By Dr. Michele Q. Pisciotta //
I wanted to share some tips for a healthy lifestyle for this issue. The tidbits that kept coming to mind are all about healthy mental health so, here goes …
Remember what? Well at a particularly low point in my life, while I was paying for excellent mental-health care, I was told to try and develop “double vision.” As we discussed this concept, I understood its value and have been able to use it effectively over the years.
Has anyone else ever felt “stuck” in a negative set of circumstances and felt hopeless? Well in those gray and cloudy times, remember the good things of the past. Remember the God moments, the perfect moments in life that you cannot recreate because they happen so spontaneously that you catch yourself carefree. I know in my life it feels like my childhood and adolescence belonged to some other girl. It’s like a dream in a way. But there are snippets that I remember that make me smile inside no matter how bad my present may feel.
An example, I will never forget a sunrise that I shared with my father while my family was driving from New Orleans to Vail, Colo., for a ski trip. We were coming over a particularly narrow pass in the mountains of New Mexico and he and I were the only ones awake in the van. It was breathtaking.
As I watched my dad die last year, I held that memory so close that it is almost scary to share it now. I will forever be grateful for that God moment. It brings me my favorite emotion — smile through tears. When you develop a mental double vision, it enables you to realize that with time your circumstances will evolve and another sunrise is in your future.
Time passes no matter what we do and no matter how much we accomplish. I have been very presumptuous in my life. I have always felt that I will live to be old. Very old. Now that I am 45, I am not so sure. As I see my children maturing and my older loved ones passing on I am much more jealous of my time. I am more apt to tell someone no. I am more likely to let things wait for tomorrow. I really try not to “sweat the small stuff.” I am here for a finite amount of time and I am finally learning to live in the moment and set boundaries so I can focus on what I feel is most valuable to me. I highly recommend it. Make cookies from scratch. Use your crockpot. Read a book instead of surfing the web. Try not to multitask all the time. Literally, sit still and be quiet for 10 minutes; your blood pressure and pulse rate and respiratory rate will stay lower all day.
Treat yourself like you would treat your daughter.
This piece of advice has also helped me immensely. When I am completely frazzled and feel overwhelmed, I have learned to ask myself, “What advice would you give your little girl?” Honest to goodness that thought has stopped my obsessing and I have made myself a healthy snack, taken a bath, and put myself to bed. I tell myself what I used to tell my children when they needed to stop whining, “Go work on your personality!” After these simple steps, I am able to think through the offending circumstances from the eyes of a mother and the answers seem to come effortlessly. Sometimes we forget that as adults we need time outs and positive reinforcement, too.
We only get to walk this way once and it definitely helps me when I have certain strategies that I use to bring things back in to focus. I pray a lot, I exercise often, I eat my vegetables and drink my milk, I try to laugh things off if I can and I try to give others the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. I do my best to keep my side of the street clean. It helps me sleep at night.
Dr. Pisciotta is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Gulf Coast Gynecology Clinic. Reach her office at (228) 207-6750.