Tag Archives: Fitness

How to Keep Your (Inner) Child Happy

In the much-loved movie Big an apparent adult is a child, a happy.  This post is about how keep to our inner child alive and happy even when old and gray.

Not grown up by t0, no need to keep trying

Emotional Fitness Thoughts and Tips

Okay, first let’s get a few things straight.  Children are being romantically elevated by the “Don’t trust those over thirty” crowd.  Watch the commercials that have  kids driving cars, and lecturing grown ups.

The most recent one, I saw had two squirts who appear to be in first grade lecturing adults on very grown up topics while using the most up to date smart phone.

None of this is helpful, because children are not really smarter than adults, although given some adults, it often seems that way. However, the ad-men  want us to feel unhappy with now, so we will buy.  Mostly, sell things we never heard of, never knew existed, have never needed and that will not make us as happy as  we sometimes were as kids.

Disclaimer:  I am not at all against people buying, buying, and buying more. I want people to buy, if they can afford it.

Fact: we need the rich to spend, spend, spend.  The rich who buy the latest fashions, cars, jewels or who have three or four mega houses are mega employers. That said, my heart wishes the rich would give, give, and buy mainly to give.

Remember, the TV show the Millionaire. Well ,maybe not, but this very rich person anonymous gave mega bucks to others. Changed their lives.  Certainly a million or two thrown my way would make my life different and would let me do more of what matters to me.  Why I buy at least one lottery ticket a week.

Anyway, back to the child within.  Inner Child healing was popularized by John Bradshaw . The word healing as used by Bradshaw meant the focus was on how parents wounded children. His thoughts were related to a larger therapy movement based  on Object Relations Theory. Because that was a therapy movement it also focused on the damage parents do. Helpful only when a child was truly a victim of abuse.

One of the founders of object relations theory Donald Winnecott, a founder of the Object Relations movement, coined the phrase “Good-enough” parenting to stop the process of making all parents into abusers. Did not work for many.

Why?  Because we have all been hurt as children by good parents and good enough parents.  This means quickly we quickly identify with hurt children.  Good if we work toward keeping children from being abused. Not so good if we end up  thinking we have been abused when we have not.

EMOTional FItness Training tips

Tip one: Be aware of all the  beings that are part of  your inner self.  The Transactional Analysis (TA) theorists believe we have at least five inner beings guiding our feelings and behavior.  Two are parents – one is a nurturing parent, the other a critical parent; another is called our  adult which is a computer like thinking self; and finally two are children: one free and the other adapted meaning controlled or shaped by parents.

I find the TA ideas most helpful when it comes to improving myself awareness which the emotional intelligence people is a major part of being in control of feelings and behavior.  Taking a minute to ask which part of an inner self is talking, lets us make better use of their information.

Tip two: Honor all.  And yes that means knowing and hearing not just our nurturing parents, but also our critical ones.  The critical parent within, particularly when he or she has not slipped over into abuse,  is trying to teach us what matters, what we need to learn to keep  safe and to  get along in life.  We need to honor the good, but also the lessons we can learn from the bad.

Honoring all does not mean forgetting the hurtful behavior, or enduring abuse. Abused? Get out of the relationship or at least physically out of it. Hardest to do in a marriage as a parent, but essential.

It also probably means distancing emotionally and strengthening your protective shield. Particularly with children who have to be cut off from physical contact because they abuse parents or someone else if living in the same house.  Also difficult, if the abuser is a partner you love dearly when he or she is not abusive.

What you need to do to stop the abuse from living in your heart and still hurting you is to forgive and to establish an “I forgive” relationship with the abuser while staying where you cannot be abused.  How is that possible?

First you have to be safe and if you are living with an abuser, get professional help. When you are safe, you can work on the forgiveness part.

The door to forgiveness is accepting that we are all human and the human state is far from perfect. Everyone does the best she or he can do. You do, the abuser does. When the best someone can do is abuse, that is tragic and easily leads to wanting to hurt.  However, that only keeps the circle of abuse spinning.

As this How to Forgive Poster Coach notes, accepting that we all do the best we can jump starts forgiveness. .

forgiveness exercise

The poster deals with forgiving yourself because that is key to forgiving others. Why?  Our feelings about ourselves often determine how we feel about otheres. If we have been the victim of abuse, part of us has accepted we deserved punishment and that needs putting aside.

Finally, if we have been victims of abuse, the desire to indulge in pay back is natural, but not useful and needs to be set aside and forgiving.

Tip Three; Laugh and play.  Remember laughing and playing.  Our  hurt inner child is often stronger than our free or happy inner child.  That means we have to work harder to nourish the happy child.  Do remember play means play.

Not sure what I mean; think of Bob Hope’s definition of golf:  “If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.”

For play to be play, it has to be fun.


Competition is about winning and a little competition is fun and can build a child’s emotional strength. However, as no one win’s all the time,  learning to loses gracefully is major life lesson.

Remind a competitive child, that winning is fun, but also involves luck as well as talent and every one wins some and loses some throughout all of life.

How you handle a loss is the better measure of character and a good character is key to living the good life.


Thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing. Kindness is blesses the giver and the receiver.


Links of interest

 Word Press Daily Prompt

September 2, 2014: Zoltar’s Revenge In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school


Three Ways to Shrug Off Nastiness

Three Ways to End Hurtful Discussions

Another’s stupidity or angry ranting always pushes you to raise your voice and fight back; but fighting angry yelling by yelling back never works. Never.

The louder one yells, the less one is heard, the more anger grows.

Image by http://funny-pictures.picphotos.net/

Emotional fitness thoughts and tips

We are told to “Let it all out.”  Not good unless done the way Aristotle suggests in his famous quote: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

What to do?  The following three  tips are based on both the wisdom of the aging and the most current research about how to follow Aristotle’s advice:

Emotional Fitness Tip One:  The angrier you or another are, the more important to respond softly and with compassion. Anger always covers hurt or fear.  Always. Responding to the hurt or fear diminishes anger and makes finding a solutions more likely.  When that seems impossible, take a time out.

If a time out  is not possible, such as, when  a boss is ranting at you; listen without responding except to say “Yes” when you can agree.

Emotional Fitness Tip Two: Strong self-soothing skills make soft and compassionate responses more possible. Try this one:

Soft face poster

Such exercises only work if practiced diligently and at first when not angry.  EFTI’s self-soothing exercises are designed to be practiced quickly so they can be put into play over and over again each day.  Go here to learn four of the easiest. 

Emotional Fitness Tip Three: Stay safe.  Know how to defend yourself if physical attack seems likely. If I could wave a magic want over our educational system, it would be to include Peace Dojos teaching conflict resolution and self-defense as required courses beginning in kindergarten.  Many colleges require passing a  swimming tests in order to graduate.  I would like all high school graduates and GED holders to be required to have a certificate of accomplishment from a Peace Dojo before moving on to college.


Remember what matters: view anger as a signal  something is wrong.   Start with yourself.

As  most of what makes us angry starts in our feelings about ourselves, ask “What is hurting me.”

Are you jealous? Jealousy is a major source of world violence and that includes jealousy of those who seem smarter, happier, or in almost anyway better than we feel we are.

Then there is fear we might become like someone not valued by others: think of anorexia, homophobia not to mention not wanting to be over 30.

Being a sinner or seen as a sinner is part of this type of fear. This fear or worry is  part of religious divides. But is also part of each person’s personal idea about what is moral behavior.

For the religious fear of sinning can lead to fanaticism, but also to failed efforts to stay good. Wonder why sometimes the most religious fall from grace? Think of priests, ministers, or rabbis who commit adultery or worse abuse children.  Knowing their darker sides, they tried to stay strong thought faith, but failed.

Also,  remember we all want to be in control.  We believe our fate is in our hands, particularly in Western culture that constantly tells us “Just do it,” or “Follow your dream.”  Fact: We do not control all.  When our control is threatened, our anger grows.

The failure of control is  part of our  righteous indignation when we see an obvious injustice.

Another  question to ask yourself when angry, particularly about what you see as an injustice against another is to ask youself  who you “identify with.” Who grabs your heartthe  most.

These are the questions one must also think about when anger is growing in another.  Some when seeing an underlying cause of another’s anger are tempted to speak about that. Don’t. Instead, wait until the person’s ranting and anger seems to be cooling down a bit. Then ask, “What can I do to help?”

I hope all the above helps you deal better with anger. If so, think of sharing it with someone who can make good  use of it and who will not feel you are attacking them.

As always for all you do, thank you.



Get a free digital download of Soft Face and Strong Body. Then post it where you will see it and it will remind you to practice this amazing self-soothing exercise.


Word Press Daily post prompt

This  DAILY POST Prompt  inspired this blog post: Discussion Enders; We’ve all had exchanges where we came up with the perfect reply — ten minutes too late. Write down one of those, but this time, make sure to sign off with your grand slam (unused) zinger.

My response?  Zingers only fuel anger and there is too much anger and too mucn taking even petty revenge by zinging someone.




Come the weekend, and many will be lifting their glasses high, getting high. Fact: I love vodka straight  on the rocks; I suspect a Russian gene crept into my DNA.

Lattee addiction. Having confessed my love of vodka on the rocks, don’t think I am an alcoholic. Nor am I addicted to latte’s.  I confess to being a social media addict, nothing more.  We all have addictions, some more harmful than others. This post is about addictions that harm your body – mainly drinking and drugging.

Why this topic?  While I like my vodka,  I do not like the hard sell of drinking that is part of today’s culture.  Drinking moderately is probably safe, but not in moderation and harm accrues.  But alcohol is profitable and the sales pitches constant.

You can label me a cranky old lady on that one, I won’t mind  as long as you think a bit about the contents of this poster and this blog post.


And yes I have a gun; I am a better shot than hubby. and that is why he keeps the gun locked up and hides the key from me.  Wise man.

Emotional Fitness Thoughts

I have been drunk once in my life and once was enough; I got sick as a dog.  One way to sort those with an addiction to drink from those without one is what happens if too much drink goes down their throats.  Getting sick does not stop those whose drinking is a problem.

I am also lucky in that I have a built-in stop drinking signal. My upper lip gets numb when I have had enough. The one time I got sick from drinking was when I did not heed the numbness.

Four things fuel my rants about drinking and drugging addictions.

First? Coming  from a long line of drunks AA groupies, call the genetic basis for becoming an alcoholic.  Do my family tree and for generations some have always had the kind of problems with self-control that meant addiction of one sort or another.

My mother’s father reportedly drank 30 coke a day.  His wife was a teetotaler and that often goes along with one or another chemical abuse.  My hunch was when cocaine was no longer found in Cokes, he switched to drink, but minimally,  if my mother’s account was accurate, he was   a caffeine addict.

At least one relative literally drank herself to death. A number of others were what many call functional drunks.  These drink or drug way too much, but keep up a front. Some of these only get drunk periodically come the weekends or “festive” occasions. Sad to witness.

Second? Being a therapist meant  I often was called upon to quell the damage addictions wrought, but also realizing how difficult it was to bring about change.

Third?  Becoming a foster mother. Most of the kids placed with us were in teens in trouble with the law; many were addicts of one sort or another. As a foster parent,  I attended Alanon and found it both helpful and not helpful.

Fourth?  When we stopped being foster parents and I returned to work full-time as a mental health professional, the Harm Reduction movement had just begun. As part of that movement, I stumbled onto Motivational Interviewing. Than encounter inspired my Safe Drinking Rules Poster.


Emotional Tip One: Know the risk factors.  Three factors put someone at risk of becoming an addict.  The first? Genes. The second? Cultural attitudes toward drinking, but particularly towards drunkenness. The delight Western youth seem to take toward getting bombed puts most young in Western culture at risk.  Finally? Daily use.  One of the reasons the Safe Drinking Rules say to limit your drinking to four days a week is to prevent building up tolerance and in time drinking more and more.

Emotional Tip Two: Worried? Spend a month abiding by the safe drinking rules.  The rules can be adapted for drugging, for gambling, for all addictions including addictions to risk taking or anger.  The more you slip, the more you need to worry that your addiction is getting out of control.

Emotional Tip Three: If you or someone you care about is showing signs of addiction try a Twelve Step program. These  are worth exploring as you can usually find a meeting near you or on-line and cost you nothing but a pit of time. Most  suggest attending six meetings and  to spend your time listening  and learning.  That is also a useful phase for introducing yourself  at a meeting.  Finally, keep an open mind, as one Twelve Step Motto suggests “Take what you need, leave the rest.”

Emotional Fitness Tip Four:  Consider therapy. With addictions seek a counselor who uses a Harm Reduction or Motivational Interviewing approach. That is what I wold do.  I would also look for someone who set SMART Goals early in the therapy process and asked for feedback from you at each session.


Practicing a daily emotional fitness exercise program strengthens  your ability to  dealing with addcitions.  EFTI combines elements of  Twelve Step Programs, Motivational Interviewing, common sense as well as  research based cognitive behavioral practices known to improve emotional intelligence. I think mine are Gold Medal Winners.  Why?  Four reasons:

  1. Each is easy to learn and easier to practice.
  2. You can practice each one multiple times every day. The more you practice the easier each becomes a healthy habit.
  3. You can layer them, meaning you can practice two or even three at the same time.
  4. When learned and strengthened, each exercise soothes all emotions trying  to try boss you.

For all you do to share and care, thank you.  If you like what I say “clap your hands and show it” by liking, commenting, or sharing.


This post was inspired by this Word Press Daily Prompt – Pick Your Potion:Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?

My response? Detailed above.

Related links of interest


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