Misty Marshall: Something more than feelings

Hello there again my dear friends. I hope that this week you all kept those New Yearâ??s Resolutions! The new yearâ?¦ What is it about the New Year that causes people to want to change the behaviors that they feel are not beneficial to themselves? New year, New You, New Year, New opportunity, New Year, clean slate! All little clichéâ??s that are suppose to make us somehow wake up at a minute past midnight with this sudden resolve to make drastic changes in our lives!

Now, I donâ??t know about you but the only thing I was thinking of a minute past midnight was when I could reunite with my cozy warm bed. I did stay up and watch the ball drop, toasted at midnight with my family (this year my glass was full of water), and even managed to sneak a kiss from the hubby, but I can honestly say that the last thing on my mind was what changes I wanted to make in my life.

My last blog talked about change, and how we all love change (I hope you can all feel my sarcasm) and in this blog I want to focus on how to accomplish change without compromising our sanity!

Recently, I was privileged to attend a conference on stress management using a cognitive behavioral approach. It is kind of ironic because this conference was for a group of foster parents who by far have one of the worldâ??s most stressful jobs. During this conference I felt like someone was completely reading my mail because it was as if the curriculum was written for me.

The individual that taught the seminar was completely amazing. She has had several different positions within the Human Services field and has much experience when it comes to managing stress. She could have entertained us all day with just the stories she told, but what I received from that seminar was by far life changing!

I was given a visual with four optionsâ?¦feelings, emotions, thoughts, and actions. These words in themselves are self-explanatory but when you think of them as a group they possess much power. I have noticed how they impact each other. An example of this is when I am feeling emotional my thoughts tend to be a bit more depressing, and my actions fall into place accordingly. When my thoughts are positive, I feel like I can conquer the world! When my actions are a bit shady, I may feel like hiding from reality, which makes me perhaps have some emotional reactions that may not be positive. They are all connected somehow in this great circle of psychology!

I say all of this because I want to tie it in with the healthy lifestyle change that I am accomplishing slowly but surely. I want to take my readers back to the moment that I found the posting on 7&4 about their interest in finding people willing to make healthy lifestyle changes. At that moment a million thoughts crossed my mind. First, they would never pick me what do I have to offer them? Second, Wow, this would be a huge opportunity, another thought, what if I fail, and yet another, I could do this, it would be a dream come true to be able to express my feelings through blog writing, I would so be able to accomplish huge things! Yet another thought, this kind of thing doesnâ??t happen to people like me!

My feelings, excitement, wow, what if they did choose me, embarrassment, this means I would have to be an open book to all of Northern Michigan and be honest about my addictionâ?¦yet another feeling, nervousness, fear, and a bit of anxiety!

Emotionsâ?¦a few tears, thinking of all the what-ifâ??s, vulnerability, my enemy, letting strangers into my personal territory, my inner deep soul, the very part of me that has caused me to become an addict. At that time, a huge flood of emotions were present!

Now itâ??s time to get down to the â??nitty grittyâ??â?¦Actions!

It was a Friday. My kids were at school and I was sitting at home trying to do some homework for my last semester at Baker College. I believe I was doing a research project for one of my more difficult classes and my motivation was lacking so I began browsing in Facebook land. Itâ??s not often that I have one of those moments where I suddenly feel so overwhelmed I have to do something immediately but I quickly â??likedâ?? the posting about the healthy living challenge so I could find it again and opened up a word document and started a letter.

I remember this moment quite clearly because it was life changing to me. I sat at my computer and began to think about the way I was feeling. It isnâ??t too unusual for me to write because it is one of my passions but this time was different. I didnâ??t know who would come across my submission letter so I figured I would just put everything right out there and they could either read it and like it or throw it in the garbage. Either way I was committed to putting something on paper.

As I began to write I realized that my actions were giving me a voice. For the first time I was able to explain my frustration with my addiction to food and it was making sense to me! I was processing my own thoughts, feelings, and emotions! Boy, did it feel good too!

I must have read the finished product what seemed like a bazillion (if thatâ??s a number) times before I submitted it to the 7&4 newsroom! I wanted every T to be crossed, and every I dotted! I didnâ??t tell anyone before I sent it! Besides my first date with my husband (thatâ??s a whole different story) this is probably the most risky thing that I have ever done. This could turn into a huge opportunity of a lifetime or be a letdown, but either way the letter was sentâ?¦the deed was done!

After I submitted my letter I forwarded it to one of my closest supports Danette. I know I have talked about her before but let me take a minute to explain how fabulous of a friend she is and how much she means to me. Danette was (Iâ??m graduated, boy does it feel good to say that) one of my professors at Baker. She taught several of the Human Services classes and is just an amazing person! She is the kind of individual that once you meet her she leaves a lasting imprint on you. She is compassionate, caring, and genuine! Danette doesnâ??t just want to see her students succeed, she takes the time to invest in us and it is pretty much impossible to fail in her class. She is one of those professors that when you see her name on your class schedule as the instructor you jump for joy!

Danette is probably best known for being the one person that could motivate me to step foot into a gym! The gym is her turfâ?¦she is crazily motivated when it comes to exercise and knows her stuff. Simply amazingâ?¦INSPIRING! Her encouragement has taken me to a whole new level of confidence and she means the world to me! For this reason I was intimidated to send this submission letter to her and informing her that I had already submitted it. Since she has spent time with me in the gym and has taught me the basics she was mentioned in the letter. I figured she would either kill me or encourage me so I took the plunge! And soâ?¦I sent it (actions) and sat back and waited for a response.

I wonâ??t share what her response to the letter was because it was very personal, but I can honestly say it brought me to tears! I got her e-mail as I was riding in the passenger seat of my car on the way to take my kids to dinner, and since I had not explained to my husband Dave what I had done it was difficult to explain the tears in my eyes.

Now, back to the original question, which are more important thoughts, feelings, emotions, or actions? Well if I would have thought about writing a submission letter to 7&4 and stopped there I wouldnâ??t be writing this blog today. Should I have let my feelings of nervousness, fear and anxiety keep me from writing my submission letter I never would have opened up a word document to begin my letter, and if my emotions would have taken over I would have never allowed my vulnerability to show. The answer my friendâ?¦ Actions!

Let me be practical. When it comes to making healthy changes and choices in life we can sit around and rationalize our thoughts, feelings, and emotions all day long but it is not until that moment when we make a conscious choice to get up off of the couch and take a step in the right direction that we experience the first step in making an impact on the problem.

I am so glad I wrote that letter to 7&4! This journey has changed my life and I am forever grateful to them for the opportunity to open up about my life story and addiction. If I hadnâ??t taken that step I would still be back rationalizing my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Itâ??s so nice to have an opportunity to share them with you, my readers!

So now we come to the conclusion of this blog and I always like to initiate a challenge to you! Todayâ??s challenge is to get beyond the thoughts, feelings, and emotional stage and take a small action step! I will be there for you on your own journey, whether it is weight loss, New Yearâ??s resolutions, addiction, or simply getting over one of your deepest darkest fears. I guarantee you; if you do this your life will never be the same! You are worth it my dear, and you will feel better after that initial step!

A simple quote for you to remember as you begin your action stepâ?¦from one of my favorite authors, none other than the very wise Dr. Suess â??You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you chooseâ??.

Please take a minute to let someone know what your action step was. I cannot wait to hear from my readers about the amazing things we will accomplish in our journey! Letâ??s take this beyond something more than feelings!

Letâ??s make it happen,