a family and no matter how old or ill, it hurts when they have to let go. Marie
'If youíve had a pet, you know how hard it is to lose them,'... have, do and I am saddened by your loss.
The Texas Tornado Beautiful tribute to Curley Sue; I know the pain of losing a pet. God be with you during this sad time! (((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen
I am so sorry for your loss. You are right about the value we place upon our pets. It is good to remember the happy and fun times we shared with our pets. They are truly a blessing in our lives, and even continue to bless us after they have departed. I remember both of your little pets and how they would always stay so close to you. I enjoyed having them with us as we spoke .
I will hold you and Richard in my prayers. I really believe that our pets remain with us forever.
Their souls touch us often.