Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Quotes of Hope and Inspiration for the New Year

There are millions of quotes about every aspect of life. Too many to list of course, I wanted to share some of the more powerful ones for me; the ones that help me find strength as I cope with the chronic pain from dystonia. I hope you find some that resonate with you that you can embrace and put into practice in your life.

I often like to pick just one quote, affirmation, saying, prayer, etc., put it to memory, and refer to it as I go about my day. I do my best to really feel what the words are saying and apply them when I need perspective and clarity about something. Sometimes I will take one quote (the first one by Helen Keller is a great example) and play with it for a week or more until it becomes part of me and shifts my thinking. Use them how you feel is most appropriate for your life. Please also share your favorite quotes in the comments section below. Thank you and peace and happiness to you in 2017!

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. Helen Keller ~

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.Neil Gaiman ~

Life is deep and simple. What our society gives us is shallow and complicated. Be a first rate version of yourself. Not a second rate version of someone else. ~ Unknown ~

Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. ~ John Wooden ~

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.Robert H. Schuller ~

The successful know that the road to success is always under construction; they understand the roughness of it and never expected it to be smooth.Hernert O Nobleman ~

There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life. Getting back up is living.Unknown ~

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.'  ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson ~

If we continue to think and act the same way, we will continue to get the same results. We must be willing to think and act differently if we want to change.Unknown ~

In life we don't get do overs. We get do betters. Acknowledge all of your do betters.  ~ Tom Seaman ~

Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don't give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.  ~ Tena Desae ~

You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individual. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.Marie Curie ~

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. ~ John Wooden ~

No matter the number of times you fail you must be determined to succeed. You must not lose hope. Don't stop in your storm. Don't give up so easily.Tony Narams ~

I'm not giving up. I'm just starting over.Unknown ~

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Helen Keller ~

Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company... You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.John Piper ~

Even your past pain can be a blessing to someone. Hopelifters are willing to reach back and pass hope on. Kathe Wunnenberg ~

Visualize something totally funny or crazy! This will instantly change how you feel because you can't visualize two things at the same time.Mark Snyder ~

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present.Bil Keane ~

When you pray be careful of how you respond to what you get. If you pray for rain, don't complain about the mud!Hyacinth Mottley ~

Do what you want and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.Dr. Seuss ~

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.  ~ Mark Twain ~

I love you. Thank you. Please forgive me. I'm sorry.ho’oponopono ~ (ancient Hawaiian healing practice)

Happiness isn’t a state, it’s a skill. It’s the skill of knowing how to take what life throws your way and make the most of it.Gary Null ~

The mind is like velcro for negative experiences and teflon for positive experiences.Rick Hanson ~

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.Winston Churchill ~

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.Elisabeth Kubler-Ross ~

When you’re good to yourself, you’re being good to everyone around you because when you feel good, you’ll only react well to other people. At the same time, it’s very easy for you to do things for other people when you know that other people are just an extension of yourself.Anita Moorjani ~

Let go of what has happened. Let go of what may come. Let go of what is happening now. Don’t try to figure anything out. Don’t try to make anything happen. Relax, right now, and rest. ~ Unknown ~

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.Lao Tzu ~

What seems nasty, painful, or evil can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.Henry Miller ~

Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.Stephen King ~ (most well known from the movie "Shawshank Redemption")

We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet ~

If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you. Paramhansa Yogananda ~

Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been. ~ Mark Twain ~

Be gentle with yourself. You're doing the best you can.Unknown ~

Tom Seaman is a chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone living with any life challenge. He is also a support group leader for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) and Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness. To learn more about Tom and get a copy of his book, visit www.diagnosisdystonia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stress Management Tips

As we all know, stress and dystonia (or any other health condition) do not mix. It can have a negative impact on our symptoms, such as increased spasms, twisting, pulling, pain, anxiety, headaches, physical weakness, increased tension, sleep interference, and many other problems. Stress can be especially high around the holidays, making it even more important to take care of ourselves.

A dystonic body is under significant stress during normal circumstances, making our response to additional stress potentially catastrophic. Stress can affect us to such an extent that our nervous system is always aroused, keeping us trapped in fight or flight mode because our body is conditioned, particularly if we are in pain, to always be on guard. Walk into a busy store this holiday season and even a person without dystonia is bound to experience symptom overload and be in fight or flight mode.

If stress is prolonged, adrenaline and cortisol maintain tension in the body. Over time, muscle tension can become habitual which pulls the body further away from relaxation. You may reach a point where you are no longer aware how constricted your muscles have become, and relaxing them can be very difficult. In fact, if you try to relax, your muscles may tighten even more because they have forgotten what letting go and relaxing feels like. This is why mind/body relaxation exercises are vital.

Keeping muscles tense drains much more energy than keeping muscles relaxed, which is one reason so many of us with dystonia experience intense pain and fatigue. This is why the tips below are so important because it is only when the body finds relaxation that it can reverse the damaging effects of stress.

Stress management tips:
  • Deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Stop what you are doing. Breathe gently, but deeply, from your abdomen. On the out breath say to yourself, “Be calm. Be peaceful.”
  • Allow time to pass. When we stress, everything can feel like an emergency. This is all about anxious arousal, which is temporary. Every feeling of panic comes to an end; every concern wears itself out; and every so-called emergency evaporates
  • When you are rushed say, “There is plenty of time. Stay calm.”
  • Talk to family, friends, therapist, or support group about the situations you find stressful
  • Listen to music
  • Keep a journal
  • Spend time in prayer and meditation
  • Eat a balanced diet of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Avoid caffeine, sugar, and white flour products
  • Exercise if you can; modify activities to accommodate your symptoms
  • Laugh! Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy club. Tell jokes. If you don’t know any, learn some. Spend time around babies and animals. Watch something funny on television or YouTube
  • Avoid isolation. When we lose connection with others it can intensify stress, as well as depression, loneliness, fear, and anger
  • Accept help when it is offered and ask for help when you need it
  • Get outdoors and spend time in nature; it can be very grounding
  • Do not argue about things that are unproductive
  • Avoid people who cause you stress
  • Don’t waste time worrying about what could have been. The past is over. Focus on the present moment
  • Simplify your goals
  • Pace yourself
  • Engage in fun, pleasurable activities as much as possible

Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, and volunteers for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, for WEGO Health as a patient expert panelist, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. To learn more about Tom’s coaching practice and get a copy of his book, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday Book Sale!!

Happy Holidays from my home to yours! Through 12/31/16, please enjoy 20% off the print version of my book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey. For you, family, friends, and doctors, this book has something for everyone. It is also a great gift idea!

Use Coupon Code "HOLIDAY" when you check out at this link www.diagnosisdystonia.com.

Please also enjoy a Kindle Sale on Amazon from 12/14 - 12/18.


For those unfamiliar with the book, it covers topics from the diagnosis onward, such as grief, fear, anxiety, depression, isolation, pain and pain management, lifestyle strategies, nutrition, effective doctor visits, talking to others, social stigma, relationships, practical skills for daily living (mental and physical), treatment options, stress and stress management, coping skills, etc. It is applicable to anyone with a chronic health condition or any other life challenge. Please see the reviews on Amazon.

Happy, healthy holidays to all!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Acceptance: The dystonia challenge

“Acceptance doesn't mean resignation. It means understanding that something
is what it is and there's got to be a way through it."
~ Michael J. Fox ~

Dystonia can alter the course of our life from subtle to dramatic ways, but it need not be how we define ourselves. Reaching the point where we can be at peace with this when living with such difficult symptoms is one of the hardest things we will ever do, but dystonia is not the definition of our life. It is not the book of our life. It is just one chapter of our life among many other chapters.

Work hard every day to think about your life right now and not the life you once had. This is the way everyone should live, dystonia or not. The past is over and as much as you may miss your former self, you must let go and live in the present.

Focus on things just as they are; not the way you think they should be. The changes that can come out of this acceptance are incredible. Take each day one at a time and fully embrace even the most seemingly minor accomplishments. Frankly, given our challenges, the things we do now are much greater accomplishments than before dystonia when everything was much easier. Honor yourself for this! With what many have to deal with, sometimes just getting out of bed is an accomplishment. Please acknowledge this!

Saying how much we hate dystonia won’t make it go away. I promise! Instead, find a way to cohabitate with it because no amount of anger will ever take it away. This has been one of the most important things I have learned (still learning) to better manage all of the symptoms that come with my dystonia, physical, mental, and otherwise. I had to learn to live with it rather than fight with it. The more I do this, the less power it has over me. This might sound counterintuitive, but it might be the best way for us to find peace and healing. Stop waging war on your dystonia. You will only get worse.

I had years of ruthless symptoms where I could barely speak sometimes because of the breathtaking pain, to starting a business, becoming a certified life coach, and writing a book. I still deal with some pretty rough symptoms, but my mind is in a better place where I am more at peace with how things are. This leads to greater acceptance and a greater ability to be more productive.

I am not near as productive as I once was and would like to be, but beating myself up over this is a complete waste of time and energy. I would rather focus what energy I have on my abilities, rather than all that is wrong with me. I invite you to do more of the same. Accept what is rather than dwell in the past or on everything you can't do. Focus on your abilities. I know most of you do more than you give yourself credit. Please shift your mindset and celebrate yourself!

We all have periods when we feel overmatched and not up to the challenges, but we always get through the day. If you have a racing mind full of questions and concerns, please reach out to the many forums, support groups in your area, and dystonia organizations to talk with others who can relate. Dystonia can be distressing and exhausting. Share what you are thinking and feeling. Listen to what others are saying. You will find that you are far from alone.

You need not feel any shame. You have done nothing wrong to be in this situation. Take control and do what is best for you in order to better manage today, and just today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

It is not what happens to us in life that defines us. It is what we do with it that defines us. 

Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, and volunteers for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, for WEGO Health as a patient expert panelist, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. To learn more about Tom’s coaching practice and get a copy of his book, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram