I Forgive You.

It’s Dr. Kelly Wood, your Balanced Living Health and Wellness expert. My mission is to help women (and a few courageous men) who may struggle with their weight and experience one or more chronic illnesses overcome their limitations and achieve total wellness and balanced living: mind,body and spirit. I do this through my blog, speaking and individualized group and VIP Balanced Living programs.

My best friend Michelle visited me in Philadelphia during Fall 2007. I was doing my medical residency there and I was so excited to show her the city I had grown to love.  I planned on taking her to the Historic District to explore the must-see attractions such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We would also try out some new restaurants and have a girls’ night out enjoying our favorite cocktails.

However, the trip didn’t turn out the way I had planned. We had an argument which destroyed our friendship. To be honest, I can’t sensibly explain why we argued because it was so silly. We were both immature back then and didn’t know what conflict resolution skills were or that we could use them.  If I’m also completely transparent, I had a habit of letting things fester until I exploded, just like heating food in covered Tupperware in a microwave for too long.

In any event, we stopped communicating after the argument. For two whole years!

Life went on for both of us but losing her friendship nagged at me. I didn’t have peace. I prayed about it and knew I needed to call her and ask her to forgive me. So I called. I told her I was sorry for how I acted and asked for her forgiveness.

I was overjoyed when she also asked for forgiveness and said that she missed our friendship.

Whew!

Fast forward to Fall 2017, Michelle and I are still best friends. It took time to rebuild our friendship but now I can’t imagine life without her.

I’m by no means implying that forgiveness will always lead to restoration of relationship. In fact, sometimes it’s best to establish clear boundaries and keep your distance from toxic people who have no intention of changing. But in most, if not all cases, forgiveness is more for you than for them.

You’ve heard the cliché that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s true! Unforgiveness can make you sick.

Medical studies have shown that when you hold on to bitterness and resentment, there is an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. You are at a higher risk of developing heart disease and even diabetes. Chronic unforgiveness can also lead to depression as well as anxiety. An Oncologist also found that over 60% of his patients with cancer had unresolved unforgiveness and it affected how they responded to their chemotherapy treatment.

Some people are better at forgiving than others and they usually lead healthier, happier lives.  Forgiveness has been shown to decrease stress; improve sleep, mood and even the immune system.

Who do you need to forgive?

You may have had some absolutely horrible things happen to you at the hands of absolutely horrible people. It’s easy to forgive the small stuff but the really egregious offences… not so much.

How can you learn to forgive them?

It’s OK and actually healthy to acknowledge that you’ve been hurt and to allow yourself to feel the emotions. Holding on to your pain only prolongs the process. Sharing your story with a trusted friend, speaking to a religious leader or to a trained counselor can help to release the negative feelings.

Some experts also recommend Journal writing to get your emotions out or even writing whoever has hurt you a letter. Say everything that you wish you could say in the letter and then destroy it.

You may have to go deep into your past to your childhood. Parents and other authority figures can hurt their children deeply.  But you can show empathy and know that they did the best they could with the tools they had. By putting yourself in the shoes of those who hurt you, it might be easier to forgive them.

If you’re really struggling with forgiving someone who hurt you, pray. Ask God to give you the strength to forgive.

One reason why forgiving others is so difficult for us is because we haven’t learned how to forgive ourselves. Do you have to forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made in the past?

Norman Cousins, an American journalist said “Life is an adventure in forgiveness”. As long as we’re in relationship with other flawed humans just as we are, we will have to forgive.

To learn more about Balanced Living or our programs, please connect with me by visiting  https://www.facebook.com/DrKellyWoodMD/

Physician, Endocrinologist, Diabetes specialist, Health and Wellness expert, Blogger, Speaker! Kelly Wood, MD is board certified in Internal Medicine as well as Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. She has many years of experience working with patients to transform and improved their health. She is passionate about teaching others about the interconnections of mind, body, and spirit; and how they can achieve health in all three areas and lead a balanced life.

 

Self-Care: Securing Your Oxygen Mask First

It’s Dr. Kelly Wood, your Balanced Living Health and Wellness expert. My mission is to help women (and a few courageous men) who may struggle with their weight and experience one or more chronic illnesses overcome their limitations and achieve total wellness and balanced living: mind,body and spirit. I do this through my blog, speaking and individualized group and VIP Balanced Living programs.

Have you ever been on a commercial flight?

If so, you’ve heard the safety announcement which no one really listens to. “In the event of loss of cabin pressure, you should secure your oxygen mask before you assist others”. This analogy has been used countless times to describe self-care, but it’s true, how can you help others if you can’t breathe?

Self-care is like air. You need it to thrive. You have to take care of your emotional, physical and spiritual health before you can fully give of yourself to your family, friends or career.

I didn’t know self-care was a thing until a few months ago when I was stressed out, worried and overwhelmed by a difficult situation I was experiencing. I found that when I took the time to care for myself, I was better able to deal with my life.

I however had to re-frame my thinking first. We’re taught as children that we shouldn’t be selfish. We should be kind and put others before ourselves. As adults we often do this, setting aside our own needs to meet those others – much to the detriment of our emotional and mental health.

Self-care is not selfish!

Self-care is any activity that you do deliberately in order nurture you. It’s identifying your needs and taking steps to meet them. It’s treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.

Why is self care so important? 

  • Your health improves. It promotes calm and relaxation. It improves both physical and mental health by reducing the effects of prolonged stress on your mind and body. Your mood improves and anxiety is reduced.
  • Promotes self-love. Self-care is necessary to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. When you truly appreciate and care for yourself, your confidence and self-esteem improves.
  • Helps you re-focus. Just like taking a break during a difficult project or assignment to come back to it refreshed, self-care is much the same. It makes you more effective and energetic.
  • Improves relationships. You can not pour from an empty cup. Self-care replenishes you and allows you to freely give to others. You can avoid building resentments toward others who demand so much of your energy and time.

Strategies for self-care

Self-care looks different for different people. It’s truly care for you, by you. You can easily incorporate self-care into your daily routine. Here are some strategies:

  • Make time for it.  Be intentional about setting aside time each day for yourself. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, do something you like which makes you feel good or relaxed. Listen to your favorite song, go for a walk, sit outside, watch a movie or read a book.
  • Learn to say NO. Stop doing things you no longer want to do or never liked doing in the first place. This may mean not answering that phone call, not checking work emails at night and not attending gatherings you don’t like. Protect your space from those who drain your energy.
  • Take care of your body.  Get enough sleep. Most adults usually need 7-8 hours of sleep daily. Eating good, nutritious food and regular exercise are not only beneficial to your physical health but also promote emotional well being as they improve your energy and mood.
  • Spend enough time with loved ones. Self-care doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Sometimes spending time with your family or a trusted friend may be what you need. Be fully present when you’re with someone you love. Stop checking your cell phone!
  • Don’t forget your spirit. We seldom focus on activities that feed our spirit but this is also important for total wellness. Pray, read scripture. Meditate if even for a few minutes. Writing in a journal is also a good way to unplug and connect with your innermost thoughts.

Self-care takes practice like anything else that’s worthwhile doing. Your well-being however depends on it. I challenge you to do one thing for yourself each day over the next 21 days. Let’s make it a habit!

To learn more about Balanced Living or our programs please connect with me by visiting https://www.facebook.com/DrKellyWoodMD/

Physician, Endocrinologist, Diabetes specialist, Health and Wellness expert, Blogger, Speaker! Kelly Wood, MD is board certified in Internal Medicine as well as Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. She has many years of experience working with patients to transform and improved their health. She is passionate about teaching others about the interconnections of mind, body, and spirit; and how they can achieve health in all three areas and lead a balanced life.

 

Be Your Own Best Friend

It’s Dr. Kelly Wood, your Balanced Living Health and Wellness expert. My mission is to help women (and a few courageous men) who may struggle with their weight and experience one or more chronic illnesses overcome their limitations and achieve total wellness and balanced living: mind,body and spirit. I do this through my blog, speaking and individualized group and VIP Balanced Living programs

I can still remember my childhood best friend. I looked forward to meeting her each day at school even though we also spoke on the phone in the mornings before and in the evenings after school.  We were inseparable!  I’m sure we had fights but I can’t remember any of them. I just remember always feeling safe and loved in our friendship.

Do you remember your childhood best friend?

Friendships are invaluable and should be cherished. My best friends celebrate with me when I’m at my best but still love me when I’m at my worst. They remind me of who I am and what I deserve even (and especially) when I forget. We do life together.

Consider yourself very fortunate if you have at least one best friend.

We usually treat our friends with love, kindness and respect. Becoming your own best friend is sometimes more difficult. You know your shortcomings and faults and you might not be as likely to forgive yourself as you are others. The grace we give to others we seldom extend to ourselves.

In reality, you should befriend yourself first and foremost and cherish that friendship above all others. Being your own best friend will boost your self-image and self-confidence and you become more inspiring to others. You’ll  also be more likely to hold yourself accountable for the mistakes you make and expect more of yourself in every situation.

Being your own best friend means that you will also have standards in your relationships. You will teach others how to treat you by the way you treat yourself.

So…love You!

Let’s discuss some steps to becoming your own best friend:

  • Enjoy being alone sometimes – Just as you love to hang out with your best friend, learn how to enjoy being in your own company from time to time. Take yourself out for dinner. Go see a movie. Don’t wait on someone to come along for you to take your dream trip, go solo! By cultivating this treasured friendship, you stop needing others to be your companion.
  • Like yourself – True self-love means getting rid of those negative thoughts about yourself. Just stop!  Be supportive and encouraging.  You would never speak to your best friend in the harsh manner you sometimes speak to yourself.  Accept who you are; the good and the bad. It’s easy to stop liking yourself when you make mistakes or bad decisions (especially if you knew they were wrong in the first place). However, when you like yourself, you’ll be happier and others will enjoy being around you.
  • Express love for yourself –  Do random acts of kindness for yourself every day. Be intentional about it. You should put your love into action by eating foods that are good for you, getting plenty of exercise and rest. Yes you should rest. You don’t have to go around saying how amazing you are but learn to accept praise graciously.
  • Learn how to support your self –  A best friend knows what to say to bring comfort and support but you should also be able to self soothe in a healthy manner. Not with food, sex, alcohol or other addictive behavior such as self-pity but in a productive way. Be sure you’re not dependent on someone else to fulfill your needs. Whether it’s finances, managing tasks or emotional support, learn how to take responsibility for yourself.
  • Live your best life –  This means something totally different to everyone. When you are more in touch with your emotions and desires, you can imagine more clearly what your best life would look like. Would you want to be healthier, start a new business  venture or be a better parent or spouse?  When you know what your best life looks like, you can take the steps to make it a reality.

When you become your own best friend,  you improve your self-image and become more self confident. You take responsibility for creating and living the life you’ve always desired.  Being your own best friend means you’re no longer stuck in unhealthy relationships because you’re afraid of being alone. And, when you’re a best friend to yourself, others will be attracted to you because your positive attitude and your joy.

To learn more about Balanced Living or our programs please connect with me by visiting https://www.facebook.com/DrKellyWoodMD/

Kelly Wood, MD
Physician, Endocrinologist, Diabetes specialist, Health and Wellness expert, Blogger, Speaker! Kelly Wood, MD is board certified in Internal Medicine as well as Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. She has many years of experience working with patients to transform and improved their health. She is passionate about teaching others about the interconnections of mind, body, and spirit; and how they can achieve health in all three areas and lead a balanced life.