What’s In Your Tank?

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), one of the most popular and effective martial arts, there is this concept of the “tank”. BJJ is a very physically and mentally taxing activity. Often times how well you do is determined not only by your skill or your strength, but by what’s left in your tank.

Everyone starts out with a certain amount of gas (energy) in their tank. Some start with more than others. But those who are highly skilled know how to use what’s in their tank effectively and efficiently. Through training and preparation one is able to make their tank last longer and go further under stressful conditions. The prepared person stays calm under pressure and does not waste gas. They not only show up with a full tank, they know how to make it last and how to use their gas wisely.

This concept from BJJ is a great lesson that applies to our everyday lives as well. To live the healthiest, most productive, and fulfilling lives it would be wise to make sure our tanks are full of the right stuff. Here are three areas that feed into our tanks. If we keep quality fuel flowing from these areas then our tanks will last longer and we’ll be able to deal more effectively with stress, conflict, and all that life may throw at us.

MIND—Our minds are so crucial to our overall well-being. An unhealthy mind leads to an unhealthy body, which leads to a drained tank. Try these two things to keep your mind healthy:

1. Be a lifelong learner!—Keep feeding and challenging your mind by learning new things. Read books, listen to books on CD while driving, learn a new language, how to dance, or how to play a musical instrument. If you keep feeding your mind it will stay strong and sharp and serve you well.

2. Positive Mental Attitude!—You can change your life by changing your attitude. Negative attitudes drain you, and those around you. Consistent automatic negative thoughts can lead to depression. Try your best to have a positive mental attitude (PMA). Look for the good in people and in life. Ask a close friend to hold you accountable with this to really make a change.

BODY—No matter how sharp your mind is, if you are physically exhausted, you cannot accomplish anything. If you want to keep your tank full and your energy levels high to be able to tackle whatever the day brings you, then you must take care of your body! This means making healthy choices with exercise and nutrition.

For exercise, the easiest way to stick to a program is to find an activity you like, and then do it! There are so many choices available these days when it comes to fitness. Just choose something and start doing it at the level that is appropriate for you.

For healthy nutrition ask your doctor how many calories you should eat each day, then do your best to stick to that amount. If you eat moderate amounts of protein throughout the day and keep your sugar intake down, then your blood sugar will be more stable and your tank will consistently be able to provide you with the energy you need.

SPIRIT—To truly live a life of calm and stability with a tank that can keep you going under the most stressful circumstances, I encourage you to care for yourself spiritually, just as you do mentally and physically.

For those who are certain of their faith, stay involved and connected in your local church. For those unsure of their faith, start asking questions and begin a journey of seeking. Having a strong spiritual foundation provides strength and confidence on a daily basis, as well as in the midst of life’s most difficult moments.

If you follow these suggestions to care for your mind, body, and spirit, then you can have confidence that what’s in your tank is nothing but premium high-octane fuel that will keep you going even in the most stressful situations.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.

Website http://randymoraitis.com/.

marriage

5 Quick Tips for a Healthy Marriage

1. Pre-Marital—if you are thinking about getting married, pre-marital counseling is a must! A very high percentage of the married couples who see me in crisis did not go through pre-marital counseling. Pre-marital counseling will set your marriage up for success by flushing out potential issues and giving you tools in advance to deal with those issues once they arise. If you are already married and did not go through pre-marital, all is not lost! Keep reading.

2. Tune-Ups—We take our cars in for tune-ups and we only expect to have those for several years. We
want our marriages to run like a finely tuned sports car and to last the rest of our lives, but we often put more effort into the maintenance of our cars than our marriages!

Give your marriage regular care and maintenance by seeing a marriage counselor or therapist when you hit a bump in the road. When your car is making a scary sound, you take it in to an expert to get it looked at before it blows up. Do the same with your marriage!

Marriage conferences can be another great form of maintenance and give your marriage a much needed tune up.  Investing a little time away focused on improving your marriage can pay huge dividends.

3. Date Night—With today’s fast paced and busy lifestyles, it is vital for married couples to carve out intentional time each week with the goal of focusing on each other and having fun. For a successful date night follow these rules:

  • Be clear with each other on expectations.
  •  Put effort into planning.
  • Get out of the house.
  • Arrange childcare in advance.
  • Keep the mood positive.  Date night is not the time to talk about problems; it is time for fun and romance.
  • Unless there is a true emergency, keep your promise to have a date.

4. Do-over—Every couple has disagreements and arguments. That is simply part of doing life together. If  we always agreed on everything, life would be boring. If you want to move past disagreements and arguments in a fast and healthy way, then agree to have a do-over rule with your spouse.

Agree in advance that part of the culture of your marriage is that when one of you says “let’s have a do-over”, then you both agree to take a breath, let the issue go, and start fresh. Do-overs are a tool you can use to avoid getting trapped in negative situations of relative unimportance while staying focused on the big picture of having a healthy, loving marriage.

5. Prayer—There really is truth to the old adage that “the family that prays together stays together”.  Dr. David Stoop, licensed psychologist and author of over twenty-five books on marriage and relationships, asserts that there is research proving that married couples who regularly pray together have a significantly lower divorce rate.

Carve out a few minutes each day to sit together, hold hands, and pray for each other. This will take your relationship to a whole new level of intimacy. Once you begin to do this, you learn that it really is hard to remain angry or resentful at someone you are praying for on a regular basis.

I would love to hear your thoughts, as well as any marriage tips that have worked for you. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.
Website http://randymoraitis.com/.

Eating Disorder

The Secret Problem

I have to admit it—I love going out to a good restaurant! For date night with my wife, to celebrate family events, to try new places while traveling, whatever the reason, going out to eat is fun for me.

And judging by the popularity of shows on the Food Network, the number of “Foodie” folks and blogs, it is clear I am not alone in my fondness for food.

But what serves as a source of both sustenance and joy for most folks is also a source of anguish and torment for many others.

For those with Eating Disorders, the mere thought of food, eating, or going to a restaurant can trigger stress, anxiety, and painful emotions.

At a recent conference on Eating Disorders (ED’s) it was stated that at least 8 million people currently suffer from ED’s. Ten percent of these are males. Ninety five percent are between the ages of 12-25 years old. And certainly the number could actually be significantly higher as many do not disclose their disorder and struggle daily in secret.

In fact, this is such a “secret problem” that experts estimate only one in ten of those suffering with ED’s receives the treatment they need.

So what is an Eating Disorder? Good question! Let’s start with what they are not:

  • ED’s are not a disease
  • ED’s are not a choice
  • ED’s are not a moral lapse
  • ED’s are not a life sentence

Eating Disorders are a mental and physical affliction characterized by abnormal and harmful food related behaviors. Those suffering from ED’s have unhealthy beliefs and obsessions about food, body weight, and/or body shape.

Those suffering from ED’s really feel as if they have no choice and their behavior is a compulsion. In stressful situations they cope through food—binging, purging, restricting, or over-exercising. This pulls them into a cycle that they cannot get out of on their own.

One way to tell if you or someone you care about is suffering from an ED is the three strikes rule. If there are three strikes in one week, then that is a strong indicator for an ED. (A strike being an episode of binging, purging, restricting, or over-exercising.)

The good news is that there is hope! Overcoming an ED is not about willpower. Healing comes through professional help and support. Many treatment centers offer programs specifically for ED’s. Therapists, counselors, and Registered Dieticians are also a great source of support.

Additionally, there are numerous ED support groups in most communities that one can locate through a quick Google search.

The truth is, you and I both know someone who struggles with an ED. Let’s do our best to shed some light on this issue and get those we love the support they need and deserve.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any other issue in your life. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.
Website: www.randymoraitis.com, www.carepossible.

stress

Feeling stressed out? You are not alone! According to an American Psychological Association survey 66% of Americans are suffering from the effects of too much stress.

Experiencing some stress is a normal part of life and can even be helpful in specific situations where focus or quick reactions are needed. It is frequent or long term stress that is really bad for us and can lead to numerous health problems.

If you are feeling stressed out, use these three tips to help you avoid and reduce the stress in your life.

1. TIME MANAGEMENT—Feeling like the clock is running out, feeling like there is too much to do and not enough time to do it in? These feelings are so stressful! When I was a single dad I frequently felt as though I was treading water and that if I did not keep going, I would drown. Once I learned about time management and prioritizing my tasks, my stress level was dramatically reduced.

One of the first action items a Life Coach takes with a client is to have them get control of their calendar. This insures that client is controlling their schedule instead of their schedule controlling them.

Start using Outlook or Google Calendar to manage your schedule. Be sure to plan out your week in advance at the beginning of each week and put everything you want to accomplish in your calendar. Keep it real and be sure to schedule time for family, fun, and fitness. Once you do this you will be on your way to reducing your stress levels.

2. COMMUNITY—Life is not meant to be done alone! People with strong bonds in their families and friendships cope with stress much better. Devote time to nurturing the relationships in your life.

Join a small group in your local church. No matter what your level of faith, you will be accepted by a community of people who will be there for you during stressful times in your life. This level of support is incredibly beneficial.

If there is a specific issue causing your stress, there is probably a support group for that issue in your community. A quick Google search will help you find the support group that is right for you. Find one that is right for you and show up!

3. BOUNDARIES—If you are stressed out because you have too much to do, you may need to work on your boundaries! A person with healthy boundaries knows when to let good stuff into their lives and when to keep the bad stuff out.

It is OK for you to be assertive and say no to certain requests. You do not have to say yes to everything people (including your kids!) ask of you. And when you set your calendar up for the week in advance, a quick glance at it will often tell you when to say no to a request.

Learning how to have healthy boundaries is vital to our well-being. In fact, boundaries will be the topic of the next issue of Wisdom on the Way.

For now, I hope you have a fun, low stress summer. So take charge of your calendar, get involved in healthy community, and start setting healthy boundaries.

I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org

Websites: www.carepossible.org, www.thecrossing.com, www.randymoraitis.com

forgive
Have you ever been hurt? Have you ever been betrayed by a friend? Have you ever had someone close let you down? Have you ever been a victim? Have you ever had someone you love break your heart?

If you have, I am so sorry you experienced that, and I am glad you are reading this because I want to help you get over that hurt. To get to a place of forgiveness.

Forgiving those who have hurt us, who have violated our trust, who have broken our hearts, who have damaged us…maybe done unspeakable things to us…well, it seems so unfair and unnatural

What if the other person isn’t sorry? Or what if they’re not even alive anymore? How can we forgive them? And why should we?

Let’s look at the “why” first. When you forgive someone, it is not for them. It is for you. Having forgiveness as a part of your life is good for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. The Stanford Forgiveness Project clearly showed that there are numerous benefits to forgiveness

Keep in mind that forgiving someone does not mean that you forget what he or she did or that you excuse what they did. It also does not mean that you must reconcile with the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is not about the other person—it is about you.

When you forgive, you experience healing. There is a great quote that says, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was YOU.” (Lewis B. Smedes)

So how do you forgive?

1. It starts with a decision. You wrap your mind around how forgiveness is a healthy choice that will bring you freedom and healing, and then you decide to do it. You take ownership for forgiving. Oftentimes we have problems, stress, and unhealthiness in our lives because we do not take ownership of our issues. We do not own our business, our stuff. Own the decision to forgive the person who hurt you.

2. The second step is to be honest about the hurt. Don’t minimize it. Don’t live in denial. Don’t blame yourself. And don’t make excuses for the person who hurt you.

It is OK to get angry when working through forgiveness. That is part of the process. Everything on your “unforgiven” list represents something that was lost or taken from you. In order to have forgiveness for painful hurts, we need to start by grieving the loss. We do that by acknowledging the anger and the sadness.

Do not stuff the hurts. Be honest with yourself, and even consider talking with a counselor or therapist who will provide you with a safe place to process the pain and anger. If you do harbor any unforgiveness, perhaps today is the day you can begin to experience the healing and freedom you need and deserve. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

I would love to hear your thoughts–randy@randymoraitis.com. www.randymoraitis.com www.thecrossing.com.