How to Get Over a Major Hurt

Thorny experiences are challenging. Bruised memories of a taxing ordeal linger on like a bad dream even after grinding through the pain and discomfort.

This baggage not only casts a negative shadow, it takes up space.  Living with a past hurt is like having a dreary dungeon-like room in your home so crammed full of unsightly objects you cannot get in to open a window and let the sun shine in.

Ridding yourself of the urge to ruminate over painful experiences takes some extra effort. Think pageantry or radical action. Recently I read about a practice called a sorrow bonfire.  I never was much of a Campfire Girl but the idea appeals to me.There is power in fire. Take your painful experience and commit it to paper. Trek out to the beach or a campsite and create a bonfire.

Bring some friends along to witness the event. With sincere reflection toss your missive into the fire.  As you watch the document go up in flames, reflect on the fact it’s been reduced to ash. It can no longer throw a dark pallor over your life.

Sometimes you just need to beat the crap out of a huge hurt.

Years ago, when I felt my stress and frustration level mounting, I’d head out to a local game room. Upon entering I’d make a beeline for a game involving a soft mallet used to beat down pop-up gophers. Smacking those little guys back in their hole was not only a fun stress reliever; I also racked up multiple valuable redeemable points. My next move was to gift some little person with tickets that could be converted into cute stuffed animals.

The smiles I received in return were worth the all the money I poured into the gopher machine. I left feeling joyful on the drive home.

In her book, “Happiness as a Second Language,” author Valerie Alexander offers up another interesting action to rid yourself of a painful experience. Fill a piñata with fun little treats.

Next hang it up and hammer your paper-mache image with all your might as you commit to letting go of the bad memory forever. Then scoop up the delights and share them with others.

Ready to leave your pain behind and move on? Try the bonfire or piñata or any other method that ends in joy. Let go of the hurt. It’s time, right?

Change to The Future

Grabbing a magazine I stuffed it in my purse on my way out the door. I knew there would be a wait and it was an ideal time to catch up on reading one of the many periodicals delivered to my door. Full disclosure, I had to force myself to select this particular magazine.

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I hadn’t read an issue in months and I knew why. The publication converted from a typical shiny cover to a stock parchment with a different look and feel. Even the pages between the cover lost their luster.

As I began leafing through the periodical in search of an interesting article, I soon settled on one about an editor who attempted to conquer her biggest fear: performing stand-up comedy. By third paragraph I forgot about missing the tactical feel of the journal.  After reading three articles in the time allotted, I experience an “aha” moment. When I stopped to think about the untouched back issues piling up in my office, I realized I was avoiding change. Something that was no longer shiny, smooth and familiar was left ignored because it was different.

Having prided myself on being a change agent, I was faced with a reality causing me to examine some other areas of my life. Running through my memory bank I wondered, did I always drive the same route, hang out with the same friends and frequent the same restaurants? Had I stopped searching out the new and different?

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At the end of my reverie I came up guilty as charged. I sighed and vowed to start changing things up in my everyday life.

Why do we avoid change? The answer is easy. It takes energy. It means removing ourselves from auto-pilot. I’ve read enough books about changing habits to know the limbic part of our brain doesn’t like change and would be blissfully happy to do the same things over and over again.

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Want to change something in your life? Here’s the good news. There are only three parts to implementing change: desire, intent and persistence.  You must do the work; it doesn’t happen on its own.

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Be like the editor who changed her behavior and ended up on an improv stage in a Dallas comedy house. Okay, perhaps stand-up isn’t your game, but you can experience and accomplish something new and different. So kick it up a notch or two and make your life more exciting.

Don’t try, just do. I did. Sometimes even a life coach needs some inspiration and I found it in the book: “The 52 Weeks: How Two Women Got Unstuck, Got Inspired and Got Going,” by Pam Godwin and Karen Amster-Young. Since breezing through this manual on moving forward, I’ve changed my hair style, revamped my wardrobe and as you’ve discovered by now, arranged for my blog to have a facelift.

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The process has been fun and invigorating. So what changes will you make in your life this week? Leave a comment and let me know. I encourage you to move out of your comfort zone and go where the magic happens.

P.S. A big shout out to Online Business Manager, Kippy Flur who gave Life on The Sunny Side a new look!

Labeling a Winner

Recently I clicked on an interesting blog about a young man who at the age of fourteen set a goal of getting straight A’s throughout high school. It sounded like an admirable achievement so I read on to observe his strategy.

Steven attained success by employing two distinct methodologies. After considerable research and reflection of his past grades, he discovered students who earn lower grades employ last minute study habits. Attempting to tackle assignments at the eleventh hour adds an element of pressure. Kids who do so often end up frazzled and tired when sitting for an exam. What is key to an A student’s approach is immediate learning and processing of new information.

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Okay, that’s not rocket science. Anyone who has ever popped No Doz and pulled an all-nighter can testify to the stupidity of the process. Sure you may end up passing with a mediocre grade, but studies performed at UCLA claim inadequate sleep patterns cause a compounded issue. Habits of cramming and sleep deprivation result in greater academic problems.

The flip side of avoiding last minute cramming into the wee hours of the morning is keeping up with assignments on a daily basis, a process Steven took seriously. Before engaging in playing any video games, he completed his homework. Again, not an earth shattering breakthrough approach, just a matter of establishing an uncomplicated habit.

What really impressed me about Steven’s commitment to earning straight A’s was a mindset shift involving a new label. He began thinking of himself as an A student. 4.0 became more than a goal, it was his identity.

Adopting a new persona was a theory worth testing, and I did. After contemplating this approach, I purchased a new workout shirt that reads: #Fierce. It is pink and cute and something new to wear to the gym a place I dread but am forced to frequent because “The Punisher,” my personal trainer, (AKA Brad Kingsberg of Nutri-Power Fitness) expects me to show up.  But here’s the thing, I now have a new label. When I brand myself #Fierce, I act the part

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performing more like an individual who enjoys pumping iron and strength training than a sleep deprived class C student who can barely make it through the last set of chest flies.

Want to change the way life is grading you? Change your label. You can over-perform in school, at work or on the playing field. Begin by instituting some positive habits, and be sure to create a new winning identity.