So...let's start with the new SHARE site! I thought I was computer savvy, until it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to even find the link to allow me to write a new blog post :) BUT, I found it (I still don't know how, haha), and here I am, typing away! The new site looks AMAZING from what I have seen of it so far. I didn't get to explore it until just now because I really wanted to dedicate a quality block of time to be able to sit down and focus on just this - hard to come by these days. Thank you, thank you, thank you to ALL of the people who dedicated so much time and energy to creating this new site. It looks like it has so much to offer, and I think I've only just touched the surface of it so far.
Since SHARE has been down, I've had a few different posts rattling around my brain. On the mind today is MIND vs. BODY. I have come to realize that when our body is physically WELL, it is capable of SO many things. It is our MIND that often gets in our way and sets up road blocks. I am no stranger to the mind interfering with living life to the fullest. Before I was married, and Marco and Lucia were just twinkles in my eyes, I struggled with anxiety. I still do, but I have learned how to better manage it with good coping strategies. Of course they don't always work, but let's just say that I've come a long way from where I was 10 years ago.
Our bodies can carry us through. Of course stress and mental illness can affect us physically, but our bodies carry on at times when our mind says we cannot. I recently participated in a 12 hour stress-management course through work. It was an EXCELLENT workshop. It was broken down into 1 hour sessions over 12 weeks. The focus was mindfulness and how practicing mindfulness on a regular basis can lead to stress reduction. I am embarrassed to admit that I did not follow through on our weekly "homework" assignments as I should have in order to get the most of it. The assignments were basically for us to develop a regular mindfulness practice. I do intend on doing that, I just have to figure out what the barrier is that's getting in my way and how to remove it. That being said, I still took away a LOT from the workshop. A lot of what the instructor talked to us about was information that I had heard before, but it is always helpful to hear it again as a reminder.
The most helpful reminder for me was that our emotions and thoughts can AMPLIFY each other. Practicing mindfulness can help create distance between our being and our thoughts/emotions and help us to remember that just because we have a THOUGHT doesn't mean that it is TRUE. The more stressed we are, the more incapable we become at remembering this fact, which makes us more stressed, and on and on the cycle goes. Case in point: I struggle with the fear that I will not be able to have anymore children (and then the complexity of the guilt for asking for more when I've been given Lucia). Typing that sentence actually makes me feel anxious. Anyway - I have that fearful thought, which makes me feel stressed, which re-enforces the thought, which creates more stress. YUCK!
One of my favorite analogies the instructor gave during the class was that of our thoughts being like boxcars on a train. We can watch the boxcars on a train go by, one by one, just as we can watch our thoughts go by. I have a tendency to JUMP on the train and ride the boxcars unnecessarily. I have a thought, I believe it, and I jump on that thought and obsess and stay with it. I am reminded with this analogy to acknowledge it, but then to let it GO. I told Bruno about this great analogy (he is much more rational than me, by the way). Now whenever I'm harping on some irrational thought, he says to me "Libby, let the train go by". Love that man :)
Anyway - this post kind of poured out of me and I think I'm getting rambly now...so, to tie it all together, I wanted to share that I just signed up for a half-marathon last night! It will be in November. My neighbor (aka "the one who talked me into it") says I have plenty of time to train. This is HUGE for me. I have never thought of myself as a runner. Recently, I have pushed myself to take up running. I haven't run more than a 5K, so this should be interesting! Going back to the MIND vs. BODY thing - this will be a true test of the mind. I know that my body can do it - I am physically capable if I train correctly. It is my mind that will test me. My mind will try to get in the way. Maybe at times it will surprise me and work with me, but I know it's going to be a challenge. I may have the thought that I can't do it - but I will practice my mindfulness strategies and try to remember that that is JUST thought and NOT fact. SO - 13.1 - here I come!!
MARCO - I LOVE you. You and your amazing little sister push me every day to be the best me that I can be. I know you'll be with me as I take on this new challenge :)
That's awesome! You can run with me at SU. :) I'm running a half marathon a couple weeks after SU and I'm getting super nervous already. LOL I can do about 5 miles right now but that's a long way from 13.1!
And I totally agree - my body can do much more than my mind can. Thanks for reminding me to get out of my own head sometimes.
I give all you runners some big pats on the back... I think I would pass out in the Florida Heat and humidity. My mind and body gets tired thinking about running 5 miles! Miss you all!
What a great post, Libby! I love that Marco is your biggest cheerleader and also the one how keeps you grounded.
And a half marathon? Go you!! I'm so very impressed. And inspired. Not to run, good heavens no but to continue to push myself, both my mind and my body, to do more, to be better than I currently think I can.
I'm in such need of a stress management course. I think in order to get past my anxieties I have to pause the world and keep others away from me. Hmmm....something to work on! As for the running thing....YOU GO GIRL!! I seriously envy runners and wish that I could do it, but I've never had someone who would start off slow with me so I'm not into the running scene. Keep us posted on how the training is going!
Libby, thanks for the insight you've shared from your workshops. We can most definitely handle more of the physical than our mind makes us believe ... and then there's the flip side when body pushes to outdo the mind. I think too much as well instead of just being in the moment.
proud of you for taking up running! The most I've ever run is a 5K ... and I haven't done one in a while. Nearly two years after having Kelsey, my body has finally gotten back into the flow. I wish you the best!
Libby, the workshop you attended sounds fabulous! I'm so glad that you were able to take away so much from it. Love meaningful workshops:) So awesome that you are doing a marathon! You GO Libby! Can't wait to see you at SU!
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